So if you want the pertinent information- see the post below. If you want all the details of the last week or so of our lives, pour a cup of coffee, put a movie on for the kids, and continue . . . .
Sometime in September a batch of new babies was added to the waiting child list on Holt's website. Among them was an adorable little girl that caught our eye. Her "special needs" seemed to be things that would be manageable for our family, but there was to be one more test run in January. We had a pediatric neurologist friend of ours take a look at her file. He felt like she was doing pretty good, but would rather wait until the test run in January to commit. We sort of thought it over and just put her file away for the time being.
In the mean time we finished up our home study and we were focusing on the "you might get a referral for a boy from our 'standard' program" call. Then there was the no more emigration permits email and the we're not going to be handing out any more referrals this year email. So we resolved that adoption was sort of on hold until the new year.
In early December a case worker from the waiting child program called to see if we were still interested in the little girl because we never had committed one way or another. I let her know that we were, but we were waiting to see what the January tests found- if that was okay. I also asked if anyone else was ready to go to committee for her. She said no that actually there was only one other family still holding her profile and that she was considering opening her profile back up online (when a child is listed only a certain number of families are allowed to request that child's info- when that number is reached the profile is closed). So I left it with her that we were just going to wait until the new year.
Well, waiting was not what God's plan was (the whole be hot or cold and not lukewarm thing keeps coming to mind.)
A few days later the case worker calls back and says, "I never do this, but I have a child I want to ask you about. I usually don't give referrals when a family has a profile out." She proceeds to tell me about a little boy. I ask if can see his information and she emails it along. I start looking at picture of a precious, precious little boy and begin reading the most heartbreaking story I've read yet in all the profiles we've looked at.
So all of a sudden that baby girl that we'd "back burnered for now" gets brought forward. We're looking at two pictures and reading two profiles. How do you decide between two sets of deep brown eyes staring back at you?
The day after we get the referral we get an update on the little girl. An American occupational therapist had been in Seoul and had volunteered to screen some of the waiting children. She had screened the little girl and everything looked great. She was crawling, pulling up, cruising and saying mama and food. She was right on track with where a 10 month old should be. It was so reassuring to know that the whole screening and report had taken place in one language- we knew nothing had been "lost in translation". We ran these new reports past our ped. neurologist and his words were "I'm so encouraged- this is all great news". He also shared some of our concerns with the little boy's history and some of the holes in his story.
This has been the hardest part of the process. Looking at two babies that NEED a family and saying yes to one and no to another. We talked and prayed and truly began feeling led to the little girl. We looked at worse case scenarios and felt we do not possess the skills needed to parent the worst possibilities with the little boy. I pray that his history has no affect on him and that as I type he's being matched with his parents and forever family.
So, after a couple of days, I call the case worker at Holt and let her know we want to go to committee for the little girl. Now we have to face the reality that the other family interested might be selected as her parents if they too want to go to committee. A day goes by and I haven't heard anything so I email our Holt contact and ask if we'll still have to go to committee if the other family declines. She replies back that they have backed out and we do not have to go to committee! She will review the answers to a much briefer questionnaire than the last time we did this and she'll have our social worker review the match. Another day or two later she calls back to say "congratulations on your match, your file will be moving from the waiting child program to the Korea program and they'll be sending you your acceptance package."
Yesterday I received an email with all of the paperwork needed to officially accept our daughter and to get her legal paperwork rolling in Korea. It took literally all day yesterday to get sorted out, translated from government paper-ese to Magglish, and filled out. This morning was spent at Phil's office signing, initialling, signing, initialling, signing, and getting it notarized, copies made for our records, and putting in an envelope and overnighted back to Holt. It's in Richland right now, just in case you're wondering. Yes, I'll be tracking it every step of the way!
So, we are the proud parents of a baby girl. Her name will be Elizabeth Eun Ethridge. Eun (pronounced yoon) is a part of her Korean name and means Grace. Grace is a name that Phil has thrown in the girl name hat for each child- how fun that that was already her name! Elizabeth is my middle name and my mom and her mom's name- she'll be 4th generation- I can't wait to take that picture! We're still working on exactly what we'll call her. Today I've been practicing with Eliza Grace.
When will we get to bring her home? I'm saying this summer. There is not a lot of rhyme or reason to when you get your travel call so I won't know the exact answer until a few days before we board the plane to go get her. The phase that we're in right now goes pretty quickly and we should have most of the paperwork done on both sides in a month or so. Then it's just a matter of when she gets her emigration permit.
I'll be posting her picture in a couple of days when I know that all of our acceptance package has gotten processed. Stay tuned!
Gotta go to bed- we're being fingerprinted (AGAIN) in the morning. These are the biometric ones for immigration and are digital. No waiting 9 weeks!! Night, night!