Saturday, January 16, 2010

How did we get here?

Many people have asked us why we decided to adopt from China, so I thought I would tell our story…

One day I received an email telling us that our friends Ken and Lisa were going to China to bring home their new daughter. A link to their blog was included so we could follow their journey. Early in our marriage Doug and I had talked about possibly adopting from an Asian country so, of course, I was very interested in reading their posts.

Ken and Lisa did a great job in describing their days in China and included many pictures of the places they visited, and most of all, their daughter. She was beautiful. Each day I looked forward to their new updates. One day I was reading their journal and a thought popped into my head – “We should adopt a little girl from China.” Where did that come from! I laughed ~ there were so many reasons why we should NOT adopt a child. Our age, to begin with, or at least my age. I was 53 at the time, way too old to be thinking about being a first-time mom. Also, I was only one year out from my cancer recurrence and a very grim prognosis. I thought who would even consider adopting a child when they were not sure they would even be around in the next few years. Besides, Doug and I were very happy with our life together and didn’t feel that we were lacking because we didn’t have children.

As I read Ken and Lisa’s updates each day, I started looking at blogs written by other people who were in China adopting a child. And that voice continued to whisper to me. Finally, I said “God, if this is You telling me we should adopt, you have got to be crazy! There are way too many reasons why this is a bad idea.” But God had other plans and continued to speak to me and change my heart. Finally, I decided to talk to Doug. Our conversation went something like this:

ME: Doug, I think God is telling me that we should look into adopting a little girl from China.
DOUG: What!!! He’s not saying anything to me! And besides, I really like our life the way it is.
ME: Well, I keep hearing this voice in my head telling me we should do this. I wasn’t really crazy about the idea either, but I can’t stop thinking about it. Why don’t we pray about it and see where God leads us.

Well, needless to say, God directed our steps to the Gladney Center for Adoption where we attended an informational meeting about adopting from China and we began the “paperchase” - a long process of collecting documents, filling out forms and having a home study done by a social worker. Finally, in March, 2006, our stack of paperwork was sent to China and on April 5, 2006, we were logged in to their system as a family desiring to adopt a child from their country.

All along the way, we have prayed that God would shut the door if this is not meant to be. Before we even started the paperchase, we sought counsel from many people whose opinion we valued and whom we felt would give us an honest answer when we asked if they felt we should pursue an adoption. Not one person felt we should not move forward. Of course, most of them have children, mostly grown, and I think they want us to experience the same “joy” of raising kids as they have ;o)

In spite of our age and my health, China approved us to adopt. They required several letters from my doctors, updating them on my health status. In fact, not too many months after we were logged in, China tightened the requirements for new applicants and we would not have qualified under those new requirements. Never would we have believed that the wait would be almost four years; when we started the process, it was about 12 to 15 months. But in a way, the wait has been a blessing. We continue to ask God to step in if this is not what we should be doing. I am now six years out from my last cancer treatment and the likelihood of a recurrence is minimal. Doug’s biggest fear as we considered adoption was that he would either be trying to care for an invalid wife and a baby daughter, or he would be a single dad. I think God knew we would need this time to be assured that I was healed. It has given us time to read lots of books on parenting, as well as clean out the storage room and turn it into a nursery. It has taught us patience. And trust – we have no control over the process or the timing. We have requested a baby girl but China may decide we should have a boy who is a toddler. But, most importantly for me, I have learned that it’s not about us. This won’t be convenient or easy; our lifestyle may change ~ instead of a trip to Europe, we’ll probably be going to Orlando, or Six Flags here at home; most of our friends are grandparents and we will need to form new relationships with people who have young children; we will be incredibly exhausted and our house will almost always need to be cleaned. But… there is a precious child who, for one reason or another, was abandoned by its parents and who yearns for a Forever Family. And, if it’s God’s will, we have been entrusted to love and cherish this child. There is a verse in 1 John that says we love because God first loved us (4:19). Amen to that! It will require more than we can provide on our own, but we know our source of love and strength. And, even though we don’t know what the future holds, we do know who holds the future ~ and that is enough.