Wednesday, October 22, 2008
The End to a Long Journey
Tuesday, October 21, 2008 brought the end to a long paper chasing journey. Finally after 3 years and 2.5 months, I (Elise) was able to bring to a close the adoption of our long awaited daughter Mia. Because I did not travel to China with Dan to get Mia, we had a few extra hoops to jump through to complete our adoption. Had I gone to China, Mia's adoption would have been final and she would have become an American Citizen the minute she walked through US Customs. She later would have been mailed (at no extra cost) a certificate showing that she was a citizen of the United States of America.
However since I did not travel, we had to readopt her within the U.S. with the help of an attorney and file for a certificate of citizenship at a ridiculous fee. Had we not done these final steps then legally in China's eyes she would be ours but in the U.S.' eyes she would not. Therefore if she were to have ever gotten into trouble with the law she could have been deported. Scary stuff. I originally thought these steps would be minor but they of course turned into a lot of paper work, more money and more waiting.
Well Saturday I received a notice in the mail saying that her certificate had been approved and that all we had to do was make an appointment with Homeland Security to go pick it up. Because Mia had such a hard time with us leaving her when Hadley was born, we have gone back to making sure that either Dan or I are with her at all times (even while sleeping) until she is more secure again. So that said, I decided to leave Brianna and Hadley with Butde and Papa and that Mia and I would treck up North together to get her document.
It wasn't until after I got there that it hit me just how glad I was that I had brought her with me.
Afterall this was the office that Dan and I had gone to twice before to get fingerprinted. Both times sitting there wondering and dreaming about what our daughter would look like, how old she would be, what her personality would be like, etc.
This time I got to be the proud mother with the darling little girl that was charming everyone whose path she crossed. The police officer at the security check point was totally smitten with her. He rememered her name after sending us back to the car to put our phone in the car (camera phones are not allowed in the Homeland Security building). He then kept leaving his original post to come stand in the doorway to smile at her.
She also kept drawing the attention of all the other people waiting their turns. Afterall who can't help but smile at a 24 lb girl clutching her blankie, her baby doll, her snack cup and her water bottle while repeatedly saying the name of the one she just dropped. As I sat there waiting to be called it just hit me how special a time this was. How precious just to have some one on one time with her. And how God had answered every one of my hopes and prayers and brought me the most beautiful, loving, smart and kind little girl that I could ever have imagined.
So then the lady called Mia's name. I picked up Mia (baby, blankie, snack cup and all) and walked to the counter. She asked if she had said her name right and I said she had. She handed me a certificate and had me sign it in several places. She then handed me a duplicate copy and had me sign in all the same places. She then said "Here is her ceritificate". She handed it to me and then reached back and handed me a little American flag. It was a simple little flag. Nothing special. I took the flag from her and as I did I started crying. That moment just hit me like a ton of bricks. After all the years of longing and praying for this child, she was ours and nobody could take her away. I wish I could say all these amazing things floated through my head about that flag and all that it meant to me and why it hit me like that. But honestly I don't know what it was about seeing that flag but for whatever reason it is the most special little flag to me. We worked hard to get Mia that little flag and I am not going to let anything happen to it!!!!