Today was the day: our I-171H is here! 9 weeks of waiting and praying for this day -- now it's here and we are beyond excited!
Within 15 minutes of joyfully plucking the envelope from our mailbox, I was sitting with Jon in the office of our kind and generous friend who faithfully notarized nearly 40 documents for us. Tomorrow I will drive down to Olympia to have our dossier stamped by the Secretary of State, and then send it on to Washington DC to get authenticated by the US State Department. It will trek back across the country to our placing agency, and from there it will be FedExed to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Tonight we are collating, stapling, and organizing the 200-some pieces of paper that make up our dossier and all its necessary copies, cover letters, and notary pages. (For a brief but terrifying time tonight I couldn't find the original I-171H form! After sending Jon to the office where we made copies earlier, I finally found it - I had accidentally stapled it to the back page of a letter of recommendation... Oops!) It will be hard to hand an envelope to a UPS employee tomorrow, knowing that those papers represent not only 7 months of work on our part, but more importantly they are the key to bringing home our child!
Speaking of our child... We have news! The mailman is not done with us yet. Any day now we will receive the official referral paperwork for an absolutely beautiful, sweet, and dearly loved 6 year old girl! I wish I could show you her radiant smile, share her gorgeous name (we're keeping it), and give you a few more details about our soon-to-be daughter. All in good time. For now I will just say that we are in love.
You may be wondering how we ended up with a 6 year old girl when we originally set out to adopt a baby or young toddler... Maybe I'll post the long version sometime, but the short story is simply that we followed God and this is where He led us. Although adopting an older child presents a unique set of challenges, we could not be more excited for the road before us.
And finally, to our amazing support system / prayer team, THANK YOU. This would not be happening without you. We love you, and please keep praying! We'll update more soon with specific requests for this next stage of the journey. For now, I leave you with the Ethiopian good-bye: Ciao!