If you build it, they will come

September 7, 2010 adopting again, Eileen 0 Comments

My husband and I are not impulsive people. We tend to research ad-nauseum. Then we make lists.   Then we weigh pros and cons. Then we go in the direction that seems most logical. If the direction we’re drawn to doesn’t seem logical, we go back to step one and start all over again.  

Notwithstanding that bizarre day when I went to the pet store to buy dog food and came home with a miniature dachshund puppy, it’s how we roll. We spent four years in Iowa, so excuse the Field of Dreams allusions, but I think I can say with a fair degree of certainty that we would not mow down a cornfield to build a baseball diamond.

After adopting our daughter, we’d always said we’d love to adopt again. If the timing felt right. If our finances were secure. If we’d remodeled our already too-small kitchen. If…..

Then one little picture completely rattled my brain. I literally gasped when I saw this boy’s face. Joy just seemed to radiate from him. But thinking logically, our finances weren’t exactly prepared for an adoption. Our kitchen was too small for a family of six, let alone seven. And I could think of 20 reasons just off the top of my head why now was not ideal. I breathed deeply, did that nervous foot shake thing that I do, and then wrote what I’m sure is the most wishy-washy e-mail I’ve ever composed.  It went something like this:

Dear So and So,

We are an adoptive family of six and up until this morning hadn’t really been considering starting another adoption, but then I saw the face of the little boy labeled B-22X and now I’m considering what just a few hours ago I wasn’t. If there are lots of people already seriously looking at his file, which I’m sure there are since B-22X is the most adorable boy I’ve ever seen, then that’s great and I’m so happy he’ll have a family. BUT, in the off chance that no one is reviewing his file, could you please consider sending it to us?  

P.S. We’ve done no paperwork whatsoever, and if that’s an insurmountable problem, I completely understand.

I heard nothing. I figured that meant he was already spoken for, which was probably for the best considering our postage stamp kitchen. A week later,  I e-mailed again. Maybe the first e-mail was lost in cyberspace, you never know. Once again, nothing. I let another week pass and then e-mailed a third time. When no reply appeared in my in-box, I dialed their number. A woman answered and apologized profusely. Apparently their person who deals with special needs adoptions had been in China.  Regarding B-22X….. No, there was no one looking at his file. “But,” she said, “It’s unlikely that we’d allow you to lock any file considering that you haven’t done any paperwork……” At the end of the conversation, she mentioned that his file was on a shared list, something new to me.

My husband and I fasted and prayed. For us, this felt incredibly impulsive and if we were going to mow down a cornfield so to speak, we needed two things: confirmation and information. As we prayed, we felt strongly that we should pursue this adoption and that if we stepped out in faith, people would come into our lives with the information we needed  If we built it, they would come.  

And they did. One friend knew the ins and outs of the shared list and told me I could use any agency and not just the agency who had listed his picture, a revelation to me. Another friend, just ahead of us in the paper chase, confirmed my decision to call the agency we’d used with our daughter’s adoption. That agency locked his file almost instantly and said, “Let’s do this warp speed.” Then I moved into panic mode. This was too impulsive, too quick. After all, he’s an older child. He speaks Mandarin, I don’t. We don’t have the money ready and waiting.

The day after we locked our son’s file,  I met a man at my kid’s swim lesson who introduced me to his four children. All of them were from China, all had been older child, special needs adoptions. One charming eight year-old boy was adopted from foster care in Kunming at age four. Our little guy would be nearly four at the time of adoption and was in foster care in Kunming.

A few days later, I got an e-mail from our agency’s china representative. She said that when she heard we were adopting again, she called her friend who just happens to be over foster care in Kunming. She asked about our little guy and her friend said, “Oh, he’s such a great boy.” Such simple words that meant so much. I haven’t panicked since.

The next week, I happened to run into a Mandarin-speaking friend at Costco. I hadn’t seen her in months. When she heard about our newest adoption, she immediately offered to tutor me in Mandarin, free of charge.

That same week, my husband’s business partner discovered that there were several expenses we’d been paying for through our personal accounts, when we should have been paying through the corporation. With the reimbursement, we now had enough to cover all of the initial fees.

If you build it, they will come. I know that for a fact. Now I’m just waiting for a general contractor who specializes in free kitchens to knock on our door. It could happen.

– Eileen

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