Today, February 16, officially marks 3 months that our family has been on the wait list in Ethiopia for a referral for our girlie.
I think it is safe to say that of all the months since we began our adoption process last year, these last three have been the quietest (related to the adoption itself). There was such a lot of paperwork and activity to bring us to the point of being approved to adopt, and completing our international dossier. Now that all those i’s have been dotted, and t’s have been crossed, there is not a ton to do in the “making a list and getting things done” sort of way. I have heard the phrase “Hurry up and WAIT!” used many times when people refer to their international adoption processes, and now that we are on the wait list, we are seeing how true that is.
I love when friends or family ask us “Is there any news?” or “Do you have an update on your adoption?”. So many people are very faithful to check in with us, and ask, which I appreciate. After all, I don’t have a growing tummy or any other obvious physical reminder that another little Horne is on the way as I did when we were “expecting” our other children. I can honestly say that I don’t miss the stomach upset, the weight gain (55 pounds gained for EACH of four pregnancies, thank you very much!), or the additional stretch marks and wrinkles to add to my already rather vast collection.
On the other hand, this is a different sort of waiting, I am learning. People say jokingly “You are paper pregnant!!” which is true. Sort of. But with our other babies, I knew that at the end of nine months, we’d have a child in our arms. Not so with international adoption. Our process will likely take longer than that, and things are prone to change. As my sister noted last week, unlike when you carry your baby inside your tummy, and know they are safe and cozy (in most cases), we truly do not know where our daughter is right now. And as far as the “safe and cozy” I find myself wondering often: is she safe? is she warm enough? does she have enough to eat? when she cries, does she have someone to comfort her? and the list of questions goes on….
Based on the amount of time toddlers spend in care before they are referred, she is most likely not already in one of Gladney’s foster care homes. Our assumption is that she might still be with her birth family at this time, but of course we do not know.
Our family prays together each night. We don’t know where our girl is, but God does, and as hard as it is not knowing her situation, we trust her to His care. Our children’s prayers often include “And please God keep our baby sister in Ethiopia safe and healthy, and help her be able to come home soon.” Even they at their tender ages understand that this little girl is undergoing a different and likely much more perilous sort of journey than they did to join our family.
The best number I can give to all who are curious is that the current average wait time for a referral once you are on the wait list, is about 9 months ’till you see a picture and receive information about the child your family has been matched with. That time frame might be longer or shorter depending on the particular children in care, the families ahead of us on the list, and many other factors. Based on that general information, we hope to maybe know something more by August, but we’ll see.
To those of you who check in with us to ask how things are going, thank you! To those of you who pray for our daughter, we are so grateful. We appreciate and love that so many are thinking of her, and remembering her in prayer. It encourages us greatly as we wait. This entire process has been, and will continue to be a huge exercise in faith and trust. We look forward to seeing what happens next. And for now….we wait.