Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.
James has always been one of my favorite books. When I first gave my life to Christ, I had trouble knowing where to "start." A mentor of mine had said to read James. I fell in love with the practicality, the bluntness, and yet the incredible promises and grace strewn throughout the short 5 chapters of this book. I am all about practicality. I was in a bit of a highlighting craze and if you'd look at the book of James in my first study Bible, you'd see the entire book highlighted and underlined with red... Let's just say it's stayed with me.
Alan and I have been on this journey to parenthood for the last 8 months and pretty early on we'd made the decision together that I would have the babies in the states (especially after my stay in the Dominican hospital). We knew that I would receive higher quality medical care for our twins should complications arise and the paperwork to make them American Citizens is automatic if they are born in the states (just need to wait for birth certs and passports) as opposed to the months and months of paperwork, lawyer fees, and trips to Santo Domingo (the Capital) to get the right paperwork approved for our girls to travel to the states with us... There were so many positives to me going to Las Vegas to have the babies... except one...
Alan would not be going.
This broke my heart and for a long time I wouldn't even admit that I was considering going to the states because that would mean somehow I didn't think he was important enough, eventhough he had made peace with the decision. I still struggled on. Finally, we came to the mutual decision that ultimately the health of our little ones that God has entrusted to us must take precedence and there are times where we have to make sacrifices. This certainly felt like one of them. I had no idea how I was going to do it without Alan for the first 2 months of the babies lives.
Our new mantra was "it's only 4 months... then we'll have the rest of our lives to be together as family." We truly believed this, prayed for peace with it, accepted it, and claimed it! In the last months and weeks leading up to me leaving for the states believing that was what helped me stay focused on doing what we had to do for our girls.
Several weeks before I left for the states a friend and lawyer emailed me and asked if we had planned on applying for a visa. We hadn't planned on it. Everyone we knew who had applied (Americans married to Dominicans) had been denied. She said if ever we had a case to win, this would be it. We prayed and thought why not, let's give it a shot, knowing the liklihood that we'd be denied. We gathered all the letters needed, filled out the paperwork, and applied for an appointment. Alan's date was set, but it was after I had booked my ticket to the states... so I had to leave and we said we'd see each other in 4 months.
My first week in the states I was in shock still. I couldn't believe that I was going to be here for 4 months alone without Alan. His appointment was scheduled for March 31 at 9am. I don't think I slept at all the night before. Alan was armed with all of his paperwork and letters along with letters I had had written by Senator Harry Reid, Congressman John Ensign and Congresswoman Shelly Berkley. We felt confident that we'd done all we could. We were surrounded by a ton of people praying for us. Alan's appt. lasted a record breaking 50 minutes, but ultimately he was denied in the end due to a "lack of ties" to the DR. Simply put, they did not believe we had intentions to return to the DR after our babies were born.
We were crushed, but not detroyed. We both cried and mourned and decided that the Lord had answered our prayers, though not how we had wanted, He had heard them and answered. We knew there was reason for this (though we didn't know the exact reason). We knew He would teach us (though we didn't know exactly what He wanted to teach us). We knew that we had to be open and committed to trusting HIS ways and HIS timing and to not doubt it like the waves of the sea tossing and turning about.
We turned our prayer focus towards having super healthy little girls so I could go home with them and they could meet their daddy as soon as possible.
I have to admit it was hard retelling the story to all of our prayer warriors when all I wanted to do was cry and ask God why, but I knew He would, in time, provide the answer. I so desperately wanted to see what God was doing in this situation, and I wanted others to see it too.
That's when the phone call came.
April 12th Alan called me and wanted to know if I had called the US Embassy and asked them to reconsider the case. I was a little stunned by his questioning, but told him "no," and reminded him that we had decided together that we weren't going to do that... there was a long pause and then he said
"because they called me."
He went on to tell me that they'd been attempting to contact him because they wanted to reconsider his case as soon as possible. He had a new scheduled appointment on April 15th at 2pm.
The praying began again. I kept wondering what in the world was God trying to teach us. The scripture from James kept rolling around in my head... Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. We so wanted to persevere through this, we really had no other option. It was as if God was taking us on this crazy ride and all we had to do was buckle up and believe... and we did. We believed without doubt.
Several hours later Alan called me to tell me the news "So??????" I asked him... (long pause)... and then he began... "They said no, I couldn't stay in the Dominican and had to go be with my wife and babies in the states."
I couldn't believe it. His appointment didn't last long. He was interviewed by the same woman who denied him the first time and after asking for the supervisor and speaking with him for a few minutes he was granted a visa. There are so many speculations as to why this happened...
Was it because the letters from the Senators and Congressman hadn't made it in time for his first appointment? Maybe.
Was it because I was in process to become a Dominican Citizen and Alan had the papers with him to prove it (which the Supervisor did take to verify before granting a Visa). Probably.
But I think this might be one of those magical moments that not even a non-believer could explain away. We have a mighty God who works in mysterious ways, and we are eternally grateful for what He has done for us, for our girls, for our family, and for all the people surrounding us who can also witness this beautiful miracle.
A week later Alan recieved his Dominican passport back with a 3 month Visa to the states.
Alan flys April 28th, this Wednesday to be with his girls!
Thanks be to God!