As some of you have heard, we will be welcoming a new addition to our family in 2014! And no, I am not pregnant (thanks to everyone who called and texted congratulations thinking I was -seriously, I loved that). We are adopting a beautiful little boy from Eastern Europe. He has been waiting for his family for almost two years - I can't believe we get to be the lucky ones.
Without further ado (because seriously we are so excited we can't wait), meet Tavin!
|View our profile on Reece's Rainbow here!|
I'm sure you are wondering how this all happened! Well, I'll tell you in bits and pieces because, quite frankly, its sort of a long story. Today you will get the short version, but look out for long versions to come!
Steve and I have always wanted to adopt "at some point". Back in Jan when the boys were 5 and 2, we started to think about what was next for our family. We had been talking again about adoption for several months, and set aside January to pray about several big decisions, adoption being one of them. Steve fasted for several weeks as we prayed. We felt confirmation, through scripture mostly, that it was our next step. Now just to be clear, there was never a sign, or a big feeling, but its just one of those things that you can't avoid if you read the Bible much. Its just there. Adoption fits.
I started a temporary 6 month position soon after, working from home and from office, juggling all that brought so researching adoption took a back burner for a few months. We announced in April or so to our families that we would be pursuing adoption, but reassured them we would be adopting a "healthy" child, boy or girl was fine, under the age of one. That just made sense. You hold your breath through an ultrasound hoping to get a clean bill of health for your new munchkin, and we couldn't imagine intentionally pursuing a child that would need medical attention. I am just being honest here, as selfish as it sounds to read.
Literally THE NEXT DAY, I got online to research and through an adoption blog, heard of Reece's Rainbow, a non profit organization that advocates for children with down syndrome and other special needs. Reading that families blog of how they had adopted not one, but several children with special needs broke my heart. I wish I could remember their blog now. Seeing hundreds of children WAITING on Reece's Rainbow brought me to tears. I showed it to Steve, thinking "this is crazy, we could never do that". I started researching waiting children and discovered there are thousands of children, already identified, already legally released to be adopted, in databases, waiting....and waiting. Just waiting for a family to step up and say "we will". I learned that for some, their "special need" is their age (toddler or older), or a medical need that can be addressed if they have a family to advocate for them, and quality medical care. Some just need surgery, physical therapy, etc. Others have much greater needs, but at the end of the day, ALL of them have one great need - a family to love and accept them.
So pretty quickly we realized that if we were to pursue an international adoption, it would be a waiting child. We just couldn't imagine putting ourselves on a waiting list for a baby, knowing there were thousands of other children ALREADY waiting. I started searching through any waiting child listings I could find, googling endless medical terms like cerebral palsy, strabismus, microcphaly, and countless others.
Since this is the short version, I will skip through the next few months and save them for later. One day about 6 weeks ago, I was scrolling through the new listings on Reece's Rainbow, and scrolled past Tavin's profile. His sweet sad eyes grabbed me. I couldn't stop looking at him. I had no idea what "congenital multiple arthrogryposis" was but that's nothing a quick search can't fix. I shared his profile with Steve and looked at his profile every day. A few weeks later I read a blog post that advocated for Tavin, and we decided to email Reece's to see if we could learn more. Frankly it wasn't much. All his country releases is birthdate, picture and diagnosis. We also were informed about how his country process works, in Eastern Europe. 4 week stay in country....and we have two kids to leave behind. Not ideal. Awesome that we could meet him before proceeding with adoption, super scary to travel with no more info than what was on his listing. I read as many blogs as I could of families who had adopted from his country and realized that a lot could change when you are in country and view their file, causing some families to make the difficult decision to chose a different waiting child to adopt.
We decided to pray on it more, and continued researching arthrogryposis (aka AMC for short, or Halls contracture). About this time we stopped praying for peace about what to do, and started praying that we would be obedient to whatever He asked us to do. For the next two weeks or so, I had a growing sense that this might be where He was leading. We talked again, and Steve wasn't sure...how do you chose a child? Saying yes to one is saying no to so many others.
Last Wed I was giving the kids a bath, and thinking of Tavin. As I had many times before, I watched my boys playing in the water, laughing, fighting over a toy, smiling, and thought of Tavin and the countless others who miss those simple moments. I wished more than anything that we could talk to someone that had SEEN him. But what were the odds. He was a new listing, and out of literally thousands of children waiting in orphanages in his country how would we get lucky enough for someone else to be there, at HIS orphanage, recognize he was listed, and take the time to give an update on him. I didn't even pray for it, because it felt so unrealistic. It was almost 10 before the boys were settled and I was SO tired but I just couldn't stop thinking about him, so I decided to read a few more blogs from Reece's of families who had adopted from his country. I read a couple, then as I read of a young couple who returned about 5 weeks ago with their son, she went on to describe several other children they had loved at his orphanage:
My heart stopped and I started to sob. I'm talking ugly cry. I felt like God was whispering in my ear "what else do you need to know?" so sweetly and gently. Steve was out of town, and I was crying too hard to call so I texted him. He replied "Let's get him".And my heart aches for all the little ones left behind in his orphanage. We met about five little kids available for adoption at his orphanage. There was an 18 month old girl who melted our hearts. She is so tiny and had the biggest smile. She would blend right in with any family.Another little boy we met was about 2 years old and confined to a crib 24/7 because he couldn't walk. He reminds me so much of our Hollis with his big eyes and sweet demeanor.They are both listed on Reece's Rainbow as "Billie" and "Tavin". They need their happy ending too.
And so began our journey to Tavin. We requested the commitment paperwork the next morning. We got to speak to that lovely mother on Saturday, and wept as we heard simple sweet details about Tavin that you don't get from a listing. I will be forever grateful to them for that tiny post that gave us the last small push we needed to take the leap.
We have started the home study process, and our Dossier. There will be a massive paper chase for the next 3 months or so, then several months of waiting (which will probably be worse!) for an invitation to travel, probably around April.
Please pray for us in the months to come that we can get everything filed quickly, for protection for Tavin, for someone to hold him and kiss him until we can, for God to provide the funding we need (as we work our tails off with fundraisers). We have fallen in love with this little guy. Crazy I know, but true.
We pray we can bring him home soon, and welcome you to follow our journey!
We will need to raise aprox $20,000 for adoption fees in country and travel expenses. You can view our profile here and if you find it in your heart to partner with us we would be forever grateful! Every little bit will add up!