I was reading through all the different parts of our blog, remembering Sudan and laughing at the good times we had there. I read back through several old posts on adoption, and then I remembered our adoption timeline. I glanced over it marveling at how God brought us through that process.
It has been over three years since Jeremy and I sat down on a New Year's Eve and decided together that we were going to adopt. I remember the two years leading up to that moment were agonizing at times for me because I really wanted to add a child to our family. We had not been able to get pregnant, and I just knew adoption was for us, but I had to wait a long time for Jeremy to join in this decision. I was so happy and relieved that New Year's Eve 2011.
Then, Mother's Day 2012, we announced to our moms and families that we were going to adopt. I was so excited about the way we revealed this to our moms. I made a handmade card for each of them. Inside I wrote a cute little adoption poem...I think it said something about how they were going to be grandmas, and I pasted images of our adoption agency's logo, the country flags of the countries we were considering, etc. They were excited and emotional to receive this good news.
Then, summer of 2012, as soon as we returned from our mission trip to Africa, we mailed off our official application to AGCI. I remember we were nervously excited because now we were starting to put money with our decision to adopt. It was becoming much more real.
Little did I know that there was more nervous excitement to come. It seemed like every step of this adoption was met with anxious, tempered excitement. Later on in the fall of 2012 we held a couple of fundraisers and sent in our first big set of agency fees. We were officially contracted with AGCI, we had officially chosen to pursue Bulgaria, and we "met" our case worker over the phone. She was with us every step of the way!
Then from October 2012 until May 2013 we were in the home study phase. I know we were nervous about "passing" the home study...haha. But, it really wasn't all that bad and we enjoyed meeting our local home study social worker. All that time, we still has no idea what type of child we would adopt. I was constantly wondering if it would be a boy or girl, toddler or older child or baby, special needs or not. We struggled with how wide to set our parameters and we ended up keeping them pretty wide open so that we would qualify to adopt many types of children. The open-ness of our parameters made it really difficult to imagine what kind of child would eventually become part of our family.
While we were still completing our home study, we saw an email profile of a little girl. I remember forwarding the email to Jeremy while he was at work with a simple message that said, "I want her." After some conversations and prayer, that simple email led to us inquiring about this little girl. Amazingly, no one else had expressed interest in her yet. She was meant for us! It was this time TWO YEARS AGO that she was put "on hold" for our family. We could finally imagine our family with a little girl added in the mix. That little girl was who we now know as Miss Ivelina Anne.
I can't believe two years has already passed since that day we committed to her. I still remember where I was sitting when I saw that email and her photo. Now she is a thriving part of our family. It's starting to feel like the days of re-doing home studies, getting fingerprinted what seemed like every month, and frantically changing flight plans due to Jeremy's emergency kidney stone surgery are far behind. Sometimes, I have a hard time remembering what things were like before Ivelina was skipping down our hallway and riding her trike out in the driveway. It is good for me to have this blog so that I will always have memory of our adoption, all the ups, all the downs, all the stress, and all the joy of finally bringing our little girl home.
It was also sweet to see at the end of our adoption timeline the words I had typed: "Finished. HOME with Ivelina." Made me smile.