Here's the rest of the story. Our agency also informed us that the same day our Dossier had been logged in, several files of children partnered exclusively with our agency had shown up on the master list as available for adoption. (Quick explanation because it is confusing: many believe this is the 'new route' of Chinese adoptions. Agencies make agreements with particular orphanages to find families for children from that orphanage. The orphanage prepares the files (which takes money and time) sometimes with the assistance of their new partner agency. Once the files are completed and through the Chinese bureaucracy, they are available only to the partner agency. The agency then advocates for those kids and attempts to find them all families. The agency may also provide additional assistance to their partner orphanages- funding, support items, programs for older children, etc.) The nine files were from a brand new partnership orphanage. Our agency rep had visited the orphanage last August, made the arrangements, and then had heard nothing from the orphanage. So they were surprised to see nine children on their list the same day that our Dossier was logged in. And one of files was a little girl they had not met or anticipated having a file for.
You can see where this is going...
We received this little one's file the night we were logged in. I was actually at a meeting when I checked my phone and saw our agency director's name in my email with a file attached. It took everything in me not to immediately walk out the door and drive home to look through it! When I got home, Austin and I finally began looking through the file. Two big surprises- the little girl was actually 2 1/2 (would be three by the time we traveled), and she was medically healthy. We had said all along that we were open to a little girl, ages 0-3. I knew the youngest most Chinese children are adopted was around 12 months (very rare). But I was hesitant about going for the top of our age range. The reality that we would have a 2 year old, 3 year old, and 4 year old in our house was daunting. And for the first time I realized I had an unspoken desire to have a little baby girl.
It took me two days to acknowledge my feelings, stare at this little one's face over and over again, and grieve the loss of her first (almost) three years of life without a family. And ultimately I realized that once we had seen her, we couldn't turn away. (By the way, Austin was on board all along. He read through the file, saw that she fit our 'criteria,' deemed her 'cute,' and wondering what the heck was taking me so long to figure it all out!... Men! Engineers! Arghhhh!) I filled out the needed paperwork and sent China our Letter of Intent to adopt her.
So without further ado, I'd like to give you a first glimpse of our daughter.
We are hoping to bring her home to her forever family- where she will be sandwiched in by two rambunctious brothers on either side- this November or December. I hope that twinkle I see in her eyes means she likes trucks and rowdy little boys! We are waiting for more information from her orphanage before deciding on a name- most likely we will be giving her a name that fits into our family but still keeping part of her Chinese name in some capacity. (And if anyone has followed our family through my two pregnancies, you will recall that naming children is DIFFICULT for the two of us!!)
Thank you for praying for our little girl- now there's a face to put those thoughts and words to, though we have been comforted that our Heavenly Father has known this little one all along. We are waiting for China to complete translation and review of our Dossier and then will begin working with the US side to arrange immigration approval, visas, etc. We will have a better idea on travel dates after we receive the next official paperwork from China.
She can't come home soon enough- though there is plenty to do to prepare for her arrival now! Thank you for your continued prayers and support. We will be continuing to fundraise but God's got this! If you'd like to be a part of the story, our youcaring page is still up and running. Stay tuned for more updates!
You are already so loved little one!