I try to not call our adoption agency very often. Some weeks I manage to hold off; other weeks, not so much. I think that deep, deep down in the crazy parts of my being, I think that if I call them with some sort of casual question ("Soooooo, how do you fill out this government form?") they will then say, "Hey, we were just about to call you. Seems we've got a picture of a little girl here who needs a family."
That never happens. But I still call.
My latest call did garner a bit of information. It's still a guess but not a total shot in the dark.
Court date: November
Travel to Ethiopia: Late December/Early January
That information was filed away at an appropriate emotional level until I met a white mom walking out of Once Upon A Child with a 16 month old Ethiopian baby girl. Then I dreamed I had an Ethiopian daughter whose only word was Mommy.
We have been waiting while families ahead of us get a court date. From what I understand, here is a little bit of the process:
1. We submit all our paperwork (done in April)
2. We talk with our adoption agency about whom we believe God is leading us to (baby girl)
3. We wait "our turn"
4. We get a referral which includes a picture and any available medical information
5. We accept the referral but the child is not ours until they have passed court
Passing court seems to mean that the child is legally declared an orphan, not always easy
6. After we pass court, we can announce our new baby to everyone and make travel arrangements
The families ahead of us have had to go through a number of obstacles before passing court: a new TB test that is required for all children, a ban on the adoption of children abandoned in Addis Ababa and the 3 week court closure. Now, these things seem to be getting ironed out and families are passing court.
I don't know what that means for our timeline, but I'm pretty sure it's good.
"Who's that?" asked Emma, pointing to a picture of Farrah Fawcett. "Was she famous?" I tried to explain Charlie's Angels: "Well, she was this detective, police, crime fighter kind of woman..." I drifted for lack of any more descriptors. Besides, it was obvious my explanation was not engendering any further interest.
Zeke, not one to be left behind, pointed to a picture of Michael Jackson. "What that thing is?"
I didn't answer. Lack of descriptors? Maybe. Actually, it was just easier to put the rest of my groceries on the belt and tell Zeke it was time to go.
My husband can run an incredible number of miles: 50 miles in under 12 hours in Duluth; 86 miles around Lake Nokomis in 24 hours. Those are just the latest races he's done. But I have held firm: a half marathon. No more.
It is almost time for me to start training for the half marathon I do every fall. I make a very reasonable schedule, train for 8 weeks, practically ruin my family with my crabbiness, run my race and come home with my new autumn colored tshirt and a Lutheran Jar of Jam.
Joel had another suggestion: train like an ultra runner. "The body can do incredible things, Marth," he told me.
I thought about bodies doing incredible things. I thought about giving birth and I thought about going to war. The one has the advantage of an epidural; the other has the advantage of adrenaline surges when facing the Taliban.
"Ok," I thought. Without the advantage of epidurals nor the Taliban I went to Target, randomly bought a running skort and took off for a training run ala ultra runner: 12 miles without any training whatsoever.
I had a long time to think. I had a long time to pray. I had a long time to wonder if I had enough salt pills and little energy blocks. I had a long time to hope that the person riding a horse down the road was not a hallucination.
I made it. I took every salt tablet I had (8). I came home and ate corn chips. I dragged myself into the shower and then laid in bed to watch a PBS special: mountain climbers freezing to death on Everest. My legs felt like someone had set a slow burning fire to my ankles and stoked it all the way up my thighs.
I got up the next morning and decided... I think I liked it.
I didn't do National Night Out even though I have prayed that I would be more intentional in reaching out to my neighbors.
The reason I didn't do it is because my mind had translated the entire concept incorrectly. I thought it was National Coming Out Night. And it just didn't seem, from 4 years of casual observation, like many of my neighbors would have qualified.