Samuel's Story

I recently saw this photo on Facebook and felt it was the perfect beginning to Samuel's story.  I first laid eyes on him on October 11, 2012.  He was 4 months old and had just arrived at Swallow's Nest only a few days or weeks before.

I Samuel 1:27 “I asked the Lord to give me this boy, and he has granted my request. Now I am giving him to the Lord, and he will belong to the Lord his whole life’ And they worshiped the Lord there.” 

What a year of waiting, praying, and tears it has been.  There was a lot of worshiping going on in our home when after a year of waiting we finally received the file of our precious Zheng Xiao Fu. Here is his adoption story:

Before we began our first adoption we attended a class called “If You Were Mine.” We were still on the fence on pursuing a China adoption or fostering to adopt.  Through that class we decided that most definitely, at this time, God was calling us to adopt a special needs child from China. What we didn’t expect to realize from that class was that adoption was going to become a larger part of our lives than we ever imagined.  Four children had always been our “happily ever after” number.  We could have chosen to have a fourth biological child, but we knew that wasn’t what we wanted. We wanted to adopt. I remember looking at K.C. after that class and we both (a little fearfully) looked at each other and said, “This probably won’t be our only adoption.” According to our adoption agency, 80% of families who adopt through them choose to adopt again.

While we were on Anna’s adoption journey I thought it was the hardest thing I had ever done.  I remember thinking, “How could I ever do this again!” But after 13 months of paper chasing, waiting, waiting, more paperwork, waiting, and waiting she was finally in our arms and everything that had seemed so hard was quickly forgotten. She was finally with us. It was a lot like giving birth.  After all the hardships accompanying pregnancy and the pain of birth, once that baby was in my arms I couldn’t imagine not doing it again. (Maybe not all of you felt this way, but I did ;)

I remember that even just a few days after we held Anna in our arms I started yearning for a little boy to
become her brother.  I didn’t want one right then, but I knew in my heart that somewhere in China there was a little boy who would join our family some day.  Three days after Anna’s “Gotcha Day” we visited her foster home. We wanted to thank the nannies, see where she had lived, and give her some closure.  Along with Anna, there were two little girls and two baby boys living at the foster home.  One of the little boys in particular bonded easily with me. I picked him up and held him.  His little arms were very stiff and his hands completely clasped.  I talked with the nannies and they told me that he was four months old and explained that his hands and arms were stiff and he couldn’t move his elbows or open his hands. Compared to Anna’s multifaceted disability, his seemed relatively minor to me. That night I blogged about our visit and included a photo of myself holding this little baby boy with a note that I was “going to keep an eye on him.” A friend commented that “He would make a great addition to our crew.” CREW! That word stood out to me the most. Five kids is most definitely a crew!

As we continued our adoption trip I thought about that little boy a lot.  I was pretty overwhelmed with caring for Anna, but I couldn’t get that little guy out of my head.  I remember that only days after returning to the states with Anna I broke down in tears to K.C. telling him how that I felt this little boy was our son. It seemed so crazy, so ridiculous to me to start on another adoption so soon, but I didn’t know what to do.  I couldn’t stop thinking about him. K.C. of course thought it was crazy too. I think he thought once I got over my jet lag I would return to my senses. That didn’t happen.

In January 2013 I asked K.C. if it would be okay if I contacted our adoption agency about this little boy and if we could start sponsoring him at Swallows Nest. K.C. said that would be fine, but he was still concerned about adding another child to our family so soon. Our finances had taken a big hit and our life was in complete survival mode. K.C. was travelling often and learning how to care for Anna and manage her medical and therapy needs was a full time job. In addition, I had three other children depending on me to get them to school and activities, make sure they were fed and clothed, and just make sure our home was a place filled with love and care for each child. I was overwhelmed to say the least and there was one other problem.  We didn’t have anywhere in our house to put another little boy. So I began to pray.

I felt like Hannah, crying out to the Lord for a child. How can a mother of four feel like Hannah? I’ve never experienced infertility like Hannah did.  I have three biological children and one child through the amazing experience of adoption. But from the moment I met this little boy I knew that I was his mom.  I only held him for a few minutes, but in that short time a bond was formed.   I began praying for very specific things- a new house, finances to finish paying off Anna’s adoption and begin another, and mostly that K.C. would know without a doubt that we should pursue adopting Xiao Fu.  Within 6 months all of those prayers had been answered! In July of 2013 we officially submitted our request to adopt Zheng Xiao Fu. Much to our surprise, another family did too. We don’t even know how they knew about him, but they did, and they had beaten us to the punch. We just continued to wait and pray.

The day before Thanksgiving we received word that Xiao Fu’s file was at our adoption agency but had not been given to any families.  I waited a week and called.  The news wasn’t good.  We definitely weren’t first in line to receive his file and they couldn’t even tell us where we were in line.  I was devastated!  All the answered prayers, all of the hopes and dreams came crashing down.  It seemed impossible in my mind that any family could see this child and not decide to adopt him.  I began grieving.  The Lord was calling me once again to be like Hannah.  I had to give “my child” back to the Lord.  I had to give him to another family.  I didn’t want to.  I fought it! I cried, I grieved, I wanted my baby.  I didn’t want to give him up.  I couldn’t give him up.  I wanted to be happy for him.  I wanted to be able to rejoice that he had found a family, but my heart was broken and I just couldn’t.  So the Thursday before Christmas I called again.  I prepared myself for the news that he had been chosen by another family.  I was scared.  I didn’t want to hear it, but I did want to move on.  So I called.  And the sweet lady on the other side said, no, nothing has changed.  I burst into tears on the phone.  Relief I think, but then something happened.  I had peace.  God swept his peace over me and finally I was able to surrender.  I didn’t know what was going to happen, but finally I had peace.  Christmas was wonderful and special.  K.C. took off the entire Christmas vacation and we just had wonderful time as a family.  I continued to pray for Xiao Fu daily, but I was pretty sure I was praying for someone else’s child.

December turned into January and as the weeks passed we started making other plans.  Let’s just wait a little while and adopt a little boy next year, let’s get a newer van, take some vacations, work on the house.  We decided that God was giving us more time to prepare.  It didn’t fill the void I felt regarding Xiao Fu, but at least we were moving on.  And then on Monday, January 27, I got a call from our Adoption Agency.  At first I thought they must have a different child’s file to share with me, but the words she said were “Zheng Xiao Fu.”  I started crying and telling her how I had given up hope.  We talked for a bit and an hour later I had the thing I had asked God for most over the past year- the file of Zheng Xiao Fu.  I was in shock!  The kids were cheering!  K.C. just smiled and said he wasn’t surprised at all J 

By Wednesday, February 12th we had received our official Pre-Approval from China locking in Xiao Fu’s file for us as we pursued all of the paperwork to make him official ours. We thought that we would most likely travel in November of this year.  That seemed like forever!  Of course the Father knows His plan. So often over the last year I have questioned why he brought this little
boy into my life.  I felt like my heart just ached for him.  I missed him, I wanted to hold him, and there were no guarantees.  Adoption has changed us.  We have seen the amazing transformation that can happen in a child’s life when they are loved by a mom and dad, sisters and brother, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.  It is wonderful and beautiful.  You know what else.  It is HARD!  Two years ago life was easy.  Three self-sufficient kids was nice.  We could have pursued easier things than adopting a child with spina bifida and agonizing over another child half a world away.  But I’m glad that we didn’t. Because most often the things in life that are hard are the things that bring the most blessing.  Every day when I see the smiles, receive the hugs and “I love you’s” from Anna I think.  I am so blessed!  I didn’t give her life, but I gave her love.

We are almost on the final stretch of our adoption journey for Samuel Xiaofu. Our paperwork is done, it has been translated by the Chinese government and now we are waiting for our official approval. This is often the hardest part, just waiting and waiting with nothing we can actually do.  Hopefully we will receive our approval in a few weeks and then we will travel to China 10-12 weeks after that.   It is looking like mid-October. Most days that seems too far away. I miss my little boy and want him here. In the meantime I have plenty to keep me busy, getting the kid’s rooms finished and preparing a special room for Samuel just like I did for Anna. We are blessed every day that God has brought us on this amazing journey of adoption. It is one of the hardest things we have ever done, and many times it is more than we think we can do. Through it all God is there. He gives us strength when we are weary and he gives us peace when we are stressed. Above all, He gives us a little glimpse of what He had to go through to adopt us into his family. That came through death. Each day as I die a little more to myself and my comforts in order to join myself with His purposes and His desires, I realize that He is all I need.

An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstance. The thread my stretch or tangle, but it will never break. -Ancient Chinese Proverb

1 comment:

  1. What an incredible, touching story. I am so excited for your upcoming reunion with your sweet son. Thank you for sharing!