Merry Christmas to all of my friends!
I hope that you have enjoyed a wonderful Holiday weekend full of love, laughter, hugs, and HOPE!
It has taken me a few days to gather my thoughts in order to write this update.
Though we HAVE had a wonderful Christmas, full of love, laughter, hugs and hope, our Christmas admittedly started off a little rough.
As you may remember, we were matched with a child's profile on December 15th, and were told we had until Monday, December 21st to reach a decision. We had requested additional information regarding that child's medical diagnosis and current condition, but were told if the information didn't come back before Monday the 21st we would have to make a decision regardless. As you remember, James and I had decided that unless we DID hear back, and the information we got painted a drastically more severe picture than what we currently saw, we were going to proceed with the file.
Monday came and went, and I never heard from the adoption agency one way or the other. I called them on my way home from work, expecting to be told they needed our commitment to move forward with the file that night. Instead, she told me we could wait until Wednesday to see if the information requested came in. I was a little disappointed, just because I was eager to move out of the "uncertainty" stage and ready to make a commitment, but trusted that this was happening for a reason and it was probably wise to give it a little more time.
I did not hear anything Tuesday, so again on Wednesday morning I emailed them asking if there was any news and what we needed to do. She said there was in fact a response from the orphanage, and that she would sent it to me right away, but we needed to let them know that day, before they closed for the Holiday. I quickly punched out for lunch so that I could review the information. Unfortunately, what I saw when I opened the files was the worst case scenario.... our little boy's condition was MUCH more severe than had initially been implied. We had inferred from the earlier information that he had never had surgery on his legs, but now that we got pictures without all the big puffy clothing on, we saw that his legs had scars in multiple locations, indicating at least 2 or three prior surgeries. There was no muscle tone whatsoever, and we were also informed that he experiences a lot of pain, and is in pain whenever the nannies bump him. We were also told this he has problem with all of his joints. This does not mean that we were intentionally misled or lied to with the first set of information. We will never know why some of this information wasn't included in the original file, and at the end of the day, that isn't important.
Suddenly our future went from raising a child who will likely be able to stand and walk after therapy and a possible surgery or two, to raising a child who will likely never be able to stand or walk, and is a large deal of pain right now. Of course anything is possible... it's impossible to diagnose a patient from a few photographs. However, with adoption you have to prepare yourself for the worst case scenario. You have to be committed to the worst case scenario. And for the sake of this child, you have to be sure that you can handle the worst case scenario.
I began scrambling to contact every doctor and adoptive mother I had talked to regarding his suspected diagnosis over the past week. Thankfully, I did get quite a bit of information back by the end of the day, but I hated the idea of making a decision without talking to James face to face. The doctors who did respond were all in agreement this this child was now a severe case, and would likely never stand or walk independently. I contacted the agency asking for at least until 6 pm EST (they are 2 hours behind us) and they said we could actually just take until Monday the 28th, because they were not able to match him to another family this late in the day anyway.
I think I knew in my heart right away that we didn't have what this little boy needs, but I wasn't ready to admit that to myself or to anyone else. I was feeling so lost, so heartbroken, so confused. How could something that felt SO RIGHT just days before, feel so wrong now? How could I have felt so much peace, and have been so convinced about God's plan for this child in our lives, and now have all of that unravel before my eyes? My heart just ached for this little boy, and his scarred legs, thinking of how scary it was to go through those painful surgeries without a mom and a dad to comfort you and hold you through the pain. Man, adoption is just HARD sometimes. You know going into this journey that it's going to be hard, but you have no idea in what ways.
I hoped from day one that we would never have to say no to a file, that God would somehow match us to the perfect child for our family on the first file assigned. It was so hard for me to reconcile the idea that even if we did not accept this file, we were not being disobedient to God's calling for us. I reached out to my adoptive community for support, and was overwhelmed with encouragement and understanding, but I still had to go through a grieving process that I wasn't prepared to go through. I think I spent most of Wednesday night in a state of grief and shock. I just felt so confused and so lost.
There were so many "God sightings" those first few days after being assigned his file, and so many reasons why we were SO CONFIDENT that this was our child, and that no matter what happened, God was going to provide us with whatever we needed to care for him. But now I could also say that maybe it was God's doing that the agency gave us those extra days, and that we got the additional information, He was protecting us from getting in too deep. The thing about God's plan is.... we'll never be able to comprehend or understand it. Just when we think we have it all figured out, He reminds us that we don't have a clue... our minds just aren't big enough. We just have to pray, and trust, and seek direction with each new day. The more I sought direction with this situation, the more I felt that it was ok to acknowledge our limits, and it was ok to admit that this child's needs were just beyond our limits of care of provision.
It wasn't a matter of whether we were willing to make sacrifices- I wasn't sad for ourselves about raising a child with limitations. I was sad and heartbroken to think of not being able to give him the best life possible. And in my heart, I knew it wasn't fair to anyone to bring this child into our home. We simply aren't in a place to provide for this child. It's so hard to say that, because I know full-well that when you have your own children, that's not a choice you get to make. You can't choose what condition your child might or not be born with, and whatever they are born with, you make the best life you possibly can for them, no matter what it takes. But it was important to remind myself that this child has already suffered the consequences of ill-prepared parents once in his life. From here on out, he deserves parents who have everything he needs. And it's humbling to admit that you just don't have those things. By letting ourselves say no, we will be allowing ourselves to say YES to a file that we can adequately provide for. And hopefully, in another year or two, we can say YES again. And maybe again... who knows :).
Over and over again, however, others reminded me that I needed to listen to my intuition- that if I didn't have peace about moving forward, this wasn't our son, and I needed to release his file so that his parents could find him. It felt like I was betraying him, like I wasn't being faithful to God's promise to provide for our needs. However, I knew that if it was the right thing to do, I would be feeling peace about it, and I just wasn't, and neither was James. We thought about the fact that it was very likely that accepting this file would mean I would have to quit my job and how that would mean we wouldn't be able to adopt any other children. We thought about the fact that we would likely have to rehome our animals so they weren't bumping him and causing him pain, and how we probably couldn't send him to daycare, that we would need to move, get a new vehicle, and so on... there were a lot of reasons that told us we just weren't the right parents for him. At this point in our lives, we do not have the resources to provide for the needs he has. We will always think of him, and will always be praying for him. I hope that somehow I can advocate for him, and that maybe even I'll see someone post about adopting him one day and will be able to follow his story. One good thing is that now all of the information we gathered will remain a part of his file, so that the next time he is matched to a family, they will get everything up front, so they will be able to make a more informed decision from the start.
We attended my family Christmas party on Christmas Eve. The party where I imagined I would be passing around his photo, introducing our newest family member. Instead I had to explain to those who had read the good news about what had happened, and I feared having to deliver bad news on such a happy occasion. Thankfully, everyone was (of course) more than understanding, and extremely supportive. Not that I expected any less, it's just a hard thing to deal with. We also were able to spend a little bit of time with James' grandparents and mom, and they were also in agreement with our decision.
We have not officially declined his file, just because our agency is closed, but as soon as we decided that would be our decision, and we told our close family and friends, we both felt the peace we were looking for before. We knew we were making the right decision, not just for US, but for HIM. Please join us in praying for this little boy in China, whose legs don't work, and who is in pain. Pray that he is matched with a family who can give him the life he deserves, and pray that he finds relief from his pain and knows the love and comfort of a mom and dad soon.
Now for the REJOICING!
Christmas Eve we got a special package in the mail- our first 12 documents came back from Authentication! They are all ready to be sent to our agency to go in our Dossier. One thing I thought was sort of neat is that they are all signed by John Kerry (original signatures, no stamp!). Kind of crazy to think of someone so well-known handling our documents and signing them. I wonder how many of these he does every day...
And one more celebration- my fingerprinting notice finally came today! I was really hoping this would happen, as I have Monday off work. I'm going to try and walk in early to try and get my fingerprinting done on Monday so that I don't have to try and go before work on my scheduled day and have to be late getting there and just deal with all of that stress. Keep your fingers crossed for me that they let me do this. Strangely, James' approval didn't come. His will likely arrive Monday or Tuesday, so we will just have to go at separate times.
And finally, one more cause for rejoicing! If you remember, the day we first go news that we had a match, we had also gotten bad news regarding the health of a family member.
Well, this time, the day we got bad news about the child's file... we got GOOD news about our family member. They had some additional tests run, and they came back with favorable results, so the situation isn't any worse than what we had already been told- praise God!
So there you have it... a weary heart rejoicing. We will continue to keep you all posted regarding the status of our adoption, but I promise, next time I won't post news about a match until we have locked everything in- no more emotional roller coasters for our readers! Just because we go through them doesn't mean you all have to as well.
Thank you to each of you who shared in our joy last week- I really wish I didn't have to bear the bad news that I did today. :( Please pray for continued guidance and direction as we navigate this difficult journey.