Happy Birthday, Anahi
Anahi turned five this week. She arrived in our lives after a long wait and a season of challenges, in ministry and personally. On a personal level, we had struggled with infertility for many years. In ministry, we were pioneering the ICCI Bible school and walking alongside a struggling church as interim pastors, as well as shouldering other ministry responsibilities. The adoption process we'd begun as a result of our infertility was going nowhere, to the point that we were ready to give up. The paperwork seemed endless. Stamps, copies, legalizations, interviews, background checks, and so forth. We were getting tired of the countless trips lasting 10 to 12 hours to the capital city for meetings and interviews. We were stretched emotionally and financially to the max.
But one phone call brought a new season into our lives. It came on a Monday morning at 10 a.m., on July 18th, when the director of the adoption agency called us with probably the best news we got in 2011. She asked if we could be in Asuncion in the next 48 hours at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, July 20th. She said: "You are eligible to take home a little girl, if you still want to proceed with the process."
We cleaned the crib one more time and made sure the girl toys were all ready. We rehearsed with Timothy some manners as to what the arrival of a little girl would mean in his life. I purchased a new memory chip for our camera. The house was spotless. We headed out for Asuncion very early and got there before our interview.
We stepped into the office and were greeted by the director. She was very kind and thanked us for our patience during the two-year process. She brought out a picture, printed on plain A4 paper. The quality was average. But when I saw the smile in that little girl's eyes, I burst into tears. I did not want to make a show of myself, so I remember swallowing my emotions and trying to keep them to myself. I instantly fell in love with that little girl. She was incredible. I felt that she was made for us and that God had ordained this moment since Creation.
The director said, "If you sign this paper today, your next step will be to spend a few weeks interacting with Anahi in the foster home. Based on how Anahi reacts and connects with you, you can take her home sooner. If she struggles with adjusting to you, you might need a longer transition time; otherwise she could move into your home soon."
The interesting fact is that all this happened two days before Julie's birthday. I remember her saying, "This is my best birthday gift." For the next seven months, we became a family of four, excited about the future with our little girl.