We received our referral at the end of August. I was just starting a new, contracted position at a new-to-me high school. We were in the midst of start of year meetings and room preparation. I obsessively watched the discussion board which posts the referrals and one’s number in line (correlated to when one’s paperwork was submitted and accepted). Early that week, there were a few referrals which undermined my patience.
I selfishly called our social worker. Why didn’t we get a referral over so and so? We were before them on this list. Remember, we had been waiting a year longer than most (which didn’t count) due to switching programs. It still didn’t excuse my lack of patience.
The social worker was gentle with me, but to the point. Each child was not matched with the next family in line. All aspects were taken into account before connecting a child with a particular family. The program wanted to make the best match. Of course they did. I was embarrassed to have ever been impatient.
She tentatively shared that she had a good feeling about the end of the week. I should just “hang in there,” while nothing was a guarantee. However, she was hopeful. Of course. I thanked her and hung up.
Just as she foreshadowed, on Thursday of that week, we received an email with our referral. It contained this picture:
It also contained information about this child (while I will share our journey and as much as I can, there are a few things I will need to keep private. I hope you understand). Her name was MEAZA. We thought to pronounce it /me-ah-za/. It means “fragrant” in Amharic, the language of Ethiopia. We determined to keep her given name and call her “Mea” at home, in America.
She had been living at the orphanage since she was 11 months and was now 14 months old.
We received medical records that we immediately forwarded to CHOP. They would get back to us with information about her health. We had two or three days to accept the referral.
Regardless, we had finally met our daughter and she was perfect to us. It was love at first sight.