Last updated on September 22, 2023
There is a time for everything
There was so much to do and so little time. If God had made a day to be twenty-five hours long, I could have filled that extra hour up with something. When a woman gets pregnant, she has nine months to prepare for her new bundle of joy. I only had two months.
Our U.S. international adoption laws were never written for the faint of heart. Not only did I have to meet the U.S. international requirements, I had to meet Nepal’s requirements as well. Each country has its own set of documentation that must be filled out, submitted, and approved.
I had to fill out an application for an I-600 Petition that permits a person to classify an orphan as an immediate relative, allowing the adoptive parents to bring the child into the country. I had to complete a notarized affidavit of support and provide a copy of my marriage certificate and divorce decree. I had to submit employment letters, plus my 1040 since I was self-employed.
My bank had to provide a certified letter stating what my average balance was for the previous twelve months. I had to show proof of citizenship by providing a certified copy of my birth certificate. I had to type up a cover letter stating I wished to complete filing of my I-600 Petition and attach my fingerprints to the document. I had to have a home study performed by a licensed social worker approving me as a prospective parent. The police department did an abuse registry check to make sure that I didn’t have a criminal record. I had to pass a physical and show verification of health insurance. It seems like there was more, but I blocked it out. I don’t want to remember.
With international adoptions, individual countries can open and close adoptions without notice or make changes in requirements. When I initially began the adoption process, I was looking at Guatemala. While gathering my documents, Guatemala closed adoptions and I had to find another adoption agency and country.
After filling out all the required paperwork, I had to make sure my passport was valid so I could travel outside the country. Then I prayed that I would stay sane because I hate filling out documents. International child referrals can take a long time because of the voluminous paperwork, or worse—political upheavals, greed, corruption, baby-selling, and deceitful scams. Sometimes it takes years to jump through all the hoops. For God to accomplish Manisha’s adoption in two months was nothing short of miraculous, but then again, we have a God who is in the business of doing what, humanly speaking, seems impossible.
Even before I left, God was taking care of every detail that would require His intervention for Manisha to be my daughter. I had no idea how close I would come to not getting her.
God had always put extraordinary people in my life to accomplish His sovereign purposes. A couple of days before leaving, as I was packing my six sets of documents, I called the Immigration and Naturalization Service in Miami, Florida, to see if they had received my dossier.
“You must be psychic,” the woman on the other end of the phone said. “Your packet was just placed in front of me.”
“No, I am not psychic. I am a Christian and I think God wants me to adopt this little girl.” She wasn’t sure what to say to that, so she continued to go through a list of things.
“I don’t see your home study,” she said. “They never gave it to me,” I told her. “It was mailed by the adoption agency that did my home study, to the adoption agency in the Midwest that was coordinating the Nepali side of things.”
“You must have that document,” she insisted. “I will overnight a copy of it to you and make sure you take it with you.”
The next day, the home study arrived by Fed Ex, and I made a copy and packed it in my suitcase. Neither adoption agency made sure I had it. A lady from the INS gave it to me overnight by Federal Express.
I could not have adopted Manisha without the home study in my possession.
After dinner and having returned to the Bleu Hotel, I climbed the three flights of stairs to my room and filled out a couple of faxes to let people know I had arrived safely. This was back in the prehistoric days before email. I walked down the stairs again to hand the papers to the receptionist. As I waited for him to finish sending the fax, another Canadian man whom I had not met earlier walked up and gave me one of those looks that makes a woman feel uncomfortable.
I tried to turn away from him, but he persisted, “Why don’t you come up to my room tonight…”
I thought I would be nauseous. The last thing I wanted to do was spend an evening with some guy I didn’t know. I tried to explain to him I was adopting a little girl, but he had no interest in hearing about that.
I quickly finished my business with the attendant and once again climbed up the three flights of stairs making sure he didn’t follow.
Ankit later told me, “You know the wickedness of man. Man is even more wicked here.” I had no reason to doubt him. More than once while in Nepal, I felt the evilness that I associated with Hinduism. It was like a coffin being lowered into the ground, a veil covering the truth, the darkness of a bottomless pit full of people with no hope.