Monday, May 16, 2011

everyday's a good day, but yesterday was a great day!

[This post mysteriously vanished. It was originally posted on Wednesday, May 11, 2011. Strange, Blogger.]

I'm having such a hard time encapsulating the emotion and blessing of what happened yesterday. I feel like a broken record, but all I know to say is, 'God is so very good.' He just shows Himself at every turn of this process, affirming more and more this 'rescue mission' we're on. He is priming my heart every day for this little boy in a faraway land who has no clue that we're coming for him and how we long to kiss his pudgy cheeks and tuck him into bed at night.

What may seem insignificant to some was not a insignificant to me -- especially as I reflected on how yesterday unfolded and how much I needed every hour of yesterday that went into accomplishing it all.

Several weeks ago, our social worker advised us to have Little Guy's medical file and it's English translation reviewed by a doctor who either was Chinese or who could at least read/translate Chinese. We told our social worker that we were not entirely concerned about doing that because little (if anything) was going to change our feeling that Little Guy is meant to be part of our family. She still recommended it primarily because China will ask if it was reviewed as part of their determination as to whether we're really 'fit' to raise Little Guy.

So I started trying to figure out who could review his file for us. I contacted our local social worker and she suggested the VCU (Virginia Commonwealth University) International Adoption Medical Clinic. I went on their website and was shocked to find their services quite pricey ($300-$500 to walk alongside a family through their adoption process). Ick. That's not going to work.

Then I remembered a friend of a friend who've I've enjoyed spending time with is Chinese and so is her husband (who is a pharmacist). I thought perhaps she/they might know of someone. Lo and behold, the next thing I know I'm copied on an email from her to her sister's fiance. He replies back and says his uncle is a pediatrician on the Southside of Richmond and is Chinese. Bingo. I give his office a call and the receptionist asks him if he'd be willing to review Little Guy's medical file. She says he's happy to help, but I need to schedule an appointment -- Tuesday, May 10th at 10 AM it is. I ask if there's a fee (just trying to be prepared because there normally are). She puts me on hold to ask him and comes back to the phone saying there will be no fee. I think how kind that is of him. And know that could perhaps change, but I'm very grateful that we may've found someone who can help us.

Our boys are in preschool on Tuesdays, so I knew I had until noon to get to the doctor's office, meet with the doctor at 10:00 and get back to their school (his office is about 40 minutes away). Doable. But I returned from vacation to an email from a friend whose son is our sons' age. Her son wants to have Brooks and Jackson over after school on Tuesday and she's willing to pick all three of them up and take them home with her. This is the not insignificant to me part because I couldn't have accomplished what I did without her (little did she know) gracious offer to have my boys over to her house. God provided for five full hours for me to run all over the greater Richmond area to get done so very much yesterday in the way of moving this adoption along. What a blessing!

Turns out while we were on vacation, UPS tried to deliver (three times) JD's birth certificates from Tennessee and now the package was at the distribution center just ten minutes from the doctor's office. Perfect. I'll kill two birds with one stone and do both things while I'm allll the way down I-95. Again, He made it possible for me to consolidate two trips by having the destinations in the very same area and for me to save a bunch of gas (hello!) and time. When have I ever had to drive to Hopewell for two reasons in one week?!

I arrive at the doctor's office and wait a few minutes to see him. The nurse calls me back. I was sitting in the waiting room struck by how I felt like I was in a time warp and it was the very same decor and feeling of the pediatrician's office from when I was a kid! When I went into the room to meet with him, the wallpaper was the exact same wallpaper that I remember as a kid -- a white background with clowns flipping and tumbling all over. It was strangely sweet and simple.

The doctor is a man of small stature who is dressed in a shirt and tie (no lab coat). He has salt and pepper hair. He speaks softly with a strong accent. He was kind of cool to me at first. All business. He asked for the papers. I handed them to him explaining that there's already an English translation, so all we're really in need of is for him to verify its accuracy. He proceeds to pull up a chair to a counter and start laying out the translations side-by-side. The pages don't match up (and I can't help him because I don't know what the Chinese pages say!). He seems a tad bit frustrated with not being able to make sense of all the papers. I, in my nervousness, try to help and probably talk too much until he finally tells me I can have a seat in the chair.

Oh yeh, the chair. Duh. I sit.

Then I decide to take out my computer to look over the electronic versions of what he's looking at to see if there's anything I might have questions about. I also brought my computer so I could show him the photos and video of Little Guy.

He's scanning the documents. He eventually figured out the right sequence and was moving steadily through the sections. He verifies that things are accurate (lots of numbers for test results). He asks who translated it. I tell him I don't know. He says, 'This is a good translation.' That's good to hear.

Then, he is struck by the description of Little Guy's birth defect. He reads it out loud perhaps to make sure I'm aware. I tell him that we know and we love him anyway. I offer to show him the photos that I have so he can see him. He smiles and says, 'He's a cute boy.' (I couldn't agree more). He sees a photo of Little Guy when he was about six months old and says, 'Ahhh, yes. This was sometimes caused by medication the mother took.' He says doctors a long time ago prescribed a medication that they now think may've caused birth defects. He believes it was a contraceptive that caused inter-uterine dysfunction. I tell him we've wondered out of curiosity how children are born with birth defects such as our little guy's, but we haven't thought about it much. He speculates that could be the cause and moves on.

He then comes to part of the report that's a narration of the events that led to our little guy ending up in an orphanage. I can't get into much detail yet about that, but will hopefully be able to tell you more about him later this week after we get the official word that his file is locked with us. We're hopefully just days away from that. But suffice it to say, it's tragic and heart wrenching.

The doctor's eyes are scanning the paper horizontally as he silently reads the words that describe Little Guy's situation, his daily routine, his care. I can't tell where he is on the page, but all of the sudden I hear a sniffle. And another. And then another. At this point, I'm sitting next to him because a few minutes prior I slid my chair over so I could show him the photos and video when he was done reviewing the file. I turn my head and study his face. He sniffles again and mumbles, 'I'm sorry.' I touch him on the shoulder and tell him it's okay. I have no idea what could possibly have brought forth these emotions for him. As he's choking back tears, he taps his pencil on a paragraph in the report. I look down and read:

Remarks from the Institute:
(his Chinese name) is a lovely child. We hope he could be adopted by a loving foreign family, give him a happy family, and let him get better education, growing healthily and happily.

I immediately wonder if his tears are because he's disappointed that 'his people' would hope that this child would be adopted by a foreign family instead of a Chinese family. Or perhaps he's just overcome with the fact that this child is actually being adopted. I ask him if the statement hurt him in some way. He says, 'No, I am moved.' And he excuses himself from the room.

I sit there dumbfounded in my chair wiping tears from my eyes. I pray.

Lord, help. Give me words. I don't know what to say to this man. I want to be of comfort to him, but hardly know him.

I can hear him sniffling in the next room. He returns a minute later. He apologizes again and gets back to work. He finishes the review, clarifying a few things for me. I ask if he'd like to see a short video of our little guy. He says he would. He watches intently and says, 'His concentration is powerful.' I agree telling him that we've often been struck by the way this sweet boy follows the video camera and appears very aware and observant. But I like his words better: concentration is powerful.

He revisits his emotional reaction saying that he was struck by the caregiver's kindness and love for our boy. He then states that he's so glad we're adopting him despite the challenges he will face in life. I assure him that we are honored and overjoyed to have him in our family. I tell him that we love him already -- including our four children who talk about him everyday and ask when he'll be here. I ask him if would be willing to meet our boy one day. He says, 'Yes. Can I have your name?' I give him our names and contact info and assure him that I will be in touch.

As I packed up my things, I stared at that little face that doesn't even know what's happening in holy moments between his mother and a doctor who were brought together through friends of friends. He doesn't know about the holy moments that God's using to prime our hearts for him. My heart's capacity to love has grown so much through this process. Every adoptive parent says you can love an adopted child, but you wonder until you do. And we do.

So after that tender meeting, I head over to UPS (just down the road!), pick up JD's birth certificates and start trucking up I-95. I then run by our house and pick up our marriage license that I realized I'd forgotten. I head to Staples, make copies of both of our birth certificates and our marriage license. I head to our doctor's office to pick up the much-anticipated medical records that took two weeks instead of one to get back due to my 'involved urinalysis.' I then head to the post office and mail (drum roll, please) copies of our birth certificates, our marriage license, our completed home study and our I800A form to USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Service). The I800A is how we petition the federal government to bring our little guy into the country. We should know whether or not that's approved in about a month.

I also mailed our home study, a family photo, passport photos of JD and me and the medicals to our social worker at Wide Horizons. All of which she's been waiting for to lock our little guy's file with us. Crossing my fingers that the lock will be complete by the end of the week! And once that happens, I can finally post photos and video.

As I said, everyday is a good day, but yesterday was a great day!

1 comment:

  1. moved. aching. stunned. convicted. in awe of our awesome God. HE'S IN THE DETAILS FOR YOU (and us)!!! Grateful for you taking the time to testify of HIS doing through the story our Lord is writing!



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