At one point we thought our adoption story would start by fostering children in our area. But as we wrapped up the final classes to become licensed, it became clear to us that was not the path for our family at that point in time.
Shortly thereafter, we started the international adoption process. In late March of 2014, we sent a check for a large sum of money to an international adoption agency. There were a few hiccups in those early months of the adoption process. At one point, I recall saying something along the lines that we won the prize for taking the LONGEST amount of time to have a homestudy completed.
FINALLY in December of 2014, our homestudy was finalized. We were hopeful that the pace of our adoption process might pick up a little bit. Most of 2015 was spent on the "paper chase". The paper chase is a friendly way of saying you are rounding up the 500million documents needed for your dossier.
The paper chase ended as we sent our 500million documents to our agency, ready to adopt from Haiti. But as our documents were arriving at our agency, they were receiving some troubling news from Haiti. The adoption process is never speedy, and there are almost always some unexpected's along the way. We were well advised to not get too discouraged if troubling news came. The news we did receive still shocked us a bit. Instead of the process taking 2-3 years, the process would most likely take anywhere from 4 to 6 years to complete. Haiti was at a near stand still for processing international adoptions.
I remember feeling defeated when we received the news. I remember praying.. asking for clarity, even asking the Lord "Did I hear you right? Is this really what you want us to do?" Honestly, we just weren't sure if we were ready to be in a season of limbo for another 5+ years. We communicated quite a bit with our agency about what all of it meant and what our choices were.
In November of 2015, we made the decision to switch countries. I wondered why the Lord didn't just have us start with China to begin with? Why... why would we be in the adoption process for over a year and a half just to completely change our course to the opposite side of the earth?
Several months passed before we began the laborious process of chasing papers. I spent the hot summer months of 2016, specifically July, gathering 500 million more documents. In a sense, it's almost easier since I'd already done it once. I knew what to expect, I knew where to go, and I knew just what was needed. Gathering documents for China was a breeze.
From there, most of you know that all those 500 million documents travelled to China in December of 2016.
But let's rewind for just a minute.
In March of 2014, as a young family from Texas began the international adoption process, the Lord was weaving together a beautiful creation on the other side of the world. In a northern province of China, He started knitting together a precious boy in a mother's womb.
In December of 2014, as that family was moving forward in the adoption process, that precious boy in China took his first breath of life.
That family received disheartening adoption news in 2015 that rocked their world. And that little boy was fighting for his life. His sweet little heart, although beautifully and fearfully made by a loving Creator, didn't tick just the right way when he was born.
In November of 2015, as that family changed gears in their adoption process, that little fighter was receiving heart surgery to make sure his heart would tick in all the right ways.
In July of 2016, as that family started the paper chase yet again, that little peanut spent a bit of time in the hospital for pneumonia.
In January of 2017, that family's world collided with his in the most beautiful way. And all those questions of why.. all the frustration of timing... all the wondering if we REALLY heard the Lord correctly in this whole adoption thing... They were all laid to rest when we saw our sweet boy's picture for the first time.
There have been countless times that I've said "Only God" throughout this process. A lot of those times I've even blogged about them. Truly, only God could have orchestrated this. Truly, only God could have woven our stories together like this. Truly, only God.. in His Goodness.. in His timing could have known what would happen, when it would happen and why. And sometimes, He's so good to let us see the answers.
Please allow me the pleasure of introducing you to our beautiful boy.
Benjamin, after Matt's grandmother, Bennie. A wonderful matriarch who loves fiercely, prays often, and fears the Lord. Benjamin, the son of the right hand, favored, loved. May our Benjamin know how loved he is for now and always. James, after my grandfather. A man that kept us laughing and made us all feel secure and safe until his last breath. A man that loved deeply and was generous in showing his adoration of his family. James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. May our James know the loving kindness of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ; and may he serve Him.
We long for the day we get to see this precious face in person. For now, we're busy filling out immigration forms. We're anxious for all those government agencies to process all those forms and let us know when we can hug our boy! (Based on trends and current statistics, it looks like we'll be heading to China in late April to get our boy.)