In all my eight years living in Tanzania, I have never once checked the mail.
We use HOPAC's mailing address: P.O. Box 70027, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The box is way downtown and is checked by a staff member once a week or so, and all the mail brought to school.
I have written that address on countless applications, letters, and forms. But I had never actually seen the mailbox.
Last week, after hounding the social worker with my phone calls and texts, she finally told me that she had mailed our approval letter. I didn't totally believe her, but was still optimistic. When we returned from the Morogoro orphanage trip on Wednesday, I rushed to the staff room to check our cubby holes. Magazines. No letter.
Richard is the guy who checks Box 70027 these days. On Friday, I hounded him. "Will you pleeeeease check the mail today?" I begged. Spring break was starting; we were leaving the country to visit Kenya, and I didn't want to wait another week and a half to know if our letter had come. "I'll try," he told me.
At 6:00 that evening, we were at school for an event and Richard drove up. "I didn't make it," he told me. "Traffic was too bad." And how could I blame him when he got back so late?
But I was determined. "Is there any way I could get the mailbox key and check it myself?" So we went into the office and he helped me hunt for the spare key. Eureka.
I would have driven down the very next day, but I knew it would take me four hours round trip. So I decided I could wait one more day, because we were going to the airport for our trip to Kenya, and could stop at the post office on the way.
So we did. And I found Box 70027 for the first time. Sifted through the crammed mailbox and found the glorious sight of a slim brown envelope with my name on it.
It was there! Oh happy day!
We've been approved! It's there, in writing...finally, after all these months.
However, there was a big surprise. Throughout this whole past year, our social worker has insisted that we could not choose the child. We could give specifications, and even choose the orphanage, but we could not choose the child. We were totally fine with that. In fact, we preferred it.
So you can imagine our surprise when we found that the letter stated that we were to have a girl, around 2 years old, from Forever Angels Orphanage in Mwanza. But we are to choose.
We will make the decision this week, based on pictures and prayer alone. We'll then be about a month away from bringing her home. Praise God with us, and then pray!