It’s mid-afternoon in CC (code for “capital city,” in case you forgot from my last post), and we’re both emotionally and physically exhausted. But, the most important thing is this: tomorrow afternoon we will be able to pick up our finalized referral paperwork for the precious 11-year-old (almost 12-year-old) girl who will soon be our daughter. We are so excited!
We woke up bright and early this morning. (Or really, we just got out of bed bright and early. Arturo and I were both so anxious and jetlagged that we weren’t able to sleep much.) We gathered all our documents, double- and triple-checked every list, and were on our way to the offices with the other adopting family by 8:30. Their appointment was at 9:00, so we traveled to the offices together.
When we arrived, our facilitator happily told us that the officials had agreed to squeeze us in at 9:30, just after the other family, so that we wouldn’t all have to wait around for our later appointment at 11:00 … and a good thing it was, too! While we didn’t find any surprises in Shawna’s file, it was a surprise that at first we couldn’t find her file! Her file had been mis-sorted into the incorrect binder, and our government official, along with our facilitator, searched high and low for over an hour and a half before Shawna’s file was finally located. Let me tell you, that was the LONGEST hour and a half I have every experienced!
In the end, we spent less than 5 minutes in the office after Shawna’s file was finally located. The contents of her abbreviated file were read to us, and we learned some valuable information about her birth family, her “first family.” We will not share this information on the blog as it is private information for Shawna’s knowledge only. We also received a photo of Shawna when she was 8 years old, when she first became a ward of the state. This is likely the youngest photo of Shawna we will ever see or have, and we will treasure it forever. There was nothing in her file to concern us — quite to the contrary, several things we learned are good news and bode well to our future together as a family. We joyfully accepted her referral.
(Sidenote: the file we viewed today is Shawna’s abbreviated file kept at the government agency’s central headquarters. We will see a much expanded file that will include detailed medical information for Shawna on Friday, at our appointment with the regional social worker.)
Unfortunately, we were not able to learn any additional information about Seth. He has been in the foster care system long enough that his file is not even accessible by the government agency responsible for regulating international adoptions. We were hoping that his file would still be in the system so we could get a bit more information right away, but along with viewing Shawna’s full medical and social file, that will have to wait until our appointment with the regional social worker on Friday.
So, what’s next, you ask? Well, right now, we’re resting at the hostel and waiting for another family to arrive. Another family using the same facilitation team had their second appointment this afternoon, to receive a referral for their second child, and as it so happens, both parents are Chilean! We’ve been in touch with them through Facebook for months, and we can’t wait to meet them. We’re going to enjoy a celebratory meal together this evening.
Tomorrow afternoon, the referral paperwork will be processed and finalized by the end of the day. We’ll stop by the government offices around 4 to pick up that paperwork, which we will hand-carry with us to the region where Shawna is currently living. Let’s call that region “KR.” We’ll then take an overnight train tomorrow evening to KR, where we’ll meet with the regional social worker on Friday morning. Then, sometime on Friday, perhaps late morning or early afternoon, we’ll travel with our facilitator to Shawna’s orphanage and meet our daughter for the first time. We are overwhelmingly excited!
Thank you all so much for your prayers. I can tell you that the comforting knowledge of your prayer support is the only thing that carried me through that nerve-wracking 1.5 hr search for our daughter’s file. We’re going to spend the evening rejoicing that one more very big step has been taken in our adoption journey, and we’ll spend tomorrow preparing for the next step in line: meeting and getting to know the precious, incredible girl who will soon be our daughter.