As it turns out, this will not be the week after all.
Yesterday morning, Joseph and I did receive an email from the U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia, but unfortunately, it did not contain the news we were hoping for. Our case has been sent on to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in Nairobi, because the embassy determined it was not “clearly approvable.”
The email pointed out that the embassy’s determination was not “an unfavorable determination or a denial of a Form I-600 petition. It simply means that the consular officer is unable to approve the case based on the documentation provided.”
And yet another morning begins in tears. :(
So what happens from here? Based on what we’ve heard from our agency, Christian World Adoption, it will take 1-2 weeks for our file to reach the USCIS in Nairobi. CWA says that they’ve seen the USCIS approve cases within a matter of days, and then it takes about one more week for the file to be returned to Ethiopia. If all goes well and the USCIS approves our case, then it may be another 3 weeks before we are cleared for travel.
Some people see it as a good thing to have the case sent on to Nairobi, since the embassy in Addis Ababa seems to be holding onto the cases for quite some time without reaching a conclusion. My main concern (other than 3 more weeks or so of waiting) is that the USCIS also has the option of denying cases outright if they are not satisfied with the evidence they receive. As far as we know that is a rare occurrence, but even the possibility is unsettling to me.
On another note, the Lord mercifully provided us with some positive news yesterday, sent from one of the staff members at Acacia Village…
I just wanted to send you a message for the Griffin family. Their daughter, Evangelle, is doing very well. They left her a little book with their voices recorded on it and she just loves it. She seems to light up each time she sees it and hears their voices. Lots of families send pictures for the children, but I think having their voices is very special. She has managed to tear up the front photo so I have tucked the pieces in the back, so I hope they are okay that the book may not be in perfect shape when they return. She also seems to be discovering her hands so her hands are not as clinched as they were when the family was here.
It was so sweet to think of Evangelle looking at her photo book and smiling as she listens to our voices. I just can’t tell you how much I miss that little girl of mine! Joseph and I were sad to learn that she has bronchitis again and that the doctor has ordered a chest x-ray. Please pray for her healing.
Oh, how the Lord seems to be stretching us and testing our faith these days. This situation has certainly not been easy, but I’m trusting that when God has tried us, we will come forth as gold (Job 23:10)!
“Praise the LORD!
Praise the LORD, O my soul!
I will praise the LORD as long as I live;
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
Put not your trust in princes,
in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.
When his breath departs, he returns to the earth;
on that very day his plans perish.
Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD his God”