I haven't posted a detailed adoption update because up until a certain point the details can get messy and confusing. So instead, I've been posting little snippets here and there on our Facebook adoption page like, "We need two more papers for our son's file, please pray.", etc.
Well, this evening, we got great news! (I love that our agency is three hours behind in Washington state, well, for the most part I love this, because it means that even though the end of the business day happens here at 5pm, I know I still have a few hours to hear news. Haha! And tonight was one of those times). We have been waiting for word from our agency that we have been submitted to the PAIR process. I knew we were close, so I found myself refreshing my email on my phone while we were out tonight, "just in case." I had this gnawing in my heart that it would be today. And sure enough, around 6pm, the refresh button gave me an email that said we have finally been submitted to the PAIR process and were given a copy of the packet. HALLELUJAH!!!! Now let me explain... ;)
There are TWO things that we need in order to travel and pick up our son and BOTH things are happening simultaneously right now.
1. PAIR approval- this happens on the U.S. side. This is an investigation of all our paperwork AND our son's paperwork (his file for PAIR is what we were missing those two papers for that we finally received after 5 months of waiting). Once all the paperwork is together, it gets sent to the National Benefits Center here in the U.S. and we wait for them to send us their approval letter. The golden ticket. This usually takes about 3 months. So the submission of the PAIR packet is what happened today. This is huge! We've been waiting 5 months for this. So now the approximate three month wait for this approval letter happens.
2. MOWA approval- this happens on the Ethiopian side. MOWA stands for Ministry of Women and Children and is similar to our social services. The MOWA process basically means the court process. There will be a first court date through MOWA (we do not have to be present for this court date), and once that happens we will get MOWA approval. This is golden ticket #2.
SO....once we receive BOTH of those things- the PAIR approval letter & MOWA approval, we will travel roughly 2 weeks later.
And more super great news is that we will only have to make ONE trip to Ethiopia. We will attend the second court date in Ethiopia and stay in-country until we bring our son home.
So while I sit and process tonight, on this quiet Friday evening, while Jon is out, and the kiddos are in bed, I am a bit overwhelmed...
There are SO many emotions in adoption. The roller coaster ride is simply unexplainable and really so very difficult to adequately express. Tonight, more than ever, the joy and grief of adoption is deeply felt. Our PAIR packet was 73 pages long, detailing our adoption case and our son's life. While we are overwhelmed with joy to be moving forward in the process, we are struck at our core over the details of our son's story and the deep sadness and grief that adoption brings.
Adoption is born out of tragedy, and to forget the tragedy is to deny a part of your child's very being. I expressed to a friend earlier how I often find myself wondering how and why God chose me, someone with my sensitivities, and someone who feels things SO deeply I think I might break, to parent two boys who have experienced so much loss. There are moments when I feel like the contents of that PAIR file are just too much to process and if I'm honest, I find myself questioning God's goodness over the life of my son and his birth family, and I question his goodness among this hellish world that left my boys in desperate need of a forever family. I find myself feeling deeper than I ever imagined and fearing that I am so ill equipped to walk children through this. My flesh tells me there is no road map, there is no hope for such sorrow, there is no way children heal from stuff like this.
And then, in a calm, quiet voice in my heart I just hear, "Jesus." That's mightily different than healing the sorrow of this broken world by telling people to "just be more like Jesus," "try harder," "obey," "follow the rules," "make everything black and white" instead of living in the tension. Because that kind of stuff? That's the kind of life Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for living. It's not the kind of life Jesus came and offered. Because that stuff? It doesn't mend the brokenness. It doesn't heal the pain and the sorrow. Jesus does. Jesus is what will give my sons the ability to walk through this life, complete, whole, and free. When the realities of the tragedy of adoption pierce their souls, and threaten to break them, it's not the rules and the confines of "religion" that will rescue them. It is Jesus. In so many ways, I pour over these 73 pages and think to myself, I cannot handle this. But yet, in every other way, God has made me for this.