We received the much awaited USCIS approval letter today in the mail. It has really been such a whirl wind of excitment and work trying to get all of our ducks in a row for the domestic adoption that this was put on the back burner for a few weeks.
But staring at the letter that said "approved" to adopt up to 2 children under 2 years old from Ethiopia made me realize just how close we have come to our dreams for this foreign born child of ours.
As I write tonight, we are waiting for the local call from our attorney that tells us our youngest daughters half-sister has been born, and we are nearly ready to take off within a few hours notice. We will have to travel for almost 3 hours to her birth town, and plan to stay in our RV until she is released from the hospital there. I have stocked the shelves with a few meals, can throw together the fridge items, and the kids clothes. I have the diaper bag packed, car seat bought, clothing washed for her to wear and bottles packed with the formula. I think everything is ready - at least it will be once I can remember how to get the bassinet cover back on the frame.
We have chosen her name, discussed who we will use as a pediatrician, and stocked up with diapers, burp clothes and booties. We have a beautiful outfit her grandma made to bring her home from the hospital, and a couple of blankets that will be just for her. We are definately excited about her arrival, pausing each time the phone rings, giving us a moment to hope it may be "the call" that starts the initial process that makes it more real than all the paperwork and dreams have created so far.
So when I got the mail today, I realized I had let my heart embrace this new child who is closer to becoming a part of the family, and allowed the Ethiopian adoption to take a close second seat to the domestic adoption. I wondered if I had let my passion and hearts desire slip away, and was I still hoping and wishing for the child who has not been born yet across the seas?
Due to the immediate need to prepare for the new baby, I had to replace some of my intensity for Ethiopia to accomplish all that had to be done quickly to make her place in our family. So much paperwork, and details had to fall in place quickly in order for this process to work. But seeing the final paperwork that links us to our Ethiopian child, my heart was revived again with hope and desire. It was the missing piece that we desperately need to continue on the long paperchase to bring home our foreign born child. I allowed a moment for it to sink in, and prayed immediately for the child who will be born some time after January 2011 that will one day become our child.
It's been an exciting, stressful, demanding journey. I can not even say that the international versus the domestic adoption process was harder or easier. They have both been intense, scarey, detailed and overwhelming. But we are closer now than ever before with both processes and it feels really awesome tonight.
Another phase is coming to a close, although there are more steps to complete before either adoption is final. But together we have chosen a path to walk, have walked it as faithfully as we were able, and gratefully, tonight, we can both see the light at the end of the long tunnels. One tunnel will bring us to our daughter in Indiana, while the other tunnel, though yet unknown and not yet conceived, will take us to our Ethiopian child/children. God's plan has brought us here. I pray for these children, asking HIS power in their lives and for HIS infinite wisdom in our lives, to complete the paths ahead. What a wonderful blessing to be in the shoes that are leading us to our babies.
I pray for the days ahead to continue on the path, faithful to HIS calling, and comfort to the mothers who will bear our children. Thank you , kind Father, for continuing to lead us.