by Angie, mom to Joseph from China with an SN cleft lip and palate
The word the Lord has used over and over to speak to our hearts is treasure. When He spoke to our hearts for the first time in Sept. 2003 about adoption He reminded us of our three treasures. We have three older daughters, who at that time were middle to late teens. We could not imagine ever giving up one of our treasures. But that is what we learned was happening to many little girls in China. He gave us this promise, “And I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness – secret riches. I will do this so you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel the one who calls you by name.” – Isaiah 45:3
With a heart for the unwanted treasures we accepted this new call and journey and in July 2006 we went to China to bring home our first treasure, Lindsey. She was NSN but as we learned as others who have adopted that she had her own special needs many due to the particular place she had spent her first 11 months. Thankfully she was moved due to its closure to a new place for the 7 weeks prior to our arrival. We know many reasons why the Lord has placed this special little girl in our family.
During our 11.5 month wait for referral we began looking at the dedicated special needs lists. There we saw more treasures seemingly to us twice rejected as many little ones, very young with minor needs would sit on the lists never taken. We knew before we even went that first time we would be doing a SN adoption the next time. One year later with a 7-27-07 LID we began looking at the dedicated lists, that was all there was at that time. But now with the wait time increasing there were many looking at the SN lists. Our agency had a lottery type system. We put in requests in June 07, Sept 07, and January 08 but never were picked to see a file. There ranged anywhere from 25 to 125 families that had requested the same children we had. The shared list started and for four months we tried to be quick but again we never even reviewed a file. We began to realize these little girls we were looking at were definitely wanted!
Finally one day in May 2008 my husband said, “OK, so where is our kid?” I was the list watcher, so I told him if we wanted a boy we could have one. And it hit us these little boys were now the unwanted. There was a huge line for the NSN little girls, there were also plenty who wanted the little SN girls but the little boys? We felt the Lord ask will you add one. And we said YES! That same night while up and praying the Lord put the name Joseph on my husband’s heart. We found out the next morning that it meant “God adds”… what an awesome confirmation that was!
Our agency was going to start matching lists in about 3 weeks. So they asked all of the families interested to put together the necessary requirements. They were also going through a transition in leadership in the China program so for three nights in a row they had received files but had not put any up. They emailed to say that the young and minor need children had already been taken and locked but they would try to get the others up the following morning. I just knew in my heart that there were little boys on that list. Sure enough the first two were little boys 18 and 23 months with cleft lip and palate the 18 month old both the cleft lip and palate had been repaired, the 23 month old had not. I put in a request for both called my husband and he said whichever they give you tell them to lock it as we would have been matched with either if the new system had been up and running. I waited only 10 minutes but during that time I looked again at these little boys and I knew in my mind the 18 month old should be my choice but in my heart that little 23 month old tugged away. I prayed for the Lord’s will.
When our agency called they said the 18 month old is actually locked already but the 23 month old is still available!! I told her to lock his file for us. They also sent his file and I poured over all the information already wanting to gain insight into our little Joseph. It stated he liked playing with balls and cars and how true that turned out to be. When I reached the last page there was the hospital record stating his cleft lip and palate had been repaired in January 2008. I was so thankful for him that he did not have to wait.
We had submitted our LOI on May 16th and finally in October 2008 we brought home our second treasure, 28 month old Joseph.
On the one hand he is all boy. He loves sports, of any kind; at 2 he could already shoot a basketball. He loves cars, monster trucks, watches hockey with dad and NASCAR with one of his big sisters. On the other hand he is very sensitive and caring and loves to cuddle. He enjoys having me sit and read him book after book and even plays princess party with his sister Lindsey who is almost exactly one year older. They are building a great relationship as brother and sister and as friends.
All the doctors and our pediatric dentist have told us that the doctor who performed his cleft lip and palate surgery in China did an excellent job! No additional surgery is required! He will need orthodontics along the way.
We began again for a third time and the Lord gave us a new scripture. Matthew 6:20-21: “but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal” “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
The passion in our heart is stronger that ever. In Oct. 2009 we could submit a list with our agency. We put down all the things we were open to be matched with but in our hearts we did not think that was where our child would be. See once again we had a heart for the ones that for various reasons were passed over. We looked at quite a few files, lots of little boys and some little girls. Then on January 25th, 2010 a little girl came up on the list, paperwork had been done at 8 months of age but she was now 22 months old with a cleft lip and palate, left ear deformity and some hearing loss in that ear. This was our daughter! Our agency locked her file on the 26th and submitted our LOI on the 27th. Feb. 1st we got our PA and now wait for our LOA. I will have to wait to share her story later.
I encourage all of you reading this to go out in search of hidden treasure you will be amazed at what you will find!