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  • Ashley

Faith and Fate

Well, it's been a couple weeks since our last update, and it is amazing how much life can change in just a couple short weeks! I'm going to tell you a story, a story that seems almost unbelievable. It's a story of hope as well as hopelessness, with a major dose of faith and fate. It's an ending to a much larger story really, but at the same time the beginning of an even larger more amazing story that is yet to unfold...

On Monday, July 24, we were informed by our agency that yet another baby we hoped could have been ours was not meant to be. The baby's birth mom chose to raise her. Of course we were happy birth mom chose to parent...ultimately that is the goal. Sometimes though parenting just isn't an option, but that wasn't the case with the babies we thought may become our little one. Since April, we have been close so many times, but something seemed to keep standing in our way. There were even a couple situations where birth mom had a say or special circumstances where other families were better matches, so we were passed twice. But even though our faith was wavering, we knew those babies ended up with their families, the families they were meant to be a part of. So we were and still are ecstatic for them, and we celebrated with those amazing families, because in reality we have become friends through this amazing journey that has linked us together in such an unbreakable way.

After hearing once again that this baby was not going to be our little one, we told Faith International to only update us once Baby Life had custody of a baby or if a special situation would suddenly arise. We just could not keep getting our hopes up only to be told that once again our little one had not yet been born. Faith International completely understood and even explained how hard it is for them to keep delivering this news to us. The staff at Baby Life even told Faith that they just could not understand why or how it kept happening to us, and that it was so unusual. All they could tell us was that there must be a specific child out there meant to be ours. We tried really hard to believe this, and I think a big part of us did believe it. But grief and despair and impatience are strong beasts, and they completely overshadowed that faith we had deep down.

I'm going to be honest, the next few days following this news were hard. I was in a pretty low place. But I started trying to get my mind focused on other things, so I began getting my classroom ready for the upcoming school year and writing lesson plans. I even decided to write our future cherry blossom a letter. I thought that would be therapeutic in a way. I wrote this letter on Thursday afternoon, July 27, and it really gave me some peace. I was in a better place by Thursday night.

At midnight that very same night, while headed to bed, I received an email from Kelsey at Faith. My heart began to race. I knew she would not be emailing unless she had really good news. So I opened it and read it aloud to Vince. She said she could not wait until morning to tell us the news. She continued by saying she had just heard from Baby Life and they had received a call from a mom who was looking for an adoption plan for her baby girl. The only small catch was the baby was born on May 11. Kelsey wanted to know if we were okay with her being a few weeks older than the average referral. We said of course we were!

Baby Life met with the mother and counseled her on August 2. She decided to continue with her original plan and to go the US route. They showed her our file and she signed off on us! Faith International kept us updated over the next few days. They knew we had been here a couple times before, so they wanted us to know things were still headed in the right direction for us. In fact, everything happened at the speed of lightning! This last Monday they told us they should have all documents for the referral anytime and we even received a picture of the most adorable chubby cheeked little girl!

On Tuesday, Kelsey emailed the US Embassy attempting to set up an appointment for us (she told us to expect August 21, but she asked for August 14 or 15!). They emailed back and confirmed our appointment for August 15!!! We were all surprised! So we received all the documents and official referral, along with more photos, overnight. When we woke up Wednesday morning (just one week after Baby Life took custody), we looked at that email and fell completely in love with a little girl we had only seen in photos! At the same time, we were cautious and panicked. For one, we had a referral one other time, and that one fell through, and the panic was from the fact that we had a ton of stuff to do in three days!!! We booked tickets and the hotel and then began getting all paperwork complete, wiring money, getting lesson plans for the next couple weeks ready for school, and packing! Yes, my anxiety has set in! haha!

It still seems so surreal! We will be boarding a plane Saturday morning and will be returning home next Friday afternoon with a beautiful baby girl. We will officially be parents! *Cue the freaking out!

Her given name is Mizuki, which comes from the Japanese word for the flowering dogwood tree. It means beautiful moon. How perfect and incredibly beautiful is that?! So her name once she comes home will be Everly Sky Mizuki Banion! (We wanted to keep Sky in there for Stormy, whom we love and miss so dearly.) On the day she was born, Stormy was actually feeling great! It was a Thursday, the day I thought he was going to turn the corner and get better again. He passed away that next Monday, but how strange that the one day he felt better was the day our little girl entered the world. Maybe that's a sign, or maybe a coincidence, I don't know, but I choose to believe it is a sign.

Even when we had to search deep inside ourselves for the faith to carry on and believe our little one would find us, it was there. We still had faith that what was meant to be would be. Fate is an interesting little character, and she worked her her magic on our journey. God knew what he was doing from the start, and even when we thought this day would never come, He knew it would. So this may be the conclusion of the waiting, of this part of the story, but it is just the beginning to a much larger and more amazing story...the story of the rest of our lives...

We will continue posting blog updates while in Japan and after we make it back home. I think it is a great place to keep people updated and informed. Without all of you, we never would have had the strength to carry on the way we have, so we want to continue on so you all see how life as a family of three is working out for us! ;)

My classroom...and how appropriate is this sign?! :)

And now the pics you have all been waiting for...

We celebrated with Vince's family Wednesday night at Olive Garden!!! Our waiters, Tracy and Brock. surprised us with this dessert! How awesome! They were great and the dessert was delicious too!

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