There are many details that I can't include just because it would be a book instead of a post. Also, I have to be somewhat covert with some of the details because the children aren't legally ours yet.... BUT I feel truly blessed to be a part of this journey and I hope you enjoy this amazing story!
Rewind to June when I first saw Sofia and requested her file. The agency who was "representing" her wouldn't accept any payment until I received the official match from Ind*a. I thought this was odd, but since she was the specific child I wanted, and I wasn't just waiting for a referral in general it kind of made sense? D. at agency A was very nice on the phone when I talked to her, but there were many times when I felt frustrated with lack of information. Let's just say I had a subtle uneasy feeling. Then, July 22nd comes and I'm informed that Ind*a has temporarily placed a suspension on accepting NEW dossiers until they can get their backlog up to date. I'm not freaking out because this is a Hague country. Frustrated? Yes. So, I'm supposed to wait until September. Communication between D. and me is spotty and it feels like I'm pulling teeth to get info. Not a great feeling. Again, always pleasant and nice just not forthcoming with information, and that is what I think is bugging me. End of September and Ind*a is still not caught up, so the suspension is pushed back until 12/31/2011. UGH!!! Again, I find this out on my own by pursuing the info.... are you catching the trend?
November 14th I win the grant for Baby Joaquin's adoption!!!! WOO HOO!!! I haven't even had a chance to crack open a bottle of champagne to celebrate because 29 minutes later (literally!) I received an email from D. at agency A stating that she is formally putting the waiting children program from Ind*a on hold, that when they go in January they hope it will be a productive trip, and that she's sorry she wished she had better news for me. Yeah. I felt so sick, as if I were re-living the closure of Nepal-only a million and one times worse. I've been praying for sweet Sofia every day since June 16th, look at her picture every day, have dreams about her, know her story, have been reading every resource available about adopting older children, and so many other things that the thought of NOT having her? I would not let myself think negative because I couldn't go there again. I kept praying that somehow, God would work it out and I started praying like crazy for the trip in January. So far, I have no guarantees that I can adopt her.
I kept this up for about a month. At the same time I had this feeling, kind of like when you keep looking over your shoulder for something, or you think you see something out of the corner of your eye, only I didn't want to come face to face with it. That didn't last very long. I realized that I just needed to face it and so around the second week of December I finally broke down and surrendered it all to the Lord. I told him that if it wasn't His will for her to be my daughter then I knew He must have another family in mind for her and another child in mind for me and that no matter how painful it would be, somehow,
The VERY next day, I get a comment on my blog from someone named Sarah. Little did I know what a Godsend Sarah would become! The following day I get a message from her friend Meredith. After we exchange a bunch of emails and figure out timelines and such, we surmise that we all started our adoptions at almost the exact same time! They are also adopting from Ind*a and from the same area where Sofia is. It also turns out that they are using agency A. Their girls are waiting children too, so I asked for their code names. My jaw hit the floor when I saw their pictures because I had been praying for these two sweet babes since the summer! I can't reveal details but because of their specific needs, they caught my attention which prompted me to pray for them in the first place and then months later when I saw who they were going home to, I couldn't believe it! Well, these two ladies fast became a lifeline for me. Not only did they encourage me, but they also had a backup plan for me. Sarah was calling people, including D. from agency A, and advocating for Sofia and me. I can't even begin to put into words how much those actions of love meant to me. This has been a very difficult journey so to have someone stand up for me and take the bull by the horns was exactly what I needed. Clearly, through Sarah and Meredith I felt like God was answering my prayers and reminded me of the verse:
"Yet those who wait upon the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary." - Isaiah 40:13
They were the wind beneath my wings! I was on fire! I was going to pray and fast and believe that the trip in January would be fruitful! Then, just a few day before Christmas, I got another email from Sarah. She had been talking to H. at agency B. who told her about the database that has been created to list all the special needs children available. That database is going live come January 1st. This means that any licensed agency in any country licensed to adopt from Ind*a could have access to Sofia's file and a family could request to adopt her BECAUSE I HAVEN'T PAID ANY FEES AND AGENCY A STILL HASN'T GOTTEN HER FILE FOR ME!!!!
Freaking. OUT!!!!! I didn't even know this database existed because D. at agency A never told me. Unfortunately for me and the dude next to me, I was in the parking lot of Burlington's when I read Sarah's email. I tried to process and remain calm but like when a little kid falls and there's that span of a few seconds of silence before they start wailing? That was me. What was thinking that I could go in the store??? Turned around and told the dude I was o.k. I think I scared the crap out of him.
First I called Sarah. Good move on my part because she was very calm and reassuring and said all the right things. She had already spoken to H. at agency B and informed me that H was expecting me to call and they thought for sure they could help me and Sofia.
I call H. at agency B. Right from the get go I like this woman. I'm sniffling and my voice is cracking and I'm not completing my sentences because I'm all over the place asking a million different questions, and she very calmly answered every one of them, never interrupted and not once did she make me feel like an idiot. After we get through the pertinent information, H assures me that they can get this done for me. They have an agent who is Ind*an, who understands the culture, and who is there. It will be a long process, but it will get done. Also, they can get Sofia's file earmarked for me before January 1st so that she NEVER gets put into the database system!!! If I could do a backflip, I would do 50 of them!!!!
So now I'm feeling bold and tell H. that the only pictures I have of Sofia are from September of 2010. Does she think there's any way that I will be able to get a new picture of her? She told me that for sure I will get at least one update during the process. THEN, this is where is gets awesome. H. tells me that she too, is adopting from the same area and that her daughter is in the same orphanage as Sofia. Get out!! She asks me how old is Sofia. We realize that her daughter and Sofia are very close in age and that they are probably playmates or in the same area in the orphanage. Then she tells me that a lot of the parents will take pictures of the kids for the other parents who are waiting. So, she asks me to describe Sofia because H. is going to be traveling in a couple of months or so. Well, Sofia has a very distinct scar on her forehead. I start describing this to H. and she says, "Wait a minute, I think your daughter is in the background of my daughter's referral picture." I'm on the phone with H. as she emails me her first referral picture of her daughter. It takes F-O-R-E-V-E-R to download. And when it does finally download, it starts from the top. H.'s daughter is in the forefront of the picture and there's another little girl in the background. Little by little the picture is filling in top down. It starts on the head of the little girl in the background, and as soon as it starts on the forehead, I know it's Sofia. That little peanut. She had only been in the orphanage 4 months when that picture was taken.
What are the chances?
Of all the children who are orphans in that country
That those two little girls would be in the same orphanage
in a very difficult area to adopt from
that someone would snap a referral picture
with another little girl in the background
that two years later
a woman would randomly comment on a blog
and they would discover their mutual adoptive country
that one would advocate for the other
that by advocating for her, she would change the course forever!
that she would be led away from one agency
and led to the caseworker adopting the little girl
who was photographed with her daughter in the background
You know what I think? There are no chances!
And since it's Christmas, I will end with my favorite Christmas song. I love the second verse of this song and Faith Hill just kills it!! His Power and Glory Ever More Proclaim!!!!