The e-mail came at 1:54 p.m. We are so close to going home now!!!!!!
My heart is still pounding- we have been cleared to schedule our final interview! I have scheduled it for Tuesday the 16th (Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the consulate is closed) and then all that’s left is literally waiting to get Ruth’s passport back with the visa in it! I am beyond grateful for this progress, but I also wanted to use this update to ask for some specific prayer for the Wilks family.
Without going into detail on all the legalities of adopting a child internationally (because that would be an impossibly long post), I want to share what the Wilks family’s needs are. They went to their first scheduled Consulate appointment today hope that they would accept all of the paperwork for all 3 kids even though this appointment was technically just for one child. It turns out that their pre-approval case sent to the Consulate was incorrect. So first of all, Lagos Consulate did not have their casework for the kids. We are unclear who is to blame for this mistake- either the National Visa Center or another Consulate. And unfortunately, the National Visa Center has been unhelpful through all of their struggles thus far.
In addition to the incorrect case work, the Wilks were given a 3-6 week pre-screening timeframe, if everything checks out fine, and then an undetermined amount of time until the final interview. Bryce and Maryl are facing some tough decisions. This process wasn’t supposed to be delayed this long for them. They will more than likely be spending more than 3 months to finalize the adoption/children’s citizenship. Maryl doesn’t have unlimited vacation, and neither does Bryce. They are likely going to have to find a foster family to care for the kids so that neither lose their jobs.
To say we are all frustrated with the lack of communication, incompetency and inattentiveness of the Consulate is an understatement. We were told that adoption cases are prioritized, and that appears to be a falsehood. The Consulate is not a safe place for American citizens to find help in Nigeria- it’s a red tape massacre. If there were to be a legitimate emergency, I don’t believe they would help us.
There has got to be reform in the U.S. consulate of Nigeria or children that need homes won’t be getting forever families from the states. When families from Italy adopt from Nigeria, they are given a visa the day the court order is completed and on their way home. There is no reason this should be as complicated a process as it is. Remember, it was weeks into communicating with the Consulate through James Lankford’s office before I even knew how to schedule an appointment at the Consulate. That’s unacceptable. There are families who would love to commit to Nigerian children but literally can’t afford it. Living here is expensive, and then having to decide between staying with your newly adopted child or keeping a job your family depends on is beyond unfair. You can bet I’ll be making some noise when I get home as soon as I find out who to speak with. Ruth and the Wilks kids don’t deserve this delay- the United States can and should do better.
That all being said, please continue to pray for the Wilks family- that their process would be much quicker than indicated- and I will keep you updated on their journey, as well.
And please pray that we receive Ruth’s visa either the same day or the day after so that we are able to fly home next week! That would be such a blessing. And if we are able to fly home on the 17th- that’s no coincidence, seeing as how that’s the date given when we booked our flights back in AUGUST! All I can say is God.
I am grateful to be in the final stages and knowing we’re in the final stages. Looking forward to the HOMECOMING! We will be home for Allen’s birthday! Ruth will get to experience America for the first time, cold for the first time, (HA!) and see much of her extended family and awesome friends at the airport! Praise the Lord! We have much to look forward to!!!!