This post has been weighing on my mind for some time. I have had many questions about our newest little guy—and have put off answering them until I could find the right time to sit down and really take awhile. Many of you have asked to hear his story—how we found him, if he had any special needs, etc. It’s one of those things that only a real writer could find the right words for—and something that would take really opening up one’s heart to whoever may be reading this. I’m not a writer, and it’s hard for me to just open up and be vulnerable, but I do feel the need to share the story of how this special child of God found his way into our hearts.
Even before we went to get Graci, Jeremy and I found ourselves feeling that there was another little spirit waiting to come to our home. At the time, we thought that maybe I was supposed to get pregnant. After a lot of discussion and prayer, I visited with a high-risk specialist, who basically told me a lot of things I didn’t want to hear. Besides having an extremely high chance of another stillbirth, my own life seemed to be at risk if I was to become pregnant. So we basically put things on hold until we could really feel comfortable with a decision. It was something that was always on our hearts, but we just weren’t sure how to proceed.
Well, in September I was sitting here at the computer and found myself typing in the website address to the adoption agency we used for Elli’s adoption. When I say “found myself,” I mean that, exactly. This was not something that I thought out in my head—I literally just typed in the address without thinking at all. Adoption had not been a topic of conversation with us for some time. I immediately went to the view the profiles of waiting children. As soon as their faces popped up, the Spirit settled over me in a very compelling way. I have looked at lists before, and of course my mother-heart always feels for the children—but this was different. I knew immediately that we were to adopt again. This made no sense at all, as we were barely keeping our heads above water with the five children we already had. But there was no way to deny what was put in my heart—my whole body felt on fire with what we were supposed to do. So I picked up the phone and called my very unsuspecting, overwhelmed, overworked husband and said, “Hi, honey—um… I think we’re supposed to adopt again. Now.” And he said what only a man of God—a true disciple of Christ and a doer of the word would be able to say – “Wow. OK— why don’t you go ahead and request information on the kids you are drawn to.”
I am crying as I write this, because looking back—it really was a miracle that he could respond this way. Jeremy at the time was overwhelmed with some very big trials in his life—and to put something like this on him was just crazy, to say the least.
We picked three little children that we wanted some more information on, and I proceeded to write CCAI requesting their files and telling them that yes, we knew we were out of our minds. I was so grateful for their wonderful, excited, supportive reply. To have someone place confidence in us helped me to realize that maybe this was something we could do after all. They told us that two of the children already had families looking at their files, but sent information on the third. She was a sweet little girl—and my heart felt for her in every way—but she wasn’t ours. I just knew—I don’t know how else to say it.
The next day I logged in to the same website to find that one little boy had been added to the list. His name was Dang Xu Chu, (pronounced dong shoe choo,) and he was darling. Could this be our boy? (:
We requested his file and reviewed all of his information. The peace in my heart was so amazing, and Jeremy felt it as well. We asked for time to have doctors review his profile—and we were given a week. Oh, and did I mention that this was the week of Graci’s open-heart surgery? Um, just a little overwhelming? Well, I guess the Lord thought so too—we got a call that the surgeon was sick—and surgery was postponed until the following week. (:
I brought little Chu Chu’s file to our pediatrician, Dr. Daynes. I have to insert here that I felt VERY STUPID even asking him to look at a file for us. I almost felt embarrassed, and even apologetic to bring up that we were considering adopting again. Dr. Daynes knows our family well. He knows about Graci’s heart, and Elli’s blindness and how loud she can scream! I was just sure that he would think us out of our minds. We were in the office for shots or something (we practically live at that office) and I casually mentioned that we were thinking about adopting again. He looked up from his computer, rolled his chair closer to mine and looked me right in the eyes. He told me that he thought it was wonderful, and that if anyone could do it—we could, and that the Lord would provide the way. I was stunned and emotional and happy and humbled. I had thought for sure that everyone would just balk at the idea—and his faith in the Lord made me realize that I needed to have more faith as well.
Chu Chu’s special need was listed as “fibroma of the leg and buttocks, missing and malformed toes.” Dr. Daynes looked at his pictures and reviewed his medicals. He told us that we should try to get some information from Shriner’s hospital. The problem was getting an appointment there. We had a timeline, and he said that Shriner’s was the one place that was almost impossible to communicate with. He suggested that Jeremy take his file up there in person and pray that someone would open their hearts enough to pass it on to a doctor.
The following day, Jeremy walked into Shriner’s. As he was explaining the situation to the front desk, a doctor just “happened” to walk by who just “happened” to let him in her office and just “happened” to spend 20 minutes reviewing his file then and there. She explained that Chu Chu could have one of two things, and we are leaning way towards the one called Klippel-Trenaunay-Weber syndrome (KTWS). It is most often defined by the presence of three classic characteristics: vascular abnormalities, prominent varicose veins or darkened skin patches, and limb enlargement. Chu Chu is a textbook example, and we are pretty confident that this is what he has. Talking to the doctor made us realize that it was something a little more serious than we thought (doesn’t look like surgery will be an option), but it also helped us to feel informed enough to make a decision.
As I have researched KTWS, I have found that it is extremely rare. Most websites just say “very rare” but one said “1 in 80,000” and another article claimed there are less than a thousand cases in the world. Bottom line: this is not something most people have even heard of. So you can imagine how we felt when my little sister called to tell me that her baby boy had just been diagnosed with the same thing. I guess if we are going to go through a trial like this, the Lord is blessing us by letting us go through it together.
Back to the adoption decision… I should mention here that of course our kids were involved. Early on, we casually showed them pictures of this little guy and his condition—not saying that we were considering adopting him—more like, “come look at this little boy’s leg—it’s kind of different!” Parker looked at the pictures and immediately said, “Are you thinking about adopting him?” I asked why, and he said, “Well, cause I think I want to adopt him.” Taylor, however, was TOTALLY against the idea. He was very interested in the pictures of his fibromas, and he thought he was sweet, but he did NOT want to have more kids in our family. I think his exact quote was, “Our family is just too crazy already!” (: I told Taylor that there was no way we would adopt unless everyone felt it was right and kind of let it go. We talked about it a couple of times, just casually, and he wasn’t budging on how he felt.
The day before we had to give CCAI our answer, I had a little talk with the Lord. I told him that I knew we were supposed to go forward with it, and that we would. I then told Him that it would sure be a lot easier if a few things happened. ☺ See, I don’t consider that exactly “bargaining.” ☺ I told Him we would do it either way—but I did tell Him the desires of my heart! The first was that Taylor would find his answer BEFORE we had to tell CCAI. I had already promised Taylor that we wouldn’t do it unless we were all on board. I didn’t want to go back on that, and I felt it was so important for Taylor to find the answer on his own, and not feel talked into it. (For the record, I won’t tell you the rest of my “list”, but if you find us moving into a bigger house in the next couple of years, well…)
That night we knelt in a circle for family prayer. I hadn’t discussed with Taylor that we had to give our answer the next day. I don’t remember who said the prayer, but I do remember that Dang Xu Chu was not prayed about. As soon as the amens were said, Taylor looked over at me with the sweetest, most serene smile on his face and said, “I’ve changed my mind.” My heart really started to race, and I said, “about what, honey?”
His reply—“I know we’re supposed to adopt that little boy— and I feel so happy about it.” I gave him a hug and asked him when he knew, and he said, “I don’t know—just now, I guess. During the prayer.” He followed me around all night, just basking in the sweetness of the moment, and couldn’t stop smiling. He has been on board ever since and is probably the most excited about the whole thing. Yes, God answers prayers.
I, on the other hand, began to panic. On Friday morning, I wrote an e-mail saying that we wanted to proceed, but I could not press send. I started having second thoughts. I wondered how in the world we could manage, and how we would provide for all his needs, and most of all—how it would affect our kids. I went into a full-blown panic—and just felt terrified of the whole thing. I called my friend, Heather, who was going through her own adoption, and she said some words that I so needed to hear. She reminded me of the things I had said to reassure her when they were making their decision, and I started to feel better. Still, I couldn’t send that e-mail. Then Jeremy came home from work. I thought that if I told him I was scared, he would probably have second thoughts too, but he just kind of laughed at me and said, “Oh, just push send. You know it’s right.” I finally did, and the second I did was filled again with peace. Though I have at times been overwhelmed with the whole thing since (remember my post while in the hospital with Graci, about having a big family) that underlying peace has always stayed with me.
I know that He will provide a way.
I know that somehow, our kids will be blessed for the sacrifices they will make—and I know that there will be sacrifices.
I know that this sweet little boy is a child of a very loving, powerful Father in Heaven who wants him to have a home with as much love as we have.
I know that the Lord has this amazing way of stretching our hearts to fit one more—and in doing so gives us an increased capacity to love. That the love we have for others does not lessen when we bring another into our lives—but deepens and becomes more perfect.
I know that little Dang Xu Chu is ours. And I am SO grateful.
The first day that I saw his picture, I opened up my scriptures. I love to do this—to have something on my mind and open up the scriptures randomly and see what the Lord has to say to me. That day, I opened them up to this exact verse:
“The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor, he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.” –Luke 4:18
That scripture spoke to me with such force. I will not post pictures here, but Chu Chu has a very large port wine stain on his hip, and what looks like bruising because of his vascular disorder. I felt like this scripture was reassuring me that Graci (broken-hearted), Elli (blind), and Chu Chu (bruised) were indeed all mine, and that the Lord would in time heal each of them.
To those of you who have offered words of excitement and encouragement, thank-you. It means so much to us to have the support of those we love. We can’t wait to introduce you to our new son and appreciate beyond words the love you will give him. We couldn’t do this without such amazing family and friends.