I was mentally writing a blog post to update for about 3 months but considering our latest news, I'm scratching that lame update! We have exciting news to share! On October 13th we got the call we've been waiting 35 months for. I will document our day, reactions...etc. more for our own records than for others.
Our caseworker called while the kids and I were at Harlyn's homeschool class. This is our original agency that we began this process with in 2013. I was expecting her call because she had left a voicemail the day before that I was slow to call her back and never ended up connecting that day. She seemed upbeat on the message but also emphasized that we really needed to talk (usually our correspondence is via email). We had spent August updating paperwork that was expired in preparation of coming off "hold" from having Lawson. Just before this call we had a little hiccup with a required document that was causing some concern with an expiration that was approaching. We had been in the thick of trying to get this next set of documents out and I had some questions on forms. I figured she was calling regarding something about that form that was holding up the next step. I stepped out of Harlyn's class, dragging Asher with me along with my thick file with forms in question. I'm glad I got to an isolated place because what she said next floored me. I answered and our caseworker said "Laura, we have a referral for you--this is your referral call". I imagined this moment for years now and honestly it didn't play out as beautifully as I thought it would. My first instinct was I felt sick, like really sick to my stomach, shaky, nervous. I was in the middle of a morning of school during my first year homeschooling, my 4 year old playing at my feet, my 8 month old down the hallway. Most likely my kitchen sink at home was full of dirty dishes and we probably left late. You just never know the moment when that call will come! If I thought it'd come when I "had my life together"---that was laughable. We were completely surprised. In August when we had our home study visit with our caseworker I think she tried to hint it could go "very quickly" before we got a referral but couldn't say they were working on one for us until it was official. That hint did tip us off to stop thinking this adoption was way far out time wise though.
Back to the phone call....she asked if I would like the details right then or if I'd like to wait for Troy. Of course, I needed to be with Troy before we'd hear it so we agreed to call her back if Troy could come home for lunch. I don't think my brain could've handled the information at that moment anyway. With the shock and sudden feeling of being unprepared, my mind was whirling. Troy thought I was joking when I told him what the call was about. I reassured him I would NOT joke about that. He was sharing those same feelings of incredulity. So, we had to wait about 3 hours until we were home and together to call our caseworker back. My mind was going crazy thinking about how our life was about to change in one phone call. I had recently been reading in Proverbs and on the drive home, all I could do was repeat Proverbs 3:5-6 over and over "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." Troy and I were pinching ourselves although we felt nervous and anxious we kept saying "This is what we've been praying for!".
Our referral was for a sweet GIRL. It was pretty emotional and heavy hearing what they know of her life story. There are a million questions we have and so little information. We do know she was loved by her birth mother and we will forever pray for her and the sacrifice she made. It really hit me-- the loss side of adoption while hearing about her. For her, for her mother, our gain is their loss. So we learned about her and then were emailed all the documents they had in her file along with a picture! She just turned two last week. That moment of seeing that little face was one we'll never forget. We sat the kids down and told them about her and their reaction was priceless. Harlyn and Asher were so excited to hear it was a girl!
We took the next 4 days to pray about it and confirm this was the child to say yes to. Our agency gives us time to accept a referral but families have the option to decline it.
We were so overjoyed but really spent a lot of time in prayer that weekend. Early on we felt peace about it and can only explain that she was the one we've been praying for since we began this process. The following Monday we accepted the referral. Shortly after we received a few more documents along with a more recent picture of her! I thought I had memorized every detail of the last one and now we had one with a child who looked totally different! Hair grew in a few months, she filled out and was smiling! Also, we found out her second birthday was the following day. We had an estimate of age before but now we had an official birthdate to use!
The next day we overnighted the first step of the paperwork needed to get our court date. Every day counts now that we try to get her home. It will bounce back and forth between the U.S. Immigration and Ethiopian Embassy a few times before that court date will be set. We will have to travel to Ethiopia for a court date and to pick her up. The timeframe is uncertain and different for everyone. The average wait is 5-6 months.
Thank you to all our friends and family for praying for us and asking us about the process so often. It means so much to us to see our circle of friends come around us and support us. Her little face will have to power us through the next months until we meet her! It's so fun to finally have a face in mind when we think of her, pray for her and talk about her.
We have just been overwhelmed with thankfulness to the Lord for His faithfulness through all the ups and downs and for allowing us this privilege.