Recently, the awesome children's home where Emmie is currently living posted a picture of her celebrating her third birthday....so I can share that on my blog, too :) They have also updated her bio info and posted a new cute picture...check out the link below!
We have received Pre-Approval to adopt Emmie, and are currently waiting for our final approval. After we receive this, we will then wait for our travel approval, and finally will travel to bring Emmie home. From the average time frames given to us by our adoption agency, by my calculations the soonest we would be able to travel to China would be the end of April. The more realistic timeframe seems to be mid May for travel. That seems soooo far away to all of us! But, at the same time, we are blessed to have been able to have received many photographs of Emmie to help us through the wait. We also are continuing to work on her room. My mom and I recently found a bed to refurbish- I know my mom will work her wonders :)
I have her closet organized, too. It is amazing how much cute girl stuff there is out there! I just can't wait to see her in it all.
Tuesday, January 1, 2013
This Christmas was extra special for our family! God gave us the wonderful gift of a daughter! The easiest way to explain it all is just to tell you exactly what happened, so here goes :)
As I had mentioned in the previous post, we had been given the chance to review a file for a little boy who was an absolute doll. We knew from the get-go that he had some medical needs that had the potential to be very advanced, but we felt led to learn as much as could from the information we had been given. We had a general pediatrician look at the file, as well as a pediatric specialist with four daughters adopted from China (one with the same special need as this little guy). We consulted with the two different doctors several times, requested more information from the orphange, and took the entire two weeks we were alloted to make the decision. It was very difficult, and covered in much prayer. In the end, we did feel as though this sweet boy's needs were more extensive than what we were prepared for.
So we told our agency on Wednesday, December 19th, that we could not accept the referral. Because of the Christmas and New Year's holidays, we found out later that day that shared matching would occur that night. So, on the same day that we told our agency we could not accept the referral for this precious boy, there was a chance that we would be matched with another child. This was beginning to be a roller coaster ride!
We tried not to think too much about matching, and helped out at the Angel Tree party at church. Our entire family had a great time. It was such a blessing to interact with those sweet families. We got the boys in the bed that night, and were watching some television, when around 10:30 my phone rang with the 703 area code- there is only one number I know with that area code, and that is our adoption agency! We knew they were calling us about a potential match. On the phone, they mainly just tell you the basics. So, when I answered that night, they told us about a little girl who had just turned 3 with a medical condition that affected her bones and joints. The condition did not sound too serious on the phone, but we knew that we wouldn't know anything for sure until we read her file. We agreed to review it, and our case worker told us she would be sending it via email in just few minutes. About ten minutes later the file had arrived. We decided to read through her file first, before we looked at the three pictures that were also in the email. She indeed had a bone and joint disorder. She appeared to be able to walk, which was good news, but we were not very familiar with her actual diagnosis, nor what it meant for her. Her other medical information seemed to be very normal, and we decided that we would look at the picture. The first picture we saw of her she was smiling from ear to ear and had the cutest pig tails and big black eyes. I think we were both ready to say "yes" at that very moment, but we knew we had to have her file reviewed.....and make a final decision in 72 hours.....did we mention all this while going into the biggest holiday of the year??!!!
We had to move fast. I forwarded her file onto the same doctors we had used for our last referral review, and waited patiently. A day went by, and we hadn't heard back. Very strange. We began to try and network with other parents of children with her diagnosis to find out as much as we could while we waited for the doctors reply. We began to formulate questions for the orphange. Sometime during all this I remembered that one of our close friends had a friend who was a pediatric orthopedist.....exactly what we needed for this specific referral! I texted my friend and in a matter of hours I had sent the file to their friend. He replied the same day, and the next day I was able to speak with him on the phone. We were so hopeful for a positive review, but unfortunately the news wasn't exactly what we had hoped for. The doctor was not able to tell us for certain if the original diagnosis was even accurate, and without xrays to look at, could not tell us the extent of her needs, or how progressive her diagnosis could be. There just was not enough information to know anything for sure. We didn't give up, but rather we made a list of questions for the orphanage, asked for xrays (we knew this was a major long shot, as China will not perform any additional tests if they were never originally performed) and prayed, prayed, prayed. The orthopedic specialist was travleing back to the USA from Canada, but gave us his cell phone and told us to get in touch with any additional info. Remember, we were matched Wednesday night, which meant the file was only locked until Saturday afternoon. We were truly going on a wing and a prayer.
Thursday came and went with no updates from the orphange. Friday too. We went to bed Friday not feeling very positive about being able to accept the referral. We didn't even know for sure what her special need was! I earnestly prayed and asked God that if He wanted this sweet girl to be our daughter, could he please provide the information we needed to make a decision? I sent one last email to our awesome case worker about any additional info, and she replied back that at this point we may not receive anything else. I decided to go to bed. The night before I had dreamed that we had received videos and lots and lots of information.....but in my dream I didn't know if it was good or bad. Maybe the morning would provide the answers we needed.
Saturday morning the ringing of my phone woke me up. I didn't get to it in time, but the missed call was from our agency. They immediately called back and I answered! Our caseworker told me that she had just sent me an email with updated information. She then told me that in all her years in working with Chinese adoptions, never had she seen so much information sent about a child! It was an amazing, specific, answer to prayer. I didn't know what the email contained, but I did know that God had provided the information we needed to make a decision, either way. As an added blessing, the case worker told us that this sweet girl was at a private non profit rehabilitation institution....an amazing place for an orphan to wait for a family! This institution is known to be absolutely amazing....we were getting excited.
This was Saturday morning. Our deadline was the same day, at 2pm. I opened up the email and found several xrays, exactly what the doc needed to see. I found a letter from the director of the institution, explaining the probable cause of her need, how it was treated, and exactly how she is able to function. Amazing. I forwarded the email on as fast as my fingers would let me. At around noon that day, we spoke again with the orthopedic specialist. He, too, seemed amazed by this new info, and was able to give us a much more positive outlook for this sweet girl. Sometimes things are not always what they seem. This can especially be true in adoption, and it most definitely was in this case.
We quickly signed the needed paperwork, scanned it, and emailed it all to our caseworker, by 2pm... We were saying YES!!!
Emmie, as she is known at An Orphans Wish (the name of the institution where she is currently living), will hopefully be coming home in the spring time. There are still many more processes that have to take place, and I won't go into it all in this post, as most of it is paperwork and receiving approvals, etc.
We have talked and talked about what to name her, and the more we look at her pictures, Emmie just seems to suit her. So, Emmie Grace Caldwell will be her name. We chose Grace because of the unbelievable amount of grace that God has supplied to us from the very beginning in 2007 when we signed the paperwork to begin our first adoption journey to bring home Caleb. Emmie has been described as lots of fun, and a bit fiesty, so she should fit in well with our family ;) The boys are ready to go get her today, and so are we.
It really has been an exciting and fun past two weeks. God has blessed us above and beyond what we could have imagined. Just as with every adoption our family has experienced, he has been faithful to guide us and give us strength. He has been faithful to place loving and caring people in our lives who have prayed for us and provided insight to us. He has been faithful to answer prayer. He has again in his own way woven together a beautiful journey for us to grow our family.
Though we can not post any pictures of her yet, if you are even the slightest bit of a detective, you can google "An Orphans Wish", then "meet the kids" who live there. I have already told you her name :)