"...There's a perfect world
Shining in your eyes
And if only they could feel it too
The happiness I feel with you
Like dark turning into day
Somehow we'll come through
Now that I've found you
Love will find a way...
I know love will find a way..."
- from "Lion King II"
It was May of 1989 and I was holding the handset to a 1940s era black rotary-dial phone, listening so intently that I felt like I was almost crawling into the receiver ear first. I was hoping, with all my heart, and soul, and mind, that "Love Will Find a Way" for us to bring our daughter home so that we could be a family...and share her with so many people who already loved her 12,000 miles away.
Our infant daughter was about three weeks old and although we'd completed all of the South African adoption paperwork, and the adoption had been finalized, we'd just learned that her travel visa from the U.S. Department of Immigration and Naturalization was far from being "in hand."
I thought we'd done everything right. We'd stood in line at the I.N.S. office in Boston for hours. Filled out paperwork, written our check and filed forms over six weeks in advance of her birth. I'd assumed we would just have to show up that the U.S. Embassy in Johannesburg with her adoption papers and we'd be given all the documents we needed to leave the country as a family.
But our visit to the embassy had been a shocking disappointment. We were told that we should never have expected to receive a visa so quickly. It was taking over a year to receive visas, once applications were filed. And we'd only filed our application 6 weeks earlier. The embassy told us that our application was probably sitting along with hundreds of others on an I.N.S. officer's desk in Boston, waiting to be reviewed and signed off on. We were told that we'd probably have to leave South Africa without our daughter...and return once we had all of her travel documents in hand, since under apartheid-realated laws and policies, Americans couldn't be in the country without a scheduled and confirmed return flight. Our flight was scheduled for later that summer and it was assumed that the likelihood of having her visa before then, was slim.
We returned from the embassy...to the farm where we were staying...in silence. Our daughter was finally...our daughter. Our beautiful, precious, beloved, prayed-for,daughter. Her adoption had been finalized by the government agency responsible, and we were legally her parents. I couldn't imagine being away from her for ten minutes, much less 12,000 miles.
After arriving back at the farm, I took some time to pray...listening for spiritual guidance and direction. I opened one of my favorite books, Unity of Good, by Mary Baker Eddy, to an article I'd turned to over and over again in my life, "Seedtime and Harvest." I'd remembered a statement that gave me hope:
"...neither red tape nor indignity hindered the divine process. Jesus required neither cycles of time nor thought in order to mature fitness for perfection and its possibilities. He said that the kingdom of heaven is here, and is included in Mind; that while ye say, There are yet four months, and then cometh the harvest, I say, Look up, not down, for your fields are already white for the harvest; and gather the harvest by mental, not material processes."
I knew that our motives were Love-based. And I trusted another statement by Eddy:
"nothing but wrong intention can hinder your advancement"
Our intent was to love our daughter, to bring her home where she could meet, and be loved by, her new "family" including grandmothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, and our work colleagues who were waiting to welcome her with warm hearts and open arms. She was already changing me, her mom, into a more selfless human being. She was already blessing the world, her world, with her presence. My world was becoming more perfectly wonderful in the space of her eyes, and her heart, and those tiny, little, beautiful hands so eager to reach out and grasp hold of the lives of those who loved her.
As I sat holding my dog-eared copy of Prose Works (a collection of Eddy's writings other than Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures) it occurred to me that we had a friend in Boston who had offered to help in any way she could. I walked to the phone and placed a call to where she worked. And, lo and behold, the call went through...one more "miracle." Phone service on the farm, and in that rural part of South Africa, was very unreliable. But there I was standing in the hallway, next to the telephone table, talking to our friend on, what could only be described as, vintage equipment.
As we talked, a plan unfolded. Contacts I'd not even considered came to mind. A sequence of steps fell into place with such clarity.
Once we'd discussed a way to proceed and hung up, our friend contacted the lawyer, at our mutual workplace, that I'd worked with in the past to coordinate immigration paperwork for someone we'd hired into my department from another country. The call was made in hopes of getting some guidance on next steps to take, but resulted in getting the name and phone number of the immigration officer who was responsible for approving all immigration visas out of the Boston office. Our friend called his office and when his secretary said that he was out of the office, our friend, intuitively, was led to ask her if she had the time to hear our story.
To make a long story short, within minutes the secretary had located our application in the middle of a large stack of files, put it in front of her boss for his signature, and within hours our daughter's visa was being couriered to the U.S. Embassy in Johannesburg.
Within 24 hours of being told that we might have to wait months and months for our daughter's immigration visa to be processed and her documents sent to South Africa from Boston, the embassy had her visa in hand.
This was just the first of many "opportunities" we'd have to exercise our trust in the Principle, behind the promises, in these statements. When we finally left South Africa later that summer, we brought our infant daughter home wrapped in laws we'd applied, trusted, and seen proven to be true and reliable.
Time after time, neither indignity, or red tape, hindered the divine process.
Whatever ways that a human sense of process seems to be hindering your advancement...a job application/interview/hiring process, an adoption, the unfolding of a wedding, a healing, the finding/contracting/purchase of a house, investigation/application/acceptance at a college, a pregnancy, birth, salvation...you can see it unfold clearly through the lens of divine process. Governed by God, not requiring cycles of time...or thought, unfolding according to divine order, white for the harvest...it's a promise.
my love, and deepest appreciation to each friend who walked this journey with us...
Kate Robertson, CS
[photo credit: Dwight Oyer 1989 - print damaged by exposure]