Brian and I have considered adoption since before we had children mainly because we liked the idea of providing a loving home for a child that needed one. I don't know exactly how this desire came about though, because neither of us has had any experience with adoption in our lives previously. We have both always been drawn to Korea, Brian is half-Korean and we lived there for a year when we were both Active duty, but it's not as though we said that Korea was "the place". Although we had talked about adopting through the years, there was no real plan for when/where/how. As you will come to see, this is generally how our life is; we think of something we want to do and then do it, no plan, no net, we just go! It's seriously funny that we live that way too because both of us are slightly type A (me more than him) and have difficulty deciding what to have for dinner without a plan, so you'd think that the big decisions would be well-planned. Marriage? Just did it after 4 months together. Baby? Said we'd like to get pregnant soon and so it was, even on birth control! No real plans.
So back to the original intent - the story:
Lu had just turned four and I was in that "I want another baby" mopiness that sometimes hits me after the kids turn a year older and was torturing myself by watching The Baby Story and regaling in the fact that it had been 4! years since I had given birth. Ah the joys of being pregnant (whaaaaat?) and delivering (HUH?), I was missing it all and whining to Brian and he just casually said that maybe it was time to start our adoption. Really? Really, really? I was all, "you had better not be playing with me, Mr.!". And then we decided. Just.Like.That.
We waited a few days before talking to the kids because we needed to form a plan (at this point, ya kinda need a plan) and because we needed to pray and talk and settle it between ourselves before we could intelligently consult them. This is what that conversation looked like for us:
Us: "So guys, we have some money saved up and we were wondering what you guys thought....should we take our trip to Disney like we've been planning or should we start our adoption?" Let me say that we were totally prepared to hear a resounding "DISNEY!!!" and would have done that happily.
Josh and Jay: "Adoption!!"
Lu: "Yeah, 'doption!!"
Stunned and now crying, me: " Are you guys sure? This will mean a lot of changes around here. A new baby is a lot of work, you know."
Josh: "Yeah, we know. I'm choosing a brother. From China. Can we go play now?"
Brian: "Well, we were actually thinking of Korea, buddy, what do you think about that?"
Josh: "Ok, Korea. Let's go play Jay."
That is it. No further thoughts of Disney, no backtracking, nothing. Man, I love my kids!
So over the next few days we asked others about agencies and the process and decided that we were most comfortable with Holt International. They had been assisting Korean adoptions for 40+ years and really knew what they were doing. They helped us every step of the way. We submitted our application and upon approval, starting asking ourselves some tough questions. What age are we thinking of? Could we handle a child with special needs? A sibling pair? We didn't really care if we were matched with a boy or a girl, but decided that a girl might be a nice balance to our family. We also decided that we could accept some minor special needs such as a cleft palate or something that could be surgically corrected, but also because a severe disability might be a lot tougher on our family unit as it was already. A lot of our time and resources could be used just to adjust to a disability and we felt like that wasn't really fair to our other kids. We chose to seek a child that was two years or younger as well. These were not flippant choices. They were made after much consideration, prayer and self-analysis. We pressed forward and our agency happily accepted our choices, told us about the waiting period (at LEAST a year) and suggested that we start our home study so that we could get the ball rolling.
And then I found the Waiting Child list. This is a list of children that have special needs of varying degrees and are waiting for a forever family. I spent a lot of time reading descriptions and staring at tiny faces, thinking that a family would need to have such strength to adopt one of the children. All precious, of course, but not something I felt we had the abilities to handle. Until I saw this picture:
|Ga-rin - "pretty jade"|
And I knew. I just knew she was meant for us. Not born from my body, not sharing our blood, but ours just the same. It didn't matter what issues she faced. And everyone else agreed. This is where the journey started in earnest. This sweet face, so small, so round, so beautiful. And so ours. I just knew......