The email I received in reply let me know the ladies at CHI had forwarded my email to their on-the-ground in country liaison. But there’s a slight wrinkle. The on-the ground liaison isn’t exactly on-the-ground. She’s here in the States visiting her family! But from the States she had forwarded our email on to the main authorities to see what they would think. Now look, it’s important for us to understand the weight this country places on their birth order rule:

Two families had previously inquired about these children with the main authorities with less complicated birth order issues than us. Immediately the reply was “NO.” No discussion. No advocacy. Just “NO.” Why should we expect to be any different?

Honestly, we didn’t. We were inquiring because we believed God wanted us to, but Amy and I had refused to allow our hopes to rise. We wanted these children, sure. We believed God wanted us to have them, yes. But we could be wrong, right?

So we did what every normal Christian who’s ever read the book of Joshua does in a situation like this……we put out a fleece! Now I don’t recommend employing a fleece (asking God to show you his will with a physical or tangible act) for every decision. But for MAJOR decisions or life-altering situations, we have found it to be quite helpful. The key to a fleece is making sure it’s only something God can do (you can’t be able to manipulate the outcome) and you can’t tell anyone about it (so THEY can’t manipulate the outcome). It has to be God. Our fleece was this….if the main adoption authorities in Poland came back with an agreement to CONSIDER us….to review our file…then we would take that as God telling us this was His will and we should move forward. We figured for this to happen, with the complicated birth order thing, and the history of Poland saying “NO” to people less complicated than us, this would have to be God. Our wonderful case workers at CHI asked us to write a little bio of our family and attach a few pictures to send on to the on-the-ground liaison. We did so and then just had to trust God would show us what the next step would be. These kids were in danger of being split up….basically our deal with God was (neither do I recommend you make “deals’ with God a habit!!) to move on our behalf in the country so we could adopt them, or bring along another qualifying family to trump us who would take all four. They simply could not be split up no matter what!!

Three days went by. We still didn’t allow our hopes to rise. We knew the on-the-ground liaison was on-the-ground in the States until the middle of July so we didn’t expect to hear much until she returned to Europe. We went to Elkhart to visit my parents and sister’s family over the fourth – so at least our minds and hearts were occupied.

I was sitting with my brother-in-law Scott on his couch at his place on July 3rd. Just hanging out celebrating my niece’s 11th birthday. We were getting ready to head back to my moms when I checked my email (remember, I always break the rule!). I was shocked to have something from Rebecca at CHI. She was as shocked in her email as I was to receive it…….POLAND had agreed to review our file!!! This was HUGE since they had only ever said “NO” to families like ours! They weren’t saying “YES” but they also weren’t saying “NO!” It was a solid…..”MAYBE.” And we would take it!!

Rebecca wanted to talk soon. It was almost 9PM here, but nearly 6PM where CHI is located. I asked if she wanted to wait until after the 4th or talk now. She didn’t know it, but my heart was racing and my eyes were huge. Amy and I were thinking, “This all just became a real possibility.” Isn’t it amazing how surprised we are when God reveals Himself in just the way we had asked? Rebecca was happy to talk right then – and this is what I have grown to LOVE about CHI – so I called her. We talked a few minutes about home studies, the next steps, and the fact that Poland wanted to know we were serious. She was very clear, this wasn’t an approval but only an agreement to take a stroll with our family. The on-the-ground liaison would be returning in two weeks, and CHI’s director would be joining her – what great timing for advocacy, right? We had two weeks to do whatever we could to show Poland we were serious and wanted these kids to be ours. If we could get a few things on the record, we might have a real chance. We were all shocked at this whole thing and really standing in amazment at all God was doing for these wonderful kids.

The only person not shocked (I mean my mom still wasn’t sure we hadn’t lost our marbles….and looking back, I’m not so sure Amy wasn’t a little in her camp at this point, too!!) was our friend, Kim…..who made clear to me, “God already said ‘Yes”!!”