Today we received our travel approval notice from China, the last step in this phase of a long process. In other words, the way has been cleared to begin our trip, which is about giving hope to a little boy who became our son like our girls became our daughters. They were each born in our hearts long before we traveled to adopt them. We know we are very lucky to be able to do this, which is in essence our point.
For Trish, this is about again being a mom for a very special child, having discovered that to our daughters this is absolutely the most important job in the world. For Andy, this trip began with a pledge he made in China more than a few years ago now in a room full of children who were in a lot of ways much like Henry, a moment that, until now, seemed to be slipping away with time. He whispered assurances then that he would be back to do exactly what we're finally about to do. As our friends and neighbors here in New Orleans all know, we needed some time to put ourselves back in order. The repairs are complete and it is good to be in this way moving on, at least on our little corner of Green Street. Now we’ll scramble to book our travel arrangements as quickly as possible. Then we will soon be off on another adventure into the familiar unknown to softly repeat one more unforgettable promise between sniffles in a strange hotel in a far away land, that everything will be okay from now on. Our third. Probably our last. This one to Henry.
If all goes well we will meet him in Lanzhou, which is Gansu’s provincial capital and for our children a safe distance from the earthquake-effected zone. It appears likely that we will leave New Orleans around June 9 and Henry may join us on Father's Day.
We're not young or untouched by disappointment so we began this process realistically with few expectations. But when we return home with our son we will reasonably ask that more be expected of the regional district office of the USCIS in Metairie, LA. There a self-important officer, whose duties include processing a federal form required for international adoptions called an I-600A orphan petition, delayed putting a stamp on our petition for more than four months and forced us to eventually file a request for “expedited service” through the offices of our congressional representatives. This stamp simply attests that the petition has been submitted with the required documents attached. No family should ever again have to compile unnecessary, unrequired expert medical testimony to secure timely acknowledgment of a form needed for adoption of a child already documented in his or her native country as having very serious special medical needs. A similar delay had the most tragic consequences this spring for another child with the same medical diagnosis, and for the central Louisiana family in whose hearts she is carried now on wings. Our thoughts are with them.