Saturday, April 9, 2011

A Recap from Nepal with Pictures

It all started with a dream, BANAU, on January 16, 2009...

2 Years, 2 Months and 14 Days later on...

March 30, 2011, 3PM EST, Dulles Washington DC...

our son, Trek FINALLY became a United States Citizen!!!!!!

What a journey the Lord has taken us on! We have now been home for week and three days and Trek is doing wonderful!

For those of you who checked in for updates in Nepal, I apologize for not doing them. I'll try to fill you in on what we did. For starters we stayed with the PUMA girls and Mary and Fran. While there we were subject to the infamous KTM load shedding schedule, which meant we had up to 14 hours a day with NO power. This is part of the reason I didn't update.

Yup, we learned a lot on this trip. For starters....we take for granted being able to flip a switch and have lights any time of the day, use a microwave to quickly warm something up, bake something in the oven, use the computer at any time and have hot water when you feel the need to take a shower. These are just a few things that come to mind. PUMA boys and girls minus Mary and Fran. We LOVE these kids! We need to go back and spend more time with them.

Okay so I don't know how much of this you all want to read, but I want to journal as much as I can remember so I most likely will break this up into several posts. We'll see how it goes.

We began our second trip on March 6 by driving down to JFK in New York. We had dropped the girls off with our wonderful friends (who happen to have 1 child and 3 teens...bless their hearts for taking our two) the night before so we could get an early start but we forgot a couple major items and needed to see them before we left. So on our way to NY we made a pit stop in Carmel. We forgot to leave some money with Linda and Robin forgot her coffee. We finally hit the road around 9ish with everything we needed in hand...the most important being my anxiety medication and scripture verses to meditate on.

When we landed in Kathmandu Nepal on March 8th after about 35 hours of uneventful traveling (thank God) and were greeted by Padam, Mary, Fran and Trek!! It was so wonderful to be back in Nepal to see our little boy, visit our friends and hear the honking of horns in Kathmandu!

Trek was all smiles and came right to us and even rode back to the house with us from the airport and didn't cry! That just confirmed the work the Lord was doing in his little life the time we were gone.

For the first week and a half we stayed at the boys home at night, but spend our entire days with the girls. Fran happened to be heading back to the States for a well deserved break and she offered us her room at the girls house once she left, which we took her up on her offer. We were much more comfortable in her room. We were sad to see her go, but did enjoy staying there. She is still in the US and is coming to Maine the end of this month and she'll be staying with us for several days! Can't wait to see her! Mary will be coming as well in a couple months!

Once we got settled in our room our first line of business was to get Trek seen at the IOM (International Organization for Migration) this is where he had his medical check/clearance to enter the US. Because he was over two he had to have a TB test which he hated, but passed. His paperwork was sent to the US Embassy on Monday the 14th and then it was just a matter of waiting for his visa approval. I guess this is a good place to talk about his visa. Just in case any of you were wondering....I was convinced that his visa approval was going to be waiting for us at the Embassy when we landed. As a matter of fact as soon as we got settled into the house I sent an email to them letting them know we were in Nepal and gave them our in-country cell phone numbers and was sure that they were going to call us that day with approval. At the end of the day when we didn't get a call, I didn't worry too much and just figured it would come the next day or Friday at the absolute latest! Anyway I was pleased that we had his medical appointment over with and knew on Monday the 14 we would be good to go (literally)! I even called my mom and we talked about the possibility of trying to change our return tickets home so we could leave early. Well Thursday came and went with no call, Friday came and went with no call so I was pumped for Monday! Monday came and went with no call.

There were other families under us that began to get approvals while we sat there waiting. Up to this point the blog that was set up for pipeline families had been pretty 'spot on' as far as order of approvals, but for some reason once it became our all changed. I think now the Lord was teaching me again that everything is in His time. Not mine.

I tried to not worry too much and just knew that it would be there in a couple of days at the longest. Well the entire week passed and Friday the 18th came and went with no word from the Embassy. At this point, I was an emotional mess. I did not understand what was taking so long, why we continued to sit there waiting, wondered if our paperwork was missing, if maybe in was going to be an intent to deny.....I was totally 'fleshing out' (my sin nature) and not putting my faith into practice but instead I was letting the worries and what ifs fill my mind.

All I can say now is....

poor Mike.

He was so good and patient with me. He kept encouraging me to take some time to get alone with the Lord and read and pray and of course he also prayed with me all the time. He kept telling me everything would work out and to not worry. He reminded me in scripture that we are not to worry but take every thought captive. Even though at the time I probably didn't act like it, I really loved the strength he displayed and the certainty that the Lord was going to bring us through this.

I did begin to make phone calls and send emails to our attorney and someone in Washington who was working on these rebuttals/approvals to find out if they could at least tell us where our paperwork was and maybe how close they were to making a decision. I didn't get any real good feedback from anyone, so all I could do was wait. You know I've always had a bit of a problem with being patient, and thought I learned that lesson when we adopted Noelle. But the Lord showed me I hadn't learned that lesson and He was continuing to teach me.

I knew we wouldn't be getting approval over the weekend so I started looking at the calendar and knew that if we didn't get approval by Tuesday the 22nd at the latest, we would have to extend our trip. So we prayed hard over the weekend and again thought okay on Monday we'll be sure to get the approval. Yup, you guessed it. Monday came and went with no word! So with nothing left to do and having power so I could use my computer... I got on facebook and asked a couple of my friends to add this visa issue to the prayer vine at church. We knew we needed at approval the next day (Tuesday) or we were looking at more money to change our return date and being away from our girls even longer.

Tuesday, March 22 came and I decided in the night (because I couldn't sleep) that I was going to contact the Embassy to ask them some questions, like IF we got approval that day or Wed. would they be able to Trek's visa so we could leave on Monday the 28th as planned. I wanted to know if they knew where our paperwork was. I wanted to know if they would call or send an email with approval and what time of day did they make their calls.

I talked with April at the Embassy and she told me that IF we did get approval (which they didn't know anything about our case) we would need to be in country for another 8 to 10 days....which meant we would have to change our tickets. She told me she would call with approval and that if I didn't hear by 5:15PM it hadn't come. She tried to encourage me to sit back and just wait, because that was all I could do. They knew nothing. It was all up to USCIS and Washington at this point. So we tried to keep busy that day and Mary and I went to several places and did some shopping and came home around maybe 1ish or 1:30.

I was putting some of our stuff away in the room when my phone rang. I answered and it was April from the Embassy. I was not overly excited about her calling because I had spoken with her earlier and I had emailed some paperwork to her and thought she was calling about that. She asked me how I was doing and I said okay. She proceeded to say...."well, I'm calling because I have some really good news to share with you...." I began to trembled, tears started flowing as I sat in Fran's room and listened as she told me that Trek's visa was approved!!!


I composed myself and then reminded her of our earlier conversation that day about us leaving on Monday the 28th at 8:30PM and wondered if there was anyway possible to get it by then to save money. She looked over our paperwork and saw that everything was there and said she would do everything in her power to have it for us before we left.... even if it meant picking it up on the way to the airport. AHHHH!

Well my kids want to eat so this is where I will end todays entry. I'll post more tomorrow about all the fun things we did while we waited for the coveted visa along with more pictures and how we got the visa.

Philip and his wife and daughter.

Fran & Mary (I can't believe I didn't take more picture of them...with Trek...ugh!) Daddy & Trek The store across the street had some soda and snacks. We visited them occasionally :)

Houses next to the girls home. A little boy Trek's age lives in the house on the right. Cute little guy (wish I had his picture too). I'm telling ya, my mind was not focused on anything but his approval over there.

Building a new wall at the girls home.