I am not sure I can accurately describe the emotions when Chris called. He said, "Did you see the e-mail?" No, I hadn't seen an e-mail. He said our adoption agency had sent us an e-mail with a referral. I immediately thought, "That can't be right. Our dossier is not in China yet." So, I raced to my computer.
Sure enough, there was a congratulations e-mail from our adoption agency. We had been matched! The tears begin to flow as elation swept over me. This was our child! I started crying. This experience is not quite like finding out we were pregnant because there was a picture of a beautiful, little girl. We knew exactly what our daughter would look like!
In order to dispel concerns that this was a mistake, I called the office of our adoption agency. They stated it was not a mistake and that "Special Focus" children could be matched prior to submitting a dossier to China. This little girl was a "Special Focus" child which essentially means the agency is particularly focused on finding a home for this child due to her age, her medical needs, or a combination of both. The agency encouraged us to write a letter of intent if we thought we were possibly interested in this referral, then to take two weeks to review this little girl's medical file, and give them a final answer.
We opened this little girl's medical file and came face to face with several medical terms we had never even heard of before. We sent the file out to the girls' pediatrician and two pediatricians who specialize in pediatric care for adopted children. We also spent numerous hours Googling the terms listed on her medical report.
When we received the summary of the medical chart from the first physician, I remember curling up and crying. The pediatrician voiced concerns that not only would this beautiful little girl likely suffer motor issues due to her spina bifida, she also likely had hydrocephalus because her head was measuring larger than the ninty-fifth percentile. She pointed out that if this little girl had hydrocephalus without a shunt, she would most likely suffer brain damage, although to what extent would be unclear without a CT scan. The other adoption specialist also recommended a CT scan.
It is important to admit that I reacted to this news with a great amount of fear. When we look back, I do not want to ever think that we completed this adoption through our own strength; it will only be because of the strength of our Heavenly Father. My fear was that we would not be able to care for a child with the special needs this little girl might have. I was afraid that if we said "no" to this referral that we would not be following God's leading and I was afraid that if we said "yes" that we would be taking on more than we could handle.
Our agency told us to ask the question, "Are we able to meet this little girl's needs with the resources that we have been given?" One thing we had to take into consideration was my diagnosis of Stargadt's disease. We knew that I might not physically be able to provide long term care for a child with significant medical needs. So, we waited for the CT scan to answer our questions about potential brain damage. While we waited, we desperately prayed that we would be open to following God's direction for our lives no matter where that might take us and that He would give us peace if this was the child He had for us.
After several weeks of waiting, we received a very encouraging CT scan. The doctors were able to determine that this little girl did not have hydrocephalus. There are still some unknowns about her future medical concerns, but we were reminded that God is not the author of fear. We could become paralyzed by replaying various scenarios regarding her medical needs or we could give our fears to God and take a step of faith. We said "yes" to the referral and we rested in the assurance that God knows everything about our little girl. "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalm 139:13-14.
With an overwhelming sense of peace, we made the official announcement below.
We have given our little girl the name Norah which means "honor." It is not a coincidence that we gave our daughter this name. God has placed adoption on our hearts for many years and we want to honor Him by following His leading. We also feel that it is a great honor to be entrusted with the lives of all of our children, including Norah.
Over the next six to eight months, we covet your prayers as we finish our dossier, raise funds, and prepare to travel. We also ask that you pray that Norah is well cared for at her foster home. It is very difficult to think that our daughter is more than six thousand miles away and we will not see her for many more months. However, we know that God is completely sovereign and He is watching over Norah.
P.S. If I get the OK from our adoption agency, I will post a picture of Norah soon!