This is part five of a series of posts about our how we got started on the road to adoption and some things that we've done along the way that I didn't have time to write about at the time because I was swimming in a sea of paperwork. You can find the other posts here.
What has the process been like so far?
There have been so many emotions that I have felt at different times throughout this process. Excitement, anxiety, impatience, worry, bewilderment, happiness. Soon after we found out that our application had been approved through our agency, we received a very thick packet of material from them in the mail. It was the paperwork for our home study. I was overwhelmed, and didn't know where to begin. I left it sitting on the kitchen table for a few days until I could collect my thoughts. Once we got started I felt an almost constant need to finish it, but I had to exercise patience. We both had a long questionnaire to fill out, and I couldn't do James' for him. The paperwork felt invasive. We had to disclose a lot of personal information about our finances, marriage, health, and our childhoods.
Once all our paperwork was completed, the waiting game began. While we were preparing our documents, it felt like we were actively dong something to bring our daughter home. Once we were finished, what were we to do? Waiting has not been too bad, but there have been days when I wanted to hear even the most insignificant news from our agency.
There were times when I felt like we'd never get finished with all the paperwork, training, and reading that we had to do. One good thing about working with a faith based agency is that you know the people that you are working with are praying for you and your child. I have found that very encouraging.
Encouragement has come in some unexpected places. In December, we were invited to a banquet for an evangelical organization called For His Glory. To be honest, I did not want to go. It was cold, and am no fan of winter. Christmas was approaching, and we really didn't have much free time. But I was really glad we went. We found out that one of the staff members had adopted a daughter from Africa, and we were able to talk with him after the banquet was over. He was more than happy to answer our questions about interracial adoption, and he told us that God had handpicked our daughter and knew who she was or would be. Even though he knew there were others waiting to speak with him, he took the time to embrace us and pray with us, right there in the middle of a crowded, noisy reception hall.
Another unexpected source of encouragement has been a few of our friends who were adopted. We didn't know that they were adopted until after we announced that we were in the adoption process. It has been good to hear their stories. It has been good to hear adult adoptees say that they've had a good life, good parents, and no regrets. We have also had the joy of meeting another family that lives near us that has two adopted children from Ethiopia.
James and I have become rather frequent customers at one of the Ethiopian restaurants here. The first time we ate there we told the man who works there that we were adopting from Ethiopia. He is Ethiopian, by the way. He was very happy for us, and he gave us his business card. He said to call him if there was anything that he could help us with. I found that rather touching. We went back there a couple of weeks ago for dinner one night, and he saw that there was something wrong with my leg & wanted to know what happened. It is nice to be able to go somewhere in a large city where you are recognized. . .it makes the town feel a little smaller.