Monday, February 4, 2013

The Moment She Became Our Daughter

I did not expect the referral process to be quite so tortuous, but it was. Sunshine, rainbows, and a heavenly chorus singing, "Ah-ha" were the ideas I had in my head before the reality came. One minute it was "she could be the one", the next minute, "she just isn't the one". I had gone to bed the night before with a simple prayer of if she was the one, then please let there be an update in the morning. Most mornings I wake up at 6:30 just to make sure that Chase is actually up. My alarm went off, and the first thing I did was check my emails. Sure enough, there were emails from our agency. They had sent us videos. Together, Mark and I watched them. God had answered my prayer, but I still wasn't sure. She wasn't talking and didn't seem very happy. I was fearful. The back and forth torture was not over for me. God had answered many of my prayers, but i was still consumed with fear and doubt. I felt the weight of this big decision, and what if I made the wrong one? God kept giving me signs, but I kept asking for more. Mark may have called me Gideon :-). When Mark left for work, we left it at we would both be praying. If I had been forced to make a decision at that moment, it would have probably been "no". Later in the day, the agency checked in with me to see if we had gotten the videos. I shared with her my concerns, and she was able to let me know that the video was very rushed and the little girl was confused about what was going on. She also told us that one of the caregivers was telling the girl not to cry. Mark and I talked on the phone a few minutes later, and he told me that he had been watching the videos and that he was falling in love with this little girl. That was the very moment she became our daughter. All my fears and doubts disappeared, and we have not looked back since. We both feel that she is 100% our daughter and would not change our minds even if we discovered there were other major medical issues. We both already love her so much and cannot wait to bring her home. It is going to feel like forever.

We officially accepted the referral and submitted what is known as our Letter of Intent (LOI). This letter tells China that we desire to adopt that specific child. Because of the time difference, our official LOI date is January 19th. We then had to wait for Pre-Approval (PA) from China. This is China saying that so far everything looks good with our application, and they will be processing our application. The next step is Out Of Translation (OOT). This happens quickly for some and takes forever for others. Average time for this is about a month. Please pray that the process continues to go smoothly and quickly. We really want to be able to travel in June to bring her home. I know I will survive if we have to wait until July, but I want her home as quickly as possible. Here are some pictures that I took from the videos. I am afraid to post the videos, because I don't know if I am allowed to do so. If you run into me, then I will be very happy to show them to you again and again and again :-). More info about our sweet Emma Grace soon.

- Jenna

Friday, February 1, 2013

Referral - Day 2

We woke up the next morning with the plan of contacting doctors who specialize in international adoption and having them look at the limited information we had. There was one doctor that I really wanted to use for this, so he was my first call. They gave me a website to go to that would give me the instructions to upload the file. The website was down. I called back, and they let me know that the doctor would be out of the office until the next day. I left a message. I checked the website many, many times that day, and it was down every time. I called 3 other places. A well-respected one called back, but their fees were painful. I finally called my regular pediatrician, and he agreed to look it over. I was not feeling any peace at all and was praying for a sign. I went on Facebook (shocking, I know), and there were 2 posts in a row that were significant to me (and too silly for me to publicly admit). I also put a post up on a China adoption Facebook group asking how many of them "knew" that was their child the minute they saw the picture. A mom reached out to me, and we ended up talking on the phone. This was so very helpful to me. One thing she said that helped both Mark and me was that God would bless whatever decision we make if we are making it in faith. We went to bed that night without ever talking to a doctor. We both felt that we would have a hard time moving forward without a more recent update. My prayer that night was that if this was our child, then please let us have an update in the morning.

Someone in my Facebook group had posted this fabric. My fantastic sister-in-law helped me find it. She then picked it up for me on Wednesday and made it into a blanket for me. I know Emma will love it.

- Jenna