On Wednesday afternoon, I got the call.
Jan had called and left a message for us on Tuesday, simply asking us to call her back. I started shaking as soon as I heard the message, because I suspected that's what it was going to be. I knew that the only family on the list who was waiting for a referral of a boy in the same age range had gotten their referral on Monday. I knew that we were next, and I didn't think it would take very long because referrals have been coming out pretty quickly lately. So I called her back and left a message. We didn't hear from her that day; the next day, her voice mail said that she was gone for Thanksgiving and I started to panic. I called and left messages for both Cara and Alexa, whose voice mail messages said they would be in that day. Nothing all morning, and I even joked to Courtney over lunch (we'd taken Patrick and Micah to the zoo that morning) that if I had to wait until Monday, it was going to be almost anti-climactic.
Not ten minutes later, the phone buzzed in my pocket and I looked at the number. It wasn't even the 651 area code of CHSFS but somehow I knew as soon as I saw it. It was Jan, who said "I have a little boy I'd like to tell you about," and I immediately started shaking and crying. I managed to talk through the conversation, though I probably only took in about half of the information that she gave me. And then I got off the phone and sobbed. Courtney sobbed with me--the people at Fellini's probably thought we were crazy. I drove home very carefully to get the e-mail and see his picture and read all there was.
Manalemo may be 2 1/2 or may be a few months younger--he's not any older than that. He is 22 lbs and 32" tall. He has some medical issues that we can likely accept, though we will have a pediatrician check out the information that we have. We know a ton of information about his family that we will share with him when he's older.
And his name, Manalemo, means "Who has dreamt about you". It was given to him by his mother, with whom he lived until three weeks ago. I couldn't have asked for anything better. All this time, I've prayed that he would be with his family as long as possible, because I wanted him to be with the people who most loved him. We will almost definitely get to meet them when we go to Ethiopia to get him.
(Picture removed for privacy!)
Jason was at work and so I forwarded him everything after calling to tell him he was going to be a daddy again. I showed Manalemo's picture to Patrick and told him that was his little brother. His immediate response was "Why is he that color?" I told him that that was the color of people in Ethiopia, just like some of his friends who are from Ethiopia (which we'd talked about before, but it clearly hadn't stuck). He said "Oh. He's so cute! Look at his cute smile--it's just like this" and imitated the expression on his face. And then I started crying again and hugged him so tightly.
I have another son. Another adorable, perfect son. I am the luckiest of women to have been so blessed. This is the most amazing Thanksgiving.