We decided to adopt our fourth child. This was our second adoption from Korea, so the process felt familiar and secure. We understood that within a year after receiving a referral, a baby would be in our arms.
I prepared our family by reading books to my children about Korea. I explained that after our baby was born she'd be taken care of by foster parents in Korea until she could be united with us. We would be her forever family here in the United States. Everyone was excited about the new arrival and could hardly wait for news of our referral.
After much paperwork and many days of wondering and waiting, we received a call: "Your new baby girl is beautiful and has a head full of black hair!" I was so thrilled finally to have a baby with hair, lots of hair! We were promised that a photograph and information would be sent to us immediately. Waiting for the mail seemed to stretch for an eternity, but the package eventually arrived. I couldn't wait to see the photo. I ripped open the envelope and fell in love at first sight. The picture seemed almost real; she was so lovely! From that moment on she was in my heart and will be forever.
At the time, I did not know that I would never hold this precious baby girl in my arms. I would never watch her stumble and look at the world with wonder. I would never see my baby girl grow into a woman. I imagined her wedding day and her magnificent hair flowing from under her veil. From a single glance we lived a lifetime together.
We named her Jessica Jo and Jessie Jo for short. I framed the picture and hung it for everyone to admire. The kids fell in love, too. We were now a family of four, and we were all very proud.
The hardest part of the international adoption journey begins at this juncture. You know you have a child, and all you want to do is hold that baby in your arms and never let go. But you must wait. Wait and wait and wait for the phone to ring. I knew the time was drawing close. Every time the phone rang, my heart raced with excitement.
So when the phone rang that day, I was filled with anticipation. When I heard our social worker's voice, I was thrilled. My heart began to beat rapidly, expecting to hear the date of Jessica's homecoming. But the social worker did not sound happy.