I would say the last few days have been an adventure, but the word adventure is usually thought of as good, cool things, and it brings to mind images of excitement and other goodness. I would describe the last two days like this: famous is to infamous as adventure is to…”whatever these few days have been.”
Sam = good. We’ll start with that. We can see a cool change in him. It’s hard to pinpoint, but he just seems to be learning so much, acting different, and just more grown up. He even looks different to us. We’ve had people comment on how they think he looks different, both people here and people who are looking at pictures and video. It is amazing how much love and attention can make a difference. What a necessary thing adoption is. There’s just no arguing it. There’s no arguing that it’s hard, inconvenient, and painful, either. But with those things in full view, adoption is worth it, and adoption is necesssary.
There are 10 other kids in Sam’s class who are so cute and perfect who are just waiting on something. They aren’t sure what. No one really is, but they are just waiting. We were talking yesterday about how hard it is to really get it into our heads that they live here when we see them in class. It looks like a class at church or school where the parents are at work or something. It’s hard to register that these guys aren’t going anywhere. No one is coming to pick them up. They live in this room with each other.
And then we see what a difference our love and attention is making with Sam. It breaks us that we cannot do more, and we are already thinking about how we might be able to. The bottom line is adoption is necessary. Many adoptions are necessary. There isn’t much more that can be said. If you’re thinking about it, do it. If you’re not thinking about it, read the Bible and at least think about it. God leads people to all kinds of different things, but how many people are not responding to this particular need because it’s inconvenient or unfamiliar.
Now, on to the last two days. Our visas expire on May 3rd, which is a separate story in itself, but we have to renew them in order to stay longer and finish this thing. So we went to do that yesterday. We waited a while, which is bascially normal here, you always wait. Then we got into a room with all kinds of forms taped to the wall. You have to figure out which form you need and then use your own paper to write out the form exactly right. We, along with our translator and coordinator, had to do ours 3 times, and in between each one he would look at it for like 10 minutes then come tell us it was not right. Finally the guy came out and told us exactly what to write.
Then he asked for our registration cards, which we were told we would not need. So we had to catch a cab and drive all the way across town to get them and go back. We finally turned all of that in, thinking we would find something out.
Then the guy came out to tell us that we were in violation of Kstan law because we were registered in one address and living in another. Apparently you have to register with the government and let them know where you live, which we did not know. Our coordinator had registered us at the hotel when we came into the country, but we had not been reregistered at the apartment we live in now. So the guy said that we had been living there against the law and that we would have to pay a fine and possibly not get our visas extended.
We were crushed, and our minds started racing, obviously. We didn’t know what that might mean for everything with our process. We waited a while and our coordinator tried to talk to him. Finally two policemen showed up and we were told to go with them. We asked where we were going and they said the police station. What?! So we got in their car (a regular car, not a police car, at least), and we drove to the station.
Once we got there they filled out several pages of paperwork on us and basically had us sign that we agreed we had done this. For the record, the two men were very courteous and friendly to us the entire time. They made it so much better than it could have been.
We had to go see their boss where he explained that we would pay the minimum fine of around $85 USD. They also said that our visas would not be a problem, and that they would get extended. Finally we got home after about 7 hours of that stuff. To make it better the taxi driver on the way home gave us the business, too. Nice.
Today our coordinator was supposed to pay the fine for us and we would meet at the visa place again. After waiting there 30-45 minutes we got a call from her. They said that we would both be fined, so $85/person. And the guy she was supposed to see about our new registration was out on duty, so they won’t do it today. So we have to try it all again tomorrow. We are hoping that they were right in saying that our visas will get extended. We’ll just keep praying, and hopefully this will all be over tomorrow.
So it has been a difficult few days, sort of like most of this process, but we are still hopeful. We aren’t necessarily all that excited right now, but God is good, and it’s good to have Jesus. We got a great chance to have a very insightful and deep conversation about Jesus yesterday with our translator, and she brought it up. Several people also commented on how different we seem through all of this than most people. Who knows, maybe all of this is Jesus’ way of making a name for himself. I guess it’s possible.
“Remember my affliction and my homelessness, the wormwood and the poison.
I continually remember them and have become depressed.
Yet I call this to mind, and there fore I have hope:
“Because of the Lord’s faithful love we do not perish, for his mercies never end.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness!
I say: The Lord is my portion, therefore I will put my hope in him.
“The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the person who seeks Him.
It is good to wait quietly for deliverance from the Lord.
It is good for a man to bear the yoke while he is still young.”
As we walk this road, whatever it brings, old friends and new ones, thank you for walking it with us. It has made all the difference.