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Saturday, April 30, 2011

ONE YEAR!

One year.
Three hundred and sixty five days.
8,766 hours (thanks, google!)
Five Hundred, twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes
Five Hundred, twenty-five thousand moments so dear
Five Hundred, twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year? (sorry, I couldn't help it... I just love Rent!)

A year ago today, I checked my email and let out a shout for joy.  I saw this:

The long-awaited news that we were finally on the waitlist!  After 4 months of paperwork, we were officially waiting for a little boy from Ethiopia. We were overjoyed!

And if anyone had asked if I thought that we would still be on that wait list one year later, I would have said, "no way."

Yet here we are.  We are still waiting for a referral.  No news yet on who this next child of ours will be.  We could get a call tomorrow. Or in 2 weeks. Or three. Or two months. I don't know.  But when we started this journey, we knew there were no guarantees.  And there is a child in Ethiopia we desperately want to parent. We've officially waited a year for him. We'll wait as long as it takes.

In the past year we have celebrated others' referrals. We've gotten to know families in the area who have adopted from Ethiopia and now call them friends.  We have "blog friends" who are on the wait list along with us.  We've done some major (and minor) fundraising. We've prayed. We've cried. We've cried out to God.  I learned to cook Ethiopian food.  We went to Swaziland and stood on African soil and prayed for our son and for the children of the families we know who are also waiting.  Our "baby in Africa" has woven his way into our lives.

Lord, let my phone ring... we are so ready to move forward!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Where He leads, I will follow...

We have the latest news on our adoption and it doesn't look like I want it to.  As of now, hoping that we'll have our son home by Christmas is out of the question.  It's looking more like a 10 months to a year from now... or really 10 months to a year from when we get our referral, which we are still waiting for.

Our original plan for adopting? Bring the baby home this spring or summer at the latest.

This also means that we will know who our child is for 8-10 months before getting to go to court and have him be officially ours.  Eight to ten months where we could potentially lose that referral.  And ten months to a year of watching him grow up in an orphanage half a world away.

But do we give up now, just because it's going to be harder?

N.  O.

When I stand in church and sing "Where He leads, I will follow," I really mean it.  God placed us firmly on this journey.  He knew when we were filling out applications and making our own timelines that we would not be bringing this child home in 2011.  He knew.  He knows.  And He sent us on this journey anyway.  He knew this would be hard. He knows the heartache I will go through having to watch a child I love grow up for a whole year before getting to bring him home.

Jesus said, "Take up your cross and follow me."  He never said "just be sure to have lots of fun at church pot-lucks."  Following Him isn't always easy.  But the reward is great.  At the end of all of this, I will get to raise a child who would otherwise not have parents.  What an honor!!!  Some days, I still can't believe God chose us to be on this journey.  I'm so humbled to get to serve God through all this.   I pray that I will honor him at every moment, and especially in these bleak ones.

If it were my children who needed to be adopted, what would I wish for?  What if something happened to Rob & me and the only way my children would be raised in a family would be for that family to wait for them for over two years.  Would I hope there would be a family who would do it? Of course I would.  My message to my child's birth mother is this: we love him, we value him, he is worth the wait.

I'm not going to abandon the path God set me on just because it's hard.  And trust me, this is hard.  I've shed tears and know there will be more.  But I've also encountered joy and I know the joy of bringing home our son will be that much greater.

Monday, April 11, 2011

And now... we wait!

We received the formal response on Friday and we are now officially waiting again! We are finally back to where we were almost three & a half months ago! ha ha.  Actually, we're a little further along than that. Our agency continued to prepare referrals during the delay and has some ready to go. There's a good chance our referral is ready and will be coming shortly! Today's the first day I've carried my cell phone around with me all day because there's actually a chance we could get the call! This is the "real" wait!!!

I'm anxious.  I actually got butterflies in my stomach this morning as I grabbed my cell phone before we walked out the door.  This is all new territory for me. I have two kids but they're biological (one planned and one, well, not-so-much).  I know what it's like to think I'm pregnant and have it confirmed by a test (and the subsequent joy/panic that comes thereafter).  I know how it feels to fall in love with a baby as she grows inside of me. I know how it feels to look at a newborn and immediately pick out which family member he most resembles.

I don't know what it is like to meet my child through a picture on the internet a half a world away. I don't know the grief that comes with learning why my child lost his birth parents entangled with the joy of adding a child to our family.  I don't know how it feels to fall in love with him as I watch him grow up in pictures for months while we wait for court dates. I don't know how it feels to finally hold him in my arms and be legally granted parentship and then turn around and leave him for 1-2 months before getting to take him home.

This journey started in December 2009. We have prayed for this child for longer than that.  But the hard part starts now. I am anxiously awaiting our referral. I simply can NOT wait to see his picture. But I'm also very aware that these may be my last blissful days of ignorance. I am about to really learn how it feels to adopt a child internationally; how it feels to have a child who looks different from me, not just because he has different genes but because he is of an entirely different race. I'm getting on another rollercoaster.

And I say: Bring it! I am READY!

PS. I did an poll in the car last night with the kids about our baby. Riley says the referral will come next week and that our baby will have a mohawk. Allyn says she's just going to teach him to dance.