This time we are headed to Eastern Europe to adopt two younger children with special needs. Our daughter is 4 1/2 and has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, hydrocephalus, strabismus and some urinary issues. Our son is 14 months old and has Down Syndrome. We found both these children on the Reece's Rainbow website which advocates and awards grants to children in Eastern European orphanages, most all of them with various special needs.
God has truly called us to step out of our comfort zone this time! From the first day I found Reece's Rainbow and looked at their list of waiting children, I felt God truly move in my heart. I would pour over the list of hundreds of children and just pray and cry. I would emerge from our office red-faced and teary eyed from crying so hard for these precious babies that I could not stop, and my husband would look at me worried and ask if I was ok.
I told him that never in my life had I EVER felt the calling to be a parent to a child with any sort of special need................ until now. I mean, every time I had ever gotten pregnant, I did what most parents do. I said Lord, just please give me a healthy baby. That is what we all want and pray for, right? So after being blessed with all these healthy children, why oh why would I want to step up and parent a child with physical or mental needs??? Because.
Because if we don't than who will??
Because don't these children deserve a family just as much as every other child? Because isn't this what God calls us to do? Step out in faith?!
Tim and I talked long and hard about all of this. We actually found out about these two children while we were in the process of getting Gideon from China. We talked, we researched, we prayed, we talked some more. Our children begged. "Please go get them!!" they said. We talked long and hard with all of them about what this would mean for our family. The changes, the struggles, the differences. They were still adamant-- go get them.
So after much discussion, prayer, fence-riding and begging from the children, I left the decision ultimately up to my husband. On Valentine's Day of this year he gave me and our family a great gift-- yes, he said, lets go get them.
There was much whooping, hollering and tears of joy that morning in the kitchen before he left for work!!!!
Then, the paperwork began. Oh the paperwork. At the very least it kept me busy and my mind occupied during the long wait we had to go back and get Gideon after his TB test had come up positive, and we had to leave him in China. It gave me something else to do on occasion other than worry about him, which I did incessantly anyway. :)
Let me tell you, for those who do not already know.....filling out adoption paperwork is a full-time job! Absolutely exhausting.
So the paperwork finally got done, Gideon came home safe and sound, everyone was-- and still is-- adjusting beautifully, and we thought we would travel sometime in June. Maybe July. Oh no, of course not! After all, nothing goes according to our plan right? Have to trust that the Almighty has a better one I suppose, because don't you know, this particular country decided to change their adoption process of special needs children right as we are getting ready to be submitted! Of course.
So, although there is a bunch more to say about that I won't, other than that as of a few days ago, we finally got our travel date to go get our kids!!
Unfortunately it has to be postponed because this country in EE is still revamping their "special needs list" for kids under age 5. Children under 5 must be diagnosed with one of the needs on this list in order to be allowed to be adopted outside of their home country. Our little boy's need of DS is on the list, but FAS is not. The new list is due out on Oct 10th-- we hope-- and that is the EXACT date we were assigned for our appointment. We are therefore asking for an extension till about Nov 1st just to give the country a little time to implement that list, and in case it doesn't come out on the day they say it will. After all, since when does anything in politics happen on time?? We felt it was better to wait so that we have a better chance of bringing home both children at once, as was our plan. If Masha's need isn't on the list, she will have to wait until she turns 5 in January, we will have to re-do all of our dossier paperwork, and we will have to travel back then to get her. I certainly hope with all my might that this does NOT happen!!!!
This is a life saving mission of sorts you know. Our dear Miss Masha was due to be transferred to a mental institution in January right after her 4th birthday if a family did not come forward soon to adopt her. That was one of the reasons we knew we had to step out in faith again, like we did for Gideon. Her fate was sealed. She had run out of time. They do not keep these children until the ripe old age of 14 in this country as they do in China. Nope. If you have a special need, you better be adopted by age 4 or off you go to the institution. Heartbreaking.
People were advocating for her left and right, but no one was coming forward to commit to her. I was surprised, but I shouldn't have been. She was meant to be ours. :) We were meant to be her family, to step forward. And we did.
It was too horrible to think of where she might have ended up without a family committing to her, and where they still might have sent her even though they know we are coming, if the director had not considered her one of her "favorites".
Make no mistake though, this orphanage is still no life of luxury, favorite or not. This place is one of poverty and neglect. These children are not looked at as being worthy of families, after all who would want a less-than-perfect child?
As a result, our daughter-- though 4-- is all of about 20 lbs and fits into sz 2T clothing from what I am told. And that is even a little big on her slight frame. Our son is left for hours and hours to languish in a crib with no stimulation, no toys, no care. A 14 month old baby who probably cannot sit up on his own, hold a bottle, or perhaps even hold his head up. Because he almost NEVER is allowed out of his crib. Never. Can you imagine??!!
We must get them out. We are going to get them out. Soon. But not soon enough.
For now, please keep our family in your prayers. We covet them as well as your good wishes for us and our children-- both the ones we are leaving here in order to travel, and the ones we are going to save.
Pray that our flights will be safe.
Pray that we will have all the funds we need.
Pray that there will not be any suprises come court day, and that our judge will be wise and kind towards these children.
Pray that our children waiting there will be cared for well until we arrive to get them. Pray that our health will remain good while we are in-country.
And pray for the continued support of our friends and family for our adoption.
We thank God for entrusting the gift of these children to us and hope to serve Him to the best of our ability as their parents. We want to be up to the challenge!
Thanks to everyone in advance for your support!!!!!!!