I’m almost hesitant to post this because we realize people think we’ve jumped off the deep end, but we announced about a month ago (read about that here) that we are in process to adopt a wonderful little eight year old boy we’ll call Ning for now (this is part of his Chinese name, his American name is coming soon!). Well, last week our agency offered us a second match, and we decided to accept that as well. She is a beautiful six year old girl we are calling Ru for short (also part of her Chinese name, American name coming someday when we come up with one – we are terrible at naming people!).
China is one of the only countries that will allow you to adopt two unrelated children at once. We didn’t know if we were going to do that, but we wanted to keep the door open. The process to adopt is so long and annoying and expensive, and we really felt like we could give another child a home, but with our oldest starting college next year and all the difficulties of planning our lives around trips to China and holding months open on my ministry calendar for that, etc, we just didn’t know if we could do the process again anytime soon. So we applied to be allowed to do two at once and were approved. Well, literally the day we found out we were approved, Ru’s file was sent to us and they asked what we thought.
Honestly, my first impression wasn’t super positive. On paper she seemed a perfect match – she was exactly the age we were hoping for (we are aiming for the oldest kids we can adopt because they are harder to place, while still maintaining birth order for our other kids), and her medical needs are not terribly severe which we thought was pretty important if we were going to adopt two at once. But the videos they sent us were sort of devoid of personality – I don’t know how else to say that. There was a short one of her going around in a circle on a play toy, and she was just kind of looking around, and there was no real sense of who she was. I didn’t know if she was just nervous (as the kids often are – who are these white people with cameras!!) or if she was delayed, or what was happening. In Ning’s videos, I got such a sense of him, and we saw him playing and talking and writing and it was just a ton of information in a very short video. Hers were not like that. She said one thing in one video, but it was too soft to hear it. She didn’t interact much, but the videos were so short, I didn’t know if that was her or just the couple of seconds they happened to catch. We weren’t sure what to do. Plus the one thing that was clear from the videos was that she couldn’t breathe well, and would certainly need more surgery for her cleft lip and palate and probably speech therapy as well – this isn’t a problem for us, but just more time and more things to figure out that we don’t have experience with while trying to transition Ning and be fair to him too.
We took this to the Lord in prayer. You’ll hear so many different ways God told people that a child they were looking at was theirs. Some fall in love right away. Some just trust that the file the agency sends is for them. Some make specific requests and assume if the child falls in those parameters it will be a good match. For us, we just prayed. I told the Lord that I hate this part. We want to recognize the child you have for us, Lord. We don’t want to take another family’s child, but if they are meant to be ours, we don’t want to leave them behind. We don’t want to say yes to this child if that means saying no to another you might have had for us. We don’t want to look at needs and say, “no, we don’t want to deal with that” rather than looking at the child and saying, “what does this child need to be safe and loved in this world?” There is so much selfishness in human nature, and I did not want the decision to be about me, but about God and what He wanted and about what was best for this little girl and her future and family.
Well, after prayer, we decided that God meant her to be ours. We really didn’t know what we were getting into. But we both felt like this was a match we were to accept. For us, it really was as simple as “we can do it, and so we should.” She needs a family. We can be that family.
Then a few amazing things happened. God is so fun. First, we found out that while Ning and Ru are not at the same orphanage, they are only a little over an hour apart. They both live in the same province, and since you always pick up a child in the capital of their province, that meant they would both be coming to us in the same city. Probably on the same day. This is intimidating, but it’s also awesome – it means we do not have to add another week to our trip as we thought we might. It also means that we can stay in one hotel – this is so much easier than moving with grieving kids – and that we can still take day trips to their orphanages to see where they grew up, something that is so important to me.
Also, the day we found out we were approved by China for Ru, I happened to see a post from someone I don’t know on Facebook. She mentioned that she was going to an orphanage in China and if anyone wanted pics of their kids from there to let her know. It was Ru’s orphanage! What?! In all of China?! So I looked at the date and it was only posted a week earlier. I quickly messaged her and asked if she was still there. She responded that she had just left and was in Shanghai. I was so sad! I asked if she happened to have met Ru? Did she have any pictures, or could she tell me anything about her at all?
Well, talk about a God moment. She responded immediately with, “Ahhhh!!! Yes!!!! Love love love her!” She immediately sent me a picture she had on her phone of Ru asleep in a van – she had taken her to the zoo the week before and she’d passed out on the way home. Then she sent me a video of her singing karaoke, and she was hilarious! My little girl who had really no personality in those early videos apparently has quite a big personality after all. In fact, this woman sent me pictures later and Ru was smiling in almost every one. And she said, “Your little girl is a FIRECRACKER!” Lol, we hope that’s good! But seriously, God is so amazing! What are the chances of me finding a random stranger who had been with her just days before? And how sweet of God to reassure me and show me more of who this little girl is!
So here we go. I am researching cleft lip and palate now, and feel confident that we have a great team here at Nationwide. This is where Noah goes too, so he was actually kind of psyched that that meant he probably would get more hamburgers in their cafeteria – he always focuses on the most important things, that kid. 🙂 And I am eager to see if this little “firecracker” and Ning, who was described to us as “super chill, super sweet, and super smart” get along well. Hopefully they will just love each other!
P.S. We know that Ning speaks Mandarin which is what Noah speaks, but we just found out a day after I originally posted this that Ru speaks Cantonese. That was a curveball we didn’t see coming! So please pray for that complication too – we’ve heard there’s a chance either or both of the kids may speak both because of where they are located, so let’s hope!