It was about 10:30 am on November 22, 2010 and Matthew and I were just starting to walk downstairs to our homeschool classroom. Despite the fact that I never pick up the phone when we are in school, I had a feeling that morning that I needed to take a phone with me. Something in my gut was tickling me, and I couldn't help but wonder if it was going to be the day, the day I'd longed for, for almost nine years. I ran back upstairs and grabbed the phone before heading back to start school with Matthew. Matthew even questioned my bringing the phone down, knowing that this was a no-no. We started his school work.
Twenty-nine minutes later, at 10:59am, the phone rang. My heart started to slam in my chest. I grabbed the phone and looked at the call display and my heart actually stopped for a few beats before skipping back into rhythm: it was our adoption agency's name listed on the call display!! I started to cry, told Matthew that I thought we were about to get the call, and I pressed 'talk' on the receiver.
Fifteen minutes later, with Geoff on the phone and Matthew by my side, I opened up my email and this is what we saw:
There they were: my beautiful, tiny, five- and three-year-old children. A boy and a girl, with the boy only l7 months younger than Matthew. It was our dream referral, the one we had hoped and prayed and wished for. The outside of our age limit was 63 months, and Seth was 63 months old; Lizzie was 40 months old. We would have three children born within three years and four months. Our new son was five, and yet didn't reach the height of our kitchen table; our new daughter was even tinier, so fragile despite the round and deceptively healthy-looking face. In a matter of minutes, we became a family of five.
I remember clearly thinking on that day that I wondered what our lives would be like a year later, on November 22, 2011. I had no idea what the future would hold.
Fast forward through many events: a trip to Ethiopia; two gut-wrenching court dates with no resolution after the second; an agonizing wait to see if the ever-changing women's ministry in Ethiopia would ever sign its consent to our adoption; the momentous day on March 24 when we legally became a family; an eight-week wait for our kids' visas to be issued; and then finally off to Ethiopia again to take custody of our children on June 10.
And now here we are, almost six months home, and we've survived what is hopefully the most difficult part of our transition. The kids are doing well, and we're surviving and gelling together as a family. The kids fit so beautifully into our family that it could only be providential that they were the ones referred to us. I truly can't imagine life without Seth and Lizzie now, and life seems divided into three parts: after Matthew's birth; after our referral; and our merged lives following our June 10 'gotcha day.'
It's really a surreal thing, to remember back to November 22 of last year and know that we're already so far along, just a year later. We truly have been blessed with three remarkable and precious children.
But as joyous as that day last year was, I have to say this: I'm so glad it's a year later and we're done!!!!!