I can honestly say I've never been more happy to write a blog post in my whole life.
This one, friends, has been a long time coming.
Long story shorter:
On September 24, I received an e-mail from our social worker saying that our home study was complete and ready for us to review it. This was good news, as you can't accept a referral without a completed home study. I was excited and anxious to see when we would see our daughter's face for the first time. It's an odd thing to see your daughter's face for the first time on the computer screen, or at least the idea certainly seemed odd. Would I feel a connection? Would I have any doubts that this was the child God has for our family? Would I KNOW it was Emily? So many questions.
At this point, I was thinking our referral would take a month or so, which was right on schedule seeing as I had hoped from adoption day one that we would see our daughter's face for the first time by Halloween.
Fast forward thirty minutes.
Yes, I said THIRTY MINUTES.
I got another email.
This one was from an online child waiting child list site.
First, many of you may not know what it means to be labeled a waiting child.
A waiting child is simply a child who has been assigned to an agency and that agency currently has no family waiting for a child of those specifics, whether it's gender, race, sibling set, etc. For example, if a one month old baby becomes available in Ethiopia and that agency has no home study ready families waiting for an Ethiopian infant boy, that child cannot instantly be matched with a waiting family and therefore becomes a waiting child.
Some waiting child are older; others are not.
Some waiting children have disabilities; some don't.
Some waiting children are members of a sibling set; some aren't.
Anyway, the idea of a waiting child has always hurt my heart.
I've been browsing waiting child lists for over a year, and I'm sure many adoptive mamas will confess that they have too. It's not that I was looking for my child, I just think that looking at waiting children has helped me prepare my heart and my mind for our referral one day. Referral pictures are honestly hard for me to look at. They take the idea of an orphan and make it real. They are real children who currently have no families. Little boys and little girls who are just stuck waiting for someone to call them their own. It makes me so sad, and yet I feel called to look at them, to SEE them, to read their little snippets of information and pray for them.
Normally, I don't open the waiting child emails.
They're always so sad, and my heart has had all the sad it can handle most days.
But, on September 24, I did.
And I saw a little girl.
I saw MY little girl.
It didn't even say what country she was in and certainly didn't say her name, but for the first time ever, I felt inclined to ask about a waiting child. So, I contacted the agency listed under her photo, and I waited.
That night I remember showing Lee her picture and asking him if he thought this could be Emily.
He just smiled and shrugged his shoulders, but I could tell...there was something there.
The next day I got a phone call about her.
I listened eagerly to the details.
She was in fact waiting in the DRC, just as I'd suspected.
And as I heard little pieces of her story, the tears just flowed.
And I knew.
This was my daughter, and this was her story.
And my heart just hurt for all my little one has lived through in such a short time.
Adoption is hard and full of loss. It was so tough for me to hear these things about my daughter.
The phone call ended with a promise to let me know more as soon as they knew more.
I wasn't even officially sure we'd qualify for her or that we'd be eligible to adopt her.
Apparently a LOT of families inquired about her, but we were the first home study ready family to inquire about her....home study ready by thirty whole minutes.
Needless to say, three months passed (almost to the day) before we were able to legally accept her referral.
But, we're there now.
We have said YES to our Emily.
And let me just tell you, she's some kinda adorable.
We have several photos and even some video footage of her, and I'm pretty sure I've burned a hole in the screen on my phone from staring at her little face.
I wish I could show her off proudly to you here now, but that will have to wait until she is in my arms.
Just trust me when I say, she's so precious. SO PRECIOUS.
And I am already so crazy about this little girl I haven't met yet,
this little girl whom I can't wait to snuggle and laugh with and read to and tuck in and love like crazy.
She will turn two next month, and that day will be hard for me.
But for now, I am happy.
I finally have some peace in terms of our adoption.
I have seen her face, and she looks like mine.
She feels like mine.
And I already love her like she's mine.