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happy family day!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

I first posted this last July when we were still in the process of Finding Maddie. Now that she's home, this day has even more significance...even though the date is actually the gotcha day for the older three children. For those of you who have read this before, please indulge me. For the rest of you...enjoy!

Some people call it 'Gotcha Day'.
Others call it 'Adoption Day'.
We call July 26th 'Family Day.'
It describes us best.
Today is the day we celebrate becoming a family.
It's kind of a cool story, actually. But you have to promise you won't think I'm a freak. I'm a little nervous about posting this thing...it's very personal, but it's story I have to tell in order to fully appreciate our 'Family Day.'
Ten years ago we were your ordinary, everyday couple.
We had been married for nine years.
We didn't have any kids...not for a lack of trying.
The doctor's couldn't help us without some serious intervention and it just wasn't a road we were ready to travel. We didn't want to go through all of that pain, stress, heartache and expense only end up childless at the end of the journey.
In May of that year, I was going through my yearly Mother's Day depression...but for some reason in 1998 it was hitting me particularly hard.
I had moped around all week, crying over all of the Mother's Day ads, complaining (mostly to myself) about the injustice of it all and just generally being a really grump to be around.
One night, a few days before Mother's Day, I had a dream. In the dream I was sitting in a chair in one of the bedrooms when a little boy with dark hair, overalls and a t-shirt walked up to me and climbed into my lap.
His hair was soft, he smelled like baby powder and he called me 'Mama'.
It was a very vivid dream...you know, the kind where you wake up and are convinced it was absolutely true.
It was a great dream.
I took a lot of comfort from it.
I wrote it down in my journal, savored it for a bit and then after awhile forgot about it.
Mother's Day came and went.
Later that summer, Shad and I took a vacation to northern Minnesota. While we were there we had a lot of time to talk about where we were headed, what we wanted from life and what kinds of goals we wanted to set.
It was during these conversations that we realized it wasn't biology that we were after. We just wanted to have a child.
We wanted to build a family.
We didn't have any spectacular genes that we needed to pass on.
We had a faith and a home we wanted to share.
So as we were driving home we decided to start looking into adoption.
When we got home from our trip we had a call on our answering machine from our best friends. A woman from an adoption agency had spoke at their church. They talked to her about us, had picked up a packet and given us a call. I called the agency on Monday.
A few weeks later we sent in our application.
We quickly set our hearts on Russia and started working on our I-600A and homestudy...but something wasn't feeling right. We couldn't place our fingers on it...it was just an uneasiness.
I've learned in my almost 37 years, that when I get to feeling uneasy, it's usually God trying to tell me something.
So we backed off a bit. We went ahead with our homestudy and our I-600A...but we didn't start compiling our dossier...not quite yet.
Christmas came and went...and still the uneasiness was there.
I know I've told you before that I used to work in television news. I loved my job. One of the things I loved was that I had access to information and people that the public generally doesn't have.
In January of 1999 we ran a story about an infant that was left on a doorstep in our town. It was a little boy...healthy, cute as a button and only two days old.
I immediately called one of my contacts, who told me that I wasn't eligible to adopt him (they had tons of people in the system ahead of us) but had we ever considered adopting from Russia? She had a friend who was a lawyer, who had just started an adoption agency. Maybe you should give her a call.
I called her that night.
We changed agencies that weekend. Suddenly things just felt right.
Four months later we had a referral of a little boy with brown hair, beautiful blue eyes and the most serious look about him.
We fell in love.
Within seven months of signing with this new agency we had our little boy.
We were a family.
Three years later we were working with a different agency. (Our first agency had to shut down due to some new Russia regulations). We were getting ready to take our second trip. This time we would be going to court and bringing Anya and Nick home with us. We got our court date on July 4th and the next day I called around and purchased our plane tickets.
On the 6th our agency called back to let us know the judge had pushed the court date back a week. We wouldn't be traveling until the end of the month.
Thankfully the travel agent hadn't finished up all she needed to do to get us the tickets, so we were able to make the change without any extra charge.
A few weeks later all three of us were on our way to Russia. The day after we arrived in the region, we went to the orphanage to visit with the kids and to introduce them to their new big brother.
While we were there the orphanage director asked if we would like to take the kids home...before court. Evidently the kids were going to be moved the next day to a new orphanage. The old one was going to go through some much needed repairs. Instead of having the kids move twice in less than a week, they thought it would be better if we took care of them leading up to court. She had even gone so far as to get special permission to make this happen.
We were thrilled! And of course we said yes!
A few days later we went to court...and became an even bigger family.
It sounds like your run-of-the-mill (if there is such a thing) family day story. But if you look at the details there is a very fine red thread running through our family's history...
  1. A year after we adopted Alek we were getting ready to move to another state. I was going through the books in our room and came upon my journal. I thumbed through the pages and stumbled on my entry about the dream and the little boy. It was May X, 1998. The day Alek was born.
  2. When we heard the message on our answering machine from our friends, it came as a huge shock. We had just made the decision to adopt on our way home from Minnesota (on Sunday morning). The guest speaker had spoken at their church that Sunday morning. We hadn't had a chance to tell our friends about our decision to adopt. We hadn't had the chance to tell anyone.
  3. I found out when we got received the referral paperwork on Alek that the day I called that first agency was the day Alek was put on the Russian 'available for adoption list.'
  4. Obviously, if we hadn't changed agencies we would never have found Alek. The old agency didn't even work in the same part of Russia.
  5. And finally, the change in travel dates. Remember we were originally supposed to travel a week before. The change in travel dates put us in the region at the same time they were moving the orphanage to a different facility. Which means we would have gotten custody of the children on a different day. As it was, it ended up that we got custody of Anya and Nick on July 26th...three years to the day that we had taken custody of Q-ball.
Pretty cool, huh?
You may be thinking this is just the ramblings of a woman who reads too much into things.
Or you might consider it a neat red-thread story.
I believe it's a God-thing.
Obviously, Maddie probably won't have the same 'Gotcha Day' as the other kids (unless we really get delayed - Heaven forbid! :)...but I can't wait to look back and see all of the neat little threads God is weaving through her story. (For more on her 'red-threads' you can read about her story on Finding Maddie.)

6 salty messages:

MamaPoRuski July 26, 2008 at 5:01 PM  

No mistakes or chance in my book either! I love how God's plan is so more perfect than our own! I'm just waiting to be on the other side of this journey with our girl safely home. I don't understand all the "why" right now, and wish God would sure take up my suggestions as part of his plan...But he assures me he has it covered without me! (sigh!)
I love reading your posts, like the new layout too!

Tina in CT July 26, 2008 at 7:45 PM  

We faithful readers need a moving update on how things are progressing. Hope you're closer to finding a house.

Next summer when my daughter is visiting her in-laws, you two should plan a meeting.

I hope you and the family had a wonderful "Family Day" to celebrate today's significant date!

Anonymous,  July 26, 2008 at 9:51 PM  

I love your story. God is so good!

Diana July 26, 2008 at 11:52 PM  

Hey, cool! July 26 is our family day, too!! Because our trip was so crazy and we assumed custody of both our boys at different times, we decided to celebrate the day we actually brought them home. We spent today celebrating our very first family day and had a great time! I doubt the details of our very fun day will make it to the blog tonight, but it will in the day or so!

Love the stories!

rachel July 27, 2008 at 10:59 PM  

what a beautiful story... happy family day!!


Troy and Rachel July 28, 2008 at 9:40 AM  

It was definitely a God-thing!! Happy Family Day for now and many, many years to come.

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