I knew this post was long overdue, yet long in coming. I'm not even sure exactly where to begin...and it is a long journey that has only just begun. Last spring we made the decision to adopt again from China's Waiting Child program. There were many reasons: Olivia needs a young sibling with which to play and share, the obvious need(sometimes overwhelming)---more orphans than the entire population of Russia!, knowing we are commanded as Christ-followers to care for orphans---of course, adoption is the "extreme" response, but our is a calling and an attempt to obey God's leading with our limited, wobbly faith! As expected, some don't agree with our decision or understand it...especially given the rest of our story; however, we believe it is the right decision.
In October, an adoptive mom from our WC yahoo group posted a brief email plea for a little boy with a heart defect. Now understand, we'd filled out and tweaked many times our "list" of needs we were comfortable with accepting---heart issues was definitely NOT one of them. Even a repaired heart was a "maybe". Heart issues...well, that is truly life or death, right? Info of children with heart issues were cast aside as we looked for the manageable needs. However, this email was one we were compelled to act upon. His picture grabbed our attention! God was at work in a really big way!
We quickly updated our WC application to include heart defects in our "maybe" list and contacted our social worker. I mentioned to our agency coordinator that we'd seen information about a boy we thought was on the shared list---she responded asking if we'd like her to try to locate his file. What?! We reasoned that looking at his medical was not really a commitment. Hmmmm.
On October 14th, we received his complete file. It was about 7 pm on a Friday evening when ALL of our children were here to celebrate an early Christmas with Ty and Monica during their R&R. What a handsome little fellow : ), but oh so in need of treatment! The first email I received from L* was an Love Without Boundaries sponsorship page to raise $ for his treatment in China! LWB is an outstanding organization that comes into orphanages to help children get their much needed medical and often times life-saving procedures. They needed $14,000 for his care. I tried to access the page the next day to find out he was already fully funded---amazing!! Is this a sign, Lord?
Our search for pediatric doctors to unravel the medical jargon for us was also God dirrected. I had saved the name of a Duke ped cardiac doc of Chinese descent months before doing our WC application. Why did I do that? Remember, we decided---no heart kids! Our local children's hospital waslike a fortres trying to get in to contact a doctor. I had looked many times. But one day, I looked again to find one PC with a button under his name that said "EMAIL ME" Had I missed that? Hmmmmm, again. I met a mom last year in our home school group who had just adopted a heart baby domestically. I knew she had gone to Johns Hopkins and was military so I asked about docs. Long story shorter, she directed me to a doc at Portsmouth Naval Hospital that htey absolutely loved! I had tried PNH before with no success but now I had a name and a recommendation. Praise God! I called late one after noon and left a message for Dr. C* with a very pessimistic nurse. I had hope anyway! Dr. C8 was back in touch with me the very next morning and FULL of helpful insight and wisdom! He has volleyed emails back and forth with us for weeks now and always been very professional and caring---we love him already and not even met in person : ). God is so very good!
Every doctor we contacted agreed on several issues about this boy's medical file:
1. his heart, based on limited test results, is very "special"
2. he needs a cardiac catheterization to determine extent of damage and operability
3. surgery/ies should have been started in his first year of life.
We even sat with our children who live at home to lay out what this adoption could entail. Hospital stays with unpredictable lengths, a child who may not be "fixable", and possibilities which I don't even want to mention. All without hesitation said "let's do it!" Josiah responded with"so on one hand, we choose to bless this little boy, and on the other, we choose not to." Ouch!
This is where LWB comes in. They had raised the $$ to begin treatment! However, our agency called to say that LWB will use funds for other needy children if a child has a family pursuing their adoption. Though we were disappointed, we understood very much! However, the next day, our agency called to say that LWB was going to do the cath and even surgry if it were possible! Yay! Another sign, Lord?! In the meantime we requested updated information on baby boy! The orphanage responded saying they were preparing him for surgery! Another great sign!
AWAA(our agency) made a bold request to have the CCCWA(China's governmental adoption bureau) transfer his file to our agency. If they agreed, our family could keep his file on hold to buy time for more medical questions to be answered and us to make a decision. China agreed! Another hurdle jumped---Yay, God!!
Yet, 2 weeks went by as we waited for a treatment "plan of action" to formulate. Then AWAA called. The orphanage would not agree to treatment from LWB! WE were stunned, confused, angry, sad...you name it, we felt it! Lord, what about all of those confirmations? Did we miss something? Is it really going to be a choice on our part to move forward without answers? That is TOO hard!!
The next couple of weeks, as always, God used many circumstances and people to speak to our hearts! The prayers of family and friends reached the heavens on our behalf and , most importantly, on behalf of a 2.5 year old waiting in Yunnan.
At his generous recommendation, another adoptive father of heart children received Tom's phone call on the phone and willingly---lovingly---listened, encouraged, answered, encouraged, validated, listened! Thank you, C*!!
The weeks immediately following this conversation, our pastor's teaching have been:
11/20/11--"Triumphant Suffering"--We are called to challenge the status quo but are often too afraid of what it might cost! Living out the Gospel means we must engage a broken and twisted world. It wil require getting messy!
11/27/11--"Let It Be Me"--We must have courageous faith in Jesus ("God" "Help"). It will cost us! As Christians, we are called to walk with God when we cannot see the way. Courageous faith is willingness to follow when we are so unsure!
12/4/11--"Joy and Sorrow"--Simeon("God has heard") and Anna("God is full of grace") met Jesus adn knew He was the long-awaited Messih---joy and comfort of all people.. They also spoke of His great sorrow and rejection. If we are to follow hard after Christ, we will experience both the joy and sorrow as we meet people where they are broken. Learn to live in the joy we have right now with "One hand on the plow, one wiping the tears" (Watchmen Nee). Our life story has the power to reshape us---and others--until He returns.
Now the choice was indeed ours! Not easy! Scary! Right! Unknowns! Costly! Still right!
On November 30th, 2011, we submitted our letter of intent to adopt! Zhi Suo, you have a big family who loves you already and longs to bring you out of what appears to be a "dark" place. We pray for your protection from without and within---entrusting you to the One who loves you best!
We are now D.T.C.---Dossier to China! The initial mother-load of paperwork is complete!!
Thank you for joining with us on a journey that has only just begun!
"But you, O God, do see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand. The victim commits himself to you; you are the helper of the fatherless. Break the arm of the wicked and evil man; call him to account for his wickedness that would not be found out. The LORD is King for ever and ever; the nations will perish from his land. You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more."