peeling back the layers

So I’ve been MIA from here for about two months and for good reason… we went to China! And can I just say? It was absolutely amazing. We enjoyed every minute of our trip. Receiving our son, Gabe, was all that we hoped and prayed it would be. When we met our first son in Bangkok three years ago, we were blown away by his response to us. It couldn’t have been better. This time, Jase and I weren’t counting on such a meeting again. Our expectations were low but our hopes were high that Gabe would not be terrified to the point of complete shut down. He was quiet, and noticeably shell shocked, but so very brave. No tears and even some giggles within the first hour. We are beyond
blessed.

There’s so much to process and work through in those first few days and weeks together {and months!}. Getting to know each other and gaining trust, forging attachment and ensuring security for your child is paramount. Add to that, fear of the unknown and unanswered questions, and you’ve got the makings for some hard days.

Someone once told me that adopting a child {especially internationally where prenatal and birth records are pretty much unheard of}, can be likened to peeling back the layers of an onion. As soon as you deal with one layer, there’s another just under it waiting for discovery. And they all seemingly build on the one before it.

Now don’t get me wrong, my sweet little prince is no stinky, tear-inducing onion! {Though I adore them!} But the point is a valid one. Sometimes, we just aren’t privy to enough information before we travel. Enough to bring comfort anyway…or sometimes, just enough information to bring you to your knees.

We knew that Gabe had a heart condition {PDA, PFO} that needed to be corrected. And we were aware of other health concerns that would just have to wait until we traveled for him to confirm the extent of them. Without going into too many personal details, it was a very trying few months for me leading up to our trip. New updates brought more extensive concerns and rocked my faith.

Not my faith in the goodness of God.

Or in His sovereign plan.

But in myself…where it should never be in the first place and faith in whether or not I could handle the possibility of what that update stated as factual. A special need that we had never considered. One that still, if I’m being perfectly honest, I wouldn’t check “Yes” to on any special needs medical list. I was shaken and scared and looked to the Lord and my husband for help. Both of these wonderful gifts gave me insight and clarity and peace.

I never once wanted to step away from Gabe. I just wanted this to go away.

I never once felt like he was not worth it. I just felt inept to deal with what may be.

Hours before we were to receive Gabe at the Civil Affairs Office in Zhengzhou, in the middle of the night, I sat in our hotel bathroom and sobbed. And begged again for clarity. And for strength to do our best for him…whatever that meant. I will tell you, the minute I saw his face, I was fine. I knew that whatever would be, already was.

Does that make sense? Whatever would be, already was.

And Gabe was ours. We were his. Nothing else mattered.

These days? We’re seeing lots of doctors. And having tons of tests done. Just this last week, blood draws for 14 more tests. With the promise of so many more in the months to come. But the preliminary findings are GREAT! His heart is doing well, and he will likely have a catheterization in January to alleviate and correct the PDA. Also, the opinion so far {from two of his physicians} is that our worst fears {and China’s diagnosis} are unfounded.

To God be the glory.

I have read of others who faced similar situations. Maybe not the same special needs that we are ruling out for Gabe. But ones that cause them to step back because it is what is best for their family.

My heart aches for them.

I have a new perspective. Not one of judgement at all. I was wrongfully somewhat cynical before. So arrogant to think that I would not walk away from the referral of a child. How could I say that? I’d never taken a step, much less a mile in their shoes.

But I have now.

And I get it.

We continued on. And praise God we did! I can’t fathom our lives had Gabe not come to be part of us. He is more than we could have hoped for and such a complete blessing already.

Peeling back the layers is no fun. It’s hard to watch your child hurt and to see fear in their eyes when they meet yet another specialist. But eventually, we’re going to get to that last layer…and no matter what we find, the Lord will meet us there.

“I would have despaired unless I had believed I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord, be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.”
Psalm 27:13-14




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