We had our SDA appointment this morning. It went great! Before Parker was transferred we had been told that we most likely would not get all 3 of the kid's referrals at one appointment, but that the facilitators would do their best. The SDA only likes to give out up to 2 referrals at the same time, but that since all 3 of our children were at the same orphanage that there was a slight chance that we would be able to get all 3 at once. When our dossier was submitted, we found out that Parker had been transferred to an internat close by the baby house that Daniel and Josslyn are still in. Since Parker was in a different facility we were told that there was no chance that we could get all 3 referrals at the same time now. We would have our SDA appointment and get 2 referrals(Daniel and Josslyn's). AFTER that, Serge(one of our facilitators), would request a second SDA appointment to get Parker's referral. While we were waiting for our second appointment, we would travel by train to our region, meet Daniel and Josslyn, and confirm that we still wanted to adopt them. Then, when we were given an appointment to receive Parker's referral, we would travel back to do that, then go back to our region, meet him and confirm that we still wanted to adopt him. Once we had done all that, our facilitator in region would request for us to be given a court date. WHEW! Lots of traveling back and fourth, but we were more than willing to do it. We were just thrilled that we were able to adopt all 3.
Before we knew that Parker had been transferred, I had been praying ALOT that we would be able to get all 3 referrals at the same SDA appointment. Even though it wasn't highly likely, there was still a chance so I was praying my heart out. Then we found out that Parker had been transferred and we for sure wouldn't be able to get all 3 referrals at once because of this. I was a little disappointed about that, but I was so relieved that Parker was still available to be adopted, that it over shadowed any disappointment about our trip being prolonged. It isn't ideal, but this is international adoption, so nothing ever goes completely as planned. The bigger picutre is that we are able to get all 3, and in the long run that is the most important thing.
Once I learned that the possibility of getting all 3 referrals at once had gone from slim to none, I stopped praying about it. God has moved many mighty mountains on our children's behalf, so I was ok with some disappointment thrown in here and there. He had answered my biggest prayer, which was that all 3 of them would be clear for adoption, so why get in a tizzy because everything wasn't exactly like I hoped it would be? Lately, I have seen several families lose the children they were trying to adopt, for different reasons. That gave me some perspective on the disappointment of Parker being transferred and, therefore, us having to have 2 different SDA appointments. It seemed so trivial, in light of the fact that there were families who had their dossier's submitted, only to learn that the child they were trying to adopt wasn't able to be adopted for whatever reason.
Then, Thursday night was I was praying, it just hit me. Why not ask God to make it so that we can get all three referrals at once? He can do anything, right? Once we were told that it wasn't a possibility, I had stopped asking the Lord to do it. Thursady night if just occurred to me, why not just ask? The worst that can happen is that God will say, "No, that's not my plan." Then we would just be right back were we expected to be. No biggie. So I started praying. I didn't even tell Josh that I was asking God to work this miracle, until Saturday while we were traveling. He was of the same mind. Can't hurt to ask because the worst he can say is, "no".
This morning our driver picked us up to head to our appointment. Another couple, who is adopting through Reece's Rainbow also, road with us. Their appointment was right before ours and I had arrange with them ahead of time for them to watch Kellen for us while we had our appointment, since we would be up there at the same time. They were so nice and more than willing to help us out with Kellen. I had been minorly stressing about having Kellen at the appointment with us. I had heard that appointments didn't take long, but I was worried after traveling all the previous day and having jet lag, that he would be really fussy. I didn't think that it would be in our best interest to bring a fussy unmanageable baby in to an appointment where we are requesting to adopt 3 children with special needs! It was such a relief to know that we had some awesome folks to babysit for us, so that I didn't have to worry about how Kellen was going to act. Big stress relief!
So we got the SDA building, and the other couple had their appointment first. When they came out they said, "No big deal. Ya'll can do it!" Immediately Serge said it was our turn. I stated to hand the baby off to our pre-arrange baby sitters, but Serge said to bring him. Um, ok. Serge knows his stuff, so I trusted that he knew best.
Our appointment took about 25 minutes or so(I didn't look at my watch, but that is what I would guess), and it really was no big deal. We walked in to a room and it was just us, Serge, and another lady who brough in the files. She laid the files on the table, and the first thing I noticed was that it was all three kids. Their "file", if you want to call it that, consisted of a clear pocket page with about 2 pieces of paper in each of them. We were able to see a newborn picture of Josslyn and Parker, and a picture of Daniel when he was a few months old. Each file also had another picture attached to the papers and I was able to exchange current pictures for an older picture of Josslyn and Parker. The more recent picture of Daniel was just printed on paper and it wasn't a good picture. Serge never asked if we wanted to trade pictures for that, so we didn't request it.
The appointment consisted of confirming that those were the three children we were wanting to adopt. Then we were asked to tell about ourselves. We were brief. Then we were questioned about the kids special needs and if we felt adaquate to deal with them. We explained that we were very comfortable with the needs that the kids have and we explained a little about why we were. It was at this point that we got out the picture album and showed a few pictures of my uncle, Mike, who has Down Syndrome. They seemed to really like that. Another lady came in and looked and everyone was smilling and pointing. They asked some questions about Mike, and I showed them a picutre of my grandparents( since they are Mike's parents). One of the pictures of Mike is when he won a gold medal at the International Special Olympics and Arnold Schwartnegger put the medal around his neck. Serge REEAALLLY liked that picture. He took the album and left the room and went around showing other people the picture. Apparantly, Serge was a body builder, back in the day, and he has met Arnold at a competition.
The appointment went well, as best I could tell. It is hard to tell when they are speaking Russian so we have no clue what they are saying. The lady with the files and asking the questions seemed nice, but I had no clue what she was saying to Serge about us. I was also confused the whole time because Parker's file was out and we were given infomation about him. I wasn't expecting that, so I was confused. Serge also kept getting on the phone and calling someone(I think it was, Marina, our in region facilitator), and talking to her about what was in the kid's files. It's very confusing when it is all in Russian. At the end of the meeting Serge said that we would come back the next day between 4:00 and 5:00 pm to pick of the paperwork to bring when we travel to our region. At this point I was still confused about WHICH kids we had just gotten the referrals for. The last thing we did was sign a book. The best I could tell, all 3 kids names were written beside ours, but once again, there is the whole issue with me not being able to read Russian.
We left the building and went to get coffee while our driver, Eugene, was copying some paperwork. I finally asked Serge WHO we had just gotten the referal for, since I was utterly confused at this point. I had not expected to see or hear anything about Parker at this appointment, so I wasn't really sure why we had seen his file. It seemed like we had just been given all three referrals, but since we had been told ahead of time that it wasn't going to happen like that I was trying to not get my hopes up. Much to my surprise, Serge said that we had just been given the referral to
PRAISE THE LORD!!!!!!
Up until 4 days ago, it hadn't even crossed my mind to ask God to give us a miracle like this!! Oh me of little faith!! How awesome is that?! That means we do NOT have to travel back here for a second referral appointment! Once we get to our region we get to stay there for the rest of the time, until it is time to come home! It also means that we get to meet Parker right of the bat, instead of having to wait until after we had a second appointment. It also means that this will not take away from visiting Daniel and Josslyn. We would have missed several days of visitation if we would have had to travel back here for a second appointment. Great news all the way around!! The only negative news we got was that there is a problem with one of the kid's paperwork(I don't know which one yet), and Serge said that it will delay our time in region. But he didn't act like it would cause a problem with being able to actually to adopt them. At this point we don't know what the problem is or how long we can expect it to delay us. We will be cutting several days off our trip by being able to get Parker's referral today, so I'm hoping that we just break even with this delay(whatever it is).
The kids files did not have much info about them(as expected). Parker was abandoned at the hospital, so anything about his parents or if he has other siblings is unknown. We were not told how Josslyn and Daniel ended up as orphans, but Serge said we will find out more when we get to the orphanage. I assume that Josslyn was abandoned at birth also, since in the picture in her file she looks only day or 2 old, which is what Parker's picutre looks like too. Daniel's baby picture is about 6 months old or so, so I guess it is possible that his parents took him home from the hospital, and then brought him to the orphanage when they realized that he had Down Syndrome. That is just a guess on my part though. Hopefully we will learn more when we get to the orphanage.
I have to run now. Kellen fell asleep in the car on the way back to the apartment and he just woke up. Praise th Lord for answering a prayer that I almost didn't even think to pray!!