On Monday, December 5th we found out that our agency had received the files of 44 children. We waited with anticipation to see if our son would be in that group, if we would get a call, and if our waiting would be over. It was a hard reality to learn that we were not done waiting. I struggled to find peace, to choose to believe God was still in the midst of all of this, and to wrestle through how much I wanted both His plans and my right now to coexist.
Last week was hard. I desperately wanted to be matched before Christmas. It was also the first point where we were “wasting time” in the adoption. Our dossier paperwork had gone through all the steps it could while we were waiting to be matched and it was essentially just sitting in China waiting for us to be matched so that we could get on to the next thing. People whom we had been moving at a parallel pace with were now passing us up, and as much as I was trying to trust that God’s timing was perfect…I was frustrated.
Around Tuesday I hit a wall. I was sad. I wanted to get in my bed and stay there. Maybe for the day. Maybe the rest of the week. Maybe until they called.
By the end of the week, through the strength of a praying husband and a bag of chocolate, I had gotten in the groove again. I was beginning to resign myself that this was not going to happen before Christmas. We would get into January before we would see a match. I started to wrap my mind around that and try to get my expectations in line.
The end of the week was our normal variety of crazy. I had a double root canal on Thursday. We got to pick our van back up after being in the shop to be repaired from a wreck. Bennett had been out of school sick and Russell and Elliott were quickly on their way to catching his cold. Plus, we were holding an online auction to raise money for the adoption. It was, thankfully, taking my mind off the struggle of waiting.
On Friday morning both the big kids had Christmas parties at school. Elliott and I partied it up in Campbell’s third grade class, then we started walking down the hall towards Bennett’s class to set up for his party. I stopped to talk to one of my fellow Girl Scout moms for a few minutes.
And then my phone rang. I’m on high alert for that these days. I fumbled around in my purse and looked down at the number.
It was our agency.
I answered the phone and there in the middle of the crowded hallway, our agency director told me that the dust had settled. That she had the file of a little boy that she wanted to send us. His file had first been sent to a family in line in front of us and they had been waiting on that family to make up their minds. She had met this little guy during a trip to China and loved him. She was thrilled to send his information on to us to review.
As much as we wanted to pace ourselves and be wise, we both knew quickly. By the evening we had spoken to a doctor about him. We waited impatiently through the weekend to talk to our agency on Monday morning.
This morning we officially said yes and his file was locked in.
Friends, meet Isaiah. Otherwise known as Yang Yang.
Way, way back when we were first starting the process of this adoption, I asked God for something specific. Would He show Himself in the dates? When we looked at the life of our son, would He allow us to see significance in his birthday?
I didn’t quite know what that would mean. Did I want him to share my birthday? Our anniversary? Would it provide the confirmation my heart needed if our son shared the birthday of one of our other children? Although I didn’t know exactly what it would look like, I longed for God to provide some confirmation along the way that we were saying “yes” to the child that was supposed to be ours.
When we began to look at this little guy’s file, I looked back at my calendar to see what I was doing on the day he was born. January 13, 2015. It didn’t mean much of anything to me. Not a birthday. Not an anniversary. Not a remarkable day that I could recall.
And then I began to think about what was happening in our life in those days. We were in the midst of making the most scary, most overwhelming decision we had ever made. We were struggling not to be overwhelmed by fear as we weeded through this call God had placed on our lives – to say yes to adoption.
On January 13, 2015, I stopped fighting against what I knew God was telling me. I created this blog. I wrote this blog post, my very first one. Sitting at our kitchen table, perhaps more terrified than I had ever been. Also more sure that God was speaking than I had ever been.
On a random day in January almost two years ago, I didn’t know where that yes would take us. I didn’t know the beautiful girl that God would lead us to and the way He would wreck us as we watched up close the beauty of redemption. I didn’t know the ways that He would change Russell and I, deep down to our core, as we lived out our calling for adoption. I didn’t know that we weren’t done, that we would say yes again.
And I certainly didn’t know that on the day we first said yes, our son was born.
Let’s be real for a minute. Adoption is CRAZY expensive. Statistics say that one of the primary reasons that people don’t adopt is because they are deterred by the cost.
I get it. Please. Two adoptions in two years? I’m pretty well versed in how expensive it is.
In the beginning of Elliott’s adoption, Russell and I had a conversation with each other about our willingness to stick out necks out financially in this. Would we take out a loan for the whole thing if we had to? Would we go into debt for this?
We were blessed during Elliott’s adoption to receive all the funding we needed very early on. Through a mega garage sale, our own savings, and so many generous donations, we were able to not think about the money part for much of her adoption.
This adoption has been more difficult in so many ways. We had exhausted a lot of our own financial resources the first time around. We were given so generously to during our first adoption that we have not felt comfortable turning around and asking those around us for direct donations again. I work less so that I can be home with Elliott more, so we have less disposable income. Our church is going through a building campaign, so we have been sensitive to what we are asking our church community for. And overall, we are in a harder economy than we were 18 months ago.
As we continue the wait to be matched and the days tick by, we are also moving farther along in the paperwork process in China. This means that while we remain hopeful that we will get a match soon, the time frame between when we are matched and when we will travel will be much shorter than last time. At this point, we will likely travel about 8 weeks after we get the call. That feels a bit overwhelming when we consider how much money remains to be raised.
A few weeks ago, my bestie asked if she could do an online auction for us (yes, obviously :). Before I knew it, she was off and running. I feel overwhelmed and thankful at how much work she has put it, how many donations have been made, and the prospect of how much money we could raise through this.
I am EXCITED about the donations that have come in over the past few weeks. Kendra Scott, Noonday, Younique, Scentsy, home decor items, LulaRoe, Rodan & Fields, some AMAZING handmade stuff (dolls and scarfs and blankets oh my!), and so much more.
Starting tomorrow, Wednesday December 14th and running through Friday December 16th at 8pm, we are holding the auction on Facebook. We would love for you to come and shop. All items will be shipped this weekend or early next week, so you should have in time for Christmas!
Click on link below to join group:
When we sent our dossier paperwork to China in October, we began the wait to be matched.
This is a hard wait for most people in the adoption process. Other than the moment you meet your child, probably the next most significant point in the process is the moment you know who that child is. All of this work, this fundraising, this waiting and yearning – it’s all for this child. Finally knowing who they are feels like a sweet victory.
We officially began waiting on October 19th. After months of paying careful attention to every detail, of pushing towards this major goal, our paperwork was done. And it was time to wait.
We were matched with Elliott 13 days after we began waiting. 13 days. Less than two weeks of waiting. While we knew there was a possibility that the waiting could be longer this time, what we had learned about the need for families to say yes to boys and our eagerness made us hopeful for a quick match. We had also been told by our agency that they were expecting files to come from the Chinese government at any point and that we were not too far down the list, so it felt likely that at any point we would be receiving “the call”.
And yet days went by. Weeks went by. Halloween passed and we were in November. All the sudden we were halfway through November. All along we had been telling ourselves that surely we would be matched by Thanksgiving. The day before Thanksgiving I mourned that it was not going to happen that way. Then we were into December and still waiting. Quickly, we were heading towards the two month mark.
As if the emotions of waiting aren’t hard enough, life seemed to swirl around us like a tornado as we waited. Sickness after sickness. Stomach viruses. Ear infections. Strep. Asthma. High fevers and random rashes. Bronchitis. Sinus Infection. Last week, two days after I finished a round of antibiotics, I got another round of strep so bad it was almost unbearable.
A car accident. An insurance dispute. An emergency room trip. Our debit card tampered with. Fraudulent charges on our bank account. More identify theft. Yesterday a fractured tooth with abscesses under two teeth needing two root canals and two crowns.
It feels like we come up for air from one thing just to be pushed down from the next.
All the while we have been waiting. Waiting to see the face of our son. Waiting for some of this to make sense. Waiting for some relief. Waiting to feel like the madness has stopped. I have gone from questioning whether we should quit this adoption to begging God to push us to the next point. I began to understand that we were experiencing the ugliness of spiritual warfare. The enemy was trying to stop us in our tracks. With that, I began to plead with God: have us be matched. Provide the rest of the money we need to do this. Get us on a firmer foundation so the devil will leave us alone.
And every time, God has responded to me the same way. You don’t need your circumstances to change. You need me. Your circumstances don’t put you on a firm foundation. I do.
Towards the end of last week, we found out that our agency was expecting many files in the coming days. Monday morning 44 files came in and the announcement was made “calls are coming!”. We waited hopefully. No call came.
On Tuesday our caseworker told us that they were still working through some of the files, but it was likely we would not be matched in this batch. Late that afternoon she called with a file for us to look at. A 10 month old baby boy. The medical need was something we had never considered but we agreed to look at it.
It’s hard to put words to what this part of the process is like. There is so much emotional buildup to waiting to be matched that emotions are inevitably high. But there is a starkly practical part of this as well. Conversations with doctors, evaluation of photos and videos, questions about development and potential and ongoing needs. For people like us who make decisions in a spiritual context, it’s a weird place to be. And to try to juggle all of that, while still guarding your heart and remaining disconnected enough to make a wise decision…it’s hard. It feels unnatural at moments.
We dove into the process of evaluating his file. We spoke to a doctor Tuesday night, requested more information from our agency, and went to bed cautiously optimistic. We woke up Wednesday and prayed before we went our own ways. God, would you show up here? Would you be clear?
Before my day had even really gotten started Wednesday we got more information. This precious baby boy was significantly more severe than we had thought. He was beyond our capabilities to care for him. This was not our son.
We are back to waiting. Yesterday I was left raw. It had been a roller coaster of a week. My hopes had been up and down so many times and I was left grieving for this boy and for us. I felt frustrated, sort of like after the waiting and the hurting a carrot had been dangled in front of us. And now we were supposed to find some way to step off the hopeful roller coaster and go back to waiting again.
Yesterday, in the midst of my Thursday pity-party, a dear friend challenged me. Could I believe that God was in Isaiah’s story before I was? Could I believe there will be eternal impacts from this journey that go beyond what I can fathom right now? Could I trust every part of this to be used for good whether I understand it or not?
We’ll see with our own eyes. He was always in control.
Today, although I feel the weight of wait on me, I have been able to wait with hope again. To resist the urge to squirm out from underneath the pressure I feel laying on top of me. To choose belief.
And to look forward with expectation to how we are going to see God in the rest of this journey. How we will celebrate the glory of a God that can bring great things out of chaos, that can protect us from the many arrows of the enemy, and can bring home the son He always meant for our family.
Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. (James 1:2-4 The Message)