Saturday, February 8, 2014

The greatest birthday gift

My cheeks hurt from smiling so much. We. Got. Our. Referral. It's still so surreal to say that! 

Our daughter. She has a name. A face. A smile friends have already said look like mine. It's the chipmunk cheeks and squinty eyes from smiling so big. 

Her hair is short, but from the pictures it looks super curly. She glows. In every picture, she exudes joy. She is full of something - every picture she looked so happy and full of life. 

She's ours. 

She's been Effie for so long. But one look at her and we knew it didn't fit. We were given her long name and KC immediately looked at me and said "We should call her Bertie for short". She's 4, so we didn't want to completely change her name. The boys agreed that Bertie was better. And oh so fitting as it means "bright promise" - and that's exactly what she is. 

We have 2 weeks to officially accept our referral. We know she's ours. 

But we also have to have the remaining funds. And after talking to our Coordinator yesterday, I realized we saved too little. They upped some final fees last fall and one big fee I though we paid when we came back is due now as well. So we'll be using this time to scrimp and save. We're not worried. God has brought us this far and I know He won't let us down. 

So, in advance, forgive me for posting/selling whatever we can. Lol. 

Many of you have asked what is up next. Well, I'll number the steps to make it easier to see. 

1. Once we accept the referral, we have to wait for our PAIR letter. A letter from USCIS to allow her to "immigrate" to the USA. This is a new process just implemented last September.

2. Once we get our PAIR letter, we wait for our court date in Ethiopia. This is our first trip to ET. We're hoping to hit this point in about 8-10 weeks. 

3. Once we get approval from the Ethiopian courts to bring her home, we come home without her so the US Embassy can conduct their reviews. 

4. We head back to Ethiopia for our final trip (after US approval) and to finally bring our little girl home. This could be anywhere from 4-10 weeks after the first trip. 

5. Everyone who wants can meet us at the airport to finally see dear Bertie. 

6. We hole up in our house for anywhere from 3-5 months to cocoon/bond with her. It's important that she know that KC and I are her providers, her comforters, the ones who show her love and affection. 

Don't worry, the cocooning stage won't last forever. Lol. We just want to make sure she bonds with us. 

Anyway, that's where we are in a nutshell. I'll post more as we get further along, but I'll leave you with a few announcement pictures we took this morning, thanks to my best friend Desiree. ❤️ 

Thank you ALL for your prayers and support throughout this journey. We cannot wait to have her in our arms!

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