Just living my life, and making it work!

Posts tagged ‘International adoption’

China Said “No”, So Now What? 

For those of you not playing along at home we have five children. We have three biological children, and two kids adopted from China. We submitted paperwork to the Chinese government to adopt another little girl which was summarily dismissed by their authorities on the basis of our low vision. We appealed the decision to no avail.  For the last 2.5 years we have been working and planning to adopt again. My children  were super excited to have another little sister, and to go back to China. That door has been closed for our family, so now what? 

First, we are broken hearted for the daughter who is loved and desperately wanted, but will never know it. I pray almost hourly that another family will  step forward for her. She has medical needs that  are not being met in China. She very likely has a rare genetic disorder that her care takers don’t even know she has. It requires screenings that she is not getting in China. Knowing that God loves her, sees her, and knows what she needs even more than we do is the only thing that makes this bearable. 

We are shocked, and angry. This is straight up discrimination, and it would be illegal here in America. We were denied based soly on having a disability. They ignored our proven track record of TWO OTHER CHINESE ADOPTIONS. They ignored our glowing post placement reports for those two kids. They ignored our videos showing us to be capable parents. They ignored the letter our oldest  adopted daughter with spina bifida wrote telling them how she is now learning  to walk because of the medical care she received since being in our family.  They saw the diagnoses of low vision, and that was that.
Despite our heartache we will choose greatfulness. We are grateful for the two children we do have from China.  Both of our adoptions had someone in China try to disrupt the adoption when they knew we had low vision. With the adoption of our first son we were in China signing the final paperwork . The lady made a phone call, and was on the phone for a good 10 minutes. We thought nothing of it, but later our translator told us the woman took one look at my husband’s cane, and called  the social welfare people to ask if they were sure she should let us take Kai home.  With our daughter one part of the process was taking longer than it should. We found out later that a particular person was campaigning for us not to be able to adopt her. Apparently the same person is the one who rejected us this time. Every child added to our family, be it through biology or adoption, is a mirical of God. The last few days has been a sobering reminder of that.

We will choose love. It is tempting for us to harden our hearts against China, but we are going to choose love, and mercy. This is the first home of two of our children. If we reject China it would be rejecting part of our children. We loved our time in China, and hope to visit again some day. Telling my teenage daughter who was only adopted 18 months ago, and was really looking forward to going home agin, that we couldn’t was heartbreaking. We will continue to support other China adoptive parents, and agencies serving Chinese orphans. 

We are going to choose faith. The song “Trust In You” by Lauren Daigle conveys our feelings perfectly. Adopting a third child from China to complete our family has been a dream, and goal go ours for seems like forever. We did all the “right” things to make that happen. The reality of that not happening now was crushing.  BUT, like the song says, we will lay that dream at His feet. We also know that when God says “no” to a dream it’s either because it’s not for you, or because He has something better planned. Either way we trust Him, and will accept it even if we don’t understand. 

We are going to choose hope, and go where He sends us. China is closed to us, but we still have room in our hearts and home for another child. We are exploring other options to complete our family both international and domestic.  China was comfortable as we had done it twice, and know exactly what to expect/do. We aren’t sure what will happen next, or that we will even ever have a sixth child. But, we aren’t giving up now. We definitely know what James 4 :13-15means. If the Lord wills it we will add another child to our family. I am a planner, and don’t do well with uncertainty, or rejection for that matter. We are choosing to consider this a season of growth and refinement.  


STUCK, Coming To A Theatre Near You!

Almost daily someone asks me about our adoption. The most frequently asked question is “When will you go get him?”. Their jaw almost always drops when I have to say “Not for another six to eight months..” Yes, our home study showing we are fit parents is complete. Yes we have completed our required 12 hours of training, and have read several books to prepare ourselves. Yes, we have gathered all the necessary legal documents. Yes we have completed a finger print back ground check. Yes, we have prepared our home for the addition for another child. We have been declared fit parents, and that we are a safe and loving home for this little boy. So….what’s the hold up? BUREAUCRACY!!!

I shouldn’t complain too loudly. Our adoption should take about 12-15 months. That is much shorter than the average time of three plus years. There is a disconnect between the many families available for adoption here in the USA, and the children waiting for them in orphanages around the world. This has been one of those situations where you just shake your head in sorrowful disbelief, but you don’t really know what you can do to change it. Wellll……..a new nonprofit has popped up to address this issue. The mission of Both Sides Burning is to raise awareness about adoption as a viable option, and to facilitate a change in the current system of international adoption. In an effort to raise awareness of the problems engulfing international adoption they have developed a full length documentary titled “Stuck”.

The film will be available in select theaters across the country! It is comming to my city, and I could not be more thrilled! In fact, I have even volunteered to help get the word out to faith based organizations. You can find the dates and city listings here just scroll to the bottom to find the calendar. All proceeds from the movie go back into the campaign. If you cannot attend a showing here are some other ways you can make a difference.

First, sign the petition to congress.
Second, share this blog post on your Facebook page. Or, add a link to their website to your Facebook or twitter account.
Third, if you do live in a city where Stuck is showing you can be part of their volunteer core. They have jobs for people from involved to very simple. I am sure there is something for everyone.
Last, you can become a “Member” of the organization for a donation of $35 or more. Members get special access to the progress of the organization as well as a wrist band identifying you as a supporter of children and families.

It only takes a minute to sign the petition and hit the share button. I hope that if you agree that all children should be given the basic right to be nurtured and loved by a family that you will take a few minutes to help create a positive change in the international adoption machine.

Hey You’re Chinese! Wanna Be Friends?

I never pictured myself as an interracial parent. I was very surprised when God opened our hearts to a Chinese boy. It is not that I have any problem with Chinese culture or people, I just didn’t know anything about it. Once we committed ourselves to this little boy I started reading everything I could about Chinese culture, and interracial adoption. Honestly, I could not be any whiter, and I have absolutely no idea what it means to be Chinese in America.

I have always known it would be important for our son to maintain his cultural heritage, but I am learning that race issues are far more complicated than simply attending Chinese school. One of the issues I worry about is him not being accepted by members of the Chinese culture because he isn’t “Chinese enough”. Add to this a cultural negative attitude about adoptees and people with disabilities, and it might be very difficult for him to really connect with people from his homeland. I realize he may or may not feel a need to participate in the Chinese community, and only time will tell. However, I want him to be able too if he finds it important to a fulfilled life.

One thing I keep hearing over and over again is the importance of parents having close friends from the child’s culture. I can appreciate that it is good for the child to see that you value people who are like them, and that such a friendship could be a large source of cultural information. However, I cannot help having this ridiculous image in my head of white parents, minority children in toe, running up behind other minority adults with the sole intent of feeding their child’s culture bank. It seems to me that seeking out and cultivating relationships entirely on the basis of race or ethnicity is just as demeaning as rejecting a relationship on the same basis.

Don’t get me wrong, we will join our local Families of Children from China, participate in important Chinese cultural events, and encourage our child to maintain his language. I am sure through the course of time friendships will naturally develop as a result of spending time in the Chinese community. I cannot wait to see all the great new experiences and people that will be added to our family.

The Other Woman

One of the reasons I chose international adoption was because I didn’t want the type of open adoption that is so common in the United States. I didn’t want the extra stress of having the biological mother in my life. I particularly didn’t want another woman that is likely not to share my values having an influence over my child. I was under the mistaken impression that going halfway around the world would keep this other woman out of my life. The truth is that although we’ll never meet she is a part of my life. Like it or not, I am sure she will have an influence over my son to be.

Several days ago was my son to be’s legal fifth birthday. I say legal birthday, because the truth is no one really knows the true date of his birth. He was abandoned outside of a hospital as an infant. It is illegal to relinquish children in China so there was no note left with information that could possibly lead the police back to his biological family. As my heart was aching for this child I suddenly thought about his biological mother. After all she knew his exact birthdate. Where is she now? Does she think of him each year on his birthday? Does she wonder how he’s doing or if he received the eye surgery she couldn’t / wouldn’t provide?

Suddenly and unexpectedly I started to have a heart for this other woman. As a biological mother myself I wanted so much to reach out to her. I wanted her to know that he did receive a sight saving surgery. That he is relatively healthy and happy. I wanted her to know that he would be joining our family in America. That he has the chance to grow up in a close loving family with lots of siblings. That his tummy would never be truly hungry again, or that he would never be too cold to sleep. I wanted to look her in the eye and tell her how much I love the child she carried, and what good care I will give him. Of course there is no way for me or the orphanage staff to contact her. All I can do is pray that she has found peace with the decision she made to abandon her son.

i have to admit when I first began my adoption journey I saw most birth parents as selfish cruel people who just threw away their children. I didn’t see them as individuals facing tough decisions. I thought of them more like a group of faceless people who were just taking the easy way out. I now realize that this assessment is overly simplistic, and unduly harsh. These mothers are faced with very difficult pressures like extreme poverty, lack of healthcare, one child laws, and pressures from older generations of family members to get rid of the ” unlucky one”. Conditions in an orphanage aren’t great, but it does mean at least some healthcare, food, and education for these children. My son to be can see now because of the cataract surgery he received on both eyes. Leaving him on that hospital road was an act of hope, and love not selfishness or disgust.

I feel a cosmic connection to the woman who carried my son, and gave him life. How much more must he be thinking of her? I am sure in the years to come there will be lots of tearful conversations regarding this other woman. It breaks my heart that I won’t be able to answer his questions about his biological family. Still, I am starting to realize that no matter how far around the world I go My life will forever be linked to this other woman. After all we will both be loving mothers to the same little boy soon I hope.