Sometime in mid-October Ally and I were talking about which trip she would be going to Haiti. She originally thought May but began feeling she was supposed to go in February. We were talking on a Saturday night about how neither of us were sleeping and Ally mentioned she could not sleep because of thinking about Odette. So I asked her again if she was going in February and she asked me why I wanted to know & I told her that she needed to go and find out if we are supposed to adopt Odette. She fell apart! What both of us had been dealing with for months on our own was finally said out loud. This was now real. The thoughts in your head do not have to be real because nobody but God knows that you thought them. There was just no ignoring this. God had told us both something very clearly. But now we needed to know what we were supposed to do- adopt her and bring her here to live or "adopt" her and support her in Haiti and let her change Haiti. This was immensely overwhelming and peaceful at the same time. So we began praying for the answer and asked some close friends to be praying to. We just did not want to make the wrong decision because we wanted to not only do the right thing for our family but we wanted to be sure this is what God wanted for Odette's life. A good friend gave Allyson the advice to pray everyday that if this is not what God wants for our family that He would remove that desire from our hearts. That desire never went away and only grew and we had a peace about our decision to adopt like we have never had before. One of the things I needed to know though was does Odette want to come live with us and be our daughter. As I was sharing this dilemma with Brian Lloyd about wanting to ask her to be our daughter and also wanting to talk to her parents he reminded me that there was a trip leaving a a few weeks and it seemed I already knew what I needed to do. So I decided to go on the Dec. 08 trip. Knowing that I was going to be out on two Sundays meant that I would have to get everything covered by the other guys. I called Mark Zimmerman, our worship pastor, to give him a heads up about the sudden trip and he jokingly said something about wanting to go. A little later he said if I would could go down late on Monday or Tuesday that he could go with me. That worked much better so I would not have have to miss a whole week of work and two weekends. Mark was a great friend to go with me, little did he know that he would meet his daughter on this trip (read their story at www.valanciasjourney.blogspot.com).
This all happened before Thanksgiving and we needed to tell our parents and families about our decision to adopt before I left for Haiti. We told our girls first. They were SO excited they all started screaming & jumping on the bed. Taylor said "now I will not be alone anymore". A few weeks before she told me "You know you and Daddy have each other, Molly and Abby have each other and I am just by myself". Also months before we said anything out loud to each other one night out of the blue Taylor said "If Odette came to live with us we could share a room and we could share a birthday party- since she is 11 days older than me she can blow out the candles first and I could blow them out second". God had already began preparing her heart for something that she didn't have a clue was going to happen.
Next we told the news to our parents and then our extended family. Everyone was very supportive (and I don't think very surprised). Allyson's mom even said "I have just been waiting for this and I already knew who it would be". Now it was time to go ask Odette if she wanted to be come live with us and be our daughter.