I wanted to just give everyone an overall update on where things are. First of all, we cannot express as a family how grateful we are for the overwhelming support. It has made this journey exponentially easier and more encouraging. Thanks, and please hang in here with us until we are home.
I thought it might be helpful to give you a brief order of deadlines and decisions that must be made to get the kids home.
First, we had our court date. Many of you prayed and the judge ruled favorably. This was a ruling for guardianship, but it is temporary until a written ruling can be obtained. This takes a couple of weeks, and it is what we are waiting on now. A few days after the court date, we received an official court ruling that is then written out, and signed by the judge. We are waiting now for the signing. It is on his desk, so please pray he will do this quickly.
Once this is done, we are clear to take the ruling and apply for passports with Ugandan Immigration. Once we apply, we wait until they call us with the passports. This can take anywhere from three days to three weeks. We obviously are praying for this to go quickly. Average time has been around a week for the other families we have spoken with.
When we have the passports in our hands, we can go to have medical clearance for the kids. This is about a one-week process, consisting of a general exam and TB test, and then an approval is sent to the US embassy.
Once the exams are complete, we will apply for an appointment with the embassy to have all of our documents reviewed. This is where a lot of people run into trouble, as the pile of documents is huge and there can’t be a single mistake or discrepancy. We have met people who were hung up in country for weeks and even months because of a wrong date on a document, or a misspelled word, or any other number of things. We will have to go through these documents with a fine-toothed comb before we go for our review. We still have quite a bit of paperwork to do through each stage of this process. We cannot afford to mess those up. For those of you who know Little and me, this is our biggest weak spot. We are both horrible administratively. Pray we are vigilant in this area.
Once we have been cleared at the document review, we are given a visa appointment for the kids’ passports, which will be two days after document review, then called in two days later for a final exit interview. Once that is complete, we are given all we need to leave the country.
- Court date and initial custody granted (Birth fathers present)
- Official verbal judge’s ruling (1 week)
- Official written judge’s ruling (what we are waiting for now)
- Passport applications
- Passports issued (Can be 3 days up to 3 weeks)
- Medical exams (one week)
- Document review (3 to 7 days)
- Visa applications (2 days)
- Exit interview at Embassy with birth fathers present. (one day)
Hope this isn’t too confusing. A lot of steps, I know. If we get the passports applied for this week, and then the medicals and document review goes well, we are looking at about three more weeks in country. I will travel home on March 5-6 and be in the U.S. for about 10 days. This would put me back in country here just in time for the final two steps. Please pray this all runs smoothly!
We could be home by late March if all is well. In the meantime, we could not be more convinced that we are in God’s will here. We are learning much and seeing new life in these two little ones. Our three older ones are doing an amazing job, and we couldn’t be more thankful for them.
Thanks again for all the prayer support. We will keep you posted.