I had my heart set on EP Submission during the month of August. I was praying that if we made the August submission, we would be traveling at the start of the new year, before Eli’s second birthday.
And then 5pm on Friday, August 31st came and went. No EP Submission. No hint of a timeline.
The very next day, on September 1st, we received a package in the mail; it had our agency listed as the return address but I can assure you it was a gift straight from God.
After not hearing any news the day before, I was so deep in my pity party that I couldn’t be bothered to check the mail that Saturday. Finally around 4pm (our mail comes about 10:30 every day #stalker), I sent Isabella out to grab it. When she handed me the large brown envelope from our agency I shot up off the couch and ripped into it.
In my hands was a little yellow album from our foster family with 50+ pictures of Eli’s first year.
Pictures I’ve dreamed about. Pictures of firsts. Pictures I wasn’t sure existed. Pictures I’ve prayed we *might* get at custody. Pictures of him as a baby that I can now show him when (if) he has a baby of his own.
I had never even seen my son’s smile until these pictures. (All of the other pictures we’ve ever received are from his monthly well-child doctor visit. Not a time when babies are at their smiliest.)
As I was standing in my kitchen and studying each picture more intensely than the last, it was like I could physically feel God’s arms around me. It was a feeling that I felt often in Africa. “Are you seeing this?” “Do you know how much I love you?” “How much I love this child?”
Some lucky families will receive photos like these at custody but it’s extremely rare to receive any physical photos during the adoption process. Our agency commented about “what a wonderful thing the foster mother did for your family- it is very rare families receive these while going through the process.”
Some families don’t even receive any digital photos outside of the obligatory three month update photo. I’ve mentioned before that we send a care package each month in hopes of a “thank you” photo via email – but there is never any guarantee that we will receive that. It is a blessing every single time his little face pops up in my inbox.
Now tucked away in our fire-proof safe with some of my most valuable possessions, I all but put on white gloves when I get these priceless photos out to share with our friends and family. Even more priceless though was the beautiful reminder of God’s mercy and goodness. The further we get into this process, the more He pours out His peace and draws me near (out of my pity parties and selfish desires).
I am so thankful for a God whose gift of grace is sufficient for me.