So... I have written and deleted many a posts in the past two months. Many more than this one were on very positive notes trying to get out some very big news. Unfortunately, our news has come to a screeching halt and now I am left only to blog about the events that happened as a way of expressing my feelings and moving on.
As I have mentioned before I have felt the need to adopt another child pressing on us since we became a trans-racial family. Before we brought Sweet M* home we talked about what we would do "if" our adopted child had concerns about being the only one adopted and/ or being the only one with brown skin. Well truth is that for M* since the very beginning color and being different has been a big deal. We knew this but were falling short on our promises because M*'s transition had been so incredibly difficult and we honestly did not know how we would make it through another adoption.
As time has passed and more recently as M* has had some big milestones in attachment I have had the idea of a 5th child. Yes, I know I am insane... however when I look at my life the most important thing in it is my children. Sweet M*'s adoption has filled my heart with faith and love and I am living a very fulfilling life. When I think about what makes me happiest is is definitely my husband and my kids. Even when Hubby and I were planning our 10th anniversary trip to the Greek Islands I was having trouble bc 1) I didn't want to leave the kids and 2) bc I would much rather travel and visit orphans and bring supplies. See crazy!
So, now that you know I am nuts let's move on. Around July I became overwhelmed with something. And, I say something bc at first I wasn't sure what I was feeling. I felt like I was missing something in my life and I started doing some soul searching. I looked into opening a non-profit and I looked into supporting ones that already existed. I looked into traveling back to M*'s birth family to see what we could do to help their living conditions. And, then I looked into adopting.
Once I started looking into another adoption I became obsessed with the idea of having another child. It was like the best thing I had ever thought of. A sister for Belle, someone who had a similar story and looked like Sweet M*. I was overjoyed... it felt like the piece I needed was right there in front of me.
But, then fear and panic set in. So, me being the planner I am tried to work up every situation. First I thought of going through the same agency we had with M* bc I knew they understood what we had been through and I thought they would understand if we were concerned about potential behaviors etc... However, I learned that the Ethiopia program had changed a lot. Next up was special needs. Our agency had an adorable little boy who was HIV+ however after requesting his info I felt like if we were to adopt it would really need to be a girl and I did not want to disrupt birth order again (we did with M* and I will post about that another time). Then I met with a friend who adopted her daughter in ET with us. She was tossing around the idea of African American Infant adoption.
It seemed logical that we would go through the African American Infant Adoption Program here in the states. The infant would have an easier adjustment, I knew there was a demand for families yada yada. It seemed like it made sense. So, I researched agencies.
All this research was going on but I had another fear... actually telling other people about the desire to adopt again. I set out to tell my kids first. I would slip it in to conversations just waiting for them to shoot the idea down. After all Belle always likes being spoiled and the kids already had enough people the had to share their toys and attention for mom and dad with. But, to my humble surprise the kids LOVED the idea. Even when I made it very clear we might not take as many vacations, they most likely will not get as many birthday and x-mas presents and the fact that they would have to deal with another child who was going to need a lot of mom and dads attention. They fully understood and would honestly have given up anything to bring another child into the house. I was stunned and so impressed with my babies. They truly made me feel like as insane as my thoughts were... we would be just fine growing our family.
Next up I went to my mom. I thought she would talk some sense into me before I unloaded this insane notion on my husband. But, no... she too was not only supportive but thought it would be great for M*.
Next up was the love of my life. The man who has walked down my crazy path of ideas more than once... and has always loved me through them. This man is made of gold. He is like an angel sent from heaven to watch over me and love me. He is the most amazing husband but I knew this was not going to be something on his agenda. But, I also know that I can tell him anything so... I did.
He reacted the way that I imagined he would. He was shocked. At first he thought I was joking but once he realized I was serious he took it into consideration. His thoughts were that he felt fine about parenting another child and the immediate burden financially. However, the thought of the long term finances another child would bring scared him.
I did not want to push it so even though I was sad life went on and I tried to step away. But, adoption filled my mind. I kept mum about it but the kids were now advocating big time for a new sister. Especially, Belle. She started coloring pictures of her and her sister. She started exhibiting behaviors like sharing to show us she could be a big sister. At one point she even carried a tinker toy sister with her to the playground and talked to it the entire time as if it was her sister. It made it impossible for me to stop thinking about adopting. I mean how do you say no to this face?
Then I received an email from Rainbow Kids an international advocacy network of waiting children. I had put a profile together when we were in the process for M* and some kids had become available that matched my profile. Normally, I delete these emails but this time I opened it and a beautiful little girls picture looked straight at me. Her description was so sweet... she was shy, loved to sing and loved to eat fruit and she was only 3 1/2. I thought how perfect it would be if we could just adopt her (nonchalantly of course since we hadn't even decided if we were adopting again). I walked over to Hubby and said "How about a Ghanian daughter". He looked at her picture and read her description and said "Sure... if it is her... Go for it!" So, I sent an inquiry.
The next morning Belle got on my computer to play games and the little girls picture was still up on the computer. Belle looked at me and said, "Mom... there is my sister."-- WHAT?!?!?
My heart stopped and my jaw dropped. Then she repeated herself. I told her that it was just a picture and moved on. I was sure the agency would not accept us. We didn't even have a current home study. This little girl just danced in my head and then all of the sudden I opened my inbox. There was an email from the agency. I opened it and read the information. The agency requested I send over information. So, I did. I told Mike and talked to all of the kids. I let them know it was very unlikely that our family would be chosen but I like to be upfront and honest with them. Plus, I wanted to see if this was real... would they freak out??
Mike and I were freaked out but the kids were just fine. The agency let us know there were other families interested so I just stayed under the assumption that someone else would be picked. Hubby and I went for a drive on day and the conversation came up. He said that he was still nervous about finances but for this little girl he would move forward. Right as the words came out of his mouth I emailed the agency. I let them know that I felt very strongly that sweet Q was meant to be in our family. I just felt like I had to get that out there to them... maybe it would make an impact. But, the response I got was just that I had done everything they asked and provided all that they needed. At this time there was nothing more I could do. I felt so discouraged. But, I prayed. I had the kids pray and I asked Mike to as well. Our prayer was always that our Father covers Q in his blessings and that she is well taken care of. We prayed that His will was done whether that meant she would join or family or otherwise. I felt great comfort in my prayers.
A few days passed and I got the best email. WE HAD BEEN CHOSEN!!! I didn't know whether I was more scared or excited (in hindsight I was scared). I called the agency and began attacking them with a million questions as I realized I didn't know anything about them. I looked up the safety of traveling to Ghana only to learn that they are one of the friendliest African countries. Looking back I can see that I was trying to get someone to tell me this was wrong... not to move forward. However, everything I asked was answered in a good way. I did reference checks, talked to other agencies within the country and learned more about the process there. Everything actually was coming together nicely. I felt like this was the path we were supposed to be on. I was so excited!!!
The agency even granted us the option to go visit Q immediately which was huge for us. We were caught off guard completely with M*'s adoption and trauma that this time we wanted to be prepared from the get go. So, within 2 weeks we completed our home study and dossier. IN TWO WEEKS! That is record time for sure. We talked to the agency came up with travel dates and booked flights. Everything was going so smoothly it felt like a dream.
Until things came to a sudden halt. About two weeks prior to our departure our case worker called to inform us that a paper we had thought was going to be a piece of cake to get signed did NOT get signed. The agency was not comfortable with us traveling until that was done.
We held on hope assuming it would eventually get signed but that we might be in for a longer wait. We received pictures from traveling families, sent a care package and started preparing our minds for her coming home. The kids started collecting orphanage donations, we came up with a name, bought some items for her and even booked a Disney cruise to take her on since all the other kids had already been.
Fast forward two months and still no signature.
Two weeks ago we were told we may need to consider looking at other referrals and last week we were told they would make one more final attempt... but basically it was I am so so sorry. They also mentioned they had files on two sisters and a two and a half year old little girl. My heart felt like it burst! We had just received our first video since accepting her file. They told her mom and dad were waiting for her...
Cue in utter shock, disappointment, sadness and grief. I am numb.
All along I felt like this was what His plan was. I felt like I was so in touch with our Father and I felt like she was going to be such an amazing blessing to our family. I am getting through the days now solely because I know that His plans are better than mine. I am trying to stay positive but, I am weak. I am struggling to let Him choose the course... I am struggling bc I am a planner... I like to be in charge. I am searching for answers and direction... but I know deep down I just need to be thankful and know that His will will be done and that His plans are much better than mine. This is HARD!