When you commit to a child from another country, very rarely is that a binding commitment in the eyes of that government. You can begin the process and attempt to pursue the child, but until you actually have the approval of the judge you have no legal claim to her. If a citizen of that country steps up and pursues an adoption of the child, there is literally nothing an American family can do. We have known all along that this was a possibility but that these situations rarely arise. Unfortunately for us, this is precisely the case for Kaylee.
In talking with a missionary friend from the country, it is rare that families there adopt children (let alone children with any kind of medical or special need). He said that it is almost always a Christian family that pursues these adoptions. So, while we have no official knowledge of her family, we have good reason to believe she is going to be in a Christian family. We rejoice in that hope and will pray that the Lord directs her path and she comes to know Him in a personal way. It brings us joy that she is no longer counted among the "lonely."
Are we disappointed? Of course. Despite not ever meeting Kaylee, our family "knew" her from pictures and descriptions. We "knew" her in the sense that we pictured her in our family, in her room and at our school. Poor little Laney (our three-year old niece) just knew that she and Kaylee would be best friends. When her mom broke the news to her tonight and let her know that there are many other lonely, orphaned kids who need a family, she cried and said "But I don't love the other kids!!!" (It's okay to laugh at that...it's cute.) Our own kids were very surprised and I think are not sure what to think...they had really adjusted to the idea of a new sibling and were expecting to meet Kaylee soon. So, certainly our disappointments are real. Whether we "met" Kaylee or not, it is difficult not to imagine her in our family.
That said, God is a comforter and peace-giver and He has shown Himself to be present in adjusting our perspective. We feel just as much joy as we do sadness. Two orphans will now have a home! This is certainly greater than just one little girl coming to be with us. When we decided to adopt, our decision wasn't based on Kaylee. We want to adopt because kids need families. God cares for the orphans, the lonely and the brokenhearted. We want to have that same heart. So, while our plans have shifted in terms of specifics, nothing has changed in our general plans. We are still headed to Eastern Europe as soon as we have a referral. There are some minor paperwork adjustments and perhaps a little more waiting (no surprise there), but nothing will stop us from fulfilling God's call to care for orphans. While we do not have a specific child in mind, we do know that we will be referred a little girl. Once we get that referral, we will probably not provide very much information to friends and family until the adoption is official. We learned our lesson about attachments throughout these months, and we want to protect our friends and family from any unneeded hurt.
Will you pray for us as we walk with God through the next steps of this journey? As I'm sure many will ask, here is a tentative timeline (note that I did say tentative---everything is tentative when dealing with adoptions!):
January- Remaining updated paperwork will be sent to EE for dossier submittal in another region. Assuming there are no errors in the paperwork, this could be a relatively short process.
January/February- We hope to have a referral during this time period. Basically, once everything is submitted, we will be matched with a child that meets our requests. We will then have time to pray over the referral, review it and decide whether or not to accept it. It is unlikely we would not accept the referral unless there were unforeseen issues that arose or some factor we felt would not fit with our family.
February- Once we have a referral, we will do another large fundraiser of some kind. We still have money to raise, but we wanted to put a long block of time between our fundraisers. We do not want to burn anyone out or offend anyone. We know people support and love us (as well as orphans), so we do not feel bad to fundraise. But it's nice for everyone to have a break. This fundraiser will likely be an event (a bowling night maybe?)
February/March- Maybe we will finally get to travel?!?
March/April/May- If we have taken a first trip, we should be able to travel during these months.
We covet your prayers. Pray that our family will be able to maintain a joyful spirit despite the circumstances. Pray that our paperwork will be accepted without any mistakes. Pray that we will be issued a quick referral. Pray that we will have wisdom as we make a decision about accepting the referral. Pray that we will be able to travel soon and that this little child will find a family in us.
Thanks for hanging in there with us...we will try to update the blog a little more frequently now that we have been able to put this news out there!