Thursday, January 24, 2013

Our Journey to Tulip Part Two

It's been a few months since I wrote 'Our Journey to Tulip Part One'.  I didn't intend for this much time to elapse between parts one and two.
Honestly, I have sat down to write part two a few times but the words haven't come.  
I think the biggest challenge is understanding what PART TWO really is.
Since part one described MY many experiences with people with Down Syndrome I suppose part two should start with my marriage to Adam on December 27, 1997.  On that day, it stopped being about my plans and dreams or his goals and desires.  I even believe that it stopped being God's plan for ME or HIM.  Instead, the commitments we made that day changed to what God's plan for OUR lives would be. 
I can't remember adoption being a serious topic of discussion in the first 8 years of our marriage.
Let's face it--we were busy growing three biological babies.  

In 2006 we moved to Armenia.
I vividly remember a day, not long after moving there,  that I walked past our front entryway and saw a neat line up of the three kid's shoes. 
A single thought came to my mind.
"There's a pair missing."
I told Adam about my strange shoe revelation and I believe it was at that point that we agreed (after much discussion) we would have one more child--either by birth or adoption.

About six months into our time in Armenia I started volunteering at a special needs orphanage once a week.
This is where I met
Beautiful Stella

 Adam and I began having our first serious discussions about adoption.
There was something about Stella's personality, her smile and her calm nature that had me dreaming of what it would look like if she joined our family.
Adam on the other hand
had a hard time picturing the things that came so easily for me. 
He couldn't get past the Down Syndrome diagnosis. 
While he did acknowledge that it was possible that God was calling me to parent a child with DS he didn't feel the call personally.
He questioned and prayed
and sought the advice of a friend that he respected very much.
 Adam's biggest question was
'Would God call only one person in a marriage to something?" 
His friend's answer was "No."
We talked more--I tried to explain this deep sense of longing--almost an emptiness that wouldn't be filled by any number of biological children.
We were so confused
and I was in love with that little girl.

I don't want anyone to get the impression that we relied on emotions to make the final decision not to adopt Stella.
We did take a month (the month of December 2007 I believe) to be quiet and pray about it.
At the end of that month, we both agreed that adopting Stella was not God's plan for her or us.
I felt a peace about it
Adam felt peace and relief.
We traveled back to the States for the month of February 2008 and I became pregnant with Josiah which became a clear sign to Adam and I that Stella would not be our daughter and in Adam's mind the mysterious missing pair of shoes would be filled with a fourth biological child.
When we left Armenia in June of 2008 and the only regret or sadness centered around little Stella who was left behind in the orphanage.

So, what happened between June 2008 and March of 2012?
Did God take the desire or calling away from me? 
Simply put--NO.  
In my mind, even with the addition of Josiah to our family
there was still a missing pair of shoes.
I guess we were just busy parenting four small children
moving internationally two more times
running a non-profit
And thinking.
I have always loved Luke 2:19
"Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself"
I have held most of what happened in Armenia concerning Stella to myself
because up until now it was far too private to share. 
Now I see the value of what happened.
I felt the call to adopt a child with Down Syndrome
Adam did not.
We {wisely} did not move forward because God would not call just one of us to something like this.

I am so thankful for this part of the journey to Tulip because without it I wouldn't have known the joy that came when God changed Adam's heart toward adoption.

*I do want to share that I made a friend through Facebook about six months after leaving Armenia.  She had just moved to Armenia and she volunteered at the same orphanage as I did.  She also grew to love Stella and was kind enough to send me a picture of her.  I learned through her that Stella was adopted by a European family (German perhaps) in July of 2010.*

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Tulip Update

Tulip Update

A few interesting tidbits on Tulip that we wanted to document.
#1:  Our Dossier is complete.  Actually, this is not a tidbit-this is HUGE.  After six and a half months of hard work, prayer and a few bumps in the road we have collected or created everything that the Chinese government wants to know about our family.  Just for the record, it has taken about 4 months longer than I ever dreamed it would take.  HOLY PERSISTENCE. If you don't know what a Dossier is....Google it.  I'm too tired to explain it.

So, the next steps are as follows:
1. Our agency mails our Dossier to China.
2. Our dossier is LOGGED INTO the Chinese Children Welfare Agency's system.
3. We wait.

#2:  We received a wonderful surprise on Monday night--an updated development report for Tulip and yet another sweet picture of her cute face.  I am not sure I should put the whole report on here for everyone to see but I will tell you that she is walking (!), she is not potty-trained (to be expected), she weighs about 19 lbs (average is about 27), and she is average height for a 2 year old.  If you would like to read the full report send me an e-mail and I will forward it to you.  They tell a couple of really funny stories about her and her personality which of course, makes us want to meet her right now!  But again, it is quite evident that she is well loved and cared for.

Here is the new picture of our sweet Tulip--enjoy!