Friday, April 23, 2010

The Red Thread...

April is exactly two years since we first signed on the dotted line to start the process to adopt Shiloh. Yes, we knew her name long before we knew who she was, but the one thing that has been clear is that God knew who she was all along. The Chinese believe that all babies are born with an invisible red thread that connects them to all the people who will be important in their lives and that this red thread may stretch and bend but will never break. When we started this journey of adoption, I tied a red thread around my left wrist and I still have it on today. I will continue to wear it until we have Shiloh home. It has been a reminder to pray for her and about her. Sometimes Dakota wants a "bracelet" on as well and she will wear it several days praying for her sister too. So as I reflect on two years of waiting I think back to the first few months, when we were so excited about another daughter. We use to wonder if she had been born yet, we use to wonder what her story would be and we often wondered if we would wait the "three years that current families were waiting at the time." I can only kick myself that I didn't research that information a little better. As of this month (April 2010) families from 2006 are the first to wait 4 years for their healthy children from China. Thus our decision to switch from the healthy child program and think about a child with special needs. At our ages, this was the best path to take, but what I had not expected was a complete change in our adoption mission. As we began to look at various special needs and what we thought we could handle, it became clear that God was pushing us this direction....God had prepared our hearts to become open to a child who needed a family even more. Suddenly, it was the right thing to do and this was in May 2009 when we made the official change to accept a child with special needs. After waiting almost 6 months with our first Agency (And this is an excellent agency) we realized that we still had no idea when we would be matched with a child and the 12 months we were hearing, had become 16 months and possibly 22 months.....something that seemed so clear was slipping further and further away. Amazingly the process of looking for a special needs child opens your heart enough to know that it is just not about us but about the child. God's children who wait. This has truly been a growing process and a submitting to God process. When you adopt a child, it feel as if nothing is in your control but everything is pulling you in the right direction even though it feels like one step forward and one step back. But along the path of the unknown, things began to click. So as things would happen, I met Christina on an online chat group and she was with my same agency and had heard nothing in over a year herself. She mentioned she would probably transfer to another agency as China now allowed transfers from one agency to another if a child was found waiting on an agency specific list. I knew this back in May 2009 but Chuck was reluctant to swap agencies because our agency had such a good reputation. I didn't push about it too much, being hopeful we would hear something soon. Then one day Christina called and said she was transferring to another Agency and shared the name with me. I had already contacted two other agencies but had not found children on their lists that matched what we were looking for. I told Chuck that Christina had made the move and then the next day she called to tell me she had a son and that at this agency there were 5 little girls with minor needs just sitting there and waiting on families. I let Chuck know it was time and we were transferring agencies and there was no looking back. I contacted the new agency and it took me about 4 days to get them the paperwork they had requested. I was a little frustrated by this as I could have gotten everything in one day but each day I got something to them, they needed something else. So in 4 days I was set and the Social Worker for this agency called me with a file. We had been surprised as by the time 4 days was up, the 5 girls files were pending with other families. We quickly knew this was not our daughter, but we were ecstatic to actually view a file as we had never even been offerred a file from the previous agency, so at least this made us hopeful. And then later the same night (Nov. 18th, 2009) our social work called again with another file. We had looked at this little girl and I had even commented on how pretty she was, but of course she had been pending with another family so we didn't think we could get her file. We were told this family had made another decision. So we had the opportunity to view her file. She had just turned two and her special needs were what we could handle. I reviewed her file, what little info there was with two docs and Chuck and I decided this was Shiloh. It all fell into place, this was our daughter. It was too easy thanks to Christina's info and encouragement. So we gained a daughter, a new agency and for me a new group of friends. Five other ladies taking a chance, transferring to a new agency and claiming their children. We have named ourselves "the Renegades!" Women with an adoption mission but now friends supporting each other through the process. A really cool group of individual personalities all focused on the same event, bringing our children home. So again, as I reflect about the last two years and how we found Shiloh, with things seeming so very easy-all but the waiting...I have to think God knew these women too. The amazing thing is there is the possibility I will travel with a couple of them when we go to China. How incredible would that be and we are pretty sure this will happen. I am amazed that the Chinese belief of the red thread must also apply to the Renegades! We truly are sisters, helping each other, laughing, crying and waiting together. One of our group is already home with her beautiful 4 year old daughter and it has been an incredible story to follow. Two more of our group are next and very soon will go to get their children. And then the last three of us will follow not too long afterwards. God is good! So here is to Marsha (Already home with Anna Grace), Jean (Waiting on Elyssa), Diane (Waiting on Leanne), Christina(Waiting on Nathan) and Sarah (Waiting on Leah)...true renegades and good friends. And two years is a long time waiting. An Elephant stays pregnant for 22 months...we even beat that. Two years is a long time for a baby to wait for a forever home. Two years is a long time for a big sister to try to understand and two years is a long time for Grandparents to worry and hope with us. But the redthread connection has kept everyone hanging to hope and connected.

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