In the last post, you got to "meet" all my kids with the focus being on M. Today, I'd like to share a little bit of R's story with you. All three of our children were adopted with the help of HOLT and we are very thankful for our social worker, Sharon, who we count among our friends. After M joined our family at the end of 2000, we knew we wanted to adopt again. We mailed our application the day M turned 9 months old, and the journey officially began once more.
We planned to adopt within the States again, but God tells us clearly that as we plan, He directs our steps. There was a lot of redirecting that took place in this journey, but how thankful we are to God for His leading and for grafting R into our family...her story is amazing, as is she!
We got to meet R for the first time on Oct 24, 2002 when she was 4 1/2 months old when our own social worker was able to escort her home for us. Here she is when we first came home, still with her ID tag on her wrist, not sure what to make of all the changes she was enduring.
We had been told many transitional stories so we had some ideas of what we might expect. R struggled a lot with being "home" for about a month and my heart ached for her and all the changes she was having to absorb...new caretakers, new sights, new sounds, new food, new smells. Essentially, EVERYTHING she was familiar with was taken away from her in an instant. I would cry too! I cried with her.
We hugged her, sang softly to her, and tried to comfort her the best we could...it was like watching a flower unfold or bloom as she began to relax and fall in love with her family over the course of time. Her two names in Korea, which we kept as her middle names, mean "love" and "bright" (like the sun)...it suits her very well. We call her our little sunshine much of the time. Take a look at this smile and you won't wonder why:
One of the ways God redirected our steps when adopting this second time was to shift us from a domestic program to a Korean one. Then, when we were #6 on the waiting list, our social worker called and asked if we'd be open to looking at some "waiting kids" because there were a number of them all of a sudden with minor special needs. We were open.
Before I tell you more, I have to say that when we adopted P, we requested a boy in the process with no reservations, but in the process with R, Mike and I were divided...He wanted to request a boy and I had a hard time agreeing to it. Before making the call to the "waiting children" program coordinator, we had to have a hearty talk about this, and I was ready to submit myself to his decision...if he was set on a boy, I didn't want the coordinator to talk to us about any girls. When it came to the minute of decision, he said we should consider boys and girls. So we made the call, and the coordinator sent us profiles on three children: 2 boys and 1 pathetic looking girl who seemed to cry out to us both the moment we laid our eyes on her!
We talked with our pediatrician and based on medical reports, she was the least healthy of the three. We discussed what we needed to know in order to care for her (just a list of minor "special needs" like gastrointestinal issues, recurring infections, a hernia; risks associated with low birth weight, etc).
It took us a few long weeks to get R assigned to us. They had wanted us to get an updated medical report before making a final decision...we fought to get represented in committee, arguing the medical report would be what it was, a report about our daughter. We simply wanted her growing up here with us, not in Korea due to strange regulations and paperwork. It is a very odd thing that happens in adoption...she was not technically our daughter yet, but in our hearts she already was and we found ourselves fighting for her.
The day came when we were brought before Committee and R was stamped with our name. That very same day we got a call telling us our "healthy child" profile arrived that day: Did we want to reconsider? Nope. We knew we were following where God was leading...we didn't even ask if it was a boy or girl. We weren't buying a truck and being offered a "better deal"...we were gaining the daughter God had for us and we were more convinced than ever that this little girl was to be in our family.
Later, that SAME day, we got another call. R's updated medical report had finally arrived...it reported her developmentally on track, the hernia had "spontaneously resolved" and other matters had significantly cleared up. Praise the Lord. Parents love to hear this kind of news about their child, but their love doesn't alter based upon it.
I know this is lengthy, but believe me this is the extremely condensed version! You're only still reading if you are interested anyway, right? So R is our "special needs" girl...she is needy just like all children, and she is certainly special. We give God thanks daily for her!