Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Holding our breath - #500DaysWaiting

Last night, I flew home from a trip to California with my brother.  I was happy to glide down into my city and eager to get home to my family and all the responsibilities that come with it.

As soon as we exited the terminal and headed down the escalator, I felt my eyes begin to water and my jaw tighten with anxiety.  The baggage claim area has become a trigger for me.  

When you start the adoption process, which for us was two years ago, you imagine your airport scene - the moment you come off the plane with your spouse and children and you are finally home.  

You hold your children tightly in your arms, down the escalator, knowing that friends and family are at the bottom with signs and bursting hearts.  You glimpse your other children and they come rushing at you, eager to meet their shy new siblings. Your adopted children are in shock and you know there are tough times ahead, but the wait is behind you and you are ready drive home together to focus in on your newly formed family. You can breathe again. 

Over and over again, you conjure this image with watery eyes when the times are tough.

When that scene constantly eludes you, the airport just reminds you of what should have been - of your uncertain future as a family. You are still holding your breath and it hurts.

Last night I pushed right through it, like I am used to doing. 

The airport is just one trigger.  I am sure that other Congo moms can give you a list of theirs, but here are some more of mine:

The little girls' section at Target
The post office
The UPS store
The intro song to Parenthood
The letters USCIS or DoS
Conference calls with the DoS

Maybe that list makes me sound weak or melodramatic, but I have maintained for the last year and will still declare it:  this is a form of torture  It is truly traumatic for us and our kids, in the truest sense of the word.

The suspension was originally supposed to last "up to" a year, and then the verbiage was changed to "at least" a year, and now we are almost 5 months past a year and there is no timeline whatsoever.

We have been told that the DRC needs to reform their adoption laws and then they can lift the suspension.  Last summer we were told that the new laws would be addressed during their fall session of Parliament.  That didn't happen.  They reconvene in March and we are again being told that maybe the laws will be addressed, and then maybe they will lift the exit letter suspension. There is also talk of again reviewing the less-than thirty cases that were supposed to be grandfathered in way back at fall of 2013. Let that sink in. It is February 2015 and these children were promised exit letters in Oct. 2013 and they are still waiting.  At this rate, it will take many more years to get my children home.

I don't hold much hope in any of that actually happening anyway and I don't want to wait one day longer for meetings that might possibly take place.

Congress has been very helpful, the Department of State is very involved at this point, but we have been told over and over again that President Obama's involvement could be the key in getting this solved.  We have tried over and over again to get that involvement with no success, but we are still trying.  We are hoping that this crisis has reached a time and point when enough people will say "enough" and ask for his involvement.  

If you are willing to spend a few minutes respectfully asking our President to get involved, please click here to sign this petition.  Then confirm your signature through your email.  Anyone over the age of 13 can sign it.  If you feel so included, please share it through twitter or Facebook.  If you know anyone will a large online following who might be willing to pass it along with a few words, please reach out to them. If we get 100,000 signatures before March 12, we are guaranteed some sort of response from the White House.  

I know I have asked for your help before, and I hate to ask again, but I have to.  I just do. Thank you.