Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Your Yes or No

Your no is someone else's yes. And your yes might have been someone else's no.

"I have it all planned out--plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for." Jeremiah 29:11 (Message)

I still remember the very first child's file we ever inquired about. It was a little boy with an unrepaired cleft palate/repaired cleft lip. We were so entirely excited, because he seemed like he would fit in so well based on what we read about online. Before we could view the file, another family had already stepped forward to be his Forever Family.

The next file we inquired about was a little girl, and we were the ninth family to inquire about her. Again, we were so excited, but based on the sheer number of families in front of us, we realistically knew we would never see her file.

We did this two or three more times before finally deciding we just needed to wait until we were DTC (dossier to China). Getting our hopes up until getting an email saying that another family had stepped forward to view the file before we could was starting to wear on and discourage us.

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'"Jeremiah 29:11 (niv)

Then we were matched, just one day after our dossier was sent over to China in January 2016. To be matched means that a child with a medical condition that we had previously "checked yes" to was now available to us. It was the first file we had ever received and we were, basically, ecstatic. We read his file over and over again, and every time we found something to laugh about or something more to love about him. He loved bread. We love bread! Noodles and dumplings were his favorite. We could easily make noodles and dumplings our favorite! And even though he was young, he had a no-nonsense personality that we loved and felt like he would fit right in.

We were encouraged by friends to get his file reviewed by an international adoption doctor. While waiting for that appointment via phone call, in the days between we also researched his need and realized more and more that we didn't know if we would be able to provide the care he needed. The phone call with the IA doctor confirmed that there might be more going on than what was listed, and even though Derek and I were conferencing in to the call each from our own workplaces, we knew that ultimately, we were not the family for him without even needing to discuss it--all while the doctor was congratulating us on such a cute little boy, such a fun child, what a personality, etc. Even now, over a year and a half later, thinking about writing our agency to say no still makes me tear up a little bit.

We gave ourselves a week or two to recover, but I couldn't help myself and started inquiring over files again. One was a boy with mild cerebral palsy--and no one could find his file anywhere. Another was a boy that was listed CL/CP (cleft lip/palate), but it was obvious after reading through the file that there was more going on than what was listed.

Obviously, you all know where this is going. Only six weeks later from our first match did we get the call about Jet. Obviously, you know how that turned out. But that's not what I'm writing about tonight.

You see, for every single one of those kids, all of those files, you have no choice but to imagine your life with them. Or their life with you. Full of family vacations that you want to take, baseball games or basketball, (just hopefully not cross country) favorite foods, reading books in the car on road trips, kindergarten, eighth grade, etc. It's a future that is almost within reach, until something happens and you realize you are not the family for them, and they are not the child for you. And all of those hopes and dreams go away, and you feel that loss significantly.

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'Plans for peace and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.'"Jeremiah 29:11 (esv)

And now we're starting this process again. We've actively reviewed one file with the intention to submit our yes, only to have it disappear before we could do so. We've received two more files over the past month that we've been "matched" with per our already filled out medical conditions checklist. One who would have been a great big brother for Jet, and another who would have been a fantastic little brother. Both of which were difficult "no's" to give. Both of which we had those dreams and hopes of a future, but neither were in God's plan.

A small comfort that we've clung to is "your no is someone else's yes." Almost all of the children that we've been matched with--and all of the children that we've inquired about--are with or have their forever families. One is already is in her forever home with Jesus. And we know that that's the way it was meant to be.

Because what is the end goal here? What is the purpose for why we are doing this? Sure, we want to grow our family. Jet needs a sibling desperately (desperately!). Derek and I desire a house full of kids and shoes everywhere with a slobbering dog that sheds all over and those family vacations where no one is really speaking by the end of them because we're all sick of each other--those are the things that we want. But the end goal? It's for these kids to have "a future and a hope." To "prosper and not be harmed." To "be taken care of."

"To not be abandoned."

We're so excited to be starting this process over again. We're excited to know a bit more (not much) about what we're doing. We're excited for Jet's new brother or sister. We're excited for "one less". We're excited to see what God's end goal is here. But we're also nervous. Nervous because every picture, every video, every anecdote and description and favorite food and personality that we see and read about for each one of these kids makes us more vulnerable. It's hard to decipher God's will with both our heads and our hearts involved for each of these children. We ask for prayers again, as we move forward. We have no idea when the next phone call will come. Prayers for clarity, wisdom and strength, and ultimately, to realize that we are being entrusted to care for and raise eternal souls by giving a home to these fatherless. Not our will, but His.

Thank you.