I believe that Annalyn was meant to be with us. Yes, it is true that I feel that way about each of our children, but with Annalyn I couldn't imagine feeling God's hand guiding her straight to us more than I did with any other child.
John and I were so open to adopting another child, that we began throwing the idea around with our family, as a way to sort of prepare them. Little by little, I began exploring our options, and praying for God to lead us to the right child if there was even a child out there that he wanted us to have. With our family size, I was already running into obstacles just trying to find a local agency that would work with us. We also did not want to take a lot of time away from our family by attending (adoption) classes or traveling. And if that wasn't enough stipulations, John told me that our next child would have to be from right here in the US. So basically if God's plan was for us to have another child, he would have to literally drop one in our lap.
That is where Annalyn comes into the picture. Out of the blue, on Tuesday, August 8, I posted a short introduction about our family on an adoption group that had asked for people who were interested in adopting to share a little about themselves. Never having done this before, and second guessing my post, I really didn't expect anything to come of it. But later that day I found an email from a mother who was responding to my post. In this email, she shared about a little girl that she and her husband had adopted from Russia almost two years ago and was desperately trying to find another home for. She shared of the heartache her, her husband, and this little girl had been through and asked if I would like to talk. Already emotionally involved, I noticed that this family was also in California. Well if any of you don't know, because of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC), if the child that you are adopting is in a different state it becomes much more complicated. So knowing that, I already felt that God was trying to get our attention.
I quickly called John to tell him about this mother's email, and he told me to get in touch with her. After hearing, "I don't think so Christine," the other couple of times I had shared with him about available children, I was pleasantly surprised to hear him say, "Get 'er done."
As you can imagine, my heart and mind was racing at the idea of being this little girl's mommy. When, and how, was this all going to pan out? What kind of problems could this little girl have? How far away did this family live, and how soon could we meet this little girl? All of these thoughts entered my mind as I emailed this woman to tell her about us, set up a time so that we can talk, and ask for a picture.
Well, have you ever heard that a picture says a thousand words? That is how it was with Annalyn's picture as if I instantly knew exactly what she wanted and especially what she needed. Sure questions were still unanswered, but I already knew in my heart that she was my daughter. How can I say that, I'm sure some of you are thinking, when I haven't even met her? I guess it's because I figured God would work out the details, just like he always does. Plus, that cute little face and those beautiful brown eyes tugged on my heartstrings, making it nearly impossible for me to say no.
I called that evening, and was told all about Annalyn and why she needed to find another family. After talking for a while, we both felt really good about each other and decided that we were going to make this work. They talked about coming down to meet us that Saturday. If things went well, (which we both knew and felt would) Annalyn would stay with us from that moment on.
John and I went to bed talking about our new (soon to be) daughter and couldn't wait to tell the kids in the morning. We also decided that it would be best if Annalyn could come Friday- one day earlier. We wanted as much time as possible with her before school started and hoped to get the paperwork started before the weekend. The other family agreed and so we began the scramble of preparing our home for another child. I went out and bought a bunk bed and comforter. I also found a pink back pack and cute little swim-suit just for her. And I began to pray for my whole family, as I knew that each of my nine children would have to go through their own adjustment.