Ahhhhh. It's 8:53pm and the cool breeze of a warm night is settling in on us. I'm sitting outside on our patio blogging away while Justin enjoys the rare pleasure of a good cigar and Brie explores our darkened back yard. Our day is coming to an end and we are feeling successful.
As I mentioned before, we dubbed today as our unofficial Operation Ethiopia Day. With our to due list in hand, checked 3-4-5 times last night before we headed to bed, we started off bright and early at 6am. Our first appointment was with our Fire Department at 7:45am. Luckily she didn't come in tow with a fire engine...how quickly neighborhood gossip could start!...and that meeting went great. Lyn gave us some pointers on things we can get to make the home more safe, but overall she said we were in good condition and she signed off all the necessary paperwork. She also invited us to stop on by the fire station when we bring our little bundle of joy home for a photo op. She seemed to have caught the bug of our excitement and was already planning to take a picture of him swaddled all up in a fireman's boot :) Too cute!
Our day continued with duel physicals by our new family doctor at 10am. Getting the physician and notary together to fill out more paperwork was a breeze...but finding out that my sore throat was really strep throat wasn't so great. Yuck! No wonder I felt lousy the past few days. But, I wasn't about to let that hinder our plans for the day. Justin had taken work off today and we had to take advantage of it. We left about an hour later after having blood work drawn and another item crossed off on our to-do list! Stopping at the pharmacy to pick up my prescription helped fill up our time before we needed to head up to Independence to get fingerprinted. We completed that item on our checklist and moved right along. Justin was so sweet and decided he knew just what I needed to help get me through the rest of the afternoon. He took me out to Steak and Shake for a strawberry milkshake :) All day I've felt like we are a smoothly functioning machine, working towards this light at the end of the paperwork tunnel! We then headed over to the hospital's human resources to get my employment paperwork signed and notarized. It was there that we met our first bump in the road when my employer's notary decided to stamp Justin's medical release paper instead of my employment sheet. I got the impression that I was interrupting her time, but she made a mistake and I had to go back and have her correct it. Although it's just a stamp, that STAMP is incredibly important and it's a matter of us getting things done the right way the first time. This also meant that we'd need to get new letters from our doctor, notarized, and that just tacked a little more time on to our day. It was annoying for sure, but I'm certain we'll have many of those moments to come.
Our last, and most important event of the day was getting to meet our social worker who will be completing our home study. It was a wonderful three hours! I was nervous of what she might ask, but Juanita made the whole process run smoothly. She asked us a lot about our childhoods, how we've become "us", and what our families are like. She had some fantastic tips on how we can bond with our son every step of this adoption---especially when we take our first trip there and have to leave before we return a second time to bring him home. She really helped me begin to think like a mom. While we were sitting out on our deck having dinner together, she gave us tips on using natural household products rather than chemically based products around the house that will be safe for a toddler. She shared some funny stories of her own experiences as a mom and the three of us bonded in ways I hadn't expected to on our first interaction. We also learned that her husband has a passion for music and as we walked through the house we paused for a moment in Justin's guitar room. Pulling out the acoustic guitar that was hand made by a very close friend of his family's, Juanita quickly picked up on the level of detail and beautiful craftsmanship that went into making the instrument. She mentioned how great it will be for Justin and her husband to meet when we head over to her house in the next month or so to review our finalize home study report. My smile gave away the ease of emotions---I am reminded again that we are taking every step of this process by the clear guidance of our Lord. There have been many moments when we've been able to step back and recognize that as things fall into place, it's in doing by His timing. It makes me wonder where our son's mom is right now....what her life is like, and whether or not he's a known part of her life yet. As we sit outside tonight talking over the timeline of when we think things will happen, I have no idea where our little guy is. One thing I know for certain is that he is already known by our Creator, and in that I find myself coming back for comfort often. Thank you all so much for continuing to lift Justin and I up in prayer. We can sense it, this peace we experience and the joy we're finding in each step of this process is proof of your intercessory prayer. As insightfully titled, there is light at the end of the tunnel. The majority of our paperwork is complete, each now just needs official seals and we'll be set! We anticipate our home study will be written up by the end of this month and we hope to have all the government clearings completed by June. That puts us on track to having our dossier sent off by July and we will have then put the ball in Ethiopia's court!
As our nesting continues, we are enjoying each step along the way. Thanks again for all your encouragement, support, and prayers!