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  • Ashley

Reflecting on 2017

I'm sitting here on an unscheduled day off from school due to frigid temperatures and have been reflecting on this past year while holding my little cherry blossom. Maybe it's the new year or maybe it is just finally hitting me, but I have been reliving the past two years while writing my book that may or may not ever get published. Some days I can't even believe this is real life; I can't believe that after everything, she is really here in our arms. Then there are other days where I feel as if she has always been here and has been a part of our family forever. I don't know...maybe that's because she was always meant to be our daughter...maybe my heart and soul just always knew who she was and that we would find each other. Either way, while reflecting on our journey we have come to realize several coincidences, or maybe they weren't coincidences, that caused us to realize that we were always right where we were supposed to be; we were always on the right track at the right time, even when we felt lost, discouraged, and scared that we would never bring home a little one. At any rate, I wanted to write them down so that I would never forget the interventions the universe and God made on our behalf so that we could unite with our daughter at exactly the right time. It is so amazing to look back now and understand God, fate, the universe, they all had it planned out...all we really needed to do was sit back and let it unfold...I guess hindsight really is 20/20.

The first divine intervention we recognized is that we filled out our paperwork to send in to Faith International on May 11, 2016, exactly one year from the day our girl was to be born. The next is that in August of 2016, we had our first and only home study visit and on the other side of the world, our daughter's birth mom found out she was pregnant (according to the social report we received). On May 11, 2017 our daughter was born in Japan, and here in the US, Stormy had a great day. He had been having a rough week, but on this day he seemed so happy and felt so much better. Unfortunately, as you all know, he passed a few days later on May 15, but I am so thankful we had that final great day together. We received our first referral on May 19, which would have been the day our Mizuki was likely released from the hospital in Japan, and we lost that referral on the 22nd. I felt so devastated, and mostly because I felt our daughter had been born. I just could not figure out how and why I felt this way since obviously our child had not been born yet...little did I know what would transpire.

Fast forward to July 2017...we had been informed on Monday, July 24, that once again, for the tenth time, the baby that was born the week before would be staying with birth mom. While we were elated birth mom could keep her little one, it was so hard hearing this news over and over again, so I told Kelsey from Faith that we did not want anymore updates until the referral was ready for us. I knew it would be hard to be in the dark for several weeks or months, but I just couldn't keep hearing we might have a baby, just to find out we didn't. I told her the only way we wanted to be told about a baby ahead of time was if there was a special situation where she needed to know if we were okay with something, such as age or special needs. Kelsey understood completely. She actually told us multiple times last summer that one day this would all make sense. She was so right. On July 25 in Japan (July 24 here in Ohio...the same day we told Kelsey no more updates), Mizuki's birth mom reached out through email to Baby Life about an adoption plan for her. On July 26, here in Ohio, I wrote a letter to our future child (which is the beginning of my possible future book). The very next night (July 27) at 11:30 our time, we received an email from Kelsey. I knew it was important because she promised not to email unless she had to ask a question or had good news. My heart skipped a beat and I told Vince that I just got a notification on my phone...of course he told me to read it before we went to bed. In the email, Kelsey started with these words..."I just could not wait until the morning. I just had to email you tonight because I am so excited." She explained that Baby Life had a mother of a 2 1/2 month old baby girl and would like to make an adoption plan for her and for now wanted a US placement. She said, "I think I already know the answer to this question, but I have to ask, are you okay with her being a little older?" Vince and I were shocked, excited, cautious, and very quickly more than okay with it. What was a couple months? And maybe this was why all the others fell through and why I had felt since May that our child had been born and was a girl. We emailed back right away with an exuberant "YES!" The next ten days were a whirlwind.

We received a referral in record time, exactly one week from the time Baby Life took custody on August 2 (by the way, August 2 in Japan is August 1 in Ohio, and that was the day we took Stormy in the year before for a routine check up and found out he was very sick). We received a referral August 9 and flew out of Columbus on August 12, exactly 15 months to the day that we mailed out our application packet to Faith bringing our whole journey full circle.

Coincidence, divine intervention, fate...I don't really know, but I do know that we have the girl who was always meant to be our daughter. Faith International is perfectly named...I just wish we would have had more faith along the journey. We do have unwavering faith now, because I have never before been so sure of God's plan than after watching our story unfold right before our eyes. What an amazing thing to witness firsthand.

Our first day meeting our girl!

Definitely worth the wait!

Welcome home sweet girl!

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