the call before The Call

This morning Craig and I had our pre-referral call with our case manager. The purpose of this conversation, as one might imagine, was to prepare us for the call we’ve been waiting for over the past 22+ months – the call that tells us there is a child in Ethiopia ready to join our family. The Call.

We discussed the type of information we will receive about the child matched with us. We will receive a handful of papers, including a medical examination form (pretty basic information, most likely from only one examination), information obtained from an interview with the birth family (if any), child background information from the local government, and 1 or 2 photos. It is very unlikely that we will receive more than the most basic of information, but it should be enough for us to gain a simple understanding of the circumstances that led to the child being available for adoption. We discussed the fact that some of the information we receive may be upsetting or hard to process, which makes sense, since many things happen in the world that cause families to relinquish their children, and frankly, none of them are pleasant.

We also talked about the actual referral process. Our plan is that our case manager will call me, since I am usually reachable (and Craig pretty much works inside a black hole… and I’m only half-joking since he can’t take his cell phone inside his office, he works at three different desks, and he is only sometimes able to get online). I will then perhaps do happy dances or jump for joy or burst into tears (or probably all of the above) and then work like crazy to get a hold of Craig. When I do, he will most likely not be able to understand a word I have to say, but somehow, he will know that we got The Call and we will both head home immediately. Then we’ll receive and review an email with all of the above information in it. I can guarantee there will be hugs, tears, and a whole slew of emotions going on at our house. Heck, I get all emotional just thinking about it.

But this is where it gets tricky, because as much as we will want to shout out to the world that we’ve received a referral, we will instead be sending off the information we have to a physician who specializes in international adoption for review. It is a simple fact that almost all children adopted from Ethiopia are malnourished. The effects of malnutrition are varied, however, ranging from negligible to severe, and we will want the physician to advise us on what he or she thinks the potential health risks are for this particular child. The doctor may also identify other medical issues, too, and request additional information, which our agency would then need to pass along to the orphanage in Ethiopia. The process of review and then requesting additional information may take several days to complete.

While we do not expect to decline a referral, it is possible that we could learn information about the child’s health that would make us decide to do so. So we will not announce the referral until we are sure we are accepting it, probably not even to our closest family and friends. This might mean radio silence for a few days – and you can be sure that we’ll be pulling our hair out while waiting for news.

I should also put it out there now, while I’m thinking about it, that we are not allowed to post photos of our child (who will not actually be our child for several months) on the internet until we bring him or her home. I expect to hear major protests about this, but it’s just the way it is. Sorry!

Now, of course, the question I had to ask – which I knew I could not get a hard and fast answer to, but asked anyway – was, When is this going to happen? Our case manager said she thought we could receive a referral anywhere from a couple of weeks from now to several months from now. I was really excited to hear the “couple of weeks from now” part, because it means that I’m not totally making up how close we are! She said that she “would not be surprised” if she was calling us in just a couple of weeks, and she said she shared that because she wants us to be prepared. (She also made us promise not to hold it against her when a couple of weeks passes and we haven’t received The Call.) Now, of course, anything goes in this international adoption game, and for all we know, there won’t be another referral for a few months. But let’s just all focus on the couple of weeks option, though, okay?!

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27 Responses to the call before The Call

  1. Erin says:

    Awesome news!! Finally progress!! I hope you get nothing but good news from here on out.

  2. sue says:

    eeek! i’m so excited that you are finally at this point!!!! crossing fingers and toes for a “couple of weeks!”

  3. molly says:

    OK, another blog to begin stalking! So exciting! I’m glad they have a preparation call–it’s going to be a whirlwind!
    πŸ™‚

  4. kwatkinsinfl says:

    Congrats on getting close. I hope that your case manager indicating referrals are close means there will be another big batch of them and one will be for a sibling set! Would be fun to travel with you!

  5. Amy says:

    Yay! Great news! They never tell you, but you have to think they know in advance that there are children waiting to be matched. Sometimes, the process to gather paperwork can take months. For some reason, I do believe they have a better idea than what they lead us to believe. Which, in my opinion, probably means you are weeks away!!! πŸ™‚

  6. motherparadox says:

    Yes!!! Every day a little bit closer!

  7. Jennifer says:

    I agree. I think they know things. Perhaps there is a child missing some paperwork that they expect to have soon. I always think they know a lot more than they tell. My prereferral call was maybe a month before the referral.

  8. colleen says:

    oh kelly!!! i am so excited that the time is just about here! you have been so patient and handled this wait so well! i too will jump for joy and do a happy dance for you when that referral is finally here!

  9. Jaclyn says:

    So exciting!! Keeping you in my thoughts for good news in a “couple of weeks” of course!

  10. Theresa says:

    Yeah! My vote is that you hear something a couple of days from now. How exciting!

  11. amy says:

    Oh this is so exciting!
    Amy (longtime reader, first time commenter!)

  12. Krista says:

    Couple of weeks is what i want to hear!!! In the home stretch now!

  13. Rain says:

    I hope THE CALL comes very soon! So exciting!

  14. Janet says:

    I’m so excited you are getting soooo close now. How cool that they call you to tell you what to expect, etc… That will definitely help when the time comes and your brain goes to total mush (which will be in a COUPLE OF WEEKS…I’m thinking it…yes!). We totally understand the need to wait before shouting it to the whole world. That time after getting a referral, waiting for the IA medical review to occur, and to formally sign the paperwork…felt like an eternity…until we could finally tell our family and friends. We’ll be patient without seeing photos…but it will be hard. πŸ˜‰ I totally understand. It will make seeing his/her sweet face WITH YOU that much sweeter…when you finally can share.

  15. Sandra says:

    I had a heart attack when I saw the title of your post with the word “call” in it until I realized what it really said. But this is wonderful progress! I love that they send you an email with the information instead of having to meet at an agency. I am so excited for you and can’t wait for the big announcement. Hopefully it is within a few weeks.

  16. Sue says:

    Oooohhhhh you are so close. I’m watching you and a few others and also hoping our referral comes in around the same time. Would be so lovely to travel with some “familiar’ faces.

  17. Wow, that’s so exciting!! Could be a couple of weeks?? You’re getting so close to seeing your little one’s face for the first time!

  18. Kala says:

    Wow. How exciting. It’s finally time! I’ll be waiting to see some good news soon? Here’s to a call very soon!

  19. I can’t believe you are so close to The Call… wow!! It’s really almost here. I am beyond excited for you. Can’t wait to hear the news when it comes (and when you’re ready to share it). In the meantime, I’ll be keeping you in thought and prayer.

  20. Emily B. says:

    CANNOT WAIT to read about your call!! Hoping it is soon and sending you lots of good thoughts as you confront the anticipation of it all!!

  21. sarah says:

    Yay, the pre-call call! I think its a great idea to plan how you’d like the info to come to you. Paul and I wanted to be together too. I know it could still be a little bit of a wait, but this is starting to get really exciting!

  22. christine says:

    GAUGH! I’m so stinking excited for you guys!!! EEEEK!!!! (And it’s totally going to be a couple of weeks!) πŸ™‚

  23. Karlie says:

    Fingers are crossed for you guys – hopefully the call comes in the next few weeks. So exciting!!

  24. mkwewer says:

    Oh my god…a couple of weeks from now…I can’t even imagine…I’m just so excited for you…

  25. Kelly, this is so unbelievably exciting!!! After all this time, you’re finally right on the edge of what you’ve been waiting for for so long. So super excited that the day is nearly here!

  26. Kelly says:

    Kelly, the pre-call call!!! That is HUGE. You are so close now, I can feel it. That is such a great idea to lay out the process now while you are sane because believe me when the real call comes you will go limp and not be able to process anything or remember any details! I, too, understand the need to keep the details to yourself including the photo but boy will we all be super excited to finally see your child’s face when the time is right! Now when are you going to Paris again??? πŸ™‚

  27. This is so cool and it must feel so real now! I am getting to excited for you, and I pray that the referral will come soon!

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