Thursday, October 3, 2013

Sometimes Waiting is Just Plain Hard

We've had an emotional roller coaster of a week and sometimes waiting is just plain hard.  There's no sugar coating that.  

We got a call on a Thursday afternoon from our caseworker at the adoption agency (AGCI) who told us that she would really like us to take a look at our medical conditions sheet again in order to reconsider if there may be other medical conditions that we may be willing to accept.  My heart literally sank and my stomach was in knots because that form was BY FAR the HARDEST thing we have had to do throughout this process.  Forget all of the background checks and skeletons in our closets that were laid bare before our social worker - that stuff is a piece of cake compared to this form.  The medical conditions form is exactly what it sounds like... a lengthy two-page list of potential birth defects and health conditions that could potentially arise in a child.  We then have the foreboding responsibility of checking a box next to each condition we are comfortable with in our home.  There is just nothing natural about it.  It feels like picking out a puppy.  "Oh, I'll take the one with two brown spots.... Umm, well, I really don't like that his tail is curved so let's take the one with the big eyes."  It's awful.  It was awful the first time.  Ever very box we didn't check, I felt like we were saying no to a child that needed us.  And here we were again, having to rehash this same form.

Enter God...

See, He knew that it would be difficult for us.  So what did He do?  He had the caseworker call the day before Dustin and I were going away to Savannah for our first get-away without kids in six years!  Yep, kinda perfect timing which is crazy because I thought, "Wow!  God really knows what He's doing!"  Why is it that I am surprised EVERY time He shows up like that?

Anyway, we had lots of time that weekend to research all of the conditions (some of them I just hadn't checked because I couldn't pronounce them, let alone know what they meant!)  We prayed over the list.  We talked about our dreams for this new son of ours.  We decided we would take basically any condition that didn't require long term care (like, living with us for the rest of their life), major heart conditions or any major developmental delays (with homeschooling, i just know my limits).  In the conversation I had with God that weekend, it went something like this...

Me: "Seriously?  God, this is just too hard!  I thought you laid cleft lip and palate on our hearts for a reason?  Why are you making us do this?  We were obedient!  What is the deal?"

God:  "Heidi, I am not going to tell you why.  You are asking the wrong question.  Why doesn't matter.  Just continue to obey me.  I'll take care of the rest."

Me:  "This is just hard."

God:  "I've got this."

Fast forward to this past Tuesday.   We got a call as we were sitting down for dinner and our caseworker left a message asking for us to give her a call back.  Dustin left to run an errand and I returned her call.  She told me she had a little boy that she wanted US to consider adopting!  What?!  We did not expect a call like this for several months! Here is the best part... she said he did not have cleft lip and palate.  She shared that he had anal atresia (yeah, google it - I had to ;)  and wore a colostomy bag on his side.

Me:  "Uh... what?!  He wears a colostomy bag?  Of course he does!"

Caseworker:  "I'm sorry?"

Me:  "Oh, it's just that I had told God that I really was hoping for a child who had a condition that I was comfortable with since my brother was born with cleft lip and palate.  And this is just so generous of Him.  Someone in my family wears a colostomy bag!  That condition is just as comfortable to me as cleft lip and palate.  God totally answered my prayer!"  

Caseworker:  "Wow!  That's amazing!  I had no idea.  You didn't ever tell me that, did you?"

Me:  "No.  I just never even thought of it."

Caseworker:  "Well, when I was at the orphanage in July I saw this little boy and it was like God just said, 'That is the DeMaio's little boy.'  So I came back and asked you to reevaluate your medical conditions form, hoping that you might select anal atresia as an option so I could match him with you.  And you did!"  

She sent me the picture in an email and I called Dustin, my heart racing and my hands shaking.  We decided to wait until we were all home to open the email together as a family and see the first picture of our little boy.  We all huddled in the office around the computer and clicked the attachment to see little man's photo... BE STILL MY HEART!!  He was beautiful with a broad smile and bright, happy eyes.

We were on cloud 9 -  a face to put with the little boy we have been praying for!  The kids were over-the-moon about him.  Penny heard the doorbell ring during breakfast and said, "Mommy!  Jack is here!  Jack is here!  He is at our house!"  We were all thrilled.

Well, the elation continued until the next morning at about 11:00 when I got a follow up call from our caseworker.  After reviewing a letter in his medical documents, they found out from the orphanage that another family is pursuing his adoption.  Using my stellar detective skills, I facebooked the wife's name right away and up popped the most beautiful picture of a lovely family - 3 older teenage bio kids and 3 little Chinese adopted girls.  

Seriously?  God, it would be a lot easier if they were very old, preferably had no arms so that they were unable to cuddle a toddler and didn't smile.  But, it was absolutely the opposite.  In fact, if it were up to me, I would choose them in a heartbeat.  AND this family wanted him because they had volunteered at his orphanage on several occasions and had advocated for him to be placed with a foster family.  That means that right now, he is not at an institution but instead, because of their tenaciousness and love, is being cuddled by a foster mommy and daddy.  Super HuGe blessing for him.

This is hard.  We really don't know how to pray right now because as much as we feel like God was in the middle of all of this process, we also know that this little guy might not be Jack.  The best part is that this little boy will have a loving family no matter what.  The bad news is, it might not be us.  So, we wait right now.  We wait for the agencies to hash it out with the orphanage and local government officials as they decide which agency has the "rights" to his medical file.  The good news is that our agency has a private partnership with this orphanage and is supposed to be given sole rights to the placement of children under their care so that is in our favor.  But this family started pursuing him prior to the partnership being established so it is pretty sticky territory.

So where does this leave us?  Praying that God will place this boy exactly where he will best thrive and where he will hear about the Savior of the Universe: the one who pulled out all the stops to make sure little guy had a loving, forever family.  We have no idea how long the decision making will take (but we are thinking a few months.)  

I am begging God to allow the decision to be made swiftly.  I just don't want to be in limbo about him long - either way, you can just pray with us that God would streamline the process and remove communication barriers so that the decision is made super quick.

Meanwhile, we are still on the list for another referral if a little guy becomes available that meets our "conditions".   Little guy is ours as long as the government determines our agency can place him but we have other options if it does not.  We have already been given two more referrals in the last day that we have turned down - it is not easy.

I am claiming this verse when I don't know what to pray:

"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.  And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in  accordance with God's will."  Romans 8:26-27

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