So here is my Memorial Box post--two days late. :) Memorial Box Monday originated with my friend, Linny, from A Place Called Simplicity.
A month or two after returning from China with our second daughter, Molly, God led us to start an adoption of a little girl in China named, Xiao Fu. The story of us finding her is a separate Memorial Box post--but that would make this one waaaay too long.
She was the first child with special needs that we were led to pursue. At the time, the current process of putting SN kids on lists was just starting. We, along with several other families were hoping to adopt children from the same orphanage. All were special needs. Xiao Fu had an unusual special need that had never been eligible for adoption. We were told by everyone that this adoption was 'impossible.'
But God made it so very clear that we were to step forward. And so we did. It was the year that China instituted the quota system, only allowing agencies a specific number of slots for families. Once those slots were filled, agencies had to wait until the following year to submit any more dossiers.
Just as our dossier was being finished, our agency informed us that there had been a mistake and that the slot we thought was available, was gone. We had a dossier but no way to send it to China.
God? What now?
We could do nothing but wait and pray. A different agency was willing to try the 'new' waiting list procedure and request the girls that we and several other families were trying to adopt. As the months passed, all of the other little girls were put on lists except Xiao Fu. Each time a list arrived, we were crushed to learn that XiaoFu's name was not on it.
Eight months after our dossier was completed--and just sitting on a desk in the US--our agency finally found a slot available with a different agency. It was a small agency and I had never heard of them. It had been a looong eight months of waiting and wondering if/how/when our dossier would ever get to China.
We were eventually logged in and our agency promised to request that XiaoFu be put on their waiting child list. Their first list came...no Xiao Fu. The lists came every 3-4 months, so we waited and prayed that she would be on the next one. She wasn't.
In the meantime, many, many people were praying for Xiao Fu and for us. God brought people out of the woodwork to help us. It was totally amazing. He put us in contact with a well-connected offici*l in Beij*ng, a woman who had formerly worked for the CC*A, a doctor who called and talked to the CC*A officials about Xiao Fu's special need, etc. One by one, they did what they could to convince the CC*A that we were Xiao Fu's family and that her special need should not prevent her from being adoptable.
Because of the many miraculous ways God brought people to help, it certainly seemed like God was orchestrating events to bring Xiao Fu home to us. Mountain after mountain was crossed or removed--but then just as quickly, another would stand in its place. God continued to urge us forward. He told us that she was a child of Promise. Over and over, I felt that God had promised to bring her home.
One day while talking to a friend and voicing my fears of XiaoFu never coming home, my friend said, "Karin, God said that she is the child of promise...through this child will come the promise." A shiver went through me at the mention of 'through,' and though I wanted to brush it off, I knew it was the Holy Spirit.
For two years we pursued Xiao Fu.
And we loved her.
We treasured every photo, every crumb of information. We prayed for her as any parent would who was separated from their child.
Finally, the day came when we would receive a referral. The call finally came and before I heard the news, I knew.
We had been offered a beautiful baby girl...but it wasn't Xiao Fu. Our agency said that Xiao Fu was not eligible for adoption and that our request had been denied.
We were crushed. Devastated. Confused.
What in the world was God doing? Why had He told me that XiaoFu was the child of promise? Why had He tricked me? Or was I just completely off base, and if so, how could I ever trust myself to hear from Him again?
And what were we supposed to do about this precious baby girl whose referral we had been offered?
There are so many details to this story that I can't share here because it would be a BOOK. However, during the wait for Xiao Fu, God told me that He had a little girl for us (that I assumed would come home after XiaoFu). God had let me know that she was 'lame,' born in the fall of 2002, and that we were to name her Chloe.
Jeff and I went to prayer about the child we were referred. God showed us that she was not our daughter and we made the difficult decision to decline the referral. It was excruciatingly hard. Our agency relayed the information to CC*A with the request for us to wait until their next waiting child list came and allow us to choose a child from the list. CC*A agreed. My arms ached, my heart even worse. There was a little Asian girl who had filled my heart--but now she was gone.
We waited some more. I was plagued with doubts. Had we just given up on Xiao Fu? She needed a family. Should we continue to fight for her?
And then two months after our referral, an email came from a contact in China. Miraculously, amazingly, spectacularly, our Father had provided a family for our sweet Xiao Fu. A local family had decided to adopt her. And they were a family who would teach her about Jesus. We could rest--knowing that our God--who is the Father to the fatherless--had taken care of her. We had been called to advocate for her as only parents can, but now that call had ended and she was moved to the care of another.
Two more months went by and we celebrated Christmas. I knew the waiting child list was supposed to be coming soon. While we were celebrating New Years, a package was winging it's way to America. In it contained the files of six children. Only six.
I called our agency the first day they opened after the holiday. The list had just arrived. Breathlessly, I asked, 'Is there a little girl on the list who has a leg or foot deformity?"
"Just a minute, I'll check."
"Yes! There is one. A little girl born in Nov. of 2002."
It was our Chloe.
Our amazing God had laid that little girl on my heart with just enough information to let me know who she was. And all at once my heart healed. I could hear from Him. I wasn't 'crazy.' I didn't always understand exactly what He was saying, but I could hear His voice.
It took me many months and years to process the whole situation. But this is what I have come to believe. It's easier to tell in a word picture, so here goes....
Let's say God says you are to travel from Florida to New York. You get on the road and have a flat tire. You wonder if the trip will have to be canceled. But then, someone comes along to help and you think--wow--God must really want me to get to NY. Awhile later, your car breaks down. You wonder again if the trip will have to be canceled. But then...someone comes along and takes your car to his shop and fixes it for free! Woohoo! You think, wow--God REALLY wants me to get to NY. A bit farther down the road, someone crashes into your car. Now you are thinking...this is it--the trip will have to be canceled. But no...someone comes along who fixes the car in a few hours, the hospital fixes your broken arm, and before you know it, you're back on the road. Wow...God REALLY, REALLY wants you to get to NY.
And then, there is a big detour sign. The highway is closed and NO ONE is getting through--ever. You have to exit. There is absolutely no way to get to NY. The exit says you now have to go to North Carolina. But, that is not where God told you to go. Shouldn't you be going to NY?
And then God whispers to your heart. "No, actually, North Carolina was the original destination, but for reasons unknown to you, I asked you to just head north. There was no road available from Florida to North Carolina when you started out. The only way to get there was to start for NY."
And then I realized...Xiao Fu WAS the child of promise. THROUGH her, all of our kids with special needs came home. She was the one who caused us to 'exit' the highway and head toward Special Needs. Prior to that, I was way too scared of 'special needs' to consider adopting a child who was classified as such.
I am sure that God had other reasons for the journey. Some of those reasons were just getting to know Him better, and learning to listen to His voice. I now know that I can't just head for New York and assume that He would never tell me to detour to North Carolina at some point in the journey. I need to listen carefully and at all times to make sure I know His heart.