And so our discussions shifted almost entirely to international adoption. I was afraid of domestic open adoptions and birth parents changing their minds. My heart was also led towards children waiting for parents, in beds in faraway countries, rather than birthmoms selecting us. I admire the adoptive parents that take the risk involved in open adoption, those that can open their hearts not only to a baby but to a family, those that wait to be selected by a mother. We never felt called to domestic adoption. I wouldn’t even consider it.
And then, I went to China. And I fell in love with kids that need homes. Big kids. Lots of kids. I guess I’ll make a promise to write another post about why we felt we needed to delay international adoption. Other than the fact that I promised my husband I wouldn’t end up in a Chinese prison accused of attempting to abduct one (or three?!) orphans. While I found kids in China that I love, and we even went to an initial meeting with an international adoption agency…we knew we’d need to wait a while before starting the process of adoption.
As much as I would like to, it is really impossible to tell someone all about the experience of travelling to China to work with orphans with special needs. I can share some pictures via the internet, and some pictures in person (FYI-I am not allowed to email or post pictures of staff or children. You’ll have to see me in person to view those beauties!), I can even put together a moving video production that tugs at your heart…but I really don’t have the words to accurately describe what it is like. But I did manage to tell Rob how much I love the kids, they are so great, there are three in particular that I love, can we move to China soon? No, I didn’t see any babies. Yes, I heard them crying down the hall. And besides the babies, there are older kids that have been abandoned, some of them fully aware of that fact, some who know their parent’s names and addresses, all of who would love to have a mama and a daddy. Yes, even the big ol’ 10 or 12 or 20 year old boys need a mama and yes I’d take every one of them if could.
(You can check with Rob, but yeah, I pretty much talk in runon sentences, very fast, often loudly when I am excited about something.)
But not yet. We can’t really move to China. At least not right now. Rob doesn’t exactly want to leave his own children behind, and their mom probably wouldn’t be too keen on us moving them to China. And we had decided (for a few reasons) not to pursue international adoption for a little while. So…no domestic adoption and no international adoption in the immediate future.
Rob’s heart melted when he saw a segment of Waiting Child on the local news. It’s not something we watch on a regular basis, in fact we don’t usually get that channel. But one evening in late March/early April as he was flipping through the channels, he saw three sisters that are in need of a home. When I walked back into the room, he asked me what I thought about adopting three school age girls through the Waiting Child program. Initially, I was surprised and a little cautious. I still love, really LOVE, the kids in China. I had always said no to domestic adoption. But I was really happy that Rob was interested. That night I sent an email requesting an application from DHS. Rob called the next day to say we were interested in pursuing adoption, specifically these three girls. We began to see how we could bring children into our home sooner rather than later. We decided to pray about it and begin gathering information, and to just take things one step at a time. I was super busy at work for the next few weeks as I was preparing to return to China and begin to wrap up a school year. Rob took the lead on filling out our application and being the contact person for DHS. It really has been fun to see him so excited about this. He’s already a great daddy and I can’t wait to parent more kids with him.
So, while we don’t know if those three sisters have found a home or not, we are praying for them. We are thankful that their story inspired us to begin this particular journey. While we started this process cautious and hopeful, we feel comfortable and excited each step of the way. It’s amazing to me that we are about to complete our homestudy, which honestly has been one of my biggest worries for any adoption, but in reality has been such a nice experience. We had the opportunity to list specific characteristic/diagnosis preferences. Because we are both educators and with my specific experience in special education, we are likely open to things that other parents are hesitant about. On the other hand, since we both plan on working full time and we will continue to raise Rob’s three teenage boys we had a few boxes that were checked “no”. We are looking to adopt girls as young as 2 and as old as 10. We would love a sibling group, up to 3 sisters. And we’re also open to what God may have in store for us that we are simply unaware of at this point. I’ll chuckle if He ends up leading us to 3 teenage boys, but it’ll certainly have to be Him that does the leading! =)
Where are we now? Attending classes every Saturday for the next four weeks, waiting on background checks and homestudy to be completed, obtaining copies of immunization records for the dog and the boys.
What is the next step? Being matched with kids! That can happen in a variety of ways, and I’ll write about it when we get closer.
In the meantime, we are thankful for this journey and how peaceful we feel about it. At the beginning we said we would just take it step by step and as long as it felt right, we’d keep going. It feels very right and it’s exciting, too! Thank you all for coming along and supporting us in our adoption journey! I can’t wait to have a big party for you to meet our girls….someday!
This picture: A storeowner on the island of Gulangyu who caught our attention because he was playing Christian music. We stopped to talk with him and ended up purchasing 32 CDs of music, which I haven’t figured out how to play in the US. It was great to meet this Chinese Christian man!