You make them. I make them. We pray they are the right ones.
As a parent, we analyze and make decisions sometimes seamlessly and other times with great thought. When you are faced with a life-altering choice it weighs heavy on your heart and mind.
When I began to weigh what it would mean to change my life-long dream of adopting a girl, it was a choice which took heavy consideration. A shift from seeking a girl to choosing a boy became the rewrite to our adoption story.
Since the age of 13, I had always known adoption would be a part of my family’s story. When I was a young teen, I had a shop teacher who was frustrated with entitled students murmuring and complaining. He decided to show the class documentaries about orphanages in China and orphan girls being disregarded due to one child regulations at the time. Images of babies rocking themselves back and forth trying to find comfort while nannies were too overwhelmed to address the children locked away in their cribs was etched in my mind.
He anticipated a change in our demeanor for his class. What he will never know is that he changed the course of my life and the future for a child. Immediately in my heart I made a declaration I would adopt a baby girl from China when I had the opportunity. The countdown of birthdays began that year and continued into my adulthood.
My husband and I joke sometimes saying, “it was in the contract,” when referring to pre-established commitments when we entered marriage. Adopting a girl from China was written in our contract.
Of course, God is an amazing editor when it comes to the rewrite of our plans.
The beginning of the rewrite of our adoption story began upon entering the age requirement for China adoption program. We found ourselves signing up for fostering classes. We put the pen to the paper and thought to ourselves, what in the world are we doing?
See, fostering was never a part of our vision. But we took the steps of faith into the ministry of fostering believing we might have the opportunity to adopt that route as well. We never lost our hope for international adoption, but were willing to explore all that God was leading us toward.
Fast forward six months after our first foster placement left our home; we had learned so much and knew it was time to put our pen to paper again but this time for international adoption. We applied with a well-known agency fully anticipating waiting to be matched with a girl. We had two biological girls at home. We foolishly thought we could handle girls since we already had two. And so began the paper chase amidst fostering.
A couple months later we were praying harder than we have ever prayed before. We had fallen in love with a baby boy in foster care that we were taking care of every weekend for a couple months. We knew he was headed toward adoption. He felt like a perfect fit to our family.
We were certain we could adopt a boy from foster care and a girl from China. Then our family would be completed with a tied bow. Perfection.
Somehow, we thought we knew best. God knew better.
I cried over this baby boy for days when the state suddenly moved him to a random distant cousin several cities away. Sometimes God says no to our plans because He is working out His will in our lives.
Baby Jeffrey was gone. I was heartbroken. And yet, we still were progressing in our timeline for international adoption. We were so distraught and exhausted from the chaos of life; we decided to take our girls on vacation. A week at the beach and a big booming question was exactly what we needed.
What if we adopt a boy from China?
This is what I would call the editing marks to our story. God helped us learn He never intended us to choose our next child based on gender.
God revealed to us we were to look at children for who they were not whether they were a girl or a boy.
Once we returned home, I called our agency and asked if we could switch our home study to include either a boy or girl for our adoption. I was told if we made this choice, we would have a 95% chance of being matched with a boy due to the overwhelming ratio of families waiting for girls to boys.
This unbalance in the adoption world made me want to learn more. I talked with other families, watched the amazing video about waiting boys from Love Without Boundaries and researched some other facts about boys waiting.
Now, not only did we want to bring home a son, we were slowly opening the door to a waiting child rather than being matched. The seed of adoption in my heart was taking bloom with more clarity.
Within days of making our final decision to include the possibility of a boy, a friend on Facebook sent me our son’s profile as a waiting special focus child with another agency. Some people say they know a child is theirs upon the first look at their face. For us, we simply never could say no to this boy. The first video we viewed included him tackling another child, stealing a toy, and then throwing the toy at a nanny. While most would have moved on, we laughed and fell in love.
The personality we saw throughout our updates showed us he was a part of our family. He was a person, and his gender had little factor in our choice to bring him home. In fact, his special need began to take the same position in our decision.
We were looking at an amazingly handsome baby boy right next to the words cerebral dysplasia. I could barely obtain information by doing a Google search for cerebral dysplasia. I simply knew it dealt with the brain.
Being in foster care, we were familiar with behaviors. We understood the different ways grief could display itself, but we were unfamiliar with any medical diagnoses. When we were on the route toward being matched and filling out our medical check list, we had said no to anything dealing with the brain. I chuckle sometimes thinking about my limitations, yet knowing where God has led us.
We were embracing God’s editing marks to our story. We could not say no to this boy, so we said yes to his diagnosis with whatever unknowns it would bring.
The steps leading to bringing our son home were not always easy. I’m not sure much in the adoption process is simple. We had to switch agencies to pursue our son and weigh out what his special needs might look like once we were home. I held him in my heart and would use a photo of his face to keep me focused.
We rode the adoption roller coaster for six months after first seeing his face before my husband and I were holding him in our arms. We soon were able to bring him home to his meet his sisters.
My husband and girls named our son Caidyn to give us our ABCs. We have Autumn, Brooklyn and Caidyn. Together they are amazing. Caidyn has transitioned so well. I could never be more grateful for having a boy in our mix.
However, I know the stigma of girls versus boys in international adoption is still widely an issue. I know this because my friends near me have all adopted girls internationally. I know this because every single person I have encountered is shocked to know I have adopted a boy which is followed with a comment in regards to their thinking girls are the ones who need families. Our culture continues in the assumption girls need families and are uneducated about the fact that orphanages are filled with boys.
If I had a few dollars for every time I have experienced a stunned response to our family adopting a boy from China rather than a girl, I could afford to return to China for another adoption. And you know what? I would probably bring home another boy.
Rather than being stunned, I am amazed. I am amazed when a memory pops up on Facebook showing it took only one year to rewrite what I had planned for more than 15 years. I do not grieve the previous plans I had in adopting a girl either. Those plans, the hurt experienced in foster care, all of it was a stepping stone to my son.
I am amazed when my son tackles me with his affection, and I have the privilege to call him mine. Dressing up my handsome man, cuddling on the couch and all the wonderful time spent together has been an amazing experience. I’m sure there will be many more love experiences in our future and mostly because we made a choice, one choice.
We chose to open our heart to a waiting boy. We are now blessed with the benefits of that choice. But mostly, it was a choice to pursue Caidyn, our son.
My biggest fear in this life is regret. This fear far outweighs the fear of the unknown. I am so blessed knowing there are no regrets with our choices in our adoption story and with our son.
So, what does life look like now with this sweet three-year-old boy in our home? More bow ties and less hair bows I’m sure. Although he might detest this statement given he is quite fond of wearing his sister’s bows along with any other accessory he finds. The same character we saw in those early videos stands next to us… full of joy.
Now, we work with Caidyn’s speech delays due to his cerebral dysplasia. Nonetheless, he is a champ. He came home with a 12-month-old communication level. He has since jumped to communicating at a 24-month-old level. Caidyn brought an unexpected diagnosis also. He has chronic ITP (idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura). These diagnoses change nothing in our daily living. He is still an ornery little boy running around the house with little to no limitations.
Life with Caidyn is fun to say the least.
Six months after meeting our son, we can look back at what was scary and know the scariest thing we could have chosen was saying no to this child.
My prayer for others is to pursue a child, not a gender. Let go of a vision of perfection. Let go of what you think your family should look like and leap with faith into the unknown.
You might just see a beautifully rewritten story unfold.
– guest post by Melissa