This post isn't really about where Holden is. Fortunately, we know he's with a loving foster family who are supported and trained by an amazing orphanage in Bangalore, India. His foster family, and the orphanage, VCT, give him everything he needs: food, clothing, affection, help with physical therapy... everything, that is, but the ability to be his permanent family and to teach him about how cool God is. We are so very blessed that this foster family is there to fill in the gap for us. I can't imagine making it through this wait if I thought my child was not getting the love, attention, and care he needed.
This post is about where in the world all of our adoption papers are. We mistakenly thought that for the last 8 weeks our adoption papers, or dossier, was with CARA - India's Central Adoption Resource Authority, and that we were simply waiting for their stamp of approval, or NOC. It turns out, however, that CARA has decided to add an extra step to the adoption process. I just LOVE extra steps! They are so much fun!
CARA decided that each state must have an Adoption Recommendation Committee (ARC). The state ARC must first issue their approval of our adoption before everything gets sent to CARA for the NOC. This makes perfect sense, because certainly, if we were approved by the state of South Carolina, approve by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration, approved by Holt, and will also need approval by CARA and a judge in Bangalore, surely, that is just not quite enough approvals to be certain that this adoption is a good thing. We have been informed that the ARC for Karnataka (Holden's state) has not met for two months, and no one is sure when they might meet again. Today, we found out that a State Adoption Resource Agency (SARA) meeting was scheduled recently, but it did not take place. So, our papers remain with the Department of Women and Child Development of Karnataka. I believe the DWCD is similar to the department of Children and Family Services that we see in U.S. I think they support things like early childhood education and prevention, and address allegations of abuse and removing children from homes. This is where I am trying to think positively. I am trying to give these wonderful, hard-working people the benefit of the doubt, and assume that they are far too overwhelmed with children who are starving or abused and situations that must be addressed ASAP, and they cannot seem to find the time to move things along for children who are already safe and taken care of. I get that, I really do. It doesn't make the waiting easy, but I certainly don't want any children who are in danger or starving to get overlooked. If, in fact, these lovely people are just sitting around watching youtube videos and picking their noses, I just don't even want to know. Please don't shatter my angelic view of them. It's helping me get through this!
Whew, I thought fighter jet pilots over-did it on the acronyms, it turns out the adoption community is quite fond of them as well! I wonder if they use call signs around the office...
All that to say, not only do we not know when Holden gets to come home, but we are positive that delays are happening and will continue to happen. At this point, I'll be thrilled if we get to bring Holden home by January. Chris and I were talking last night about how we're starting to worry that everyone thinks we've made this adoption up! I mean, all these delays and little steps seem like fiction. We're fortunate to have watched many friends go through the adoption process in Thailand and other countries, and realize that these delays and extra steps are just part of the process. They seem to happen in almost every inter-country adoption. We promise, Holden is real, and he will really be our son! It's just not going to happen on our timing.
I have faith that God is in control of all of this. He will not abandon us, and more importantly, He will not abandon Holden. The same God who blessed Hannah with a son after years of waiting and praying (1 Samuel 1), is the same God who blessed Elizabeth with a son after years of waiting and praying, (Luke 1), and He's my God too. I read a verse today that really encouraged me: "For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance taught in the scriptures, and the encouragement they provide, we might have hope." Romans 15:4 I serve a God who loves to give His children good things. I serve a God who's in control of the tiniest details of my life and the biggest ones too. I will choose to wait patiently for His plan to be fulfilled. I choose hope.