There are quite a few of you who really want to know what happened over the past week to totally change the course of our lives. Here are all the nitty gritty little details...
Last Tuesday evening Becky arrived home to a message about a possible referral. With butterflies in her stomach she called back. Donna (from Acres of Hope) explained that there were 3 boys who entered the orphanage the previous weekend-- 4 or 5, 2 or 3, and a few months old. She knew we only wanted 2 boys under 3 years, but she was throwing it out there just in case we were interested. With terror in our eyes we talked and agreed to consider it. Becky had actually been thinking about the possibility of 3 for a few weeks and was somewhat interested in the possibility, but the feeling wasn't mutual.
By the end of the evening Tuesday the soon-to-be-daddy said (with resignation in his voice), "You know we're going to end up doing this." Please note that this was not a decision but simply the recognition that our lives never turn out the way we plan and always end up crazier than we expect. We made a list of things that we needed to consider before making the decision-- like whether we could fit enough car seats in our current vehicles. We also began to pray a lot more than usual.
We began talking with with several people who we felt could be helpful in our decision. We were especially interested in talking to people who had adopted or given birth to multiples. Hearing their stories made us think that maybe we could survive the transition from 0 to 3 in an instant.
On Thursday we called to say that we were indeed interested in knowing more about the kids, but we DID NOT want to see pictures of their cute little faces. We learned that there had been a slight mix up and the middle boy was actually a girl!! This fact added to the fact that the oldest was turning 5 instead of the 4 that we were hoping for just about ended the deal for Peter. He pretty much wigged out for 24 hours, and there was no way to tell what he was thinking. Mommy, however, made the transition in her head fairly quickly and decided she could live with a girl as long as Daddy decided he could. She kept her opinions to herself while waiting to see where things would end up.
Friday afternoon Peter returned from a lunch meeting with the conclusion that this is the right decision even though he doesn't like it. We asked God to make it clear by the end of the day if this wasn't his plan. Around 5pm, with no change of heart, we called Donna to ask for pictures of our kids.
The pictures came very late Friday evening, but we were in Lancaster County for our annual pool party with college friends. They don't have internet access at home, so as soon as we got up in the morning we drove into town to try to find an unsecured wireless network to download the pictures to our laptop. We found one, but the sun was so bright that we couldn't really see the screen. If you had been in the Manheim post office parking lot at the time, you would have seen 2 people bending over a computer in the trunk of their car with a poster board over their heads while the crazed lady kept saying, "Are they cute? I think they're cute! Can you see them? Hurry, let's go back and go inside so we can see if they're cute!"
So that's how we got to the point of having 3 adorable kids. They all "appear healthy" (the Liberian version of a full physical) and tested negative for Hep and HIV. Their mommy died giving birth to the baby 2 months ago. Daddy is uneducated and unemployed, and he has no way to care for 3 little ones so he decided the best thing he could do is to give them up. The baby is in foster care because he's so young and susceptible to so much. The other 2 are settling in at the orphanage.
It's hard to imagine the loss the older 2 kids have experienced in the past 2 months. We can't wait to hold them in our arms and tell them that everything is going to be OK. It's hard to accept the fact that we still have 4-6 months until we can escape the threat of malaria and other common illnesses. Though we are clearly NOT ready to bring the kids home, we want to get them out of Liberia as quickly as possible.
Tonight we actually learned that there are 18 month old twins available now. They knew this was our "perfect" option, and they wanted to know if we want to reconsider. Surprisingly, we both said no almost immediately. It's amazing how quickly our hearts changed, but we already can't imagine these 3 not being ours. We feel that God lined things up in such a way that we opened ourselves up to blessings we never would have considered otherwise. It actually felt good to say no to the twins because it confirmed in our minds that this is the right decision. The only fear that remains about the choice is the fact that the kids aren't officially relinquished yet. That process will take another week or 2 until we know for certain that no one is going to claim our cuties. It's unlikely anyone will with their mommy gone, but we're pretty nervous after what happened with Moses and Saturday.
For those of you who are the praying kind, we'll post a list of specific prayer requests tomorrow. For now please just pray for our nerves as we wait to hear that this one is going through, and pray for the kids' health and emotions as they go through all these difficult changes.