Last Friday, a week ago today, two families announced on the Ethiopia Adoption Yahoo forum that they had received referrals of siblings. Now, this was a very unusual occurrence - sibling referrals happen very infrequently, and for two to be announced on the same day was astounding news. Amazing news. Neither family had waited as long as we had, but their child requests were broader than ours and so they received their referrals sooner than families on the list ahead of them.
I was very happy for those families - they, like us, had endured the Imagine Adoption fiasco last summer and, like every family dreaming about an international adoption referral, they had been preparing for their referral day for years already.
But I have to confess that my reaction to those referrals was complicated. I was genuinely happy for them and glad, too, that sibling referrals seemed to be 'moving' again after six months of no sibling referrals. But I was frankly miserable for myself. I'm not proud to admit to feeling that way, but it's true. I barely slept Friday night, wondering if, torturing myself about, whether Geoff and I had made the right decision about changing our child request. I was in an agony of indecision and terror, and envious of those families' referrals.
Some time that night, I sent an email to our case worker at Imagine, telling her about the pang in my heart about the day's sibling referrals, knowing that our preference, the dream, was still for siblings; and knowing that we were likely to receive a request for a single child. I asked her if we should try to 'up' our age range again, though knowing that we were restricted by our provincial laws to a range that would only add two or three months to the range we'd already had authorized. I poured my heart out in my email, and pressed the send button before I could re-think my decision to email her.
Surprisingly, and very kindly, our case worker emailed me back on Saturday from home; she said that she could fully understand my mixed emotions and suggested that we talk on Monday afternoon (knowing, of course, that by then we would have our referral). I was happy about that, though I had another sleep-deprived night brewing on the various issues.
On Sunday, while talking to a friend about my previous two nights' struggles, she calmly reminded me that when we'd changed our child request, we had chosen to give God the opportunity to bring the right child or children into the orphanage for us. I was so grateful for that conversation because it brought me back to a place of peace. I remembered, indeed, that we had chosen to let God orchestrate the coming events and knew suddenly that it was going to be ok. It was the first time since changing our request that I'd been panicky about what we'd done, and this conversation really served to prod me into recalling why we made the change in the first place. I went to bed that night fully at peace, thinking about God knowing our hearts and what was best for us. My intention was to tell Melissa the following afternoon that she could simply ignore the email I had written to her in a moment of panic.
Little did I know what was in store for me just hours later...