This past Thursday we spent the day in Beijing — a day of visiting government offices, dealing with paperwork, filing forms, making copies, etc. etc. etc. Sounds rather mundane, but in actuality the day held a dose of suspense, adventure, and lots of blessing.
The goal of the day — to file our I-600A, the second to the last major step in the adoption process. A week prior, I had scheduled our appointment in Beijing with the US Department of Homeland Security. Our appointment was at 2pm. Unfortunately, when we woke up that morning we still hadn’t received some necessary paperwork we were waiting on from the States. It looked like we’d have to postpone this appointment (yet again) . . . which meant delaying the whole process (yet again) . . .
The bumps that we’ve met along the way have been particularly discouraging for me. I want to trust His timing, to believe His promises with all my heart, and yet I’ve found the delays to be a source of frustration. I’m eager, anxious, and excited to hold this little one in my arms. How could SLOWER be BETTER?
Here’s a little summary of how our day unfolded . . .
6:45 Mark leaves for work
7:30 I decide I’m not going to go to class . . . just in case the paperwork arrives. 🙂
9:00 I call the DHS office in Beijing to leave a message explaining our situation, and suggesting that we may need to cancel our appointment.
9:30 I get a call that seems to be the wrong number . . . no wait . . . what is he saying?? . . . how do you say FedEx in Chinese? what? really?? You’re the FedEx man and have something for us?!?!?? It’s HERE!!! Hooray!!!
9:35 I call Mark at work. "Can we still try to make it to Beijing this afternoon?" "Yes, I’ll try to get a sub . . . "should we try to rent a car or can we make the train?" "I just checked the train schedules and we can catch the 11:11 train" "OK — meet you at the apt complex gate!" Hooray!!!
9:45 FedEx guy rings the bell . . . and I happily sign. Very happily.
9:45-55 I gather all the stuff we’d been told we’d need, and then some . . . ran to the gate where I joined Mark in a taxi, and off we go to the train station.
Visiting the US Office of Homeland Security can be an intimidating experience. It’s on the 23rd floor of the Kerry Center, a high-class high-rise in central Beijing. Security is like that of an airport (Mark had to take a sip of our bottled water and the whole deal) When it was our turn to go up to the little window, I nearly held my breath as he examined each of our documents. Although we’d followed instructions painstakingly, we were told at the window that our criminal background checks were not satisfactory and needed to be taken to a Chinese notary, and then translated. My heart dropped . . . and then I had an idea. "Will this work?" I asked, handing him yet another background check we’d had done back in the States. He hesitated, went back to ask his supervisor, and came back with the OK. Hooray!!!
Passing this checkpoint meant that we were permitted to now PAY for filing the I-600A. So we hop back on the elevator, down 23 floors, and hop in a taxi. Destination: US embassy. More showing of passorts and through airport-like security, and we’re in. While paying the "filing fee" we were pleasantly suprised to find the lower RMB exchange rate now working in our favor, and on top of that were told that the fingerprinting fee has been waived. Hooray!!! 150 bucks, back in our pockets.
Back in the taxi, back to the Kerry center, back in the elevator, back up 23 floors. This time upon entry, we didn’t even have to sip our water. We were fingerprinted, and the man who did our fingerprinting was kind, patient, and friendly.
So our I-600A has been successfully filed. And I am thankful. Thankful for the times when faith is stretched through waiting and trusting, and also thankful for those times when the blessings and moments for a Hooray! are abundant.