It is with great joy that I get to share our big news that we are growing again!
We’ve known since September 30th that we were growing…and this time it isn’t with pregnancy test…but rather through our hearts skipping a beat when we saw our little one’s face on Rainbow Kids (a site that posts thousands of children who are already waiting–most who have special needs) on September 30th. (For some of my Facebook friends you just might remember that post on the 30th when I couldn’t help but update my status: “Andrea Young needs to get off the Rainbow Kids site…oh my–oh my…I might have just fallen again. That site is very dangerous in SUCH a good way!” Many of my friends commented that Rainbow Kids was the exact way you first were led to find the little ones you now tuck into bed every night. Many children have been matched with a forever family through this amazing ministry for kids with special needs (some having the special need of being an older child even!)–and they now have mommies and daddies to kiss their booboos, sing them to sleep and pour love into their hearts. I will forever be thankful for this journey and being led to our son through Rainbow Kids!
How God Blessed the Broken Road…
There are some things in our lives that will just never make sense. But for us–this is not one of them. Through many twists and turns, we not only feel His grace–but we can see it…and we rejoice. Our son is 17 months old and was born in the month of May–the VERY month we were accepted to the China program in 2011. After getting bit by a tick and getting Lyme–we decided to put our adoption on hold. AT THE SAME TIME one of our son’s was really struggling to connect and was needed really a lot more of us–and had the Lord not allowed me to get sick…I might have been too wrapped up in the excitement of bringing home another little one to really SLOOOOOOW down, focus and spend the extra time and energy that was required to really take 10 steps back with a child who needed more of us rather than preparing to grow again. His grace is sufficient for me.
At the time though–although I had a peace about our decision to put our adoption on hold…especially for the sake of our little one that needed more of me…I have to admit I was really, really sad–and confused. God, why did you call us to adopt from China and then ask us to put this all on hold? What about that home study rat race we did—Um…couldn’t you have let us in on that BEFORE we did all the red tape crazy? I felt like in a weird way we were calling off a wedding and all of our guests wanted to know the whys…which were hard for my heart to explain. At the time I felt like it was losing a baby…almost like a miscarriage–but little did I know at the time what that heart ache was really like.
We had signed on with an amazing Christian agency. I was excited–and then HALT. It didn’t quite make sense to my heart. Months earlier, I had met with a mommy mentor of mine who had adopted special needs children from China through a different agency “Great Wall Adoption”. Although they raved–I just felt better with a smaller agency in the South. She shared the amazing things Great Wall was doing for older children who were never adopted–and all the while this agency sat on the back of my mind. (Little did I know when I filled out a request on Great Wall to get emails for their waiting children list–that THAT VERY REQUEST was made–and documented in my email even–on the very day our son was born! Little did I know that it was the Lord nudging me…this is the agency our son would be with…this is the agency we would end up using…and ALL done of the very day he was born!). Six months later though, home study craziness complete–we placed our adoption on hold…for either 5 weeks or 5 years…we were not sure. We knew we could still adopt with everything we had going on–but we felt the Lord saying, “Wait” and as much as our hearts longed for a little girl in China…we knew we needed to be obedient. Yes…you just read that right…at the time we were sure we had a little girl (mostly because that was what WE had “imagined”…that’s what WE thought would fit in best with our family…honestly we just though it made more sense–3 boys and 1 girl…doesn’t 3 and 2 make more sense than 4 boys and 1 girl??? That’s the crazy part of adoption verses having a child biologically–you can actually say what sex you would prefer.)
After our miscarriage in August, we immediately knew that we wanted to still grow again–and while we knew we needed time to heal…we also knew as our hearts were already in “we’re growing” mode–it was also okay to continue there. We could try again as early as September–and our hearts were there…BUT something didn’t feel quite right. Although we were in complete newborn baby mode–we began to pray together…
Every sweet day of September, I will forever cherish. My husband and I walking through change in hard, but good ways–experiencing all the firsts of loss together…and then beginning to dream together of when we’d try again. All the while we were praying for orphans in the world–and the thought of trying again…going through that again…just pulled our hearts more to children who were already born…who had also already experienced great loss…who wanted and needed a mommy and daddy already. Through much prayer–Richard and I agreed that we would immediately pick up our adoption and adopt a waiting child. We called the amazing Christian agency in the South that we were already with–asked the questions…and they let us know that there were especially big needs for special needs boys in Columbia and China. REALLY? I tucked this information quietly in my heart–I think I was surprised–so we just began to pray.
The agency sent me the most precious picture of a little guy in Columbia with Downs Syndrome. I WAS IN LOVE. I showed the pictures to Rich–but the timing wasn’t quite right…my man is AMAZING–he is Spirit filled and led…and although he prayed for and loved this child because he was a child of God’s–he didn’t feel like he was ours. One of the greatest things a wife can do is to follow her husband…so I tucked that sweet little picture away–prayed for this sweet boy–and just prayed that the Lord would lead my husband and we would KNOW…that the Spirit would lead him.
Smack dab in the middle of September–I wrote a post about how the Lord comforted me after our miscarriage. I was at the bookstore and through a series of events I knew the Lord was showing me that our child was with Him–and I could trust Him with this…and I felt in my heart our baby was a little girl. A friend of mine had shared with me how healing it was to name the baby she lost–and I had a girl name tucked away that I always assumed we’d name our little girl from China one day “Lucy”. It was what I wanted to name Laney–but changed it at the last minute and had held on to it. Sitting there in that bookstore that day–I named her…and it felt right…peaceful and sweet. The Lord had given me my girl. NOT how I would have dreamed or asked for…but in my heart I had wanted her–and in my heart He had given her to me–until I meet her in heaven. This place in my heart that I felt a void that I had always felt belonged to another little girl had strangely and supernaturally been filled–and that night I reopened my hands…to whatever HE wanted.
The next day, we had one of our many “dreams” talks. If you don’t have them with your family and spouse–oh you MUST! You gather together…lay your hearts out–and share what your real, deep, beautiful dreams are. Every families dreams will be different. You have to be open to really listening and hearing and honoring one another…no matter how crazy they are. My dreams–were to have a big beautiful family…and now–I really didn’t care how the Lord wanted to grow it. Deep down–my heart still wants to carry another–but deep down my heart also wants to bring home another (or two;). And everyone else saw–a house full of…BOYS. Really. Loo-bear?? You too?? Someone is quite satisfied being the ONLY princess at our house (trust me–it comes with it’s perks!) With what the Lord had shown me the day before…with what I felt on my knees in surrender…and with what I was hearing from the hearts that beat so close to mine–I knew the Lord was leading us…sure we were open to a girl–but dog-gone it…we were all in agreement if the Lord wanted us to have more mud-pies, soccer cleats, Legos and bugs around this house–we were all for it!
Through our summer, we felt the Lord had shown us what age/s that would thrive most in our family–and we had a sense of what special needs we could meet the needs for well. We got on Rainbow Kids just thinking we would look together one night…and crazily Richard and I were BOTH drawn to the exact same child. We looked at the agency he was with–and we laughed knowing our friends had raved about them and had tried to convince us over a year ago to consider using them after their experience (they have 10 adopted littles–so when they say an agency is really amazing to work with–it says a lot:). We thought it was just one of those crazy coincidences when we saw his listed birthday that it was the same month we actually started our China adoption and it was the VERY day we emailed this agency telling them we wanted to be on their waiting child emails. We also laughed when we looked up his listed birthday to see it was on a TUESDAY. Y’all are going to laugh–but the kids in our family “dream” talk–one of our kids said he wanted our next child to be born on a Tuesday (crazy I know–but we have been memorizing the Mother Goose Rhyme poem Days of the Week” and out of our family of 6 we have EVERY day covered except Tuesday…so the kids have been saying we really need that spot filled! So cute and funny!) All of those things might seem silly and coincidental–but I also think we serve a really big, wild God–who can do anything to make little pieces fall together–even to confirm things to your children.
We called the next day to ask about this sweet boy–and of course the waiting child person was out that day! WHICH MEANT–we had a whole day longer to look at his picture and just pray (and bite all your fingernails off). FINALLY–we heard back on Tuesday–and they sent us his file! I sent the pictures via email to Richard at work–and I held my breath and prayed. In the pictures, he looked quite different–he was a year older than when the others were taken that we had seen. Would he still be drawn to him? My phone rang…my heart stood still…there are a few things in my life that I have wanted so badly–and this was one of them…on the other end of the line came the words, “When you know you know–and I just know. He is our son!” This mom SQUEALED, and I immediately contacted the agency to say we wanted to take the next steps. She insisted we get a doctor to review the files–but I told her I didn’t care what they said…we wanted the next steps…but out of wisdom in knowing how to prepare–we’d get the file reviewed (which we did–and everything looks great!)
We contacted our most amazing social worker, Donna Kennedy Booth, WHO has patiently walked us through 3 home studies now…YES–we’d be doing a THIRD because it’d been almost a year since our hold and with another agency–so we really had to start over from SCRATCH! Almost 3 weeks later, we are pretty much finished with our home study collecting–and now just waiting for our FBI fingerprints and medical tests to be returned. I’ve gotten mine back, and I’m good to go–and now we just wait for Rico Suave’s! AFTER that–we’ll finish our dossier complete with the USCIS approval–and then get a log-in date. THEN we will have to wait 6-9 months to travel. YES–BRUTAL.
BUT–some of you might remember I lived in China for a year…and some of our dear friends are STILL THERE. Yet another coincidence is where his orphanage is located. YEP–in the same exact city as every single one of my dear friends still living there! When we travel we’ll not only get our son–but we will have a little fun reunion with some families we love! Either this story is just full of coincidences…or God is all over it–and I’m going with the later of the two.
Truly, it is amazing how the Lord writes our stories. The pathway may seem to some times have rocks and even tree trunks that stop you…block you…or turn you in another direction for a time. So often things don’t make sense that later will–OR in years you will be able to see things and why they happened the way they did. For me…I can see it now. Feeling led to sign on officially with China the month our son was born over a year ago…sitting in a chair in my concrete driveway and getting bit by a darn tick that would throw me off…getting to spend a year investing more deeply in my youngest who needed more of mommy instead of bringing another into our family at the time…having a 16 year old in our home for the summer–desperate for her to have a family–and the Lord allowed us to get pregnant at the same time to show us we really weren’t the right family and then leading that family to us for her…blessing us with a baby we would fall in love with and allowing us to see her on ultrasound and hear her very fast, beautiful, strong heartbeat–our “Lucy”–the girl we knew we’d have one day (and one day we will!)…feeling like we had our girl and reopening our hands to whatever the Lord wanted…hearing one another’s dreams and the desires we feel the Lord had placed on our hearts…and seeing a little boy who we knew in our hearts was to be ours. Yes–the Lord has written this story–and although it is beautiful…it has often had the twigs of frustration, branches of disappointment, and often a big trunk of loss or sadness that couldn’t just be pushed out of the way or climbed over. Often–we had to carefully walk through each of them…
I’ll never forget the Sunday attending church after our miscarriage and the first song they sang was “Your Love Never Fails” by Jesus Culture. I have to confess this…I was mad standing there. YES, I was just standing there–because I couldn’t sing. I remember not liking the lyrics that day “You make all things work together for my good…“. Well, it just wasn’t possible I felt that day–how could this loss be for MY GOOD?? Seriously–it’s not about me anyway…but how could losing a baby ever be okay? That’s of course NOT what the song was saying–but it felt like it that morning to my heart–and I hated it. Standing there I thought, “I will never be able sing this about this…”
Even if I ran away
Your love never fails
But You have new mercies for me everyday
Your love never fails
Your love never changes
There may be pain in the night but joy comes in the morning
I don’t have to be afraid
Because I know that You love me
Your love never fails
But I’m not alone here in these open seas
Cause Your love never fails
I never thought I’d reach the other side
But Your love never fails
The Lord really does work things together…and they are even for our good. It doesn’t mean they will FEEL GOOD–but in the end…the story He writes for us will be far more beautiful, it will bring Him more glory and we will look back and some how say we wouldn’t change anything (that last part often a miracle in itself!) We have the most precious little one waiting for us–and we are going to ever so patiently (or not so patiently) be waiting for him. My next 9 months or so of posts about our hoop jumping might drive some of y’all crazy…and there will be another fun journey as I get to go with my husband to China. (If you haven’t read that story ever in my “Best Years” series posted on the left side of my blog–you must…cause it’s been a 11 year wait to travel together there–we actually almost didn’t get engaged because I wanted to pack my bags and move there–so now we go together! AND to bring home our SON!)
Sooooo…the journey has begun–it’s in full swing…and we are ever so excited! We will have 5 kids 8 and under…the first 2 being just 14 months apart–then a 3 year gap–and then then next 3 all 3 about 9 months apart! Please keep our little one covered in prayers for protection and pray that our journey this year would be as quick as possible AND that every step would be done right and well and protected (we want no re-do’s for fingerprints, wrong dates signed on paperwork and such!).
His love never changes!