Months ago, Chris and I formally began our adoption journey. We *knew* the Lord had blessed us with another daughter; we simply had to find her! After researching various agencies and options, we decided to partner with America World Adoption, and we have been blessed beyond measure by their good, good work ever since.
Initially, we reviewed the lengthy list of countries with whom AWAA works, and after feeling the Lord lead us towards China, we applied to that specific program. At that time, the wait for a "healthy" baby girl from China was 5-6 years, and since we hoped to NOT wait that long, we began to research other options. Good friends came to mind-- a special family who adopted a sweet, sweet little guy from China three years ago, a little guy who was abandoned due to his cleft lip & palate (both of which are considered curses in Chinese culture). Thinking a similar adoption might be a possibility for us, we immediately began to research children with "special needs." In China, children are placed under that label for a variety of reasons; many, however, fall in to that category because of a physical ailment... a physical ailment which is quite often correctable with proper medical help and care-- cleft lip and/or palate, ear deformities, scars and burns, minor heart defects, and so on. From a list far more extensive than this, we ultimately filled out an application which required us to indicate which conditions we could "accept."
Both Chris & I struggled with that list-- it was long, and some of the conditions were severe. But the Lord, mysterious & loving, impressed upon our hearts the need to think big. To see past the "imperfections" and remember (as my Mama always told me), "God don't make no junk!" Precious little people needed families. And our family was created for one of those special little people! So many children have been rejected due to their appearance or "complication" or "imperfection." Yet every single one of them IS absolutely perfect in His sight!
"I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well."
So... quickly we printed out form after form after form, anxious to submit our paperwork as quickly as possible to the Waiting Child Program. We scrambled and we scurried to write our autobiographies and to have our fingerprints taken, to complete financial forms and background checks, to prepare for home visits, personal interviews, and family interviews, to endure doctor's physicals and to complete employment letters, and on and on and on. And with each passing day, the clocked ticked a little bit louder.
At the onset, I thrived on the excitement of it all-- the details and the fact-gathering and the organization required to keep my sanity! But when progress started to depend on others who simply did not share our sense of urgency (think: government bureaucrats at the city & state levels), frustration quickly set in. Thankfully, many special folks regularly reminded me of one simple truth: THIS was God's plan. His plan-- set in motion before time began... for us. To be completed in His time and in His way. Just as He ordained. And even better? The completion of said plan depended not on me and not on Chris, but on the awesome God we serve! And He has never proven Himself unfaithful!!
"Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary; His understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint, and to hm who has no might He increases strength
Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint."
So, armed with God's Word and an assurance of His calling, Chris and I pressed forth. We scrambled and we raced to gather every teeny detail needed to complete our end of the bargain as quickly as possible. Thankfully, most documents fell in to place very nicely, and most were processed through all the proper channels without a hitch.
Until we had to deal with my birth certificate. I filled out the appropriate forms and mailed them with a cashier's check to the Department of Heath (as directed). They mailed a newly issued birth certificate back to me, but when AWAA returned the document to their Secretary of State for certification (a necessary step in the chain of events), it was declined. Issued by Hawaii. Declined by Hawaii. Go figure. So I tried again-- this time with a different form and a couple additional checks. Four to six weeks we would have to wait. And wait. And wait. By this point in time, our dossier was compete. Every document had been certified at the Secretary of State level and each one had passed muster at the State Department and the Chinese Embassy. All but my birth certificate, which lay untouched (evidently) on a desk across the Pacific.
Until last week. When it finally arrived in the mail. The very last piece of the puzzle... the last document needed to complete our dossier! Hallelujah!!
To be continued...