Monday, August 26, 2013

Fools from the Beginning

On April 15th, 2013, exactly one-year from the day that we carried Moses and Miriam out of their orphanage in Ethiopia, we found ourselves staring into the strangely-familiar eyes of a little girl in China with dwarfism and special needs.  

Panic swirled in my chest and fear filled my heart, because this was not part of our plan, nor did we feel equipped.  Then one word came so clear and yet so soft, like a whisper, and everything went still:


But we need to back up a little bit in order for me to tell this story.  
Because it started a long time ago.

When we came home from Ethiopia last year, 
we were actually carrying 3 babies into this country.   

I was newly pregnant, and we were beyond ecstatic.  A few weeks later, that baby skipped ahead in the line that I am still waiting in and was delivered into the arms of Jesus.  I praise Him for His plan and His purpose for that baby...Hallelujah.

Because nothing is lost in Him.

We felt His presence as we assumed our new role as parents to four children; which now including two tiny Ethiopians who moved into our family carrying big, painful baggage.  

God guided our hearts as we helped them to unpack it, one screaming fit at a time.  A picture of Heaven descended upon this house as He showed me what Redemption looks like through the eyes of our broken daughter and our beautiful son, healed by His own Hand.  I saw miracles.    

We all did.

Throughout the year that followed, Chinese adoption impressed itself on my heart, and I began to fight against it.  No Way.  For many years, we had "known" that we were "not qualified" to adopt from China, and besides, we had never "felt called" to do so.  I frequently told people this. 

"We will never adopt from China."  

Fast forward to April 7th of this year.  

I found myself at a friend's 5K for Love Without Boundaries benefiting a Chinese orphanage, surrounded by Chinese daughters with their adoptive families, and God tapped on my heart.  

And I said NO.  

For the entire 5K around the lake, I "negotiated" with God, reminding Him that any other children He had in mind for our family would be coming from Ethiopia or from foster care.  I got nothing but silence from Him, so I repeated my "No" into the air and stomped off to the car, where I filled Paul in on my thoughts:

"I don't think we should ever adopt from China, do you?  Let's not.  Great.  Glad that's settled."  (I didn't give him time to respond, so I was talking to myself.)

One week later, with one click of my mouse while helping a prospective adoptive parent look into the ethical standing of an agency operating in Ethiopia, I found myself staring at this picture of my daughter; our Haven.  

I put down all the fight that was left in me.  I knew her, and I had loved her my whole life without knowing it.  Paul and I had to laugh at the situation, because we had never considered dwarfism or any of her other needs when we had prayed about a waiting child adoption.  We had considered many special needs, but hers were not among ANY of them!  And here we were, already her parents in our hearts.   

We were fools for her from the beginning.

So you can imagine our surprise when we heard back from the agency:

"Haven is on hold with another family."  

And then, just days later,

"The family who has her on hold is moving forward with their paperwork for her."  

Then, the agency presented us with the idea of adopting another waiting child in place of Haven, and as we looked at the waiting child list again, we were certain of one thing:  

We were to wait for Haven.    

Because He waited for us.

So we waited for the unlikely chance to adopt this child, and each night, God tucked me into His peace with His promise: 

...She is yours...Wait for Me....

And I did not doubt Him.

And two weeks later, because He sits on His throne:

"Dear Missy, Haven has become available again..."

We said yes in 10 seconds, despite the fact that it did not appear we would qualify.  We asked the agency to try to obtain waivers for the unmet qualifications, because at this point we knew without any doubts that He was clearing the path for her.  

One of the qualifications we did not meet was financial.  It pained me to think of asking for a financial waiver.  While we were scrambling for documents to obtain approval and brainstorming the financial solution, our tax return from the last adoption was deposited into our bank account from the IRS unexpectedly and unannounced, in almost the exact amount needed to meet the financial requirement, two hours after we said YES.

Immanuel, God with us. 

And on July 3rd, after a 6-week wait for an answer 
that normally takes 5 days, China approved our Letter of Intent, 
and this precious jewel became our daughter.

This child, who was growing in her mother's tummy
 while Lilly was growing in mine. 

This child who has never known a family, but has been prayed for and remembered by visitors to her orphanage since 2007.  

This child who has waited in hope, but will now wait in certainty 
that she has been chosen and that she has a family.

This child is coming home.  

I believed this from the moment I saw her, and I have known her story since I was a little girl.  She was always there.  And while God was preparing a place for me, He was preparing a place for her in this family and in our hearts.  Over the past few years, He has quieted my every fear and removed my every doubt of His love for me.  

He has set me free. 

He has brought me to my safe place, resting in His peace that passes understanding, so we have named her accordingly from this verse:

"They cried out to the Lord in their trouble
and He brought them out of their distress.
He stilled the storm to a whisper; 
the waves of the sea were hushed.
They were glad when it grew calm
and He led them to their desired Haven."
-Psalm 107: 28-30

And because He has become our Refuge,

 She has become our Haven.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

ADOPTING AGAIN: Our Daughter with Dwarfism!

We have been keeping a little secret.

We are adopting a little girl from China 
with achondroplasia dwarfism and special needs and... 

TODAY is her 6th BIRTHDAY!!!

Meet our new daughter,

Happy Birthday, 
My Beautiful Girl.

At 31 inches tall, 
Haven will be our oldest,
even though she stands smaller than Moses!

We think she is just perfect.
Just as she is.

She is "a planting of the Lord 
for the display of His splendor."
-Isaiah 61:1-3

While there are many uncertainties about 
her overall health, her medical needs, 
and which type of dwarfism she has...

We know that He has a Plan,

and that He has been writing her story
since the Beginning.

We found Haven on a waiting child "special focus" list 
for older or harder to place children 
with moderate to severe special needs.

This is the picture we saw:

Then came the question...

(And we've heard it before)

"Do you have room for me?"




Haven has been waiting 
in an orphanage for a family 
SINCE 2007.

The wait is OVER.

This is the face of a little girl 
being told that she has been Chosen, that she is Cherished, 
and that she will not spend her life in an institution: 

This is the face of a little girl being told that the family 
in the photo album are her people - and that 
She is no longer a "Waiting Child"  
because WE are now waiting for HER:

And this...

This is the face of a little girl who was her sister's biggest advocate, who insisted that Haven would come home even after we lost her file and all hope seemed lost, who refused to accept "no" and prayed every. single. night.

So, while this adoption may not be
the picture that 
we had imagined for our family... 

we know that God is painting a picture that is 
much. more. beautiful.  

And we are going to watch Him put 
it all together, piece by piece.

Because of some of the uncertainties that Haven's health brings, 
the probability of surgical needs, and our recent double adoption from Ethiopia, 
we need to fundraise towards the 29K adoption cost to bring Haven home.  

Will you be a part of her story? 

For every $20 donated
we will write your name on the back of one puzzle piece. 

The completed puzzle will be placed in a double-sided frame and hung on her wall!
1)  DONATE by Paypal:

2)  Or DONATE to our tax-deductible 
AdoptTogether Fund:
Happy Birthday, Haven!
And thank you, Friends.

Please share our story,
because you KNOW He writes a Good One:

"Let them thank the Lord for His steadfast love,
for His wondrous works to the children of man!
For He shatters the doors of bronze
and cuts in two the bars of iron."

-Happy Birthday, Baby.