Thursday, March 28, 2013

Want to Hear A Good Story??

Here I am, a year after my last post, dusting off our blog to share some very exciting news! Our family is in the process of growing.....again! There are two precious children who will be waiting for us, thousands of miles away, while we work to get them home as quickly as we can. But before we get busy with background checks and paperwork there is a story here that must be celebrated and shared so that we never forget to make much of the mountains God has moved to bring us together! It is a bit long but it's good!!

Last Sunday I finally decided to organize the mountain of paperwork that remained from our adoption of Lilly and Noah in 2011. As I worked through it the thought rolled through my mind, "It's time to do this again", and that was that. I didn't even say it out loud.

On Monday Keith was out of town for work (which is rare since he primarily works from home) and I got busy making doctor appointments and taking care of family business. As I was working on my computer I took a minute to check on a blog that I have read regularly for years..... Linny's blog at A Place Called Simplicity. I noticed that she was advocating for a specific child, a little girl named Susanna.  I regularly see children advocated for on blogs but I have not ever once felt the tugging that I needed to find out more. I have shed tears, prayed, and followed their stories....but never have I felt led to become personally involved beyond that. As I scrolled through the pictures I read that Susanna has spina bifida,  like our Lilly. But, unlike our Lilly,  I read that this sweet six year old girl has never had the surgery to close up her back. Heartbreaking! She also has untreated hydrocephalus, and after years of rarely ever being lifted out of her crib is now left there 24 hours a day, seven days a week, because to be lifted up past the bars creates tremendous anxiety in her. My mind struggled to comprehend what I was reading.....to imagine what Susanna's life must look like.

I noticed that she was in an Eastern European orphanage. When we began the process of our first international adoption, we ended up going with Lilly's country because it was the only Eastern European country where we qualified for adoption. What were the odds that Susanna was in this same country? In my mind not good, but I felt compelled to just reach out to the contact Linny had listed at the bottom of the post. So, I emailed and explained that it was unlikely that we would be qualified, but I had seen Susanna's information and having adopted a child already with spina bifida I wanted to do what I could to help....expecting it would be to advocate for her and help her find her family. After all, Keith and I weren't even talking about adopting again! Ha...ha...ha!!

The response came back quickly and I was truly stunned to see that Susanna was indeed in the country where we had adopted Lilly! Hmmm. This was interesting. I began emailing back and forth with Nina and finally I just picked up the phone and called to ask her questions!!

The wheels in my mind were turning! One of the major reasons that we moved to northern Kentucky in the first place was so that we could be near the spina bifida clinic at the nearby children's hospital for Lilly. It was a hard move for me because what had been my heart's desire was for us to move back west closer to my family. I literally went through a grieving process that took over two years (my husband will tell you that I do that sort of stuff pretty s  l  o  w  l  y!). When we moved here we had no way to know that God was going to surprise us with the adoption of a baby boy who started life at 1.6 pounds and who was going to desperately need the staff at this children's hospital to get him off a ventilator and in doing so give him the hope of a full life........AND that as a critical part of that process he would require major throat surgery that was actually pioneered by one of the doctors at that very hospital! Only God can orchestrate stories like this!! So, here we were a couple of years later with the very doctors on speed dial (NOT kidding) that Susanna would need to be restored to health! And here I sat, fresh from God doing a major work on my heart that had finally brought me to a place of true and complete submission to HIS plan for where I would live and how I would spend my life (His vision....not mine). Peace was bearing its fruit in my heart and now......how could we not help???

So, after I explained to Nina that I hadn't gotten out of bed that morning intending to pursue adoption, and that I still needed to attend to the "minor" detail of talking to my husband (he is one amazing man and I knew that he would come home with an open heart ready to talk and to hear from God), I assured her that I would get back to her soon. SO, next step was to call one of my dear friends who I actually met when she was the social worker for our first adoption. She is a woman of God and an adoptive mom who had brought home a daughter from this same country in the past year. I was unfamiliar with this agency that had Susanna's file and I thought maybe she would have heard of them....plus I wanted to share the news and get her counsel. Admittedly another fleece of sorts! So, this is about how it went......First, as I stumbled around to remember the name of the agency she filled in the blanks (yeah, she had heard of them) AND she proceeded to mention the name of a "fantastic" woman she knew who was with said agency AND that if she could refer me to anyone in the states to facilitate a Bulgarian adoption it would be, you guessed it, the very woman I had been communicating with....NINA! Her final words to me (and yes, she was laughing), "Well sister, I think you have your answer!"

Keith and I talked a bit that night and we went to bed. All night I thought about something else I had read about Susanna. There was a boy in the crib next to her that she had become very attached to. They would communicate back and forth. She would reach through into his crib and mother him by straightening his clothing or blankets. When he was taken from the room she would anxiously wait for him to return. It was going to be so hard for this sweet girl to even be lifted out of her crib. How could she be separated from him as well?? So, the next morning I emailed Nina again and asked about him. Was he available for adoption? Amazingly enough not only was he available, but his file was with the same agency! Only God! Nina said that they called him "Will", and she had known about him already, but not that he was the boy Susanna loved!

Now it was time for us to really seek God and pray for His direction. It is hard, once you start to connect to a child, to have to lay them before God and trust that if it is His plan, they will be yours. I let Nina know that we would need to take a bit to pray, but that we knew time was of the essence and we would let her know as quickly as we could, knowing that it was possible another family would get in line in front of us while we processed. The next 4 days were hard. Something else can happen when you are considering doing something big with God, like bringing home two children with big needs (Will also has spina bifida and, unless God chooses to intervene and perform a miracle, they will both spend their lives in wheelchairs).....fear can start to creep in. Doubt. The thoughts of sacrifices too big and opportunities lost. Honestly, it can get ugly. What was so clear to me though was that when my thoughts were centered on Christ the peace was so deep, but when I moved over to "my" side and thought about all that I may be giving up (it is worth noting that to fail to recognize that being the hands and feet of Jesus, however that looks in our life, is costly is to not understand what is required of us) I was flailing in misery. We shared it with our kids on Saturday night. They were excited at the possibility and that always humbles me......their sweet hearts. On Sunday I told Keith, "I have reasons not to move forward, but not one of them can be supported by scripture and they all have to do with me." He said, "Same here. We move forward." Ah, peace. I emailed Nina.

The next morning I had an email from her when I woke up that told me time was short and she needed  paperwork completed that day and it required both of our signatures (little detail here is that Keith was again out of town.....thanking God for a smart husband and electronic signatures!). If we didn't get the paperwork to her that night we risked losing the referral. Isn't God's timing amazing???

I am in awe of how many people have been praying for Susanna and "Will" (I use the quotation marks because Will Williams will not be his permanent moniker....but I love how it was as if he was being marked for our family!) and we ask you to please continue!! We covet your prayers. This transition will be so hard for Susanna.....but what freedom and joy will be waiting for her as God delivers her from both her literal and spiritual prisons!! Wisdom for the doctors when we get them home. Protection while they wait. Protection and provision for our family as we work through the process. We would love to continue to share this story with you.....so many of you are already a part of it and we honestly don't have the words to thank you!






24 comments:

  1. Tears of joy!! Faithful God...working behind the scenes...and I pray that one day I can meet your precious Susanna and Will Williams =) as we pray them home to the arms God intended them to be in from before the beginning of time. By the way, someone on FB asked about how to donate to help you bring them home...you need to figure that out...I'm 100% certain you will need to for more than her!! Yippee Jesus!! xoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Linny....we are truly humbled and beyond excited to have so many praying Susanna and Will home!! Thank you for your very important part in their story and for inviting so many to watch and see what God is doing! I know it is blowing MY mind! :) What a big thing He is doing here for these two sweet children....and how amazing that He widens the scope and blesses so many others in the process! His math is the best!! I have always LOVED the thought that God knew my name and my time here on earth before He laid the foundations of the world!! I remind my kids of it all the time.....so it paints a very sweet picture in my mind to read that! I will ponder on that daily....and as a promise when the wait gets long ....as it always does!! How stunning that there would be people who would want to donate....I will check out ways to do that. We will trust that introducing you to S & W in the flesh will be a part of God's plan!! :)

      Delete
  2. Praising God! So beautiful! I love how God works!!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. so happy for you and your beautiful Susanna and Will

    ReplyDelete
  4. Just found your blog through aplacecalledsimplicity. I'm so glad I did! We are in the process of updating our homestudy to bring home two girls. The younger of the two has Spinal Bifida. I don't know what to expect at all. I've been searching high and low for a blog from someone who has adopted a child with Spinal Bifida. I'd love any help, advice, and information you could share!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stefani....I would love to share what I have learned and be whatever kind of resource to you I can! When we brought Lilly home we knew nothing so I know the feeling of going into something so big and new! You can feel free to email me and ask me anything you would like... when I get a few moments this weekend I wil send you an email and share with you some of what we have learned and you can ask question from there! Just let me know if you aren't able to link to my email address!

      Delete
  5. I'm here via Linny's blog and just need to tell you that I think this is one of the most amazing stories! I hope you continue to blog your process and let us all pray for and with you. The convo you had with your hub has truly just rocked my world tonight! Thank you for sharing!

    KK

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. KK - I would be so honored to share our journey with you! I am so grateful to think of so many praying over Susanna and Will as God prepares their hearts to join our family....and our family to love on them! I love the visual of ironing sharpening iron! We share what God is doing in our lives...what He is teaching us....and we grow stronger alongside each other! It is so exciting to think that you could also be challenged and encouraged by what God is doing in our family!

      Delete
  6. Hooray!!!! We are also adopting from that country! Please come and join us on facebook! And you can set up a donation program with Reece's rainbow and all donations will be tax deductible :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jamie -- Are you very far along in your process? Do you know which orphanage your child is in? If you knew how remedial my Facebook skills are you would be truly amazed! I embarrass myself regularly with my lack of knowledge!! :) I am a much more proficient lurker!! Do you have a page name on Facebook? I have heard of Reece's Rainbow but am not very familiar with how all of it works....I will have to look in to that! Thankfully my husband can probably help me out with that....he actually has some technology skills!! :)

      Delete
  7. Just popped over from A Place Called Simplicity...amazing story. How inspiring and encouraging! Thank you for sharing with all of us. Looking forward to reading about your journey. Bless you, Christine

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Christine.. we would love to have you follow along as we bring home Susanna and Will!! What a blessing to know that so many know their names and will know their story!!

      Delete
  8. God is so good. thankful for your family and for God's work in moving you and your husband's heart for Susanna and Will. May He bless your family greatly through these to precious children as I know they will be blessed to be part of your family.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thank you for this story. As a happily adopted child (now in my 70s)it is heartwarming to read of the children who are finding such caring homes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is wonderful to hear Elizabeth! With my children so young I often wonder what their feelings will be about their life stories once they are older. My prayer is that they will feel as you do!!

      Delete
  10. Thank you for giving Susanna and Will a family. Praying for all of you during this adoption journey.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Cristy!! We feel honored to be a part of their story! I can't wait to get them home and see all that God has planned for them!!

      Delete
  11. Found you through a Place Called Simplicity - Glory to God for blessing Susanna & "Will" with a family, and blessing you with two more precious souls! What an awesome story!!! We are in process of bringing home a SN girl from China, her name is Selah. :) We will be praying for you on this journey! Blessings, Wendy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wendy -- Selah is such a beautiful name! Thank you for your prayers! I am sure that you know first hand how how encouraging it is to know that people are lifting you and your child(ren) up during the long and sometimes stressful adoption process!! We will be praying for you too! I love the thought of so many children coming home to their families and having the opportunity to know Jesus!

      Delete
  12. Found your blog through Linny's blog...
    I love praying for those who choose to adopt. Prayer is
    huge for anything...I have watched in bloggyville how the Lord works His Miracles in adoptions....
    Thanks for letting me be a part of this wonderful story through prayer.
    Love from NC

    ReplyDelete
  13. I can't wait for Susanna and Will to be settled in and at home with your family! :) :) (just came here from Linny's blog).

    ReplyDelete
  14. So excited to read this news! I have looked at her sweet photos so many times and prayed for her. We just brought our little gal, Ramya, home from india 1 1/2 months ago. She has spina bifida like Susanna. My other daughter, Madi, has spina bifida as well, and we have a son too. It's a busy, but very blessed, life!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hello:) I too arrived at your testimony from Linnys blog....Gods continued blessings be upon your family!!
    We have adopted 3 from china....the last 2 home just 1 yr. our youngest has SB also...he is 3 and we still have much to learn about SB...but thru it all He is faithful!! Will look forward to following your journey to Bulgaria for his precious ones!!
    LaurelLee

    ReplyDelete