Wednesday, January 2, 2008

How We Got Here ...

We wanted to share with you the why's and how's of how we got here. For some people, it may be a little difficult to understand why we are bringing another special needs child home, especially when we have 2 biological children and after we have been through so much with Jenna and her corrective surgeries. Let's begin at the beginning ...

Before leaving for China to get Jenna, I told Dan that, although we were adopting Jenna, I felt that God had placed a little boy in my heart. Dan, with visions of multiple college tuitions flying through his head, said that the only way that would happen was if he got a large bonus from work. ;0) God was listening - read on ...

While in China, the director had told us about Jenna's special friend and that he was looking for her since she was now gone. Once we arrived home we developed a disposable camera that we had sent in a care package to Jenna. The nannies were kind enough to take pictures of Jenna in the orphanage. We were surprised to find that about 3/4 of the photos were of her and her special friend. We couldn't help looking at him and wondering about him. Dan asked me to call our adoption agency to see what we could find out about him. We were told that it was virtually impossible to do identified adoptions in China. Realizing that it looked impossible, we put him out of our minds, but continued to talk about another adoption and agreed that we couldn't possibly look at another adoption until a June time frame. I was open to adopting from other countries, but Dan said he wanted to go back to China and back to Lanzhou. "You can't pick the province or orphanage," I told him. Inside, I agreed with him because this orphanage is a very good orphanage, and the workers care about the children. Not really knowing what we were going to do, I checked out other adoption agencies and requested materials from them. After looking through it all, I was really interested in a particular agency, Harrah's, and showed it to Dan. He liked them, too, so I put their materials in my drawer and threw the others away.

Dan returned to work, and the kids continued bonding with their new little sister. One day, Dan returned home from work and told me to look at an envelope on his desk. In it was a check from some of the partners at work who felt moved by our adopting a special needs child. Remember the bonus that Dan had said he would need??? I couldn't help but laugh and told Dan, "God heard what you said!"

Throughout Jenna's recuperation, I worked on Jenna's scrapbook and even made a page of just Jenna and her "special friend." As her English improved, we would periodically ask her about the little boy. What was his name? But, she seemed to have lost so much of her memories of China. I even tried to use my contacts in our Pingliang yahoo group to try to find out more. So, we continued on with our daily lives.

One October weekend, I was trying to look up photos of a China camp that our adoption agency had sponsored. Not finding them, I began surfing and ended up on a site that promotes waiting children from many different agencies in an attempt to help to get them adopted. Something caught my eye on the very first page. I scrolled down to see a child wearing the same jacket that our Jenna had worn in her referral photo. When I took a closer look at the face, I couldn't believe it! It was him - Jenna's special friend! When I showed Dan and our daughter Lane, their mouths literally fell open. We, quite honestly, felt a little blindsided because thoughts of another adoption had been replaced with possibly finishing our basement. When we pulled up his information, I was stunned further to see that he was listed with the agency that Dan and I had liked - remember the one whose paperwork I kept? What do we do now? We agreed we at least needed to call the adoption agency to find out more.

Monday morning I called the adoption agency and spoke with the Waiting Child Coordinator. When I told her that I was inquiring about Yong, she said, "I can't believe that you are calling me about this little boy! His paperwork was on my desk on Friday to go back to China, but I pulled his out. I just couldn't send his back. He's been listed with us since June (remember our June time frame??) and not one person has called about him. I can't believe that you're calling about him!"

We had to do quite a bit of consulting about his special need, which will require one to two surgeries, and quite a bit of praying and seeking counsel. But in the end, we couldn't deny what God had clearly laid out for us.

The icing on the cake, however, was when Dan told me that he wanted to give him his second name (first name was still being tossed around). He wanted to name him ZACHARIAS. Hmm. Wasn't too sure about that one. Later I checked out the name and its meaning. It means "The Lord remembered me." That cinched it. Zacharias it was going to be.

Sorry to have been so long-winded, but I really wanted to get all of this down before the details were lost and because we want to give credit where credit belongs - and it's not with us. It's with our Heavenly Father. To quote a good friend of mine, who is also pursuing a second special need adoption from China, after having biological children:

Why are we doing this? "We are doing this to fulfill a need. We have a need, many needs and these children have shown us what they are ... the need to be compassionate, the need to see beyond our world, the need to be grateful for so many things, the need to submit to God's will, the need to live beyond ourselves." (Thanks, Carol).

PA Today!!

Today we received a call from the adoption agency to let us know that we received our PA today. What is PA? If you have ever gone through a Chinese adoption, you will recognize this as the PreApproval letter that states that China has both received and given approval to our request to pursue this adoption. It also means that we may now share this site with our friends and family!

Today was also filled with what my kids called "Operation Get Jack" stuff. We had a social worker visit; we went to the doctor's office to pick up test results (my adoption physical); we mailed a packet of information to the adoption agency; we mailed reference letter forms to friends; I made phone calls to police stations about background checks; and I had extra passport photos made for our dossier. Whew! But, I think God has a funny way of showing us He's there through it all. One can easily get discouraged trying to jump through so many hoops and trying to keep track of just exactly whose hoops are whose, believe me. So, in the midst of all the "paper chasing" today, I'm standing in the doctor's office waiting to receive the documents I need, thinking about all of the work that's involved, when I hear a song playing. Funny, I had never noticed music before at the doctor's office. "Life is a Highway" was playing. May not sound like much, but if you have been one of the fortunate people to view my husband's very creative rendition of our travel video of getting Jenna, you'll hear it playing at the end. Made me smile. God IS in the little details of our lives. I hope that makes you smile, too.

The next step is to finish our home study, which I am told from our social worker, is well on its way. Then, we finish our dossier with the help of our dossier consultant, get things translated, get our approval from Immigration and we're waiting to travel. Sounds so easy, doesn't it? Ha Ha