Saturday, April 5, 2014

Wayne's Story

This is such a long story, so full of the hand of God, that I have hesitated getting started on it, but I hope you guys will bear with me and read about our journey to finding our second China child, "Wayne".

After we found "Daniel" in late Novemberish, (though we did not actually have PA on Danny until December 20th because of paperwork, etc.) we started looking for the second child we felt that God was telling us was still out there for us.  Since we now knew we would adopting from China we could narrow our search (See the previous post for clarity) and just look there.  Almost immediately after we found Daniel, maybe the next day, I saw a post on the China Waiting Child group on Facebook about a boy with Cooley's Anemia, who was doing very badly, had taken a turn for the worse, and would not live without a family.  He was sitting at a table in something that looked kind of like a mall food court, though it could have been anything, eating a McDonald's hamburger and smiling away.  I recognized him from Reece's Rainbow, from way back before we were even adopting. 

Much like Daniel, though not quite as semi-truck-in-the-face but certainly recognizable, we thought, him.  He is the one. Immediately, I started looking for him.  What agency had his file?  Was he on the shared list?  I was looking myself, but I was also composing an email to Reece's Rainbow's Asia coordinator to ask if she knew what agency he was with.  But almost simultaneously, the Reece's Rainbow Asia coordinator posted in the same China Waiting Child group that no one could find this boy's file and help was needing to track him down.  That meant the one source I thought would be certain to know where he was wasn't going to come through.

Let me explain a little here, for those not in the know about the way the China program works.  It wasn't that we didn't know where this child, known as "Wayne" on Reece's Rainbow, and by other W names on other sites, physically was.  Because we all knew what orphanage he was in.  No one could find his file.  Without a file, a child can't be adopted.  The China Center of Adoption Affairs, CCCWA, that handles all adoptions, can't process an adoption without the child's file.  They start with a Shared List, to which all the files go.  Then agencies will either pick children's files or the files will be sent in batches matching to certain orphanages with which the agency might have a partnership.  CCCWA is not willing to search for children who are missing unless, just maybe sometimes, you are an agency.  But for a person, the only option for finding a child is asking around and searching.

I started looking for "Wayne's" file in November along with several other people with an interest in seeing him adopted considering his grave condition.  I will tell you that it is not an exaggeration that we looked everywhere.  People were scouring the internet, looking for his face on the listings for all of the American agencies.  Americans can only use American agencies, but there are also foreign agencies, in France, Italy, Canada, everywhere in the world, that people adopt Chinese babies.  I had my agency look for him on the Shared List over and over.  I probably contacted her to look again at least once a week.  All through December, eyes were out for any sign of his file.  I must have emailed every agency in creation with a "Have you seen this boy?" milk carton kind of request.  

On New Year's Eve, we were devastated to be told that his file was no where to be found, no matter how hard people looked, and that it was obviously with a foreign agency, meaning, no matter what, he would not be available to us.  We took a few days to days to digest this information and decided we'd better move on and start looking again.  We found a six year old girl with CP that we decided we wanted more information about.  It wasn't lightening, but it was a warm feeling that she would fit well in our home.  The agency who had her file not only wouldn't consider transferring her file, they wouldn't even let us see it!  I will tell you, personally, I think that's dirty pool.  A non-mobile child over the age of four isn't going to have a lot of chances.  It's cruel to take them away.  This agency had already had her file for six months.  They've now had it for over eight and are just now saying the would "consider" the possibility of transferring, but they probably wouldn't still.  I'm not mad about this for me, because God's hand is in our story, but I do think it's cruel to this child, who will only get so many chances.

At any rate, January was rolling around and we still hadn't found another child.  Considering how much time it took us to find Danny, we should have been patient, but I really wanted to find the second child Heavenly Father had assured me was out there.  I didn't want to wait anymore and I didn't want to look anymore.  The patience that God had given us to wait until we found Daniel had waned for me, and my earthly heart just wanted to get this thing going.

We decided that we would consider young children.  We hadn't ever put them on our list of desirables, because everybody wants young children and we felt that God would not call us to bring one home, considering how many older children would never be chosen.  Also, we just aren't baby people.  We like older kids, we enjoy our older children, and neither of us were particularly keen on the baby stage, or particularly keen on going through it again.  But we'd already seen almost every waiting child above the age of five in the whole system because of our search to find Danny.  There were other children with orphanage partnerships, but partnerships don't trade files, and that wouldn't work for us.  There was really nowhere left to look.  We could either wait for more older children to be listed, or we could look at little kids.

Hesitantly, we decided that we would consider children under five.  My agency has a sort of sister agency deal with Wasatch, another China agency.  Wasatch had several young children.  Including three boys that seemed like possible candidates.  I contacted Wasatch and they were happy to forward me all three boys' files so I could take a look.  One of the boys stood out to us as a possibility, primarily because he had a special need, one that  Mike has a profound love and affection for children with that particular special need.  We kept the file and sent back the rest and spent the day thinking about it. 

At this point, I am embarrassed with myself.  With my lack of patience and with my lack of faith that the right child would come along.  I told my dear friend, Kelly, who is adopting a boy from China and got her preapproval on her son the same day we got ours on Daniel (I was considering adopting her son!  That's how we met!  I knew he wasn't right for us, but turns out he was right for them!), that I was just so tired of looking.  Months and months and hundreds and hundreds of files on nothing but faith had worn me down.  I was defeated we couldn't find Wayne, tired of looking at files, and desperate to feel like we were done with that stage of the process and ready to move on to the next step.  We strongly considered just giving up on a second child entirely, even though we both distinctly felt there was another child who belonged in our family.  We just didn't have the energy or stamina for anymore heartbreak and searching.

Because we felt directed by God to add another child, we eventually decided to go with the young boy, primarily because of his diagnosis.  We felt a great deal of discomfort about his young age and discussed it back and forth.  Neither of us felt that explosion of truth we'd felt with Daniel, but he was cute and he was available to us and not lost on another continent.  I distinctly remember standing in front of our bedroom door, looking down over the stair railing, talking about this sweet adorable boy and both of us kind of sighing and going, okay, let's do it.  It wasn't exactly a celebration like it had been with Danny.  I have a very firm memory of feeling very uncomfortable.  I told myself it was because he was only two years old.  But I think both my husband and I knew that we had just given up.  This divinely cute little boy most certainly deserved more than us.  We most certainly would have loved him with all of our hearts.  We would have cherished him as he grew.  We would never have treated him as less.  But we were acting outside of orders from God.  We were looking for a replacement for Wayne, the child we felt we were meant to adopt, and we lost our faith and we lost our focus.  I'm ashamed of myself for that.

Luckily, however, God never loses faith in us and he never loses focus.  There was more to this story!

We contacted Wasatch back and told them we'd like to move forward with this boy (who now has a family coming for him that probably can't wait to get him into their arms, and I am SOO happy for him!) and asked what to do on our end.  She told us to contact our agency, remember they are partner agencies, and they would work it out quickly and get him transferred for us.  It's sometimes very difficult, if not impossible, to get a file transferred from another agency.  As aforementioned, it's entirely the right of the agency to just simply refuse your request for a transfer and they very often do.  But in this case, we knew that if no one at Wasatch was looking at this boy as a child they would transfer to our agency, one of their partners. 

We contacted our agency and asked for the transfer to happen.  There was no response.  After a couple of days, Wasatch emailed and asked if we had heard back from our agency, which we had not.  She said they had contacted our agency multiple times but hadn't received an answer or a call back.  At this point, it was somewhere around the end of the first week of January.  We heard tale through the grapevine that our caseworker was very sick, maybe with the flu, maybe with something else.  No one was really sure, but it was clear she wasn't in the office.  The press to get things done wasn't really on us.  As aforementioned, our energy for the search was gone.  We figured she'd be back eventually, and we could just take care of it then.

A couple days turned into weeks and we heard she was back in the office, but we still didn't hear back from her.  I emailed her a couple of times but she was clearly as unmotivated to get back to us as we were to press the issue.  We were in a holding pattern.  As it turns out, literally that's what we were doing.  But we don't have eternal perspective and we can't see the things that God is cooking up with our limited view.

Sometime in early December I'd given up on checking Rainbow Kids, a site with waiting child listings.  Because the kids that showed up there were just all children we had already seen, just being reposted with a different agency.  Occasionally, every two or three weeks I would go check new additions, but I was burned out on the emails.  But I got about seven Rainbow Kids emails on January, 19th.  I get sometimes as few as two and sometimes as many as a dozen a day.  Still, since I am abysmal at cancelling memberships.  By that point I deleted them.  On January 19th, I got, I think, seven emails from Rainbow Kids.  I deleted six of them.  One of them, I just "randomly" decided I would click the link.  Of course, it wasn't random at all, because when the link opened it was Wayne!

I just couldn't believe it.  After all of that, there he was.  Just sitting there on Rainbow Kids, listing his agency as an American agency, WACAP.  I was freaking the crap out.  I called Mike at work and told him.  Then, just to be sure, I posted the link on the Waiting Child page on FB and asked, "Hey, is this Wayne?"  WACAP had given him another name.  I was sure it was him, but another part of me said, 'hey, don't get too excited.  We've already lost hope in this happening, remember?'  But the immediate answer was a lot of excited advocates saying, 'yes!'

I posted again on the Waiting Child page and asked for a WACAP advocate to contact me.  If I had to,  I would call them before another hour passed, but I like feeling out a situation first and I have a phone phobia.  Within a couple of minutes, a woman I didn't know had private messaged me on Facebook and asked me what I needed.  I didn't know it at the time, but she's the woman who runs things over at WACAP.  She told me later that she almost never gets on Facebook, but that morning she just felt like she wanted to.  So she logged in just in time to see me say it was something of an emergency and I wanted to talk to someone from WACAP.  I asked her if they ever considered transferring files, and specifically if she would transfer Wayne's file.

She told me that they'd gotten the file maybe the day before, and frankly she wasn't sure where it had come from since she was certain they had not requested it.  I think it's not too big a mystery to guess who set it up so that an agency with a history of amiable trading of files ended up with his file!  She said she would check and see if any families already with their agency had requested his file and if none had, she was more than happy to release his file to us!  I don't remember exactly how long it was (too long!) before she got back to us and said, 'no, no one has requested it.'  I sent an email to my agency saying something like, 'wait don't do anything.  Don't move, don't breathe.  I found the boy I've been asking you to look for over and over for months.  I will get back to you.'

I told WACAP I would get back to her in the morning.  We still had Wasatch ready to transfer this other boy's file.  A mistake we were never able to make because our agency wouldn't get back to either myself or Wasatch.  But really, it was a mistake we couldn't make because Heavenly Father wouldn't let us!  He had kindness for us, even when we had lost our spirit and made a move acting without faith.  I talked to my husband about Wayne and about the other boy.  Both of us felt very guilty about the other boy, even though, so far, absolutely nothing had happened and no one knew of our plans except Wasatch.  We were keenly aware that it was our, mostly my, lack of faith that had created this situation in the first place.

We were torn.  Wayne's file said he was very sick.  A doctor we showed his file to felt he would not make it through the whole of 2014 before dying, without the intervention of American medicine.  We came into this process with almost no money.  Just our meager savings which had already gone to the 1500 to redo our American homestudy for use in China, and the 2500 for agency fees for Danny.  We were, by that point, totally broke.  From them on, every dime we would need was coming from somewhere unknown.  Medical expedites are expensive and they have to happen fast.  We didn't have the money for expensive and hadn't anticipated the need for fast.  We thought we'd have the normal 12 to 18 months to take one extra jobs and make enough to pay for the majority of the adoption without help.  This wasn't going to be an option anymore if we adopted Wayne.  We would have to beg for help, something neither one of us is good at.  There was also fear.  What if we couldn't raise enough to get him home?  What if we failed in doing this thing fast enough to see him home soon enough to regain his health?

There was also the matter of the other boy.  We hadn't committed to him yet, but we had specifically requested actions be put into motion.  And there are repercussions for asking that actions be put into motion.  Even if they were only in our own hearts.  Wasatch wouldn't be hurt if we didn't follow through.  The child's chances wouldn't be hurt.  No one even knew, except a very few people.  Our agency certainly wouldn't care.  But I cared very much, because either way, there was one child who would not have a family by the end of the night.

I will tell you now that I suffered for my foolishness and impulsiveness.  I didn't sleep all night.  I tossed and turned, praying and trying to decide what to do.  I wished with all my heart that I had listened to that discomfort at the top of the stairs and not decided to ask at all.  And I wished again and again that we had received some notice of what God had in our future, even an inkling, so we could have better prepared a way to pay for adoption in dollars and not faith.  I had no clue what I was doing, but by morning, I had a strong feeling that our first impression from Heavenly Father had been the right one and we should move forward with Wayne.  I talked to Mike and he said his impressions had been the same.  We had a resolution.

I contacted Wasatch first when it got late enough.  I agonized about telling them that we didn't want the file transferred after all.  In reality, they were totally cool with it.  They said, basically, sure, it happens.  No harm, no foul.  Even though I still felt awful, it was heartening to know that Wasatch felt the boy's chances of being adopted by another family had been in no way effected by our actions.

Then I contacted WACAP next and said we wanted to move forward and asked what to do.  She told me to have our caseworker call her and they would take care of it together.  I called our caseworker.  That was something that I had literally never done, in the almost two months since we had started working with them.  Calling people is not my forte.  I don't like phones and talking on them makes me very nervous.  But this was too important for an email that she might not respond to.  So I called and gave her the information.  I tried to be very firm (also not my forte) that it needed to be taken care of immediately, before anything else happened.  She asked if I was sure.  And that was a resounding yes, without any hesitation.  I had played out all of my hesitation in the sleepless night before.

The two agencies worked it out that WACAP would release Wayne's file to the Shared List where my agency would pick it up.  Talk about a nail biting 36 hours where I was deathly afraid his file would go missing again.  There was every chance another agency could pick it up if our agency wasn't on the ball.  He could just disappear again!  But it didn't happen.  Thankfully, there was no trouble at all.  I wrote our Letter of Intent to adopt while we waiting for Wayne's file to make the transfer and the second I heard my agency had the file, I forwarded the LOI packet.  It took an agonizing six days to get preapproval from China, but it eventually did come, at the very end of January.

We still don't know how we are going to pay for every step of this adoption, but our faith has not truly wavered since that night spent praying, that He would help us find a way.  So far we have perpetually been just slightly ahead of what is due.  Never able to get really far ahead of the next agency fee or translation fee, but always just enough.  Adopting Wayne was not only something we have been commanded to do, it was a clear and moving picture of God's hand directing our lives and the lives of the fatherless.  He moved mountains to help us find this child, His child, and add him to our family.  If ever we had wondered what his will was for us and for this child, Wayne's story certainly cleared those doubts away.

Do we know exactly what we are doing?  Oh, heck no.  We still live in fear we won't be quick enough and Wayne won't survive.  Especially considering the absolutely ridiculous mistakes and errors that have happened at every step of the process.  Things we have no control over.  Honestly, the whole process of adoption is stuff you have no control over, but we've had ridiculous things like fingerprints being wrong and being kicked back, not once, not even twice, but three times!  We can't make these things change or go by faster.  All we can do is pray and know that we are following God's will and that He's got this thing.  And that He loves one tiny, pale, sick boy in a poor Chinese orphanage just as much as he loves all of us.  One in millions of needy children.  He knows WeiQiang.  And He knows all of those other orphans.  Knows their names.  Knows their hearts.  Knows what they need.

And that He knows is all we need to know.   


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