I just realized that I never shared the story of our court appointment to become Karis' parents.
In order to "pass court," a family must go before the judge. She asks a few questions (thankfully they were all "yes" or "no" questions!) to help ascertain that we are prepared to parent one of her country's beautiful children. Most of the approval comes from the Ministry of Women and Child Affairs (MOWA). It is MOWA who takes the time to look over all of the dossiers that enter the country, after which they process a letter indicating to the judge their approval.
Typically, when a family does not pass court, it is generally because the letter that MOWA has written has become lost, or because despite their intention to write the letter, it hasn't gotten done yet.
We were told by our coordinator that some of us did not have letters in our files yet, and that hopefully they would be delivered by our 1:30 court appointments.
We waited for about an hour in the waiting room with many other couples from other agencies in addition to the four other family "traveling buddies" we had. The first couple went in, and came out all grins with "thumbs up!" They had passed! Now I honestly cannot anymore remember the exact order we went in after that. But when our friends Scott and Rachel came out, they were unsure as to whether they passed or not...and we also emerged from our 5-question appointment unclear as to whether we had passed or not. By this point, I was so nervous I was ready.to.throw.up.
The final family went in, and came out all smiles as proud new parents of a 5 yr. old and 2 yr old sibling pair. And then our coordinator spoke to all of us, and told us that there was another issue besides missing letters from MOWA. Several of us had children that come from Shalom orphanage...and Shalom's license had lapsed. It was nothing uncommon...just a delay in their part on getting their license renewed. However, the judge was not going to pass any cases with children from Shalom until they had demonstrated their compliance through re-licensing. After sharing that our letter was there, but that we hadn't passed because of the orphanage licensing issue, she went back in to to speak to the judge.
Our letter from MOWA was there. Do you know long and how often we prayed for all of our paperwork to be in the file? Specifically to be in the file? A long time and annoyingly often. It was there.
However, Karis came through the Shalom orphanage. The judge had NOT passed our case. But the family with two children? Their children were also from Shalom. And they passed. No explanation as to why. And so our coordinator went back in to speak with her, and urged the judge to "be consistent." She had passed them, so she should pass us.
And she did.
By the grace of God, she did.
We were so close, so ridiculously close, to not passing. There was nothing about us that she should have singled us out for favor. I don't know that we had any more people praying for us than had been praying for others. But we were graced with passing...the most tangible expression of grace I've seen this side of Judgment Day.
I cried. I still do. Every.single.time I tell this story, and as I type it out...I cry out of gratefulness for His grace and favor.
Did I ever tell you the story of how we named Karis? It's the Greek word used in the New Testament...for "grace." It's already proving true in her life.