Friday, March 18, 2011

The Day AFTER The Referral

The day you get THAT call is filled with so much excitement and pure JOY!  It is truly a wonderful feeling.  But even as we were continuing to float on cloud 9 that next day...things needed to be done, and FAST!  You see, in order to officially accept a referral, there is even MORE paperwork to fill out (I know, SHOCKING!  Paperwork?  In an adoption?!?)

In the email following THE CALL, our caseworker sent us ALL of T's paperwork that she reviewed with us over the phone, all of her pictures (5), the "Transition Plan" to begin working on, and a sweet congratulatory message =)  The rest of the "Referral Packet" would be overnighted to us.  We also forwarded all of the information we had to the International Pediatrician to review, but the earliest we could get a phone appointment was the next night.

Fortunately, a very kind friend sent us the "Transition Plan" paperwork ahead of time.  That is a 15 page packet that asks you questions about your plan on transitioning your new little one into your family, as well as transitioning your existing family for the new arrival.  It was helpful to compile our lists of resources to help with that transition in advance so that we could really put some thought into it, rather than rushing to get it back out the door to AGCI.  A lot of the questions were really a review of our required adoption education we did at the beginning of our journey...but it was great to test our knowledge =)  For the most part we had that portion of the paperwork complete...although there were some questions pertaining to T's story that we couldn't answer before knowing of her.  It took another 20 minutes or so to we got to spend the rest of the day squealing on the phone to everyone we know!

The next morning, I awoke with a huge GRIN on my face and whispered in my husband's ear, we have a daughter!!!  I heard him know what I'm talking about! =)  After I got up and made breakfast for Monkey I decided to give Brittany a call (who got her referral the Friday before us).  She knew we had received the call, but I was excited to share more of our story and talk about the "what comes next" stuff with someone who knows and gets it.  She told me that her referral packet had arrived at 10:30am the next morning!  I was shocked to know it arrived that soon and smiled when I saw it was already 10:00am!  I crossed my fingers and hoped ours would arrive that quickly as well.  We continued chatting and she walked me through what some of the paperwork entailed and AS I was on the phone with her, I got a knock on my door - it was the REFERRAL PACKET!!  Ahh!!!  You know you're talking to someone who GETS IT when the moment you think, I better get off the phone, she said "I'll let you go so you can get working on that paperwork!"  =D  Britt, you're the BEST!

I was so excited when I ripped open that package and saw a soft-cover binder with my daughter's picture, name and birth date on it!  Awww....the small things AGCI does to personalize this journey puts SUCH a smile on my face!  After opening the cover I saw the first page was a photocopy of all her referral photos, followed by all the referral documents we had received in the email from K.  Then there was document after document that needed to be notarized.  It all seemed a little all honesty...but not nearly as daunting as the dossier!  I don't think any amount of paperwork could compare to THAT!  Hahaha!!

We were scheduled to have our call with AGCI's family coordinator at 11:30am....but there was a miscommunication so it was rescheduled for later in the day.  After a quick lunch we decided to head to church to have our FABULOUS notary help us out with this paperwork!  Joyce was thrilled to help...and I don't know if this was TIMED...but all the pastors and staff ended up walking in from lunch right when we were there, all anxious to hand out hugs and get a glimpse at our baby!  Not like we had an issue with that!  ;)  After an entire day of emailing pictures to friends and family, it was a JOY to show her off in person (I can only imagine how amazing it will be to have her in my ARMS and showing her off)!!!!!

Monkey spent his time at the church being a complete goof - attemping to walk up and down the stairs (we have a one level he's a bit slow in this one =) and crawling underneath furniture.  At one point, Pastor Bob came out and played peek-a-boo with him. was the most PRECIOUS thing to see PB down on his hands and knees making my Lil Man GIGGLE away as he peeked and boo-ed around the to my EARS I tell ya....but I was a SECOND too late with the camera, shucks!!!

After about an hour of notarizing (and a mini meltdown on my part for putting the wrong date on a doc - remember the dossier?  That would have been a big NO-NO...but Toni, another caseworker at AGCI, assured me it would be fine since this was JUST for AGCI and not Ethiopia =) we headed home for our call with Mindy (AGCI's family coordinator).  She was so sweet to talk to and presented us with some really great information to help transition T into our family.  Again, most of it was review...but it was great to have a real person to bounce ideas off of and ask questions!

After that I think we talked to K with a few more questions (she has been SO great during this part of the process - I can't say enough great things about AGCI...they have been supportive in EVERY WAY!) and then attempted to get a hold of our social worker.  I left a couple several messages and shot her an email and then sat patiently like a crazy women waiting for a call back.  NOW - in all reality I think it was maybe an hour before she called us back...but knowing her signature on one document was a VERY important part of the official acceptance of this referral...I was kinda freaking out about taking care of it as soon as possible!  She was SO sweet on the phone and again, I could HEAR the smile on her face when she opened T's picture!  (Seriously, mama heart = SWELLING!)  And after seeing how tiny she was, she understood my urgency.  "She has to come home NOW" she said.  YES - yes, she does!!!  We had a short conversation about some specific plans of action and then she told us she would pop that in the mail first thing in the morning!  (Not soon enough for me....but it would do ;)

Hubby and Monkey had some MAJOR playtime...then, as my husband went back to work, I waited as patiently as possible for 8:30pm to roll around when our International Pediatrician would call us to go over T's medical history.  It seemed like a long afternoon...but I still had a lot of people to call!  I tried to keep that to Monkey's nap times and PLAY while he was awake (remember, the poor boy felt a little starved of attention from the day before).

When 8:30pm finally rolled around we were thrilled that our International Pediatrician really had nothing but AMAZING things to say about our little T!  He definitely addressed her malnourishment as an issue, but hearing that she loved her bottles he was really optimistic (as are we)!  He encouraged us that Hannah's Hope is the BEST place she can be and that their caregiver/children ratio is one of the BEST he's ever soon - how amazing is that?!?  So yes, we got a clear GO AHEAD from him!  He shot me an email with a quick review of our conversation and I typed it into a word document to email over to K early the next morning.

So on Wednesday I got a call in the morning from K, just as a follow-up about our International Pediatrician appointment....and Thursday she had received the last document from our social worker and everything was official!!!  From then on, every document we have received has had T's first name and our last name - it is truly a beautiful site! =)

Well...there's a glimpse into our hectic, blessed life!  It was truly amazing to get this INCREDIBLE gift between our two birthdays - what could be a better gift?!?

***Now to keep the "Congratulations" rolling...head on over to my friend Kari's blog and wish them a HUGE Congrats on the birth AND finalized adoption of their son Westyn!!!!!  Woohoo!!!!  We're SOO excited for you guys - and just in AWE that God brought these two life-changing events into our lives within two weeks of each other!  Can't wait to get our kiddos together and relish over God's blessings through our adoption journeys!  Praying for safe travels home and a smooth transition to a family of THREE!



Rachel.H. said...

Oh my goodness I'm so excited for you guys! I have been away from the computer for 40 days and just scrolled down and read about your referral!!! Congratulations! God is so good!! It just amazes me every time I see all He does to bring each one of these children home! Cannot wait to see pictures, and praying that the rest of your waiting will go by quickly!!

Elle J said...

I don't think I have ever gotten as many goosebumps and chills ever in my life than when I read stories about Adoption. A beautiful story that God has chosen for you - and I'm keeping you tight in my prayers for continued good news to get your sweet girl HOME. Lovely post.

Alison said...

SO fun!! I don't think I have ever heard much about what happens right AFTER you get a referral, so I LOVE hearing all the little details! Thanks for sharing! So happy for ya'll!!!

kim said...

How exciting, congratulations!!