All is quiet in the house right now. The kids are in a deep, "jump house" induced slumber from the birthdary party they attended this morning and Ian is at the State/VT football game. We're at a temporary "resting spot" in our paperwork, and so it is time to begin to tell God's story of how "our new brother" found us.
**And I'll be referring to him as "our new brother" or "didi" for just a few more days. We are pretty sure we've settled on a name, but we're still trying it out and making sure it's the one. That said, if you have any suggestions on two syllable names, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, the jury is still out.**
The story really begins back in January 2008 while we were still paper chasing for Caleb. We had many things that gently nudged into applying to our agency's waiting child program for our second adoption. (You can read the whole story here) Among those nudges was one of the most vivid dreams I had ever experienced. Here is an excerpt from that dream, "...this time it was a son that was placed in my arms. He was beautiful and I noticed that he had a huge scar down his chest and I knew that it meant he had already had open heart surgery for a heart defect. I woke up still excited about how real it had felt to hold my son..." I published that dream as I wrote Caleb's story in August that year. Little did I know when I posted it that within a few days that boy would be born.
Fast forward about a year into June 2009 and we were in the home study process to bring Darcy home. A sweet friend of mine, Heather, (traveled with her when we brought Caleb home) posted about a foster home that I knew very little about. I couldn't hold my baby girl that day, so I spent most of that day's nap time digging through that home's website. I also perused their blog and added them to my RSS feed. A few weeks later six babies were featured one day on the blog. I of course thought they were all darling and went to read their bios. From then on I watched for any of them to be pictured on the blog again.
Fast forward another seven months and we were in the dining room of the Garden Hotel in Guangzhou. It was the day after the medical, so it was our second morning there, the seventh morning we had three children. Somehow we had miraculously navigated the extensive breakfast buffet without causing too much of an international scene (anyone else ever try one of those with three "gotta try to touch everything" toddlers, one who doesn't speak your language while you are carefully avoiding knocking over a sea of businessmen in expensive looking suits?) and were just sitting down to begin eating. I will never in my life forget how crazy I thought my darling husband was when he looks across the table at me and says, "You know, I can see us doing this again next year." I almost spit my coffee out at him.
A few weeks after that we were home, recovered from lingering sicknesses, and over the jet lag. Life was full and we were in a happy place. As we settled into our new normal, I began to think that perhaps our family was indeed complete. We weren't overwhelmed with our trio,there was simply a balance to life and it just seemed "right." However on July 4 of this year, we were passing near the airport on our way home from church. Nothing unusual about that, we pass near the airport EVERY week. But this time it was different. A plane was taking off and was still very low as it passed over our car. And in that moment, I had this crazy, overwhelming urge to want to jump out of the car and chase after that plane. I suddenly wanted, no, make that felt like I HAD, to be on a plane to China. I worried that Ian would think I was nuts when I described my feelings, but he somehow understood.
So began the discussions on what having four children would look like. And how timing would work best. And how in the world we'd scrape up the extra cash to get started. At that point it seemed like the most logical thing would be to start the process again as soon as we got our tax credit back next year. Then the most amazing thing happened. Just a few days after we had come to the conclusion that there was no "seed money" to begin again at the moment, we got an offer on our old house out of the blue. And while we weren't going to be making a whole lot on it, the amount we were going to walk away with was within $100 of the China program fee for our most recent agency.
Now we were fully invested in getting the ball rolling. In late August I was helping another bloggy buddy advocate for sweet Bennett I was back in touch with my agency contact to confirm that he was still on the shared list. During this time, one of those six babies from the foster home was on my mind a good deal. And out of curiosity that day I asked her something along the lines of, "Would it be possible for the China liaison find out if this child is matched or on the shared list or even going to be considered for international adoption at all?" And I gave her a link to his bio on the foster website. The next day she responds with a simple, "Yes, he's there. Would you like to review his file?"
So we read it, contacted a pediatric cardiologist to discuss his current condition, and prayed. And just when we were falling completely in love, I found out his file was locked. I was crushed. I hoped and prayed that his file would be available after the 72 hour review time, but it wasn't. We continued talking with our contact to see if there were other boys in the age range we felt would be a good match for our family, perhaps with glaucoma or a port wine stain. There were a few, but I could only halfheartedly consider their information. At that time I thought that perhaps we had heard God wrong. That we weren't meant to have four kids. That maybe our family was complete with a trio.
I emailed our contact during Labor Day week and said that we would likely not be moving forward at this time. Maybe after tax season brought us some cash. Kind of a "don't call us, we'll call you" email. And so I didn't hear anything more from her. Until the 16th (3 weeks after his file had first been locked) when she sent me a short email to say, "Hi Kristi, I just got this email from [our China liaison]... Not sure if you are still interested in him, but he is back to the list. Let me know if you have any questions."
My hands were shaking and I could feel my pulse in my temples as I responded. Ian and I agreed to give ourselves the weekend to discuss, pray, and seek God's counsel before we locked his file. I also emailed a precious sister in Christ (who lives several states away) and asked her to pray for us as we spent the weekend praying. After all, adding a new member to the family is forever. That Friday night we put the kids to bed early and sat at the kitchen table over a pot of decaf and dessert and talked until nearly 2 am. Then Saturday chose to quietly seek God and we both spent separate time in prayer. Sunday we discussed our thoughts, spent time in prayer together, and after putting the kids to bed sent an email asking our agency to lock his file on our behalf.
I tossed and turned all night wondering if we were again going to be too late. When my cell finally rang the next morning I was so nervous wondering what I would be told. Oh the joy when the conversation went something like this, "He's locked! You've been through this process before, you know you have 72 hours to compose your care and nurture plan."
And the initial scramble began. We scheduled a phone conference with Dr. D (who has now reviewed all of our kids' files), talked with a local pediatric cardiologist, and wrote our plan. By Wednesday morning of that week our letter of intent was submitted. Nothing to do at that point but
hold our breath and wait.
And then Thursday the news came. The "powers that be" on the other side of the world has said yes! We're in a good place in the paperwork crunch. And believe me that we can't wait to get to him!
Several folks have asked what the kids think. Their excitement is another post all of its own. But let me close this mini-novel by saying that when I told them the other day that we were going to drop off some paperwork for their brother that Kylie asked, "Is today the day we get to go meet him? I CAN'T WAIT until he is here!"
I giggle when I think that this may be his expression when he is first introduced to his VERY excited brother and sisters. It's possible that their enthusiasm may overwhelm him in the beginning...
Little one, you are loved beyond what you can imagine. We'll be praying you home!