Earlier that day, Matt and I had attended a China Adoption conference put on by what would become our agency. We went there wanting to adopt from China and left there knowing that we would. We had also chosen our agency (but only after I cornered the director at the conference and gave her an inquisition.) We just had to figure out when to start.
I'm not sure if I've shared this before, but even though we have thought about China adoption for many years, we didn't plan to start the adoption process as soon as we did. In April of 2005, Xander was only 18 months old. China adoptions were taking about 6 months from DTC to referral (Those were the days...) and we weren't quite ready for child #5 so soon. In fact our original plan was to wait until he was 5. 'Funny' how that worked out afterall... Prior to that, I had started to have China adoption on the brain in January of 2004, shortly after my 30th birthday. Imagine my surprise when I found out about China's 30 year age requirement... We started talking seriously about adopting from China in December of 2004 and I sent away for info from several agencies in February of 2005. However, our plan at that time was to do research and gather info for a year and then apply and start our dossier sometime in late '06. We weren't in a hurry.
Attending this conference started the ball rolling at a different speed, however. Unfamiliar with the process, we had thought we could slowly gather paperwork over the course of months or years if need be but learned that we would need to instead 'paperchase.' At the end of the conference we won a free Dragon Plan (agency did all of our certifications and authentications for us) which seemed like a good thing. The catch was that the prize expired in 6 months. This was only the first of many signs that we were to begin the process sooner than planned. I began to feel that we needed to adopt from China with the same urgency that a person would feel the need to flee a burning building. I knew that we needed to begin immediately. I felt rushed and I fought it but I couldn't ignore it. It's all a bit ironic now from where we sit 4 years later. We had no idea that things would slow down like they have but someone did and I'm sure that He was looking out for us and for our girl. If we had followed our own plan, we wouldn't be about to see our daughter's face. In fact, I don't think we would even be in line.
So, when I look back at that picture and reflect back on that day, I think about how long it has taken and how hard it has been but it also reminds me that some things, including the timing of it all, are just meant to be.