Tonight we celebrate the day we found our sweet baby girl. I have been hesitant in writing this, actually just wanting to save the memory in my head. Its a long story but an amazing one. I had a personal visit from God. So obvious, so wonderful, more emotional than I could have dreamed of..
Ready to read? Here we go!
Last year, Michael and I submitted our Medical Checklist in June, expecting a match sometime in the next 12-18 months. After submitting the list, I joined our agency's Special Needs yahoo group which had some great resources.
The Tuesday before Thanksgiving there were several posts on the yahoo group about 3 new babies on our agency's page. This page is for kids who have needs that were not matched with families, most are considered unknown or more difficult needs. I read the posts and then headed to our agency's website, which I had only done 1 time before. I saw the kids they were talking about and I had never ever asked about a file before. Never, we just wanted to get matched and knew God had our child picked out and waiting for us. Then there is the fear of accepting a baby who has needs you are afraid of.
So I randomly read the profiles and thought they don't sound bad but didn't really focus on the description, just that they were all young. So I emailed the Waiting Child Program and said I had an interest in any of the 3 of them. I figured I had a better shot of 1 if I at least picked 3 right?
That night, I commented to some of the group members and a lady sent me a private email asking if I was going to call about the youngest one, the 8 month old because she wanted to call but didn't want to fight over her! I quickly responded that no, I was not going to call, just an email just to give myself some options.
I told Michael what I did but we both kind of shrugged it off because we knew we were probably not even going to get to see the files. I checked my email that morning, and swear that I had 3 emails that said they were sorry but the files were being looked at by other families but thanks for your interest. Really, that was that. NO big deal, but at least I had asked to look at the file.
I finished up my cleaning and Christmas cards and headed to the post office because my Christmas cards have to go out before Thanksgiving so that you get mine first. Don't judge, I'm just crazy about Christmas like that! Got out of my car, opened the mail drop, placed my cards in, and then at 2:19pm, my cell phone rang that had the 303 area code on it. I answered the call, knowing it was my agency and worried that we didn't make it through review which I knew was a possibility. My heart sunk as I didn't want to get the phone call that our dossier has been turned down.
Then they said, Amy? I said yes? Are you still interested in looking at that file you requested yesterday? At this point, I had to get in the car and sit down. I had to ask which file, since I requested 3. The baby, the 8 month old with the joint abnormalities? I quickly replied YES YES!!! She said, Please don't get your hopes up. This baby has a lot of unknowns and her file was quickly turned down by the first family. On another note, apparently on the website, it said no calls please, only emails. Apparently everyone else called and left messages. She promised to send me the files and pics and I had until Monday to decide which meant we got longer to look at her files than most people. I called Michael and told him what was going on and to hurry up home so we could open the email together.
Michael got home and we got to the laptop downstairs and began to look at her pics and files. The first picture was of her unrepaired clubbed feet and quite frankly, it was not what I expected but then we got to her sweet face and all the medical info. I kept reading arthogryposis which is something we had not heard, but googled that while we were online. We stared at her, kept reading, thinking to ourselves and talked. I was a bit unsure but as God does in so many ways, he spoke to me through lyrics. Michael went upstairs and I kept reading, and thinking what if? What if she is mentally retarded? What if her issues are so severe and we don't have the money to help her? One of the medical reports said that the size of her head showed poor brain development. And then all of a sudden I kept singing an SCC song and the lyrics "What now? What will you do now that you've found me?" Really God, the road has been crazy but another SCC song? Really? and then I got quiet and listened to him. At this point, we shared our info with 2 people and 2 people only (my sister and a great friend of me and Michael's) who both promised to pray but our hearts had been changed. But that's not it.
First I had emailed the file to 2 good adoption friends who both gave me the "I'm not sure this is the one for you". I am so thankful for their honesty. It makes the story sweeter and they are soo good friends. I called and facebooked my friend Christy, whose pediatrician we are going to use. She called me from Disney World and said "Tell me we have a baby" and gave me the info we need. My cell phone died so then we corresponded via facebook as I shared what I knew and she read the agency's website. Then I get the email, "oh Amy, I know the people who are watching her. I have been sponsoring one of the girls at the foster home and I promise if there were more to the medical issues, they would tell you".
I tell you God worked fast that night, through the house, the Internet and my heart. Michael had been up for a long time so he was upstairs resting before we left for our date night. Then Donna calls me and her mom knows a blog about a child with the same issues and are in China. Later that night, I emailed the lady who was there and got these words. " I have no idea why I am awake at 4 am, but I am and just checked your email. Email me if you have any questions" God knows why she was up. Well for the next 24 hours, we chatted via email about clubbed feet and arthrogryposis.
That night, I got odd email from an old coworker who was asking for prayer. How random is this? She sent it to all of her praying friends and had no idea we were even contemplating special needs. She said she had been born with arthogryposis, had multiple surgeries to correct her feet and was born with clenched fists, just like LynnMarie. Randomly, I got email from an awesome nurse who works 12 hour days and had physical stuff just like Lu ChunAi. Seriously, my heart was crazy that night. I kept thinking, this is my baby, this is our sweet LynnMarie.
Friday we got the call from Dr. Janista who specializes in looking at medical files for international adoptions and gave me A LOT of information. She ended the conversation by saying this was not the first time she had looked at this file and was surprised the last family did not just snatch her up. God is good!
Sunday, I was fighting satan with doubts until I got a confirming email from Don and Be that said Step in faith. You will be rewarded for that step. If this child was not meant for your family, know that God will close that door. But God opened it, don't close it for Him. More special friends who have been praying and walking this journey with us called us and told me that they wouldn't be good friends if they didn't tell me their concerns. She is Special Ed teacher and I look to her for wisdom and honesty. With the info she gave me, she also said follow Don's advice.
So Sunday morning, I called that 303 number and told them we had a daughter. She said awesome, she knew we were the parents when she looked at our file the previous week. She had been praying for us and knew we had good resources here in Atlanta.
Right after that, we had friends help with our LOI and just a few weeks later, we got our PA and were able to share our news. Then I got an email from Alycia, a new friend in Texas. Apparently she had been following ChunAi's story since the beginning and had anticipated adopting her. But God had other plans and now she adopting an older little girl (her second from China). She has become a great friend and was able to meet LynnMarie after we got home..
That's the beginning of our story. That Wednesday night, God literally opened doors right in front of me. I had never experienced that in all of my life. It was a heart changing moment for both of us. I got my story, we have our daughter..
God most seriously rocks!