Court Date!

The following is from the email we received today:

"We received word from Ethiopia that you have a tentative court assignment of August 21st. Yay:) Please note that court dates can get delayed for a variety of reasons such as power outages, the judges schedule, or if the judge requests additional information. I’d say most cases do make it through the first time, but just so you are aware that there is a possibility that it could get delayed. Please let me know if you have any further questions."

After we make it through court I can post pictures of the boys!

For now, here is a picture of the gifts that we sent to Efesson and Biruk this week. We were able to send each of them a gallon bag of items. We sent them laminated pictures, an 8x10 picture of Robert and me together and 5x7 pictures of each of us individually along with a photo album with pictures of us, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and our mission team. They will also get two cars apiece, a ball, and an outfit.

I had to double bag to make sure everything stayed intact!

Q: What are you going to do now that you have a referral? A: We're going to Portugal!

Prior to receiving our referral, Robert and I had already been planning to go to Portugal for two months in order to get a head start on language learning.

Here's why: Throughout the "waiting for a referral process" the estimated time for receiving a referral became an unpredictable moving target. Our mission team established January as the target month for leaving the states to go to Portugal for language study (remember that Angola is a former Portuguese colony). Robert and I realized that due to the adoption we would be considerably behind the team in leaving for Portugal and therefore we would be behind the team in language study. So after discussing it with out teammates, we made the decision to go to Portugal. We figured that we would get caught by the court closure, so living in Portugal during the court closure would not be a problem.

We began to make plans to go to Portugal from August 13th through October 12th. We bought our tickets on the morning of July 7th and that afternoon we got our referral. Funny how that worked out! We weren't sure how the referral would affect our plans for Portugal.

It turns out that we are still able to go to Portugal. Our agency is hopeful that those who received a referral last week will make it through court before it closes. The Ethiopian courts are now estimated to close at the end of August (that's new, exciting information for the Ethiopian adoption world). If we pass court by the end of August we would be scheduled to travel about 6-8 weeks later in mid to late October.

What could be more perfect than spending two months living in Portugal with my husband while we wait to meet our children! It will be one last adventure for the married couple without any kids and we'll get a good amount of the Portuguese language under our belt. Just what we need! Here is our language teacher's website.

I will be leaving my full time position at the hospital for a "zero based" position. "Zero based" means that when we get back to Arkansas, I will work when I am able to and when I am needed at the hospital. It will be the busy season, so I should be able to to work full time hours. Robert will be staying home with the kids.

We will be leaving for Portugal in less than one month and between now and then I have about four days free (where I am not out of town or working). We have a lot to do before we leave for Portugal, including preparing for two little boys! We have been waiting for all of this to happen for so long and now it's happening! Bring it on!


We Know Who They Are!

We were having a particularly busy day at work on Tuesday, when I felt my my phone vibrate in my pocket...

3:01 pm - I take a look at the number, a 651 area code, and think to myself that it might be our adoption agency. We were not expecting a call before the Ethiopian courts close for the rainy season and our agency recently started checking in with waiting families by phone, so although I feel a quick pang of "what if" excitement, I try not to let myself get too excited.

3:23 pm - I go into the break room at work and listen to the message. "Hi Teague, this is Amy from Children's Home Society and Family Services. If you could give me a call back as soon as possible, that would be great 651..."

3:30 pm - I call Robert and ask him to call Amy back. Robert doesn't get a hold of Amy when he calls back, so he leaves a message.

4:14 pm - I feel my phone vibrate in my pocket. I look and see that Robert is calling back and my heart starts racing. I know that he is either calling about the Angola Mission information dinner we were hosting later that night or about whatever Amy called about (what if?).

"They have a referral for us" he says calmly. "Do you want me to get the information or are you able to do a conference call right now?" I reply with, "hold on let me tell my coworkers what I am doing. I'll call you back." I walk briskly to the nurses' station and had this conversation with a few different people: "we just got the call, the referral call" What? "We are going to find out who our babies are! Is it all right if I go in the break room and listen to this conference call?"...Of course they were cool with that.

4:16 pm - I call Robert back and we have a conference call with Amy. I sit in the break room at work and listen to her tell us about our siblings under four. They are boys! Efesson, who is about to turn four years old this month and Biruk, who turned two years old in May. Efesson is the Amharic (the Ethiopian language) rendition of Ephesus mentioned in the Bible. Biruk means "Blessed." We love their names!

Needless to say, I did not function very efficiently at work after that. My coworkers, who have watched me wait all this time, were eager to share the excitement with me. Thankfully, I had already planned to leave the hospital one hour early to go to the Angola dinner, so I only had to make it about an hour and a half before I could see and hold my husband.

So, we got "the call" 13 months and 17 days after we submitted our dossier. We officially accepted the referral yesterday July 9, 2009 at 2:47pm. The emotions we have been experiencing are indescribable. Here are a couple of pictures of Robert on the phone officially accepting the referral and a picture of Robert and me on that day.

Now what?

We wait a little more. Our agency is hopeful that families who receive referrals this week will pass court before the court closure (which begins sometime in August). After we pass court they estimate about 8 weeks before traveling to Ethiopia to meet our boys.

So stay tuned to find out when we are scheduled for court and be praying for our family in the meantime!