Bob the Tomato from Veggie Tales
Jenna's favorite DVD right now is Veggie Tales Sumo of the Opera. Its currently in our van's DVD player and she watches it over and over. (For the record, I don't usually let the kids watch DVDs driving around town but its hard to say no to a DVD that teaches her about God.) Early in the week this quote from the movie played and Jenna asked me if God had asked me to do anything hard.
As anyone would answer, I said yes. And she wanted to know what God had asked me to do that was hard. There's a huge list but what do you tell a 5 year old? I told her that God had asked me to stay in Vietnam last fall and not come home without Emma. I told her I was scared and just wanted to come home before I got her but God told me to stay. But of course there was more to the story.
I wasn't just scared I was terrified. NOIDs (Notice of Intent to Deny-- the US government's way of saying they won't give your child a visa) were being handed out right and left. As I was on my way to the orphanage to get Emma my friend Tommi was on her way to the US Embassy to receive her NOID for her new daughter Anabelle, who was from the same orphanage. I spent that 2 hour drive on incredibly bumpy roads praying "What am I doing? What I am doing?" I had no idea if I could bring my precious baby home but God kept telling me to go. He was with me.
God has been with me most of my life and two times in my life I have leaned on Him like never before. The first was when my husband was in a plane crash and hospitalized for 5 weeks with burn injured before he died. I learned that God was in control and I needed to trust Him. I have no idea how I would have gotten through that terribly painful time of my life without my Lord. And then a year and half later, on the other side of the world, all alone with my 4 year old daughter, I leaned and trusted in Him again. And He saw me through. I had to let go and trust no matter what happened. I wasn't assured by Him that Emma would get a visa; He never told me that Emma would get a visa. He merely told me to get her. Trust and Obey.
In March, I viewed the file of a 6 year old boy from China. He was darling, but he was seriously behind developmentally, especially with language. There was a concern that he was autistic. I had his file for a week and I pray and discussed this child with my other children. I ultimately said No. It broke my heart and it was hard to do but the bottom line was I never felt God telling me "Yes."
And then on Friday, April 18 I was checking my email and I noticed a post on the Waiting Child email list with my agency, CCAI. I still have no idea when it was posted that day, I should go back in the archives and actually check, but I signed on and read it about 2:15 in the afternoon. It said that there were 4 boys, ages 8 months to 3 years, with cleft lip and cleft palate. Anyone interested had until 3:00 mountain time to call them or they would be released to another agency.
I had studied cleft lip/cleft palate last November. I wasn't sure if my insurance would pay and I knew there would be multiple surgeries needed. I decided at that time it was probably not a realistic option for me. But over the course of the next few months I realized there were other options to my insurance, such as Shriner's Hospital. I had already decided that club foot was special need I would be open to because Shriner's would have provided treatment if my insurance denied coverage.
So with this knowledge I searched Shriner's Hospital in St. Louis and called them. They said they didn't do cleft lip/cleft palate but Chicago's Shriner's Hospital did. I found out that I could get treatment there.
So I called CCAI about 2:35 and left a message that I was interested. I called on my way out the door to get Jenna from Pre-K. In the carpool line, they called me back and asked me what age I was interested in. I had no idea what children they had left. I told them probably age 2-3 because I had a baby. Deniece told me that she had a 2 year old boy available. Would I like to see his file?
I hurried home, on the way calling my sister-in-law Janne'. She told me that my new school district would cover speech therapy. Everything was falling into place.
I got home and checked my email and there it was. Ling De Long's file. He was healthy, had had his lip repaired and a partial cleft repair. He was beautiful. I emailed back "Yes." I then had about an hour to take and email a family photo and send my LOI --Letter of Intent, which states the child's name and special need and how you plan to address it. It was all crazy and moving so fast but it felt so right.
I am on Day 21 waiting for my LOA, Letter of Acceptance, which is China's official approval to adopt Ling De Long. I have no idea when it will arrive. It could come next week (unlikely) or it could come in July or August. China's been moving some things very quickly, so there's no telling. Travel will be 5-7 weeks later.
If you know me, you know that I seem to make things complicated. I don't mean to, it just happens. I'm moving in 3 weeks from Tennessee to Missouri. Missouri requires different things for an adoption than Tennessee does. Even though I'm adopting from China I still need to meet the requirements of the state. Also, my approval from Immigration (aka USCIS) also known as an I-171H, expires on August 21. So within a few weeks of moving I need to have a home study update, request an extension of my I-171H, get refingerprinted, and meet the requirements of Missouri. I'm a bit overwhelmed.
"Sometimes God asks us to do things that are hard."
It would be so easy to say 'This is too hard. This isn't the right time. I should wait and try to adopt again later." I have asked myself this week "Why are you doing this? Why are you driving yourself crazy like this?"
There is no easy answer. I feel like God is telling me too. I see the picture of this precious little boy and my love for him continues to grow. I know that my adoptions of Jenna and Emma were hard, very hard. I could have given up with both of them, almost did with Jenna. But look what I would have missed out on if I HAD given up. I can't even imagine my life without my precious girls. So I trust God, follow His lead and trust that He has a wonderful plan for this child and our family. And I persevere, because the author of the Hebrews 10:36 says:
You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.
I am already living with His promises. The hugs and kisses of my beautiful girls are my promise. Imagine what else He has in store!
But I have one thing to ask of you. Would you pray for me and this situation? Would you please pray that God works out all the details, some of which leave me sleepless at night? And would you pray that I am always aware of His will, not mine.