August 5th, 2011 we submitted our dossier to Ethiopia. Shortly thereafter confirmation came that we were officially in line for our child; number 53 in fact. After several months of being "in the line", our agency began to sense that what had been a relatively short wait for an Ethiopian adoption was turning into a much longer wait, so long that there was no end in sight. Several more months of no progress lagged by, and then we learned that in an effort to avoid corruption of the adoption section of its government, Ethiopia was revising the adoption process. In the meantime, minimal adoptions were going to occur. Overall, this is a good thing, as it protects families from being bribed to put their children up for adoption, but the major downside is that countless more children are forced to stay in orphanages for a much longer time while the process is refined. Heartbreaking.
What to do now? Still called to adopt from E, but recognizing a desire and calling to help other children in the meantime, we looked into fostering for Cuyahoga County (CC).
February of 2012 rolled around. After a nice visit and vacation with Kyle and Tracie and their kiddos,
we attended our first class required by the county in order to become foster parents. After the first class, we were told that since we had an outstanding adoption with E, we wouldn't be able to foster/foster to adopt for the county. The irony of that caused us laughter and anger...how silly could it be that an agency who is constantly pleading for foster parents would turn away a foster family for no other reason than that they were also trying to adopt a child from a different country. Thankfully, it was just a misunderstanding, and after many hours of home-study-interviews, paperwork, doctor appointments, fingerprints, assembling nursery furniture, and classes (and lots of vending machine snacks and group projects that involved grape or licorice-smelly-markers and pads of paper the size of dinner tables), we received our licence to foster for CC in May of 2012.
So, we were glued to the phone, not wanting to miss a single call in case one was from the county asking us to take in a child. After a few days of that nonsense, we realized that God already knew which foster child he wanted us to have and that He would take care of the phone aspect.
The crib and car seat were set and ready to go, but the nursery decor was sparse. A neighbor who actually was adopted herself and grew up in the very house we now live in donated an entire nursery set that had been outgrown by other kids as well as all their bathing gadgets and baby clothes. Also around this time, Jon spotted a cloud that looked like a baby. We took that as a sign that we would be getting a baby to foster soon, so while we were still free agents, we ventured to Ohio Pyle the first few days of July 2012 for some water sliding and white water rafting.
Gabe and Hope visited for a week shortly after that. Each day while they were in town we tried to go to Cedar Point, but with temperatures reaching 98+ degrees daily, we opted for the community pool instead.
During the middle of July, a call from county came. We missed it and found out from listening to the voice-mail that a child was in need of a home. We called back, but a home had already been found.
The night of July 20th I was expecting a call telling us that our cousin Ben had been born, but instead it was a call from the county. When the call came, Marian and I were visiting with Grandpa at his house. The social worker asked if we could take in a 5 month old girl named Cierra. I assured her that we could, and she said "good, we'll be to your house in 2 hours". I ran to the store to pick up formula, various sizes of diapers and onesies, and then home. Jon rushed home from work and 2 hours later, Cierra arrived.
That first night, and the next few we hardly slept, instead we kept going in to her room to peak at her and make sure she was all right.
Our hearts melted with love instantly and so began the amazing journey of being her foster mama and daddy. I'd love to post oodles of pics, but it's tricky. For her protection and privacy, pics of her sweet pumpkin face will remain on our hard drive rather than Blogger. The two pics below were taken within days of her arrival.
There is more to the story, but not finishing it now will motivate me to continue on with the update sooner rather than later (at least one can always hope).