Today, the sherrif was able to deliver and have signed by the mayor of N and A's home-town, their first ever birth certificates! This is significant for many reasons, but most importantly it is the last of 2 documents needed to file for the adoption hearing. So, and I hesitate now to give any timelines, the adoption hearing should get scheduled within the next few days. We don't know how long the wait is for a hearing but at least now, the Congolese attorney is able to schedule it.
We have a few other bits of great news! Chuck and I, along with other families, were growing increasingly concerned about the amount of time lapsing between steps. We were beginning to discern that the children might not ever make it home without some significant supernatural intervention (which we believe He has again provided in the past 2 weeks after many prayers) or changes in our agency's oversight of the more relaxed Congolese style of going about business. The good news is that after reaching out to our agency with our concerns, the International Director has stepped in and is personally overseeing our case and the other 2 that we know of in Goma. He is setting firm expectations and is in regular, now almost daily communication with the attorney in the Congo. We have also been getting very regular updates ourselves to what attempts have been made at things, even if they were not successful. This gives us the confidence that they really are watching things with a careful eye and pushing things along now much much more than before.
Also thankfully, Gilbert was able to visit our children a couple weeks ago and took about 50 amazing pictures of them! They look SO much more healthy than they did from their pictures in March now that they are eating 3 meals daily as opposed to 1. They are so happy and laughing in many of the pictures, even playing hide and seek and laughing from behind a giant plant of some sort. One of our questions was whether or not N and A knew each other and understood that they are brother and sister. There are 180 children now in the orphanage and I imagine that relationship could get muddied if not nurtured. They clearly know and love each other! In one picture, A is snuggled up behind her brother's shoulder, seemingly seeking protection. In another, they are holding hands. In another they are sitting head to head. There are many of them playing together. Gilbert said they didn't seem to have been told about the adoption, though we sent a letter many months prior. No one had taken the time to sit down and read it to them I guess. But he was able to begin telling them and he said they were so very happy. He was there again this past Monday and we are waiting on a new report. Gilbert has such a selfless and Christ-like spirit. He was so eager to begin telling them all about our love for them, read them our first letter, and show them our family picture for the first time. Hopefully he was able to do this Monday along with his normal bi-weekly food delivery. He has agreed to deliver to them our package that is filled with clothes, bracelets the kids made them, a couple little toys, and snacks.
We have many hurdles yet to get over but we are recently greatly encouraged. We are still a few months away from having them home but we hope it is 6 months or less and I think now that may actually be possible!