Last Saturday, we had a little work party to get our little girl's room ready for her arrival (still no word on the court date...being patient is hard). Some selected images are below. I have also created an album on Picasa if you want to see the rest of the fun. Oh, and Noelle wanted me to point out that the room is not all the way finished yet - she is planning some further decoration on the walls.
At some point you've probably wondered, what led the Fricks to adoption? Speaking for myself, the simplest answer is this: never in my life have I felt so clearly God's call to action. I know that I am here on earth to take care of God's children, no matter how they come to me. Earlier this year, Brian and I both felt that if we had even an inkling that adoption might be an option, we had a duty to at least check it out. So we started by going to an information meeting with Children's Hope International last January, and were instantly intrigued. For us it wasn't really a question of domestic versus international adoption. We just found an avenue to adoption that seemed like it would work for us. In looking at all the programs CHI had to offer, we were immediately drawn to Ethiopia. It fit our timing the best. We were ready to be parents again as soon as possible! And once we had chosen Ethiopia, it was easy to fall in love with the country. Have you tried the food? I can't say I'm adventurous with foreign cuisine, but eating at Lalibela in Seattle was a new and wonderful experience. What further caught our attention about Ethiopia was its ancient Christian roots, rich folklore tradition, passionate love for children and its prominent role in the AIDS crisis. There are an estimated one million AIDS orphans in Ethiopia alone. I cannot even fathom what these numbers mean. And although our own baby girl's story is not directly influenced by AIDS, we feel inextricably tied to the Ethiopian experience of poverty, AIDS and orphans. Want to read about the world from which our baby girl is coming? Check out Melissa Fay Greene's "There Is No Me Without You: One Woman's Odyssey to Rescue Africa's Children." Who knows, maybe you'll hear God's call, too.
So the obvious question is "what's next?" Now that we have our referral, how do we go about actually getting our daughter home? Well, unfortunately for our nerves, it requires more waiting and patience (something we do not have in abundance right now). At some point in the next few weeks, there will be a court date in Addis Ababa, at which we will officially become our daughter's parents under Ethiopian law. We will not be at that hearing - we have granted power of attorney to someone who works for our agency in Addis, who will appear on our behalf. At that point, we will be able to post pictures and other information about our baby girl.
After that, more waiting happens (insert Jeopardy theme here). A few weeks later, we will have an appointment at the American embassy in Addis to finalize our baby's visa and other travel documents. Both Noelle and I will be traveling for this, and we will be in-country for about a week. Then all we have to do is figure out how to get an infant through 24 hours of travel...
This seems to be an appropriate time to make our first post on our adoption blog - we got our referral today! That's right, after months of paperwork and waiting and stress, we now know who our new daughter is. This morning, our contact at our adoption agency called with the news that we had been referred a seven-week-old baby girl. We don't have much information about her right now, and we are not allowed to post pictures or too much personal information about her until the adoption becomes finalized in Ethiopia, but we will be posting more about her as we know it. She is as beatiful and perfect as we expected.
It was a wild day. Noelle was on her way back from a physical therapy appointment when she got the call. As soon as she got home, she told me everything she knew (which wasn't much), and then we spent the next half hour refreshing our email accounts waiting for the documentation from our agency. We finally received a picture, some basic background information, and the results of blood tests, etc. that were done in Addis Ababa a couple of weeks ago. Of course, we spent the rest of the morning on the phone with family and friends, telling them about the new addition to the family.
Our baby is now at the House of Hope, a transitional home in Addis Ababa that is run by our agency, so we know she is being loved and cared for. It sounds like we will be traveling within the next three months to pick her up. In the meantime, we have lots of work to do to get her room ready and prepare for her arrival. We'll be using this space to post updates, pictures, and more information as we get it and are allowed to share.