I wanted to add a picture of our sweet little girl. I will add our story later. It's just too late right now and I really need some beauty sleep.
I'm finally back. Life sure comes at us fast and very often with great intensity. I truly believe that we all have the abilities to handle the challenges given to us. The problem that I have is knowing when it's OK to say no.
I have really wanted to introduce our sweet little princess. She was born in September of 2008. That makes her 2 years old. Her need is one that is very manageable but she will always be visibly different than others. I would not normally announce this to the world but I feel it is better for those that will meet her to be prepared and not noticeably stare. She is missing some fingers and toes but can function as any other child. She has both thumbs so she will be able to do anything that is required of her. We still don't have a name for her. We are desperately looking and can't seem to come up with just the right name. There are many that I like. I have pictures of both kids taped to our computer desk in the main room of the house. Next to these pictures are sticky notes with names that we like and their meanings. Some have made it onto numerous sticky notes but it is so hard to choose. The name the agency chose for her for paperwork purposes is Mandy. I like the name but I wanted to name my own child. However, the meaning of Mandy is perfect. it means "Deserving of Love". This sweet little one is most definitely deserving of love.
For those that do not know how China Special Needs adoptions work right now, the first thing you need to know is that the process is emotionally daunting. I jumped in with both feet. I began by joining an advocacy group for China special needs children. On this group there are children that are posted that are available for adoption. You can also have access to the full list of children that are ready for adoption. In both cases you need to request a file from your agency to have access to medical info as well as the little bit of information available on the child's development and special need with a picture. I started to go through the list by need and decided that there were too many children that I would still be interested in. I had to come up with another method. Because I thought that we were getting our boy first I focused on boys. It is so hard to see these names, dates and special needs and decide on which child to look at. I requested files at first just to see what I would be looking at and get some exposure to the process. I had no intention on finding a child in the beginning because our Social Worker was out of the country for a month and we couldn't even start the process until she got back.
During the process of educating myself I requested some children's files and looked through them. With each one I knew they were not my child or Doug would say no for one reason or another. Most of his reasons came down to it being bad timing. He wanted to wait until the end of the year so we could get some activities behind us and have more money. He was pretty stressed out . This started about the middle of October. Each time that I had to let an agency know that we could not adopt a specific child I felt like I was rejecting that child and that some how that translated into them not being good enough for me. I felt horrible and I hated every minute of it. It was so draining I had to stop looking for a couple of weeks. During the initial phases of looking at files I had seen little Mandy on the advocacy group and requested to see her file from the agency. They put us on the waiting list. I was told there were several families that were ahead of us. With this agency each family has one week to review the files and make a decision. Because little girls are the most sought after, the younger the better, I just put her out of my mind. I figured that we had no chance, but boy did I really want to see her file.
I was counseled and then decided to find an agency before we find a child. I had made up my mind that we were going to use one agency. I had really liked them for many years and was excited to finally be able to use their services. I just needed to wait for our Social Worker to get back into town so that we could start the homestudy update and submit our application. I had asked the agency if they would possibly allow us to adopt two children at once and at first they were very positive. As time went on they pulled back. I was feeling more and more anxious about having the option open to adopt two children together. I preferred to do one at a time for adjustment and bonding purposes but could not let go of the thought of two children at once so I knew the door had to be open. I made a couple of calls to my number 2 and 3 choice of agencies. I called one of these agencies and had a positive response but was not totally satisfied. The next day I called the other agency. I talked with Marci the social worker knowing that she is the one to make the final decision. We went through our family history and situation and she felt positive about us doing dual adoptions. At the end of that part of the conversation she said that I was the next person on her list to call. Mandy's file was available and we were the next on the list if we would like to review it. This was 5 weeks after we were put on the waiting list. I just could not understand how a young girl could have been on waiting list and still be available, especially one as cute as Mandy. It was amazing to me how it all came together but I didn't want to read anything into it.
I received her info through email that hour and reviewed it. We had one week to contact doctors and make a decision. I talked with Doug about it. He didn't say no so I pressed forward calling doctors and getting as much information as possible. Doug and I talked about it a few times and he promised to ponder and pray about it. From signs that I was seeing from him I knew that he was not doing this. One night we sat in bed and I asked what he thought. He had the same excuses and admitted that he had not prayed. I was feeling a desperation for some reason. I did not have a witness of my own that she was our daughter but I just could not bring myself to turn her down. I told Doug that if this was a no he had to do the dirty work because I just couldn't do it this time. There are not words to express the depth of feeling that I had and I didn't understand it. I stressed and cried and wanted out. On the fifth night Doug finally admitted to himself that he had to face this and agreed to taking time the next day to think it through. After work the evening of the sixth day I let him know that it was now that we had to come together but if the answer from him was no then he had to make the call. I had been doing a lot of pondering myself and realized that I was relying in him to make the final decision because I did not want to be responsible for a bad mistake. The mistake I was afraid of was pushing my husband into something he didn't want but did it anyway because he had a desire to please me. I know people that have put children before their marriage and ended up in divorce and I was not going to be one of them.
We talked over the situation and through our conversation I felt a coming together no matter what the final decision was. I finally asked him what he thought and he hesitated and said that when I first told him about Mandy that he had a different feeling but didn't want to acknowledge it. I wanted to be sure that I was hearing what I thought I heard and made him clarify. I then asked him if this meant he wanted to go forward. The answer was yes. I was amazed. I had a good feeling about China and trusted that I was on the right path and now I may have found my daughter. The next day I called the agency and we submitted our Letter Of Intent to China. In 7 days we got our approval back. I figured because we had such a large family it would take a while for the CCAA to review our information but it was very quick. I only told one person about it, and she was someone that I didn't know well, because I was still not ready to believe this was real.
We were excited but still very hesitant. Our agency kept reassuring us that this was going to happen if all the final paperwork looked good and there was no reason that it wouldn't. We got everything done as fast as possible and are now in the waiting phase. We still need to get our dossier, or paperwork, to China for our official approval to be absolutely sure. But at this point I have no hesitation or fear. Things seem to be coming together fairly easily. If all goes well we hope to travel some time this summer to pick them both up.
What a glorious day that will be! Okay, it will be two separate days because they are in two different provinces. We expect to be in China 3 weeks getting all the official paperwork done. We will get to experience things that I have wanted to see and do for many years and at the same time bring our children home.
I know that most people will be asking if we are done. We are leaving the door open. I know that China will leave it's mark on our hearts and having witnessed the great need for loving families I don't think that we will ever be able to say no more. We are open to whatever we are asked of God to do no matter the sacrifice we have to make personally. I am very confident that all of our children will welcome in any that need our support and love. I have an amazing family and none of this could be done without each person being supportive and enthusiastic.