In a recently popular documentary, Rosie, a 5th-grader from a small town in Colorado, describes how she often goes to bed with an empty pit in her stomach. Sometimes the hunger is so bad that she can’t concentrate in school. Her mother works at a diner, making sometimes as little as $120 every two weeks. They survive, partly on the generosity of their church and a local food bank. Still, it’s tight.
The documentary—A Place at the Table—brings to the fore the issue of hunger in America. According to the USDA, 47 million Americans are recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps. The USDA classifies these folks as “food insecure.” Translated: 47 million Americans don’t necessarily know where their next meal is coming from. The film’s solution to this problem? The American people should petition Congress to allocate more taxpayer dollars toward improving the school lunch program.
In 1969, almost 3 million Americans qualified to receive SNAP benefits, costing the US government around $250 million. In 2012, the government spent nearly $80 billion to feed 47 million. But despite all this spending, we find that Americans are perhaps poorer, fatter, and sicker than ever.
First of all, we apologize that it has been all quiet on the Gabriel front for the past month and a half. While we have been silent on the blog, there has been anything but silence in regards to the adoption process. On July 5th–just two days after my last post–we received notice that our case had successfully passed through the Congolese court system!
We celebrated with quesadillas, fish tacos, and adult beverages.
Over the next month, we waited as various other court documents trickled in–documents such as Gabriel’s birth certificate, which we would need in order to submit our petition to USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services). During these weeks, we often grumbled to ourselves–“What’s taking so long?”–but we were often reminded that things work more slowly in the Congo. Sometimes the guy you need to sign a document doesn’t show up for work that day. Or maybe someone’s lawyer had to wait four hours just to meet with someone pertinent to the case. Regardless, it was another month submitted to God’s workshop in patience.
Finally, we had a half-inch worth of documentation to mail to Texas. A $30 Fedex fee later, and . . . we were in line for another wait–this time to receive approval from the government that we can move forward in adopting Gabriel. (Yes, I’ve stopped counting the steps in this waiting game).
But to make the waiting more palatable–or perhaps, more unbearable–we recently received updated photos of our little guy, smiling, wearing different sandals, and holding a sign that read “Bilo Erler.” Bilo: his Congolese name. Erler: the name that makes this whole crazy adoption business finally feel real!
At this point, we’re anticipating another 4-7 month wait, as the US Embassy in Kinshasa initiates a final investigation into our case. Please pray for rapidity in this process.