Friday, May 05, 2006

An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet...

.....regardless of time, place, or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but will never break.--an ancient Chinese Proverb

We started this process with a vision of the child who would be added to our family. We decided to adopt a child a few years younger than Alycia. She requested a sister, so the child would be a girl, and we would adopt in the U.S. We submitted our application to our adoption agency (Children's Home Society and Family Services in St. Paul) on 7-18-05. As we learned more about adoption from our agency, we decided on a toddler....and international adoption. Now we had to take a few more classes and learn about the process in each country and the children who are available, so we could pick a country and decide on an age range by the time our social worker was ready to complete our homestudy (the process that approves us as an adoptive family). Did I mention the large stack of paperwork?? There was also a LARGE stack of paperwork to complete!!

During one of our pre-adoption classes, we watched videotapes of orphanages around the world. Now we're looking at each other and freaking out about developmental delays, attachment, abuse, etc. and all of the other things that can impact children in orphanages (thanks Lisa for helping us through this!). At our final home study visit with our social worker in November 2005, we decided that were going to adopt a healthy, non-special needs, infant girl from China. WHEW!! Sure glad that all of those decisions are done!

My family knows the "eerie" process that now begins to unfold. Here it is in abbreviated form (O.K. as abbreviated as I can make it!). While we wait for our adoption agency to type up our homestudy and we start our paper work for China, I decide to keep looking at pictures on our agency's website of the "Waiting International Children". I had a "close encounter" at our agency with one waiting child already, but Donny and I decided to stick with the infant program at that time. As I am surfing through the pictures and descriptions of the children, there is a face that stops my mouse from scrolling any further down the page. I quickly call Donny and run it past him. I sleep on it for a night but dream about I call our agency for more information, only to find out that two other families are already looking into adopting her. Funny how I continue to think about her and look for her picture on other adoption message boards to this day. I've never found her.

A few pictures down from where her picture used to be posted, there is another little girl waiting in China (see photo above). How many times have I scrolled past her the description....and moved on? She has a heart condition....that's too much for us to take on. Several weeks pass and I keep seeing her on the website....keep scrolling's tough "playing God" but really, we need a healthy child, isn't that what all parents want? But I can't stop thinking about her, so I call the voice of reason (a.k.a. Donny) and ask if he minds if I call the agency to get more information. I wait for him to remind me that she has a heart condition and it's just too much for us to take on but he tells me to go ahead....after all, there's no harm in looking, right?

I called our agency on 12-9-05 for more information on Chen Er Wei and had documents in my e-mail account within the hour. Now begins the fight to remain objective and unattached from these photos. After having a pediatric cardiologist review her current and updated medical information (for no fee....thank you MeritCare and Dr. Rios!), everything looks good, so we sent our pre-approval forms to China to adopt Er Wei. China gave us their pre-approval on 2-24-06. It is really an almost indescribable feeling to be responsible for selecting a child for your family. It is not a comfortable position to reject children and it's difficult to remain objective when making life altering decisions like this one.

I'd like to thank my mom, grandmother, and Tracy (a.k.a. friend and free therapist :) for helping us process this decision and praying for us on this part of our journey. Tracy, our conversation about the "myth of health" truly helped us through a difficult fork in our road. Hey, that might make a good book title...I'll expect 50% of the profit but you can write it! Grandma, I know what you mean when you say "be careful what you pray for!" I think that maybe we weren't "playing God" as much as we thought but were perhaps struggling and stumbling along the path that was created for us.

"I have seen that in any great undertaking it is not enough for a man to depend simply upon himself." - Lone Man (Teton Sioux)


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