Eliza doesn't understand adoption or how it works, but she talks about her brother like he lives at our house already. So much so, that I warned her teacher at the beginning of the school year: "When you hear Eliza talking about Judah, she's talking about a little boy we are adopting."
Giving him a name makes it seem like we know who he is, but we don't. We just know that we are still waiting to be matched with a boy between 0-3. We decided to name him not long after we started the adoption process because we wanted to pray for our son by name. We decided to name him before even meeting him because he is growing in our hearts just like a child that would grow in your womb. We named both of our girls before seeing their faces, and we did the same with our son.
Judah means "the Lord will be praised." We have seen God revealing himself to us and carrying us through this LONG adoption journey, and we know that throughout it all (however long it takes), the Lord WILL continue to be praised. Judah could end up being our son's middle name- depending on his given name, age, or situation. For right now, though, to us, our son is Judah.
To Eliza, her brother is Judah. She already loves him. She prays for him. She tells people about him. You can frequently hear her squeal with excitement when she hears the name in the Bible or a song, "Oh that's Judah- that's my brother!" She talks about how he's coming home someday and how they are going to eat cupcakes. She tells us his favorite color is yellow (or green, depending on the day). She causes our hearts to ache when she says things like, "Let's go to Ethiopia! Let's go right now. Let's go get Judah!" (If only we could, baby girl....but someday we will!) Eliza is convinced that her brother will be there for her birthday, which is in August. As it turns out, that MIGHT be a possibility.
A few weeks ago, we received our last "wait mailing." Our agency sends them out in 3 installments, based on where you are at on the list. We are far enough along to receive the final one. It told us things like which documents to start updating, how we will receive our match info, what the process will look like once we are matched, and what to expect as far as travel plans.
We still don't know how long it will be before we get our referral (match), but we know that things are MOVING in Ethiopia! The Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs sent workers from Ethiopia to make surprise visits to the U.S. this summer to check on children who have been adopted from Ethiopia. Thankfully, the government was pleased with what they saw in the U.S. The new officials in Ethiopia seem to have a more positive attitude toward international adoption - seeing international adoption as a good option instead of a last resort. We have also heard that a record number of adoption letters have been signed in the past few weeks. These things stir our hearts with excitement and anticipation!
Of course, there is still red tape everywhere. The U.S. is proposing new adoption regulations, Ethiopia's proposed changes to international adoption are still pending, and Ethiopia is still in a "State of Emergency" because of civil unrest. There are also regions of Ethiopia that still refuse to sign adoption paperwork, and our agency can no longer work in those areas, limiting the number of children they can assist. We know God can and already has worked it all out, and no matter what, He will be praised.
Our adoption paperwork has been in Ethiopia for over 3 years now. We have just recently updated our home study and immigration clearances (for the 3rd time during this process). They will expire again in another 18 months. We feel confident, though, that we really could meet our son in 2017. We would love nothing more than for Judah to be here for Eliza's birthday...so they can eat yellow (or green) cupcakes together. :)
Pray with us.
Photo credit: Deer Photography KC