Many people have asked us how this adoption all came about. It seems like every time I tell the story, it's different! And I'm not lying to anyone, it is just one of those things that ebbed and flowed and BAM. I suppose the short answer is that we knew we would probably adopt again "someday." We didn't know when or have any real plans to pursue it. About a year ago, we thought we would be moving forward with an adoption from China. A few things fell into place and it seemed like a good decision for our family. And then quite clearly, it wasn't. China would not allow us to proceed at that time (I wasn't 30). We had to stop, reevaluate.
And it just wasn't right.
I was so disappointed. I think anytime a mother's heart gets attached to a child - even the idea of a child - it can be hard to let go. Yet, Mark was confident this was not the right time and I agreed with him. So the issue was tabled for months and months. Truthfully, I expected it to be tabled for years.
Until it wasn't.
The weird thing is, neither Mark or I can seem to remember exactly HOW it all came back up. But all the sudden we both had this urge that we needed to open ourselves up again, see what came our way (so to speak). So that's what we did. A little investigating. Asked a few questions. Sent some emails.
Neither of us felt that we should pursue Ethiopia at this time. I can't explain why exactly. I have such a love for that country, the culture and people. And obviously such a love for my children. Yet we both felt internally compelled to investigate other programs. We looked at a number of other countries. We looked at domestic options. Nothing felt right. I strongly felt like our child was waiting and that we would find him. I know that sound dramatic and a little silly, but it's the truth. There are some in the adoption community that would probably balk at this and equate it to child shopping. Everyone has differing opinions on this point and I see no need to open a debate here. Just sharing how I felt.
Anyhoooooo. I learned about a website that compiled information about a number of waiting children all over the world. And I found him. A small paragraph with a sentence about his personality and medical status. A location listed as "Latin America". Shoot. You see, most of the Latin American programs involve extensive time in-country to complete the adoption process. Extensive as in way more than we were comfortable committing to. So, although we had skimmed over some of these countries, all seemed out of reach for us.
But something compelled me to email the agency about him. She responded within hours. And his sweet face was in my email inbox. Oh goodness. He is waiting. Waiting in Colombia. Dangit. Colombia requires long travel too! Not an option. :(
To make a terribly long story slightly less-long, we got to talking. And before we knew it, we started seriously considering what we could handle. What would be right for our family. This conversation took twists and turns I did not anticipate. At the end, we both felt more open than we had before. We agreed to investigate further. A lot of things had to fall into place for this choice to work out. We were still not entirely sure an adoption at this point made sense. And so we prayed together. A very sincere, emotional prayer. For me, I felt a lot was at stake for our family. This was not an impulsive, emotional decision for me to make. There was much to consider.
Yet, before we knew it, things were falling. Falling into place, left and right. I can't say everything has ended up working out perfectly (no knight in shining armor has offered a grant to cover all expenses or anything!) but so many blessings have continued to assure us that this is right. I wish I could put it into words better than that.
And so, things began moving quickly. We registered with the agency that is placing him, Lutheran Social Services of MN. We scheduled our homestudy update and began gathering documents. When we decide we are "go", we hit the ground running.
Once we felt more sure that things were actually going to move forward, we told the kids. Oh, I so, so wish I had videoed their reaction. All I can say is that my kids are amazing. They are so. stinking. excited. for another brother. Hana actually screamed and nearly started crying - which is extremely out of character for her. Abi and Ally jumped up and down. Grace and Selam just had the biggest smiles. If I had any doubts, their reaction washed them all away.
Maybe we are "crazy." Maybe six kids is a lot. Maybe we have made our lives trickier. But you know what? Our children have blessed us ten fold of what we could have ever even imagined. And we are so lucky to have the opportunity to add yet another blessing. I couldn't be more thankful.