The Cat that Swallowed the Canary
by Jen Hatmaker on July 20th, 2011

This is an apt description of me this last week and a half. While having a rather violent connotation which I had to explain to Caleb last week after he heard me say it, and seeing how he loves animals more than people, he did not like it Sam I am, nonetheless, it's fitting. I am the cat. I got a big, huge, luscious canary on Monday the 11th. I swallowed it whole. It was delectable. And I was instructed to digest this canary without telling anyone because it was "sensitive." Some canaries are like that.

Curtains open; begin scene:

Ring, ring.
Jen checks phone.
"AWAA: Anna"
Jen sighs, as she and Anna have done this dance 1000 times.
"Hey Anna," Jen says in a flat tone that suggests blah, blah, blah.
"Jen????? I am finally, finally, finally calling with good news!"
Jen freezes. Time stops. She considers jumping through the phone to make Anna talk quicker.
"OMG. What? WHAT?? Speak, girl!!"
Jen screams bloody murder.
Then she starts bawling.
Anna considers Jen a decent candidate for bipolar disorder.
Anna says a bunch of words Jen didn't process.
Jen calls back 30 minutes later and asked, "Now what did you say after the Ben passed part?"

Curtains close; end scene.
And the crowd goes wild!!!

Ladies and gents, HE IS OURS. Let all the earth rejoice!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The cat has been DYING to tell everyone that she ate a big, fat canary!! It has been giving me the worst indigestion! Oh happy day! That boy is ours, ours, ours! He is an orphan no longer! Now he is a Hatmaker, which, sure, creates a new set of issues for him, but STILL. Ours all ours.

Now, will Ben get to come home with us on this trip??? No. Boooooo. There is still quite a bit of procedural mumbo jumbo to wade through after passing court, and we are expecting delays at Embassy because the judge passed us without an approval letter, which makes things "dicey."

Side note: If I could, I would get down on my knees and kiss the soles of the judge's feet. She has been in Ben's corner since Day One. After our original court date on March 10th, she called Ben in the following day to hear from him herself. This was because he had a rough relinquishment, creating all this drama for the last few months, causing us "mental anxieties that are unpredictable!" But on March 11th, after hearing Ben's tearful plea to let him join our family, the judge looked him in the eye and said, "You will." And he is. Because she made good on her promise.

Dear Judge, you are my best friend. I would like to buy you a lifetime supply of puppies.

Here's what is next:

1.) The judge submitted the court decree to our agency yesterday (which she took great pains with).
2.) Our agency couriers this over to MOWYCA to see if they'd care to write the letter now that Ben has passed court via the judge. They may or may not give us the middle finger again.
3.) Our agency submits either just the court decree or the court degree + the MOWYCA letter to the Embassy to release Ben's vitals (birth certificate, visa, and passport). We are hoping for the second but expecting the first.
3.) We hope/pray/wish/beg/plead/dream that the Embassy will accept the court decree and release Ben's vitals without the cursed letter.
4.) The Embassy may open an investigation on our case, which we expect if the court decree is submitted without the letter.
5.) We will give the Embassy whatever they ask for so they will give us our kid.
6.) Once Embassy clears us for travel, we get on a dadgum plane and fetch our boy. Currently, Embassy appointments are being issued about 3 weeks after getting cleared.
7.) Our Ethiopian director told us, "Hopefully about one month." OMG. That is so soon.

But aaaaaaaaalllll these details can not erase the fact that Beniam is our son forever, and soon he will be sitting at our dining room table eating Lucky Charms. This is our son, our beautiful, hilarious, smart, sparky, funny, silly, brave, beloved son:

Thank you, Jesus. You remembered him like you promised. You are good, and we'll never stop telling of it. Our children will know that you are their Redeemer, and that your eye is always on the sparrow. They will hear every moment of your faithfulness, every detail of your heroics. This is your story, and until we take our last breath, we will make sure you get the glory for it. We serve a Savior who finds a way to get abandoned, broken children into families, and if you don't love a God like that, well, you just don't really know him.

“When we see Jesus for who He is, we must turn away or else shamelessly adore Him.”
~Dallas Willard

As for me, I will shamelessly adore Jesus for being a champion of the underdog, a defender of justice, and the Savior of the world. Thank you for bringing beauty from ashes and redefining "family" from a straightforward matter of biology to one bound together by faith, love, salvation, and adoption. You are good, and your mercy is forever.

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Wordless Joe - July 20th, 2011 at 8:25 AM
I have no words.
Brooke - July 20th, 2011 at 8:26 AM
GO GOD!!!! tears in Baltimore!
Ashley - July 20th, 2011 at 8:30 AM
Tears. Wow.
mandy - July 20th, 2011 at 8:30 AM
happy happy tears this morning.....oh. my. gosh.
Lisa Elliott - July 20th, 2011 at 8:30 AM
awww what cute photo's of two little cuties so so so happy for you all cant wait to see more photo's and here all about it they are so cute makes me think of my son who I put up at the age of 2 and now hes 17 wow hes in a good home and has his Mama I am happy God Bless you all Blessings Flow what HUGE news
Jenni Langley - July 20th, 2011 at 8:31 AM
Weeping happy tears! Thanks for the update!!! And how incredibly difficult it must've been to keep THIS a secret! Oh, so happy for all of you. We'll keep praying!
Ann - July 20th, 2011 at 8:32 AM
I am so glad you got that off your chest! Now BRING THOSE BABIES HOME! :) Praying for safe travels home tomorrrow with Remy! xoxoxo
Krista - July 20th, 2011 at 8:33 AM
Pure awesomeness!! I've been praying for a miracle all week. We all knew God would do this. He is faithful and just. Sooooo happy!! Praise Him!!
Lisa Elliott - July 20th, 2011 at 8:33 AM
awww what cute photo's of two little cuties so so so happy for you all cant wait to see more photo's and here all about it they are so cute makes me think of my son who I put up at the age of 2 and now hes 17 wow hes in a good home and has his Mama I am happy God Bless you all Blessings Flow what HUGE news
Susie - July 20th, 2011 at 8:34 AM
I normally don't cry...
Jennifer - July 20th, 2011 at 8:34 AM
I love that judge. I love Ben eating Lucky Charms.

This is me going to fix the mascara all over my face, now.

Katie Moore - July 20th, 2011 at 8:35 AM
What amazing, beautiful, unexpexted news! I'm filled with all sorts of emotions now and I haven't wept like this in a long time. There are no words to adequately describe this miracle.
shannon - July 20th, 2011 at 8:36 AM
OH MY GOD!!!!!!!!!!! Crying tears of joy for you! I love seeing God work in amazing ways. So so happy that now everyone knows what you already did, that Beniam is YOURS! Wooohooo Yay God!!!!!!
Laura U - July 20th, 2011 at 8:36 AM
OH MY WORD!!!!!! SOOOOOO Happy for you!! (yes I declare, this requires an ALL CAPS sentance;) AMAZING!!!
Dawn Swann - July 20th, 2011 at 8:38 AM
Awwww, love this news... many of us at Lifepoint Church rejoicing with you!!
Clyta - July 20th, 2011 at 8:39 AM
Crying tears of joy for y'all!!!
Mary Smith - July 20th, 2011 at 8:39 AM
I have been praying this for you! I knew God had a plan...I was hopping you could bring him home this trip but think of the lives you will touch as you go back to get your boy! God is so good! And he has blessed your family with not one but two baby's ! Love hugs and Prayers coming your way till you get him home and then on!
Rita Fuqua - July 20th, 2011 at 8:40 AM
AWESOME GOD! We're soooo happy for you all! :)

Charlotte - July 20th, 2011 at 8:40 AM
O.M.G!!! Leaving him will be bittersweet...but just focus on the fact that you will be back to BRING HIM HOME sooner than soon! Girl...a dance party is indeed needed! PS - Howintheworlddidyoukeepquiet?
Michele Nordine - July 20th, 2011 at 8:41 AM
just tears of words...
Kris - July 20th, 2011 at 8:46 AM
Tears. Praise.
Shelly v - July 20th, 2011 at 8:48 AM
What wonderful news! Thank you Jesus for blessing the Hatmaker's with Ben's honest and true-to-her-word judge! Praise you for using unconventional means for your childrens sake!
April Jones - July 20th, 2011 at 8:48 AM
Your spread of love lifts us all! So very excited for you all!!!!!!!!!!
Jerrene - July 20th, 2011 at 8:57 AM
PRAISE BE TO GOD! Sobbing monster tears of joy and excitement. See you Friday!
Curtis Northup - July 20th, 2011 at 9:00 AM
Bawling at my office, kind of embarrassing, who cares, yay God!
Megan - July 20th, 2011 at 9:01 AM
I have felt only a fraction of the anxious longing you have surely experienced as you have waited for this good news. I went back through the archives and read closely for clues, yet knew that God alone knows when in His perfect timing. I had hope that the news would be good and soon, but sometimes the principalities of this world seem like insurmountable fortresses standing against our best hoped-for plans. It is to God's glory that He came through in this way, at this time, and I am so thankful that you have shared this God-story with us along the way--not knowing the outcome but trusting The Author and Perfector of it.

These words fall short, but with tears of joy, I say I am so happy for your family and praise God with you today.
Patricia Klecka (Aunt Pat) - July 20th, 2011 at 9:04 AM
Can't even find adequate words for my joy and love for our faithful redeemer!!!!! Sooo very happy for all of you! Bring those beautiful babies HOME!!!!!!!!!!
Devon - July 20th, 2011 at 9:07 AM
YAY!! PRAISE the Lord!! Congratulations to you all!!
Stephanie T. - July 20th, 2011 at 9:08 AM
Hooray!! Wonderful News!
Courtney - July 20th, 2011 at 9:10 AM
LOVE it!!! God is so awesome!!! SO excited for Ben and your family!!! Wonderful!!!
Dennis Gulley - July 20th, 2011 at 9:12 AM

You don't know me, I am a friend of Hugh Halters so I follow Brandon on Twitter and saw the link to your post. My wife Joanne and I returned home from Addis with Lydia our daughter in February, so we rejoice with you in the good news of the court decision. We can relate to the stuff you are processing and will be praying for you both. Hope the return trip will be soon.

Dennis Gulley
Angie - July 20th, 2011 at 9:20 AM
I'm doing a happy dance!
Courtney Holder - July 20th, 2011 at 9:20 AM
so thrilled for you. and Ben. YAY!
Kathy Ingram - July 20th, 2011 at 9:21 AM
Awesome news Hatmaker Family!!!! God is GREAT!!!! Praying for a quick and painless trip home with both of your sweet babies!!!!
Jan - July 20th, 2011 at 9:23 AM
Hallelujah! Rejoicing with you!!!
Kelly - July 20th, 2011 at 9:24 AM
Amazing news, thanks for sharing this with us!
Amy - July 20th, 2011 at 9:24 AM
JEHOVAH JIREH - We serve an AMAZING, AWESOME GOD!! Hallelujah!!! :)
Dawn Kicklighter - July 20th, 2011 at 9:30 AM
I needed that this morning! As I sit here bawling at the goodness of God, I rejoice with you!!! Praise Him!!!! I was feeling bad that we didn't get our picture in Ben's book because my camera cord quit working and I haven't been able to load pictures. Silly me. Silly everyone. Our God is sooooo BIG! Congratulations.
Jen Deibel - July 20th, 2011 at 9:38 AM
Rhonda - July 20th, 2011 at 9:57 AM
God is AMAZING!!! He reigns again. Congratulations Hatmakers! I am so excited for you and the journey you are finally beginning.
Sarah Meyer - July 20th, 2011 at 9:57 AM
GOD IS GOOD!!! ......Tears are flooding all over Texas....the drought may be over!
Denise England - July 20th, 2011 at 9:57 AM
I'm used to you making me bawl, but this time I flat out got gulpy and the screen became so blurry I had to wipe my eyes continually to keep reading. I AM SO FREAKING EXCITED!!! Do you realize that soon you'll be going totally nuts with FIVE kids in your house leaving messes and whining!?!?!? Congratulations Hatmakers, to ALL of you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Julie Ryker - July 20th, 2011 at 9:58 AM
Amazing and Wonderful! What a beautiful living testimony of the love of God! Hatmaker Party of 7 you are off and running! Love it!
Christi - July 20th, 2011 at 10:06 AM
Jen, I know that we don't know each other, but I have been reading your blog/facebook journey of your adoption. I firmly believe that God links so many of us together through technology so that we can learn to pray for those we don't even know..but it brings the body of Christ together. God has continued to put you and your family on my heart pray for. It has been such a burden to me, and I am so happy to rejoice with you all in this incredible GOD sized journey! Thank you for keeping us all up to date on things we can pray specifically for! May God continue to amaze you with his mighty hand!
Christi S
Amy E - July 20th, 2011 at 10:11 AM
So excited for all of you!!!!!!! Tears of joy roll down myface. PTL!!!
Donna - July 20th, 2011 at 10:17 AM
Tears. Praise. Awe. Joy.
Desi Lee - July 20th, 2011 at 10:21 AM
Darn you gave my goose bumps and I just shaved my legs..........TMI ??????? lol
It's amazing how happy we can be for someone we have never met face to face. =)

Christa - July 20th, 2011 at 10:22 AM
His eye is on the sparrow. L.O.V.E.
Jeanine - July 20th, 2011 at 10:26 AM
I am a complete mess. THANK YOU JESUS!!!
Carmen - July 20th, 2011 at 10:35 AM
I am sobbing with happiness right now! There was some comment that you made on FB about bringing your "babes" home and I have been wondering since then if you were keeping a secret. I can't remember what day that was, though. I am SO HAPPY for you and we'll be praying that you are cleared for travel to bring him home SOON! You are such an inspiration for your perseverance in this trial and trusting in God. I seriously want to drive down to Texas when you bring him home so we can see you all in the airport! Love you guys and are SO HAPPY FOR YOU!
Amanda Sloan - July 20th, 2011 at 10:43 AM
So happy for you!!!!! Congratulations. This is wonderful!!!
Jennifer - July 20th, 2011 at 11:13 AM
Amazing. Purely amazing. God is amazing. I don't know how you've been able to keep quiet about this! I am so thrilled for your family, Jen! Blessings and safe travels to you!

Praying for speedy proceedings for Beniam!
Julia Leinen - July 20th, 2011 at 11:36 AM
seriously cried my eyes out reading this post. I know we don't even know each other (we are adopting and my best friend, Stephanie Pruitt directed me to you). But I have been praying for your sweet, gorgeous kids to come home since I started following you and this is such miraculous, amazing news!!! I am so so happy for ya'll!! I'm sure that all of our happiness in Cyberworld doesn't even begin to touch your joy during this moment. But know that we are sharing in your joy and praising God with you!
Ang - July 20th, 2011 at 12:07 PM
PRAISE THE LORD! So happy for all of you!
Shadley Grimes - July 20th, 2011 at 12:09 PM
This might have been a rough go, but this story will surely glorify Jesus for years and years and years!!!
Terry Arthur - July 20th, 2011 at 12:23 PM
My friend Denise asked a while back for adoptees especially to pray. My daughter and I (who were both adopted) prayed for your family. I'm so excited that you're going to bring home your son! Congratulations to your family! Go, God!
Mimi Ayele - July 20th, 2011 at 12:27 PM
I had seen his picture when I went to visit Mandy Powell who informed me of his situation. God is awesome!
Holly - July 20th, 2011 at 12:34 PM
Tears in PA. Congratulations!
Jennifer - July 20th, 2011 at 12:53 PM
"Our God reigns now and forever!"
Erin York - July 20th, 2011 at 12:57 PM
Sitting in McDonalds....a bribe for excellent behavior and cooperation in the Dentist office for Olivia...and I am bawling....Right in the front door....tears stream down my face! God Bless this wonderful and miraculous news! God is so good and faithful!
Kay Parker - July 20th, 2011 at 1:04 PM
what an amazing story! so happy for your whole family ... waiting for the phone to ring again to bring Ben home! Blessings to your family!!
Julie R. - July 20th, 2011 at 1:16 PM
I am so blessed to be a small part of this...I am a stranger to you but feel so emotionally attached to you and your family. Is that creepy?!?! True chills today reading this. I am just so glad we both worship, adore and count on our AWESOME GOD! Praise the Lord that you will soon be a family of SEVEN soon!!!
Laura Pearson - July 20th, 2011 at 1:22 PM
If I was not at work I would have been jumping up and down!!!!! I rejoice with you and believe you have exercised AMAZING restraint to keep that "canary" to yourself!!!!!

Love you all!!!
Paul Matens - July 20th, 2011 at 1:24 PM
God is good! I know your church friends in Austin are looking forward to meeting their new brother and sister in Christ.

Cathy Wells - July 20th, 2011 at 2:04 PM
Thank you Jesus!!!!!
Tricia - July 20th, 2011 at 2:38 PM
Enlarge the place of your tent!!!!!! YAY God!!!!
Priscilla - July 20th, 2011 at 2:40 PM
God is good! He is the almighty one with perfect timing.
Charity - July 20th, 2011 at 3:19 PM
Oh my freaking goodness. Bawling again. Praise you Jesus!
Tessy - July 20th, 2011 at 3:38 PM
Having a rough day today - AND this blog just erased all the self pity I have been fighting. God is indeed AMAZING and I am so excited to go write in my journal this MIRACLE. My verse for you that I have been praying -"He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun " Thank you Jesus for shining on Beniam and the Hatmaker family!!
Michelle Barreto - July 20th, 2011 at 3:54 PM
I am CRYING like NEVER before!!!! SO SO TOTALLY GOD!!!! The Barreto kids and family are REJOICING!!!!!!
Bette - July 20th, 2011 at 5:55 PM
Kelli Hilliard and I talked on the phone this afternoon and she asked me, "have you read Jen's update yet?" - I had checked before I left, but you had not posted yet. She would NOT tell me what it said, just said I had to read it as soon as I got to a computer. Never did I imagine that this would be the news. Praise Jesus!!!!!
I hardly know you from Adam's house cat, but I feel like I need to fly to Austin to welcome your family home. So super thrilled for you!
Holly Glenn - July 20th, 2011 at 6:47 PM
I have read this over and over and over. It never gets old! God is so good. He can indeed move mountains and he is worthy of all our praise. Thank you thank you thank you for allowing us to live this story alongside you. I WILL make it down to Austin someday to meet this blessed boy, whom God must have big plans for.
Cindy Foote - July 20th, 2011 at 7:06 PM
Yes yes yes!!!!! That is the God we serve!!
Michele Vendetti - July 20th, 2011 at 7:28 PM
For Thine is the kingdom and the glory forever Amen. Beautiful kids!
Catrina - July 20th, 2011 at 7:40 PM
Wow Jen I am so happy for you and your family. From Tyler, Tx
Karen - July 20th, 2011 at 8:43 PM
Thank You, Jesus! So happy for you, Hatmakers, and your beautiful son Beniam! God bless your family!
Paula - July 20th, 2011 at 10:22 PM
Your story gave some hope to my friend stuck in a similar situation. Thanks for sharing!
Angi Cooper - July 20th, 2011 at 10:42 PM
I have never loved our God more than I do now. Words can not express how thankful I am that God MOVES. HE is SO SO SO Good! Praising HIS name for answered prayers. Tears of thankfullness, joy, and honor for a King who SAVES! Angi
Shannon Church - July 21st, 2011 at 10:25 AM
Crying happy tears right now. I've been praying for sweet Beniam and for your family. Happy tears!!!!
Jason Hayes - July 21st, 2011 at 12:09 PM
Powerful. Wow. So happy for you and Brandon!
Lina - July 21st, 2011 at 12:42 PM
Thank You Jesus!
Crystal Z - July 21st, 2011 at 1:07 PM
I meant to reply to this yesterday, but YAAYYYYYYYYYYYYY!
Marla Taviano - July 22nd, 2011 at 1:30 PM
AAAAAAGHHHH!!!! Sooooooooooo excited for all 7 of you!! Praise you, JESUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Jocelyn Sinclair - July 22nd, 2011 at 8:04 PM
What a MIGHTY God we serve..... God Bless you and your family.... To God Be the Glory!!!
This is Mr. Watkins daughter in Charlotte NC.....
SortaCrunchy - July 23rd, 2011 at 6:46 AM
Tears. Lots of tears. Glory to God forever and EVER. Glory to Him. My heart is just overflowing all over the place for your family.
Lyneeta - July 23rd, 2011 at 2:46 PM
God is so good!!!
MandyP - July 5th, 2013 at 11:48 PM
Crying, snotting, and praising Jesus almost exactly 2 years after you wrote this. So I'm late to the party...
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