Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Referral (Take 2)

What?  An actual post with adoption news?  We have adoption news?  Actual GOOD new?  Why yes, yes we do.  :)

We are happy to announce that a few weeks ago we accepted a referral for a 6 month old little boy from Ethiopia.  Of course, I can't post pictures here until we've passed court.  But let me tell you, friends, there are dimples involved.  :)  Just. Wow. Ridiculously cute.

We received our referral the day after my mother's surgery to remove a pituitary tumor.  I was spending the day in the surgical ICU with her when I got the call.  We opened our referral in the ICU waiting room at the hospital.  (We couldn't do it in the actual ICU because kids aren't allowed in there and we wanted Jena to be present when we opened it.)  My brother was in town for my mom's surgery so he was able to record it all for us, which was special.  And my sweet mother, in a lot of pain and discomfort after major surgery, was still able to "ooo" and "aww" at the precious little boy's face when I ran back into the ICU to show her.  :)  It was, like many of our experiences, imperfectly perfect.  And imperfectly perfect is what we do best.

There is a new game afoot in the Ethiopian adoption process.  They call it the PAIR process.  This essentially reverses the order in which documents move through the system.  (USCIS/embassy investigation first, then the Ethiopian courts.)  We are among the first families to attempt the PAIR process.  Therefore, no one really knows exactly what to expect as far as timelines.  Early estimates increased the wait time dramatically.  But recently it's looked a bit more hopeful.  We are submitting our PAIR documents today.  The first big step!  After that will be the birth parent or finder court date.  Then our adoptive parent court date when we will travel to Ethiopia see our little guy and appear in Ethiopian courts.  Last up is a second trip to Ethiopia to visit the US embassy and to bring him home.  So as you can see, we still have a lot of big hurdles.  We are likely still months away from our first trip.  But as always, we're hopeful.  

Some of you may be wondering what happened with the referral we've been waiting on for over a year.  Nothing happened with that referral...and that's the problem.  If you'll recall, we initially received two referrals.  We lost the first one 6 months later, you can read about that here.   The second one, was a matter of getting local court clearance.  This never happened.  Our agency lost confidence that this would be completed any time soon, or even that it would be completed at all.  We've asked them to let us know if this child ever becomes available for adoption with the release of the local clearance.  They've informed us that they don't expect that to happen for a year or years, if at all.  But they have agreed to inform us should that occur.  Through it all, we do have a peace about losing this child.  We continue to pray over him.  For his life, for his future, for his daily care.  We know his life story isn't over.

For now we're taking it one step at a time, praying that our PAIR documents move smoothly and quickly through our government, allowing for a smooth process through the Ethiopian courts. Feeling blessed and grateful as we move forward, we wait with bated breath on the edge of our seats to see what God will do next.  

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Blessings & Curses

December was a month of things gone wrong.  Bad news was being hurtled at us from every direction.  Some of it public, some of it private, there were few that knew the extent of what we were dealing with.  Just after Christmas, a press conference took place in Ethiopia to address a politician's intent to end all international adoptions in Ethiopia.  It was at this point that I looked and Wes and said "OK.  I'm really starting to feel picked on."

In a moment of utter frustration I texted a friend to unload on her my "list".  It was the list of all the things that had gone wrong, all the fires I was working to put out, all the things that had me pulling my hair out going "enough already!".  A few more days went by, and a few more things went wrong.  While mentally adding these events to my growing list it occurred to me that I had been so focused on the little disasters...spending so much time taking inventory of the things gone wrong...that I was paying no attention to the things gone right.

So I turned my mental list into a physical list.  I wrote it all down.  Then I spent some time contemplating each situation, what could have been, and what comes next.  And then next to each item, I scribbled down the blessing.  In each situation, it was there...something to be thankful for.  And to my surprise, there it was...a brand new list!  A list of the ways that I had been blessed.  What a joy and wonder to discover that in this month where I had felt cursed, what I actually had been....was blessed.  When I felt abandoned and forgotten, I was cherished and remembered.  When I had felt lost and alone, I was actually found and held.  The things I had thought had come into my life in recent weeks to break my heart, were actually there to help heal it.  My life like a poorly healed fracture, there were ways that I needed to be broken anew in order to find true healing.

And now in this new year, a time for new beginnings.  Moving ahead.  Praying for meaningful movement in our adoption.  But remembering as we go, the many ways that we have been blessed.  That we are loved, and cherished, and remembered, and held.  That when we focus so deeply on the curses in our lives, we may actually miss the blessing.

I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants.
Deuteronomy 30:19