and Elliana is excited about it! She is always excited when we have news about her brother and sissy!
Well, this blog has officially been neglected for long enough! I plan to be back to posting once or twice a week again. Just in time to share some REALLY GOOD NEWS!
Last Friday we received our official referral for N and M! FINALLY!!! Whoo hooo!!!
After so many months of waiting and agonizing over when or even IF this adoption was going to be able to happen, and although we have been walking by faith through these past almost 11 months, the referral was the step we have been waiting for to be able to continue on this journey.
Friday, August 12 was just like any other day. That morning I emailed our agency's director asking if she had heard anything from Ethiopia about our referral. It had now been almost 6 weeks since that day we heard that the kids were approved and we knew that they had gone in for their medical exams already, so we were wondering what was taking so long! This was the 2nd or 3rd time in the past few months that I had emailed her and this agency is not the best at communicating, so I really didn't expect much of a response- especially not the same day.
Imagine my surprise when 30 minutes later I got a response! The email said that they had all of the info on the kids and the last thing that needed to be done was that the social worker needed to have the talk with us about being prepared for adopting older kids and once she signed off then we were good to go. She told us that our file was on her desk and the social worker would call us eventually but if we wanted to move along a little faster then we could go ahead and give her a call.
So of course I sat ever so patiently and waited for the social worker to call.
You know me well enough by now to know that I couldn't do that!
A whole 5 minutes might have passed before I was on the phone dialing and hoping that she would be in the office. I hadn't even called Randy yet. I know- what a great wife I am. Again. But in defense, we have been on this journey for so long already that I knew he would want me to find out the news asap- even if he couldn't be there.
So I talked with the social worker and refreshed her memory that we had indeed already talked many months ago about how incredibly difficult it can be adopting children so much older as well as out of birth order. I assured her that we know about the many things that can happen and that we are not going into this blindly. We do have resources that we can go to for help and we are taking some precautions, but when it comes down to it we have no idea what issues N and M will be dealing with except that they have had a lot of pain and grief in their young lives. The bottom line is that we LOVE them and we are COMMITTED to being their parents and so we will cross each bridge as we come to it.
Is it scary? Yes! Will there be things we are totally unprepared for? Of course!
We know that there is a reason that the VAST MAJORITY of people who adopt don't even consider a child over 4 or 5 years old, let alone teenagers. With the Lord's help, we hope to change the stigma about adopting "older children" and we pray that God will move in the hearts of others who are watching and wondering if God might be calling them to love on children whom everyone else has given up on- whether it is children in foster care in our own city or around the world. Oh there is a lot more I could say on this topic alone, but I'll save that for another post down the road!
Back to the story!
After I talked with this gal, she said that was it and we were good to go and was about ready to hang up. I was like wait a minute- what about the referral? Is someone supposed to call? She said that another gal in the office takes care of that and she thought we had already been called! Uh no. So she asks the other lady if she has time to get it to me and then she tells me that once we get off the phone they would get it ready to send.
So as fast as I got on the phone- I was back off again! :)
It took a few hours, but the email finally came and we got the "official referral" for our kids.
It was actually pretty anti-climactic to be honest.
The pictures were not too special, especially after having so many good ones from our trip in April. I actually looked at them both and started crying. He looks kind of sad and she is smiling, but looks so much more grown up than when we last saw her. If any of you have watched your child grow up through pictures, you know exactly what I mean. I just wanted to reach into the pictures and hug them and love on them. There was not a whole lot of information in the file that we didn't know, but the one thing that we were really hoping for was not there.
We had been told by the director when he thought their birthdays were and so we have been going with that but we were waiting so see the dates made official on the paperwork.
Well, they have M's birthday as a month later than we thought, which is not a huge deal, but they didn't even have a date for N! I know that they have their birth-certificates in Ethiopia because that is one of the things we were waiting on, but somehow they failed to put that information there. So his age is still a bit of a mystery to us, but it doesn't matter that much because we still love them no matter how old they are!
Later this weekend I got an email from the orphanage director with a few pictures of them with their packages we sent about a month ago. It was good to know that they received the few little things we sent and that they have our letters to hold onto and read as they continue to wait. Have I told you how much we miss them? sigh.
We are praising the Lord for this good news of our referral! Even though we are still facing many more months of waiting (the courts just closed for two months on top of everything else- nice.) we are thrilled to be at this point. We had so many months of being unsure if we would ever get to this point, and now that we are here, it's like we can breathe a little sigh of relief. It will happen. Now it's just a matter of waiting on God's timing- again! We are praying and hoping that we would be able to celebrate this Christmas with ALL 6 of our children, but we must trust that God is in control.
Thank you for your prayers for us and for our kids. Join with us in praising God today for His goodness and faithfulness!