“Behold I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” – Isaiah 43:19
When Robert and I were on our way home with our son, Howie, we started talking about going back.
When we found out Howie’s special need was nonexistent, we knew we would have the energy, room, and financial freedom to add one more child. We both dreamed of another daughter from China. We discussed which special needs we felt equipped for and put in an application and completed a Medical Needs Checklist with our agency.
We desired to keep birth order — we both felt Rachel (our “little Mommy”) should always be the oldest girl. We knew the wait for younger girls can sometimes be long, so we put our application in and planned to start paperwork when 2018 rolled around, with the hopes of bringing a daughter home in 2019.
Life continued on for a few months. Every now and then we’d mention #7 or get excited about one day returning to the cities that are now so beloved. But, more often, we were consumed with life with our six children. And our three 3 year olds kept us on our toes.
Adding another child was still a couple of years away.
Then, in July, Robert called me from work and told me to call our agency. He had seen something on Facebook about China adoption rules changing. Sure enough, China had laid out new, tighter controls on who was allowed to adopt from their country. The regulation that affected us was the one of a family size limit. We now had too many children to adopt from China. We were also told there would be no leniency or exceptions, even for children who wait with medical conditions.
We grieved. We grieved for our own personal loss. We were sad to have the door to China adoption shut. We grieved the loss of a daughter — though we did not know her, we dreamed of her.
Even more so, we grieved for the waiting children. Already, thousands of Chinese children wait in orphanages. Almost all of them have medical diagnoses that make it unlikely they will be adopted domestically.
The memories of our walk through the Zhengzhou orphanage were still fresh. So many beds. So many babies. Not enough families.
There was really no way to respond except to pray. For more families to step forward. That the Lord will break more hearts toward the needs of the waiting children. That China will loosen these restrictions so that more families may go.
And for ourselves — that He may use us. Give us boldness. Give us ears to hear His instructions.
For several months, any time I knelt before the Lord, China was on my mind. I prayed for the waiting children and for more families and for myself. “Please let it change, Lord, please let it change. I know I have another daughter.” In these months, I could not imagine our daughter coming from any other place. Our next daughter was Chinese. The thought of not returning to China to adopt made me ache inside. We tried to talk about adopting from foster care or from a different country — but my grieving heart could not conceive of it.
It was China or not at all.
And not at all was okay. I have six beautiful children. Our days are full with homeschooling my older children and play time with everyone, making meals and cleaning up, trips to the museum, and hiking in the woods. We spent many months in a peaceful season. It was delightful to focus on homeschool and play and nurturing our children’s little hearts. My heart healed and I felt thankful for these sweet children already given to me. My little half dozen would be more than enough. The Lord has been gracious to us, to be sure.
Then, in November, my heart started to stir. Every time I prayed, I could feel it… something was coming. There was a sense that we were being prepared for something. Change was on the way.
I continued to pray for China, but each time I did, I got a sense that the door to adoption in China has been firmly closed for us. We still love China. It is the birthplace of two of our children. We will still return. But, I believe when we do, it will not be as new adoptive parents. Next time, we will be tourists, showing our children everything we love in that country.
In those months of quiet between China’s changes and the new year, the Lord had been working a new thing in our hearts. At first, the vision was unclear. We prayed. We waited. I clung to the words in Habakkuk: “I will sit at my watchtower and wait for the Lord to answer…”
All I knew was He was working. He stirred my heart and told me a new thing was being prepared.
Then, the fuzzy vision became more and more clear. We do have another daughter. But she is not in China.
We prayed. We waited. He answered.
“She is in Haiti.”
“Haiti! But no — that process — it is so hard! It is so long!”
“She is in Haiti.”
“I can’t do that, Lord! That process is too hard! Don’t you know I will have to leave my child there… for a long time… I can’t do that!”
“Yes, you can.”
And so it went for many weeks. He had given Robert and me His vision. He had made it clear. There was no doubt what the vision was. We resisted at first.
But, in the end, He put a new song in our mouths and softened my hard heart, all for His glory. The process to adopt from Haiti is hard but the children waiting on the other side of that process are just as deserving of a loving home and family as any other child.
We started the paper chase this month, knowing full well it may be two or three years before we have our daughter in our home. But, we start this process with courage and peace that could only come from the Lord. We start this process with joy and humility that He has again called us to adopt. We are blessed to be of service and know that whomever He has prepared for us will be perfect addition to our little family.
We are almost eight months out from the changes in the China adoption laws and when I look around into my beloved adoption community, I see lots of families who were affected by the changes who are continuing to be used by the Lord to care for the fatherless. Though they cannot go back to China right now, they are encouraging others, educating others, helping families fundraise, and advocating for waiting children. They are fostering in their states or, like us, seeking out different programs so that they may go and adopt again.
Just as the early church was multiplied in the face of persecution and trials, so has this sweet community spread its reach in the face of an unfortunate change.
The Lord continues to press in and call His people to care for the fatherless. Truly, the Lord works all things for His own good.
“He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God.” – Psalm 40:3
– guest post by Amy