Friday, January 8, 2016

Finding Hope

Hope is defined as the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best


Hope, it is something I have done since going to China to bring Kalia home back in 2010.  I told myself she would be the last one, I wanted her to be the last one, but before I left China, I knew wholeheartedly that she was not, and I would return.  My heart was telling me over and over had another daughter.





It wasn't long before we got home that I started talking/badgering Matt about adopting again.  His response as always was "no, we are done, I am done."  After months of begging him, I finally started letting it go.  I told myself there was no way he was going to budge.  Then, out of the blue one day he said that if God is calling me to adopt, he won't stand in his way.  I was TOTALLY blown away.  The only thing he asked was that we wait about a year before we started again.  So, I waited, and waited, AND waited.  I think that was the longest year of my life.

Around this time last year we started getting everything in order to begin the process again.  By the end of February we had submitted a file of a 6 year old little girl to our doctor to review.  Then everything came to a screeching halt with one simple picture...



This pictures pulled at my heartstrings like no other. That smile. Those eyes. His story of teaching himself English in the hopes that he would come to America. Knowing that he had seen many of his friends leave with their families and asking daily when his was coming. I knew instantly this boy was our son. I also knew I was absolutely insane for thinking we could get everything done in time before he aged out, let alone come up with the money to do so. His time was literally running out. From the time I saw his picture to his 14th birthday was around 90 days. We (and by we, I mean each and everyone who helped us financially, with prayers, and with encouragement) were able to get to him just in time. From start to finish we got to him just in time, 84 days!




So, in May of 2015 we welcomed Owyn into our big, crazy family, and I cannot tell you how well he fits. He is a undoubtedly our son. A son we had no idea existed. A son that has added so much to our family.

While in China, I was hoping and praying that Owyn would be it. That he would be the missing piece that would complete our family. I really, really did. But, no matter how hard I tried to ignore it, I once again knew, without a doubt that the missing piece was a little girl. I told everyone I would be back, in fact, I loved Xian so much, I shred with a friend of ours (who lives there) how I would LOVE to go back there.


When we got back from China Matt made it VERY, VERY clear that he was done! Now, he has said this with 4 out of the 5 adoptions we have done, so to be honest, I didn't read too much into it. However, over time, he was not buckling, and the more and more I pushed, the more and more we argued. I cannot even begin to tell you the tears I shed at the thought knowing our family was not complete. I spent many nights bawling in the closet, praying that God would open Matt's heart, One. More. Time. Or that He would slam the door to adoption so that I could move on and get past the disappointment of not completing our family.

And then, I saw a picture that would once again change EVERYTHING! This little girl was being advocated for and I instantly fell in love. As with each of our other adoptions, I instantly knew she was THE ONE! This little girl was the daughter that I had hoped and prayed for, for 3.5 years.





Her special need scared me, and I knew they would terrify Matt. She has a diagnosis of Cerebal Palsy, which is not something we have ever felt "comfortable" with. However, I knew I had to inquire about her, I had to know more. So, I asked to review her file. Her file was pretty standard for a child's file from China. She did have an update that said...

"She is walking with assistance: she can walk for 30 minutes when she is holding the T frame and 10 meters with adult’s help.
Her hands are not fisted often.
She has tension of left limbs but her face and neck doesn’t seem affected and only her left Arm, hand, leg and foot are affected. She is not able to hold an object in her left hand. Her right hand is normal.
She is able to speak “Ma Ma”, “Ba Ba”, “Nai Nai”, “Ma Ma eats”and“Ma Ma finishes”. She can say number “one” and “two”.
Her vision and hearing are normal."

And of course there were pictures...





But it was this picture that caught my eye...



I remembered seeing this picture on another agencies FB page when they had her file and were advocating for her. I also remembered thinking how adorable she was and how much I would LOVE to get my hands on those chubby cheeks. But, I also remembered her CP diagnosis and as much as it scared me, I knew she our daughter.

So, which a knot in my stomach, I approached Matt about her. He was standing his ground, "I am done." Heartbroken doesn't even begin to describe how I was feeling. Again, I cried and cried. I prayed. Oh how I prayed! I prayed that He would soften Matt's heart, because I just knew she was ours. I continued to pray that if it was not God's will, to please not just shut the door, but to slam it.

A month or so went by and my prayers were answered, sort of. After weeks of talking, discussing, and even arguing, Matt agreed to ONE MORE, but NOT to the little girl with CP. It was just not something he was comfortable with. He was concerned about her being 3.5 and not being able to walk. She wasn't potty trained, and she was just learning to talk. It didn't matter how much research I did, or how many people I talked to, he wasn't budging. As happy and excited as I was that my prayers were being answered, I was equally devastated for the little girl I was certain was ours.

We started looking at some files, but none of them felt "right." I still checked daily to see if the other girl's family had found her yet. I emailed the agency and asked and was told they had had a few families inquire about her, but nothing serious. I was asked if I wanted to see the updated pictures they had just received and as much as my head was telling me "no," my heart was saying "heck yes!"



And a video...




I was in love all over again. And again, approached Matt about her with more research, and more info from others how have adopted kiddos with CP. And again, he said no. By this time I had decided that this was God telling me she was not ours so I decided to let it go and focus on getting our paperwork ready to start another adoption, until...

One morning as we were getting ready for work, Matt was doing his thing and I was doing mine, I heard a voice as plain as day "tell him its going to be okay, she's the one." I kid you not, it was like someone was sitting next to me whispering in my ear (I get chills thinking about it. I don't think I have EVER had anything like this happen to me before). It really kind of freaked me out so I didn't say anything, because to be honest, I was second guessing what I heard.

A few days passed and I was folding laundry one morning and once again found myself thinking of "my girl." I once again told myself that there was nothing I could do, but pray that her family found her. Then my phone dinged. I got a message on my phone from my friend in China with a few pictures and of course a video...







She was WALKING!!!! And, there a couple other videos that showed her singing and counting (I can't get them to upload)!

I called Matt and told him about what had just happened and about the earlier day when I heard a "voice." I wasn't really surprised by his response, but I was hopeful. He was still not on board, there are too many "unknowns" he said. Once again, I let it go.

We were going out to dinner later that night and just as I was getting ready to leave to meet Matt I got a call from the agency we used with Owyn telling me they had just got a new batch of kids in and would we like to see any of them. One little girl stood out so they sent me her file. I wasn't sure Matt was going to be open to her either because she was much younger that we had decided on. So, over dinner I shared her file with him and by the end of dinner he said he would feel way more comfortable with her (she was only 1.5 and had a repaired heart condition) that the little girl with CP. So, he gave me the go ahead to put her on hold and have our Pediatrician look over her file.

Finally, I felt like we were on the same page, sort of. I still felt like I was grieving for the other girl.

Within a few days we had a positive report from our Pediatrician as well as a Heart Doc and they both said they thought she was perfect. Absolutely adorable and would most like not need any intervention until she was older, and that was a big IF.

So, in this case most families would be locking her file, writing up their request to China to adopt her and be completely overjoyed that they had found their child. I, on the other hand was dragging my feet. I COULD NOT get the other girl out of my head, or my heart.

Finally one evening Matt and I were talking and he asked why I couldn't commit to the baby and I just told him, "I just don't think she is our daughter. I truly believe that the other girl is our daughter, I don't know why, but I just do." I went on to tell him that sure, the baby may be "easier," but that I truly think we could handle whatever comes our way. She was already making HUGE progress. In the few short months she went from not walking, or talking to walking independently, talking, and singing. Imagine the progress she could make with the right interventions and therapies. By this time I wasn't sure what to expect from Matt, but I was completely blown away by his response..

He said he needed more information and wanted to meet with someone, preferably an adult female that has CP. He immediately sent an email to our Pastor asking if he knew of anyone that could help us. We made a plan; we would contact the local agencies that work with kids that have CP and get their opinions, talk to someone who had CP, and do some more research.

By the next day, we had contacted an agency who looked at her file, pictures, and videos and said they were amazed by the progress she was already making and that once she was home, and had the proper therapies, she would most likely excel even more. Our Pastor put us in touch with an lady that is on staff at our Church and within a couple days we were meeting with her. Matt and I met her at Starbucks and we weren't 10 minutes into the conversation that Matt said he felt like a complete idiot. In those few short minutes she had explained to us that there was NOTHING she couldn't do, she graduated HS, went on to college, got married, had 2 kids, drove car, etc. She looked at her videos and told us pretty much the same thing, once she is home and in the proper therapies, she would only get better.

On the way home we were talking and Matt said it was ok to put her on hold, lock her file, and move forward to brining our daughter home! I cannot even begin to tell you how happy I was. I was bursting. For months I had hoped and prayed for this little girl. I could picture her in our family. The countless night of lost sleep, the tears shed, the aching in my stomach was all worth it because my hopes of finding my daughter were paying off.

As I was driving Matt was pointing something out in sky "look, look, do you see it?" I did, but I wasn't sure what I was seeing until he told me. It was a shooting star! I have NEVER seen one before and it was so cool. Matt kind of chuckled and when I asked him what he said "well, if that isn't a sign, I don't know what is."



I have an absolutely amazing husband. One that is willing to walk a path that may not necessarily be his path, but because he knows it is mine, he is willing to walk it with me. I thank God everyday for bringing him into my life.

I have an even more amazing God. He planted the seed of adoption in my years ago. What I thought was just a "selfish" need has turned into so much more. Because of adoption, I am a better person. I am a better mom. I am way more patient (most of the time). But more importantly, I am a much better believer. In the last 5 years my faith in God has skyrocket. He has Blessed me and my family in more ways than I can count. It is because of Him that I am able to see and experience the transformation of a terrified child blossom into a happy, healthy family member. It is because of Him that I have 8 (soon to be 9) kids call me "mom" every. single. day!

Today is Paisley's birthday. She will turn 4! My heart aches knowing that I cannot be with her, but I am also overjoyed knowing this will be her last birthday spent without a family.





I adore this little girl with my whole heart and cannot wait to get to her! Oh, I almost forgot, remember when I said how much I loved Xian and would love to go back there???? Well, Paisley is from Xian, the same orphanage that Owyn was from. God is SO good!





3 comments:

Alycia said...

Oh, Mandy! I just love your story! This new news made my heart so happy! Congratulations on Owyn's homecoming , and Paisley's upcoming homecoming! Adahlyn says to tell Drew hello for her. She is doing well, and misses him from time to time.
Many blessings,
Alycia

Kelly said...

Our bio daughter was born "normal" and developed/contracted a rare brain disease. Long story short, the surgery that Dr. Carson is known for (disconnecting half the brain) is what we had to do to "fix" things for her. She woke up at 3 years old with her entire left side shut off. Every.single.muscle. Fast forward to today, she is 14 and last fall ran cross country as a middle schooler. She was not the fastest, but managed to end the season shaving off 9 minutes and getting her time down to 44 minutes. She needs help in school, but only a little, so she is in regular classes. She has friends, spends the night, hangs out, and goes to movies on supervised "dates" with her boyfriend (an honor student). My point is that the only obstacle this child has at the moment is any preconceived idea others have about what she can or cannot do. She will have challenges, but it is likely that she will surprise the heck out of you if you let her. I am praying for your family. PLease keep posting and let us see how this goes.

Anonymous said...

OH, I WOULD LOVE YOU TO DO AN UPDATE....I LOVE FOLLOWING ALONG WHEN
A NEW CHILD ENTERS A FAMILY. WHAT AN AMAZING TIME FOR ALL OF YOU.
THANK YOU FOR SHARING,
mm, age 70
vancouver,wa.