I wouldn't really call it "begging"... well... maybe. I'd rather call it "hinting"! Let's just say I've done A LOT of "hinting" over the past several years. About WHAT? you might ask... Well... adopting another child (or two!) ... that's all! My sweet hubby who is so obviously crazy about his two princesses from China just wouldn't "bite off" on all those hints! I think he thought that if he ignored me long enough, I might give up. I didn't! And as our older children grew and eventually started leaving their empty beds behind, I sensed that he might just be "softening". He made a fatal error during tax season, upon realizing that all of our adoption tax credits had been expended, by saying that we might have to adopt again to lengthen those credits. The words had barely tumbled out of his mouth when I literally tackled him! Had my ears deceived me??? The smile on his face said that they had not. I became more and more bold in my internet surfing of waiting children. Doug knew what was happening... I assured him that I was just looking for my "friends". Well...that was "partly" true!... (right Stacy?) Checking RainbowKids became a daily highlight for me. Even when I traveled to NC to care for my parents in April, I was sure to check out the new kids on the site every night! Late, late one night an email arrived that a child of "interest" had been posted. As was my habit, I clicked it open, typed in my password,... and there she was! A beautiful 9 year old girl that made my heart skip a beat! How is it possible for a photo the size of a postage stamp to take your breath away... and make sleep impossible... and invade your every prayer? If there is such a thing as "love at first sight", then this would be IT! I wanted her to be mine! Now... what to do about that hubby of mine??? I decided to contact the agency holding her files and get a little more info in my arsenal before tackling hubby again! Well... I didn't know that they would want Doug's signature on the application before they'd let me see her files. What to do??? Forge his signature... of course! Surely he wouldn't mind! :-) Seeing that sweet 9 year old's files sealed the deal for me. After all, I was already "in love" with the postage stamp of her. There was no turning back of this mama's heart. More lost sleep... many, many more prayers were spoken... A committee was to meet three days later to consider any families that had shown interest in her adoption. I had a lot of work to do in one short weekend!
Now...THIS is where the immeasurable begging begins! And if I did that kind of begging in person, I might have become a blubbering idiot. Plus, I didn't want to give Doug the opportunity to say "no" right away that we he had so many times before. So I did the only thing I knew to do... I wrote the most convincing Email I could muster and pushed "send" right before I got in the car for the 7 hour trip home from NC to Ponte Vedra. "Ryan's bed is about to be empty", I pleaded, "and isn't there always room at our table for one more?" I begged him to pray and pray hard. No hurry or anything... I just needed to know something before Monday morning! :-)
I knew Doug's answer to my pleading Email the moment I walked in the door late that night... He was smiling! Grinning from ear to ear! He was saying "YES" with his eyes and I knew it!!! OK... I admit it... I was giddy with delight! I had little doubt that the precious 9 year old girl that had my heart would actually be MINE! Doug and I sat together on Sunday night and completed the application and wrote statements on why we thought that WE should be selected to be her parents. What a thrill to read Doug's very convincing argument that we were the perfect choice for this little girl. Is it any wonder I love this man so much??? The committee would meet on Monday and notify the families before 5 pm regarding their choice. There were apparently two other families that applied. Still I was confident! I was smitten and refused to believe that it could be possible that we might not be chosen to be her family.
My cell phone was literally attached to my body all afternoon... This would be a phone call I would NOT miss! 5 pm came... no call. I knew that the agency closed at 5:30... what was taking so long? I was pacing the floors... heart pounding... palms sweating... It occurred to me that no news was probably NOT good news... I began bracing myself for the disappointment... An Email arrived. I could hardly bring myself to read it. If it contained "happy" news, I simply couldn't understand why they would want to wait until 5:28 pm to send it. As feared, it didn't contain the happy news I had hoped for. They had chosen another family for "my" 9 year old. My heart dropped directly into my stomach like a bomb... How could this be? I just knew that we were the perfect family for this girl! How could they have possibly gotten this wrong??? Doug grabbed my hand and took me for a walk on the beach. He knew how deeply disappointed I was and to my surprise, he seemed almost as disappointed himself! "God loves us... He has something better for us... we can trust Him" Doug verbalized everything I knew to be true, but was not yet ready to embrace! I had a good cry, asked the Lord for enough faith to release my desires for this little girl to Him,... and then tried to move on.
Oh... but I prayed! I prayed like I'd never prayed before, that something...anything... would happen and the family that had been chosen would change their minds! Every time the phone rang I would jump, in hopes that it would be "the call" I'd been praying for... But with each passing day, my hope was dampened more and more. Doug encouraged me to continue to look at other children available for adoption and see where God might lead us. I did... but my heart wasn't really in it! I was still waiting for that phone to ring with happy news! I'd been through the special needs sites so many times, I felt like I nearly had them memorized.
There was one little girl in particular that I was continually drawn back to, but the information regarding her health condition scared me, and I'd quickly move on. Finally, after 10 days of waiting for a phone call that never came, I felt a strong tugging from the Lord to call the agency holding the little girl with a severe heart defect. This seemed like a crazy idea... I'd have rather sat in my recliner and wait for that phone call a little longer... God wouldn't "hear" of it... He forced me out of my chair and in front of my computer screen. I called an agency that was advocating for the little girl with CHD. The lady on the other end of the phone stunned me by her comment! "You know," she said, "This little girl is terminal! Are you prepared for that?" I responded with the first thing that came to my mind.... "Last time I checked, we were ALL terminal!" "No... I don't know if I'm prepared for that, but a dying child needs a mommy and daddy more than a living one!" What was I saying??? Here I was... ready to fight... ready to bring home a child with no guarantees of a full life... this was crazy! But I KNEW that it was the Lord!
I discovered that this 7 year old girl's files were actually being held by GWCA! We used them for Kate's adoption and LOVED them! I called GWCA, and while having what felt like an "out of body" experience, I told Stephanie Crouch to lock her files for us so that we could pray about making her ours... Her files arrived just a few moments later. I took them to Doug immediately... told him her story... explained that she was "terminal". We both KNEW what God was asking of us and since neither Doug nor I can EVER say "no" to the Lord, we said "YES!" We simply refuse to leave a precious little girl alone to die in China without the love of a Mommy and Daddy... without ever hearing of the love of Jesus! The decision had been made! SHE was our new daughter!
What we DIDN'T KNOW at that moment was that while I was on the phone with Stephanie locking our new daughter's files... my cell phone was ringing in the bottom of my purse. I discovered it hours later... the call I'd been waiting and hoping for for 10 days had come! "My" 9 year old was available for adoption again! Were we still interested? Are we still interested???? Are you kidding? We are absolutely still interested! Doug knew immediately what this meant! We were not only adopting a 7 year old with a severe heart defect, but a healthy 9 year old too! Someone pinch me.... surely I've died and gone to heaven!
Not so fast there, Dreamer! No...you have not died! and No...you have not gone to heaven yet! We have two orphans files locked with two different agencies and this would be impossible unless one of those agencies would release the files to the other so that both girls could be adopted together. It didn't take long to figure out that the agency holding my 9 year old's files wasn't too happy about our "plans". They had no intention of releasing her files, as they don't allow the adoption of two at once. We had the weekend to decide WHICH of the two girls we would bring home. Such decisions should NEVER have to be made. My heart said one - the Spirit of God seemed to pull me in the opposite direction. We prayed, we prayed, and we prayed some more... By Monday morning the answer to those prayers was obvious and Doug and I were in complete agreement! We were to let the 9 year old go once again and pursue the adoption of a little girl who needed a miracle. We were at complete peace. I knew that if God had returned our 9 year old once, He could do it again, should she be meant to be ours! So once again...we let her go! GWCA fought valiantly to try to get the 9 year old's files for us, even petitioning the CCCWA to get involved on our behalf. Within 24 hours another family was "miraculously" found for the 9 year old I had grown to love so much. The door has been closed! Many, many tears have been shed. It was a heart wrenching roller coaster ride and one I was most happy to get off of. Sadly it did not produce the daughter I so wanted to be the mommy of... but I am resting in the arms of my God who loves me and knows what is best for me and for the little girl who will forever hold a special place in my heart!
God's journey for us is now leading to places I'd have never dreamed of going. Only He knows what lies ahead for our 7 year old daughter (Rachel) and for our family. But we feel privileged that He would consider us worthy for such a "high" calling and we are content to stay in this difficult place as long as we know He's here with us! His immeasurable grace will be sufficient!