Tuesday, July 20, 2010

On Our Way!

We got an email from our social worker to set up our first "home study" for today!!!! It will be next Monday at 1:00. Please be in prayer for us... I have a feeling it may be a lot like drinking out of a fire hydrant!!!!

How We Picked China

So, the decision was made... we were adopting. I was about to explode from excitement and I think DP was scared to death! :)

As I said before, I have always had a calling on my life for this. About 2 years ago, I was sitting in the church sanctuary, during VBS, with my kindergarten class. Two of the cutest little asain girls in the world filed into the pew in front of me had I had this flash of my future. It was a little girl about 4 years old with dark hair (bangs and a ponytail), dark eyes, and dark skin. I had previously considered adopting from Russia, but in that instant, I knew my path had changed. My baby girl was going to be somewhere in Asia!

2 years later, as Daren and I began the discussion, I asked him what he thought about the child's ethnicity... (we were getting a girl, so no choice on that one!) :) "I see us with a little asian girl."

So, the search started. There is alot to take in. We checked into China (5 year wait), Nepal (have to take a boy if you already have a girl), The Phillipines, Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, Cambodia (either you can't select the gender or the country is "closed"), and maybe a few more!

I was a little worried. I knew God had a plan, and I felt a sense of peace, but still, where was my baby girl? Had I been wrong all this time? Maybe she was Hispanic not Asian? Maybe we could adopt her domestically instead of internationally? The problem with all of these things was that it wasn't what I felt so strongly that God had been telling me. Domestic would have been easier and not had nearly the wait... we discussed it, but still, I was willing to wait. I'd rather follow what my heart was telling me...

So, we started calling agencies. Agency after agency said "If you are interested in a female under the age of two, you should consider China Special Needs." Of course, you hear that and think no way! So we kept calling and kept getting that answer. I felt like I was going in circles. But, the first agency that had responded to me had mentioned that they had a program called Child of Promise. It was for children who weren't really "special needs", but had minor/correctible medical conditions. I went back to the email and printed off the form of conditions. There were some I would never consider, some I had no idea what they were, but one I noticed, I had a soft place in my heart for... heart murmur. (For those of you that don't know, Mc had heart surgery to repair a nice sized hole in her heart right before her second birthday.)

So, I called the pediatrician and made an appointment to review the form, still not thinking much about it. But, later that week, I met with some friends at church who head up our adoption support group. While in the meeting, my friend Kelly shared that both of her kids were "special needs" from Russia, but she would never consider them special needs. They talked to us about how other countries, that do not have the medical advancements we have, consider very minor issues to be special needs. (You might have a child with a birthmark that is considered special needs, or one who was born with a murmur that has closed on its own already that will forever be listed as special needs.)

Anyway, that's when it hit me... my beautiful, completely perfect baby girl would have been tossed to the side and labeled special needs had she been born somewhere else. I mean seriously, if Mc had been born in China vs. the US, she would have been marked. (her murmur was so loud and so pronounced the docs at vandy would call interns in to listen to it!) I just couldn't shake it. That thought stuck with me and I couldn't get over it. I asked Daren to consider looking into Child of Promise and he agreed too.

I called Holt International to ask about the process for COP. We can get a baby girl under the age of two! Here's how it works.... regular China adoption: 6 months to complete your dossier and then a five year wait after that. COP Adoption: 12-18 months start to finish!!!!! Woohoo!!!! You complete your dossier (4-6 months), decide which conditions you are okay with and which you are not, and everything is submitted to China. They will then refer you a child anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. After referral, you have two weeks, plus all of the child's medical records, to decide if this is your child or not. (you can go to the IA wing at Vandy and they will review the records for you.) If you choose to decline the child, it is not held against you and they refer you another child soon after. If you accept the child, you travel 6-8 months later!

So, it seems God is leading us down this path, right? I felt that way, but I just wasn't sure if it was my emotions getting all tied up in the whole Mc/heart surgery thing, or what. So, for about 3 or 4 days I was in what I felt was constant commune with God. You know those times when you just talk to Him on and off all day long? "God, is this your will", "Don't let my human heart screw up your plan", "this is one of the first times in my life I haven't had an agenda, lead me to what is right", "I'm kinda scared, is this going to be really scary?", "I'm trying not to be selfish here, so let me know what your plan is", "You know patience is not one of the 'fruits of the spirit' you gave me, right?", etc. etc....

On the 3rd day, (and I know many of you may scoff at this) I seriously heard God in my heart saying, "Go to my word. What's taking so long. You know all of the answers are there. If you'd open your Bible you'd have your answer." What a dummy. I felt kinda stupid. I'd been begging for an answer and it had never occurred to me to open the Book of Answers?!?!?!?

So, during my quiet time I got out my Bible and Crazy Love, which I've been reading forever. The four pages I read that night related directly to everything I was feeling:

"Do you want to see God more than you desire security?"
"Having faith often means doing things others see as crazy."
"True love requires sacrifice"
"Let us not love with words or tounge, but with actions and truth."

and then, there were the bible verses. God could not have spoken more directly to me:

There's the old standby everyone knows, the one I'd been hearing in my had for days, "The King will reply, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." Matthew 25:40

But then, a verse I can't ever remember seeing before. It's from Corinthians. Paul's writing to the entire church, and so he uses the plural forms they and their. But, if you make it singular, it reads "At this present time, your plenty will supply what she needs, so that in turn, her plenty will supply what you need." 2 Corinthians 8:14

I couldn't go on. I sobbed. How much more did I need. God had just told me that if I bring my sweet precious baby girl here and take care of her, heal her, nurture her, she's going to give me more joy than I could ever imagine. That was it for me. I shared with Daren and few days later and he was on board.... Baby Girl, here we come!!!!!

Much more to follow..... :)

Monday, July 5, 2010

How it Happened

So, by now most of you know that we have made a decision to adopt from China. I feel compelled to tell the story of how we came to this decision. God's hand has been in this for many years and I know it is all part of His plan. So, here we go...

When I was in 4th grade, there was a girl in my class who was adopted from an asian country, (which one, I don't remember... I was 9.) But, I remember exactly where I was when she told me... I thought "wow, you can do that? That is so cool." And, it changed my life forever!

I can't say I thought of it on a daily basis after that, but it always stuck with me. We get older, we start deciding what kind of future we want for ourselves. Around the age of 19, I started realizing that my future had an international child in it. When Daren and I started talking about marriage, I told him that I felt the calling to international adoption. It was something God had placed on my heart and I would have to do it one day. He agreed that at some point, that would be fine. (He probably thought it was a phase I would get over one day... little did he know, right?)

Once, before Mc, we took some kids from our youth group to a Steven Curtis Chapman concert. We weren't even talking about children yet, but when they stopped the show to discuss international adoption, it was all I could do not to jump out of my seat and sign up. I tell you all of these side stories just to show you how it has always been a part of me. Something God had planned from the beginning. He would only give me pieces, but enough to make me hungry for more!

After that, we had McHaney. The MOST WONDERFUL child in the whole world (not that I'm biased.) I had a lot of complications afterwords, galbladder, kidney stones, etc. Honestly, I thought I would be pregnant again someday, and I may still be pregnant one day, but in the pit of me, I didn't really feel the need to be. I'd done it, I loved my little family, and I would be okay if I was done.

But, Daren definitely wanted another child and I did want a sibling for McHaney... how would I have EVER made it without Lauren, ya know? Come to find out after about 2 years and alot of testing and doctor's visits, we were going to have a hard time getting pregnant again... no big deal though, right? It wasn't impossible. We even had infertility insurance. Who has that?

So, trips to the fertility clinic started, and I started crying. I love fertility clinics. Some of the most awesome children I know are here today because of the doctors at those clinics. I was excited! Daren and Mc would finally have what they needed. But, for some reason, it felt sooo wrong to me everytime we were there. After the first insemination, what I knew in the back of my mind settled in. I knew that God was calling us to adoption (whether now or later) and I was just going to wait it out. He was ultimately in control and I turned it over to Him. I had a peace about it. If I was supposed to get pregnant, it was going to be b/c of God if not, no one could make it happen.

So, I only went through one round of insemination. After the first round, I started praying... a lot! I felt it was almost a continuous conversation we would pick up and start throughout the day. "God, your will be done here. This is one of the first times in my life I don't have an agenda. I don't care what happens. I have a baby, or we adopt a baby. This is your plan. I am only a part of it. What is your plan, and how do I fit into it?" Also, "If you are calling me to this life, Daren is my husband. Shouldn't we want the same thing? My prayer is, if I am to carry another child, please let me be joyous about it, if we are to adopt, please let Daren want it like I want it."

I felt God was telling me, 'My plan is for you to adopt now. Your baby girl is out there and it is time.' Daren and I talked about it, but we were not on the same page. So, I dropped it with him and just kept praying. I wanted him to have what he thought he wanted, but I did ask him to pray about it also.

The night before the second round of insemination (the first was in January, but b/c of complications, the second was not to be until early June) Daren called it off. No seriously, the night before at 10pm... I had been in Pasadena for my sister's graduation. I came in super late on a Sunday night and he was already in bed. We didn't see each other until 10pm Monday night and this was the conversation:

DP- "I don't want you to have the insem tomorrow."
Me- "um, what?"
DP- "The more I pray about it the more wrong it feels."
Me- "What?"
DP- "The more I pray about it, the more it just feels wrong."
Me- blank stare
DP-"I feel like we aren't supposed to do this. I feel like something is going to happen."
Me-"Seriously? It's a little late to cancel. The appt. is at 10am tomorrow."
DP- "Well, you can go, I'll pay for the visit, whatever, but I will not be making a donation."
Me- Big Smile. "So, what are you saying?"
DP- "I'm saying I think we should adopt. I think that's what we're supposed to do."
Me- In my head, "awesome, awesome, awesome!!!!" out loud, "are you sure? Okay then."

And that's how we came to the decision to start the process. This is a really long post, and I'll save the "how we decided on China" story for another day! But, it feels good to put it out there. To let people know that if you trust in God, you're patient, and you really hear what he says, His plan will always come though. So, have faith and open yourself up to His voice.... :)