An Asking Story
We’ve learned a lot of lessons during this adventure. Some lessons we’d expected and other lessons not so much. A lot of the lessons cut our hearts wide open. Other lessons were gentle, whispers of God’s grace. Then, there were the lessons that left us awestruck at God’s handiwork in bringing all the pieces together. This story is about one such lesson. This is a story about a divine delay, puzzle pieces, and wisdom that comes when we dare to ask for it.
From very early on in this process, we felt led two adopt two children. When we switched to countries in June and started the process to go after J, we knew there was another child somewhere that we were going to adopt alongside J. We just were not sure who it was. Since we knew J’s age and special needs, our agency asked us to narrow down what we were hoping for in our second child. We had a two to four month window to figure out a brother or sister for J. We thought about it and, because of J’s special needs, thought the logical thing would be to adopt a second child younger than our youngest, Esther (2), and one that has minor special needs. We had a treatment plan in place for J after talking to several doctors, but, at that point, only had limited information about J’s special needs. So, as much as our hearts wanted to have open hands to whatever God had for us, we still had to give our agency some guidance and direction. So, we did what we thought best (per usual) and let our agency know a younger, minor needs child was what we thought would work well.
The evening after we sent J’s letter of intent, we heard from a friend that our agency had just gotten information on a new little one waiting. Actually, this little one had been waiting for a couple of years, but only recently had come to the attention of our agency. We eagerly looked at the pictures and videos. This sweet child’s giggles were contagious, and we couldn’t help but think about how well this little one would get along with Esther. They could be the best of friends. Our hearts ached so very much when we saw in the pictures and videos that this child also seemed to have some pretty major special needs. We’d just been talking to our agency and, given all the uncertainty with J’s needs, we weren’t sure how wise it’d be to go after two major special needs kids. And, so, we thanked our friend and said we didn’t want to request the file from our agency.
A week or so later, our social worker came over to meet with us to update our home study to our new country. She had the updates all done and off to our agency within two weeks, which is a super fast turnaround. After this step of the process though, we hit a delay.
Time was ticking by. Day. By. Day. By. Week. By. Week. We waited. We called. We emailed. All our efforts were going nowhere. We kept thinking, what are we missing?
As we were waiting, we began to get a lot more information on J. We received several updates including some of J doing things we were not sure would ever be possible. J’s progress was remarkable and it seemed like J’s special needs would not be as much of a limitation as we had initially thought. We had a better picture of what life would look like on a daily basis. We also had several more in depth discussions with each other about what types of things we were open to and not open to for our second child. The puzzle pieces were beginning to come into focus.
We eventually decided we needed to ask for the file of the little one we had seen a few weeks prior. We had only seen the pictures and videos before and perhaps- perhaps it was not what it seemed. Perhaps there was more to this little one’s story. So, we called our agency and asked for the file.
It took a few days for us to get the file and when it finally arrived promptly cried my eyes out. I cried for babies being abandoned and over this little one’s special needs. I cried over sin. Sin that created this whole stinking mess of a fallen world and for my own wretched self who just didn’t know how we could possibly manage another major special needs kiddo. I was heartbroken. The file was very brief and the most recent information in it was years old. There were a few things in the file that indicated this little one could have more complex issues than what were listed. I was overwhelmed by the unknowns and unanswered questions. As much as we could envision this little one fitting so well into our family, there was no getting around it. This would be another giant leap of faith into all sorts of unknowns. Ryan came in to say “goodbye” before leaving for work, and I cried all over his suit. He just said nonchalantly, “We’ll just have to see what the doctor says” and left for work. I was surprised he didn’t outright say “no”. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I wasn’t sure I could even send the file to the doctor because I was so overwhelmed. I gathered up my courage and sent the file to the doctor. Then, we waited. We prayed. We cocooned ourselves from all else and just prayed and waited to see how God would lead us.
It took a few days for us to hear back from the doctors. The first specialist sent us back a list so long of potential issues that she had me call her to go over them all. The phone call was an hour long. She typed up a treatment plan for us should we decide to move forward. I laid in bed that night, reading over her list. She could not promise the child would ever walk. She said a wheelchair might be needed. We are not anti-wheelchair or anything, but there’s just something heart wrenching about finding out a child may never walk. Ever. I was devastated for this little person.
In my heart of hearts, I had fallen in love with this little one from the first time saw this little person and heard this child’s name well over a month ago in the videos our friend had sent us. It was God’s gentle whisper to my heart that this child was ours. I had tucked it away in my heart, trusting that if this truly were our second child, God would bring it to pass in His way and in His timing. I didn’t need to convince Ryan of it or myself for that matter. God would work it all out. He would make it clear to both of us. He had promised us months before that He would not let us miss our kids.
As helpful as it was to hear from the first specialist, our adoption doctor would have a much clearer picture of the file, as he looks at the whole picture (not just the one special need that the specialist was assessing) and is usually able to tell if there were more needs than what a file listed and how the special needs would manifest over the long term. Five days after we sent the file to our adoption doctor, we heard back. Ryan and I were bursting with excitement to finally have heard something. Our original thoughts about the file were confirmed. The major special need was not directly listed in the file, but based on the videos, photos, and limited information that the file does share, our adoption doctor believes it is a similar, if not the exact same, special need as our other sweet child. Now we knew why there was such a struggle for this little one. We also knew that the medical care here in America would make an incredible difference in this child’s life.
The next morning I went down and had my cup of coffee and read my Bible where once again, I felt the Lord leading us to go after this second child. I told God, “that’s all well and good, but you’re going to have to tell Ryan.” I walked into our kitchen when I was done reading and Ryan said to me, “Can you grab my Bible? I think God wants us to go after this kid.” I stared at him in disbelief. I went and got his Bible. We sat at our kitchen table and my husband shared verse after verse that the Lord had given him about going after not one, but two kids with a very specific need. Tears were streaming down Ryan’s face as he shared all God had shown him.
And, there we were. We found ourselves at another startling, breathtaking chance to leap- despite all our fears and uncertainties. We had all the information we were going to get on this little person. We could walk. We had every justifiable reason to turn away, but there was a glimmer. A whisper of hope. God had led us to this place. He had quieted our hearts and gently spoke in his perfect timing. We could not turn away. We knew. This was our other child.
We called our agency the next day and let them know we’d chosen to go after this little person who’d captured our hearts with the sweetest of giggles. The following day our agency received an unexpected update and passed it on to us. We got two videos of our child. Walking. We had just spent a week trying to figure out from doctors if this precious child would ever be able to walk unassisted. We had gotten no answers. We had gotten no promises that it was even possible. And, then, a day after we were officially matched, we got two incredible videos of this little person strolling down a sidewalk like it was nothing.
Oh sweet child, we cannot wait to see what God does in your life. We cannot even begin to tell you what a gift it is to be your parents. We cannot wait to share with you that your name- the one your caretakers are calling you in the first video we ever saw of you- is a name we had picked out years and years ago as one of our favorite names, but could never use. We cannot wait to share with you that you are fearfully and wonderfully made.
Piece by piece this puzzle is coming together. A few days after we called our agency to tell them we were going after our second child, we found out the one document we’d been waiting on for so many weeks was finally all set. Everything was back in motion once again. Right now, all of our documents are at immigration, the last step before everything gets sealed and sent on its way out of our country to theirs. Here we go. We’re going for two. We can’t wait to bring them home.