Monday, May 19, 2014

Our "Referral," Part 2

(for part one, click here)

...our January began with more paperwork.  We began the process of updating our home study.  Heartsent continued to coach us through these steps, and we continued to answer questions about ourselves to the orphanage.  They closed for Chinese New Year, and after that, we learned we would not hear anything official until our updated home study was submitted and translated.

On January 30th, the home study was on its way to Taiwan.  We settled in for a "couple week" wait for the orphanage's decision.  We stared at his pictures and prayed.  Up until this point, the wait hadn't been too bad, but by the time Valentine's Day rolled around, we were pretty antsy.  I e-mailed our case worker on February 18th, and she replied the following day (a Wednesday) that due to a backlog in cases, the orphanage believed we would not hear anything for a couple more weeks.  Sigh.  So, I poured my energy into packing my bags and preparing for a trip to Missouri, to attend an adoption retreat/conference with a dear friend (and sell some trees from our shop).  I flew out Thursday morning, happy for the distraction.

In Missouri, my cell phone had terrible reception.  We arrived to the retreat on Friday, and I was so busy attending sessions, connecting with other mamas, and praying over our own situation that it really didn't bother me.  We had another two week wait, anyway.  Saturday morning, I plugged my dying phone in by the window in our room.  E-mails started coming in, from that spot, so I picked it up and began to scroll.

New e-mail from our case coordinator.  Actually, not so new.  It had arrived over 18 hours prior.

I received the following news from St. Lucy's this morning:
The family they have been formally approved yesterday. The Swr will visit birth mother next mouth.
Sorry for let the family wait.

I read those words and gasped.  My dear friend, who was getting ready by the mirror, looked over and asked "What?"  Smiling and grinning, I managed to get out an "I have to text Nathan first," while she immediately said "You got it?  You got it!"  And then, of course, I started crying.  Noah would be our son!!!

The rest of the day was a bit of a blur.  I managed to get a text out to my husband, and forward him the e-mail will all the files and paperwork attachments.  I celebrated with women who had been praying with us since December.  I cried, smiled, sang, and did my best to speak in coherent sentences.  How could we be so blessed to have another handsome, smart, wonderful little boy joining our family?  On Monday, the paperwork would begin again, but that weekend, I simply enjoyed the moment.

We were having another son!  God was so good to us, blessing us with a precious gift so much better than our hopes, dreams, and expectations.  Introducing Noah.

Our "Referral," Part 1

This is the story of our "match" with our second son.  But like any good story, this one requires a little background...

In 2012, we adopted our first son from Taiwan.  From the moment we held his chubby little fingers, we were wrapped around them.  During our three week stay, we fell in love--with him, his birth country, his birth culture.  So, when the agency director asked if we would be interested in joining the waiting list again, for a second child, our answer was yes, yes, yes!  We filled out the application right then and there, in Taiwan, with our little baby boy sleeping beside us.  We weren't in any rush, but we were excited about the future.

Fast forward a year.  It was a great one.  We laughed, bonded, attached, and enjoyed being a family of three.  Then, we got some sad news.  The agency we adopted our first son from would not be processing adoptions to America for at least another year.  Legal changes brought a new certification process that would not begin until fall 2014.  We received a lot of e-mails from panicked waiting families, who asked if we had any insight into the timeline.  And so, I began researching.  Were other agencies open?  What were their timeframes?  How were the new laws affecting Taiwanese adoptions as a whole?

Long story a smidge shorter, I stumbled across Heartsent's "Waiting Child" photolisting.  As I began clicking around, a sweet little toddler smirk caught my eye.

My husband, who is in a bluegrass band, was out playing a gig.  I read the snippet about this sweet boy and watched an adorable video of him doodling on a dry erase board.  My heart started beating faster and I clicked over to my e-mail account.  I sent Heartsent a message, asking about their timelines/program openings (like I had been doing with the other agencies).  And then, I also inquired about this toddler, nicknamed "Jonathon" by the agency.  I assumed a lot of things, at this point.  It was 10:29pm eastern, so for one, I didn't think I would get a response until the following day.  I assumed we would not be eligible to apply for a waiting child, because we did not have an updated home study.  Above all, I assumed other families had already come forward for him.  

So, you can imagine my shock when I got a reply in exactly 20 minutes, with answers to all my questions and a link to a dropbox account with more pictures, videos, and files.  The moment the e-mail arrived, my husband walked in the door, so we poured over those first details together!

I need to pause for a second and say--my husband and I had never seriously talked about adopting a "waiting child" before.  When we talked about adopting out of birth order, he always replied with a firm "no."  We had not discussed using another agency...we so loved our first adoption experience.  But that night, God was working in our hearts.

This little boy was two, five months older than our first son.  He was born with a cleft palate.  He went straight from the hospital, as a newborn, to a foster family.  There were a lot of negatives in his file.  But, behind all the "possible" diagnosis and "potential" developments, there was a sweet soul shining through.  He was "smart" and loved to "listen to others talking."  He was "active" and "moves around quickly."  We giggled at this line: "The caretaker needs to really pay attention to him for his safety." 

That night, my husband and I laughed, smiled, and talked seriously.  We prayed, we decided to sleep on it.  With the new morning, our hearts had not changed.  We immediately e-mailed Heartsent to tell them that we were interested in moving forward, and would be bringing the file to our pediatrician as soon as we could get an appointment.  We quickly completed paperwork.  We pulled our old home study, which was already translated, and added a write-up about our son.  On December 23rd, 2013, the orphanage, St. Lucy's, had our complete preliminary application.  We were the agency's "pick" as a family, but potentially, other families could apply for this toddler through the other agencies with his file.  If so, the orphanage would choose a family from that pool.  But, at this point, that didn't matter.  We had done all we could, as quickly as we could.  The waiting game began, and we had a Christmas full of hope... be continued