After learning that this beautiful boy
|Cameron when he first arrived at the Wuhan SWI in 2006.|
was living in Wuhan, where our friend Kim's daughter Jenny was,
we realized that the Lord had presented us with a rare opportunity. The chance for two orphans from the same institution to be adopted into the same community over 8000 miles away was not likely, but then again...we have certainly learned that God's plans are not dependent on our definition of "doable".
Tom and I took this news as another nudge in the direction of this child. But wait. They told us no, right? Praying over this huge decision and all the implications for our family, we could not deny that the Lord was leading us to him. So, we asked again.
On a Wednesday evening, I called the Social Worker in charge at this particular agency and explained, once again, that we felt that this child was meant to be our son. Much to my surprise, she offered to take our request to their decision-making board and "see what happens". She was quick to remind me though that this was highly unusual and she could not promise me a positive response.
That was enough for me. For now. I knew that we were making progress and that we were following God's call to this boy.
Then it happened.
Not a week later as I had anticipated, but a mere 20 minutes after hanging up the phone.
We got the call.
The social worker said that if we could get our own social worker to support this idea, that they would let us proceed with the adoption.
We were so very excited and while we were still reeling somewhat from our last China trip, we were renewed by the Lord to buckle down and do it all again!
We began the next paperchase immediately and by October 18th, we had our Pre-approval and made the public announcement here.
Now at this point, we, and probably most of the world watching would have said that God had all this planned for us so that these two precious boys could have a family. And, I am forever grateful that He brought them to us and that there are two less orphans in the world because of His goodness to us.
But God had more in mind.
Much more it appears.
As we were racing (and this time I mean R>A>C>I>N>G!) to get our second son, Cameron, home from China, God began to show me that all of this, our whole journey since April of last year, was bigger than these two boys.
He was doing a work in my heart and in my family that would prepare me for something different.
I began to see that my adoptions and my experiences were intended to help others.
As the uniqueness of our adoptions began to get more publicity on yahoo groups and blogs, (by uniqueness I mean needing an age waiver for my husband -age 68 at the time-, not knowing from where the funds would come, being allowed to adopt another aging out child so soon...etc.) I began to have the opportunity to hear from other families who had questions about their own adoption journeys.
It didn't take long before there were emails or phone calls at least 1-2 times per week from families wanting to ask me to share the details of my adoption story in order to help give them direction or encouragement. It was always such a joy to me that I could be used in this way.
After all, who was I? I did not see myself as any sort of expert. But, I had to admit that a passion for adoption and for the "least of these" around the world was growing stronger and stronger in my heart.
I began to ask questions of the Lord like, "What is this all about?"
"What am I to do with all this new passion and energy?"
"Are you leading me to full-time adoption work?"
A few weeks after we committed to bring Cameron home, we discovered a video of him and two others boys playing outside their orphanage in Wuhan. I was delighted, as most waiting parents are, to have this video! It just makes these children so much more REAL. First on the video was Cameron. There he was with his corrected clubbed feet, jumping rope better than I ever could. He was so cute and clearly no "special need" was going to define this kid!
After Cameron, was a boy I had learned already had a family coming for him very soon. The third young boy, a sweet 12 year old, was seen playing with a Chinese toy and shooting hoops with Cameron and his friend. I sent this video clip to a friend of mine, so she could see our newest treasure and the Lord spoke straight to her heart. She called me through tears and said that she was pretty sure that the Lord had just shown her her son. That third boy. Before we knew it, she and her husband were knee-deep in paperwork and on their way to adopt yet ANOTHER child from Wuhan.
Are you keeping up? In case you've lost count, that's three children (so far) coming home to our town from the same orphanage.
But God did not stop there---oh no.
Of course, I was thrilled that my dear friend Kim S. (and her wonderful husband) was adopting this gorgeous child
but it gets better!
In December, after only 7 short weeks of paperwork, it was time to get our sweet Cameron and bring him home.
Traveling half-way around the world with no husband and a teenage boy who's English was still at the beginner level is not for SISSIES! (Just sayin'!)
Knowing that we planned to visit his orphanage, Kim prepared a care package for her new son that I was honored to deliver.
When we told the head Nanny that one of our friends was adopting this child, she began to weep! She kept repeating over and over that that boy was Cameron's BEST FRIEND! She opened a photo album that Cameron was holding and it was FULL of photos of him and his best buddy.
When she realized that he was going to be adopted into the same town as Cameron, she was overjoyed!
I was able to share with this young boy that HE. HAD. A. FAMILY!!!
I don't think there is anything better than being able to share that news with a child desperate for a family of his own.
Despite the fact that he received toys, clothes and candy...
what was the one thing he grabbed out of that bag?
His PHOTO ALBUM.
He couldn't wait to see HIS FAMILY.
Seeing that boy's eyes pour over his new mama and baba (Daddy), his new siblings and 4 (count 'em!) 4 dogs was PRICELESS.
Once again, God whispered into my ear that this is what matters. Caring for these children and offering them the chance to hear the gospel and to be loved as they each deserve.
But that wasn't all He had planned for this afternoon visit to the Wuhan SWI.
Just before I loaded a plane from home headed to China, I got a phone call from my friend Annie. She is one of those rock star child advocates that I mentioned in an earlier post. (Heart of gold, works all hours of the day and night....the whole shabang!)
Annie was asking if I was willing to get updates on three children from Wuhan that were on the "Shared list" and available for adoption. Of course, I said "Yes!"
While I was there, I was able to meet sweet "Willow"
These children left such a strong mark on my heart. I raced to our hotel room after our visit was done so that I could upload the videos that I took ASAP. I could not wait to get these children the exposure they deserved so that their family could find them.
And, while I didn't do anything difficult, God used those videos to do just that.
After posting the videos of these two amazing children, emails began to flood in to Annie and me. And their families DID find them!
And the icing on the cake?
That adorable 5 year old boy?
His Mama and Daddy are here too!
That's right. One more precious Wuhan baby coming home to our hometown.
(That's 4 in case you lost count)
Now, I am not THAT slow. Even I could tell that God was moving in the hearts of our community in a BIG WAY!
Tomorrow I will share with you some of the things that are brewing in our small town and how God has orchestrated the events of the last 10 months to fill a real need.