Thursday, January 17, 2013

Moments of Confirmation - Part Three

In October, we had been wrestling with the question of which child God was drawing us towards, as we looked at the different files of boys waiting in China. We prayed a LOT about the situation. We had a child that we were all leaning towards as a family, but we had a couple of questions regarding the file. Since his paperwork was put together in May 2012, it was too soon by China standards to request an official update. The only way to get an update would be to move forward with a letter of intent and receive preliminary approval. Then we could request an update. To be honest, I wanted some kind of sign that we were moving in the right direction. And a sign didn't seem to be forthcoming. So we looked at files of other little boys and never felt a sense of peace that any of them were "our" child.

Then I heard through Lifeline's Facebook group that someone affiliated with our adoption agency was heading to China to help advocate for some of the waiting children in November. Before she left, I had no idea exactly where in China, Shannan Jones was headed. My prayer, my Gideon fleece before the Lord, was that somehow our child would be revealed through Shannan's advocacy trip. Would she encounter one of the children whose file we had reviewed and we would just "know"? Or would we be led to a different child whom we had not even yet considered?

I read Shannan's private advocacy blog faithfully everyday while she was gone. An adoptive mom herself of a little boy (with cleft lip/palate also!) from China last year, Shannan was accompanying a friend of hers (a Lifeline social worker) on her own adoption trip to China. Three days of posts and while there were some precious children, there was no "aha!" moment. Then on Sunday November 18th, Daryl and I announced at both churches that we were in the process of international adoption from China. That afternoon I was sitting on the couch, checking Shannan's blog. There was a new post. And three children in, was a description of a little boy named "Jeremy." I looked at his picture and I instantly recognized him. He looked like "Zachary," the little boy whose file we had tried to get an update on. Only some of the information didn't match. For one thing, he had a different English name for privacy. And for another, it stated that his foster mother had brought him to the meeting arranged by the agency and orphanage at a restaurant. The file we had from May stated that he was living in the orphanage.  Since our agency was of course closed on a Sunday, Daryl and I spent time trying to put the referral picture and the new picture side by side on the computer and check to see if it was really him. He certainly looked healthier and happier and the description below his picture of Shannan's interaction with him helped to answer some of our questions.

The next morning, we called Lifeline. Our social worker Stephanie was out sick, so we had to explain to a different member of the China Team about Shannan's blog and asked if they could find out whether or not "Zachary" and "Jeremy" were indeed one and the same. Someone emailed us back a couple of hours later with the confirmation and included a few more pictures of Zachary/Jeremy taken at Shannan's meeting. We were delighted. This was the answer we had been waiting for! We put him on hold immediately (which meant no other family could do anything with his file for two weeks) and began the process of submitting his file for official medical review by our pediatrician and the International Adoption Clinic at University of Alabama Birmingham. We had done online training through the IAC earlier in our process and their doctors are very familiar with the details of the reports coming from China and how to interpret test results and records. We also asked one of Daryl's church members who is an RN (and has grandchildren adopted from China) to take a look at his file as well.

Meanwhile we began to put together our letter of intent package so that it would be all ready to go after we heard from the doctors. We heard back from all the medical professionals by Wednesday, November 28th (Wesley's birthday) and decided to move ahead with sending in the Letter of Intent. Then it was waiting time....for Preliminary Approval from China matching us to our son. That came one week later, on December 5, 2012.

After Shannan returned from her trip, I was able to get in touch with her via Facebook and email. I shared with her our story and thanked her - for following the leading of the Spirit to go and to advocate for these waiting children, because the Lord had used her to be an answer to our prayers.  She in turn, sent us a few more pictures that she had of our son from that meeting in the restaurant.

God is SO amazing! He was not only been patient and faithful in answering my request for a fleece, a sign, but God had gone a big step further and gotten us basically an "end-around" update complete with pictures and a first-hand description that helped answer our questions!!!! And our family is the not the only one that Shannan helped. We have since found out that at least two other families have been matched with children because of the information gained during Shannan's advocacy trip. Praise God!

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1 comment:

Stephanie said...

I love how God is in all the details. He is so tender with us and knows just what we need. Thanks for sharing your story and thanks for linking up with us on WAGI!
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