That's when our attorney will walk into court and request that our petition to adopt 2 Bulgarian orphans be granted.
If the answer is yes (Please, God! I'm told it's rarely a no...) then we wait 10-12 days for the adoption decree to be signed by the judge and another 5 days or so to get their new birth certificates. Once our attorney has two birth certificates (with no errors!) in her hand we will receive our travel dates.
So, all this means that in 6-7 weeks my daughter Brianna and I will board a plane, land in Bulgaria, drive to the city where our children currently reside and walk them right out the doors of what has been their home for their entire lives.
And, guess what? They will bring at least something from that place home with them. It is all they know. All they have learned about the world and how it works comes from that austere grey building and those who work there. All they understand of how to relate to other children and adults comes from the interactions they've had there. They will know how to eat an orphanage meal but not how a family dinner works. How is an orphanage bedtime different than bedtime at home? I have no idea! We will all tread an unfamiliar path.
I've thought a lot about what it's going to look like when, after more that 16 months, we are finally a family here under our own roof. And I'll be honest- mostly, my imagination looks really good! We are happy and bonded! Our children already home welcome their new siblings with open arms and complete understanding! It's a beautiful life here in Robbins' Fantasy Land! It's hard to imagine any really "bad stuff". I'm not even sure I have a context for the "bad stuff" let alone the "REALLY BAD STUFF".
But I know it happens. It's not the blog post anyone wants to write- or read. But, several people have written those posts. I read one today. It was hard reading.
Reading that blog post made me think about God and His love for us. I thought about his desire that we would wholeheartedly embrace our rightful place in His family- adopted, grafted in.
I thought about my relationship with him. I was born into a family that went to church each Sunday. My little girl heart loved God from as early as I can remember and I moved into His family very easily. I talked to Him about the things that troubled me and the things I was thankful for. Like any child I went through times of rebellion. But, it always hurt me knowing I was grieving my Father's heart and I would come back and repent. I knew my Father God loved me even when times were hard. When my own dad died way too young I was angry! But, it didn't change the fact that I still loved God and I knew He loved me. I'm guessing there are many like me, in that respect.
On the other hand, I've watched some friends and family struggle with accepting the love He offers. I've watched them question that love and dance around the decision of whether to fall into His arms or not. I see some that absolutely refuse to even entertain the idea that His love exists. Reading the blog post I was struck by the parallels to families.
Obviously every child, birth or adopted, comes into the world with their very own genetics, their own potential to learn and love. And, there are lots of things that can change what that looks like for each child. Our son David had his 'potential' forever changed when he was shaken at 5 1/2 months. Corwin's 'genetics' were altered with the addition of an extra 21st chromosome in each of his cells. Some of our children live with the decisions made by birth parents when they drank or used drugs. Ethan and Elaina will come into our family changed from who they were at birth simply because they lived their lives in this particular Baby House in Bulgaria.
For some kids, accepting the love offered to them is relatively easy. Others will test and weigh and dance around that love until they eventually fall into their family's arms. And some will fight that love with everything they have, holding family at a distance. I pray that, with God's grace, Dan and I will have the strength to love as He does- loving before the 'yes' and even after the 'no' if that be the outcome.
My continuing, daily prayer for Ethan and Elaina has always been that God will work in their hearts and prepare them for our family. I pray that they will be able to receive the love we offer them. I pray that He will knit all the separate strands of our family together into one sturdy and beautiful fabric. I pray for wisdom for Dan and I as we work to heal hurts that have been years in the making.
I pray that, on the hard days, I can remember that Robbins' Fantasy Land is just that- a fantasy.
It's the Robbins Family that's real! Right now, we don't know exactly what that's going to look like but it's going to be ours!
So, keeping our eyes on God, we will put one foot in front of the other, reminding ourselves that we are not in this alone. We KNOW where our help comes from...