It was Christmas, 2009. D and I were living on Roi and had just decided that we were going to stay here in the Marshalls for a while. We'd been apart for over 19 months and had just reunited in October. It felt good to be settling in someplace. We were making friends, picking up new hobbies, and were both really happy with our lives. That day, Christmas day, we'd been invited to go over to a nearby island to watch the "beat" dances they do here to celebrate so we got dressed up, put on sunscreen and big hats, and caught the ferry over to 3rd Island. After an island tour, some playtime with the kids, and a fried-chicken lunch, we were ushered into the Protestant church. Being visitors (and ribelle), we were given seats in the front and following the tradition, D sat with the men and I sat with the women. We saw the Elders dance, then a group of women, and then, just before we had to leave, the children's group got up to dance. They were all in elementary school (the junior high and high school are on other islands), all in matching shirts and dresses, and they had some of the biggest smiles I'd ever seen. About five minutes into the kids' dance, I hear a voice say "Let's do that. Let's adopt here." I know it must have been in my head because the music was so loud there's no way I could have heard it with my ears. A feeling of rightness hit me like a ton of bricks and I turned to look at D, who was sitting behind me. He gave me a giant smile and nodded his head. On the way back to the boat a little later, I asked him if he was thinking what I was thinking. He said "Adoption? Let's do that."
Fast forward to mid-December 2010. D and I had been up all night for work but we were pushing ourselves to be perfect because the ladies from the Central Adoption Authority were here for our home study. Once the questions were answered and the pictures taken, the ladies asked us again about the age range we'd requested on our form (0-12 months) and asked if we would consider an older child. While I had no idea what they meant by "older child", I said, "Yes" and they handed us their camera, turned backward so that we could see the picture on the tiny, pixelated screen. There she was, our daughter, sitting on someones lap and playing with a cell phone. I started to cry and D said that we would accept the match. The ladies made some notes and started packing up to go it occurred to me that I should ask some questions about her. All they'd told us was her age, 11 months, so I asked her name and when they said, "Heaven", my jaw literally dropped. D and I had chosen our daughter's name months ago, before we even contacted the agency. The name we chose: Siela *, a feminization of the Spanish word for heaven.
*For our family's privacy and to protect our daughter Internet identity, her name is intentionally miss-spelled here and she is referred to as "Sky" on this blog
See where I'm linking up here