February 5, 2011

Our Adoption Story Part 1

For a few years Patrick and I joked about adoption. We talked about adopting a little girl one day but never really seriously. Back in 2006 my heart was moved when I read a magazine article about some little girls adopted from China. After reading the article, I left the magazine open on the kitchen table hoping hubby would read it and see if he said anything. Again, we joked but nothing serious ever came of it. Little did I know that the adoption article came out around the same time a little baby girl with a shock of dark hair and big beautiful brown eyes was born.

Fast forward to the summer of 2008. We moved to VA that summer and found a wonderful church just down the street. Many of the members had children who'd been adopted, mostly from China. One Sunday, a small group introduced themselves at the front of the church. In this particular group 3 of the 5 families had an adopted child. I elbowed Patrick and told him we should join this group.  I bet you can probably guess what happened next.... I'll tell you anyway....

On September 27, 2008 I went to a Women's retreat. The retreat was based on organization and decluttering your life. I learned some helpful tools but also realized that God was tugging at my heart again about something else. My life at the time was filled w/ stuff and things. I felt like God was asking me what I was doing with my life, where was I going etc. I was a couple years away from the big 4-0 and maybe now was a good time to adopt. What was I waiting for?

For the next week I asked God to show me signs if we should adopt a child. I asked God to either remove the longing in my heart for a little girl or to put the tug to adopt on my husband's heart. All week I heard stories about adoption and everywhere I turned  God put people in our lives that had adopted. Later that week, Patrick spoke wonderful words to my ears. "Honey, maybe we should look into adopting." he said.
Little did I know, there was a beautiful little girl w/ dark hair and big beautiful brown eyes about to celebrate her second birthday, who was asking the director of her Baby House to please send her a Mama and a Papa of her very own.

Finances. Yup, we were broke. Well, not actually broke, let's just say our money was extremely tied up in houses, investments etc. So we took a leap of faith and decided to start the adoption process anyway. After all, if most of us waited until we had money for children, perhaps many of us wouldn't ever have any children at all, adopted or biological! So we researched and found a Chinese agency and we put one of our properties on the market for sale to help us pay down some debt and help pay for as much of the adoption as possible. The next few months were very tough! The house we wanted to sell, ended up being on the market for many, many months. We had no renters and an empty house for sale. Would we ever sell it? If God wanted us to adopt why was he making it so darn difficult? The adoption was on hold. To make matters worse business was slow and I lost my part-time job at a local florist. So here we were, paying two mortgages and paying for groceries on our credit card. Why was this so difficult? Oh, God and I had some words. I was mad! But little did we know, our house wasn't selling for a very special reason. You see, if our house had sold we would have been farther along on our paperwork with China. But little did we know, our daughter wasn't in China!

 April 2009. At long last our rental property sold! We found out we'd be closing in late April. We re-started the adoption process! But wait a minute, hold on folks, not so fast! Our daughter wasn't in China remember? So what changed? Janine B that's what. Janine, an acquaintance from church knew we wanted to adopt and on the morning of April 22 I opened an e-mail that changed our life forever! Janine sent me a picture of a beautiful little girl with dark hair and big beautiful brown eyes. She had seen the girl's picture on Rainbow kids, a website dedicated to helping orphans with special needs find their forever families,Janine thought she looked like us. I opened up the e-mail and instantly fell in love. This is the one I've been waiting for. This is her! I think this is why we had the delay on the property selling, I thought. I wanted to jump on a plane that very second and go get this girl! But wait, we had just filled out a zillion pages w/ a different adoption agency and we sent them a big check. Would we get our money back? What would Patrick say? All these thoughts ran through my mind and so I took a big deep breath and thought if it is meant to be, it will happen. I read the girls info and stared at her beautiful eyes, I touched my hand to the computer screen and cried. I read she had something called limb difference of her right leg. I wanted to know more but first I e-mailed the picture to Hubby and then I picked up the phone and called him.

"Are you sure about this Amy?" Patrick asked. You better believe I was sure! Look at this beautiful face! Patrick reluctantly said I should learn more. He wasn't thrilled with the possibility of changing agencies but agreed I could at least inquire about this girl they called "Lara". 

I picked up the phone and I called Janine to thank her for sending the picture and then I called the agency. There was very little info they could offer me but w/ some initial paperwork they promised they would send  all the information they had and some additional pictures of "Lara".

It took two days until I had more info. I prayed during this time and asked God to please let us be her parents. I knew she had something called limb difference and was told her right leg was shorter then her left. Basically this is all I knew. I did some research but really didn't understand or know what her leg looked like. How did she walk? I thought.

On Friday  I finally got what I was waiting for, an e-mail with more information and pictures. They sent us a picture from when she was a newborn and one taken at about 18 months. The picture quality wasn't great but I finally I could see what her right leg looked like and truth be known, I was scared.  I was really, really scared. Her right leg was so short and her foot curved out. What can we do to help her? Can I do this? What will Patrick say? Is this too much? Is she in a wheelchair? How does she move? Can we get her a prosthetic? Is anything else wrong? What will the boys think? So may questions, not a lot of answers. All I knew for sure was she was beautiful and I felt such a strong connection and love? Could it be love I already felt for this beautiful girl? I called my sister, Amanda and she spoke some words of wisdom to me. We talked alot those days and Amanda was such an encouragement as well as our Mom too.

I wanted to show Patrick her pictures in person that night. We had a long discussion and agreed we would try to adopt her. My wonderful hubby was on board. Oh how I love him! The next morning we called the agency and told them we did indeed want to pursue "Lara's" adoption. 

And so the paper chase began....

Janine B. and Laura

1 comment:

  1. I have heard this story in the making and I am touched with the faith that you had to go ahead and persue this venture of a lifetime. I am so thankful for Janine's help in this journey. Can the little girl in the pink dress really be the same one in the green jumper? I see not only a change in the size of Laura, but in the smile of the eyes. She is so full of happiness now that she has her forever family. I am so thankful for the gift of Laura in our lives and in our hearts. Love, Memere