I'm sorry if that title offended anyone or made your heart jump. To be honest, it offends me and makes my heart POUND. I hear it so often when I share about our waiting son in China, and often this comment is followed up with a question or more of a comment: "Oh, you aren't going back for a little sister for your daughter?" "No," I say, "in fact, her brother is older; he is 9." At this point, I am either met with a blank stare or a laundry list of opinions and pitfalls we may face from people who in most cases have never adopted any child much less an older child. I know I've shared a bit of background here that is not pleasant but I felt it necessary. It seems like there is such a lack of unity these days in adoptive communities, even within the community of Christ-followers who are led to adopt. Back on November 20, 2008, I posted the following comment over at NiHao Y'all in response to THIS POST (go and read it; it is worth a few minutes of your time; and then come back here if you want to here me ramble; it is therapeutic for me :)).
Stefanie, You are a gifted writer! Yes, my heart is being tugged by the boys too. We definitely wanted a little girl as we just had two boys. Now, we have a girl and I just don't think we could specify the next time but who knows. I do know our boys are praying for another brother, and I KNOW God hears their prayers! Thanks for posting what a lot of us think about but don't have the courage to say.
So now as I sit here on November 20 2009, hashing out this post, I realize I have been thinking a lot lately about a whole lot of stuff. Well, now, that was profound. Can anyone relate? I feel like sometimes I am thinking all the time about all kinds of stuff, or I am not even able to think about anything at all. *scratching head at this point*
The thing is that I feel like I'm continually reminded of how what we are in the process of doing is not something many would consider to be wise. It is not even so much the not-so-well-thought-out comments or even the fumbled words, but it is the overriding thoughts I see lately within the Ch*na adoptive community of the risks of older child adoption, and to add to that: older BOY adoption.
What about bonding?
What about your other children in your home?
What if he resents you taking him away from China or *gasp* giving him an American name that he did not choose (none of our children so far got to choose their own name:)?
How old is too old to be adopted?
Does he even know about you yet, and what does he think?
And on and on the thoughts go, some of my own making.
I KNEW if we went back to Ch*na again, we would be bringing home a son. I can't really explain it other than the Lord supernaturally impressed this thought so strongly in my mind that I couldn't get it out of my head, and more importantly, my heart.
As we are now awaiting our Referral Acceptance (61 days today), I am getting into that 2nd trimester of this wait, where quite frankly, I don't like the places my mind tends to wander. And lately, as I see disruption story after disruption story, I just get so worked up. What if this? What if that? What if this or that? Is it just me or are there more and more disruptions taking place in China lately? Or maybe people are just becoming more and more open about it?
I wonder if part of it is the rush to send in a Letter of Intent because of the way the shared system works? I will say that I love a lot of things about our agency, and one thing I love most is that they will NOT allow a family to send a Letter of Intent (this is a piece of paper stating a family wants to formally ask for permission from China to adopt a specific waiting child) until their Home Study is finalized. Our SW was thorough and she asked us some tough questions, ones we needed to be asked and ones we needed to ponder and really digest. I am grateful for that.
Of course she does not have all of the answers and neither do we, but we consider the Letter of Intent to be one of the most important steps on our part. It is a promise. China requires some specific wording in that contract if you will, and The Prez and I don't take those words lightly. Because The Prez will be traveling to China while I stay home with our Li'l Miss and her big little brother, we have had some deep discussions about my what if scenarios. It would be irresponsible on our part not to have those discussions. The Prez does not have what if scenarios swirling in his head. I don't get that, but I am grateful for it. When we waited to go and bring Li'l Miss home, I must have driven The Prez crazy with my worrying. I remember I was fixated on her smile … or the lack thereof in her three referral pictures. I asked him, What if she never smiles? What if she can't? And if she can't, what will we do?
He responded: I believe she can, but maybe she just doesn't have much to smile about. And even if she can't smile, we'll see her smile through her eyes. I already do.
Well, melt my heart and convict it all at once, will ya! But he was right. And I knew it. He truly had that measure of faith that I was lacking SERIOUSLY at that point in our journey. I am so thankful God works like that in a marriage partnership. When one of us is lacking in an area … say, like in faith … the other usually is overflowing with a huge measure of it. You might think this time around it'd be different, but not so much. I'm the one lacking, and The Prez is the one overflowing … with faith. I remember saying the words right before we left for China last fall, even still. And God was faithful.
I have no reason to doubt He'll be faithful this time around too. No, He absolutely does not promise us it will always be rainbows and sunshine. In fact, He says it rains on the just and the unjust. But He also says in Proverbs 16:3, "Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed." I think the key … at least for my understanding of it, which could be way off … is the word succeed. I wonder out loud here: what does God think is success? So I had to look up the original word used and what it means in the original language. Here is a link to Strong's Concordance on-line if you want to read the entire definition and original meaning and root. For me, this jumped out: the short Definition is certain. And words from the longer definition: to be erect (i.e. Stand perpendicular); hence (causatively) to set up, proper or prosperous), prepare (self), make provision, be stable, (e-)stablish, stand.
In short, I can know that God's plans for this journey to our son will be certain, that God will help us to stand perpendicular, that He will give us the provisions we need, and establish His plans in our family. That gives me great hope in the future--both near and far. It makes my heart sing to think of the plans He has for our family and this precious child. No, the path has certainly not always been sunshine and rainbows for our son thus far, and that will always be a part of who he is. And the path will not be all sunshine and rainbows for him once he becomes our child. Even still, God is. Yes, we have been led to our older son in China, and yes, we have already thought of all the looming questions many feel the need to point out to us. And no, we don't have most of the answers, but we know the One who does. That brings with it a huge measure of success.
And I have to end this post with a plea: if ANYONE has any feeling that your son is waiting in China, I am claiming God's certainty over the life of this 4 1/2-year-old boy whose file is waiting for his family to find him at Small World Adoptions, who has him listed by the alias "Frank." Please pray with me for his forever family, whoever they may be.