Saturday, 8 October 2011

"Meeting" Nicolas

One year ago at about eight in the evening we got a call from Cami, the woman who worked tirelessly to help us prepare our dossier for Congo. She asked me to put her on speaker, then told us about a baby boy in Kinshasa that had just been cleared by his commune (local government) for adoption. He was about a month old (later we found out he was actually two months old), and appeared to be healthy. That was all she knew, but she hoped to have pictures for us later in the week. We had twenty-four hours to decide if we wanted to move forward with this little one.

As you know, we said YES. For those of you who haven't adopted, it might seem a little crazy that we would add a child to our family whom we had never seen, whose birth date we didn't know, and whose medical and social history we knew nothing about. We have a "say yes unless God says no" policy for accepting referrals that fall within (or very close to) our home study parameters. When you do your home study, you have to set parameters regarding the child you are willing and able to accept. It is an odd process, and sometimes it feels very uncomfortable to make decisions about your future child, but it allows you to prayerfully examine the abilities and limitations of your family before you are faced with the emotional process of receiving and accepting a referral. Your social worker and (in our state) the head of Child and Family services must approve those parameters, and then USCIS bases your visa pre-approval on them. This time around our home study and USCIS clearance allowed us accept a child of either gender under the age of eighteen months with certain correctable special needs. The information we received about Nicolas fit our home study, so we took a day to pray that God would make it clear if we should not move forward with adopting Nicolas. The next afternoon we called and said yes.

We expected to get pictures of our boy on Sunday or Monday, but instead we got an email that there might be a problem and that we would need to wait to see if it worked out before the pictures were sent. Of course I was a nervous wreck for two days, but Tuesday morning our inbox contained the following:

It turned out that the commune clearance on Nicolas had not been written up and signed (the commune had verbally cleared him but not completed the paperwork at the time we got the phone call, and the difference got lost in translation...which is why we got the phone call when we did, but then had to wait for paperwork to get pictures), so that was the "problem" and it was quickly cleared up. At the time the pictures were taken Nic was a few days over two months old. He was a tiny little bean- his stats at the time placed him at the very bottom of the growth charts. He was smaller at two months than most US newborns! We also found out that his name was Nicolas and that he was living in a small orphanage in Kinshasa. That week we finished up all the paperwork necessary for the court process, and our journey to Nicolas officially began.

In the past year, we prayed and cried and waited and traveled and welcomed one adorable boy home. He's had a rough road of it- transitioning to a crazy family in a strange new place, odd tasting new foods, awful weather, and being stuck with more needles than I can count and enduring the hospital and more doctors visits than most kids probably have in the first five years of life. He is such a trooper. He has not only endured, he has flourished. We are so grateful that God has placed Nicolas in our family.

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