Tuesday, June 3, 2008

With a Grateful Heart

This month has been pure, concentrated stress on a level I can barely comprehend.

But about a week ago, because of a speaking assignment at church, I relearned what it means to have hope. And today, while calling on every ounce of faith we could muster, we witnessed a triumph over government bureaucracy that was nothing short of miraculous.

We have plane tickets to fly home June 6. We're signing the papers on our new house June 9 (also the day dear husband starts his new position at work). We received the final court document for the adoption on May 20. Since then we've obtained a Certificate of Registration from Pasig City Hall, an annotated birth certificate from Quezon City Civil Registry, an amended birth certificate issued by the National Statistics Office, and an approved I-600 form from the American embassy.

The movers were at the house last Wednesday from 8 am to 11 pm while dear husband was in China (and while mucho birth certificate and other assorted drama was taking place). We lugged ten suitcases to the temporary apartment that night and got settled in. The movers came back Thursday to finish the job they didn't finish on Wednesday (after I took a half-day side trip Thursday am to the embassy to turn in documents). The husband got home about 1 am Friday morning; we spent Friday at the Department of Social Welfare and Development and then the US embassy again, then waited around for a passport interview that never took place.

Sunday: church; mega internet research on US IR3 visa process; internet cafe to print applications; photo place for new visa photos for the baby; paperwork bonanza
Monday: back to the US embassy to turn in appeal letter for early visa appointment; we're informed the process normally takes three months; rest of the day is spent wailing and gnashing teeth and making backup plans
Today: 6 am to 4 pm spent at Department of Foreign Affairs with some incredibly helpful people who waited and ran around and made calls and got signatures until eventually we got someone to promise us a passport by tomorrow at lunchtime. HALLELUJAH!!!!!! In the middle of this we get a call from the embassy promising a 7 am visa appointment on Thursday (an appointment we wouldn't be able to keep without the passport, so HALLELUJAH!!!!!!).

A great deal of praying took place today. We are incredibly humbled and grateful and still in shock that it looks like we'll make our Friday flight.

Tomorrow: after we pick up the appointment letter from the embassy and the passport from DFA we have to take the baby for a medical exam in preparation for the visa interview (something else we couldn't do without the passport). Then dear husband has a dentist appointment at 5 pm because he broke a crown eating duck tongue or some such thing in China.

Thursday: Visa appt. 7 am. With any luck they'll approve and stamp it the same day, and then we can go back to the apartment, pack our strewn belongings, and head to the airport at 4 am the next day.

Once we hit Utah we'll grab some sleep then pick up our van and drive to Illinois. Dear husband's fabulous family has already cleared out our storage unit (thank you x a million; we love you!) and loaded our stuff in my dad's semi trailer, which he'll be driving out when he gets another delivery in the area.

So many people have helped us make this happen. The only way I can even dream of making it right is by paying it forward, and by making sure my faith never falters again.

There's a line in one of my favorite movies, While You Were Sleeping, where Dad Callahan says something like, "You work hard, you struggle, face your trials, etc., and for one moment, everything's right, everyone's happy." Then Jack, breaking the news about wanting his own business says, "This is not that moment." Or something.

It's not just that I'm afraid to be happy about all this, even though I am a little afraid. It's not that once we get home we face making new friends, settling in, starting over. The potential there actually has me excited. It's the news we received a few hours ago: our yaya (nanny) had a great job lined up after we leave, but after a medical exam found out she has primary complex (a noncontagious tb infection of the lungs). Today her employer withdrew the job offer and she now has no way to support her family. :( Aw, man. She so does not deserve this. We're currently brainstorming ideas on how to make this right.

Someday we'll have time to take a breath and have our peaceful moment. Until then, we have hope, and gratitude, to carry us through.