Details you need to know:
-At this point, we are legally matched to our 2.5yr old son & waiting to hear back from China about our paperwork
-We still know nothing concrete about the 5yr old boy we've requested to adopt
-We have been waiting 14+ months to hear if China has released his file & if we get to adopt him
-Our agency is based out of Colorado, so there is a 3 hour time difference
-We are prepping for the Chosen 10 Mile Race that would be held Saturday, 10/18/2014--I am slightly injured & JP has never run that far, ha!
-We are selling our incredibly awesome "Faith of a mustard seed" t-shirts designed by our Jayson & our talented friend Ryan
So here we go:
Per our usual routine, we called our agency to ask for an update our little guy. When I called for the update, I knew something was up.
Because here's the thing: social workers are smart creatures. The good ones are quite skilled at saying just enough to answer your questions without revealing information they are not allowed to reveal. This is what happened during this particular conversation. She asked me if Jonathan & I had discussed what we would do if we were not matched with him--& my heart sank. I diplomatically replied "no," we had not & she proceeded to suggest that we begin having that conversation.
That was all, nothing more, nothing less, & no further answers at that time.
Let me interrupt myself here to let you know that our contact person at the agency has been NOTHING but kind, empathetic, & efficient in her communication efforts with us; therefore, we were not angry with her, but understood this was all part of the process.
Friday, October 10, 2014
Two weeks have passed since the ominous phone call. We spent the 2 weeks looking at each other saying, "this sucks." And it did. It really, really did. Because we may not be social workers, but we're smart creatures too. When you adopt, you learn a thing or two about "deductive reasoning" & "the gut feeling." Neither worked in our favor here.
After the phone call, deductive reasoning suggested that his file had been released by the CCCWA (China's adoption authority) & that our agency had it in their hands. This would have been a good thing except for the discussion that took place on 9/26. So we deductively reasoned that yes, our agency had his file, & yes, there was another family interested in adopting him-or a child like him- & yes, they were ahead of us in line.
Let me interrupt again: the way China works is that everyone that wishes to adopt from China signs on with an agency, describes the type of child they would like to adopt, submits this paperwork, & is placed on a list, in chronologic order by the date they submitted paperwork. When a child comes available, they simply go down the list & offer the file to families whose request meet the child's characteristics.
In our circumstances, this means another family requested to see his file, or one like it, prior to the date we did. Therefore, they got to see it first. If they said "yes, we want to adopt him," he would be adopted by their family; if not, his file would move on to the next family--& we weren't exactly sure where we were in line (we really thought we were family #3).
On our way to dinner the evening of the 10th, our social worker from the agency called us & let us know that our deductive reasoning was correct: there was another family, potentially 2, in front of us in line, they had his file, & they were trying to make a decision.
And so we struggled. We couldn't really talk about it for a few days as we both attempted to wrap our heads around the reality that God just might have a different plan for this little one than the one we thought He had.
And in my gut, I knew we had 'lost' him.
We prayed ultimately that His will would be done: we know how greatly our lives have been changed, how much stronger we are as individuals, as a family, & how much clearer we see how God loves us through our adoption journey with Jayson--& who are we to want to take that from someone else?!? We know God loves this little boy more than we ever could, & we trust Him with his life. We felt confident that we could love this little guy, provide for him, & meet his needs, but who's to say this other family couldn't do all those things as well?? We know that more than anything, we want to be God's hands & feet in this little one's life, as we build relationship & work to bring His restoration to the dark, hurt corners of his life....but who's to say the other family wouldn't do those things too??
So we did the only thing we could do: we prayed for the other family to be courageous & wise & we prayed for our little one's future. We prayed that if God wanted him in their home, that they would be courageous enough to say yes, despite the unknowns. We prayed that if He didn't, they would be courageous enough to say no & that they would know God's peace about the decision, regardless of the outcome.
So we clung, ever so tightly, to the mustard seed of faith that God had indeed given us His vision for our family & that he would be ours, despite the odds stacked against us.
Thursday, October 16, 2014
Jonathan never really did wrap his head around the fact that this little boy might go home with another family. He just knew God was going to pull through, show off, & bring him home to us. I, on the other hand, wasn't so sure. I struggled with God, wrestled with Him. Did He bring this little guy to us so that we would know & adopt our 2.5yr old? Was there another child He was asking us to adopt? Was it only going our 2.5yr old & could I really be joyful & happy if so?
I had a million questions.
Did He bring this little one into our lives so we would have an ounce of understanding of what it's like to love someone we've never met, long for them, & yet not get to spend this life with them? Was this all so we could relate to how our adopted children must feel about their belly parents & families?? Is this how our children's biologic parents feel about the children they have trusted us to raise as our own??
And I am reminded of the painful part of this journey for all involved: there is no adoption without loss.
So as you can imagine, I didn't sleep much last week: there's a 12-hour difference between us & our boys, so when we go to sleep, they're getting up for the day. When we wake up, they're going to sleep. I often wonder who's tucking them in for the night. Are they warm/cool? Are they hungry? Are they happy/sad? How will Jayson adjust? What can we be doing to make the adjustment easier on him? Is he making real friends at school? How's my sweet, faithful husband's heart? How can I love him well through this? Where in the world is the family that has his file? Are they scared? Are they at peace? Are we becoming a family of 4 or a family of 5? Holy cow, how are we going to do this?!? What if we "lose" him? How are we going to cope? How do we tell Jayson? Will we be able to find out who adopted him? Can we send him the 100 wishes quilt we're making for him anyway? What if they put him up for re-adoption?
These are just some of the thoughts that keep me up at night.
And I prayed for my own heart. I asked God to change my heart about this kiddo if he wasn't going to be ours, & I begged Him to help me fall out of love with a child I've never met so that I can focus on the people He's blessed me with.
He didn't answer this request.
Friday, October 17, 2014
I woke up Friday morning before the Chosen race excited, nervous, & feeling as though my heart was being pulled in a million different directions. I am so very, very honored to be becoming a Mama again to a beautiful little 2.5yr old boy! And I am so very, very proud to be married to Jonathan & to get to be Jayson's Mama; the magnitude of these blessings is not lost on me!
As much as my heart longs to know what's going on with the 5yr old little guy, I am overwhelmed with joy to get to love our newest son! Everything we can tell from our video update shows us how adorable, feisty, & smart he is & we cannot wait to meet him!
But every time my phone rang my heart skipped a beat.
So there I was, slightly injured (difficulty with my left IT band from running, so I am walking with a limp), answering questions about race registration, & in my hairdresser's chair getting my hair done for the first time in many moons.
And the phone rang.
10:44am EST, 7:44 Colorado time
"How are you doing today?" ~agency social worker
"Okayyyyyy (thinking to myself "my answer really depends on what you're about to say!).....what's up?" ~me
"I have a little boy here that needs a home." ~agency social worker
"Is it ______ (code name of the 5yr old boy)?!??!" ~me
"It is!!!" ~agency social worker
And when I tell you I cried tears of joy, I'm being for real: there, in the hairdresser chair with my hair soaking wet & half way done, I cried uncontrollable tears of joy!!!
|Best haircut of my life!|
"I just got off the phone with the other potential family & they have declined to adopt him. They've had some things come up in their family & they know they cannot meet his needs right now. She said she had to call first thing this morning. She was very heartbroken & hated to say no, but have wrestled with the decision & they didn't sleep at all last night. This morning, she looked at her husband & he said, 'I know, he isn't our son.' She said she knew he was right, but they haven't stopped crying since. I hope you don't mind, but I shared a little about your family & how much you've longed for this child. She seemed very grateful to know he is going to be loved & well cared for." ~agency social worker
And to the Mama that had the wisdom & courage to say 'no' when I know it broke your heart: If you are somehow, someway, through the miracle of the internet reading this, I cannot tell you how honored we are that not one set of parents, but 2 are trusting us to raise this beautiful little boy as our own. You are a brave woman & I respect how difficult this decision must have been for your family. We do not see this as "us winning" but a beautiful part of the story that we will share with him one day & that he will know how much he is loved by your family as well. Just as I would promise his belly Mama, I promise you that I will love him unconditionally, unashamedly, & with everything that I have to give. Our family is no where near perfect, but we love each other with reckless abandon & promise we will strive to love him the way our Heavenly Father loves us! From the bottom of my heart, thank you for letting us love him!!
And that, my friends, is how our God works in mighty & mysterious ways!! That, my friends, is HIS timing at its finest, writing a story with details we could not have orchestrated if we had tried!! That, my friends, is validation that all it takes is a tiny amount--a mustard seed sized--faith that God will come through on His promises!!
That, my friends, is how we became the Pattersons, Party of 5!!!!
And now I am emotionally spent & promise to re-convene with details from Chosen Race in part 2
....trust me, you'll want to read it too!!