May 1, 2011. We sat around the kitchen table as a family with our application to adopt from Haiti and each prayed for the journey ahead. Prayed for the child we didn’t yet know. Prayed for guidance. Prayed believing this was what we were called to.
Several years earlier when Mark and I were dating we discussed international adoption for our future family. As a teen I sat in a world geography class and felt the absolute call to someday adopt.
And then in 2011 we felt it was time to begin the process. We were told it was a two year process. We anticipated a quick and smooth adoption journey. Instead we hit every snag and black hole along the way. We were asked by several people “at what point do you give up? Walk away?” ‘When our child comes home‘ was usually our response.
I remember one point where we sat down as a family and Mark and I weary from years of waiting asked the girls if we should continue to wait or was it time to quit. The girls were both quick to respond that we had to continue. God had called us to this and He’d bring us through. So often when I was too weary to pray – the girls would pray or a friend would text to say they were praying for us or send a verse.
Today – 1,933 days after we prayed over that initial application – Mark and I are on a plane to Haiti.
Two and a half weeks ago we received a match or child proposal. All this waiting and waiting and then the call. I remember thinking “already? I’m not ready!!” And I laughed as I thought about when I was overdue with Madi and about to be induced and I had the same reaction. (Fortunately that pregnancy wasn’t five years!)
I suppose I should tell you some details on our muffin who we love so deeply already.
It’s a girl! Three times in my life I’ve heard those three simple words. Each time my heart burst with a mama’s love. This girl is two and a half and her name is Abigaille (or Abby). We have named each of our girls based on the meaning of their name. Madison means gift from God. Eden means delightful. So Mark quickly looked up the meaning of Abigaille. “Father rejoices” or “Giver of joy”. No child was ever more suited for their name.
People like birth stories. Here is our child proposal story. Less guts and blood. But just as much love and tears.
On Monday July 25 we got word that good news was coming. I was just walking out the door with my sister and my kids for a day at the beach. I tried to go on with the day as normal but a million questions ran through my mind! I knew I wanted to tell Mark in person so after the girls had gone to small group that night I asked him to sit down as I had something to tell him. He looked terrified. Poor guy. I told him good news was coming and we both felt complete shock!
We continued to wait. We are good at waiting by now. Wednesday I was leaving to go camping with two girlfriends and our kids. We were meeting at our house at noon. I emailed the adoption agency to ask if they had any word yet as I was going away. She said it was still in translation but should be done the next day. I arranged to leave camping and meet Mark on his lunch break to read over the proposal from her. In the meantime she said she’d email us one photo to tie us over. One photo. After all these years! A face!
I didn’t open the email from her. I was in my car and pulled over on the side of the road so that I could have privacy. I called Mark and told him I was forwarding the photo and we agreed we’d open the email together while on the phone. 1…2…3…
And my email froze.
“It’s a girl!” I heard mark say.
“What does she look like? How old is she?” I pelted him with questions as I struggled to get my email to open. Afterwards I thought back on this moment and the similarities to child birth as Mark would have the first glimpse of our girls and I’d ask them what they looked like and if they’re ok and so forth.
It’s a girl. We didn’t know her age. Her name. Anything. But it’s a girl. And suddenly my heart stretches to fit in one more daughter.
And half an hour later I’m packing the car for camping and again trying to act like nothing is up. While inside I want to scream it out to the world! I remember the first time I went out to the store without Madison after she was born. When I was pregnant people would come up and ask me about my pregnancy. When I was out with my newborn daughter people would stop to gush over her. But when I went out without Madison that first time no one came up to me to talk about her. I wanted to yell “I have a newborn daughter at home and she’s perfect and I want to show you photos!” But I resisted. Likewise I resisted telling the world about my still nameless ageless daughter I loved so incredibly much.
Camping I was distracted and giddy. Sneaking off to text Mark like a teenage girl. Finally Thursday came and with a lame excuse to my friends why I had to slip out for a meeting… I went and met Mark on his lunch break. Again we sat in the car. We prayed together and then opened the much anticipated email.
January 10, 2014.
A name. A birthday. This was real.
Photo after photo we poured over. We read all her history. Her medical records. We devoured every word. I may have cried. Again.
We hugged and laughed and fell deeply in love with our little Abby.
And then we exercised our excellent waiting skills and Mark went back to work and I went back to camping. We agreed to not tell anyone until we told the girls first once we were all back together.
Friday night is always family movie night in our home. We had gotten back in the afternoon and I had put the photos of Abby into a slideshow. Before we turned on that nights movie I said we had another movie to show on my laptop. Imagine their surprise! The girls were so excited! A sister!!
It has been so fun sharing the news with family and friends. I wish we could tell each person individually but it has been a whirlwind. The initial email of good news coming came a week and a half after we moved into a new home. A home I had declared a “house of Hope”. Then there was camping. Then I had a major trade show for 4 days as well as prepping for it and setting up. And we had meetings with our social worker and paperwork and our passports needed renewed and… And….
Here we are.
To answer the number one question “no” she is not coming home with us this trip. The way Haitian adoptions work is that Mark and I go for a mandatory two week bonding trip. Then we return without Abby. And without a large part of our hearts. And we continue to wait for things to be finalized. They say it’s currently around 10months to a year. This is the hard waiting. Adoption at this point had gone from a concept to a person we love and want to bring home. We would be so grateful if you can pray this is quick. No more black holes of endless waiting.
Other questions we frequently get asked…
Does she speak english or creole? We don’t know yet. Tell you in a few hours!
When can we see photos? We have decided not to share images of her sweet little face publicly until she has the last name Jefferson. So keep praying it happens quick so you can see this sweetest little face.
How will you do her hair? Seriously – his is the number one question by women I’ve told. And – I’ll learn. There’s this glorious tool called Youtube as well as friends who are willing to teach me how to handle black hair. I’ll learn. Even if my attempts are lacking in the style department – it won’t take away from this wee one’s cuteness. Don’t you worry.
So today Mark and I go. In a very short time we’ve prepared our hearts, gathered gifts, booked flights, found house sitters and dog sitters and child care and rides to the airport and… It’s happening. God is good and faithful. We both realize that if things had whipped along when we first started Abby wouldn’t have even been born yet. It’s like how we joke Mark crammed a three year degree into five years – so that he could wait to meet me. (Or because he switched to part time studies. One of the two).
Your prayers and consistent encouragement has carried us these last five years and we thank you all.
Now I’m signing off as I go meet our little “giver of joy”.