Thursday, July 16, 2009


Thirteen weeks ago we mailed (overnight, of course!) our application for immigration approval from the US Department of Homeland Security. The form we need (I-171H) is required for an international adoption, and we have to have it before we can send our paperwork to Ethiopia. We were met with some unusual challenges in getting our approval, and it took longer than we expected (really only about a month longer, but it felt like a year!), but today we received this one line e-mail:

"Form I-171H (approval notice) will be issued shortly with an approval
date of 7/15/09."

When I saw the source of the e-mail I was afraid to open it. We've had so much frustration with this part of our adoption process, and I confess I have struggled to keep it in perspective. I know that my anger/frustration/anxiety is just a symptom of my failure to trust that God will do what is best. Every time.
I am longing for God to refine me through all of this, and hopeful that because of it I will be more prepared to face all that God has to come for us with faith and with joy. But for this day I am just so happy for this one victory!!

So this is what happens next. First, we wait (hopefully only a few days) until we actually receive the form in the mail. (Which means that I will continue my recent daily races to the mailbox for just a few more days). Then, we'll take the form to the state capital to have it "sealed" so that it will look like all of these other beautiful documents (they actually authenticate the notaries on all of the documents and place the state seal on them):

Jim jokes that I ought to have a safe for these documents, because I don't like anyone to get too close to them, let alone touch them!

Next, we bundle the new document with all of the others and send it off on a long and somewhat confusing journey from here to Washington D.C. to Michigan, and finally to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. There's a good chance that our documents will be in Ethiopia within the next 1-2 weeks. And then the real wait begins. And so we learn to trust God more and more with details large and small. And we pray over each step along the way. We have prayed in the van on the way to the post office, in the post office, and on the way home from the post office. We want the kids to know that God's hand is over every single detail of this process, and there is none of it that we can accomplish (or would want to) without Him.

I'm also realizing how important it is for the kids that we celebrate God's goodness at every stage of this journey. Shhhh; don't tell them, but we'll be having a little party at our house tomorrow evening, and there will be cake and ice cream!

And thank you so much for your prayers; we'll eat some extra cake for you!


  1. OH MY GOSH!! You just made my morning. That is such awesome news, and such a relief to hear (although it shouldn't be, but I believe I've expressed my feelings about that matter before...). Your poor mailman, though. I pity him/her until that paper comes. You guys deserve a party - and then another one when the form comes. Email me as soon as you know your #!! Probably not too far from 8!


  2. Susan! Great news! Congrats!!
    Much love fom all of us...

  3. Wonderful! Thanks for creating this blog so that I can share in the process. Kathryn

  4. Susan ...I am crying reading this! What an awesome mile-marker!! I hope you guys are celebrating in some fun way! Ethiopia is amazing ...many times while we were there I thought about you guys and prayed it wouldn't be too long beore you are picking up your little guy!!

  5. Hi Susan ~
    Just wanted to stop by your adoption blog to see where you are in the process. We will be praying for you all as you continue on the journey! You and Jim are such amazing parents - how good of God to add a 5th to your family! Your kiddies are so grown up now! I know they are so excited to meet their new little brother! Will they be traveling to Ethiopia with you?