That was January 30. We were sent more information later that day, along with her picture. I forwarded the email along to Lee, with the note below (minus the financial and logistical portions that I'm not willing to share on the blog):
Lee, you know me. You know that it doesn't take much to tug my heart strings, but God also gave you to me as my perfect husband to protect me from my desire to help others at the expense to myself. I was honest this weekend when I told you that I wanted us to pray about it and that I wasn't trying to steer you either way on it. I was honest when I said that I wasn't thinking we needed to do this but rather that we needed to pray about it.We didn't get to talk that night. I can't remember why, but it was probably because we were all recovering from colds.
And I need to be honest now: I just saw her picture and learned more about her. And I want to move heaven and earth to bring her home. [...] And I don't know if we can logistically make it happen. I just know that God says we are called to care for orphans in His name, and I know she needs a family, and I know we want to adopt, and I know that I'm willing to abandon speaking engagements and doctoral studies if that's what it'll take to give her a family.
But I also know that God gave me you as the perfect leader for our family and that I trust you and Him. We have to decide fast if we'll pursue this, because of the timing. [...]
Please know that I love you, and I'll love you no more or less if you and I don't see eye to eye on this and I will follow and respect you no matter what. I love you, and I'd love to talk to you more about this tonight.
On the 31st, with Lee's permission, I asked my Bible study group to pray about this. That evening, prior to a special needs ministry leadership meeting, I texted one of our pastors and asked him and his wife to pray. At the meeting - once again, after asking Lee first - I shared the need with our team and asked them to pray for her without mentioning that we were considering being her family; a couple of them know us well enough to call us on it, and we 'fessed up that we were praying about it. Lee and I had driven separately that night because I had physical therapy for my knee right before the meeting, so we sat in my car and discussed everything before us.
The next morning, Lee asked me to find out everything I could about her, about the process, and about the children's home where she was. I began to do that. And we each told our parents that night about what we were considering.
The next day, I set up a phone conversation with the US-based adoption coordinator, and Lee and I decided on a list of question to ask and answers we would need to hear in that conversation to feel comfortable moving forward. I asked every question. I got every answer. Later that night, less than a week after we found out about her, we realized that we no longer felt like we were praying for some girl on the other side of the world.
We realized we were praying for our daughter.
We contacted the adoption coordinator to say yes. I called a friend from church who has a son with cerebral palsy and, after leaving an only halfway lucid message on her voicemail, had an encouraging conversation when she returned my call. I called a few more friends. We decided on a name. We told friends at church on Sunday. We formally accepted the referral Sunday night. We shared the news with our immediate families. And then we posted the news on the blog that Tuesday, holding off long enough for me to be able to share the news with my Bible study group in person.
And here we are now. On a wild and crazy and unexpected ride that is blessing us all beyond measure.