First of all....let me just say that God is good. On the hardest and longest and most frustrating days, He is still and always good. Nothing changes that. He does incredible things in His perfect timing - whether we like it, agree with it, or understand it. He is God and He is good.
Our adoption in 2015 didn't start out very well when we found out in January that for the past entire year, we'd been on the wrong waiting list in Colombia. There were many unknowns - how long would it take to fix this? will we be put at the end of the correct list or put where we should be after waiting an entire year? what is our real number on the waiting list? At first, I was discouraged and down right ticked. But slowly, I remembered it's His timing and the waiting list number just doesn't really matter...#1 or #301....my son would be my son when the Lord knew it was the right time to bring us all together. So that was the end of that. However, we never found out what our new waiting list number was, because...
On February 14, 2015 at 8:30 in the morning I got a phone call, and then a text when I missed the call, from our social worker, Beth. She "casually" asked me in the text to give her a call - she just had a quick question for me. But it was Saturday morning and that meant something big. I called her and she said she asked me how open we were to a child with hearing loss. I told her we were open to a child who had minor hearing loss all the way up to complete deafness. That's when she told me she had the file of an almost 2 year old little boy, with profound deafness - did I want to see it? I told her sure - send it to me and when Jacob woke up, we'd talk about it.
The thing was - I was in the middle of packing me and the kids to go to Anna Beth's Upward game, then hit the road to Tennessee for a week because it was Mardi Gras in New Orleans and this is just what we do. And when we do that, we get trapped....I mean iced in....at my parents house bc the Ice Storm of the century always comes through when we're there for Mardi Gras. You're welcome, teachers and school kids of West Tennessee :) And Jacob was still asleep because, as a police officer, he works pretty much non-stop during Mardi Gras. At this point he'd been asleep about an hour and a half. I decided to wait until 10 - letting him sleep until the very last minute before the kids and I had to leave.
I woke up him and when he was just barely conscious, I said "Beth called." He was fully awake at that point! I gave him the quick rundown and showed him little man's picture - and that's when I saw it. The new daddy look. As scared and unsure as my heart was after what we'd experienced not a year before...I knew that God was leading us to this sweet boy. I sent his info, in Spanish, to my friend who lives in Colombia and speaks Spanish and she called to give me a summary of his history and needs. Everything was clear cut and after a lot of prayer, Jacob and I decided to submit a Letter of Intent to his orphanage.
And that's when things got excruciatingly hard on our hearts. But we continued to trust and the Lord continued to show us that this was the boy we were supposed to pursue, to love, and to desire to parent. For the sake of time, here's a quick timeline of the past 8 months:
Feb. 15 - LOI submitted
March 30 - Dossier finally mailed for transfer from ICBF to orphanage
April 14 - Happy birthday, little man!!!
April 23 - Dossier finally arrives at orphanage (because Colombia mail....)
May 7 - Orphanage loves us, but wants us to redo some things in our dossier
May 21 - Orphanage finally tells us what they want us to fix (because Colombia....)
May 21 - June 4 - we mad dash every filling out forms, notarizing, and mailing off for apostille in Tennessee & DC
June 24 - everything's mailed back to social worker in Alabama, who immediately sends it on to Colombia
July 9 - we leave for a much needed weekend trip to see our very good friends, the Woods, in Georgia
July 10 - social worker calls and tells us orphanage received our updates, but now wants us to update our FBI clearances, physicals, and proof of employment letters (also notarizing and having apostilled)
July 15 - get started on all of these updates
July 21 - everything's in the mail, straight to Colombia
July 29 - everything arrives back to the orphanage after going through translations by our in country rep
July 29 - 30 - they meet every Thursday, at some point, so we could hear any time Thursday or Friday on their decision...we hear nothing
August 6 - 7 - we hear nothing
August 13 - 14 - we hear nothing
August 20 - 21 - we hear nothing
August 22 - Jacob leaves for 3 weeks of national guard training; we had decided that if we weren't matched by the time he left, we would have to withdraw our LOI, but when that week came, neither of us felt a peace about that...we decided to wait until he got back and if there was no news at that point, we would withdraw. We had the support of our social workers on this decision, as well.
August 28 - my phone rings at 6 pm...."Beth @ Lifeline" on the caller ID
"Hey, Misti!! This is the best phone call ever because it's official!! They just called us to tell us you're so perfect to be his family and they love you and they officially matched you today!"
You guys....I was standing in my friend, Mary's, front yard while she and her husband were inside fixing dinner for the kids and I and another friend and her family. I couldn't speak. My heart was about to explode. Every time I opened my mouth I just started crying even more. Big, giant, happy tears. All of the frustration...all of the fear of having to walk away...all of the grief and pain we felt every single day - especially Thursday and Friday - for the past 8 months completely vanished. Because he was now our son. Forever.
Thankfully, I was able to get through to Jacob immediately and tell him, but we decided to wait and tell the kids together when he got home...so for TWO WEEKS I had to keep this secret! We told a few close friends and our families, of course, because I surely would have exploded if not :)
So what happens now?
Our immigration paperwork arrives in DC today and that should take about 3 - 4 weeks, then we will travel about 3 - 4 weeks after that....so hopefully we will travel the end of October/early November. Jacob and I will both go for the initial bonding time of 7 - 10 days and then he will return to work. Our kids are in school and we've decided it's best for them to stay in their normal routine since life is going to be kind of upside down for a little bit. I'll stay another 2 - 4 weeks after Jacob leaves finalizing everything. I'll write more on that process later.
Our family continues to learn sign language. Since our son is profoundly deaf, American Sign Language will be his way of communicating. We've been learning several signs through the incredible children's video series, Signing Times, but our kids didn't really know why we were doing it - they thought it was just for fun. And I'll be writing an incredible God-story blog on that in the next few days, too. But now Jacob and I will be doing a 25 DVD ASL curriculum called Learn and Master ASL...I'm 3 lessons in and it's amazing!
We apply for the very last grant that we qualify for and do our very last fundraiser...a Facebook Adoption Auction! I'll be sharing more information on that later, but a quick summary - we're asking for donations from anyone who is crafty, has a business in your town, Etsy store, work from home business, or would like to donate a gift card or item and we will auction them off through Facebook and the highest bidder will win! We still have about $3,500 left to raise or be awarded in grants and we are still trusting God as He has provided everything we need so far.
We finish up all training, apply for visas, book our flights and hotels, and wait for the day when I can hold my son, Silas John Coleman, forever!!
If the timeline works out as quickly as it can, Silas and I should be home by Thanksgiving!!
Please, please, please join us in prayer for Silas - that his heart would be prepared for all of the change that is coming his way in the next several weeks, that everything now will move quickly and smoothly, for our kids as they prepare to be without us for a few weeks and welcome home their little brother, for Jacob's mom who will be coming to stay with our kids while we're gone, and for Jacob and I - as we prepare for the incredible honor and blessing it is to be called mommy and daddy by this sweet, precious little boy.