Well friends, it's been awhile since I have updated my blog, partially because after all the "dust settles" on the excitement, stress, wonder, and glory of adoption, life pretty much becomes business as usual. I guess I have not really embraced blogging the "boring" events of daily living. But things are about to become really, really exciting around here again. Let me give a little background on the behind the scenes of the last 6 months or so.
While the first year home with Elijah had it's stresses and challenges, mostly related to bonding, changing family dynamics, and sibling rilvary (albeit mostly friendly) the second year truly has been going well. Kids are both potty trained, getting along well, and as parents our initial struggles with bonding have resulted in deep, true parental love for our son. Things were going great! Ordinary, routine, wonderfully well. And with that, a little thought started to creep into my heart. Quiet at first, and then a little louder week by week. First, I ignored it. Then, I started to venture online again (uh oh). "Your family is not complete. There is a daughter for you waiting." So I started to look at photolisting on Rainbowkids.com, a photolisting focusing on children with special needs. What I quickly discovered is that "special needs" in America means a totally different thing in the realm of adoption. Images of severely disabled children with significant physical and mental handicaps is what I previously had imagined special needs to mean. What I quickly discovered is that something as simple as a cleft lip, long since repaired and healed, qualifies as child as special needs. An extra finger, a cardiac murmur, or lazy eye. Simply being a boy, or of toddler age. Otherwise healthy children, as a result of "special needs label" are being passed over for adoption because most people, including myself, were too afraid to consider them. Education is a wonderful thing. It opened my mind and heart to the possibility of a child with such a label. This is not to ignore the children who do have more significant handicaps or consider them any less in need of a loving, safe family to call their own. Thank God there are people who answer the call to care for these children, but there are many families who are not in a position to take on the huge responsiblity of a special needs children due to their current family situation. But those same families who might not be able to parent a child with more severe disabilites may find they are willing and able to consider a child with the special needs "label" if they learn what that label really means. (So if you've never considered special needs adoption, I urge you to educate yourself and reconsider!!)
After several months of looking at listings, requesting more info, and learning more about special needs adoption programs available, I felt like I had put a boat in on a lazy river, and the rapids were picking up. I sent off for another copy of my birth certificate "just in case". I ordered the background checks for my husband and me. Made medical appointments. Bought- gasp- a binder. Red one at that. (Lucky color in China) The current was getting swifter. Unfortunately, at this point, I was in to boat by myself. My husband was not convinced. I kept praying "God, if you want me to travel this road, you know I can't do it alone. Please change my husband's heart and make him happy about this idea!" The kids were certainly on board. They asked almost daily if we can get another baby brother or sister. (as well as a kitten, but that's another story) They offered to share toys, and t hey offered to share the bunk bed. Months went by. I showed him file after file of precious children needing a family. Each file came and went, being eventually adopted by other families (thank God for that!) File after file, I finally gave up for awhile on the whole idea. But the feeling I had a daughter waiting came back with a vengance. It nagged, it tugged, it preocupied me constantly. I tried again. I prayed again. Finally, I opened a file of a precious little girl with a wry smile. She was 17 months old, from Shanghai, China. She was beautiful beyond words, insanely cute, and by all accounts mentally "smart" and physically healthy, save the fact she is missing her left hand. I scanned her file, and drew a deep breath when I saw her birthday- the same as my mother, who passed when I was 16. I felt a familiar stab of confirmation when God is trying to tell me something. (Coincidently, my daughter was born 8 minutes before the anniversary of my mother's passing) I showed her to my husband, who agreed she was adorable, but stopped short of saying "yes" to proceed. I prayed. A lot. I prayed that if God wanted me to do this, why wouldnt give my husband a willing heart to do the same? I also prayed for confirmation this was HIS will, not the will of me simply wanting a large family. The next moring was Sunday. The new pastor, who is wonderful, started to preach on the first chapter of James. When he got to the 27th verse he read aloud "Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. " A shockwave jolted me when he read that, and I tears welled in my eyes. I asked for confirmation this was the path we were supposed to take, and I got it. After service I casually asked BIll if he noticed what verse was read in Church that morning. Without hesititation, he answered he had. oOf all the ones in the Bible, one of the most prominent addressing orphan care was read aloud. That night we discussed the prospect of a daughter, but did not come to a conclusion. In the morning on the table was a note from my beloved, saying that we should proceed. Prayers answered!
I began to jump on the paper chase like a racehorse out of the starting gate. 2 weeks into the paperchase, we are where we were about 4 -5 months into our son's paperchase. Mostly done! Thank God for this, and for prayers to get 100% finisihed asap. This adoption is completely "backwards" from our Son's, since we have a child first, and need to do all the paperwork second. For our son, the last piece of infmation we got was his Photo, and that he was indeed a boy, and he would be Elijah just as I felt God was telling me. In some ways, it makes the paperchase much more personal, but also more difficult because it's not just an anonymous child whose photo I am waiting for, I know her name, who she is, and that the FASTER i finish paperwork the sooner we will get her home. We had started with an adoption agency for our homestudy that I just didn't feel good about from day 1. They were non-responsive, unconcerned about timelines, and to boot the owner had a new BMW suv parked outside. (just sayin') I called another family owner agency, and after a few moments, the social worker said- oh, you're adopting from China special needs program?" ME- yes Her- So am I! Me- REally, how old? Her- 17 months! Me- Us too! What is his special need? Her- He's --missing his left hand---. I couldnt believe it! turns out she also has 2 othre kids same age as mine, and she's only a few months ahead of us in the adoption process. Amazing. I called the other agency and told them to shred my application.
So things have been going great. Please keep us in your prayers for a smooth paperchase, safe travel, and that our precious daugher can heal from a life of institutionalization. Please pray for continued enthusiasm for her adoption with all family members, most of all, that the Glory for adoption always goes to God, who orchestrates it all.
Here's our current timelines
- Tues Sept 27. Baby's file appears in inbox. Start to seriously pray! Family discussions ensue
-Friday - we find out they would need to know by tuesday Oct 4th if we would lock the file or not.
-SUnday- James 1:27
-Monday - More family discussion
-Tuesday-OCT 4th FILE LOCKED JJ went to get fingerprints for Cogent Bill went next day
Thurs oct 6th- 1st visit to madison adoption asosciates to drop off application
Tues oct 11 - get passport photos Get JJ fingerprint results.
Thurs oct 13- second visit to MAA for NJ child abuse clearances. Mail clearances to NJ Get Billl's fingerprint results from state.
Monday Oct 17th Fist homestudy viist scheduled.
To bE cont!!