We have been pursuing "Mila" as our daughter for six months. Her photo is hanging on our wall, and is the background on my phone. She has dresses in a closet and clothes in a drawer, and we have personalized items with what would have been her new name embroidered on them. We are only weeks from travel, and have been so, so excited for this to all come to an end and to meet "Mila" and hug her and love her and bring her home! We pray for her daily. We pray she is loved.
And when we got the call from our facilitator yesterday, delivering new information on her, we found out that she is loved. She's loved by her birth mother. She's been an orphan her whole life, but never unloved. And now her birth mother has decided, for whatever reason, to petition the court to have her rights reinstated, so she can bring "Mila" home. Home where she truly belongs, with the mother who birthed her and is biologically related to her, and wants to care for her.
And, so, she is no longer available for adoption. And she cannot be our daughter.
Our hearts are shattered. Please understand that this is good news, for "Mila." Her mother wants her! This is so incredibly, unimaginably uncommon in her country - a birth mother coming back to reclaim a child with such physical needs! "Mila's" needs are taboo in her culture, and for her mother to go back for her must mean that she is dearly loved. And that's what we have been praying for, is it not? For months we have prayed that someone there would be loving on "our" girl before we could. It turns out, that someone is the woman who is biologically hers.
This is the hard part of adopting from a country that is technically a blind adoption country. We have known through this entire process that "Mila" isn't ours until we are there to claim her. We have known in our heads that this could happen, though our hearts refused to listen to reason, and burst forward with delight over her. We have no regrets in falling in love with her. The "loss" stings but we are immensely thankful God let us love her from afar during this time. Maybe our prayers for her interceded the gap between biological mother and child and helped to soften her mother's heart. I don't know. I will never know.
But I know we must move forward.
We are already submitted in her country, expedited at that. This means we do not have long before we travel - for someone. We no longer know who will be our son or daughter, but God knows. And though "Mila" isn't the child He chose for us, our child is there. We are thankful for "Mila's" role in capturing our hearts and leading us there, to find our child. And we ask you to pray that she is loved as fiercely as we would have loved her, and more.