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Why would a family with five children spend the time and resource to adopt a child from China? Where did we get this crazy idea?
In 2011, Mississippians had the opportunity to define life. Amendment 26 would have defined a person to include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning, or the functional equivalent thereof. The measure failed.
We were active supporters of the Yes on 26 Campaign. During the course of the campaign, someone asked David, “What are you doing about the unwanted children is Mississippi now?” He felt convicted that we were doing nothing, and we began asking God what He would have us do and praying about adoption.
Helping the children in Mississippi seemed like the obvious and easiest choice. In 2012, we participated in adoption/foster training with the Department of Human Services and began the Home Study process; however, just two days before our in home interview, we found out that God was blessing us with Levi. During the home study interviews, the social worker told us the process would end if I became pregnant, especially since we had four children already. MS DHS only allows 5 children in homes with foster or adopted children.
Apparently, God had other plans for our family. We had either misunderstood his will or His perfect timing was not here yet, but even as Levi was born in 2013, adoption stayed in the backs of our minds.
Last year, we had an annuity mature that would enable us to at least get started in the adoption process. David has traveled on several mission trips to China, and we really felt like we were supposed to adopt from there, but, again we were past the child limit. We spoke to some friends who had adopted a child from Uganda and were in the process of adopting from China, though they, too, had five children. We learned that with a Special Focus child, adoption in China was still a possibility.
Our friends gave us some information and helped us join a Facebook group that advocates for Special Needs and Special Focus children in China. We saw many beautiful children with various needs, then one captured my attention. I showed her initial information to David, and told him not to get his heart set on her yet, but I thought I may have found our daughter. This almost 4 year old has a special need of albinism with low vision and probably nystagmus. She is a beautiful blond China doll. Her complete information from China was not available yet, but contacted Across the World Adoptions who has a partnership with her orphanage, and became first in line to view her file when it came through. Before long, we let down our guard and she captured our hearts.
Over the next few months we completed our home study with New Beginnings and began raising funds to bring our daughter home. We applied for the China program with Across the World Adoptions and sent our Dossier to China in April of 2014. Still, almost 11 months after we first saw our daughter’s face, her file was not complete.
In the meantime we had been praying desperately for this file to come in and trying to constantly remind ourselves that God is in control and His timing is perfect. Each week that passed had us wondering why we had to wait so long. During this time we saw the faces of many waiting children and often said, “If we could bring home two, I’d bring that one.” Our agency was waiting for five files from our our daughter’s orphanage, including ours. When two of those were uploaded in early July, we began following the story of a 3 1/2 year old girl with a repaired heart defect. She caught our attention not only because our awaited file was supposed to be uploaded with hers, but also because we have a friend whose child has the same congenital heart defect. A family was waiting for an update on her file, but after receiving a very positive report in late August, decided not to move forward. We prayed and decided to just to talk to our case worker and see if it was possible to bring home this little one as well as the one we are waiting for. She said the previous family prayed and that God’s answer was that another family whose paperwork was ready in China would bring her home. So, after viewing her file and continuing to pray for God’s guidance, we decided to send a Letter of Intent for this child and bring home two!
We received our Letter of Acceptance for Eve on September 4th. We believe she is the reason God had us wait so long. If we had not been waiting for Ava’s file, we would have never considered adopting Eve. We finally received Ava’s file on September 14th! We are expecting her LOA very soon.
Of course, bringing home two will significantly increase the cost of adoption. We are still doing fund raisers, and we trust that God will provide the funds needed, even if we have to pay for it over the next couple years. As a pastor’s family, we have decided, and publicly told our congregation, that we would rather make an eternal difference in lives and possibly die poor than live the American Dream and miss out on the eternal blessings of obedience to God.
More to come!