We are all safe and sound in Vanuatu now after a great trip to Australia for our emergency embassy visit.
It all started just about 3 weeks ago when we found out that all the paper work we had prepared to send to Papua New Guinea (our regions American Embassy is) would not be accepted with out finger prints physically taken at an embassy. So they were recommending we fly everyone to Papua New Guinea so Josh and I could take our finger prints there and turn in our paperwork. Adding it all up that was over $10,000 just in airfare not including hotel and food for one trip!
Then they wanted us to fly everyone back again for the final immigration interview after they approved our I 600 form (that we were healthy and good people to adopt)! Another $10,000! I don't have that and knew I couldn't get it any time soon so I spent the day desperately staring at the computer in my friends house wishing a solution would pop up. I just wanted to cry, We were so close. We had finalized the adoption, but still had no way of getting Bella home for the holidays on our already purchased tickets since she had no visa to go. So I left that evening tired and discouraged but popped into my friends house that was next door on my way out. They ended up encouraging me to try to get an appointment at the Sydney Embassy for a visitors visa even though when I wrote them before on email they told me I had to go to my districts embassy for that request which was PNG (Papua New Guinea). So I thought Ok Lord lets try.
I booked an appointment electronically at the embassy, spent the majority of all the funds we had left buying tickets for all of us (an amazing deal at $1800 for all 4 tickets plus an infant) on a gamble I prayed would work.
So we hoped on the plane and it was seriously like heaven opened the day we left. We finally got Bella's visa, and then we somehow in the mad dash Dahlia got on the plane with out shoes and before we landed someone gave her shoes! The embassy was AMAZING to us... we got a 5 yr multiple entry visa for Bella with out asking or paying for one! We paid a smaller fee with an application for a 3 month visa, and we got our fingerprints done for free for our immigration application (usually $160), and they wrote PNG to say they would take Bella's immigration case there in Sydney so that we would not have to travel to PNG. As soon as the papers arrived to PNG and they approved it we could do our interview and final approval for the immigrant visa with them. In fact with the guy who had helped us so much has adopted himself and is the one in charge of our case now! It was purely miraculous, especially since we were out of district!! We were overwhelmed with Gods goodness!
Even the details were all taken care of by God. We booked a hotel last minute and with all the kids it was $164 a night (we needed 2 nights) which was way out of our price league since we just spent the majority of all our savings left to live on to get there!! But we had to be close to the embassy and it was very late so I Just said Ok God I trust you since I don’t have a choice here. In the end as I was paying on credit card a friend came to pick us up. Found us since we stayed at the hotel he recommended, and when we went to pay he pulled out two $100 gift cards to pay toward our room!
Then they took us to do all the things we never could have afforded to do in Sydney like the aquarium (awesome!!), a tour of Sydney on the ferry, a train ride and the monorail etc.. It was so great. Such a blessing! And after that we spent the rest of our time staying in New Castle with a great family who are friends of Julie and Shannon's, and have 4 young kids like ours. So the kids had the greatest time. we even went to a park that had koalas, emus, kangaroos, a wallaby, and other Australian animals.
Josh went surfing a few times and Loved it! Even going to a western grocery store was so great!! Brie, apples, yogurt, cereal.... so wonderful. I hit a few thrift stores or "op shops" as in opportunity shops as they call them for some clothes for the kids as they are growing so fast, and that was really fun. I even found a used sewing machine that I bought and want to get a tune up on for my local village friend (who teaches the preschool) Rachel to help her start her own business. So all in all we had the best possible time we could have and an even better outcome at the embassy than we could have ever dreamed!
Australia even put on a special show the day before we left! We had a red dust storm where dust came from the center of Australia all the way over the south east where we were! The news said it hadn’t happened in 75 years.
Thank you guys so much for all your prayers. we will have another update soon as to what is going on with the adoption agency crisis pregnancy centre we are trying to start, Lots of great God things going on there!