Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Life-Changing Part TWO!

Moving on to February, we were now 6th on the waiting list.  On February 26th, our agency asked if it would be ok to send our home study to one of their partners that they have been working for months on some orphan investigations.  We, of course, said yes.  By March we were 5th, but still no matches.  None in April, but on April 4th they asked for a picture to send along.  At this point, I'm still clueless Misty, checking off the boxes as they send them.

Then, last week, we had a call scheduled for over a week with our social worker.  Eric and I both were on the call and lets just say it was a doozy.  First of all, she is moving.  Her husband got a new job, they are moving cross country, and it's sad. She's been walking so many of us through this long road.  But more importantly, she laid out for us, again, all the struggles with Ugandan adoption right now.  It is not impossible, but there are many steps to be sure it's ethical.  We don't want to EVER question the background of our child, ever have to second guess if we are involved in the child-trafficking that is going on around the globe.  There are many more details to this, again, just ask, in person.  Not via social media :).

So those were two faithless days.  We were wondering if we should still continue to press on.  I have been wanting to be pregnant one more time (I go back and forth on this a lot, but this is a big step up from 3 years ago when I though I'd never NOT want to have more children!), and though children are good and a gift from God, as my friend did remind me, we don't want to give birth to an Ishmael.  We want to be sure we are following God's will and not trying to help Him along with His plans.  We didn't tell a lot of people, but we did pray a lot.  And the few we did talk to were so faithful in pointing us back to our journey, God's hand that was in it the whole step of the way, our hearts for the orphan and the love God has created in our hearts for Uganda.  And as we stepped back and looked at the past 3 year journey, we were reminded that God was in each step of it.  So that call was Tuesday, let's fast forward (or go really slow apparently) to Thursday.

My new social worker scheduled a call with me.  But she's not new to us, she was our very first social worker that did our application and walked us through all the home study/immigration paperwork the first time.  So we felt comfortable with her and she knows her stuff!  The first 20 minutes of the call was more of the same from Tuesday.  I was able to ask a lot of questions and she was great and patient with me.  Then we started talking about the baby homes and partnerships they have and she said this line:

"As I'm sure you know, we've been working for months on a match for your family and we should get the final pieces of the details on Monday."

I about hit the floor.  Was I the worst adoptive mom ever that I had no clue? I mean, I knew they were working on investigations for months, (which is another reason I love our agency, they take time and resources and pour into these investigations to be sure they are legitimate needs before they ever make a referral, so many do it the other way and there seems to be much more heart ache on the other end), but I was still thinking we have a ways to go.

So I picked myself back up and said I was clueless.  She said that was refreshing because it's rarely a surprise anymore :).  So we kept talking for another 30 minutes about all the different scenarios, because there are many.  I did some calculations in my head as far as timeline, but who knows.  

I got off the phone with her and called Eric immediately.  He came home a little bit later and we were both super excited and a little terrified.  This future we have been praying for is happening now.  We prayed and shared with the kids.  We actually took them out for dinner because that was about the start of my daze/foggy/hazy brain.  You want to know what’s harder than waiting 3 years for a referral?  Knowing that it’s coming in 4 days but not having any information!!!! ;)

So we did a lot of praying, thanking God for taking it out of our hands, and, even this seems silly typing it, but answering us quickly!  Three years may not seem long to most, but for us, Tuesday and Wednesday were hard days, with lots of prayer and seeking.  Our few people we shared with all said one thing: that they would pray for extreme clarity on what our next step would be.  And to hear just 2 days later on Thursday that it was laid out for us, was amazing.  

God has been so faithful our whole journey!  Even this weekend, we had lots of plans Friday and Saturday.  Church Sunday morning was awesome as always, and then Eric had to play trombone with a local group during the afternoon.  I had lots of things I could be doing, but I laid down on the couch and got in a 2 hour nap while the kids played.  That never happens and it was so refreshing.  

So, yesterday was Monday.  I didn’t go to bed well because of that restful nap so we all slept a little late.  Got up, got breakfast going, started reading our bible, then history, then the house phone started ringing! It was only 9:30!  

Heather said she had received all the information and would be sending it to me.  We talked for a bit about some of it and then she said she’d send me the email with the file.  We got off the phone around 9:45.  Then I had to wait the longest hour!!!  I emailed her and said she’s killing me, and turns out they had server issues right as she was trying to send it! 

And then our whole life changed.  We saw his face.  We read his file.  We saw his past.  But for the first time, we had our fourth child.  We’ve been working towards this, but this was the first time it felt like, well I can’t describe it.  I called Eric and we talked through parts of the file, I asked if he had any questions because I did and was calling Heather back.  She and I spent most of the afternoon on the phone back and forth or emailing questions, etc.  We talked through paperwork and fees that needed to be sent.  I prayed a lot.  Our kids rejoiced.  “Are we going to Uganda tomorrow mommy?” I heard often.  It was also my mother-in-law’s birthday so we looked forward to a family dinner to celebrate!  

So he’s here!  :)  Well not here, but he sure feels real and we are proceeding, but of course with caution.  I can’t share photos, so I’m sorry for that, but believe me when he is home, you will get tired of them I’m sure.  There are so many steps to complete, and in our hearts, we know this isn’t the end but only the beginning.  There are lots of things that could go wrong between now and finalization.  There are lots of spiritual attacks we will be under, so we ask for your prayers!  And we know, it doesn’t get easy at finalization, that’s when the pain and healing and attachment starts and will last a lifetime.  

And just a side note if you haven’t been immersed in the adoption world, we won’t be sharing his story.  We may share a few details with close family, but even our kids right now don’t know all of the parts.  This is HIS story and we feel like he has the right to know first.  But what you can know, he is right around 2 years old and healthy.  He is precious and has beautiful dark eyes. He was wearing a Clifford shirt in his first photo at the agency, and looked scared.  He has been at the baby home since last summer, and from doctors reports has been well taken care of.  

Our kids have been so cute.  Talking about baby brother.  I have asked Anna if she is going to be a good big sister and she most remarkably says YES!  I ask her if she is going to be ok with not being the baby anymore; sometimes she says yes, sometimes she says no :), and I think that’s fair.  

I am carrying around his picture in my purse, so if you ask me to see it, even though it’s about 10 months old now, I will whip it out!  But oh praise God for this journey.  For the end He had in mind.  Please be praying for us as we select a name.  One of his given names means blessing, so we will probably keep that as his middle name.  I have been calling him one name for awhile in my head.  Eric likes it, but we’re just not sure.  We want God to give us his name, like He has given us this son!  

Thank you all so much for the prayers, we have felt and needed them! :)  Our hearts are overflowing right now!

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I don't even know where to start.  And that has been my life for the past week.  So I guess I'll start from the beginning, well not 3 years ago, but the beginning of this year.  This post is about our adoption, so if that is not something you are happy about for us, you are welcome to stop reading now.

This year started off great with lots of prayer and hearing from God.  I treasure those moments because they are not an every day thing for me.  And if I really want to go into it, what a blessing to have a God that listens, loves, gives of Himself unconditionally.  That sacrificed his only son, so that we could be lavished with his grace, his mercy.  Not works based (Ephesians 2:4-10), but because of HIS GREAT LOVE FOR US.  Sometimes I think, knowing I'm only pondering in my human brain, and I can't even imagine this great love for us.  I know what it feels like to love my children, and He says he loved us first.  His love is great (Read 1 John chapter 4 to learn about His love).  And because of that great love, He predestined us for adoption as HIS sons and daughters.

Ephesians 1:5 In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will

We were made for a purpose.  Not our will, but His be done.  I didn't mean to speak all that, but the verses kept flooding my brain.  Again, thankful for this past week, and my God proving faithful even when I didn't.

So, back up to January and we are cruising along.  Still.  I mean, as hard as it is to wait, to be 'paper pregnant' for almost 3 years, it has been fairly fluid.  By this, I mean, anytime I would get sad at the process or the waiting, God would step in and remind me of WHY we are doing this.  And that really, it's not about us at all.  He was orchestrating our family and we had to simply be faithful.  Our days are full, so most days, we prayed for our baby brother, and then got into our school/coop/church/serving/play/cooking time and did our best.

In February our agency (that sends out monthly emails, followed by calls by our social worker) sent out an email doozy.  There are lots of issues with international adoption, Ugandan adoption, and making sure each piece of the puzzle is done with ethics and care, most importantly, for the vulnerable child, not the well-meaning adoptive parents.  With that being said, our agency had to send out a hard email, with hard details, and we had to pray through it.  Make sure we (Eric and I) were on the same page still and that God was still directing us down this specific path, because it will be difficult.  It was actually good for us, because we did have to step-back, remember what WE specifically had been called to, and place our faith in what He has said to us.

We haven't shared much of the journey, but in the summer of 2012 (a year after we started our adoption process), we got an email that we were 15th on the waiting list. We kept moving each month and by October of 2012, we were 10th!  And then it started, the waiting.  We didn't move a spot until August 2013, about 10 months later.  Many have asked so many questions on why.  And I never know what all is proper to share in this setting, so I'll give basics.  Our agency, and Ugandan officials, are very cautious when it comes to International Adoption.  It should be seen as the last step.  Our first goal is reunification!  Whether it be with the birth parents if they are alive and able, or biological relatives.  God created these families for a reason.  And that has been the great part of being with our specific, Christian, agency.  They have had to send email after email about no referrals were made, or no matches, but we have helped match X number of children back with their families.  And each time I did a happy dance.  Because that is where those children belong!

Ok, I could share forever, and if you want to know more, just call me, or take me to 'coffee' (I'm the person who likes to go for coffee, but I don't drink it, so I sit and talk and sip on my water) :).   I'm going to post this now and save the rest for later.  Will post later today or tomorrow, promise!

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