Friday, March 11, 2011

How It All Began

Back in January, my husband and I were having a conversation about our family's future and where we thought we were going.  We knew that God was leading us to add to our family again, but we were not exactly sure how He wanted to do that.  We had conflicting directions and for months we had gone back and forth on them trying to follow God's lead.  We were actually finally putting our finger on the direction that we felt we were suppose to move in when Donny told me that even though we were moving in this direction God was telling him we were suppose to adopt. 

To back it up a bit, we have always felt that we would adopt again.  We knew when we were adopting Ashlyn that this would not be the last time we would walk this road.  We actually were praying for our "other" little girl while we were in the process of adopting Ashlyn.  There were many times that I would feel so burdened for this child that I would just cry.  I told my husband on several occasions that I felt like we were leaving our daughter in China.  (In actuality, we were.  Makinley was born the year that we adopted Ashlyn).  I also wrote in my journal that I would never forget her.  I would go back for her.  I would fight for her.

So after our conversation, I was having a casual conversation with a dear friend of mine and was asking her about the process to adopt in China.  I run an adoption and orphan care ministry and I like to stay informed so that I can answer people's questions when they come to me.  Somewhere in the midst of our casual conversation I was scrolling through the Waiting Child list.  All of the sudden I saw the most beautiful face and I stopped on her information.  Her information read:  VSD, brain injury at birth, and high muscle tension in the right side.  Ok...any other moment in my life I would have said, "OH...ummm...this is not going to work for our family dynamics at this time."  And then I would have just moved on....but I didn't.  It did not scare me off.  That in itself is a miracle.  I could hear God whispering to me, "It's not what it seems."  Over and over for the next two weeks I would hear this.  It was always washing over me.  Knowing that sometimes these sweet kiddos are tagged wrong I asked for a little more information.  Then I talked to my husband.

That evening I presented all of the tiny bit of information that I had.  We both agreed that this could be God leading us to adopt her, but we were definitely not sure.  We would ask to review her file and see what happens.  Now in being truly honest, we were both thinking that something in this file was going to tell us "no" that she was not our daughter.  But we both knew that if we did not adopt this little girl, God was still trying to tell us something.

We received the file on a Monday and I poured over every little detail about this sweet baby girl.  There was a lot of it too.  Out of all of those medical reports, pictures and even a video (I know, a video, unreal isn't it?), I could find absolutely NOTHING wrong with this child.  Except for her description...HIE...lack of oxygen to the brain at birth.  Ok, I'm not gonna lie, we were scared to death!  We looked up all the information on HIE, and folks, it's not pretty.  Ninety percent of children in the world born with HIE have severe handicaps and severe mental retardation.  The brain just can not go without oxygen.  If this child's issues were minor like they seemed, she would be in the ten percentile in the world for not having severe issues from the HIE.  MIRACLE!!! 

We needed more information (since her file was from 6 months ago).  With it being smack dab in the middle of Chinese New Year, we were going to have to wait.  WAIT....not my favorite word.  We did a lot of praying.  We did a lot of crying.  Well, I did a lot of crying.  Then more praying and more crying.  How was this going to affect our happy little home?  How was this going to affect our children?  We still have two little ones at home...3 and 4 years old.  God, really?!?  But there was that whisper, "It's not what it seems."  I could not ignore it.  So after MUCH talking, we decided that if she could walk, we could do this.  We felt very good about that.  We kept saying over those two weeks (which by the way felt more like two months) that at this point God was going to have to show us why we should NOT adopt her.

We went to church on Sunday, right before Chinese New Year was going to end.  We were hoping that we would be hearing more information on her that week.  That day God met us at church.  He spoke so loud and clear I felt like He was about to shake me.  When I left church that day I had my answer.  We went home and I told my amazing, obedient to the Lord husband what God had spoken to me and he just smiled.  He said, there is our word that we were waiting for.  Want to know what He said to me?  Well in our class the message was on fear.  Hmmmmm....I have never been so fearful in all my life.  But more fearful of making the wrong decision and letting God down.  Fear is not from God.  God has shown me time and time again in my life that His ways are always better than mine and that He is not going to harm me or my family.  Yes, it may be extremely hard to walk the road He calls us to, but it is always worth it.  And it is always the best way.  He wants to give us blessings.  I knew in my heart that if this was where He wanted us to go, He was going to bless us with it.  I have faith in my God.  He loves me greatly.  He told me that morning that I needed no other information on this child.  I was to trust Him and follow where He wanted our family to go.

So that Monday we told our agency that we had to decided to adopt Makinley with no other information than what we had.  That same morning more information on our baby girl had arrived from China.  She was WALKING!!  She was TALKING!!!  WOW!!!!!  That is all I can say, WOW WOW WOW!!!  God just wanted us to follow in obedience before He showed us that she is indeed a MIRACLE child. 

We received all of her hospital papers from her birth.  All of the papers from the NICU hospital she stayed at for a month were included also.  We know her China mom was 40 weeks pregnant when they had to give her an emergency C-section to get the baby out because the baby was in distress.  Who gets this information????  There were many more details that God allowed us to know about our daughter.  I am in awe.  With what we see in her information she now falls into the 2 - 3 percentile for HIE of children that have very little affects from the lack of oxygen to the brain.

What I am hoping is that our story will give someone hope.  I pray that someone reading this will take a leap of faith and adopt a child that seems to be to hard for them.  In the end, we chose this route because God told us that this little girl needed a family.  And that our family needed this little girl.  I pray that this helps someone to trust God and follow in obedience.


Karin said...

Oh Gretchen...I LOVE this story!! I love how God kept telling you 'it's not what it seems.' There are probably many kids who get overlooked because of scary sounding diagnosis'. I think your story WILL give other families and children HOPE. :) Thank you for sharing it and thank you for being obedient to God's call. I know many blessings are in store for all of you!

Kim R. said...

Wow! Your story was very inspiring to me since our family has also been searching for direction in many areas, desperately wanting to follow God's will but unclear as to what that was. We have walked the road of Chinese adoption and know what an emotional journey it is. We will keep you all in our prayers! ...I want to share with you that our little Simeon was born at 40 weeks gestation by "crash c-section" following a placental abruption (I also had leukemia during the pregnancy). We both almost died; in fact, the doctors said if they had gotten him out just two minutes later, they would not have been able to get him breathing with the CPAP. His Apgar score was a 1, simply because he still had a heartbeat. We were told he might have brain damage or even cerebral palsy and that he was "the worst off in the NICU." But I just had a peace about it. God had told me 7 years earlier, when I was the mother of two small boys, that we would have a baby boy named Simeon. Imagine my surprise when my next baby was a girl! And when, two years later, God led us to adopt a baby girl from China, I began to wonder if I had heard Him correctly regarding our Simeon. But in His own time, God surprised us with a very unexpected pregnancy. Satan tried to alter God's plan by taking Simeon from us, but God said, "Absolutely not." WHAT GOD SAYS WILL BE! Everyone at the hospital referred to him as a "miracle baby" simply because he was alive, but within 24 hours he went from the "worst in NICU" to being the best (most healthy). When my high risk pregnancy doctor saw him 6 weeks later, he just stood there and shook his head in amazement. Simeon is 5 years old -- perfectly healthy -- no developmental delays -- very smart -- and a DAILY reminder of God's faithfulness, His love and His mercy. What a blessing your daughter will be -- a walking miracle in your midst every day! Congratulations!

Mike and Barb said...

Wow, Gretchen, thank you for sharing such a powerful story!
Can't wait to see your Zhongshan princess come HOME!

Adrian Roberta said...

thankyou Gretchen for sharing your storey. We all need to be reminded of what Obedience looks like!

Valerie and Jeff said...

Awesome and Amazing. I am so glad that you and your husband are so open to God's blessings ... even in the face of your fears!

What a beautiful little girl! And what a gift to have you guided to her through so many beautiful events and reassurances!

Annie said...

Thank you for sharing this beautiful story! I'm so glad we became "friends" on the Z CWI group! I love my friends of faith who follow God's leading in this journey. He is SO good.

Lori said...

Gretchen, beautiful story!

The detailed information you received about your daughter's birth is amazing. I'm not sure I've ever heard of anyone having those kinds of details.

Thanks for sharing, my friend! It was very encouraging!!