Jeremiah and I were pretty pumped after receiving the e-mail from our case worker on December 11. Jeremiah (as he has been through this entire process) was calm and kept saying that he wasn't getting too excited until we received the referral. I, on the other hand, was thrilled and couldn't focus on anything else.
Luckily, my school had an early out day and our meeting finished a bit early. I decided to call Alicia and ask her a few questions. When I called her she immediately responded, "You have been so patient today. I thought you would be calling first thing in the morning." I laughed and said that I was pretty happy with hearing that we would be matched (probably) around the end of the month. She then said, "Well..I can do better than that. I can tell you about your little boy right now. I can also send you pictures soon." I was speechless. This was not how I pictured getting our referral. I was by myself, at school, and Jeremiah was not there. I said, "When do you mean soon?" She said that she was sending me the pictures right then. Alicia went on to say, "Kortny, let me tell you a bit about your son. He is 9 months old and just adorable. He has beautiful eyes and curly black hair. He is just beautiful." Again, I was speechless. At this point, I was crying but I wanted to soak everything in and remember every word she was telling me.
I told Alicia thank you and that I would get back to her later that day. I told her that I was not going to open the pictures because Jeremiah wasn't with me. I literally ran to my friend Nicci's room in tears and told her the news. Then I got it together and called Jeremiah. Jeremiah was in the grocery store (again, not how I thought our referral day would take place) and I told him the news. He was speechless too. I told him that I was going to pick Olivia up and then I would meet him at home to open up the pictures. I also asked him to set up the camera so that we could tape our reactions. Before Olivia was born we took video of us telling our parents about Olivia, so we wanted to do something similar for our little boy. Before I left school I *may* have sprinted down the hallway to tell a few of my other teacher friends.:)
I went to pick up Olivia and then met Jeremiah at home. Jeremiah and I kept telling Olivia that we had a huge surprise for her. She felt horrible and kept asking for medicine (again..not how I pictured our referral day). As soon as we set the camera up, we opened up the e-mail. OH.MY.GOODNESS. Our hearts just melted and tears started flowing. We could not believe that were seeing OUR son. I lost it and Olivia looked at me like I was crazy. For the past two years I had imagined this moment, the moment I saw my son. It was EXACTLY as I had hoped our referral day would go. As soon as we saw his face we knew he was OUR son. I'll be honest, I was nervous that maybe I wouldn't feel any connection to him, but that was not the case. I knew from the moment I saw him that we he was destined to be in our family.
Let me tell you about my boy. He has beautiful eyes that shine, precious lips that I can't wait to kiss, big cheeks that I want so squeeze, a perfect fro, and chunky little legs that means he has been fed.
This entire time I've been praying that his birth mom or whoever was taking care of him was feeding him. This prayer request has definitely been answered because my little buddy is chunky and I love it! Praise God for showing me answered prayers just through these pictures.
Olivia beamed with joy as she saw her baby brother's pictures. She kept kissing the screen and saying that she couldn't wait to bring him home. Olivia also pointed to Jeremiah and said, "He kind of looks like you." We cracked up at this and she said she thought they looked alike because they both have black hair.
It was a fun night as we called both sets of parents and then showed all of them our little boy. We also told my sisters and I will never forget their reaction. We waited until Friday to tell Jeremiah's siblings because we were all going to NYC together for the wedding. We told his siblings at the airport and they were happy for us.
After we told our family members we called Alicia back and I asked her to retell me some of information she had told me earlier that day. I wanted Jeremiah to hear from her and I also couldn't remember some of the information because I was so pumped. Alicia told us that our little boy had just been had the Thomas Center for two days. (Sidenote-our little boy had been in an orphanage for 5 months and he was then transferred to the Thomas Center when he was ready to be matched with us). She said that they were going to do tests on him and that most of the tests would come back by the next week. However, the HIV test would not come back for 10-15 days.
Jeremiah and I both had a peace about the whole situation. We knew there was a possibility that he could have HIV or some other disease, but we were hopeful that he did not. We decided to tell some of our close friends here in Champaign (so that they could pray for us) and I told my co-workers (because I could not go to work knowing I had a son and not tell them!) However, we wanted to wait until his HIV results came back to announce it to the rest of the world.
Our referral day did not go as I had envisioned because it was better than anything I could have dreamed of or imagined.
Here is the video: vimeo.com/56041419