Thursday, May 22, 2008

Travel Approval

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.


mumma to many said...

Nice to be here!
We will be chasing each other all over China and not get to meet! Oh well New Orleans or New Zealand are going to be on our families travel options at some stage!
Hugs Ruth in NZ

Kylie's momma said...

Thanks Trish for sharing your trip (and trials) thus far with us. I sure hope you can make a difference once you get home. I know Henry is one lucky little boy to have a family "fight" so hard to get him home. Travel safe and thanks again for including me. Hugs from MT. Susan

a 640 said...

Best of luck as you travel.....thanks for the blog...we will follow your journey! Love to Henry..and the girls!

Deb, Chas and Clara's former roommate Mira Li

Julie Siegel said...

Oh my. Best wishes to you all.

While you're throwing some venom in the direction of your local CIS official, save some for the Miami office.

We returned just two days ago. A lovely woman on our trip and her 2-yo SN son have taken up temporary residence in Guangzhou (after having completed the adoption in Changsha) because the CIS office in Miami refuses to process her 171.

She decided to travel and wait it out in Guangzhou rather than leave him in an orphanage for four or five more months. They refuse to process her petition until a minimum of 90 days has passed, as a matter of policy, no exceptions, not even for a child who's been identified, approved to go, and whose life can be improved greatly right now. No, she has to wait the 90 days, just like all the people applying who are years and years away from a referral.

She's now on Day 76, or something like that.

Self-important bureaucrats. The world is full of them. (A favorite professor of mine in college used to call it "bureaucrap!")