Sometimes you’re standing in a photo shop in downtown Burgas, Bulgaria. You’re listening to your translator, the nanny from the orphanage and the photographer all simultaneously talking loudly trying to get a wide-eyed little girl (being held up in the air like Simba from The Lion King) to smile. And you find yourself thinking, how on earth did we end up here?!?
In November 2011, after many months of research and prayer, Rob and I signed with AGCI to adopt a little girl. Adoption was always something we had discussed, but it wasn’t until after we had our second biological son (and we thought we were done) that God planted a very different plan in our hearts. We tried to talk ourselves out of it, we tried to make justifications why it wouldn’t work for our family, but when it really came down to it none of our reasons were good.
In March 2014, I had taken the day off to be with our son because Rob was chaperoning a band tour to CA. I was at a local playground on a beautiful day talking to a nice lady about kid-stuff when my phone rang and my caller ID said it was our Soojin from AGCI. Thinking it was just an update, but knowing you NEVER silence a call from your agency, I excused myself and took a couple steps to the side to take the call. As in, THE call.
“Well, I’m staring at a photo of a beautiful girl in a pink dress. The little girl you were matched with.” I started sobbing. She talked for about 10 more minutes, but I don’t recall a single thing she said. The lady I was talking to started looking at me like she didn’t know if she should put her arm around me or grab her kid and run.
After the call I explained that we had been in the adoption process for 2.5 years and that this was THE call. She paused and said, “So like I was saying…” I was shaking and distracted and a bad listener. So the first chance I had, I yelled to Evan that we were going and we exited the park. I had a husband to call and a photo of a beautiful little girl in a pink dress waiting for me in my email inbox. I will not even attempt to describe the feeling, first of waiting for the photo to load and secondly, seeing her face for the first time. Indescribable.
In May, we traveled to Bulgaria to visit her. We had a rough start, but God was faithful and on our second day and each day after, He showed us a little more of her heart, her personality and her potential. We came home completely in love and ready to return. We nearly got caught in the August summer break, but Vesta and AGCI worked hard for us and at the end of August we returned to get Emily, forever a part of our family and never alone or left behind again.
She is amazing. She is sassy, independent, affectionate, lovable, beautiful and was completely meant to be a part of our family. My husband is a professional musician and this girl absolutely loves music – even more than our biological children. She loves to dance, play piano, play marimba in the drum studio and even though she only says one word, she can babble-sing all of “Twinkle, Twinkle.” She is ours and we are wholly hers. Sure, she struggles with things that a lot of adopted children struggle with. She doesn’t eat solid foods yet and she doesn’t talk, but she has come so far. Sometimes we look back at old videos and we can’t believe it’s even the same girl. We are in awe with a God who loved her so much that he gave her a fighting spirit and whispered in her heart that her family was coming for her. We have seen it over and over again.
We were blessed a million ways through this journey. We are grateful to AGCI for caring so deeply about our family and the children overseas. In so many ways, they became like friends through this process. What a blessing they have been. We saw God work (and our children saw Him work) in very unique, real and tangible ways and we are grateful for that. Has it always been easy? Nope, but God doesn’t say that following Him will be easy or comfortable, but he does say it will be worth it and it totally has been…a million times over.
AGCI Adoptive Family
To learn more about adoption from Bulgaria, click here.