Thursday, January 26, 2017

In Case You Were Wondering

2 and a half years of emails. 2 and a half years of driving here and there gathering documents. 2 and a half years of phone calls made. Countless hours of preparation. Unexpected twists and turns. 

And then, 7 days of sleepless nights. Tears that pour out at the most random times. Grief. Longing. Hope. Lots of thinking of all different kinds of thoughts. Lots of talking with lots of people. Prayers. Many prayers prayed by myself (and Matt), and others on our behalf. Scripture being read.. and more scripture being poured over.

Finally, a sound night's sleep. Deep, deep sleep for the first time in what seems like a very long time. And a dream happens. It's such a really good dream. I wake up refreshed, but somehow confused. 

At that point, all the noise just has to stop. It's time to take a deep breath.. be still.. pray some more.. read more scripture. Unexpected phone calls come in, more talking and words are thrown around. Peace abounds. But still, it feels like there's just one last question mark that needs to be resolved. 

But Chinese New Year is coming up, and quickly. With a 14 hour time delay and a massive National Holiday looming, it seems unlikely that the big question mark will go away. Much to our surprise, some communication happens.. and the question mark vanishes as if it never existed. 

While his file seemed daunting at first, we spent lots of time dissecting it. Each phone call made, each email received only provided more and more answers. Lots of medical jargon and prognosis were thrown out. What would have seemed scary to us years before, didn't sound troubling at all. We felt peace. We asked lots of questions to some really wise people. We prayed a lot. We asked our agency about things and stuff. More answers were given. 

On Tuesday, January 24th, it was confirmed in our hearts what I had felt from the morning hours of January 12th. This little boy is ours to pursue. 

For us, we found that sweet spot between leap of faith and being prepared. We learned all we possibly could. We found the right questions to ask, and were given answers. We took the leap of faith. 

On January 25th, we sent China a formal letter stating our desire to make this boy a Brantner forever. 

There's no telling when we might receive a response. The entire country shuts down for about 8 days for Chinese New Year. 

We've never heard of a family not receiving a Letter of Approval. And we're really praying we aren't the first. :)

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Thursday. January 12, 2017.

Thursday. January 12, 2017. 

A great day for so many reasons. I spent the majority of the day loving on the sweetest, cutest and all-around-most precious little toddlers. 

Sometime that afternoon, my phone buzzed with an incoming email. While the sweet cherub babies rested,  I sent a flurry of text messages and emails. 

Our agency had the file of a toddler who didn't quite fit in the niche of the waiting families of the China program. To advocate on his behalf, they sent a brief summary and a picture of him to all the waiting families. This was not the first time we've received emails like this. But, it was the first time my heart skipped a beat. It was the first time that a picture tugged at me. 

Matt and I communicated with a pediatric neurologist to help break down the meaning of some of the medical terms in his summary. We contacted our social worker to request permission to look at the file. Lastly, we contacted our family coordinator to actually email us the complete file. 

Friday. January 13, 2017.

Our coordinator emailed me back. Her response didn't surprise me necessarily. The adoption agency had received a few responses quite like ours to view this sweet boy's entire file. Another family further along in the process were given access to it first. 

But something in me just wouldn't quit. So, I did what I do. I prayed. I realized, even in the midst of my angst to hurry up and get the file, that this other family was in the midst of making a HUGE decision. I prayed for peace for them.. for discernment.. and for joy no matter what. The weight of a child's future is (somewhat) in your hands at this point. Is he yours? Is he the one the Lord has set aside for your family? Or does the Lord have someone else for you? Even knowing that God is sovereign.. and Good.. and Holy.. and definitely knows... doesn't necessarily always negate the sting of having to say "no" to a precious little boy waiting for a family. 

I didn't have to pray for that other family for long. Mere hours passed before my phone buzzed again with more incoming emails. In that group of emails was the complete file for one of the most precious little boys I've ever seen. Text messages and emails started flying... letting our families know the latest in our adoption journey.. our closest friends.. and sending the file onto the neurologist. Lots of tears flowed as I read through his complete file. 

The next few days were spent a lot like Friday. Lots of communicating with lots of people. 

I talked a lot with lots of other adoptive moms. So many people have been so gracious to answer our questions.. to share their own experiences with us. We're so grateful for their wisdom, honesty and complete openness. 

One such lovely person... whom I just happened to meet by sort of a chance encounter.. is adopting a 3rd child from China. And wouldn't you know that she and her husband are using the same agency that we're using? Oh, and they just so happen to be open to adopting a little boy around the same age range that we'll be adopting!!

This friend and I texted quite a bit. She asked which orphanage Little Boy is at. And.. he's at the VERY SAME orphanage one of her precious girls was at! She provided a wealth of information about what life is like for many of the children residing in this particular institution. 

It's been 8 days since we received ALLLLLLL the information possible on this impossibly tiny little boy. I've scoured the internet for every possible photo of him. I've wept over the things he's had to endure.. wept over the absence of a Mommy and Daddy in his life. I've praised God for truly sustaining him for the last 2 years and 1 month of his life. I've spent countless hours researching his medical needs, possible prognosis and treatment plans. I've spent many minutes staring at his pictures. I've spent countless hours communicating with medical professionals about what his life has been like and what it could possibly be like based on the medical notes in his file. I've memorized every word about what he was wearing when he was abandoned at the orphanage, what his personality is like, and which major milestones he has accomplished. 

This adoption process has been a lot of things. There have been many tear jerking moments for us. There's been some angst, some grief, and lots of hope at times. 

But no amount of emotion over the last 2.5 years could compare to what we've felt in the last 8 days for this handsome little boy. 

Adoption is a leap of faith.. but also needing to be prepared to love your child well. A 16+ page document can in no way fully prepare you to love and care for your child, but it can offer some insight as to what your course of action should be. 

Right now, we're in the limbo of leap of faith and being prepared. Are his medical needs just too much for us? (And if they are, may we not feel the sting of guilt by saying "no" to him so another family can have their "yes" with him.) Once he is home and loved, will he grow by leaps and bounds? (Is our home his home?)

We're praying for discernment. For peace. For wisdom. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Bringing Home Brantner Boy

Let's cut to the chase.

Adoption is expensive. Like crazy expensive. 

There's not much we haven't done to help bring our boy home. 

Offering cleaning services: Yep. Did That.  Garage Sales: Yep, quite a few of those.  Acquired extra jobs: A handful of those too. 

And although this process has been costly, we've seen the Lord provide in so many wonderful ways. 

There's been lots going on in our little adoption process the last few weeks. And we can't wait to share ALL THE DETAILS about all the happenings. 

But first. Some friends have graciously offered to help us raise the last teensy bit of funds to help us bring our boy home! (Eek.. its getting closer and closer!!)

On March 24, our church will host a benefit not only to bless our family, but our hope and prayer is that it will serve as a catalyst for Orphan Care around the world. 

You can Reserve your spot HERE!!! 

And if you want to be a BIG PART of the event, email me! :) (We're collecting donations for a silent and live auction. Your donation would be a huge blessing to one very loved and lonely little boy. And will serve as a catalyst to provide love and care to many more kids in need of a loving family.)