I love adoption. It’s beautiful … messy … hard. It’s the big stuff — hope, joy, grief, love, sacrifice — wrapped up in one.
Adoption makes a world of difference to a child in need. It builds families. It’s an example of God’s handiwork. And being part of anything God does is just, well, awesome. When my husband and I brought two toddlers home from Russia in 2005, I knew I wanted to adopt again. So many children without families. I couldn’t take it. And I love kids, so why not parent one more? My heart ached.
“Just one more Lord. Please. I’m willing. I want to go. Please Lord. Send us again. Send us back to Russia. Please say yes.”
But, for ten years, God didn’t say yes. He actually said no. Big noes. Like slam the doors shut, and throw away the keys kinds of noes–
a job loss for Dan…
a cancer diagnosis for me…
Russia closing its doors to international adoption…
A lot of “whys” floated around in my head, until I guess I accepted that the answer was never going to be yes. Of course, I should be thankful for the two children we already had. And I was. “Thank you Lord for these two.” And so it went. Life was busy. Crazy busy actually.
And then, after ten years, it happened.
In February of 2015 everything was going great. Our Russian kiddos were 10 1/2, and were becoming more independent. Dan had a steady job working from home. I was cancer-free. Alone in our kitchen, I entertained a thought — maybe we should do it now.
“Lord, is this You? Are you saying yes?” And I felt the kind of big, big joy that meant it was Him, and that He was saying yes.
His answer hadn’t been no after all. It had actually been “not yet.”
All systems were go to adopt from China. I felt a huge sense of urgency, and flew through the paperwork and fundraising. One of the most challenging tasks was filling out our agency’s medical conditions checklist (MCC). We decided we wanted to adopt a toddler boy with minor or correctable special needs. The MCC contained a long list of medical needs, and our job was to research each one, and check off each need we felt we could handle. We put a lot of energy into that list. By the time we completed it, we felt it was a pretty accurate, and surprisingly broad, list.
How God led us to Gabe
In the midst of the paperwork frenzy, a few ladies from our agency traveled to China to visit the children they would be trying to place with forever families over the next several months. They shared pictures of some of the precious faces they had seen — sort of a “cuteness parade” without any written descriptions about the children. All the children were beautiful in their own ways, but the very first picture caused me to catch my breath. A sweet baby dressed in pale yellow, with big brown eyes. My mom saw the pictures as well.
“Oh Mom! That first one!”
We accepted his referral.
Working with Lifesong was wonderful. We received an interest-free loan, and the loan came through at just the right time. It allowed us to complete Gabe’s adoption. We were able to pay the loan back once we received the adoption tax credit.
In February 2016, my husband and I boarded a plane to Beijing. We had the privilege of picking up our son directly from the group foster home where he was living. We were greeted by two of his caregivers in the parking garage, and they walked us upstairs. Meeting each of our children for the first time has always been a surreal experience. If I close my eyes, I can smell the hallways, hear all the subtle noises. When the door opened, he was right there! All smiles! Pure joy! He went to me easily. In my arms I finally held our sweet boy.
Flash forward five months.
Gabriel turned two years old last week. He’s wonderful. He’s grown four inches since he came home. He says over a hundred English words. He’s happy, healthy, and loved by pretty much everyone he meets. This morning Gabe was standing at my feet, babbling emphatically as if he wanted something, but didn’t have the words he needed to express himself. I bent down, and he planted a big kiss on my cheek. It was beautiful. It was messy.
God answered my prayers. We have another son. Gabe has a family. He, and his adoption, are examples of God’s handiwork.
And being part of anything God does is just, well, awesome.
To read the full story–and to learn about Gabe’s experience with Congenital Ichthyosis–click here.
Amelia, thank you for sharing your heart and your journey to bring Gabe home. We are grateful God saw fit to have you wait (and wait … and wait!) for this specific little boy who is now loved so well by your family. What a poignant reminder that God is always at work in the details of our story. Thank you!
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