It's not easy. It's not easy to have this empty spot in my heart and my life where my daughter belongs. It is confusing (and very hard to explain to others) that I am missing a child I have never met. But there are days when I almost cannot bear the ache I feel. There are days when I would give anything to have her in my arms... or even just to see her face!
If you've been following our journey, then you know it has not been an easy one. We thought we would choose an agency in April, complete our homestudy and dossier this summer, and be on a waiting list by now. But that was not God's plan. We have, instead, walked through many disappointing conversations and faced many closed doors. It would be easy to feel hopeless now, except that something truly miraculous happened last month!
For several weeks I had been putting off contacting the last few agencies on my list, simply because I wasn't ready to hear a final NO. I knew they were all a long shot for us, and I (foolishly) just wanted to hold out hope instead of actually contacting them (silly, I know). Well, I got a stern talking to from a friend and fellow adoptive mom (thank you Malerie!) that I needed to get on with it! It was just the push I needed to take the next step.
That week, I emailed EVERY SINGLE agency/contact I knew of that might be a possibility for us. Some I never heard back from. Some told me NO. And one kind man suggested I "reach out to other agencies" or "try Korea". I don't know what it was about that email that did me in, but for some reason, I decided to respond and lay it alllll out on the line. I told him that YES, we had tried ALL the other agencies and NO, we were not eligible through any of them because we didn't have "documented infertility". I told him NO, we did not want to adopt a child from Korea (not because we don't love Koreans) because we feel specifically called to Thailand. I listed off alllll our connections to Thailand - that we speak basic Thai, that we have lived in Thailand, that we work in Thailand, that Rusty has a Thai driver's license, and made it clear that it was "Thailand or BUST" for the Jackson family.
And then I told him I understood that we weren't eligible for his program, but thanks for listening.
And then something miraculous happened.
Instead of another NO - I got a different kind of email back. An email that said, "I'm sympathetic to your case." An email that said, "Call me and let's see if I can help you."
I'm pretty sure I cried - then and there! And of course, picked up the phone to call him IMMEDIATELY!
Tim shared with us that the infertility rule in Thailand is really an "unwritten rule". It's not that Thailand wants infertile families, they just want to be sure that the family is a good placement for a Thai child. They are afraid that if the family adopts, then has biological children, that the Thai child will be pushed to the side. However, he said that the fact that we have SO many ties to the country and culture, and SO specifically desire to adopt a Thai child, should also make us a "good placement" for a Thai child! In his words, we deserve "special consideration."
And so, this precious man has decided that he will give us that "special consideration" and that he will advocate on our behalf! We could not be more grateful!!! I'm sure I thanked him 5 or 6 times on that one phone call alone!
So, here's the plan. We have filed an adoption application with an agency in New York ($50). The next step, will be completing an "Adoptive Family Profile" ($300 - we are still waiting to receive it) where we share more detailed information about our family. Then, Tim will submit our AFP (Adoptive Family Profile) to the Director of a specific orphanage he works with in Thailand (that happens to be in a city very near and dear to our hearts!) At that point - we will update you all and ask you (beg you!) to FAST and PRAY with us. This woman has the power to deny us, or give us pre-approval (which would allow us to move forward with our homestudy). We will need God to MOVE A MOUNTAIN for us (and we know He is capable of that!) Once we get a response, we will go from there!
I know to some of you this may sound like a long shot, but we are SO encouraged by this opportunity. On our phone call with Tim he told us several times, that on any other day he would have just turned us down (because we didn't meet the specific requirements for his program). "But today," he said, "something just made me read past undocumented infertility and read the rest of your story." I have no doubt that that "something" was GOD working on our behalf!
There are lots of other neat details about this specific agency and this specific orphanage that I will share with you in our next update (this one is long enough already! Sorry!) but I want to be sure I can release names/locations before I do. For now - if you would please go ahead and start praying for FAVOR for us with this agency, orphanage, and the Director of the orphanage in Thailand, we would appreciate it so much!
And so, after 9 months of waiting, our hope is renewed! We are encouraged by seeing God's hand in our story, and we are eagerly anticipating more good news! THANK YOU all for the prayers you have already lifted up on our behalf. I have no doubt that your prayers were part of what made this "impossible" situation possible!