Tuesday, January 7, 2014

One year ago today...

One year ago today...

It was the return to school from Christmas Break.  A long, wonderful, disappointing break.  As any adoptive mama will tell you, hope deferred truly makes the heart sick.  I never imagined we would go into 2013 without seeing our sweet daughter's face.  Having started our process in 2011 (and even before that with agency/program switches and waiting lists....), we were ready to meet our girl.  I am pretty sure I even shed a few tears on New Year's Eve, and J and I prayed that we would remain hopeful and patient.

Well, any teacher who's been in the classroom for more than five minutes seconds knows what an exhausting day the return from break is!  When I got home, I quite literally collapsed on the couch.  I remember flipping on Ellen and zoning out completely.  Hearing my phone buzz, I half-consciously reached for it - and saw this:

**edit - removed for privacy**

I'd love to tell you that I jumped up right away, and danced for joy...but that just isn't how adoption works.  (Typically, when our agency places files on their website, it was for children with significant special needs, or needs other families have not said they would consider.)  My curiosity peaked, though - so I reached for the computer.

And I saw this.

And this.

And this.

I was smitten.  Her eyes got me first.  Then her lips.  There was something about her that just made my heart jump...

We had long prayed that she would be cared for in a loving environment and that we would have a peace about her being a part of our family.  Her profile certainly spoke to the first part of that.  What we had ALSO very carefully, and prayerfully, considered were the list of special needs we were comfortable with and could handle with our insurance, family situation and access to care.  Her need was NOT among what we had considered.  I googled it, for sure.  Read a bit about it, and then closed up the computer.

So I sat on it.  I didn't call Joshua.  I thought, 'maybe God means her for someone else...'  I put the computer aside and moved my attention back to Ellen.  Because seriously.  She's funny.  And I needed to zone out.

But then my phone buzzed again.  I reached for it somewhat reluctantly, if I'm honest.

**edit - removed for privacy**

Ok, Lord.  You now have my attention.  Two completely random friends messaging me within an hour about her file.

I seriously was having heart palpitations as the next 3 minutes flew by.

I called Joshua - the love of my life and the best daddy I know.  This is what our call was like:  "HeybabyIjustwantedtoaskCCAIputanewfileupandherneedisnotonewehadconsideredbutIfeellikeweneedtoatleastlookatherfilethere'snoharminthatright??"  I'm pretty sure he told me to take a deep breath and in his level-headed way, said, "Yeah.  Totally no harm - we haven't seen any files yet, so go ahead and call if you feel we're supposed to."  (Btw...this is why we're married.  Even.  Keeled.)  

I dialed our agency as quick as possible and then promptly forgot every extension to every person I had ever talked to there in the last year and a half.  Which is crazy.  Because I bugged them called them a LOT.  After what felt like an eternity (mind you, we're still in the 3 minutes between messages up there!), the Child Match Director was on the line.  She assured me she would get the file to me and it would take a bit to get it together to email.  I'm pretty sure she gave me a few other tidbits, but I was no longer listening to her.  The thoughts had begun....is she our daughter?

While I waited for J to get home to look at her file, I couldn't stop going back to the website and staring at her.  I read and reread her profile.  I studied the three pictures that were there.  Forget Ellen.  (Sorry, Ellen.  Pretty sure you don't read my blog anyway.)  This baby was TOO sweet.

Caleb leaned over on the couch to me (crap....I forgot he was home! sort of.).  I didn't want him to know about any of this yet - our heartbreak didn't need to be his if it didn't go well.  Too late, though...he had seen her.  And in typical 8 year old fashion (ok, that is a total lie....in MY typical 8 year old's fashion...), he asks, "Oh, mom...is that her?  Is that Ellie?"  I carefully tried to measure my response - "I don't know, buddy...daddy and mommy still have to talk and pray about it, probably talk to a doctor, too.  But what do you think?"  He looked at her picture one more time and breathed, "She's everything I dreamed she would be..."

Swear it.  I died a little inside.  

Fast forward to J getting home from work...I held strong and hadn't opened any of the files our agency had sent!  We went into the bedroom with the computer and stared at each other for a second.  Then we prayed.  Then we stared at each other some more.  (Nuts, aren't we?!)

You see, this isn't the way we thought it was going to play out.  We thought that one day, out of the blue, our agency would call us and say, "We've got a match for you!"  We would wait expectantly by our computer, we would take pictures to document the moment, etc.  Pretty ridiculous.  One of the biggest things we learned and struggled with and grew through was the concept of expectations.  This was like, Exhibit #45.

Let's just say the next few days were a whirlwind - but the best kind.  We officially submitted our Letter of Intent on January 10, and on January 17, we received our Pre-Approval from China!!  We could now announce to the world that we had a DAUGHTER...and we did.

So, one year ago today, we celebrate.

We celebrate family.

We celebrate community.

We celebrate love.

Happy Referral-versary, Eliana Grace!!  

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