As we thought about not posting about the call, we decided that ultimately, we want our journey to bring glory to God... and that by sharing how He has worked could impact hearts and lives... so, here we are posting the pieces we feel comfortable posting.
Warning: this is a long one, but worth the read!
The Weeks Leading up to "The Call"
If we're really honest, we've struggled during this journey! We've trusted God with our entire lives, but that doesn't mean that the waiting will always be easy. However, we KNEW that the Lord told us that our child was in Ethiopia... we knew we'd fall on hard times during the journey, face opposition, even hear doubt from other believers... however, God called us to this and we will not let stumbling blocks get in the way of bringing home the child God called us to care for.
For the 4-6 weeks before we found out about little A, God granted us a peace that was indescribable. This mommas heart knew the call was soon, but did my best to not jump out of my skin each time the phone rang. I jokingly told some friends not to be upset if I sounded disappointed when I heard their voice on the other end of the phone line :)
The Week of "The Call"
On Tuesday, the 15th, another AGCI family emailed us to say that there was a little boy in the same room at Hannah's Hope (our agency's orphanage) that they spent time with while on their first trip and were totally in love with him. She typed the words, "Once we realized that we couldn't bring this little guy home, the Lord laid you and Dan on our hearts, and we're praying that he's your son". I remember exactly where we were sitting when I read that email, turned toward Dan with tears in my eyes, and just cried!
That same night, another AGCI family had messaged me on f.acebook to ask how we were doing... do you see a pattern here? This ENTIRE journey, the Lord has continued to bring people into our lives to encourage us along the way... new friends and not-so-new friends... at EXACTLY the right time!
My response to that message and another the following day (Wednesday) almost wasn't sent... you see, I sat in my comfy home, in my comfy neighborhood, in a town where I don't have to worry much, and for the first time in over a year, I KNEW that my baby was being cared for. I felt the Lord speak to my heart that day... that He was caring for our baby and that we did not need to worry any longer!
Thursday... "The Call" (2/17/11)
As I hurriedly drove into the nearby town to meet my hubby for our volleyball game (go DQ team!) I pulled into the parking lot 1 minute before the game was supposed to start. My phone rings at 5:59pm... and the caller ID says, 'B @ AGCI' - that would be our caseworker... you know, the one who can make the world stop when she calls! :) The thought of referral crossed my mind for a split second, then I quickly distracted myself into thinking that she was most likely calling to tell us that something in our paperwork was about to expire and that we needed to get it updated... such is life in the adoption journey.
That wasn't the case!
B went on to explain a situation in Ethiopia and expressed that they were calling families to see if we were comfortable moving forward without this info. As I walked into the rec center where my hubby had already started the volleyball game I was supposed to be playing in, I listened intently and asked B lots of questions. You see, at this point, she couldn't share that IF we were ok with moving forward, that she had a little boy to tell us about... but my heart knew!
So, I walk (run) over to the court where Dan is already playing.... and with as much calmness as I can muster up (absolutely NONE he tells me later) I motion him over... he looks at me with a look of, 'babe, can't you see I'm playing here!'.... to which I motion ever so NOT nonchalantly for him to come over... I believe I may have mouthed the words, 'I need you NOW!' haha!
At this point, I must pause to remind of you the compartmentalization that comes along with being male. :)
I'm not saying this negatively at all, in fact, I know exactly what is going on in his mind as I do my best to breathe and explain to Dan everything that B just told me. He quickly responds...
"Cool! Well, we're losing now so I'm going to get back in the game! You call B and tell her we'll chat tonight and call her in the morning."
I take a deep breath and explain to my amazing husband that B would like an answer right away... still nothing clicking yet as I see him gazing over at the score of the game :).... and that, while I can't say 100%, I KNOW that she has a child to tell us about and that I think we need to leave so we can pray together, focus, and call her back. We do our best to pray and focus while there are hundreds of people in this gym yelling, playing basketball, you know... the usual things you do during a referral call! At 6:25 I call B back, tell her that we're confident that we're supposed to move forward and that we're trusting in the Lord's timing, whatever that may be. She quickly responds, "Great! I have a child I'd like to tell you about"... she notices that it's VERY loud and I tell her we need 20 minutes to drive home and get to our computer.
We wave goodbye to our team.... they look at us like we have 3 heads.... the guys look at Dan like, 'dude! we're losing!'... and we RUN to our car. We decide that I should drive because I can't contain myself and I'll make Dan insane if he drives.... for those of you that know us, Dan tends to drive like a 'granny'... and I really do say that with as much affection as possible, but it's the truth! And he adds that I drive like a crazy woman... :)
Please tell me about your CRAZY situations you were in the midst of when you got THE CALL!
As we drive, we laugh, we cry, we sweat (yes, we BOTH sweat when we are nervous), we look at the clock, we cry some more, and we keep repeating things like...
"this is not how we imagined the referral call"
"i wonder if it's a boy or girl"
"she said, A child, right... or did she say childREN"
"are we ready for this"
"I can't believe this is happening"
"wow, now we're all sweaty, this is going to make for a GREAT video" :)
We quickly make a checklist of what we need to do when we get in the house before we call B back. Get the computer, get the camera, will the video camera work? is it charged? who knows!
We call B back at 6:53... no answer... what a cruel joke! :) haha (we love you B!)
We call back at 7:01... quite possibly the longest 8 minutes of our lives....
We jump onto our blog to waste some time and notice that our lilypie on the right hand side says that it's been 1 year, 1 month, 1 week, and 1 day since we started the adoption process... WOW! We had no idea!
We call back again at 7:12... still going crazy! :) Pacing, pacing... realized I need to use the restroom, but don't want to be in the bathroom when B calls...
B calls back at 7:22 - she says we're SO patient.. yep, in the bathroom... HA! She didn't realize how many times we called her back.... nor had she seen this:
Now, here's the proof... for all to see.. how impatient we really were! :) Subject line in all caps, really? yikes!
B immediately sends us an email. The camera is set up and ready to go, we are both shaking like crazy, and we open the first document - B proceeds to tell us about a little boy, who is 17 months old, weighs 17 lbs, and who they believe to be a perfect fit for our family!
Over the next 76 minutes... things seem to be a bit of a blur. We looked through somewhere between 30 and 40 pages of information.
A's background info.
A's birth family history.
A's life thus far.
A's medical information.
A's legal documents.
So on, so forth.
B was so patient with us as we went through each page, line by line, word by word - she explained all the details to us.... the good, the bad, the exciting, and the heartbreaking. There were times when we were smiling from ear to ear and rejoicing that God has CHOSEN us to parent this sweet boy... and yet, times when there were tears streaming down our faces as we read A's story and thought about the pain he's experienced. B gave us time to think, to be silent, to laugh, to scream, to cry, and to pray... one of the amazing things about working with an agency that understands how God sets the fatherless in families. Jesus quickly confirmed that THIS was our son, the one He'd chosen for our family.
Let me just pause here... You see, for those of you that know the adoption process, you understand that this is a COMPLETE MIRACLE! Yes, little A has experienced a lot of loss and pain in his life, we're not down playing that at all, we understand that, we grieve for him, and plan to walk the road of healing with him. We also must, in the midst of processing this all, praise God for miracle after miracle that only HE could orchestrate for A to be in our family. Ever single piece of paper we mailed out, we prayed over... asking the Lord for His will in this process, not ours... we knew that HE called us to this and that HE would bring it to completion... as we processed paperwork, went through training, educated ourselves, and prayed daily for our child... only God could have every small piece of paper, date, and timing fall in line the same as the process that A was going through.... when you start to comprehend all that had to occur for him to get to Hannah's Hope on the exact date that he did, all the months of preparation on both ends for the date to line up so that A was ready to be adopted and our family was the next family in line for his needs - well, it's just not comprehendible... it's something that ONLY the CREATOR of the universe could orchestrate!
He often reminded us of these verse throughout the waiting:
"He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
I will be exalted in the earth.”
The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress." - Psalm 46:10-11
the God of Jacob is our fortress." - Psalm 46:10-11
What a peace those verses brought us as we'd wonder why we were waiting so long and where our child was.... and if he was being cared for.
Earlier in the process, we painted these words on A's wall in his room, so that he, too, could be reminded each day that he is a miracle.... formed by God alone.... that God knew his name before the creation of the world... and has a unique, special, amazing plan for little A's life!
and we are SO humbled that God would allow us the chance to parent this sweet, joyful child!
Back to the call :)
Although we can't share all the details on here, we must encourage those of you waiting at any stage of the process... press into Jesus during this time, He will give you the strength to move forward. Also, we'd encourage you to keep track of what is going on in your hearts during this journey. I can tell you that I'm so thankful that we did this! There are several pieces of A's story that line up with exactly what we were feeling... when my heart was being changed while serving in Guatemala, A was born.... when we were grieving, A was hurting.... when the process didn't make sense, A wasn't ready to be adopted yet.... I could go on forever, but we hope that this part of our story brings you a huge sense of peace as you wait! I can tell you, the waiting isn't over for us, but I'd do it a thousand times over... because we KNOW that this is the child God called us to!
At this point in the call, I'm frantically looking through the email again wondering... WHERE IS MY BABY'S PHOTO???
B asks again, as she has so graciously every few minutes, if we had any questions..... I squeak out in the most high pitched voice possible..... CAN WE SEE A PHOTO OF OUR BABY? She smiles and giggles so sweetly.... we all gasp for air as she clicks send on a second email to us...... we wait, click refresh, wait more, AT LAST we see an email with 6 attachments..... we grip each others hands tighter (as if they could get any tighter).... and we see his sweet face! We both burst into tears and shreak out how precious he is!
He's so sweet!
Look at those eyes!
He looks ornery... like his daddy!
Oh, I said 'daddy'... you're a daddy!
Look at those feet... those little toes... and those little fingers!
Look how tiny he is.... oh, I need to hold him! And smooch him! (I'm totally gonna smother the kid in kisses!)
When Dan loses it, I seriously lose it! The. BIG. UGLY. CRY.... you know, the one where you're uncontrollable... but this is a joyful cry, and we're laughing.
Here it is folks - the first look at his face - yes, we're sweaty, yes-we're in Dairy Queen volleyball tshirts, yes-I have no makeup left at this point, what other details should I share with you? :)
well, if you didn't know how scary we could look before... you do now! :) haha... just keepin' it real!
After we gaze into those eyes, B proceeds to tell us all that needs to happen in the next 24 hours and next few days for us to move forward. You honestly could've told us to fill out a mountain of paperwork, climb Mt. Everest, and sell everything we have at this point... and we wouldn't have questioned a thing. All of a sudden all the waiting, the paperwork, the questions, the opposition, and the fundraising faded away... JUST. LIKE. THAT.
Jesus we praise You and thank You for allowing us this opportunity... thank you for breaking our hearts for the fatherless... and for allowing us the opportunity to say that as of February 17th, 2011, there's ONE LESS orphan in this world!
Stay tuned for the moments, days and weeks following the call....
You have all been so faithful in praying with us throughout this journey! Could we ask you to pray for the following:
-That we would pass our court hearing on May 18th
-That the Lord would be at work in A's heart and life - he's gone through so much and his world is about to be turned upside down again.
-That as we create these precious gifts for the special people in A's life, we could clearly communicate, in their language the gratitude we have and that we could clearly communicate the Gospel to them while we are in Ethiopia!