I haven't done a ton of posting lately about Inessa and our adoption plan, well, mainly because I wasn't entirely sure we had an official "plan". Mark and I started the adoption paperwork back in early April without any assurance that we were actually going to be able to adopt Inessa. In Latvia, children who are Inessa's age and older are able to address the courts and have their wishes known in regards to being adopted. While we know Inessa loves us, we also can't deny that it would be a huge life change for her and we didn't want to pressure her into making such a big decision after she's been though a relatively tumultuous and emotional spring. Mark and I figured we would get our home study completed and then wait and see how Inessa was feeling when she comes back to spend the summer with us.
With one email that all changed.
Several weeks ago Inessa and I were emailing back and forth (which is such a joy!) and she expressed that she would love to grow up in our family. I about fell out of my chair! While we have worked hard to always assure her that we will love and support her no matter what the future holds, I had also worked hard to avoid talking adoption with her because we didn't want her to feel like she had to make this huge choice under any pressure. After about a dozen emails back and forth clarifying and confirming and reconfirming and reconfirming once again to be sure, we finally had our answer - Inessa wants to be our daughter!!!
I haven't shared too much about this (especially online) for a couple of reasons. One, I know my blog is public and while I also realize I only have about two faithful readers (shout out to both of you!) ;), I want to be careful to protect some of Inessa's privacy. I worry that I have already shared too much of her story, and while she is completely and totally a joy in our lives, I don't want to over share aspects of her situation that she may want to keep to herself.
Two, I could talk about Inessa for days. Really. Ask any of my poor in-real-life friends! There isn't a ton of new information in the day to day, so I end up talking about the same things over and over. So I try to keep myself from going on and on...and on...and on.
Third, in the very back of my mind is this terrible paranoid fear that if I say it out loud (or online), something awful will happen and we won't get to adopt Inessa. Crazy, right? But it's true. Even though I know that she loves us (and she reassures us in every email!), I also find myself holding my breath every time I open a message from her. Will she hold out for a "better" family? Will she change her mind? What if we aren't approved to adopt? There are aspects of her particular situation that lend themselves to creating a myriad of "what ifs".
Finally, I haven't blogged much about our adoption process because while I am so excited (I can't tell you the joy I treasure in my heart because of this!), I don't want to paint a picture of perfection. This process is tricky and everything can change in a moment. I get nervous putting expectations out there for fear of watching them fall through. I don't want everyone to think that this will be all sunshine and unicorns, so that when difficulties arises I lose the "rose colored glasses" folks' support and encouragement. This is going to be hard. Heck, the paperwork alone is hard and that is NOTHING compared to welcoming a tween girl into this testosterone heavy family and raising her!
When I sit back and look at this, I have moments of total freak out. FREAK OUT. I freak out at times about the logistics of this adoption - there will be nothing easy about this for a number of reasons. I freak out at times about how we will help her transition language and education. I freak out at times because, in case anyone wonders, Mark and I have NO experience parenting a 12 year old, let alone a 12 year old girl. (gulp...) Sometimes just for entertainment, Mark and I will say to each other, "Yeah, we're going to have three kids." or equally stomach flipping is the "We're getting a daughter!" spiel. Whew!
While it is all surreal, the fact is it is all REAL at the same time, and we couldn't be happier. Truly. You know what makes me stop freaking out? When I think about Inessa. When I forget about the situation, the circumstances, and the unknown and just think about this amazing, funny, sweet, kind, spunky girl I have NO DOUBTS about adopting. None. I will never, ever forget the first moment I laid eyes on her at the airport, and it was at that moment I swear God just laid a portion of His love for this beautiful child in my heart and nothing has been the same since. And the amazing thing is that God did that with everyone in our family. Mark, Jude, and Calvin all love her as if she has always been in our family. I have no doubt that she is our daughter. I get overwhelmed thinking about the process of making that come true, but I have no doubt about who she is and who she will one day legally be. She is our daughter.
So for a summary of the logistics, here is where we are. We had our home study meeting and we are finishing up gathering background checks. Once our home study is written, we will submit it for approval to the USCIS, and begin working on our dossier. In a perfect world with no legal hang ups (and we are anticipating the possibility of a couple), we could travel to Latvia late this fall to get Inessa. To finalize her adoption, we have to make two additional trips to Latvia (for a total of three trips!), and the adoption could be finalized by early next year.
We could use your prayers for expediency as we work through all this paperwork. Please pray for Inessa as she is apart from us, that God will reassure her daily of our love and commitment to her. Pray that God will equip us to raise this amazing young lady. Pray that I will freak out less and less. :)
So. There it is. It's out there now. We are adopting! And we could sure use your prayers...