Tuesday, October 28, 2014

How did we get here?

I am writing this for God to get the glory and for anyone that may question our intentions in this to know how we got here and how hard it was for us as a family to make this decision. Please know that this is straight from my heart.  It is our reality and it was painful for me to write and painful for me to read once I wrote it.  I live on paper.  My heart is opened here. Please keep this in mind if you decide to share with me your thoughts.  Also, know that my son's story will be shared in time, but not right away.  Some of the words on this page could hurt him.  Please let us share his story in our time. When he is ready! 

Going to an orphanage once in your life time is a life changing experience.  I will never be the same.  As I left that day so many years ago, I remember having so many thoughts going through my head.  One was getting my daughter out of there.  I just wanted to get her out and let her know she never had to go back.  I wanted to give her the assurance that this part of her short life was over.  It was not a horrible place.  It was clean and it had wonderful people there, but it had over 500 children.  Five hundred children.  ON THAT DAY FIVE HUNDRED CHILDREN CALLED IT HOME. 

PERSPECTIVE:  My graduating class was 200 plus.  We all had families and friends that came to watch us graduate.

 Of these 500 children only 10% at most will EVER be adopted.  So 9 years later some of them have aged out and find themselves in a world that is not accepting of an orphan.  An adult orphan with no place in society ends up on the street or worse.  I know of one of those 500 that did not get a family.  He died this past summer from cancer.  No family to deal with his life crisis. No Dad or Mom was there by his side or sibling to say we love you and you will be missed - "You counted in this world and we will miss you."  I am grateful that God blessed this young man with a friend that did visit him and asked us adoptive families to pray for him.  All alone in the world .  It sounds like a made for T.V. movie until you realize that the adult orphan was 18.  Only 10 the day I visited the orphanage.  The buddy, also 18, doing everything he can to support his friend in a situation most 18 year olds could never imagine.  Each one of us that have gone on this journey realize that our child could have been this one.  That we could have said no or abandoned the idea of adoption all together.  We have seen the pictures on FB up close and personal.  These kids do exist and they are real and they need families. Ignoring orphans is not part of God's plan. 

How did we get to where we are?

I think we were home a few months when I started visiting the adoption websites again.  The adoption world is a world of its own.  There are blogs and websites, groups and now FB pages that are posted to daily.  Children are found on agency lists in need of families and through this network children are united with forever families.  Some do not find families and it took time for me to truly understand and realize this.  My heart kept telling me I could not forget the faces we left behind.  I just could not forget them.  They were in my soul and they lived there.  Some still do.  AG wanted to bring one little girl home with us besides her sister.  She met her that day at the orphanage and begged her Dad for a year to go back and get Pippa.  We prayed for Pippa forever and many years later at the age of 9 she was finally adopted.  I know that family is blessed.  She and AG spent the afternoon together and there was no language barrier.  They were like best buds.  It broke my heart that we had to leave that day knowing she had to stay.  I know AG felt the same way.  At almost 5, she knew something was not right about leaving her behind. 

I spent hours at night as my family slept looking at children.  Praying for each one to get a family.  Sometimes I would post them on the fridge and we would pray for them.  When they got a family, we would post someone new.  I did this for a long time.  I remember Sean.  I so wanted to adopt Sean. He was a cute boy with Cleft, a beautiful boy.  About six months older than Flo.  We were in debt from the first adoption and deligently trying to pay it off and my dear, sweet husband saw no way that we could adopt again.  Then I lost my job and it just seemed harder and harder to even have him consider it.  So, I just continued to look and pray and hope that I could change his mind.  I would walk away and ignore the sites for months.  I would just delete them from my inbox.  Our other friends would mention their adoptions and I would just ache.  I knew that Sean and whoever was on the fridge still waited.  I had to walk away.  I tried advocating for a while but it became too hard.  I am a person that is emotional and passionate and I my heart simply could not process that many children being without families.  Most of these children were in one country. 

Orphan Sunday is Nov. 2: Remember that today approximately 153 million children are orphans and with each disaster and with each epidemic that number rises way faster than there are families to adopt. When we adopted Flo there were 147 million orphans.  Staggering that in 9 years the number has grown by the millions.

After I lost my job, I decided to refocus my attention on something else.  I got some information on a graduate program and I thought that going back to school and getting my doctorate would give me focus. I also hoped it would get me a job!  I started the paperwork for graduate school and I spent months prepping for the GRE.  I asked God to take adoption off the table and move me toward a better opportunity for our family.  I had lost my job and we just needed to move on with our lives.  I could go to school and be with the girls more since I was no longer working.  I spent hours studying and asking God to help me along the way.  I felt lost at times because I had been out of school for so long.  I spent hours studying math and praying for God to be with me on this new journey.  The day of the GRE arrived and  I was way too early for the test.  I decided to get some coffee and a snack and to pray for God to be with me.  As I was pulling in the parking lot to take the test, I asked God one last time if adoption was completely off the table.  I knew what kind of time was needed for an adoption and the adjustment after and I also knew the time commitment of this graduate program.  Our lives would be completely different for the next 3 years and there was no way an adoption would work into the graduate plan.  I had this small window before more big surgeries were coming for Flo and if this was going to be the plan it had to happen now.  So, I prayed and asked God if adoption was on the table.  As I pulled into the parking lot, God showed me a sweet face of a little boy laying on a shoulder.  He had dark hair and dark skin.  He was indeed a child and he was indeed an answer to my prayer.  So, I gave it the best that I had and I passed but just barely for graduate school and a few weeks later my graduate program went away with budget cuts.  A few weeks later I got a job offer, a part-time job.  I still got to be with my girls, but graduate school went away.  God is awesome the way he figures things out!

My job was such a blessing and I had so much prep time and family time that my time looking at children was very limited.  This again was a God thing.  I did look at sites occasionally and we would pray for some to find little ones to find families.  I remember praying for a particular little guy and I just ached for him to get a family and then one day he vanished.  At first I was upset and then I realized he had to have a family and I was so grateful to God.  I was so happy for him.   We continued to pray for boys.  They were always C boys.  Our current agency was one that I always kept in my inbox.  They would send out updates and I would look and keep up with their waiting kids.  We would pray for certain ones to get families.  As we did this, I saw a trend and changes happening in the adoption world that I was a part of and it was hard to witness.  Less and less children were being adopted and more and more children were waiting longer and longer.  Then at some point many of the agencies no longer had lists of waiting children at all.  Then some agencies just disappeared.  They could no longer qualify to do International adoptions.  The economy was really having an impact on adoptions and agencies.  Then countries closed like Vietnam, Guatemala, and Nepal.  We prayed for families that were stranded with their children in foreign lands and I felt like adoption for us was just going away. 

      We had some crazy extended family stuff during this time.  Mark and I also grew distant over my views of adoption and his.  I begged God to let adoption leave my heart or put it on Mark's.  I had friends that were going through similar things in their own lives.  Each of them having adopted and then wanting to go back and living with a spouse that did not.  It is hard to be in that place.  It was extremely hard for me.  It can be lonely and if you don't let God have it, evil can take hold.  I prayed a lot.  I thanked God daily for my girls and asked Him to get me through this desire to adopt.  I just wanted it to leave me, but I continued to pray for God to make a change in Mark's heart.  I kept getting these books from other people.  I guess since we adopted they thought I would like to read them. I thought Katie Davis was good, but RADICAL was life changing.  I just put it in God's hands.  I would continue to look at faces and pray for kids to get families, but I could not let my desire to adopt ruin our family.  I was just going to let God have it. 

       I saw a little sweet face about four years ago on our agencies website.  I just knew this little guy was from India.  Our agency works with children from India, China, and several African countries as well as the United States.  I was drawn to his little face.  He was so cute. I just knew he would get a family. He was just a cutie.  I would go to his profile and pray for him.  I would look at his little picture and pray he would get a family. I never saw his file and  I never put him on the fridge. Then he vanished.  In the everchanging world of C adoption, agencies only get to keep files for 3 months and then they go back to the large Waiting C list or they move on to the next agency.  I so knew this little guy had a family.  The agency had kept him for six months instead of 3 and I just knew he had his family, finally.  As time went by, I continued to pray for a change of heart in both myself and Mark.  My prayer was always that I would change my heart about adopting or he would change his.
            In a random scan of faces one night, I saw a little guy about 3.  Just a cutie.  He had very minor special needs and I just saw something in his face.  For a few months I would randomly look for him and pray for him to get his forever family.  As I was going through my FB page a few months after I had last seen him, I saw an upsetting post.  An Advocacy group had posted that this cute, minor special need child, had died.  It was sudden and just an odd thing.  It bothered me for a while. How could that happen?  He had no heart issues or anything life threatening, but he was gone. That was when I also found out that the Advocacy group had an angels file.  This was a file for children who were advocated for by the group but were never adopted and had passed away. We lost a child and this was hard for me.  They were one of the millions, but they should count.
          Then a few months later, I saw another child, Sean, at this point he was 7 or 8 and still waiting.  I remember seeing his video so long ago and then he had vanished and I had assumed he vanished because he had been adopted, but there he was now so much older still waiting. Then on the same site I saw another little guy that is still waiting today.  He is now 9.  As the faces came at me I realized that my desire to adopt again was not going to go away because each of these little faces I could not forget and more importantly I remember these kids from photos of them when they were 2.  I remember one little guy that had the cutest smile. I decided to look for him.  Joey was favorite of mine and I prayed for him a lot because he had a severe heart condition and he needed a family desperately. He started out in his baby pics with a smile and now his smile was gone. His lips were once again purple and he really needed heart surgery.  He too continued to get older and continued to wait.  He needed medical help and still waited.   It hit me hard that there could be many others that I thought had vanished because they now had a forever  family, but were just somewhere else, on another page, with another agency, or lost on the ever growing waiting child list.  And as I continued to look at the older child files I found this photo

I could not ignore that face.  That face I had seen so long ago on a list was still waiting.  Why? Why? Why?  Why would that cute little sweet face wait?  That little Indian boy was not Indian at all, you see he was a C boy.  A beautiful C boy.  That little boy went to my fridge because he was already in my heart.  I could not let him be lost.  I could not let him go missing and onto another list.  I had to pray and pray hard that he found his Mama and Baba soon!  He could not turn 7 and then 9 and then 12 and then 14 and age out and not be adoptable.  He would not be that child.  I would not allow that.  I prayed and I prayed hard.  I would not give up.  Honestly, I think God got tired.  Mark must have too.  Because that little boy is going to be my son in the next few months.  Almost a year after he went to the fridge Mark said yes!  You see those eyes, those eyes spoke to my husband's heart too!  They are the most precious eyes in the world and for the first year will probably get away with a lot.  Because my heart ached for this little guy and I prayed for this little guy and I wanted so much for this little guy to have a family of his very own!  I know in my heart God made him wait for Mark to have a change of heart.  Not only did he change his heart, but he opened it up to another son.

       That little guy, that we call our son, had a file that came with 6 plus agency names and I can not even tell you how many agencies had or saw his file.  He went from agency to agency and then he would disappear.  Another agency would see his face and ask for the file and then he would be passed on to the next one.

        No more sweet boy!  No more!  You do have a family that loves you and a Mama that has loved you for so long! 

As I write this, I can not imagine what is going through his little mind right now.  What he must be thinking at the age of 5 almost 6?  He has probably seen many children leave with their families and wonder why not me?  I am sure he is hurt and worried and scared.  In his early files it states he was an active boy and now it states  he is shy.  What happened in those four years for his little personality to change? We may never know.  I do know this, he will never be alone in this world again.  He will always have a family that loves him so much we could burst.  God has brought us here for His purpose. Thank you God for this journey!  Thank you God for this Boy!  We praise your name forever!  Sweet boy just give us a little more time!!!!  We will be there very soon!  We love you! You were chosen!  You will no longer be called orphan.  You will be a Dessez!

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