This post is long overdue. The past few months have been a roller coaster, making it difficult to post an update as we have been unsure of where things stand. While much remains unknown, we do have a lot of news to share. Some is fantastic, some frustrating. Here is what we currently know:
- Here is the best news – Jessica is our daughter! We have cleared the court phase and she is legally our daughter in DR Congo. This has taken a bit longer than we expected, but we are so excited to have her officially become a member of our family. However, there is still a long road ahead of us to bring her home. We still have a lengthy process with the US Embassy to facilitate her immigration along with some temporary roadblocks within the DR Congo that must pass before she can come home. The timeframe for her to come home is still at least 6-12 months from now. The details of this are outlined below, but the fact remains that this process is unstable and in constant flow. When we began this journey at the beginning of this year, there was the potential that we could be bringing her home around now (in the rosiest of scenarios). This year has seen a lot of changes to the process which has caused long delays for all involved.
- Through our agency, we have learned some about Jessica’s personality. She sounds like an amazing little girl with a big, tender heart. We hope to make this a post of its own shortly.
- Over the next month or so, Tarah will get to fly to DR Congo. She will get to meet Jessica and spend a few days with her. The main purpose of her trip will be to petition the US for Jessica’s immigration. She will file all of our documentation with the US Embassy in Kinshasa. This sets in motion the next leg of this adoption roller coaster. The US Embassy will begin its own investigation into Jessica to determine that she is indeed an orphan. This investigation can take anywhere from 2-6 months (sometimes longer). Because Jessica was abandoned with no family history, we expect this investigation to be on the longer side as it will be more difficult to gather information. Yes… this delay is frustrating. However, it is a necessary step in the process. This process is intended to prevent trafficking of children and is a safeguard to ensure that children are not misleadingly taken from the homes. It is unfortunate that it is necessary and the process is far from perfect, but the intention is to protect the children and families of DRC.
- If our investigation with the US Embassy were to go quickly, there is still one major obstacle in bringing her home. The very last stage of the process involves the DRC’s immigration agency, known as the DGM, issuing and exit letter which will allow us to leave the country with Jessica. In late September, the DGM announced that they were suspending issuing exit letters for a period of up to 12 months. Apparently, the DGM has some concerns about the current process, so they have shut down their part of the process until some improvements can be implemented. The timeline is unknown at this point, so we are trying to remain positive and patient. The rest of the process can continue during this suspension. So, our hope and prayer is that the DGM is back open and issuing exit letters soon, which could mean that we would not be affected by this.
This is where we stand and a brief glimpse into our world for the past few months. It has been a difficult process, painfully slow, and constantly changing. However, the more we learn about this special little girl, the more we know that she is worth it.