Last week we received an email from our Gladney caseworker that started with:
Hello, Jay and Tricia!
Congratulations! You have officially been placed on waitlist to receive a referral as of 11/16/2010!
Time for a little happy dancing….
So what does “being on the waitlist mean”?
Waitlisted means that all our paperwork for the application, homestudy, and dossier part of the adoption process is complete. We are on the list now in Ethiopia, and in line to eventually receive information about the little one that Gladney has for us. For the next several months, we will be waiting. Waiting, praying, learning all we can until our agency Gladney matches us with the child they feel best fits, based on her needs and what they know of our family. Jay and I will complete a good bit of required education and training as part of our preparation before we receive our referral.
Are you asking for a girl or a boy? How old?
Many friends have asked if we get to choose boy or girl. Yes, with Ethiopia you get to choose. Jay and I were truly open to either gender. Practically speaking a boy would be “simpler” with bedroom arrangements in our current house. However, our sweet daughter has prayed faithfully for a sister since she was about four years old. Part of the backstory to our adoption journey is that she began asking about adopting a sister several years ago. Though we laughed, and brushed her off in the past, when it came time to specify boy or girl, we felt for her sake that we had to ask for a little girl. And we are truly delighted at the thought of another girl in the family!
We have asked for a little toddler girl somewhere between 18 to 30 months of age, with the caveat that if Gladney has a little girl in care that is a bit out of that range on either side but who appears to be a solid match from their point of view, to please let us know. We have to set an age range based on our agency’s advice and what we feel is the best match for our family.
This was an agonizingly hard decision, but from the first moment Jay and I each began feeling pulled toward adoption, we have never envisioned a tiny baby. Separately, without ever talking about it to each other, we both felt pulled toward a toddler. We absolutely adore babies, but the reality is that we have been blessed to enjoy four tiny babies in our home. Once children hit toddler age the chances of them being adopted drop somewhat, though in actuality there are a lot of families on Gladney’s referral list who ask for toddlers, and many of the people we know who have adopted or are adopting here in Dallas bring home toddlers. We are very, very excited about our little girl, and finding out who she is, and how old she will be.
So, when will you get this referral?
These days, referrals are taking around 9 or 10 months on average. So we do not imagine we will receive a match for quite a while. At the time of referral, we are given every bit of information that Gladney has about our daughter. Medical history, family background, her story.
So….you will bring her home in about 9 or 10 months, after your referral?
No, not yet. 🙂 After we are given and accept a referral, there will be a first trip to Ethiopia several weeks later to meet our daughter and complete a court hearing, and then a second return visit another few weeks later where we will receive custody and bring our girlie home.
Then how long WILL it be till she is finally home with you?
Average wait times are just that: averages. We have no exact times, and things change in the adoption world depending on factors often out of the control of our agency’s workers, etc. Given current wait times, estimated time till court dates are issued, and then the two trips are completed, it will probably be about a year before we bring our girlie home. Again, that is the best estimate we have at this time, and could change.
Does Gladney already know who your daughter is?
No. At this time (based on the age we have asked for), our daughter is already alive but neither Gladney nor we know who she is. She may or may not still be with her birth family. At some point she will be processed through a government orphanage, spend a bit of time there, and shortly thereafter be brought into in Gladney’s foster care. Once in Gladney’s care, we know she will receive excellent treatment as they have plenty of people to love and care for these little ones as well as staff and resources to meet their medical and other needs compared to the resources in the government orphanages.
How can we pray for your ongoing adoption process?
* Please pray for our daughter: that the Lord will be protecting her and have His hand on her whatever her situation may be. That she might have precious time with her birth mother or other close family before whatever tragedy occurs which will ultimately separate them. The fact that this little one and so many millions of others in Ethiopia are in need of a family to adopt them and give them homes means that there has been great tragedy in their lives. Our hearts are heavy for her and for her birth family.
* Please pray for us: that God will be preparing our family to welcome a daughter, a little one who has known loss and hardship at such a young age that most of us cannot even begin to fathom. Pray that Jay and I will be given wisdom, patience, and the ability to meet her needs. Pray that our children will be equipped to be good siblings to this little girl. They are all so excited about their new baby sister.
* Pray for Gladney as they work with so many in the country of Ethiopia, both those who will be adopted, and those who will not. We are very thankful for the good work our agency is doing in Africa to help better the lives of people, and especially children there.
* Pray for God to provide the remainder of our adoption expenses. There are still costs we have not yet incurred which are due upon referral, and we also have the expenses for our travel to Ethiopia to account for. We are so thankful as God has provided beautifully to this point, and we trust that this will all work out.
We are thrilled about this step in the process, and feel it is a huge blessing to get this good news right before Thanksgiving. I had secretly been hoping and praying for waitlist status by the New Year, so this is a wonderful surprise!
Happy Thanksgiving to All of you, dear Readers.