• MAXimum Blessings

    Date: 2014.09.08 | Category: Adoption, Elyse, Kelly, Max | Tags:

    Plan B

    When we found out about Kelly we were heartbroken.  Someone at church even said to me, “This is much like a death in the family.”  It’s true.  It’s hard.  What do you do with all the stuff you have bought during happier times?   As you know from my previous post, someone graciously offered to take some of Kelly’s clothes with her when she traveled to China.  I cried taking those clothes out of the suitcase, remembering all the fun the girls had picking them out.  Her blue comforter is still on her bed.   The stuffed animals the girls had bought her still sit on the pillow.  Its been 27 years, but I still remember coming home after Kyle died.  It has been much like that after the news that Kelly did not want to leave China.

    We had already planned on someday writing her a letter telling her we wished her well.  Letting her know that we understand and have no hard feelings.  We want her to know that we still want to be part of her life.  We wish she could have been part of our family, but we understand she feels she already has a family.  We feel privileged to have learned more about Agape and to see the wonderful work they are doing.  It says a lot about the home and the people there that she is content and wants to stay.  Agape Family Life House

    After we heard Kelly’s decision, our agency asked us what we wanted to do about being approved for two?  Dan and I still felt like we were supposed to bring home two.  It seemed almost ridiculous to pay the fees, be approved for two, and then not bring another child home.  But you can’t just replace the child that you lost.  How do you even start?

    We started at the best place, the only place….prayer.  Lots and lots of prayer.   I asked God over and over again to show me what I was supposed to do.  I had no clue where to even start.  I know during those first few days I repeated the words, “I can’t do this!” at least 100 times.

    We talked with our trusted adviser at the adoption agency and she laid all the information out.  Because of expediting Kelly, Elyse is still on the expedited timeline. We can slow it down a little, but not a lot.  That means if we wish to bring a second child home we needed to decide now.  We needed to pick a special focus child who was already on their agency list or a child off the shared list in one of the two provinces where they already had guides.  The child needed to fit our criteria on our MCC (medical condition checklist).   We said we wished to adopt a girl between the ages of 7 and under 10.

    She had already been searching and told us the odds of that happening were slim.  There were no girls that fit our criteria.  She would continue to look.  There was no time to ask for an agency to switch a file.  There was no time to ask for updates.  She told us she would keep looking and talk to others at the agency.

    Dan and I both know who is in control and we knew if it was meant to be, it would happen.   We just had to trust in that fact.

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    When my friends, who have also adopted, heard they understood completely and tried to help match us with a child.

    They sent us beautiful pictures of children who need a family.   That first day, I cried all day long over the loss of Kelly and the shear number of children waiting for a family.  Since we had said little girls, they sent us file after file of sweet, beautiful girls who wait.  Girls who don’t have much hope of a bright future in China, but who would be beautiful additions to any family.  Why are they waiting?

    Unfortunately, my heart was not in it.  I felt moved, especially by three of the girls,





    and Dottie


    But it just didn’t feel right.  They are beautiful girls.  Others described them as sweet, special, and wonderful. They would be a beautiful addition to any family, but they didn’t feel like they were meant to be our daughter.  That is the hardest part about adoption.  If you truly trust that God is leading you to a child, then you have to wait, but at the same time how could it be wrong to give any child a family?

    More days passed and our agency called asking us to consider a five year old boy.  We had not been open to a boy mainly because we already had a bed in the girl’s room and the girls were all set to have another sister.  The thought of adding to the littles was a bit overwhelming.  Who willingly chooses six children under the age of 6?   But since we said we would consider any child God placed before us, we said we would consider it.  She told us to look at their waiting child page.  We were told he had bilateral microtia.  That was a very doable special need.  It is the same diagnosis that Maisey has.  We already sign.  We know all about the surgeries and the BAHA hearing aid.  We understood the frustration these children have from lack of communication.   Dan asked for her to send his file.

    I, in the meantime, messaged my friend’s about this little boy and the group home he was in, Swallow’s Nest.   Swallow’s Nest

    One of the four mamas in this group said, “Lisa, you aren’t going to believe this but one of my friend’s just adopted a little boy from that group home.”  She went on to say, “I know the person who runs this home.  I can put you in touch with her.”

    I love the way the Lord provides.

    I immediately searched for her on Facebook.  Her Facebook page was open so I started scrolling through the pictures and then I saw his little face.  She was advocating for him because he was being called back to the orphanage.  She went on to say that he really, really needs a family.  She said that he is such a sweet, smart boy and would be a great addition to any family.

    I sent her a friend request and she immediately messaged me.  She told me all about him.  She sent me his baby picture.  She told me who was caring for him and how sad they were that he had been called back to the orphanage.  She let me know that he was at camp right now.  A camp put on by our agency.  I kept reading through all the comments and noticed that 21 people had shared this information.  How do 21 people share about a child desperately needing a family and no family requests his file?  I clicked on the shares to see if anyone I knew had shared his information.  I noticed that Donna, a friend of mine, had shared it.  I clicked on the share to see what others had said and what do I see?  A comment from me asking if he had bilateral microtia.

    On May 5th, I had commented about this little boy.

    And it all came flooding back….

    I remember reading about this little boy who was being sent back to the orphanage. I remember being so sad and sitting at the table with tears in my eyes. I remember talking with Zach about it because it reminded me of Maisey when she had to go back.  She left the home and all the people who loved her and nourished her and helped her grow only to go back to a place where either no one knew how to communicate with her or didn’t feel she was worthy of communicating with.  She had a bald spot from throwing herself to the floor out of sheer frustration over and over again.  She would do this at any moment and she did it with such force.  She was only with us two days in China before she almost completely stopped throwing herself to the floor.  She stopped because we got down at her level and communicated with her.  She stopped because we taught her a couple simple signs and she wasn’t as frustrated.

    I knew his little heart was going to feel pain.  He was leaving those he loved.  My heart hurt.  I wished we had asked to be approved for three on our homestudy.  He would have been an easy child to add.  We knew how to deal with his hearing issues.  We knew how to deal with the frustration he would have with communicating.  But I knew with our expedite that I didn’t have time to ask for an updated homestudy to add a third child so I just let it go.  I never gave it another thought.  The reality was he became just another child who touched my heart and I had to let it go because it is just so overwhelming.

    In an amazing turn of events, we had been presented with the same child I wished we could adopt.  He was a perfect fit for our family.  Just the right age to be a playmate for Ben who often feels left out of the Evie/Eli bond and Maisey and Lainey, who often play alone.  Yet, he wouldn’t disrupt Ben’s being the oldest little.  Ben takes the job of being big brother and protector of the littles very seriously.

    In his picture he is wearing a pirate shirt.  Many of you will remember Ben’s love of pirates. As we were going to sleep one night Ben turns to me and says, “Mama, remember that picture of the little boy in the pirate shirt?  He looks really nice?  I would like to hug him.  Can we have him over to play?”

    bi 2

    And just a couple weeks ago, I wrote about the swallows in our back yard.  I wrote about something that happened almost 13 years ago.   Here is that post.

    Yesterday, as I mowed our back acre, I was reminded of 13 years ago when we moved to this property. Usually Zach mowed but he was gone so I went out to do it. As I was mowing, swallows dive bombed the mower. They got so close that it made me really nervous. I finally gave up and went into the garage and got a tennis racket. So here I was trying to mow the lawn, swinging a tennis racket at dive bombing birds. It was quite the sight. My perspective was they were out to get me. My neighbor, who was laughing hysterically, asked what I was doing. I told him and he said, “Lisa, they are diving after the insects you are kicking up while mowing.” I felt silly to say the least. It reminded me of how we can think things are out to harm us, but then our perspective changes and we then see the beauty in the situation. I mowed for an hour yesterday watching the swallows dive up and down, coming oh so close to the mower. It was peaceful and beautiful. How things can change with the right perspective.

    “It reminds me of how we can think things are out to harm us, but then our perspective changes and we then see the beauty in the situation.”

    Exactly…..beauty amidst the ashes.  My heart has been broken by what I can not do for one child, but there is beauty in still being able to be a family for another child.

    I don’t know what God’s plans are.  Maybe Kelly needed to know a family would fight for her.   I know that she will always have a special place in my heart and I will do whatever I can to support her.  I will continue to cover her with prayer.  I am at peace knowing she is with people she loves.  She will always have a home.  She will have a job and opportunities to sing and paint.  But in my heart she will always be my girl and it will always be bittersweet.

    Here is what I do know though, before I saw Kelly’s picture and my heart was stolen, we were pretty sure we were finished adopting.   When Jasmine brought up adopting an aging out child, we told her we would seriously consider it after Eli and Evie were done with their surgeries.  We asked her if she could wait another year or so.   But Jasmine kept praying and our hearts were opened to the idea. Had we not been trying to adopt Kelly, we wouldn’t have seen Elyse’s file and if we hadn’t had everything happen with Kelly, we wouldn’t be adopting Max.

    It brought me comfort that Max was a child I had already considered adopting.  We couldn’t replace Kelly.  It was just so hard.  You can not just replace a child, but there was a unexplainable peace with Max.  We wouldn’t have even gone looking for him because he didn’t fit our neatly checked boxes of what we thought our family was looking for.

    The path doesn’t always make sense when we are on it, but then God gives you little glimpses of the beauty in the tapestry that is your life.   And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:28   Not all things will be good, but that they will work together for good.

    It’s so hard to deal with all these feelings.  The sadness mixed with the joy and the anticipation of traveling.   Life is like that though isn’t it?  Learning to dance in the rain.  Learning to let go of what you can’t control and follow where He leads.   I’m still learning.  This past year has been one of the hardest on our hearts in our almost 30 years of marriage, but it has also one of the most beautiful.   God sometimes takes us out of our comfort zone so that we can grow in His love by having to trust and let go.

     “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule” (Matthew 5:3 MSG). 

    Max 2

    I would like to introduce you to Max, our unexpected blessing!