the how, when, and why

So, some of you are wondering about the little China prince. I mean, who could blame you? Even his faceless picture is stinkin' adorable! Right? Well, I'm his mama so I certainly think this is the case. And sure, I've seen his sweet face, his almond eyes and tiny lips. So I can't possibly resist the urge to tell you that he is in fact, adorable.

There are so many posts swirling in my head. They will be a month or more in the making though. We need some time to work through things and since I've got tons of time to wait before they let me board that plane to China, I figure it's fine that we work it all out in our hearts and then share it here. But needless to say, for Jase and I, the last week has been one of, if not the most, humbling experiences of our marriage. I can't wait to share it with you all. You just won't believe it. During the last several days, we've been brought to our knees, literally, in grief and humility from the kindness and selflessness of others in a way that we have never known before.

Only God can do something like this.

Only He can move a heart that is bearing the hardest burden any parent can possibly bear to be selfless and think of others instead of themselves. It's nothing short of beautiful what has been done for us. More on that in the weeks to come though.

I'll tell ya, we've had tons of questions about our little prince. And sometimes, it's impossible not to notice that people seem to think we've lost our minds. I can assure you we haven't. My mom has been questioned too. And she handled it beautifully. I think it just takes people off guard to wrap their minds around the orphan crisis. So, by the same token, they can't wrap their minds around us choosing a little prince with some physical needs. Namely, another baby with heart defects.

Let me be clear about a few things.

Jase and I are not heros.

Our great friends, Tara and Veldon, who adopted a little boy with a radial club hand and orthopedic issues {among other "surprises" once they got home that they of course dealt with and that have been reconciled}...are not heros. I think they would agree with me on this.

Most people who adopt special needs orphans aren't heros either. Many of them embark on much more difficult roads and make more mature decisions for their family than we are equipped to make for our own right now. Many couples count the cost and take very heroic chances with the children they choose to parent. But I would dare say that none of us are heros. And we certainly aren't adopting a child so others may think we are. I look at some of them and they are doing truly heroic things...one couple in particular that I pray for daily. I admire their obedience so much.

I don't mean to sound upset. I'm not at all. I just want to clarify that we aren't nuts for choosing special needs children. And we aren't on a mission to draw attention to ourselves. Mostly, we want to shine a huge spotlight on Jesus and away from ourselves. We want to bring to the attention of anyone who would listen, that orphans are waiting for days and months and years for a family.

Can I just be honest with you?

I'm scared to death.

I ache for this little prince already. And though his heart is not as severe as Seth's and though his other special needs are not exactly "life threatening", they could be at most any moment. But I just want you all to know, that we are convicted by Jesus.

That's all.

And that's it.

We are just convicted, Jase and I...Tara and Veldon...and countless other Christians who believe that children need families.

They need the stability of a home instead of an orphanage.

They are desperate for the love of a mama and daddy instead of a caregiver.

They are longing for the Gospel. And their little hearts don't even know it yet.

And so what are we to do?

That's what I kept coming back to. Our little prince will turn one year old on February 22nd. Eeeek. We are going waaaay back, peeps. And I'd be lying if I said it wasn't hard {and somewhat selfish} to contemplate what we'd be in for with such a young one. Just keepin' it real.

I talked to Jase over the Christmas break about beginning to look at files again. I was almost scared to ask him. Scared that he would think I'd gone mad or something. I was still having on and off days dealing with Seth's loss and tears still come unexpectedly many times. But to my surprise, he said, "I'm ready whenever you are!"

I emailed Beth at WACAP and she began to send files to us of little boys with heart conditions from China's shared list. Every time I opened an email to find a new file, I hoped so much that it would be the file of our son. But it never was. And though I showed several of them to Jase, I knew deep down that it wasn't right. No amount of me wanting it to be so wouldn't make it so. I believe we reviewed 6 or 7 files in total.

No peace. No word from the Lord. Silence is deafening sometimes. His silence is hardest. It almost seemed like I needed to find our son so that I would feel better. Which is totally wrong, I well know. But we reason things out sometimes when we're hurting or trying to find our way.

I had seen the little prince on our agency's list for a few weeks. I kept going back to it. It had a small picture of him along with a short description of his needs. And, it stated that his birthdate was in February 2011. So I reasoned that Jase would never agree to that. He many times wondered if Seth was too young for us {15 months old when we started the process for him}. Well, we aren't too old. :) Like I said in the last post...we're just a tad tired!

But the more I thought about him, the clearer it became. To me anyway. He was ours. I emailed Beth and got his file. The little prince has some of the same needs that Joel had when he came home. He will require at least one surgery for those...the worst case scenario once home is that he would require a series of corrective surgeries. However, the whole lot of it is correctable. We walked through some of this with Joel...We found his in Thailand and had no prior knowledge of it from his medical records.

Even in this, we see the gracious hand of God. Had we not walked through that surgery and recovery with Joel, we may have not given the little prince a second thought. His is much much worse than Joel's was. And it is coupled with another surgical need. But you know something? God is bigger than our worries. He is Lord over our concerns.

It took Jase a little longer to come around. He was still mostly concerned about his age. We had seen another little boy with a corrected heart and similar needs as the little prince and we decided to send each of the little boys' files to a specialist {who performed Joel's surgery} and the pediatric cardiologist who has been working with us since before Seth died.

The medical reviews took about two weeks to come back. And all the while, I knew which one was ours. I felt it. But Jase had seemed more interested in the other little boy who was older and had the corrected heart. Funny thing, the morning of the day when the reviews came back, even before we heard from the doctors, we spoke about it and to my delight {and shock}, Jase said,

"You know. I'm only really feeling led to the little boy who is listed with WACAP."

I couldn't believe it. We began to talk it all out and we both reasoned that this little boy is very young...BUT, that's not a bad thing at all. Joel will really feel like a big brother. There will surely be jealousy issues, but there shouldn't be direct competition on day one though. If we were to adopt a three of four year old...who could do all of the same things with Jase like Joel does, it would be bad. Things like wrestling and pinning each other down on the bed. Throwing the football. Playing Wii. St@r W@ars fights with light s@bers. The little prince won't be able to do any of that. Our social worker agreed. That this age is great for obvious reasons {less time in the orphanage, greater chances for bonding and quicker loss of memories that cause grieving, etc.} but also for Joel. Which was really a priority for us. We were committed to bringing a heart baby home...and a brother for Joel to grow up with. We are doing both.

Well, the rest is history. :) Our Letter of Intent was sent last Friday, February 3rd and we received PreApproval from China to adopt him on February 7th. We still have a lot of hurdles to jump and waiting to do. But he is ours.

In case you want the skinny on his heart, he has a PDA {which Joel also had but was corrected before we traveled to Thailand}, a PFO, a dilated Main Pulmonary Artery, and enlarged left heart. What that means is, he needs to have his heart fixed. But it is unlikely that it will take his life before we can travel. And, we were grateful to learn from our PC, it should be corrected with a heart catheterization instead of open heart surgery. What a praise! 

My mom was asked the other day, very bluntly, "Why would they knowingly do that? Choose a child that has physical problems? Can't they have children of their own?" I'm so proud of her. She took the opportunity to speak to this young woman and explain the Gospel to her. And to share with her how beautiful adoption is. Jase told me last night that someone recently asked him why we are adopting again. He said that he answered them with a question of his own.

"Did you have parents growing up?"

"Of course, sure I did."

"Well, he doesn't. It's as simple as that."

And really, it is. It's as simple as that. That is enough of a reason.

But it's also so much more.

It's the Biblical mandate. Even though so many other things are mandated in Scripture that I gloss over every day. Things like feeding the poor. And putting others above myself.

It's the sweet knowledge that as Christians, we ourselves were adopted into God's family. And so often, I fail to glory in that Truth.

It's because orphans are among the most vulnerable people on planet Earth. And God said that when we care for the least of these, we are caring for Him.

It's the simple fact that our son is in China. So we will do whatever is necessary to bring him home.

This is the how, when and why he became our little China prince. Na. We're not heros. We're not even great people. We've just been convicted. We've just become passionate for the orphan. And ultimately, we've just been changed.


Jessica said...

I share your heart on this one, Kam. Again and again I find myself answering with 'I just want to be a mom again. End of story.'

But that said, simple answers aren't simplistic ones. And I know your journey and decision to your Little China Prince is not a simplistic one. But rather that this is a path walked in love and courage. I hope it's heaped with blessing for you and yours!

PS - When we were in "decision-making mode" we clung to Laura Story's song Blessings. We wore that sucker out. It seems so fitting for your story too.

La Dolce Vita: The Sweet Life said...

So beautiful, Kam. Just a God thing, right?

Praying that the rest of your journey is blessed with peace, provision and speed.

Let's get together someday...seriously!

Stefanie said...

Oh my goodness, do I love this story, Kam! Thank you for sharing, so transparently, what following our God is like! He is GOOD and He is FAITHFUL!! So very JOYFUL for your family!!!
And WOW, your husband's response to nay-sayers... awesome :)

Jennifer P said...

Conviction is a very GOOD thing. Good job listening to that still small voice. Amazing how a child almost finds you....

Jay and Chandra and Penny Regan said...

Amen, sister!

The Bloomquists said...

So very well said!!!

Lillie Family said...

yea!! Tell Jase I am using that line the next time someone asks me that question!!

Jan en Terry said...

I'm very touched by your words. There is a Dutch poem that expresses your journey, that has many similarities with ours:
"I searched, found and lost
and I searched again
until I found again
We are all born more than once
and for those who are searching
one day the circle is round."
Many blessings to your family and your little prince!