Tuesday, November 22, 2011

"Bee"-ography: Adoption Story

I am so thrilled to bring yet another adoption story from another of our "bee"-mommies, Heather. The adorable Mr. Tariku has a variant of full hydranencephaly, called hemi-hydranencephaly... he is missing half of his cortex, and as of 2001 only 7 cases had been reported world-wide!

Here's Tariku's adoption story: As we began the process for our third adoption, we originally were in the domestic infant program. However, as time passed and things were not moving along, we chose to dual list in the Ethiopia program at our agency, in addition to the domestic infant program.

As we waited, I diligently searched the list of waiting children in Ethiopia, which is when we first heard of Tariku. We prayed about him, and decided to ask our agency if we could have his referral information. Unfortunately, they had just that morning sent his referral to another couple. When we received that news, I was more devastated that almost any other time in my life.

We continued to pray for Tariku and his forever family. One week later, our social worker called to tell us that the other couple had declined Tariku's referral. She also told us that from the information they had received from the adoption clinic about his prognosis, it would probably be in our best interest to move on. 

My first thought: "In OUR best interest?! What about HIS best interest?!" 

We told the agency that we would still like to see his referral, and they sent it to us. I passed all the the written information and went straight to his picture - and it was all over from that moment on. But, I'm married to a realist, and he wisely wanted to take the time for us to pray about it.

And pray we did. Constantly. For about 2 weeks. During this time of prayer, the Lord continued to show us over and over and over that He wanted Tariku to be a part of our family, no matter what the future would hold for him. So, we said yes! 

Tariku was in desperate need of a shunt, with no neuro surgeon in Ethiopia to perform the surgery. So for the first time ever (at least with our agency), the Ethiopian court agreed to expedite the process to get him home.

At the time, it typically took 8-12 weeks from referral to finalization in Ethiopia, and then another 4-6 weeks after that before being allowed to travel to pick up your child. We accepted Tariku's referral the week of Thanksgiving, his adoption was finalized in Ethiopia on New Year's Eve, and we arrived in Ethiopia to pick him up on January 20. 

Since the moment we met Tariku, he has been amazing everyone who meets him, including the doctors! The first neurosurgeon we met with when we came home entered the room and said hi, then left and came back a couple of minutes later. He told me he left because when he saw Tariku, he thought he had the wrong patient. Tariku should not have been doing as well as he was. Good thing no one told Tariku! 

Tariku's adoption has blessed our family beyond measure! He has taught and is teaching us more than we could ever even dream of teaching him. We are blessed to call him son!

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