The last two (or is it 3?) days have been a blur. Texting, emailing, calling, responding, and a whole lot of 'hit refresh, go check Facebook, go hit refresh, stare at photos, go check yahoo group, stare at photos, hit refresh, go check Facebook'. My days have sorta been sucked into a baby time warp which I know I am going to have to break out of pretty soon as the left overs are now vacated from the fridge and the laundry is starting to pile up.
I have been so, so blessed to have 4 (or is it 5?) great friends who all had photo consent forms (meaning they had my permission to see and take pictures of Olivia) - all in Ethiopia at one time to either pick up their children or see their children and attend court. And congrats to one on getting to come home and two on now being legal members of their new families!! (We still need prayer for the US Embassy to step it up and start getting some more of our littles home. There has been a huge lag time in the processing of cases lately.)
These friends have been so, so sweet and have loved on Olivia and been excited to send me photo after photo of her sweet little face. And when I say I am lucky - I am REALLY lucky. Some families have to wait weeks to have another family travel with a form and be able to get new photos back to them. I had them in hand two days later.
As a friend of mine said, "God loves you. And he knew how impatient you were so he planned your referral just right so your friends would be there to be able to send new photos back to you." Yep, my Daddy is into details.
I also am ecstatic that my Ethiopian sister Jerry, who lives in Addis, is so excited about her new niece. (AND she also happens to have a photo consent). Jerry was able to go yesterday to play with Olivia, hug/kiss on Olivia, and report back to me how happy she was and how beautiful a smile she has. I think it is so special that although I cannot give Olivia back her biological family, I can help to give her a loving Ethiopian family to form lifetime bonds with. Jerry also has a friend who's family member works at the center so she knew exactly where it was and was able to get clearance to go and see the baby. Just another little sweet detail.
And one of my most thrilling presents to open has been this little tidbit:
This is a watercolor print painted by another yahoo group member Katie, of Mossy Rock designs. Katie sells these gorgeous prints to raise funds for her own adoption, and does custom orders - so go check her out on etsy, hint-hint.
Last week, Katie emailed me to ask for my address as I had been so down and she wanted to send me a print to try to cheer me up. It is entitled "I will Protect You."
I received the print last Monday. Absolutely fell in love. I even wrote Katie to tell her the baby was exactly how I had pictured Olivia in my mind..
Then we received our gorgeous girl's photo on the following Monday... and pals - LET me tell you ----- I am not allowed to share Olivia's identifying information such as her real name, place of birth, or photos --- but this print painted back in October - could not look more like Olivia if Katie would have had her referral photo by her side as she painted it. It.is.an.exact.replica of the baby's referral photo. It is enough to give you chills.
So once more, God's little details... he had me staring at Olivia's face for a full week and I didn't even know it. Someone told me - "I would consider THAT the first photo you received of the baby!" Better than a 3D Ultrasound!!
And what is really amazing is how I kinda needed that little bit of assurance that yes - this was my baby. This was perfectly planned and she was THE ONE. When you give birth, there really isn't any denying that yes - that little messy, squirming thing is yours. But in adoption, love at first sight has a bit more haze in it. Because I have to admit to you, my mind held that baby, but she was a little, itty bitty, frail, in your arms kind of baby. So when we first saw this healthy, sitting up and playing with a rattle baby - I had a couple moments of 'what?'..... are we completely positive this is our Olivia?? But the moment I set her photo beside the painting, I knew. God planned this. And he even sent me a little message to say - "see.... I knew her before the foundations of the world." (Remember how I need him to thump me in the head to get things through sometimes??) And the peace that I have felt with this adoption, of this child.... and the love that continues to grow day by day with each glance at her photo.... this is my baby. And that blows.my.mind.
His plan is perfect. And all that waiting. And all those tears. And all that time... he was just putting stroke by perfect stroke on the masterpiece he is creating that we will call our family. It will be perfect. It sure feels perfect.