I guess I left off my last part of the story with us not even knowing where we were going to adopt from! The next series of events is quite a muddle of things that happened quickly... I can't even really put my finger on how we came to be where we are now... but here I go to try to chronicle the events.
For many reasons we had always been really drawn to Africa and felt like if there was a country in Africa that was open for adoptions we would adopt from there. Statistically every country had really low numbers of visas issued from them the last few years (see the link I posted in the first part of the story). I mean, I literally clicked through all 55 countries in that continent! We had remembered that our dear friends, the Hares (who's adoption blog is here but they are now updating their awesome journey here since they are on their way back to Africa as missionaries), had recently adopted from Ethiopia so we wrote them. They sent back with the name of their adoption agency and said that they heard the Ethiopia program was slowing down... but that they thought their agency was opening a new program in the Democratic republic of Congo (DRC).
NO WAY! We thought. This country had been near and dear to our hearts for quite sometime. Before getting married we both knew we wanted to be missionaries: John felt for sure that he was supposed to go to Africa and at the time of our wedding was pretty set on DRC; myself- I didn't know where, but knew somewhere overseas. John even said to me during our (very short) engagement period "girl, you better start praying about Africa (specifically DRC) because if you don't have a love and desire to go to Africa, we can't get married." That's the true way to make sure each spouse is on the same page... but now I'm getting away from the point :) Shortly after getting married a group of refugees from DRC moved into a nearby neighborhood and out of ALL the churches in Los Angeles they asked the church we were working at if they could meet there on Sunday afternoons. We were able to spend time with that congregation and the pastor and just hear and learn more about this country. Now, those of you who know us know that about a year after getting married we increasingly felt like God was leading us into inner city ministry and now are pursuing missions in one of the largest cities in the world... but again, that's another story! The point is we had always felt a deep connection and longing to know and help DRC. Could this be why? Did we have all these providential connections and feelings for DRC because we were to adopt from there?
I contacted the agency that our friends had used and was able to talk about their DRC program (which was apparently not supposed to be public yet... just word of mouth!) and hear more about what would have to happen for us, as US citizens living overseas, to adopt.
The main thing was that we needed to found an agency with a social worker willing to come out and do our home study. The agency I had contacted said they were willing to work with us overseas but could not provide a home study for us so we could just contact them after we had figured out how to get a home study done. This lead to the next 7 months of me emailing and calling agency after agency trying to find someone willing to come to beautiful Okinawa and conduct our home study (during which time I gave birth to our little girl, Essie, and had to take a little break from pursuing this as motherhood consumes all your time and energy for a few months!)
Finally, in December of 2011, I returned from the states and my first night back a church a close friend and adoptive mama asked if I had found someone to do the home study yet. After telling her no she brought me over to a new couple who had started attending our church when I was gone and said they were also trying to adopt from the DRC and needed to get their home study done. But one thing was different from us: they had found someone to do the home study!
And the saga will continue soon! That is not the end to our home study drama, barely the beginning, and the home study is just the very littlest first tiny piece in the puzzle of adoption so we have a long way to go! Hang in there with us, really, it was more painful to live it all then to read it all :)