Posted by: eacadoption | 11/14/2010

Fred and Zoe’s Adoption Story

Meet Fred and Zoe who wanted to have a family of their own for so long, even the talk of grandchildren was forbidden at their parents’ home.  And now, it is no longer forbidden as they welcome a new addition, Alex.  This is their story…

As with many EAC families, we have a long story even leading up to the decision to adopt, but that is a story for another day. Our Adoption story Began on Christmas Day 2004.

The topic of grandchildren was not an allowed topic at either of our parent’s house. We knew they wanted Grandchildren; they have wanted Grandchildren for years, but not nearly as much as we wanted to have our own family, our own child.

In a surprising breech from his typically close to the vest style, Zoe”s Father blurted out a story about how he ran into a very happy woman at his office. It turns out that woman had just received an adoption referral for a little girl in Guatemala. He told us he had her phone number if we ever wanted to speak with her. That was it, the conversation then reverted back to normal everyday chit chat.

In the car on the way to celebrate Christmas with my family, Zoe mentioned how odd it was what her Dad had said. Then Zoe and I looked at each other, and at that moment it became clear. We have been praying for God’s help. Maybe that was God’s plan for us. In that same moment we both felt as if the weight of the world was lifted off our shoulders. A peace came over us. A happiness that was inexplicable.

Excited, we didn’t waste any time. After an EAC seminar in early January we started what I like to call, our Dossier Blitzkrieg. After trips to local government offices, calls to out of state offices, and more phone calls to Marti at EAC than I’ll ever admit, we basically had our entire Dossier ready within about two weeks. Heck after years without children, we now had plan that WOULD result in us being a family. Why should we waste even a second in getting our own paperwork ready?

Time passed. Our home study was finalized. We were fingerprinted. We had our Parenting 101 class required for our DCFS license. Our I-171H was finally received. Then the waiting (e.g. nail-biting) began.

On April 30th, the day before our 6th wedding anniversary, the phone rang. “Hi Fred its Marti!” My voice almost cracking, I said “Zoe Hun, I think you better pick up the other line”. It was moments later that Marti emailed us pictures and a short video of  Alex Venasi. He was almost 2 months old at that time. What an overwhelming moment. What a wonderful anniversary gift. Zoe had immediately fallen in love.

But to be completely honest with you, it was not so obvious to me. How does one look at a picture and really make a decision like that? I now believe that the decision to accept an adoption referral must be one of the most difficult decisions a couple has to make. It goes without saying that both individuals need to agree 100%.

As unbelievable as the following may sound, it is the God’s honest truth. We were at church the next morning (Our wedding anniversary). It must have been close to 1st communion, because the wall behind the altar was covered with handmade banners from the children. The banners were filled with Catholic symbols, and the children names. Zoe elbowed me and pointed towards a banner centered directly behind the altar. The name on the banner was “Alex”. She looked at me and said, “Last night I prayed that God would give us a sign at Church that this child would make us a family.” No WAY!! While it was an amazing and powerful coincidence, I was still uncertain.

A few hours later Zoe and I were heading to a Mercy Me and Jeremy Camp concert in a city I’ve never driven through. When there it was, practically jumping off of the street sign. Alex Street. Double No WAY!!

Later during the concert, Mercy Me was playing their song “When You Spoke My Name”. The giant video screen behind the stage was a montage of names, large and small, scrolling by. Then it happened. In the center of the screen, in the largest font, the name Alex scrolled by.

As someone who likes to be sure, but sometimes misses the obvious, how could I ignore three signs like that? And all were within the same day! The Lord’s messages came through loud and clear. Overwhelmed, we looked at each other, and we knew Alex was our son. We called Marti first thing Monday morning and were thrilled to accept Alex’s referral. That was May 2nd.

The rest of our adoption process seemed to go quickly at first. DNA Results came quickly. DCFS license came quickly. Our pre-approval came quickly. We pushed for a visitation trip, but we just missed the June Trip. Luckily, we made the early July trip.

On July 8th, we met Alex for the first time. It was wonderful. It felt so natural. We had time to speak with Lora (Alex’s foster Mother) and David her son. We knew Alex had been in good hands when David shed a tear as they left Alex with us. The in-country EAC staff had everything under control. Tori and Cynthia handled the details, and Zoe and I just enjoyed every single moment with Alex. Unfortunately, it was only a visit trip, and on the 11th of July, we had to say goodbye to Alex.

Then, the adoption process became rough. We felt that we were in PGN forever (almost 10 weeks). When we tell people how we felt during that time, they say “oh it sounds like the 9th month of pregnancy”. Well we can’t say for certain what that feels like, but our 9th month lasted for almost 3 months. If it wasn’t for Marti (what an absolute angel she is) and her positive encouragement, I’m not sure we would have made it through. On the 19th of September we got “PINK”. Hallelujah!

After some hasty travel arrangements and packing, on the 24th we left for Guatemala City. On the 26th we met Alex again. This time we knew he would be coming home with us. The pickup trip is not an easy logistical trip, but EAC made it SOOOO easy for us. We could see that other agencies were not as altogether as EAC was. We were in GREAT hands with Cynthia, Tori, Anna, Juan Carlos, and Claudia. Before we knew it, we were on a plane headed for home.

On September 29th, Alex cleared immigration in Detroit. We were home. We were happy beyond our wildest dreams. I will never forget that feeling I had when Zoe and I went to bed that evening. With Alex sleeping peacefully in his crib, I turned to Zoe and we stared into each others eyes. No words were spoken, but with the smiles on our faces, for the first time ever, I knew we both had the same peace in our hearts that can only come with finally being a family.

Thank you EAC for everything and thank you Marti for all you have done for Zoe and me. You will always hold a special place in our hearts.

God Bless,
Fred and Zoe

To protect the identities of our EAC family members, their names and location has been changed.
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