When did you get matched with your daughter?
After three years of waiting, we finally got THE call. The call all adoptive parents wait anxiously to get. On March 20 (the first day of spring), the assistant director over the India program from our agency (America World), phoned us and said she had a referral she was excited for us to consider. She sent us the little girl's picture, her personal information, and her medical file for us to review.
To say we were excited was an understatement. We'd been praying for quite some time that we'd "know" our daughter when we saw her. There are really no adequate words to describe both the joy we felt and the peace we sensed as we received all the information about this potential match for our family. Our agency representative informed us we had two weeks to either accept or decline the referral. Our hearts wanted to say, "Yes!" at that very moment to seal the deal, but our minds knew the wisdom in taking the weekend to seek God's face about this huge, life-changing decision.
After consulting with our pediatrician concerning her medical issues and praying our guts out, we called our agency one week later and officially accepted the referral to adopt our little girl. We shared the news with our parents, siblings, close friends and finally on Facebook with this image...
|"No one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides You,|
who acts on behalf of those who wait for Him."
Not a whole lot actually. All on account of the fact that we signed a privacy and confidentiality clause in our referral acceptance paperwork. What we can tell you is that she is a cutie! We can also tell you she turned 14 months old yesterday. Yes, she's still a baby! So, we've got to go way back--breaking out the crib, the highchair, the stroller, the diaper bag and whatever else she's/we're going to need. Thank goodness I am going to have some of the best helpers ever in Grace and Gloria. What a blessing they will be to their little sister...and to me!
Because India has (typically) not been releasing younger children to be adopted by non-Indian families, we'd been told and we'd been expecting, to adopt an older child. We'd been approved to adopt a female within the age range of 0-5 according to our last home study. So when I asked the India program director, "How old is she?" and she responded with, "a year old", I was shocked. Later on in the conversation, we found out her actual birthday was March 20, the very same day we got the news. Seriously. Couldn't make it up if I tried. While we missed the opportunity to throw her the big first birthday bash, prayerfully we'll make it up when she turns two!
What have you been doing since you were matched?
In a nutshell, we've been updating our home study since it had expired. We've had to redo so much paperwork. Paperwork we'd completed twice before in the last three years. And those blasted fingerprints. So many complications getting them. But from an email we received last week, everything is finally good to go with that.
We had our last home visit with our caseworker a week ago. Well, the last one until she returns for a post-placement visit three months after we bring our daughter home. We also asked our friend who is a notary to come over and notarize a stack of official documents which came straight from the orphanage and which will return right back to them. And lastly, I had to drive to Atlanta to get that stack of uber-important papers stamped with the federal apostille stamp before we could Fed Ex them on to our agency and then on to India.
What do you have to do next?
We have some immigration stuff to tackle, but for the most part our work here is done. We've done all we need to do and now the orphanage is responsible for initiating and advocating for us as our case moves through the court system in India. So we return to waiting. Waiting for it all to continue to move forward on the other side of the world.
How much longer until you can go get her?
According to our agency, probably another 10 months...though we are praying it will be sooner! Like 5-6 months sooner. The good news is that we do not have to be present for us to pass the court process. It is completed via adoption paperwork submitted by the orphanage on behalf of us. The orphanage will hold a Power of Attorney to represent us to the judge. A court decree is then issued which allows the orphanage to apply for our daughter's passport.
Once her passport is obtained, we can arrange to travel to India to get her! Unfortunately, there is no estimated time frame for the court approval processes, so we really have no clue. But another piece of good news is that according to our agency, our little girl is in a "good" orphanage. Basically, it means it's one in which our agency has worked with in years/situations past and continues to have a good working relationship. Always a good thing.
We'll be there about two weeks to complete the adoption and wait on various paperwork and approvals. We'll have a guide from our agency there to assist us during this part of the process, which is very reassuring.
Derek and I have chosen not to take our girls with us on the trip. As much as they would both like to go to be a part of this journey and to help tell her story, they understand the added difficulty and of course, cost, if they were to travel with us. We are dreading being away from them for two weeks, but we'll do what we have to do. Skyping each other every chance we can will help and of course, praying the time goes by quickly until we can all be together as a new family unit.
We're excited. Our girls are excited. In our heads, we know inevitably there are going to be new challenges, but we also know there will be so many new joys.
Countless are the other personal, intimate details of this story so far, which unfortunately I cannot share in this public forum. If I've had a conversation with you, then you already know how amazing God's hand has been in this. If not, then hopefully I will have the chance to share soon. I've always told the Lord that as long as He keeps writing the story, I'll tell it. His thoughts, His ways are so much higher than ours. And already He has done far more than we could have ever asked or imagined.
How can we pray?
Please pray this part of the process goes by quickly. And in the words of my friend, that "God will move expeditiously on behalf of His children."
Expeditiously. Isn't that an awesome word? So awesome to me that it's recently moved all the way to the tippy-top of my favorites list!
Yes, we've waited a long time. But as anyone should understand, the wait is harder now because we know who we're waiting for.
"Though it linger, wait for it;
it will certainly come and will not delay."