Wednesday, January 13, 2010
January 8... wow, what a day. No news through the holidays - as expected - and another week was almost past. After some coaxing from Liliana, I called our Gladney caseworker late Friday afternoon, just to check in. Nope, nothing yet, was the reply.
How about a location? I asked. Sometimes you find out the location of the child you've been matched with before you actually get the official referral.
Hold on, she replied. A minute later she was back on line. Sure enough, our dossier had been sent down to Caqueta, a sparsely populated state in rural, southern Colombia. It wasn't a referral, but it was big news anyway, something tangible to chew on as we nervously awaited "the call".
Then - just before we disconnected - our caseworker asked a funny question: Are you home right now?
Uh, yeah, I said, puzzled by why she wanted to know where I was at 4:15 on a Friday. Could it be there was more?
I immediately called Liliana with the news of Caqueta - she was on her way home from work, out a bit early on a Friday -- and then began googling away to find out all I could about the home state of our soon-to-be child. Mostly jungle, home to the headwaters of the Amazon river, that's pretty cool.
The cell phone starts buzzing in my pocket, and its an incoming call from 817 area code. Fort Worth, home to Gladney. I answer and its our caseworker again, her voice shaky with emotion. "You have a referral! I'm sending the picture to you now."
Liliana wasn't home yet, and we'd agreed not to open the picture or any other information on the baby until we were together. Thankfully she wasn't far. I'm crying and calling her with the news, then she's crying and driving faster, the girls run in from the other room wondering why Papi is boohooing, and I tell them they have a little brother, and then they're crying too. Soon Mami's car comes up the driveway, the girls run out and now they are all one big bundle of crying girls, into the house to the computer. We prayed first, thanking God for you, Johan Mateo, and then turn to click on that miraculous email.
And there you are. Smiling out at us, just a beautiful baby boy. A gift. Just like that, a part of our family, filling up a big, special place in our hearts that we didn't even know was there a few minutes before. Now we're really crying and laughing, and the girls want him "RIGHT NOW". They're crazy, dancing and singing. Its sweet.
The next email comes full of all the details of his little life up until now, his history, medical records, vaccination records, etc... From what we can tell, he has been well cared for, first in the home of the birth mother's friend and then, for the last 6 months, with a foster family. The reports say he's walking, saying a few words like "Mami" and "Papi" and "Taita", likes fruit juices and arepas, and that his favorite toys are cars a trucks. (A BOY, A REAL BOY!). He takes lots of naps and sleeps through the night (sure, right!). He's perfect, of course.
Gigi and Papa come over and share the news, Liliana calls her family in Colombia (it took hours to reach her Mom), then friends come over for Life Group in our house and we get to share the celebration with them. Exhausted, we finally get to bed, all of us replaying that picture of you in our heads as - emotionally exhausted - we drift off, all of us wanting you RIGHT NOW, thinking that maybe we'll get to meet you early in our dreams.