Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Hallelujah! I am singing from the rooftops! We heard word from China today that we are officially logged into their system and according to our agency, this means we could be placed with a child in roughly 6-12 months (could be sooner, could be later). We had high hopes that we would receive our referral before the end of this year, but we are ecstatic non-the less for the forward motion. Hopefully, this coming up holiday season will be the last for us as a family of three. There is a lot of emotion with that statement; happiness, fear, hope, anxiety. We don’t know how to function as a family of four, but Jay and I didn’t know how to function as a family of three either.

I have to be honest; I had a little bit of breakdown recently. We had not heard word in the time frame we expected from China and while I should be used to delays, I was tired of hearing nothing. I was tired of hearing terrible statistics on orphans and the growing number that Ebola is now responsible for. The number keeps growing and growing and the wait appears to be getting longer and longer. How does that make sense? Why are we letting that be “ just how it is”? I was recently talking to someone at work, whom I have to admit I am not close with, but nonetheless I was sharing our wait story. I don’t know what I was expecting to hear from this person but instead of the “keep your head up, it will happen when it is supposed to” talk I have grown accustomed to; I got a rather unnerving response. I was told that I should reevaluate what I really want in life, what’s REALLY important. “Why on earth would you want to do that?” There were also several eye rolls and exasperated looks to accompany my lecture.

For someone who always has a quip to say, I was speechless. In hindsight, I regret not saying something like this: It is not about me…just like life, even your life, is not really all about you. 

Did you know that the United States has roughly 123,000 children waiting for forever families? That’s not to say there are not more children living without their parents than this. The foster care system alone has some 463,000 kids within its broken system. About half are reunited with their families, but many bounce in and out of different homes and nearly 20,000 age out of the system a year. But lets discuss the rest of the world for a second shall we? I know its easier to pretend like everything is fine, but its really not.

Did you know that around the world there are nearly 153 million orphans (meaning living without at least one parent). Of those, 17,900,000 have lost or been abandoned by both parents and are currently living in orphanages or worse on the streets.

Did you know that children living in an orphanage have an IQ score of about 20 points less than their same aged peers living in foster care? Living in an orphanage affects ALL levels of child development-negatively.

Did you know that adoption in all areas has fallen dramatically and this includes from China. In 2011 Americans adopted 2,587 children but that is just 2% of all the children living in government institutional care and just 0.4% of the total amount of orphaned children in China. ZERO POINT FOUR PERCENT. Most have some sort of special need and without international adoption, these children would not have a  chance of finding a home or a family. 

I did not answer that way, however. Instead I let her words fester inside my heart and mind and as the days and weeks and months passed without word from China, I grew….well….angry and hopeless.

I was sitting in church on Sunday and hearing these awesome testimonies of Gods healing and restoration, actual proof of his living power in real peoples lives and I started crying. Why was healing and restoration not coming to these millions of kiddos, in particular our kiddo? What about all the people dying of a treatable disease in Africa? Why was government BS always getting in the way of helping others when God was clearly so powerful and so all knowing and so loving (and so on).

I angrily shook my fist at God and tried to educate HIM on all the terrible things going on in his world. He remained silent during my vocal frustrations and hurts. However, He did send me a verse through, of all people, my adoption coordinator. She sent this out to us as an encouragement, which she felt we all needed. It comes from Isaiah 40:

1- Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.

18-He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. Who has measured the waters in the hallow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens? Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance? Who can fathom the Spirit of the Lord, or instruct the Lord as his counselor? Whom did the Lord consult to enlighten him, and who taught him the right way? Who was it that taught him knowledge, or showed him the path of understanding?
28-The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

God sees what is going on, and whether I feel it or see it or know anything about it, He is working.

I had my “moment” on Sunday 10/26/2014. I received this verse on Monday 10/27/2014. We were notified by our adoption agency on 10/28/2014, but our official log in date with China was 10/24/2014.



Thursday, October 9, 2014

Update on no update

Many people have asked recently how the adoption course is going. Here is a brief update: When we entered the China program we had REALLY high hopes and expectations. We were told the possibility of seeing a sweet face by the end of the year was “really good”. We hurried the paperwork process, delivered all of our documents faster than we had before. We received our I-800 approval in no time. Our dossier was sent off to Washington and within a few short weeks, off to China. I read a variety of books on toddler adoption, attachment, obtained our first China travel book, started a list of things to pack and a list of necessities for our first few weeks home. I felt a sense of nesting occurring, and my excitement was palpable. There have been over 250 children abandoned at the orphanage our agency partners with since January and unfortunately far fewer families waiting for a referral. The need is SO great and we were feeling our call to this place, at this time, to be united with our next family member. Of course, we anticipated the best, and kept the thought of further waiting and delays far on the back burner of our minds. I don’t want to say we got our hopes up, but we did. We were told we would hear from China within 3-4 weeks regarding our LID (log in date). Once China approves your family (essentially your paperwork) you are “logged in” to their database. This is where you are matched with a child. Our paperwork was sent in August. We still do not have an LID, nor has our agency heard one word regarding our paperwork. Every night our family, including our sweet boy, prays earnestly for some word, but instead every day goes by without notice. While it is frustrating to someone who is waiting, what is really aggravating is the fact that so many children are sitting and waiting. We started reading a book every night with Jayden about a young boy who is waiting with his parents for the adoption of his sister from China. In the book, the little boy wonders about his sisters wait asking, “Do you think it is harder to wait if you don’t know your waiting?” The truth is children, our child, is growing up without anyone holding them, kissing them, telling them how important they are. Instead they are growing up neglected and lonely. No one is celebrating their first smile, encouraging them to stand, crawl, walk, and run. No one is rocking them to sleep or there when they awake from a nightmare. No one is taking pictures of their milestones. Instead workers who are understaffed and underpaid care them for. Every day that children are kept out of families, they are deteriorating. They fall behind their age peers in every category. There is no way for them to flourish in this environment because the only way a child thrives is within the safe security and love of a family. God designed us all to thrive in family.
While I am anxious I have to remain steadfast in my assertion that God called us to this. He is orchestrating this perfectly.
So, for those that have asked, we have made no progress. We continue to wait. The likelihood of seeing our child’s face by the end of the year appears impossible, but we know that God is God of impossibilities. Believe me when we hear word, we will be singing it from the rooftops. Until then, we continue our wait. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


It is finished….our dossier that it is! All of the documentation is signed, notarized, sealed, stamped with the approval of the U.S. Government, and is currently on its 7200 mile truck across the world to China. From there, we will be entered into the database. Our adoption agency is hopeful that we will be matched before years end! There are several children waiting for their paperwork to be completed at the Chinese national level, and once that is complete, they will be available for placement into their family. Hard to imagine an actual end to all this craziness! I called an international pediatrician recently out of Nationwide Children’s Hospital and now know our next move when we finally do see their precious little face. Jay and I have a rough draft “plan” for return to work and how we will cocoon our little one upon their arrival. Its becoming real, people! There is only one thing that could stand in our way…our dang marriage license! Because we were married out of the country, our marriage license continues to be a thorn in this process. Typically, the license would be county, state, and then nationally certified, but ours is different. It cannot be certified at the county level and thus any other level. Not to mention getting our hands on a certified copy requires working with the Bahamian Government. To give you an idea, their government works about as slow as ours does, plus we have the language barrier which makes things a bit complicated.  I'm really quite sick of government regulations and paperwork. However, we have hope that China will accept our license as is and we should hear word on that within the next couple of weeks.

Anyways, we are moving forward and we could not be happier. The summer is coming to an end, and while I normally dread the coming cold, winter months, I have reason to be excited this year.

Ok so a little update.  Jayden had a pretty amazing summer. He has participated in swim and soccer lessons, and got his first golf set, just like daddy. 

He went on his first airplane trip to Tampa Florida and was able to hang out with some of my most favorite people, the girls I grew up with, and their little bambino's.

We also went again to the lake house with the Reichert family and had a relaxing break from everyday work life. 

It was great, and now we are back into the grind. Jayden will officially start pre-school in about a week, which is a relatively easy process due to the fact that his current pre-preschool class is right next door. That’s our current update. Hopeful to be sharing some exciting news soon. 

Monday, June 30, 2014

Jay's view

                                          Jay's View

Since Father’s day has recently passed, and this was my first Father’s Day being a legal father, I thought it would be appropriate to make a guest appearance on the family blog to talk a little about my perspective as an adoptive dad.    I have never been mistaken as articulate, or well written so please bear with me. 

Many of you know that Ileah and I were in the process of adopting from Ethiopia before Jayden came into our lives.  We started the process nearly a year before his surprise entrance, but even starting the adoption process for Ethiopia was one we had many long talks about. It was something Ileah had always intended, and I was on board from the start. However, I always thought we would have our own biological child first, and then maybe adopt later on.  If I am being honest, a part of me has always been concerned with how I would treat, or think about, my adoptive child in comparison to a biological child.  Ileah and I hope to have a bio at some point, and this was a real concern that I was pretty open about with her prior to starting our paperwork journey.  I know this sounds very shallow, but it was something that I really struggled with.  I know Ileah has spoken with many want to be adoptive moms whose husbands cannot fathom the notion of raising someone else’s child. They want their own flesh and blood.  They think there will be a difference in how much they can love a child that is not “a part of them”. But here is the honest truth; I learned very quickly after Jayden’s arrival that a “difference” would never be seen or felt on my part. I can’t imagine loving someone more than I love him.   I think God works in AMAZING ways and makes great situations out of seemingly hopeless ones.  Even though we didn’t know it, he was preparing us for Jayden from the start.

Many times over the past month I have found myself feeling so blessed that Jayden is my son, and that I am his father.  In the adoptive community, they always talk about a child finding their “Forever Family”, but truly, I feel like it should be more like a family finding their forever child.  He is mine forever and to my ears, it just sounds too good to be true.  He is OUR blessing, OUR gift, OUR treasure. WE are the lucky ones!

So, how has the journey been so far….well, here are a few random thoughts that have resonated with me since becoming a dad:

-I always knew that I had great parents, but I never fully appreciated it until I became a parent myself.  I am so grateful for them being close by in Hilliard.  It is so fun to watch them be grandparents.

-It really does take a village to raise a child.  We have had so much help from friends and family.  Especially when it comes to people being willing to watch Jayden so Ileah and I can have date nights.  Also, from people providing us with clothes, toys, strollers, etc.

-Having a child has made our marriage even stronger.  You really do have to be a team.

-Kids are crazy, and sugar highs are a real thing.

-God is great and works in awesome ways.

-As a dad I have realized I really do need to watch what I do around Jayden.  He observes and imitates everything. 

-I wish life were as simple as a 4 year old makes it. 

-Daily I find myself saying things that my parents used to say to me.  I am still not sure how I feel about that.

A few more thoughts:
Before having Jayden I worried about how I would handle tough questions from my adoptive child.  Would I have the right answers?  How much should they know? I don’t want to tell them something that will hurt their feelings, or confuse them.  Ileah and I have read the books, and done the training on how to handle such questions, but I always wondered how I would respond when it actually happens. 

Since having Jayden I have learned that kids pick up on a lot more than you may think.  He is very observant and hears nearly everything (except when you actually want him to listen of course). I have learned that as long as you are doing your best, and have your child’s best interest at heart, you are doing the “right” thing, and even if you don’t necessarily say the “right” thing, your child will learn to trust you and trust is the building blocks for the really hard discussions you will eventually need to have with them.  You answer their questions honestly, and with enough detail that is appropriate for their age.  Couple that with reassuring them how much you love them, and you can’t ever REALLY screw up too bad.

Just like all parents I am sure Ileah and I are in for a wild ride with Jayden, and the rest of the kiddos that will enter our lives.  I get very excited when I think about the future of the Reichert family.  It also causes a little bit of fear and stress, but I can’t think of two other people that I would rather be on this journey with than my partner in crime, Jayden and my rock, Ileah. 

Once again thank you to everyone that has helped Ileah and I over the past couple of years.  We are truly blessed for everyone in our lives, especially the cute, blonde 4 year old that we thank God for every day!


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Weights in waiting

I know I have been slacking in terms of writing this blog over the past year. Many of the blogs I follow tend to do the same thing…start off strong and with lots of “ideas” and “updates”, but then they taper as the weight of the wait keeps pressing on. We are well into 2 years of this wait and I think I may actually start to see a distant spot of shining light ahead. Our Dossier for China is 99.9% finished. 

I have collected every nuance of data on our family, had it notarized, trucked it down to down town Columbus on a very busy Monday morning, stood in multiple lines, finally had it county certified then state certified, copied it three different times, and happily, shipped the sucker off into the mail to be out of my sight and out of my mind, forever! I am happy to report it has made its way safely to Vancouver and is currently sitting on the desk of our case manager. The last remaining document will come from Immigration, and as you know, red tape is as thick as mud, so its exact date of arrival is still unknown.

Speaking of our case manager, we have heard that there are nearly 45 kiddos whose documents are getting prepared to be relinquished from the Chinese government to finally allow them to be adopted through our agency. She is very hopeful that in as little as 6 months, we will know and see the face of our little one. It seems unreal at this point. To think that early next year we could be traveling to China, meeting this little angle that we have dreamed about, and take them home to start our “new” family.  It’s exciting and scary and wonderful all at the same time. But for now, we keep preparing….and yes….waiting.

So, how is the wait going…Well, I have decided to be a little proactive in my wait. I could sit around and worry and grow anxious but I decided to do something constructive. In March I started focusing on getting my boys and myself, eating and living a little better. I started doing home workouts, for starters. You could say I started really getting into weights during my wait. 

And before long, I got addicted to them. I am using BodyRockTV.com, which is a FREE personal trainer right in your living room, or in my case, my basement, who literally rocks you to the core with amazing workouts. I did not intend to loose weight necessarily, I just wanted to get a little toned, stop feeling so out of shape, and have more energy for chasing after my 4 year old, but I am happy to say I actually lost about 10 pounds and several inches in the process. I have more energy now than I have had in years. This is by far the best workout I have ever done. I soon canceled my gym membership, started saving a lot of money, and am actually starting to feel like I’m in my 20’s again! As a mom, I never thought I would give up my time with my little guy to do something for myself, but here is the thing, he loves to “work out” with me (you can tell by the video below). Kids love doing what you love doing! Ever notice how kids love playing on the computer, pretending to drive their little cars, pretending to mow the lawn with daddy? They love to do things they see us doing. When I work out in my own home, He is right there with me and sees it as a time we are spending together. I even got jay in on a few workouts. The best thing, these workouts are not time consuming. Many of them are 12 min long, but they really work you in those 12 min. Now some workouts are longer, but the website is packed full of great advise on not only fitness, but nutrition as well. 

I also started focusing on all of our nutrition. My boys love to eat out, especially my grown one, and the ramifications of eating out have begun to be evident in our overall health. I started looking into adding more locally grown produce into our diets. Fruits have never been issue, but vegetables are hard to get down all of us, particularly my little one. I heard through my aunt of a pretty amazing little company called Green Bean. They deliver locally grown, organic produce, meats, cheeses, nuts, ect right to your home weekly or biweekly. We are eating vegetables we have never had before and they taste significantly better than what Kroger has on its shelves. I am not sold on just eating organic, but I do love supporting local farmers and can see a dramatic difference in the produce quality. I am trying new recipes, we are all eating better, and I think we are actually saving money!

Well, that’s about it on the update front. I do have some exciting news, Jay has surprised me with writing a blog post of his own! I didn’t even ask him too! As much as I assume the role of writer on this blog, it is our family that it centers around and I am ecstatic to hear Jay’s thoughts as an adoptive father in the next blog post.

Please keep orphans all over the world in your prayers. If you have not already, please head over to the CHIFF facebook page and “like” the CHIFF campaign, and please take a moment to sign the petition to our government letting them know that Children EVERYWHERE need families. Lets right the wrong that hinders this. Children do NOT belong in an orphanage, they belong in a family. 

Friday, May 9, 2014

Checking those marks

I have a weird confession. I love check marks. Glad I got that off my chest….But seriously, I do LOVE them. Its strange and I am not sure when my fascination with them started but I know as far back as I can recall, I have loved check marks. I remember in school, using check marks to document my progress through homework and essays. I even had a document through grad school that I used check marks to mark off each class, each semester, each clinical hour completed. Whenever I am at a conference and an agenda is sitting in front of me, I have to put a check mark next to the portion completed. It gives me a sense of where I am in the process, how close I am to finishing, truly gives me a sense of satisfaction. I find myself counting down, and most of the time spending more time concentrating on the number of marks I have and have left to go rather than on the topic itself. When I make a list, you guessed it, check marks next to each item completed. I love check marks. Even if there is not a clear area for a check mark to be placed, I create one! I was sitting at a conference recently and someone pointed out my neuroses. I was a little embarrassed, but then they proceeded to tell me how they do the same thing, so maybe I should start a club or something for people who just love check marks. I guarantee a lot of adoptive mommies would be on that list.

Its probably a good thing I like check marks, our adoption paperwork process is once again in full swing and I REQUIRE my little list of completed and uncompleted document check lists to keep me on track. Good news though, I have only a small amount of check marks left and it is an amazing feeling! This round was a breeze (knock on wood). I was told that China would be more difficult, but as this really was my third time around with adoption paperwork, I was able to complete it rather effortlessly. I have an amazing friend who is a notary and I believe that has made the biggest difference by far. We just met with our social worker again for yet another home study. We have completed most of the documents for our new dossier, and everything is coming together. I feel like we really are moving now. We are no longer stagnant, just a name on a list of hopefuls anymore. And I have to say, I truly think we made the right decision with transitioning to China.

The number one reason we choose Ethiopia in the first place was actually the number 6 million. That’s how many orphans are estimated in that country alone. China has always had a strong, thriving adoption community and so China never crossed my mind as a place where great need still existed. I mean, China is a world power house! The United States alone owes China some 1.3 Trillion dollars! And yet, there is still a huge need. Nearly 1 million (according to some reports) orphans are located in orphanages in china, and this comes as a speculated number as china tends to down play the number by at least half. Orphanages used to be filled with little girls due to China’s “One child” policy and its preference for sons, but now a majority of the children are sick or with special needs, and over 70% are boys! Often times children are abandoned because the parents do not know how to care for a baby with special needs, they cant afford to, or they feel an inability to emotionally cope with the challenges special needs can bring. The weird thing, most “special needs” are minor to say the least, at least in terms of what we feel are “special”.

In January of this year the province of Xiamen (pronounced Sha-men) opened up a baby safety island.  This was a shelter located at an orphanage where parents could discretely drop off their abandoned children without recognition (as it is against the law). Children were previously being abandoned where they could not be found and many died before being rescued. Since the opening of the baby safety island nearly 70 children have been abandoned and sadly there is not enough staff to help care for these kiddos and some have already lost their lives. They receive roughly 1-3 children there a day. Because of this increased demand, the baby safety island had to be shut down. But the children previously left have now caused a huge crisis in the local orphanages. Our adoption agency is partnering to hire 2 full time caretakers for one year to help with caring for these kiddos, making hospital runs for the sickest, and to help with paperwork to expedite their adoptions. The reason I wanted to share this with my family and friends is simple:  This is where our child WILL come from. Not that I solely care for one individual child, but there is a great need and I ask that your prayerfully consider once again partnering with us to make a change. We may not have much, but they have nothing. Giving as little as $20, shoot even $10 could change everything. For more information or to help donate please click HERE

Ok gotta get back to my check marks, hopeful for some good news soon. 

Friday, February 28, 2014

Changin it up

We have officially been working on our adoption for 2 years now, a year and a half of which we have been on the waitlist. I wish I could say there was an end in sight, a babies face to admire, travel plans to initiate, but that could not be further from our reality. In fact, we are officially back at the very start of our journey. Allow me to catch you up a bit…

As I have posted previously, Ethiopian adoptions have dramatically slowed. In fact, slowed is not quite the realistic term used to describe the current state of Ethiopian adoptions, it is nearly stagnant. Only 26 children were placed in 2013 and according to projections, a similar number is expected in 2014 and beyond. Most children being placed are older children (which is something to be very thankful for don’t get me wrong!). I used to think the problem was the process itself, but recently I have been enlightened to the real situation over in Ethiopia.

Recently, the United States government filed criminal charges against a U.S. adoption service provider operating in Ethiopia. Long story short, there are very corrupt people and agencies operating in a country that lacks resources to ensure proper ethical adoptive practices. Simply put, wherever there is a lot of $$$, there are a lot of people who will do anything to get a piece of the pie, without consideration for the helpless beings that the money was intended to protect. In the indictment served by the U.S. Government, several people were investigated for over 5 years and were believed to be involved in falsifying documents on children living with their OWN families, in order to fulfill a “need” for international adoptive parents. Poor orphanages were trying to make an easy buck and so when an agency would call saying this is the “type” of child we need for this family, if no child met those demands, they would basically find a child that did meet the criteria and rip them from their families. Lies were being told to families about their children leaving for a short period of time for education or various others claims, and the families were often unaware that their children were being permanently adopted and in simple terms, SOLD for a profit. The indictment also charges that the scheme involved paying bribes to corrupt Ethiopian government officials.

This news is heartbreaking, but unfortunately not a “new” finding. The southern region of Ethiopia has already shut down adoptions and the northern region, where our adoption would have taken place, is basically on the verge of this as well. The indictment is for U.S. agencies, but unfortunately, there are agencies and corrupt people from all over the world making this a huge problem. Our adoption agency has been very transparent with us about these issues, and they are committed to standing strong with Ethiopia in making things right.

So, over the past few months, Jay and I have been praying pretty hard for Ethiopia, and for our adoption. Here is the main cornerstone our adoption is founded upon:

We are NOT adopting so our family can have a child, we are adopting so a child may have a family, period.

We in no way want to be a part of a process that is unethical, not truthful, and potentially corrupt. I have spoken with a mother of an Ethiopian adoptee and while her story has and remains transparent and honest, she is aware of various others that have not been.

We have had various conversations with our case manager and here is our predicament. Our adoption agency recognizes that there is a very good chance that Ethiopia could close. They are giving all families the opportunity to change to a different country, with 100% of our agency fees (already paid) transferable, BUT only for a short while. We could choose to stick it out with Ethiopia keeping a few things in mind: 1.) Ethiopia could close, at which point our contract would be terminated and we would have to repay all agency fees over and start again at the very start of this whole journey and 2.) We could continue with Ethiopia understanding that currently we are very far down on the list and do not qualify for the children currently being placed, making a referral very unlikely in the foreseeable next couple of years. As you know, we now have a beautiful bouncing three year old, and according to our policy with our agency, we must maintain birth order. We do not have the ability to adopt any child over the age of 3. Additional options include choosing to change to a different country (our agencies domestic program is at maximum capacity currently and not allowing further families to join), or to terminate our contract and move on.

Jay and I have prayed a lot. I cannot say that we KNOW for certain we are making the right decision. God has not been real clear on the subject….yet. However, I recently had an international adoptive mommy speak some truth into our situation, and this is what she said: “I know you are afraid of making a mistake, but you need to understand that when you are seeking to glorify God and due His will, you can never make a “mistake”. He will make good out of your plans. An orphan is an orphan no matter what country they reside in.” and that was much needed TRUTH!

So, let me tell you about the last couple of months prior to getting to the meat and potatoes of our decision for our adoption. We have been receiving emails from our agency on waiting children. These are children that are special needs kiddos and Jay and I have fallen for a couple of them…when we started this journey we were set on an infant who was healthy. I believe that this criteria is what may continue to perpetuate the corruption in international adoption; I see that now. Couples generally want children who are healthy, but these are not the kiddos that are typically abandoned. Our hearts have begun to break for these children. Through these emails we have seen beautiful children, with often minor or correctable challenges who are labeled as “special needs” but who just need a family to love on them and offer them a chance.

A majority of these special needs children are from Asia. Our agency is gaining more and more ground and making more contacts with orphanages there and the need is great in these regions. With that said, and with the input of our opinionated three year old who just recently learned about China at school (and who’s favorite movie currently is Mulan) we have decided to change our country to China. We are opening up to either sex, up to the age of three and with special needs (pending the input of our social worker). We are excited and a bit nervous over this change, but ready to see where this crazy journey takes us and to whom! Thanks for continued prayers!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Our day in court

As the judge entered the courtroom, my heart began to pound loudly, my palms became instantly sweaty, and a flood of emotions swept over. To my left sat my amazing husband, the one who has stood by my family and I through thick and thin. We have been through an awful lot for still being considered newlyweds, including the events that had led us to that very moment. We were in this together…for better or worse. To our left sat our lawyer, a veteran when it came to these matters. We had spoken on the phone and through various emails, but meeting for the first time that day, did nothing to ease our fears regarding our current “legal matters”. Behind us sat the reason for that day. He was squirming a little in the over sized chair he was sitting in. He was nervous too, though he didn’t know why. My mother and aunt were seated behind us as well. They shot nervous smiles to Jay and I while attempting to quiet the bustle of commotion at the back of the room.

We were sworn in under oath, and our testimonies began. At first there were simple questions; state your name, address, occupation…then, as I assume all lawyers do, he began to dig in deeper.

“Mrs. Reichert, please describe the situation that leads us here today.” Where do I start? Do I start with what I thought was our plan from the beginning? How far back do I go? Back to when we first started praying for him shortly after his birth in 2010? Back to 2012 when we first said, “yes” to God? Do I talk about how we had unknowingly been preparing for this for the last two years? Do they care to hear how God’s timing is perfect, how much his grace and love has been laced through this whole situation from the start? I shorten up the details surrounding our “situation” the judge, after all, has the file lying in front of him, as does the lawyer. I describe the events that took place 14 months ago, as well as the circumstances from that time that have led us to court on a blistery cold January day.

The judge listens intently, and in a rather wise grandfather like tone he says, “It is not for us to criticize other people’s choices in life, or their circumstances with which they choose to live. However, even their poorest choices can lead to some of our greatest blessings, as we can clearly see here today.”

Jay and I both nodded in total agreement.

“Mr. And Mrs. Reichert, please explain to the court how you have adapted to this situation and describe, please, the bonds that have been formed”. I begin to try to answer the question, but how does one describe the bond of love? Lots of poets and songwriters have tried over the years and not one has successfully completed the task.  I notice quickly that all the eyes in the courtroom are not on me anymore, and no one appears to be paying much attention to my answer. They instead are focused on the little one at the back of the room. He had gotten off his chair and had made his way to our table. He quietly climbed up into Jay’s lap, reached his little arms around Jay’s neck, and nestled his head on Jay’s shoulder. The judge smiles, and says, “A picture is worth a thousand words. I don’t need to hear about bonds forming, when I am seeing it so perfectly right in front of me. I watched him get off his chair and walk right up to his daddy. He didn’t ask for permission, he didn’t have to say a word. He knows, right there on your lap Mr. Reichert, he is safe, he is important, and he is loved.”

We have traveled home hundreds of times with Jayden, our little man, in tow. But, for the first time after our court date, we brought him home officially as our son. We have officially started our family through adoption. This was not what we saw coming two years ago, and he certainly is not the international delight we were expecting when I started this blog, but this story/his story was beautifully written none-the-less. From the moment he entered our lives and our home he has been an amazing and perfect addition to our family.

We are going to continue with our international adoption, though the when and (and now possibly) the where are still largely unknown….so for now, “until God opens the next door, we will praise him in the hallway”.