As most of you know, we are adopting a baby girl from Ethiopia. She is now 18 months old and growing up quickly without a family. We were matched with this little princess in March 2015, two days after my birthday. It was one of the best birthday gifts ever and I am now praying we have her home by my next birthday. Then I can officially say she is the best birthday gift ever.
We started the process of adoption in February of 2014, a month before our baby girl was born, which is crazy awesome. God put this on my heart while her momma was pregnant with her. God planned for her to be with us. It deeply saddens me that her momma could not take care of her due to so many reasons, but sweetly warms my heart to know she will be placed in my arms to carry on the job her momma began. I will forever and ever be so grateful for her birth mother and will never let baby girl know any different. She will always know where she came from and always know how special her momma was. It’s all so bittersweet but part of our baby girl's life and we owe it to her birth momma to remind our daughter where she came from. How beautiful but how heartbreaking adoption is. The beauty is that God constructed this so to watch it unfold as He has planned is truly, truly amazing.
The year before we were matched was very hard. We spent the summer working on our home study with a wonderful social worker here in Omaha who has, through the many visits and phone calls, became a friend. It was a long process and we felt like we spent many a days throughout the summer working on that and other paperwork. Then waiting begun. Months and months of waiting. You just never knew when THE call would come. You always prayed for the number on the phone to be the case worker’s number but it never was…not until we were least expecting it in March of 2015, when of course the kids were not in school and when we were all in the van together. It seemed like a misfortune at first, but right away I realized how lucky they were to experience the moment with me. While on the phone with our case worker I was trying to paint a picture with my hands what was going on. The kids all realized quickly it was THE call. I cried, which they didn’t “get”, but it was immediately that they started talking about “baby sister”. (((sigh)))
|Right after we spent the morning at this pottery place creating works of art we got the call!|
|This was the plate I made that day...quite appropriate. It's missing baby girl, but I'll add her soon!|
|The boys and I painting pottery on the day we were matched with their sister! (Thank you, Jen, for taking this photo!)|
Right away we had to finish up our dossier. The dossier was a compilation of dozens of notarized government and non-government forms that we had to fill out tediously over several long weeks. Some had to be sent off to certain government bureaus and then back to us, some we had to hand-take to our state’s attorney, some were reference letters, one was a “request to adopt” from us, some were social worker licenses, birth certificates, marriage certificates, finger prints, and the list goes on and on and on. Every single one of them were signed in blue ink the same exact way (I couldn't leave out "Wallace" since my name is legally "Wallace-Camp", etc.), many were notarized, and most were originals. Almost every single one of them had fees tacked on. (Ugh. Another check to write.) You just don’t realize until you actually have to do this process how time-consuming and very taxing it is. When we were done, I believe we had almost 50 documents stapled together and sent off to Washington DC. What craziness, but I have to tell you, I would do it again in a heart beat if it meant I could be a momma to another child needing to be loved. This dossier was finalized end of April.
|Mailing off one of many forms in the process.|
Then we waited and waited some more. The wait, I have to tell you, I compare emotionally and mentally to my pregnancies. None of my pregnancies were easy and I was at “high risk” because of our previous 3 miscarriages and the conclusion was I could not sustain a pregnancy well. So I had dozens of ultrasounds during all three pregnancies, many hormone supplements injections, but it was worth it, of course. Finley’s pregnancy was the scariest as he was a candidate for fetal heart block and we had to have monthly echocardiograms on him, plus I had to give myself daily injections into my belly. This adoption feels SO much like Finley’s pregnancy but 3 times as long. My mind is always somewhere else, and while I don’t feel like I’m thinking about the adoption, my subconscious is and my heart definitely is. And while no one sees or feels my pain, I feel pain all the time. Pain for my baby girl and fear for the days to come. I do know God has us covered, but I’m also human and I get scared. I fear a loss, I fear setbacks, I fear rejection. For baby girl, I fear health issues, I fear her loss and the emotions associated with it, I fear time fleeting in the orphanage and the physical, emotional and mental setbacks it can cause her. While adoption is different, I can assure you, it’s not at all. At least for me, it’s so similar. I am God-fearing Christian woman who is nervous, who is scared, but who knows that the Lord has us under His wing and He will get us through this just like our 3 viable pregnancies.
The next step of the adoption is being entered into the PAIR process, which is where we are now. I know we have begun this as I spoke to an officer from the NBC yesterday! Hallelujah! But here’s a link to the PAIR process as it’s sort of hard to explain. http://www.uscis.gov/adoption/country-information/adoption-information-ethiopia Basically it’s a Pre-Adoption Immigration Review and this approval will be a part of our dossier submitted to Ethiopia. Next will be the courts “giving their opinion” on our case in Ethiopia with MoWA (Ministry of Women’s Affairs), then a finder interview (with either the police of Ethiopia and/or the man our baby girl was left with) and then will be OUR court date in Ethiopia and meeting our daughter face-to-face for the first time.
|Receiving this signed from John Kerry himself was pretty exciting and photo-worthy, of course!|
|"Fed-Ex'ing" became a household term for us! The employees know me by name ;) This was the last form sent off just earlier this week.|
All of this can’t go quick enough. Once you are matched with the little one you have prayed so diligently for, you just want to be with her. You want her to physically be in your arms. You want to be able to touch that hair and kiss those soft little lips. It’s assurance in a pregnancy that you know you baby is with you every step safe in the womb, but with an adoption, safety and being “with you” will never happen until it’s officially made legal. And that can take forever. What I am grateful for is that it will most likely be much, much shorter than a lot of other adoptions internationally. So I can’t complain, but gosh, it’s still hard. Government waits are lengthly and the red tape ridiculous. Why, of why, do we not do background checks, required hours of parenting classes, medical checks, references, 1 year post placement meeting with social workers, etc. when birthing a baby?! That’s been my question all along and still is. I don’t have the answers, but I do feel, after going through all this now, that these two processes are completely backwards, or adoption is spot-on and birthing a baby is way too free and easy? I don’t know. And I’m not about to argue that one, but what I do know is it’s HARD and LONG and EXPENSIVE (no insurance to cover adoption) and is a trying process that has really changed me on many levels. And yes, even through all these challenges and all the ups and downs, I would definitely do it all again. You realize, no matter how your children become your children that it’s all worth it. Every path is worth it. Adoption is one extraordinary thing.