After receiving our log-in date, we thought we would be traveling to China around the summer of 2008. Our lives were going to be changing and all of us were so excited. But we couldn't see what the next few years would bring us. Waiting.... Waiting.... and more WAITING....2008 came and went with no match.
Over the next year, China experienced a horrific earthquake..... A speed bump in the road.
The summer Olympics were held in Beijing. This meant every governmental agency would shut down their normal activity to help prepare for the Olympics..... Another speed bump.
Then yet ANOTHER terrible earthquake. China made the decision that any family whose child was killed or severely injured would have the chance to adopt a child before anyone from outside of China. Although we agreed with this, it was still another speed bump to slow us down.
2009 came and went. We were asked by our adoption agency if we would be willing to look at the Special Needs list of children. With our "American" understanding of Special needs, we said no. We wanted to wait for a healthy child. Hindsight is certainly 20/20. I wish now we would have been more open to understanding the term Special Needs from an adoption stand point.
Countries have a healthy child list and a special needs list. Children on the healthy list are just that.... healthy, with nothing wrong with them as far as anyone knows. Special needs is anyone else. SO this means if a child is missing even 1/2 a finger... they cannot be on the healthy list. We didn't know this. We were thinking special needs meant the child would always need to be cared for, never live on their own. We just thought that it wouldn't really be fair to our boys. For us to make that "choice" for their lives once my husband and I were gone. So we continued to wait.
Our Home Study expired. Our fingerprints expired. Our immigration papers expired. We had to have a discussion about how long we were going to wait and if we were going to pay the fees to re-new everything. We decided to try one more round of waiting and renewed all of our paperwork. Now don't get the wrong idea. I know that a child's life is worth more than any amount of money we could obtain but this was getting a bit expensive for our budget. It's one thing to budget for the fees once but this was the second time we had to pay a pretty big lump of cash. Not to mention, we were getting older.
And the waiting continued through 2010. Although our family had the happy times a family has, we were all just losing the excitement that had been building for so long. It was a real let down.
In the winter of 2010, we decided to just look at the special needs list. We were given a few files that we reviewed and considered. We would take them to our physician to get a true understanding of what the particular disability entailed. We would pray about it, talk about it and try to decide if it would work with our active family. After having to make these heart-breaking choices not to take these little ones, we thought it would be best to set boundaries that we all agreed on. These parameters weren't set by any means to be hurtful. Please know we always wanted to make the choice that would be right for everyone involved. It's easy to say what your limits are but when there is a picture of a beautiful child that deserves a family, it's hard to say no. I wasn't sure about the "boundary" idea but I am so glad that my husband thinks with his head first and heart second. I am the opposite of this. It would be helpful later in our journey.
We continued to look through some files but the disabilities always seemed like way more than our family could handle. Finally, in April 2011, we made an appointment to go to the agency to talk about a game plan.
My mother-in-law came too since she is a nurse and we thought she could help with the medical jargon. Our agency had a file for us on a little one who was about to turn 4. The file said she had been born with a hole in her heart (ASD) but it had been corrected. We must have looked at this file 200 times searching for something else this little one had. Why would this little angel NOT already be adopted? I mean there are lots of people who are born with an ASD and don't even know they have it! Had we found our little one at last??? We asked our case worker to put a hold on her file so no one else could look at her for 72 hours. We wanted to take the file to our doctor to look at and take a few days to pray about it. Over that 72 hours, we must have looked at the picture of this little angel 1000 times. We were trying not to get too excited until we heard from the doctor. Our pediatrician, along with a cardiologist who had looked at the file, called the next day to give us the great news. Neither of them could see any reason why this child wasn't going to live a perfectly normal healthy life. We decided to ask for an updated health report anyway just to be on the safe side. A few weeks later, it came back that she was healthy and had no other issues except the corrected ASD we already knew about. YIPPEE!!
We were more than excited! We were so in love already!
Over the next few months, our love grew as we jumped through all of the final hoops of pre-adoption travel. All we were waiting on was the invite from China to come and get our little one.
In late August, my best friend, Debbie and I had our kids at the Indiana Sand Dunes when I received a call from Beth, our case worker. I was jumping up and down before I answered it, thinking she was calling me to tell us when we would be traveling to China. We had a very bad connection and all I could hear was "bad news"... "I'm so sorry" and "talk with your husband... Let us know how you want to proceed."
I text my husband and told him to check our email and call me if he could. My day was filled with anxiety and tears. I wasn't sure what was going on but I knew it wasn't good. When I pulled in the drive-way and saw my husbands face..... my world came crashing in.