We had our meeting with our Agency on Monday and all went well. We will continue to have meetings on average once per month. We found out that at this point, we must decide if we will put a referral in for one or two children. We thought that we would be able to put in for either and whichever came first, is how it will be. Not so. So, we've been praying. Neither of us are certain. We have our physicals this week, and then we'll send the remainder of our paperwork to our agency. At that point, our homestudy should be complete and sent to our other agency in Oregon. Then, we must sign an official contract with our agency in Oregon and they will send us another packet of paperwork. This paperwork is called the Dossier, and this is what will be sent to Ethiopia. When this arrives in Ethiopia after being approved here in the US, we will begin our wait for our baby or babies. It is on average a 4-6 month wait for your referral to go through. When we get the referral, our agency will call us and let us know the referral has arrived. We will receive pictures and any information they have on the child or children. At this point, the child is not our child. We must go through court to adopt our child(ren). We will travel to Ethiopia to pick up our child(ren) and go to court there. We will also readopt our child here in the US. Many people have asked "Why Ethiopia?" Here's my best attempt to explain: Gabriel, as some of you know, was the little boy in Guatemala, who God clearly led us to. We prayed for him for about 8 months. In July of last year, his parents came to get him. Yes, were disappointed but mostly we were overjoyed. This doesn't happen often that parents actually come back to an orphanage to get their children. During this time of praying for Gabriel, God did some amazing things in our hearts. God showed us His heart for caring for orphans and adoption. It became so clear how both are part of His plan for us as followers of Jesus. While I don't think everyone is called to adopt, I do think that all are called to care for orphans...along with the poor and widows. So, we started praying for a specific country. I, at first, was drawn to China, especially cleft palate babies, which is quite prevalent there. For a healthy child in China, the wait right now is 3 years. Jim was drawn to Haiti, but the process in Haiti is quite difficult, and I really didn't feel drawn there at all. I had Ethiopia in the back of my mind and when Jim mentioned Haiti, I knew he was open to adopting a child who is black, so I asked about Ethiopia. We prayed about it, and it became clear that we would adopt from there. The specifics of that are fairly long, so won't go into that. When I first prayed and Gabriel Jonathan's name came to me, I saw a little curly, haired boy, about the age of 9 months to a year old. When we saw Gabriel of Guatemala, I knew it wasn't the same face I saw during prayer. However, I knew that their skin was the same, so I figured perhaps my connections :-) were off. As I look at the boys and girls of Ethiopia, it could be that this is the little boy I saw. Along with Gabriel's name, there was another name that I received, too. It was Anna/Ana. I've prayed about it for a long time. I thought maybe she was Gabriel's mom, or a a girl in Guatemala. When I asked someone at the orphanage about an Anna, she said there are a lot of Annas there. So, is Ana our daughter? Not sure, but her middle name is Grace.
Well, that's a lot of information, but I think it covers most of the questions we're being asked.