Back in August, right around the time of Johannah's unfulfilled due date, the Lord spoke to me through Isaiah 42:8-9, "I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols. See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you." I had a strong sense that the Lord was telling me to be prepared, that He was going to be bring about something. I actually thought I might be pregnant, something I no longer think each month like I use to. I even took a pregnancy test, but like so many before it, it was negative.
Fast forward to September 9th, when I decided to believe God is who He says He is. I wrote about it here. What I didn't say was that later that night my friend Stephanie told me about a possible adoption situation. She knew about it through the work we both do with the organization that assists North Korean refugees (I talked about it in my last post). The following day I was able to hear a bit more about the situation from the program coordinator (I'll call her K) of this organization. It turns out she had been asked to find a family for a one and a half year old little girl that is the daughter of a North Korean refugee. She said she thought of John and I immediately. She asked me what I thought about everything, and what came to mind was that it would be "immeasurably more" than I could "ask or imagine" Eph 3:20. I remember saying that if it was going to happen the Lord was going to have to bring it about because I had no idea how to go about it.
About a month went by without anything happening and in fact I was starting to think nothing would come of the situation. We proceeded ahead with filling out our application for Bethany. On October 3rd, this all changed. That night we held an event at my house to raise awareness of the situation in North Korea and some of the work that is being done to help. K also came to this event and after everyone else left, she stayed to pray with John and I about the situation. About 11:30pm I get a call from Stephanie to call K immediately. I call her and she tells me that she just got a call from South Korea. She tells me that while we were praying, the pastor in charge of this organization was meeting with the child's mom and that she had decided to place her with us (goosebumps). The one question K asked is if we would be willing to still have contact with the birthmom. From the beginning, we have felt strongly about having an open adoption so of course we agreed. A designated, open international adoption - I am still amazed.
On Monday, I put in a call to Bethany and Children's Home Society & Family Services (CHSFS) to try to get more information. I really didn't know if it was even legally possible or how we would go about it. CHSFS was recommended by A (Thank you!) back when I had asked for recommendations as we were beginning the adoption process. When I first started volunteering with the refugee assistance organization, I had been interested in hearing about unaccompanied refugee minors who needed homes. I found out these children are not available for adoption and for that reason we decided it was not for us at this time. It was during this research that I saw that CHSFS was 1 of 3 agencies that is able to place children from Korea in the state of Maryland. Even after we decided not to pursue this, I kept their website in my favorites and sometimes I would go visit to read about their Korea program. On Tuesday, I got a call back from CHSFS who put me in touch with their Korea Program Coordinator. I felt like this women was sent from God. She was so helpful and told me exactly what would need to happen. She was even familiar with North Korea issues and the refugee situation. We had planned to meet with the birthmom via Skype the following Friday, but were advised that this would be illegal and would have jeopardized the entire adoption. She also advised us not to give any financial support to the organization because it could be perceived as us trying to buy a child. We had planned to begin donating money, but just had not gotten around to it. I felt God's hand of protection on us in both these instances. I found out that Korea does not allow independent adoptions of any sort. The birthmom must work with 1 of 4 agencies in South Korea, each of whom has a partner agency in the U.S.. Eastern is the partner agency of CHSFS. The mom will have to relinquish to Eastern (or one of the other agencies) for designated placement with us. On our end, we proceed with all the normal steps of a Korean adoption through CHSFS. The only difference is the final matching step. I passed all this info along to K who passed it on to the pastor. He met with Eastern who gave him the name of a man in the Maryland office of CHSFS. He had K call last Thursday and K and the gentleman ended up getting in an argument. I thought we were done at that point, but I asked God to bring about a change of heart in this man. Later that evening K called and said he had called her back and was willing to help. The Lord has shown Himself at every turn in this situation. I spoke with the man that same night and set up an appointment with him for Oct 28th. He was a very curt and so I was very nervous about the meeting. When we got there he snapped at the social worker right in front of us when she stated she would also be meeting with us. He ended up not being a part of the meeting! The meeting ended up going very well. We discussed the situation with the social worker and talked to see if there was anything that would disqualify us immediately from the Korea program. She didn't think we had anything to worry about as far as history of counseling, etc. We also discussed the riskiness of this situation. They wanted to know if we were willing and interested in rolling over to the regular Korea program should this situation not work out. Our answer was absolutely. It was very scary to think about all the time, money, and effort we will be putting in to this situation. It will be heartbreaking if it does not work out, but at least everything else will not be for naught. They sent the formal application packet that day! They offer classes the second Friday of every month so there will be no delay as there was with Bethany. The social worker had even mentioned us possibly attending the Nov 13th class if we got everything done in time. After seeing the application packet, I don't see that happening. We are aiming for Dec 11th.
So one way or another we are adopting from Korea!!!!!
I am so excited! I had a peace and some excitement about taking a step forward when we filled out our formal domestic adoption application, but not an excitement about the adoption itself. Something about it never felt quite right (for us specifically not domestic adoption in general). The joy and excitement that were eluding me have been found. This feels right.
P.S. I will write another post about Bethany and the withdrawal of our application with them, but this post is already long enough :)