One thing is for sure, when Matt and I started the process to adopt Drew we had no idea the twists and turns that would be involved. But with every door that closed, another was opened. Adoption is not easy, in fact, it can be quite difficult physically and emotionally. However, the end result is worth the sacrifices, the worry, the unknowns, the up and downs, and anything else in between. I cannot imagine our family without Mylee and I am sure Drew is going to bring us just as much joy.
Disclaimer: Rather than drag this out over several posts I have decided to just let it all out in one. Therefore, if you can stick it out, you will not be disappointed. So, grab a cup o Joe, or in my case a diet coke, get comfy and enjoy.
I can't help but wonder what happens to those who may never have a chance at a family. Those that because their "special need" is too scary for some may never know what it means to be loved. Those that slip through the cracks for whatever reason. Then there are those that may be completely healthy, but because they are older will most likely age out and never know what it means to be a part of a real family.
I remember when we visited Mylee's orphanage I didn't see any of the older kids, we were only able to visit the areas where our children lived. But I couldn't help but wonder what happened to those that were "left behind." I remember asking our guide and she quietly said "some may be able to work for the orphanage if they can provide a service, very few may have the opportunity to go to school, but most will live on the streets." You see, in China once a child turns 14 they are no longer to be adopted therefore, their future is grim.
Orphans are considered "unlucky" or "cursed" in the Chinese culture. They have very few opportunities to go to school. If they do get to go to school they attend the lowest level of schools because parents who pay for their kids to go to school don't want their kids going with the "unlucky orphans." However, there are a few who are fortunate enough to be sponsored and are able to go on to college. Just because they have an education does not mean they will be able to get a job. Many businesses will not employ them once they find out they were an orphan because of the "unlucky" orphan stigma.
The Chinese are very big on family. In fact, many of their holidays revolve around family. Can you imagine being completely alone? I mean really alone? Just think about it for a minute. Who do you run to when you have exciting news to share? Who do you lean on when you need to cry? Who do you call "family?" Those orphans that never get the opportunity for a family have no one to run home to, they have no shoulder to cry on, they have no one to spend holidays with. They. Have. No. One.
So, even though living in the orphanage may not be ideal, to them, it is all they have. They have food and they shelter, Once they are 16 (unless they are one of the fortunate ones), they are released to fend for themselves in a society that "fears" them because they may be "unlucky." 16! Seriously, can you imagine at the age of 16 being forced to provide for yourself? At the age of 16 having no one to guide you or to care? At 16, these are still children. Children who have absolutely no idea how to survive on the streets and unfortunately, many of them don't
I know I am painting a grim picture, but this is reality. While we sit in our nice, warm, posh homes, there are thousands of orphans who are getting ready to age out. Children that because of their age may never have the opportunity for an education. Children that may never know what it feels like to be tucked in and kissed good night. Children who may never hear the words, I love you." Children that because we are scared, scared to step out of our comfort zone, who may never know what it means to be part of a family.
So, here it is, the surprise that even we were surprised about...
A couple of weeks ago we were sent a mass generated e-mail from our agency who was advocating for a 13 year old boy who is about to age out on May 1. Honestly, I never really thought much about it until Blake (our 13 year old) asked what I was looking at. I shared the information with him and his initial reaction was “can we get him?” Obviously my immediate response was “no, we can’t afford, we are still trying to come up with the money for Drew, plus we are getting Drew.” Having a brother closer to his age is something that Blake has asked for since we started looking at the possibility of adopting after Mylee. Unbeknown st to me, Blake forwarded the e-mail to Matt’s account with the message “dad, this could be my bro.” Not knowing the impact this e-mail would have on Matt and I later, we both deleted the information from our inbox.
Over the weekend I noticed several other families advocating for this boy on blogs as well as Rumor Queen. I generally don’t get on RQ on the weekends, but for some reason I couldn’t help checking to see if someone had requested his file. I was disappointed and saddened that no one had stepped forward but I also knew there was no way we could afford two adoptions at once plus adopting a 13 year old boy was something I said I would never do.
On Tuesday I e-mailed our agency to follow up that we were still on track with Drew’s paperwork being submitted to the Consulate in Guangzhou. I am not sure exactly what I put, but I did ask if the boy who was aging out had found his family. I quickly got a response, “no.” And then a few minutes later I received an e-mail asking if we would like more information. Although my head was telling me no, by fingers were typing yes. After a few e-mails back and forth and talking on the phone I quickly realized that this may be doable if I could get Matt on board.
That night I waited until just the right moment to bring it up and as soon as I did Matt’s knee jerk response was “no, are you kidding me? I cannot believe you would even ask, we don't even have the money for one adoption and you are planning on two?" Honestly I was not surprised since that was his initial response with Mylee and Drew’s adoption. I knew he was right, what was I thinking? I didn't want to push the issue because I knew that it would just end in an argument, so I let it go. Later that night I crawled into bed and started to check my e-mail. Matt rolled over and said "okay, let me see his picture and what do you know about him?" After hours of going back and forth, discussing the pros and the cons, we decided to go ahead and ask for permission to bring home two children at once.
Later that night I got onto our agency's waiting children's' list to see if he was on there. I'm not sure why, but for some reason I just needed to see if he was on there. As soon as I scrolled down and found his picture I got chills. I generally don't click for more details on the waiting kids because I knew that was not something Matt and I were comfortable with. However, a couple of weeks ago as I was looking at the kids, I did click on a picture, a picture of an older boy. I even said to myself, "what are you doing?" That picture, and the picture that I was staring at way the exact same boy. At that moment I had this tremendous sense of peace come over me. It was that exact moment that I knew we were doing the right thing.
The next day I sent all the necessary paperwork to our pediatrician to look over. Luckily he was able to get back to me quickly saying everything looked good. I also spent most of the day contacting other families through blog world that have or are in the process of adopting not just an older child, but who are adopting two unrelated children at once. I have been amazed at how much support and information I have been given by strangers.
Matt and I have spent the last few days talking and praying about adding an older child to our family. Blake is most excited because he will finally have someone his age around the house. He comes home everyday from school asking if we have heard anything. Blake is an excellent big brother and if anyone can help this boy to adjust, it is Blake.
On March 1st, our agency put in a request asking CCAA if we could adopt two children at once. We waited not so patiently for an answer. On Friday, we got the call saying that they had pre-approved us. Basically this means that CCAA is giving us permission to adopt tow children, but we still have to submit our Letter of Intent and get our LOA. Our LOI was submitted on Friday and we are hoping to get the final approval this week. I asked our agency if this was good news, and her reply was "yes, this is great news. Every time we have been given pre-pre-approval we have been sent an LOA soon after." She also gave me the go ahead to post on my blog about our newest addition to our family.
We are thrilled that we are being given the opportunity to adopt two children at once and that is why we are pouring our heart into doing everything we can to bring him home. When we stepped out in Faith to adopt Drew we had no idea we would be going down this path. Although adopting two children at once is not something we set out at doing, we are excited and committed to watching these two boys thrive and grow with our family.
Adopting an older child, especially a boy is something I said I would never do. However, when I look at his picture, and I really look into his eyes, I see a boy. A boy who needs a family. A boy who needs to be told he is loved. A boy who needs to be given every opportunity to succeed. A boy that I cannot wait to call my son.
If adoption has taught me anything, it has taught me that as long as I have faith, He will make it happen. So, it is with absolute faith that we are once again stepping out and being obedient to Him by opening our home and our hearts to this child.
With all of that being said, we are in a race against time. We have to be in China before May 1 which is when he turns 14. We have less than two months to get done what has taken us almost a year to do with Drew. The ball is already in place and rolling. Our agency is certain this can and will be done, so we are moving forward as well. (Until we officially have our LOA we cannot post his entire picture or name).
We are blessed that most of the fees for the second child have been waived or donated, but we do need to come up with his travel fees. So, once again I am asking for your help. I am extending the fundraiser and I have increased our need to cover his travel fees. Matt and I are 100% confident in seeing this through and we would like nothing more than to have you all join us on our newest journey.
Thank you to those who have donated or spread the word about our . However, we need your help again. We need to spread the word. So, if you have already blogged about our fundraiser on your blog, thank you. But, if you blog about it again, I will give you another entry into the fundraiser. Just leave me a comment letting me know you have done this. If you have thought about donating and keep saying I will do it later (I have done this myself), unfortunately, later may be too late. We are in a serious time crunch here and appreciate any and all help we can get.