Monday, November 14, 2011

Me, Adoption, & My Testimony {Part 4-Kemeri's Story}

When Kendi came home, we felt so content (blissfully exhausted, but content!). Joe even went so far as to say the word "complete", & I was okay with that. Then sometime after the first of the year, that weird, powerful nudging began again, which made absolutely no sense to me. I was still quite sleep deprived (Miss Kendi likes her middle of the night meetings over a warm bottle) & just trying to keep everyone in clean drawers.

Well, I guess since I was dismissing the nudges, God pulled out some bigger guns. I have enjoyed reading blogs over the last few years b/c I find much encouragement, & it helps me feel connected with others that are traveling similar roads. I especially enjoyed them as Kendi was tiny b/c I wasn't getting out in the winter too much & there's not much I care to watch on t.v. Anyway, suddenly it seemed everywhere I turned, every thing I read, kept putting China SN adoptions in front of my face. Only once did we even glance in the way of adopting from China many years ago after attending a Steven Curtis Chapman concert, but after seeing the requirements & financial aspect, we never glanced that way again b/c we didn't qualify. However, that was years ago when the non-special needs adoptions were at their height, & also when we had never seriously prayed about adoption or felt that "nudge".

Honestly, I was quite perplexed. I came up with every reason under the sun (including the fact that my husband said we were D.O.N.E.) & would go to bed resolved not to give it another thought. And then I would wake up in the morning consumed all over again. Before I knew it, I was a member of a yahoo group that advocates for waiting children, & I would scour that site daily learning about the process, following links that would take me to sites so I could research special needs, & looking at picture after picture of children who wait. And each day my heart was being broken more for these children. Beautiful, innocent, waiting children.

Finally one afternoon, I TEXTED (yes, for real) my husband & said, "What do you think about adopting from China?". People, I got nothin' but silence for 3 HOURS. I just couldn't take it anymore, so I casually (ha) called him to see how his day was going, if he got my text....If I'm being *really* honest, I was kind of looking for the "no" from him so I could just put this whole business to rest once & for all. Yes, he had gotten my text, so I said, "Well, I guess the 3 hours of silence is a 'no' then." He said, "It's not an anything...I've been praying about it." Oh. Have I ever mentioned that I really love this husband of mine?

We decided it was best to continue praying, & he also had a lot of questions. He was under the impression that there was a very long wait b/c he had only heard of the NSN route. He had not heard of the SN program. We also started talking about what special needs we felt we could handle (it was a nice thought, you know, to DECIDE what WE could handle...wouldn't you think by now I would know better? More on this in a bit). After some time, we also felt like we were supposed to "find" our child & not wait for a match. I should have put two and two together when we felt so convicted of this that God had something in mind outside of OUR parameters.

We began looking at some files of children, mostly around Kaya's age, thinking that age may be easier best since Kendi is still a baby. But with every situation, the door seemed to quickly close. There was one little girl we kept going back to...part of her diagnosis (missing digits) was something we felt very comfortable with. However, she had a second diagnosis we had never heard of before. It was a very long, scary looking word which we later learned means spina bifida. She's also only 7 months older than Kendi. Then one day while checking the posts on the advocacy group, one in particular jumped right off the page; it was with regard to this little girl. A woman was advocating specifically for her b/c she had seen her file & had it reviewed. Even though this little girl was not to be theirs, she felt prompted to advocate for her.

I'd love to tell you that we got her file & just jumped right in without another thought. We did get her file, even put it on hold while we had it reviewed by our pediatrician who was having it reviewed by a specialist, & then we got scared & decided not to move forward. I still remember the day we made that decision. I was sitting at the kitchen table while Joe was doing something in the kitchen, & as I typed the email to let the agency know our decision, I cried a horrible, grieving cry. Mind you, we had reviewed other files, but I had not fallen apart like this before.

Over the next several weeks, we reviewed a couple more files & I kept watching for the little one we walked away from to find her way back to the waiting child photolisting (her picture had been taken down when we had locked her file). When it never reappeared, I assumed that someone else had been waiting to see her file & had committed to bringing her home, but I thought of her every day. Then it seemed to become a complete preoccupation...she was on my mind all the time. On the Friday of Memorial weekend, I couldn't help myself. I emailed the coordinator at the agency to see if "Jill's" family had found her. Within an hour she emailed back to tell me that, no, she was still waiting. Upon reading those words, I got the worst case of butterflies ever. What was going on?

After we had released the file, we had discovered an international adoption specialist that reviews files by email. I told Joe what I had done (ok, I texted him again...I'm a goober, but he was at work & I wasn't sure what he would make of any emotional ramblings that I would try to put together to explain), & he agreed that we should send her file to be reviewed so we could at least have a better understanding of this little girl's potential needs. Being that it was a holiday weekend, I thought it might be the next Tuesday before we would hear anything. Umm, no, the doctor called us at 10:00 that night! By the end of the phone call end of the weekend, our hearts knew. We sent off a different email to our agency than before...this one said we have found our daughter & would like to move forward with her adoption.

The phone call from the specialist did not make her needs go away. She is still missing her fingers, & she still has spina bifida. However, we felt we had a better understanding. But even more important, we know that we know that we know that God has woven this child into our hearts. She was no longer a file of a child with a diagnosis...she became our daughter.

To be continued...

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