For those of you who don't really know us, we're just regular people. There is nothing outstanding or special about our family, and we're okay with that. I think that's what makes all of this even more special. If God can have such an amazing plan for our regular family, what kinds of things does He want to do in your life? Seriously, we're not even "treasures in jars of clay"...we're more like melamine mugs. That way, He can get ALL of the glory for this! =)
A year ago today, we had taken the kids down to Lafayette for a little day trip to the free zoo there and the waterpark right next door. We were having a really fun, relaxed time that day, just totally enjoying the warm summer weather and each other's company, when God came and changed everything in the space of a second. As I was walking along, a little Asian girl caught my eye. She was staring at me, not like little kids normally stare at people, but really intensely. In that moment, the thought came, "You have a daughter waiting for you in China." Of course, that was pure craziness (especially since I'm pretty sure the girl wasn't even Chinese), but the thought kept coming back to me. I mentioned it to David and couldn't believe it when he wasn't surprised by that idea and was actually accepting of it.
Now, we always thought adoption was a great thing and were amazed by the people who adopted children, but we figured there was no way we could adopt as we didn't think we met any of the qualifications. For one thing, everyone knows that international adoption is really expensive. With our available resources, there was no way we could ever afford to do that. Besides that, we already had 5 children....there had to be rules about how many kids you could have to be able to adopt. However, that thought kept coming back to us that there was a daughter waiting for us in China, so we decided to go with that and at least check out the eligibility requirements. To our amazement, we totally fell within the guidelines, so we couldn't use that as an excuse not to move forward. Now, we just had the excuse of we didn't have the funding to pay all of the fees. That's a good excuse, right? There was just no way we could do this....
We prayed about this. We talked to other adoptive families about this. We researched about this. We could NOT get away from this at all. It ended up boiling down to an issue of trust. If we believed God was telling us to adopt from China, wouldn't He work out all of the funding? Theoretically, yes. Practically, were we willing to actually move forward with something this big and have it all blow up in our face if He didn't work it out? Could we really, truly trust Him with this? As He kept bringing confirmation after confirmation that this was indeed what we were supposed to do, we took the leap and started the process. We weren't really sure how it was all going to turn out, but we knew at least we were being obedient to what He had called us to do.
As a bit of an aside, there are rules about what kind of children you are eligible to adopt based on family size. China has 2 different programs for adoption: Non-Special-Needs and Waiting Child. The NSN program is for healthy children. There are families who have started the process for a NSN child back in 2006/2007 that are still waiting for a child match as there are very limited numbers of healthy children. Conversely, there are so many, too many, children on the Waiting Child list. These are children with some kind of identified special need or medical problem. Because of our family size, we only qualified to adopt from the Waiting Child list. That was really a non-issue, but when you put in your application, they require you to fill out a Medical Conditions Checklist. This is where you indicate what needs you would accept, what needs you wouldn't, what you might consider, and whether or not you would be open to accepting a child with more than one concurrent condition . From the beginning, there were 2 conditions that stood out to us that we were extremely open to: Heart problems and cleft lip/palate. There were several others that we were open to as well, some even a bit scary to us, but David said from the beginning he thought our daughter would have one of those two medical conditions.
Ok...fast forward to January when we received Lily's referral packet. She was considered Special Focus (which we didn't know until later), which is the status reserved for children with more severe special needs, multiple special needs, or children that have been waiting longer that usual. Special Focus adoptions usually go a bit quicker as they are the children that are harder to place. She has congenital heart disease and unrepaired cleft palate concurrently, along with a possible growth abnormality. Crazy how David was right! Each child's referral packet contains their medical records, testing, etc., and Lily's was no different. She had heart scans, ultrasound reports, labs, and other things. One interesting piece of documentation was a hospital discharge summary. Lily had been in the hospital around the same time that God impressed on our hearts that we had a daughter waiting for us in China. The report wasn't exactly clear why she was in the hospital, but she was there. We have found out from other families and resources that usually when kids in China from orphanages or institutions have a hospital stay, they are left there in the hospital alone due to limited staffing. There simply aren't enough people at the facilities to be able to spare staff to stay with the sick children, so we are assuming that Lily was there by herself during those days. Again, it is amazing how God works out the timing of these kinds of things!
Now, 1 year after this idea was impressed on our hearts, we are just days away from meeting our beautiful new daughter that we never in a million years would have imagined otherwise. It has been a crazy ride so far, and we know that is just the tip of the iceberg! We have prepared as much as we can for all of the grief, joy, loss, gain, fear, and beauty that is coming our way, though I don't think anyone can really truly be prepared. We're just ready to go......
|We're coming for you soon!!|