So we got our passport on Monday. Tuesday morning I called IOM to see if we could drop of the papers for Jonathan and get an appointment for him to get his medical done. They said to come in at 10 to drop of papers AND do the medical. I only had about 30 minutes to get everyone ready! We went to IOM and it went well. He passed and the file was going to be sent to the US Embassy the next morning. As soon as I got home from IOM I emailed the embassy to see if I could get an appointment for Wednesday to drop of my paperwork to them. You have to be paperwork ready before they schedule a visa interview for you. They told me that I could come in Wednesday at 11:30 for my paperwork! They said that if my paperwork was ready I would probably be able to get an interview that afternoon. AMAZING! When you have a visa interview- if you are granted a visa then it takes two days to process. Once you have the visa you can leave the country. It is the final step. That means if it works out- my visa would be ready on the Friday the 20th! They only do interviews on Monday and Wednesday so Wednesday was my last chance to get a visa in time for being home for Christmas!
Tuesday night I was a ball of nerves. I had already been running like crazy for 2 days straight with passport and IOM. Now I had to make sure my paperwork was in order- and my mind started to drift to all sorts of what-ifs about being home for Christmas no matter how hard I tried not to! I talked with Adam about it and called my parents to let them know. When I was talking to them I got really excited. As soon as I hung up I got an email from the embassy saying that all appointments for Wednesday were cancelled because of the unrest in Sudan. They would let us know when they were rescheduled. I instantly felt like I was going to throw up. SO close to being home for Christmas. I cried and went to bed. Each night before I go to sleep I've been reading my Bible and a devotional book I've brought. The book has been so perfect each day for what I need. That night the verse for the day was 1 Thessalonians 5:24, "Faith is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass." The devotion part made no sense to me, but God's word was all I needed. I laid in bed and said that verse over and over in my mind. I had to tell myself that God's will was going to be done, and I needed to get myself to a place to accept whatever that may be. I needed to choose then to be joyful no matter what the outcome. I want God's will over my own. I didn't sleep much. I kept waking up to check my email to see if somehow they had changed their minds. All I got was junk mail. I woke up early and just laid in bed with my mind racing. When I heard the boys awake I decided to check my email one last time. The embassy had sent an email saying they weren't needed to help with Sudan anymore so please still come in for my appointment! PANIC AGAIN! I scrambled to get the driver here and kids taken care of. Thankfully I got to the appointment on time and my friend watched the kids. I spent all day at the office making sure the paperwork was ready and filling things out exactly how they needed them. My paperwork was NOT ready though. By the time we were done looking through all of it they realized they had never sent me a code for one of the forms that is supposed to be filled out online. It was too late in the day to get it done. I was so deflated. I knew this was the last day for me to get a visa in time to be home for Christmas. If I wasn't going to be home for Christmas I didn't really care about the rush at all. The lady told me that they would be willing- if I could get the form filled out to have an interview for me on Thursday at 2:00. A non-interview day! MIRACLE! Off I sped out of the embassy to fill out the form and make sure one more time that everything was accounted for in my paperwork. They said that if I had the interview then the visa would be ready on the 23rd. YIKES! Christmas was still a possibility. You guys- my emotions and nerves have been out of control in a way I have NEVER experienced before.
As I looked through my papers last night over and over I realized that I had a copy of Adam's passport, but not a notarized one which is what I needed for embassy. We didn't plan on any of this happening this fast at all so we figured he would be back here with the original passport with him. Panic set in again. It would be so sad to be so close and miss out on all of this because I didn't have a notarized copy of the passport! I went to bed planning to call our lawyer in the morning to see if he had one on file. I slept for probably 15 minutes last night. And as soon as I feel asleep I got a nose bleed. Seriously...so annoying! This stress is doing all sorts of strange things to my body. I knew the office didn't open until 8 so when I felt like it wasn't too ridiculously early I got out of bed. I checked the clock about every 30 seconds until 7:45. Then I called the lawyer's secretary and asked if they had what I needed on file. THEY DID! I called our social worker and asked her to bring it to me ASAP! So now all the paperwork was in order! It would just be up to the interview. I thought that when I reached that point my nerves would die down. WRONG! I constantly felt like I was going to throw up and just fall over. The level of nervousness is something I can't even explain. The morning crawled by and I did a HUGE load of laundry and hoped it would take my mind off of things a bit...nope...not at all. But I did get laundry done. :)
The driver finally showed up and Jonathan and I were off. SUPER FRIENDS watched the boys AGAIN! The traffic on the way to the embassy was insane. Each passing second my nerves got worse. When I arrived at the embassy I went through the security process, which I am very familiar with now after being there so many times and going in and out (you can't take electronics in so any time I needed to make a call etc I had to go out and go through the whole process again). As I walked up the path to the office I said out loud, "Thank you Jesus for all you have already done." Then I started crying and couldn't go on. The amount of blessings that flooded my mind from this whole journey overwhelmed me and I knew that I have reason to worship Him, even if this situation doesn't turn out how I would hope. I got up to the room and waited. There are 4 telephone booth type rooms connected to the waiting room with standing only room and a high shelf that you stand at. I have memorized everything about that room after the hours I've spent in it the past 2 days. They finally called me to make sure my paperwork was in order. IT WAS! PRAISE GOD! Then they called me to pay after waiting a while longer. Then I had to sit some more. No one else was in the room other than the guard, because it wasn't a normal interview day. I was singing Great Is Thy Faithfulness to Jonathan over and over because it is the only thing that seems to calm my nerves through out this whole thing. My interview was supposed to be at 2...I don't think I had to wait that long in real time but according to my stomach it felt like 5 hours! I finally went into my little booth for my interview. I was asked about Jonathan's story- about our process a little- and then I was told that he would be granted a visa! The lady said it in such casual passing conversation that I was caught off guard. I said, "wait...so that's it?! We are ALL DONE with this process?!" She said yes. I asked her how many people she had seen cry and she said all of them and gave me permission. :) As I walked out of the embassy I couldn't stop smiling. I called Adam right away and said, "I WILL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS!"
WE CAN LEAVE THE COUNTRY WITH JONATHAN! EVERYTHING I'VE WORKED HARD ON FOR A YEAR ON IS DONE! There is absolutely no way to make this post eloquent, or remember every single detail of the last 3 most stressful days of my life. We get to pick up the visa on Monday afternoon and we will fly out and return home Christmas Eve around 6:30 at night. I will have been in country for 5 weeks total. SO MUCH FASTER than it usually ever goes. I have no idea why this is the timeline that God chose for us. I have friends here who have much different stories. I wish every story could be like ours, but God chooses to bring glory to His name in all sorts of different ways. I'm excited to get home to start what our "normal" life will look like as a family of 5 all together, but I am also sad to not have been able to experience so many things about Uganda that I wanted to because the process has been so fast and busy. I have ABSOLUTELY loved this past month. I love this culture, and pace of life.
Please pray for me as I pack up quickly and prepare myself to travel home three little boys. I'm scared out of my mind to do this! This whole thing is so crazy. :) There is your update in whatever sloppy form I just threw together. Thank you for praying even when you didn't have details and being encouraging when you knew I needed to be. Looking forward to seeing you when I get home...and for you to meet my sweet little Jonathan.