Monday, November 19, 2012

Our Latest Adventure Unfolds

In July when we had our family blog redesigned, we added a tab across the top that said China. It was right next to the tabs from our England and Holy Land Trips. We hoped for the time being that people would just assume China was our next big travel adventure. And it some ways it is - we are planning on traveling as a family to China in 2013. But this trip is about so much more than just seeing the sights. 

Why? Because we are in the process of adopting a child from China. 
We will be going there next year to bring our son home. 

We began this journey officially in July but it is a journey that really began in our hearts long ago. Adoption is a thread that is woven through the tapestries of both our families. In Daryl's family, he has three cousins and an uncle who are all adopted. Debbie's parents each had a sibling and two cousins who were adopted. Not to mention all the other members of our families on both sides who were adopted by step-parents. When we wrestled with infertility for a few years before Parker's birth, we were drawn towards adoption instead of in-vitro. Even then our hearts were being pulled towards China. Then without medical interventions, we welcomed Parker in 2004 and Wesley in 2007. 

But there was a growing awareness in the back of our minds that we might not be done with our little family. When Debbie needed to have a hysterectomy for her health in 2010, we promised each other that more children were still a consideration through adoption. There have been lots of moments where the idea of expanding our family kept popping up. In particular last fall we attended a World Vision event in Gainesville. Quite honestly we were going to leave without sponsoring a child. It was Parker who was insistent that we could and should do this because so many children could use help. Parker sorted through a whole wall of profiles and picked out Precious - a child born the day before Wesley's birthday, halfway around the world in Malawi, Africa. Both boys were excited to write and draw pictures on a card for Precious. But we had some difficult questions when we went to leave and go home. Wesley was puzzled. You see, he thought we had picked out a new brother to come home with us and he couldn't understand why on earth we were leaving him there.

Since the beginning of this year, God has continued to lay the idea of adoption upon both of our hearts in many different ways. Debbie finally went out to lunch in June with Debby Baugher, a member of Daryl's church who has adopted two daughters from China. We wanted to get the scoop on the process from someone who had literally "been there done that." It was a great confirmation. The next week we went hiking on our day off and used the seven mile trek through the woods to talk through all of our feelings regarding adoption. We clearly felt this was something that God was leading us towards. We decided that day - July 23 - that we felt God was calling us to move forward in faith NOW and add to our family. And we were ready to say yes.

That night, we had a family meeting with the boys to share with them about this new adventure in our family. Before Daryl could even finish getting the story out of his mouth, Parker's face had broken into a huge smile and he kept repeating "Yes" over and over again. Wesley seemed a bit confused until we explained he would get to be both a "little brother" to Parker and a "big brother" to the next child. Then he was completely on board.

As we discerned how God was calling us to move forward, we felt drawn towards China's special needs program. Families from around the globe are willing to wait as much as six years to adopt a healthy, young-as-possible daughter from ChinaIn the meantime, thousands of young children (boys and girls) with medical needs ranging from minor to severe wait in orphanages and foster care for their forever families. Even after these children have had surgery to correct a medical need, they cannot be placed through China's healthy child program. We did a lot of research on different medical needs and filled out our application carefully about which ones we thought we would be able to address within our family. We also felt a strong calling towards little boys. On the advocacy websites, the pictures of the boys tugged at our hearts. We have two sons already and know what an amazing blessing they can be. We hated the thought that these little boys were waiting longer for families simply because of their gender. 

There will be more updates in the coming days addressing the parts of the process we have already undertaken and the steps left to come. But we are so very excited to share this good news with you finally. And we would greatly appreciate your prayers as we continue to move forward toward our son.  

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