We were very surprised to receive her referral. The night before I had spoken to our case worker with our agency, and I did not at all anticipate a referral.
I had been told over and over that we'd "just know" when we saw our daughter's face. And between the hand full of files we'd reviewed, I honestly started to question if that was going to happen. I knew we weren't picking our daughter based on a cute face; but over and over I had other adoptive moms tell me that we would just know.
I was clutching my big old Anthropolgie porcelein "J" mug from Abby, sipping my brew and soaking in Jesus through my Bible on my iphone. Trav was wrapped in a dark gray robe, holding his Bible on his phone, too. I realized that I had missed an email from the night before, and ended up on the phone at 6:45 am with someone from the agency.
So, quickly we were on the phone discussing her special need and the fact that there were some things about her file that were outside of our original "child desired" form. And it mattered; but it didn't.
We both just nodded, and mouthed "This is it! This is her file!".
I think that early morning moment will forever be frozen in my mind.
A few hours later, as her pictures scrolled onto my computer screen, we laughed and were grateful for the hours and days we had spent looking at photos of children online from Asia. She was, of course, dressed in masculine clothes, and we weren't surprised. But, as the picture loaded, Justus knew, too. He rushed to the computer, turned his head to the side in a shy smile. "Baby!" He kept smiling and pointing "Sister!", he said.
He wasn't phased by the long scar on her little bare chest marking her as a survivor of open heart surgery.
The morning turned to a flurry of phone calls and rushing her file to via email proper doctors to review. And, by God's amazing grace, we had three cardiologists review her file within hours. Three doctors that I had never spoken to before that day. In fact, one called me from Charlotte after I was given a referral to his office from an online facebook group that new he had a heart for children from Ch**a with this specific heart condition. He was very gracious and kind and eager to help us in any way.
All agreed that her file looked promising. There are always unknowns. Always. Especially in international adoption.
And we know, there might be more surgery.
There might be some scary days for her;
but she is our daughter.
And, now, it's time to bring her home.
We are so grateful for every step of this journey. We are constantly humbled and amazed by the work he is doing in Charleston and with Journey Together, and are excited for the next steps.
Please pray for us as we wait for the last round of paperwork, we are hoping to bring her home early next year, possibly between February - April.We are waiting for LOA, Letter of Approval, and then there a bunch more "A" steps that will get us closer and closer to our approval to travel. We'll keep everyone posted! Please also pray for those taking care of her. Pray even now that God will work to heal her heart in more ways than one.
As for fundraising, we believe we may need about $5,000 more to cover the final costs of our travel, guides, fees, etc. At this time, we have been given a wonderful blessing of having our international flight covered, so we are only looking at our flight from Beijing to Guangzhou, where she is and where we will visit the consulate. We will have several other final agency fees, immigration fees, travel fees, hotel, final document fees, and other miscellaneous fees involving paperwork, Jess' visa will have to be expedited, etc.
At this time, we are still selling Uganda beads and I am trying to figure out if I can carve out any time for bird's nest necklaces; but I'm honestly not sure I can. I think we'll need to get creative after Christmas and do some type of fun event, etc.
We will also be a featured family at the Journey Together Hope Fund Gala, A Night to Give 1 Hope. This event is raising funds for the Hope Fund that will allow local families to apply for adoption grants. But, people will also be able to donate directly to us through JTM's non-profit status then, too. I hope some of you will be able to attend.
We do have limited tickets to this amazing event, and you can get them through our eventbrite link: www.journeytogethercharleston.eventbrite.com
We are also a Hope Family with Journey Together, and that means that we can receive donations through JTM's non-profit status for our adoption. They will write checks directly to our agency, etc. You can see our Hope Family page here!
Thank you for walking this journey with us. For loving our family and our daughter.