It seems like I always start out saying how overdue this update is. There is no exception with this one! I'll try to keep it as brief as possible because almost 3 months have passed and the news changed weekly, if not daily since March 29th. I originally started an update but as I was coming upon 2 pages of typing I decided I needed to give a bigger picture update and drop some details. (they are amazing though!)
After losing the referral in December the holidays were hard and especially January. Looking back the time was good for us to mourn that and to be ready for what was in store for us. In the end the separation of the two was good for us. It was an exercise in trusting God though!
Yes, we have received another referral (match with a specific child)! The call came on March 29th and was completely a God thing timing-wise. I was literally standing at the capitol when the call came getting the final seals on our updated dossier we had been working on for 7 months! It was a great feeling to be getting that finalized and an even greater feeling getting that call! Other amazing circumstances happened that led me to bringing our documents to the capitol that day rather than a week earlier that ended up being a blessing for us time/money/effort-wise to do with updating a form. That day we heard some details about a precious 4 month old baby girl they had for us! We have been falling in love with her ever since that moment! We were a bit surprised that it was a girl and so young! Our caseworker sent us her file to review and decide if we would accept the referral. The kids and I zoomed from Lansing to Troy's office where we saw her picture for the first time. Let me say, she is beautiful! We cannot share any photos via the internet until our adoption is finalized but I usually have some on me! She was born in November and is exactly 9 months younger than Lawson. That fact gave us the chills when we saw her birthdate.
As far as details of her life go, we are carefully guarding that for her someday. As she grows and she knows it we can gauge what is appropriate for her and others to know but we feel she should be the first to know. So sorry if you ask, we won't give out many details right now. We are so thrilled we get the opportunity to adopt her.
We did take a few days to pray about this child and obviously accepted it. Good thing we got that dossier done because it was time for more paperwork! We sent that off quickly before a spring trip our family took and we were riding high on the news. That week of paper chasing had answers to prayer --we would be told some document had to be translated and we might not receive it for a couple weeks and then it would show up in our inbox the very next day. Other things fell into place in a timely manner and it turns out we didn't delay a day if we didn't have to. While on vacation we received the news that on April 21st Ethiopia suspended all inter-country adoptions indefinitely. It was a wet blanket to say the least. Not much information was given as to why and how long it could last but it was concerning. Our agencies were taking it very seriously. The month of May passed with a lot of news but not really any change in the status. One thing we saw over and over is how much our U.S. Embassy and government officials were doing to advocate for us. We were so appreciative and humbled to think that they would fight so hard for maybe 200ish families.(those already matched with kids) There were emails we received from the embassy multiple times a week and also the State Department as well as many conference calls. We did a lot of praying and asking God for a miracle! How sad to think of the orphans caught up in this along with families who are just itching to take their kids home! The U.S. government was primarily advocating for "priority families" which are any that had already been matched with a child (referral) before April 21st. So that's us! I'm not sure we'll ever have firm answers explaining the suspension but it appears as of the last 2 weeks of June, it has been lifted? It can be frustrating being at the mercy of another government but we need to respect their processes. We are just relieved that we are seeing good movement there currently! This international adoption stuff is crazy! Or at least in Ethiopia...you never know what you're going to get! We are thankful God has been with us through it all, never changes, and always keeps His promises!
Our case has even had some movement and we have already had our first court date scheduled for July 26. This court date is not for us-we attend the second court. Right now we wait for those along with a Federal approval that can be terribly slow to get. We still have a quite a few steps to do to bring her home but we are praying it is in God's perfect timing. We are boldly asking God to bring her home this fall. You may join us in that! :) I really want to celebrate her first birthday WITH her.
I'll save our happiest news this month in another post-coming soon!