So it has officially been a year since we sent our application in to CCAI to see if we would be accepted to their adoption program. A whole year! Last Halloween about this time I was sitting at my desk thinking "Wow - our lives are about to change." And man have they ever.
I am reminded of that song from Rent (one of Laura's favorite productions) that says:
525,600 minutes, 525,000 moments so dear.
525,600 minutes - how do you measure, measure a year?
In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee.
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife.
In 525,600 minutes - how do you measure a year in the life?
How about love? How about love? How about love?
Measure in love. Seasons of love.
Here's a look back at the last year and where God has led us.
October 31, 2006
Around 2:00 - full of nerves and apprehension - I dropped off our application packet and a check to cover the application fee at the CCAI offices. Wow - we were really doing this! I drove straight home - called Laura and told her that CCAI said our packet looked complete and we should hear something within 7 days. At 4:30 PM that day we got an email with this in it:
November 2006 - February 2007
They don't call it "The Paperchase" for nothing. That is all we did for a good couple of months. Papers from Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia - send them to Houston, to Washington, D.C., to New York. Visiting various federal buildings in Atlanta. Staying Busy. The holidays came in the midst of all of this and we're not gonna lie - they were hard. We always thought we'd have some little Lauras or Tymms running around by now - and decorating the tree was hard. God was so with us that night - I am pretty sure I felt him hanging ornaments on the tree with us.
Wow. What a month for us. We'd spent quite a bit of time at Emory Reproductive clinic the past 5 months or so. We had just tried an IUI and almost immediately I got on a plane to head to Africa for 2 weeks for a mission trip. My mind was everywhere. My wife was back home, wondering if she was pregnant. I was somewhere over the Atlantic ocean - wishing Laura was with me or me with her or something.
It took about 30 hours to get to Capetown and finally be able to talk to Laura. Here I am on the other side of the world - and Laura has to tell me that the IUI wasn't successful. I was mad - not really mad at God - just mad. It didn't feel fair. Then Laura told me she had found out we were officially logged in with China.
How cool is God? If I had any doubts about us adopting He wiped them clear right then and there. I was happy and sad at the same time - and looking back I think thats the point where we stopped trying to control this thing and handed it over 100% to God - and He has been nothing short of incredible with His grace and faith to us since then.
I spent the next 2 weeks sharing God's love with the kids of Africa. I told myself - "soak this in Tymm - you'll probably never be back here again." I met so many cool kids, learned a lot about myself and witnessed a global God like I had never seen before.
I ran my first half marathon. That has zero to do with our adoption or this blog or anything for that matter. But I am posting it cuz I did it. It was off-road, in the woods and it was great. Not as hard as I thought it would be and I think a full marathon is completely attainable at some point. This is how I planned on passing the time til we go to China - by running.
May 2007 - July 2007
Waiting. Man - that is what we're doing now. I am thinking to myself - "Did I mess around and pray for patience or something? Cuz this is tough..." The wait for China has increased and when you're not chasing documents or running from one office to another - it seems like time is standing still. So we wait.
And we go to First Friday - an awesome event sponsored by Susan and Dan Chapman to help mentor and provide support for those who are thinking about adopting from China, waiting for an adoption from China or who have completed one already. We have met so many great friends there and have gotten so much out of it. It has definitely made the wait so much more bearable.
One late night phone call later and Laura and I find ourselves fumbling around with the question "Have ya thought about Africa? Ethiopia in particular?" Well - no. Not really. I mean Africa has a forever place in my heart as my life was changed earlier this year there. But do you mean - adopting from there? We know God had led us directly to China and He has a wonderful plan for our child that will come from that country - we didn't want to do anything to mess that up. But now we have this nagging thought in our head - this constant buzzing in our brain about Africa.
Well - ya know - we knew we wanted to have siblings - at least 2 kids. And with the way things were looking in China - it could be a LONG time for that to happen (it's gonna speed up I know it is). So maybe we should explore this Africa idea. And explore we did. And man, I'll be darned if God didn't just lay it right out there for us - it wasn't about us. Or about the number of kids we wanted or siblings we felt that our kids should have. Or how we saw our family. This was about how He saw our family. How He was making our family - and it hit me like a lightning bolt in a dream (no joke) - I woke Laura up at 4:00 AM and said "We are supposed to do this - we are supposed to adopt from Africa too." We went and met with an adoption agency here in Atlanta that was willing to do a concurrent adoption and we loved them - they are great people with great hearts and huge love for Africa. I don't think a week had passed from the dream to where we were now - filling out the application and sending it in. We're adopting from Ethiopia now too!
Guess what we're doing again? That's right - the chase is on. It's easier this time - we kinda overdid it during China so we had a lot of extra documents - ones we needed for Ethiopia as well. That saved us a lot of time. We love our China adoption agency so much that we decided to use them to do our Ethiopia homestudy. They were so excited for us and so helpful during the whole process.
There was a lot of confusion with the USCIS and how to do what and CCAI stepped up and helped us out through all of that. I spoke directly with our match department and they assured me everything was fine and they're confidence gave us confidence that this could go off smoothly.
After another round of doctor visits, physicals, background checks and just about anything else you can think of - we finally turned all of our paperwork in to the Ethiopian Agency on September 27, 2007 (minus our Homestudy).
Whew. Here we are. A year later. An adoption from China in process, a mission trip to Africa under my belt, another adoption from Ethiopia in process. I have been praying for so long for God to give me clarity - what does He want to use me for in this life? And I just now realized that I think He may be setting us straight on our path. I am thankful that God is patient and loving and slow to anger and quick to forgive.
On October 30, 2007 at 4:09 PM our dossier was signed for in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It is being translated now and soon after they will start looking for a match. God already knows who it is - so really, He is going to let them translate our paperwork and then He'll lead them to our child.
Thank you to everyone who has prayed for us, stood with us during the down times and praised with us during the awesome times. We can't wait to see what next year is going to bring us.