In our last post we said,
There are two possible dates for when we would be able to travel to pick up our baby girl: September 15 or October 28. Obviously, we prefer the date in September!
In order for that to happen though we need two small miracles:) First, we need to receive travel approval from China by the end of August. Second, there needs to be an available appointment for us at the US Embassy in Guangzhou the last week in September. To get to travel that quickly would be “icing on the cake!” So, LET’S PRAY FOR ICING!
If you pray for icing, go ahead and get your cake ready! Both miracles happened and we are excited to announce that we are headed to China on September 15th and our US Embassy appointment is September 26th! AWESOME!!!!!!
If our understanding of our schedule is correct then we will get to meet our daughter on Monday, September 19, two weeks from today. This is also Matthew’s 11th Birthday! What an awesome birthday present:)
We thank you for praying for us, for miracles, for paperwork, for logistics. God is listening and answering. We waited and prayed for so long and now the answers are flooding in!
Our tickets are purchased, hotel reservations made and China visas stamped in our passports! It’s true! It’s real! We’re headed to China!
You can imagine the range of emotions we are experiencing… Rush, rush, rush to get ready to leave. Long “to-do” lists that never seem to finish. Excitement that we are actually getting a daughter. Nervousness about the trip, logistics, and change in our family. Uncertainty as to how to file certain kinds of paperwork. Dazed by the reality that we are leaving in less than two weeks! Prayerful that everything will go just as planned!
Last Friday was a difficult day as we found out about more “unknown and uncertain” USCIS paperwork. It’s confusing even to us! Since we live overseas, the US does not recognize us as “US Residents”. In a normal adoption case, when the US family returned home, the USCIS would automatically process a Certificate of Citizenship (CoC) for their adopted child.
No so for us! We have to file a special USCIS form called a N600K to apply for our daughter’s Certificate of Citizenship.
There is great confusion as to whether or not we can get a US Passport for our daughter without this certificate. Some say we must have it. Some say we don’t need it. The USCIS and State Department seem to disagree on this matter. The State Department will issue a US Passport without the CoC, but the USCIS doesn’t like that and wants the child to have a CoC before they apply and receive a US Passport. This whole process, it is rumored, can take from 2-6 months to complete. We need to have a US Passport for our daughter before we return to Rwanda. If we get the passport before the CoC then the USCIS may (as they have done in the past) deny her a CoC. Confused yet! Obviously, we don’t want to hang out in the States of six months!
The solution that many Americans adopting while living abroad have taken is to first enter the US via Honolulu. The USCIS office in Honolulu has, as a service and courtesy to US Citizens adopting while living abroad, processed the adopted child’s CoC in just three days under these conditions:
- Honolulu is their first port of entry into the US
- Appropriate appointments are made ahead of time
- Necessary forms are filed and paid for
- Proof of citizenship is provided
- Proof if provided that the parent has lived in the US for at least five years, two years after the age of 14.
As well, in Honolulu, once the CoC is granted, the State Department office there can issue her a passport in just two days.
Thus, our plan fly from China directly to Honolulu to get our daughter’s CoC and US Passport in a matter of days. This is the easiest and best option for our family which will enable us to return to Rwanda quickly.
Friday though, we received a shock!
The USCIS office in Honolulu wrote us (after we had written them of our plans to arrive on September 29th) and told us that their office will be closed and no appointments will be available until October 11th. FURTHERMORE, during this time their office will be conducting an audit AND the procedure for CoC applications may change.
The office was very gracious to us and said that they hoped we would not be affected by the changes! Can you imagine the panic! Christine just happened to look at me as I was reading the email and asked, “What are you doing?” The shock was evident on my face!
So, here is our next prayer request for you:
Pray that our daughter’s Certificate of Citizenship and US Passport can both be processed in Honolulu at the USCIS and State Department Offices as planned. Pray that any possible changes in the USCIS CoC processing WILL NOT EFFECT US and that our dauther’s CoC and US Passport can be processed under the current system!
We prayed for icing before and God listened and answered. Now we are praying for whipped cream and a cherry on top! May all glory and honor go to Him for He is a Good God who listens to the prayers of His people and answers them in His faithfulness out of His abundance!