I have lots of things to tell you!
We did get our home study last week. We got our first draft on Monday. We made a few changes and then the agency finalized it. The final notarized draft is probably in our mailbox now. Tomorrow we will send that off to immigration along with a few other papers and a nice check. There was one little issue with our home study, but I am going to tell you about that in my next post because today I am excited about something else.
Last Thursday was our four year anniversary. Mark always does a really great job planning anniversary dates and this year was no exception. He collaborated with my dad to plan a date in St. Joseph, the town I spent the first eighteen years of my life in and the town my family still lives near. St. Joe is not exactly what you would call a bustling metropolis, but there is plenty to do there. It is an old West town with a lot of cool museums. We spent the afternoon learning cool facts about the town (Aunt Jemima was invented there, and so was the fireman pole) and then we checked into our bed and breakfast, Museum Hill. It is super cute:
After dinner and the game, we holed in for the night and I beat Mark at Scrabble for the first time in life.
Sounds good, but what the heck does that have to do with our adoption?
This morning a middle-aged couple joined us for breakfast. They were from Kirksville and they seemed nice enough. We made small talk. They know a girl we went to college with. Talked about the weather. Talked about work. Talked about benefits at work. Mark mentioned adoption benefits…and then the conversation really started.
Turns out that they adopted a 22-month-old from Romania in 1991, and oh my goodness did they have some stories to share. They hadn’t planned to adopt; they already had three biological children on their own. A friend of theirs was doing some work over there and told them about all the orphans. They were training young orphan boys to join the military and overthrow the government. They couldn’t ignore this and wound up with another son.
He spent the first two years of his life in a crib. At meal times, the orphanage workers lined up a long table parallel to the line of cribs. They laid out the food and took baby 1 out of the crib, did the same for baby 2, and on down the line. When they got to the end of the line, they put baby 1 back in his crib. This taught the kids to shove food down their mouths as fast as they could. When he was adopted, they had issues with him eating very quickly and hoarding food. He went to church camp and won a marshmallow eating contest…he would swallow them whole. The next year he won a watermelon eating contest- he ate the rind and all! He is now 21 years old and has made a full adjustment, but they said they still find food in his room sometimes.
They said there are a dozen or so families in Kirksville that have adopted children from Ethiopia, which really surprised us. You don’t think about there being such diversity in a small town, and I think that’s great. We shared so many stories with this couple, a good hours worth, and I enjoyed every minute of it.
I couldn’t find any stats for international adoption 20 years ago, but I know it was much less common. I am so thankful to couples like them that paved the way for couples like us. We have been overwhelmed with support, not only from our family/friends but also from adoption groups, books, etc. It was not like that 20 years ago. It is easy to find people who have recently adopted internationally but not so easy to find someone who has a grown child who was adopted internationally. I soaked in the knowledge and lessons they shared. I needed that.
I don’t even remember their names but I am so thankful that we crossed paths. I believe some things are merely coincidences, and perhaps this was, but I also think that sometimes God puts specific people at a specific place at a specific time for a reason. And I think that happened today.