I am going to skip ahead in our story just a bit. Here is the timeline….
February 14, 2011 – We sign the first round of paperwork. The next months are filled with seemingly unending paperwork. Here is a picture of Scott with most (not all!) of our paperwork.
July 22, 2011 – Our paperwork is complete! Our dossier is translated and sent to the Ethiopian Government. This is our official DTE(Date To Ethiopia). We are put on the waiting list with all of the other families who are DTE. We wait for our turn to be matched with our children.
2012 rolls around and we are still waiting. Honestly, up to this point, we have been waiting fairly patiently. With the unexpected cancer and death of our dear friend Peter, we were focused more on healing and recovery during the summer and fall of 2011. But as the calendar changes, I felt a quickening in my heart. I started to feel that everything was moving faster, that all the pieces were coming together. I had no reason for feeling this way, at this point we were still number 87 on the DTE…86 other families were ahead of us in line! But I felt like we were getting close to our referral!
I had been praying that we would receive our referral and be able to travel to Ethiopia during the summertime. In fact, I felt so strongly that it was coming SOON, that when I took Joel and Hannah in for the dentist appointments at the end of January and they tried to re-schedule us for the next cleaning in 6 months (which would fall at the end of July), my response was, “Oh, I think we are going to be in Ethiopia then! We better schedule it later in the year.”
Of course, my husband looked at me as if I was slightly crazy!
Of course, I AM slightly crazy 🙂
Mid-February comes around and we haven’t moved up that darn DTE list at all! So I started to get impatient. I felt like it was going to be happening soon, and yet, I didn’t wait on the Lord to make that happen. I decided to take matters into my own hands.
There are several Waiting Children Lists online. These are websites dedicated to orphans who need homes. These are orphans who are currently available for adoption, but are hard to place. Many of them have medical problems. Many of them are older. (By the way…did you know that in the adoption world, anything over the age of 3 is considered an “older child”? There are millions of “older children” who need homes!) And many of them are sibling sets of 3 or 4. I decided to look around on these websites and find our children myself!
On Monday, February 20, I saw a picture that made me smile. It was a sibling set of 3 children, waiting for a home. Twin 7-year-old girls and their baby brother. I pulled up their profile and read the few bits of information on the website. I emailed and asked for more information. The adoption agency who had listed these children emailed me back. They gave me more information on these adorable children and asked if we wanted to place their file on hold. When you place a file on hold, it means you have 5 days to look at everything (pictures, medical information, family history) and make a decision as to whether or not you are going to adopt these children.
So on Tuesday, February 21, we placed their file on hold. We sent their medical information in to be reviewed by a doctor. We looked at their pictures. And we started praying!
You see, these children were listed for adoption with a different agency than the one we have been working with. What that means is that you have to re-file most of your paperwork with the new agency. We would re-send in our dossier to this new agency for approval. We would also lose about $5,000 that we had already paid to our current adoption agency. But to me, none of that was insurmountable! If these were our children, then I would do it in a heartbeat!
On Wednesday, February 22, we filled out the paperwork to apply with this new agency. That night before we went to bed, Scott did a little bit of research about this new agency. What he found made him feel unsettled. They didn’t exactly have a perfect track record. Several families who had worked with them had gotten caught up during the court process for months at a time because certain documents were not ready to go when needed. So we prayed! That night before we fell asleep, with the paperwork completed and ready to send in to the new agency the next day, we prayed this….
“God, we are going to walk through this door unless you close it! Please close it if this is not what we are supposed to do!”
Thursday, February 23….I go to teach my Zumba class and I am completely distracted! When I am done teaching, I am going to be heading over to Scott’s office to fax in the new paperwork. I am praying and dancing at the same time! When I walk out of my class and turn on my phone, I had 3 missed calls, 2 texts, and 1 voicemail from my husband. He said to get to his office as quickly as I could. We had an important phone call to take and we both needed to be there for it. Our current adoption agency, the one we had been working with for the last year, was trying to get ahold of us.
I raced over to his office, we closed the door, we emailed our agency that we were both there, and then the phone rang.
Even now, as I type this, I am crying. I can not believe sometimes how amazing and wonderful our God is.
It was Elise, our sweet family coordinator who we had talked to numerous times over the last year, who had answered our questions and calmed our fears and prayed with us over this whole crazy process, and she says….
“I am so excited for you! This is your official referral call.”
WHAT?!?! Our official referral call? The phone call that we had been waiting on for over a year? The phone call that according to our estimations, and the DTE list, and our human calculations we figured would be months away? The phone call that would tell us who our children are and that it is OUR TURN to travel to Ethiopia and become a family. And it comes the VERY DAY that we were going to file paperwork to switch agencies to try to make this adoption thing happen under our own power.
Why do I ever doubt my God?
We could have received our referral call the week before, or the week after, or next year. But He waited until Thursday, February 23 to teach me a lesson.
Wait on me, my child. My timing is perfect. My plan for you is better than any plan you could make for yourself.
Oh and by the way, I love you.
Now go and get these children whom I picked out for your family.
Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. Isaiah 43:5