Monday, October 06, 2014

The Waiting is The Hardest Part - by Linz

This Tom Petty song, The Waiting, popped in my head the other day.

“You take it on faith, you take it to the heart, The waiting is the hardest part”.

I don’t really listen to Tom Petty much (anymore), but your brain does crazy things in the waiting. I can’t be held responsible for absent minded words, actions or emotions since referral day now that have of my brain and half of my heart seem to have made the trip to Ethiopia without me.

This post-referral phase is a mash up of emotions that is hard to process. The deep frustration of waiting has been brought into sharp contrast with the overwhelming joy of seeing our daughter’s face, knowing her name and hearing her voice. We anticipate updates and photos of her like Christmas morning, and then after we see them we realize we will have to wait to hold her, and talk to her and be with her, and I feel like a six- year- old after Christmas day, when the presents have been unwrapped and the family has all gone home.  I know that’s not it, I know it’s about something bigger and better to come, but there is no escaping the let-down.

We have been blessed with many photos of our daughter. As families have traveled they have graciously taken photos and spent time with her on our behalf. Sending emails back with photo attachments and kind words about her spunky personality, sweet smile, and excitement about her family. As we piece all of these things together we feel like we are getting to know our daughter. But we have to pull back and realize that we don’t know our daughter, no matter how much we want to. We can’t assume that the way she behaves around other families in an institutional care setting will be anything like how she functions within our family.

It would be easy to focus on the frustration of the wait, to become overwhelmed with how much we miss the daughter we haven’t yet met. But two things have kept us grounded.  Faith and the support of our family and friends. There is such peace in knowing that God has his hand in all of this and it will happen in time, for his Glory. We have also been upheld by the encouragement of friends and family. Sometimes  it’s just asking how things are going (and bearing with my overly detailed response) J, or the incredible generosity that has been put forth in funding our adoption.  We had a yard sale fundraiser at our church and our congregation rallied big time to support us. We had friends and family helping to organize all week long, and then showing up at 5am to help set up and stay until 5pm to help clean up. We are blessed. We cannot wait for our daughter to get to meet everyone who has already invested in her so much! Thank you!

Monday, June 16, 2014

It finally happened! - by Linz

For the last year I have been imagining what it would look like when our referral call finally came. I have kept my phone close, ringer loud in anticipation of seeing the (703) prefix of our agency phone number popping up. I envisioned myself in the middle of a normal day, looking down and seeing the number and thinking "this is it". I would then pick up the phone and they would conference Brad in and then tell us all about our referral...which I was sure would be for two boys.

This is not at all how our referral call went down. First, my phone that I have held close as if my life depended on it completely failed me! It didn't even process the call until an hour later as a missed call and a voicemail. By then, Brad had received the call. But it wasn't quite the call we thought. It was a call asking if we would be willing to accept a referral for just one child and one that was a year older than what was listed as the maximum age on our current request. So the call I got was from Brad and went more like this:

Brad: So I got a call from Virginia
Me: Who?
Brad: Virginia, 703, our Agency
Me: You don't sound excited enough for it to be a referral call, what's up?
Brad: They want to know if we would be open to a single child who is 7
Me: I think so, what do you think
Brad: (he proceeds to tell me his thoughts on the matter and I have to cut him off)
Me: I'm dropping the boys off at school and they are fighting over who has to get out of the car last, can I call you back?

So, we talked and decided that we were in fact open to one seven year old. But here's the kicker. We knew our family coordinator was preparing all of the referral information in case we said yes, but we had to attend an awards assembly at the boys school that morning. So we had to call our family coordinator back and tell her that we would love to see the referral, but have to go to a school assembly in five minutes. We were finally on the phone call that we had been over a year in the waiting and we had to say, "Can we call you back in about an hour?" WHAT?!  I didn't not want to wait a minute longer to hear about our new kiddo, but real life was happening, what were we supposed to do?

We went to the assembly, where lots of kids got lots of awards. It felt like it took FOREVER! As proud as I was for my boys' accomplishments, I was completely distracted. I was fidgety and couldn't stop wondering if it was seven year old boy or a seven-year-old girl. I tried to weigh my feeling on the fact that it wasn't siblings, but couldn't land on anything concrete. I had so many thoughts and my brain was trying to process all of them at the same time. The only thoughts I could manage to settle down in my brain were ridiculous details. I said things like, I guess I won't need those bunk beds Bridget was keeping for me". And Brad would look at me like I was a crazy person. Because while all of my thoughts were buzzing around fighting for processing space, all of Brads thoughts were overwhelmed and looking for a cozy place to nap! Opposites attract, right?

After every child that ever went through the doors of Washington Elementary received an award for existing, we went home and finally had our official referral call. We prayed first, grabbed our phone and called our coordinator...who was on another call, so we left a voicemail. But then it happened, we saw the (703) pop up on the screen, we answered the phone, turned it to speaker and heard the words "Well, I am looking at a photo of the most adorable seven-year-old GIRL".UM, GIRL? You guys, I wish everyone could have seen Brad's face, I cannot describe it, but I will never forget it. So they gave us details and sent an email with all of the information and some photos.

This is not dramatics, or exaggeration at all...she is the cutest little girl ever in the history of little girls! As soon as we saw her face, this whole big adoption thing became about one little girl.