12 months later….{Referral Call}

by Sara on November 12, 2010

One of my favorite posts to read on adoption blogs is the one that describes the story of how a family received the call.  They are all unique, fun, and full of so much emotion.  I want to record my memories so I don’t forget the amazement of this day in our lives.

It was a regular Thursday…I had two photo shoots scheduled (one in the am and one in the pm) with several errands to run in between.  I had dinner plans and the rest of the weekend schedule lined out.  As I was driving to my second photo shoot of the day I was praying and listening to the radio and just wondering how much longer…it had already been 16 long days since finding out we were number one and I was anxious to hear that call.  But, I wasn’t convinced it was coming soon.  I arrived at the session and as with any 2 year old it’s busy.  Lots of singing and playing and chasing.  I had slipped my phone in my shoulder bag and noticed it started to ring…rather than look at it I just used it as I interacted with the little girl and we danced along.  I finally did silence it to see that Mike was calling….I thought that he must have forgotten that I had a shoot scheduled.  Several moments later it rang again….it was at a time when I could answer so I grabbed it to remind him where I was (I NEVER DO THIS) but he had called twice.   It never dawned on me that this could be THE CALL!  He is exclaiming….”Our son is waiting, our son is waiting!!!”  I’m thinking this isn’t funny…don’t play around about this and trying to digest what he is saying.  I tell him I would quickly finish and be home as quick as possible (thankfully we were halfway done already) while he started home and got the video camera and such set up.  I finish up and hit the road….but it’s still another 15 minutes home.  I called him on my way and he told me the story of getting the call (which is hilarious! – he will blog it later).

I rush in and we get everything set up and try to call Brandi.  She didn’t answer the first time and I’m dying….we don’t know anything – except there is a little boy.  I was proud of Mike for not finding out more, even though that’s what we agreed on, because we wanted to be together to hear the news.  I’m not sure I would have had the willpower.

The rest feels like a blur…We called back a few minutes later and finally connected.   She sent us the email for us to open we reviewed all the documents.  We found out he is 3 months old and pretty healthy.  Funny thing was she initially told us his birthday and I was in such shock that I couldn’t even calculate in my head how old that made him.  I’m not sure anything she could have told us would have made us think any differently about him.  We love his name but we can’t share it online until we get him home. The meaning which is “be blessed” feels like such a gift to him and us.  We didn’t need more than a glance to tell Brandi we were ready to move forward.  I’m so glad that we video taped the call so that we can go back and listen to it….because it feels like such a dream now.  We have been waiting for this moment for one day shy of 8 months since we got on the waiting list and 11 months since we started the process.  It’s finally here!

After final instructions about the next steps, we hung up to wait on the pictures.  We hit “refresh” 100 times in those few moments.  The following set of pictures are several of the ones from the first time we saw his face.  Tears and smiles abound.  We were blown away with how PERFECT our little man is.  We couldn’t ask for anymore.  God has blessed us infinitely more than all we could ask or imagine.  We continued celebrating by calling both of our parents and sharing our exciting news as well as our closest friends.  Several dropped everything and came over to rejoice with us.  We are so grateful for their support in the good times and the difficult times.  Last night was definitely a night for rejoicing!  God is at work at redeeming his fallen creation.  While I wish little babies didn’t have to experience such grief and mom’s and dad’s shouldn’t have to make that difficult decisions, I am grateful that God allows us to be a part of the redemptive process.  He is a GOD OF REDEMPTION whose love has depths that I can’t even fathom.

(I love these pictures and will treasure them forever.  They capture the range of emotion we felt throughout the call!  We are so grateful to our friend Stephanie for taking them. )

Some FAQ’s….
What happens next? When will you travel?  When will you bring him home?

We have been filling out paper work and are continuing to do the last bit of paperwork before having everything notarized and overnighted back to our agency on Monday.  We then wait on court dates to come from Ethiopia.  Hopefully we will hear about that in a few weeks.  We are hopeful for court dates at the end of January.  Once we have dates, we will book tickets and head to Ethiopia to meet our son and attend our court appointment.  We will be there for about a week before we come home ….without our boy.  Then we wait to receive our embassy dates and will make the next trip to bring him home FOREVER.

When can we see a picture? Can you post it?

We can’t wait to share our son’s picture with you.  But our agency does not want us to post any pictures or identifying information about him until we bring him home.  At this point he is still the custody of the Ethiopian government and we also want to protect his privacy.  As soon as we possibly can we will inundate you with pictures!

If you read this will you leave a comment PLEASE!?!?!  We want to compile everything into a book for our son to look back on down the road so he can see how many people were excited about him coming to his forever home.

{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

Traci Vega November 12, 2010 at 11:21 pm

Congrats Darling Family! I can not wait to meet your new edition…I know that our children are loving each other during their wait for us! Much agape <3


Kim November 12, 2010 at 11:22 pm

Darlings – what a fantastic post! Congratulations and I’m praying blessings over your precious new son. So excited for you!!


Sarah November 12, 2010 at 11:26 pm

Oh Sara! So wonderful to read about the call and see the pics of you guys seeing him for the first time! Love what his name means too!!! What a blessing! We are so excited for you and will continue praying that all will go quickly and smoothly with travel and court! :)


Kacey November 12, 2010 at 11:29 pm

Your faces are beautiful in those pictures! I can see how excited you are and share in that excitement even though we can’t be there with you!

I’m so incredibly happy for you and Nathan and I are rejoicing over the fact that you guys are parents with us….it’s SO much fun!!! We are praying for you and your beautiful baby boy, and we absolutely cannot wait to meet him!!!!! LOVE YOU!


Kelly Jo November 12, 2010 at 11:39 pm

Soooo excited for you guys!! The pics are great!! Can’t wait to see his sweet face…praying he is home quickly!!


stephanie November 12, 2010 at 11:45 pm

We have been praying for this for what seems like forever . . . and also like it was just yesterday. I love you both so much and I am so thankful I was privileged to be there to witness and photograph and cry over the new little Darling. I do not think that the meaning of his name (“be blessed”) could be any more perfect for a child who will be calling the two of you “mommy and daddy”. He will be blessed. I look forward to you having him HOME – Someday soon! God is faithful.


Ashley November 12, 2010 at 11:49 pm

Yay! Praise God! We’ll continue to pray for you guys and baby Darling. So excited about these next few steps!!


McKayla November 12, 2010 at 11:50 pm

First of all Mike and Sara, I am extremely excited for the two of you. I have been awaiting this post since the process began of you two adopting. I love to read blogs and this one has always been special to me because adoption is such a wonderful thing. A little girl my mom kept about 3 years ago was adopted. Oaklyn, the little girl, has been a part of my life ever since. She calls me sissy and I love her as if she were my biological sister. I know that your little boy will have a special place in a lot of lucky peoples lives. I can’t wait to meet him for you two both know how much I love children. Love you both!!!!!


Car November 12, 2010 at 11:59 pm

So very exciting. We can not wait to have this little guy in our family running and playng with his cousins. Xxxooo


Carol November 13, 2010 at 4:34 am

I’m just going out the door of my hotel to the airport in Indianapolis at 5 in the morning when I decide to check your blog. Now tears of joy are streaming down my face as I get to share your emotions at the call. What a glorious time. I know this precious GRANDson will be such a blessing in our family…and that you will be an unbelievable blessing to him. Thank you, Lord!! We are so full of joy. We love you, Mike and Sara, and can’t wait to snuggle our grandbaby.


Rebecca Harley November 13, 2010 at 4:50 am

Congratulations!!! We are so very excited for you guys and cannot wait to see him in your arms! Praying for quick court dates


Meredith Bufkin November 13, 2010 at 6:50 am

Congratulations! This is very exciting!


ASH November 13, 2010 at 6:55 am

Praise God! What an exciting phase in this long journey to bring little Cohen home! Congratulations!


Jenny November 13, 2010 at 7:13 am

CONGRATULATIONS again! i’m so excited for you all to finally have your little guy! i bet he’s ADORABLE! hoping you get a court date soon!!!


Nordstroms November 13, 2010 at 7:34 am

Beautiful pictures. Beautiful story. Rejoicing with you!


Kim Gregson November 13, 2010 at 7:58 am

I literally cannot stop my tears. God’s redemption puts me in awe! Baby Darling you are BLESSED! And your precious parents will “be blessed” more than you ever know. We rejoice with you Mike & Sara with all of our hearts!!


Shannon Stivers November 13, 2010 at 8:05 am

We are so happy for you all. Can’t wait until he is home. We will be praying!!


Julie November 13, 2010 at 9:23 am

Such sweet pictures! I love your words about redemption! Rejoicing for you!


Mike Wigins November 13, 2010 at 10:18 am

Congratulations!!! I am sure he is already looking forward to his first majestic trip to Abilene. I know we can’t wait.


Megan November 13, 2010 at 10:22 am

LOVE the pictures — they truly do capture the range of emotions! Looking forward to pictures with you and Cohen!


Jill Lamz November 13, 2010 at 10:30 am

Congratulations!!! What a wonderful story. Hoping for quick court dates for you!!!


Kelly Johnson November 13, 2010 at 10:38 am

Big congratulations on your son!!! Love your pictures and your story. Praying for quick court/travel dates.


Kindra November 13, 2010 at 11:41 am

YEAH Darlings!!! What a wonderful blessing! I know that our babies are having a blast together! Can you imagine the baby parties that are happening @ HH right now!? Praying with you for quick court dates!

Blessings- Kindra
5 month old Noel E. @ HH


Lynn and Tom November 13, 2010 at 12:03 pm

What wonderful news, so grateful all our prayers have been answered about your beautiful boy. The photo shots are so precious. I love the tears of joy and the smiles of love. It was so good to celebrate with you on Thursday night. Love you two, now I love you three. God is faithful!


Gigi (Susan , Mom) November 13, 2010 at 12:24 pm

I can’t describe to you what that call meant to me. It definietely lifted my mood and made me so happy. I want to tell you about my day on Thursday, It was Veterans day so I was off work. I woke up that morning feeling very emotional for some reason. I didn’t know if it was because dad’s birthday was the 12th and it has been a year since he passed away or what. But the emotion inside of me was very heavy so to speak. I felt like my heart was aching not only for dad but for you and Mike to get that call. I kept having this feeling something was about to happen. My intitution told me something big was going to happen but I didn’t know what. I thought maybe today is the day or maybe it’s on Friday. I prayed that morning that God wouldn’t keep you all waiting any longer that you would receive the call saying you had a beautiful baby waiting for you. I even ask dad if he would ask God not to keep you waiting any longer for a baby.
I left the house that morning to run errands and people must of thought I was a crazy person. I was in a few stores and I got real teary eyes. I finally thought I just need should go home. Once home that afternoon I posted this on Sara Facebook wall , “Tomorrow is THE DAY. I just know it is:!!! (I posted that at 5:08pm, Nov. 11, 2010). I then decided I needed to post something on my facebok wall to ask everyone I knew to pray for you. This is what I posted. “Please say a prayer for my daughter and son in law. Sara and Mike are adopting a baby from Ethiopia and they have been in the #1 spot for several weeks now. Please pray that they’ll get a call very very soon telling them they have a baby. Please pray that God will bless them with this baby VERY SOON!” (I posted that at 5:25pm on Nov. 1, 2010) . I had several post right after I posted that the
person(s) were praying for you guys. At 6:04pm you called me and said you saw my post on your wall and ask me if today would be ok. God had answered not only my prayer that day but your prayers also. This was the most exciting news for me to hear that day. To think I have a new grandson waiting for you all to love him and give him the best home he could possible have. And I get to shower him with hugs and kisses and love him unconditional. I know he’ll bring so much joy to our families. When I saw his picture my heart melted right then and there and I fell in love with him. I know this is long but I wanted to share my heart with you to share with him later. I’m praying now for a quick court date and that he’ll be home with his new parents very soon. I love you both so much.


Emily November 13, 2010 at 3:29 pm

I dont know you, but as I read your post my eyes are filling up with tears in excitement. We are anxiously awaiting the same moment, which is due anytime now. I am so happy for your family and for your son!


Linda King November 13, 2010 at 3:31 pm

Sara and Mike,
Thank you for sharing this very special moment in your lives with all of us! I didn’t know you had all these plans made to make this moment so special. I feel very privileged to get to peek into this exciting event by reading the blog and looking at the pictures. Your faces contain such shear delight and joy that it is impossible not to shed tears of happiness while looking at them! I thank God for answering your prayer in such a wonderful way and pray that the coming steps to bring him home go smoothly and quickly! Congratulations and may God bless your expanding family!


Gini November 13, 2010 at 5:54 pm

Oh, Sara–so, so cool! Yes, these are some of my favorite posts! Love hearing about the moment when you “meet” your son for the first time! And so excited for you to hold him in your arms! :)


Jenn November 13, 2010 at 7:06 pm

If you send me his pic I will try to get a few more pictures for you next week! This was such an AWESOME post…rejoicing with you!!!!


Steve Moore November 13, 2010 at 7:11 pm

Mike and Sara, we are so thankful to hear the great news of your son. Cassie and I look forward to as many days as the Lord would allow us together. As of today, our sons are three months, just like yours! What a privilege to walk through this season of life together. We’re so grateful for your friendship and rejoice in your referral. Looking forward to many days ahead, as we figure out parenthood together! Congratulations!


ann salley November 13, 2010 at 9:22 pm

wow…yahyahyah!!! can’t wait to see pictures…so excited! will continue to pray for you…


Melanie Strobel November 13, 2010 at 9:28 pm

Your photos are priceless and I am so thrilled for you. What a journey to your son. Congratulations!


Meg Foster November 13, 2010 at 9:47 pm

WE are so blessed to read this post and share the moment through pictures! And though we know you only through blog and email world, we are confident that your little boy will BE BLESSED! We praise the Lord with you for His perfect timing and for His perfect peace in the wait! And He answered your prayers… he’s so little!!! Yeah! Now for one more prayer…. may the Lord allow us to travel WITH you to pick up our little guy too :) !!!


Sara November 13, 2010 at 10:49 pm

What exciting news! Your little Darling is soon to rest his head on his very own pillow in your home! What a warm, safe, loving place to be… with his parents in his new home! Thank God for bringing families together for His glory! We will be praying for safe travels to come, prepared hearts, and excellent care for baby Darling as he waits to be with his Mommy and Daddy. Thank you for sharing what God is doing in your lives during this very special journey. We love you guys!


Shannon November 13, 2010 at 10:55 pm

I am so excited for you. We received our call the same day. I love reading the Referral Call stories. Rejoicing with you and really hoping that we can meet on the 1st trip to Ethiopia. Congrats to you!! :-)


Janice November 13, 2010 at 11:06 pm

Thanks for showing off his picture in real life-he is so handsome!!! I can’t wait to meet him. I love him already and continue to pray the time is short before we all get to meet the precious new addition to our family!


Aunt Janet November 13, 2010 at 11:10 pm

Sara and Mike what an exciting time for you two and everyone who has been praying for this moment. You need to send Gigi a picture to bring to Blackwell Thanksgiving. Can’t wait to see and meet the little guy. Love you guys and CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!!


Rebecca Adams November 14, 2010 at 1:39 am


Your story and the beautiful, priceless pictures brought tears to my eyes! God is so good! All the time! I’m just thrilled for you & Mike, and I look forward to following your blog as you bring your son home and begin life with him. Congratulations!!


Jennifer S November 14, 2010 at 9:54 am

Hey there, little Darling! You are “blessed” beyond measure to be the first son of your Mommy and Daddy Darling. You are the answer to so many prayers. You are already a blessing to so many. We can’t wait to meet you! You have lots of Stephens’ boys who can’t wait to play with you!


Ruth Scobey November 14, 2010 at 1:23 pm

Sara and Mike,
What joyful news! So happy for you!!!


Josh Kellar November 14, 2010 at 1:39 pm

So incredibly happy for you three! I know that God has been preparing your hearts and that he had the two of you in mind from the beginning. We cannot wait to hear more details, see pictures, and now that we are so close – actually meet your son! Lord, thank you for the spirit of love and compassion in the hearts of my friends Mike and Sara. You are Jehovah Jireh, our God who provides.


Marti November 14, 2010 at 8:28 pm

Congratulations to all three of you!!! What an exciting time! I can’t wait to hear he’s home. Continuing to pray, Marti


Todd & Misty Anderson November 16, 2010 at 8:12 am

Mike & Sara,
We are so excited for you both! We are going to have another little boy to add to our neighborhood! I have read your blog weekly and it was such a blessing today to be able to read and see the pics of your special day. Can’t wait to me the lil guy and hold him! Praying for quick court dates. What a wonderful Thanksgiving you will have this year. You have so much to be thanful for!


Becky Clausen November 16, 2010 at 8:45 am

I am praising God with you this morning, and crying tears of joy as I read your wonderful news!!!


Kaylynn November 16, 2010 at 3:40 pm

So happy for you guys! Love the pictures of you, especially the first one. We’re so excited with you!


Amanda Jaye November 16, 2010 at 3:45 pm

I didn’t know about your journey until now but I had tears streaming down my face as I read this and saw your pictures! What a beautiful moment to have captured! I’m so happy for you three and I am so excited for you as you become parents! You will be wonderful.


Ali November 18, 2010 at 7:01 pm

That is awesome that you got to capture that moment in photos!! I have been thinking about doing a blog post about the moment that we got THE call about our son. I wish I could have gotten it captured in photos, but we were driving down the road when the call came. How exciting for you guys!! That moment is like nothing else in the world. Knowing that your little boy is waiting for your arms!! The feelings are still fresh for us.


Courtney Harrell November 18, 2010 at 10:32 pm

I just stumbled upon this after checking your photography blog, this is so awesome. I am so happy for you guys, you will be incredible parents. I think it is so amazing you have the photos to look back on when you saw his face for the first time, you two are always thinking and very creative. Congratulations to both of you.


Kimberly November 19, 2010 at 8:36 am

Precious – precious – precious! Enjoy this time as you prepare for him.


Sunny & Ryan November 20, 2010 at 11:58 pm

We absolutely LOVE this!!! We are so excited for you all!!!


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: