I find it funny how sometimes by the end of the day that I can hardly remember what I had for lunch, yet I know EXACTLY what I was doing three years ago right around lunch time. To understand that day, I need to back up to 24 hours prior.
At the time we were wrapping up the paperchase for our second child ~ a child at the time unknown to us. All that stood in the way of our dossier heading overseas was that pesky immigration approval. Just two weeks before we had finished filling out our application for our agency’s waiting child program. Our agency had a long list (around 100 families we were told) of folks waiting for SN referrals, so we figured we were in for at least a year of waiting before we got a call. (This was just as the shared list began to come “online”). We had no idea how being open to a boy would speed things along.
March 10, 2008 was our daughter’s second birthday. I had just laid in her in her crib after reading her a book and was starting to sing her little soothing goodnight song. Just then I heard the ring of the telephone. My husband telecommuted at the time and I was thankful that he grabbed the phone before it rang a second time and caused further distraction to my sleepy little girl. I heard his voice say that I was unavailable, but then I heard, “Oh…Oh wow…Yeah, hold on, let me get her on the line.”
I’m sure I was shooting daggers from my eyes when he walked into the nursery ~ after all our daughter didn’t do well with interruptions in her naptime routine ~ and handed me the phone. But the look on his face as he quickly explained that it was our social worker from our agency made me stop glaring and take the cordless from him.
Over the course of the next few minutes we listened to her explaining that a new batch of referrals had come in and that the files had been prayed over and would we like to review one for a little boy who had turned two just a few months before?
Wow. WOW! She quickly gave us a brief overview of his medical information and asked if we wanted to formally review his file. We were both completely taken by surprise. We looked at each other, minds racing, nodded in agreement, and somehow managed to find our voices to tell her yes.
She told us that the file would be in our inboxes within five minutes and to try to decide over the next 24 hours if we wanted to have his file for a formal two week review period.
And GO! I don’t think we were off that call for more than a minute before my husband was calling our pediatrician to see if we could get a quick file review scheduled. While he was on his work line, I was on the home line contacting our home study social worker to ask questions about virtual twinning. (I find humor in the fact that today I have two sets).
After getting those two messages off, we spent some time in prayer, seeking discernment. It was a beautiful early spring day and as soon as our little one awakened from her nap, we put her in the stroller and took a several mile walk to process thoughts. When we got back we talked with both our pediatrician and social worker, and heard nothing from either that really caused us worry or alarm.
We ended the night that night with more heart to heart discussions about what it would be like to parent our daughter and this little boy and again had time in prayer.
I didn’t sleep very well that night. The weight of the decision at hand was pressing. The next morning we put our girl back into her stroller and took yet another long walk to give ourselves time.
In the end it came down to peace. Or in our case, a lack thereof. His condition, while complicated, appeared to be manageable. The fact that we would be creating virtual twins, he being slightly older, was not as complicated as I had originally thought. Neither of these pieces of the equation were what ultimately led to our decision. As I said before, it was peace. We simply didn’t have peace in our hearts that this little boy was our son. And we didn’t want to tie up his file for two weeks as we felt it would keep his family from finding him that much longer.
And so when we returned to the house, I made one of the most difficult phone calls I’ve ever initiated. It was three years ago and yet I remember it like it was today.
It was the call where I fumbled with words to explain to our social worker that we didn’t believe he was our son. When tears rolled down my cheeks and it felt like there was a lump the size of Rhode Island in my throat. When I realized that with that phone call we were making a forever difference in our lives and also the life of a little boy.
During that phone call I half expected to be told that we were going to be put “in the back” of the line for declining a referral. Instead I was given the following encouragement, “If God didn’t provide you a peace that this child was your son, then you are doing the right thing by stepping aside and allowing his family to find him.”
Sure enough, two days after this little guy’s profile went on our agency’s password protected website, a family came forward for him. Due to privacy laws, I never knew anything more about them than the fact that they were thrilled to be bringing him home. While I never have laid eyes on that little boy, I am thankful for the brief time that he was in my life. My husband and I still call him by name from time to time and wish he and his family well.
And almost exactly three months later, we got another phone call about a little boy named Lu Tao. This time the prayer brought peace. In the long run, that phone call on March 11, 2008 made a forever difference for two families ~ ours and his ~ and for two little boys ~ his and our oldest son’s.