Why is the blog called Table for Five? The short answer is some day it is my dream to walk into a restaurant and ask for a table for our family of five. The long answer is much more complicated than that and begins many years ago.
I remember reading a Newsweek article about adoption when I was about 13 or 14. The article was specifically about families choosing to adopt from China and from that point on, adoption was something that I always had in the back of mind. Because I married my high school sweetheart, I've had the opportunity to share this dream with Jamie and over the years it has become our dream together.
Flash ahead nine years into our marriage and last spring Jamie was presented with an opportunity in Japan. We knew that there were other candidates for the position, but the move was still a possibility for our family. Around the same time I was finding my grove as a mother of two and my mind was jumping ahead to what life might be like as a mother of three. A family of five seemed to be our number. When I closed my eyes and "saw" my family in my find there were three children, and I knew there was a child waiting to be a part of our family. I spent many nights last spring Googling "Americans living abroad and adopting" trying to find answers to all my questions. As we were waiting to hear about the job in Japan, we spent many hours in research, I started calling adoption agencies and reading as much as I could.
It became important to us to find an adoption agency that would work with us if we moved overseas. There are a limited number of agencies that can work with families living abroad. It became apparent that we would need a home study agency located in central Illinois and a placement agency, an agency that would work with us if we moved overseas. I spoke with a larger agency a few hours from our home, but I didn't get a great feeling. In all my online searches I found a smaller agency in Pennsylvania that had great information on their website, I spoke with the director on the phone and I really felt good about it. However, I wished that I could speak to someone personally about their experience with the smaller agency. In talking with our social worker from the home study agency here in central Illinois, I mentioned the name of the agency and she quickly piped up and said "I'm working with a family right now that is starting their second adoption with them," Amazing! She put me in touch with the family (with their permission of course) and everything fell into place.
Around this time Jamie found out that he did not get the position in Japan. We worked all summer on filling out our paperwork for the adoption, getting criminal background checks, finger-printed, physicals, references, home study visits, foster care license, and the many other steps it takes to adopt.
We wrapped our portion of the adoption paperwork in the fall, when Jamie started traveling to Europe once a month for 1-2 weeks at a time. If everything went well with Jamie's work in Europe, we now thought that we would be moving to Belgium in the spring. We fully expected to know by Christmas if we were moving (and so I could finish my Christmas letter to everyone). Of course, that didn't happen! Everything dragged into January until Jamie found out that his group got the business...kind of, but no move for the McClintock family.
Our family had been on quite a roller coaster and it was nice to think we would be settled for a while. We love the town that we live in, love our family and friends, so staying put is not a bad option. Jamie's next set of responsibilities at work presented us with another option for moving some time in 2012 to Texas, but as Jamie worked on the project it was very evident that the company would not be building in Texas, and we would not be moving to Texas either. Jeez!
We embraced routine and I looked forward to another summer in our home. March 2nd, 2011 Jamie comes home after our Wednesday night fellowship at church and said "they threw me a curve ball at work today." Gulp, what does that mean?! "They want me to take a position in China." Pause...um, okay. I said I needed to think about it. One thing followed another and we agreed that this move was something we wanted for our family.
A few weeks later we received news that our adoption paperwork had made it to the home country we had chosen. *Insert dramatic pause here* Last spring we had decided to adopt from...China. Our paperwork was logged into the Chinese database on March 1st, 2011 and Jamie was offered the position in China on...March 2nd, 2011. I fully appreciate the timing of everything.
The day we received the notice about our adoption paperwork I started revisiting some of my favorite adoption blogs. A verse that is often paired with adoption jumped out at me. John 14:18 says, "I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you." Before I had always focused on the first part, providing a family for those who need a family. But, now I feel as if I can relate to the second half. I am coming to you sweet child. I will cross an ocean to find you.