Friday, May 19, 2006

No Unplanned Adoption

You've heard of unplanned pregnancies?  This past week, we almost had
an unplanned adoption.

Let me explain.  Last Wednesday, my aunt in Pittsburgh excitedly
called me at 9:30 to tell me the news in Taiwan was featuring a boy
born earlier this month that was likely going to be put up for
adoption.  She had hurriedly called the phone number on the screen,
got the doctor himself on the line, and told her of our interest in
adding to our family via adoption.  The doctor said they had already
gotten numerous inquiries but that we should fax in our interest in
writing.  So my aunt called me right after this to see if we were
interested.

Amy and I, of course, were already asleep, so I expressed our
interest, asked if I could call back the next morning, and then my
head hit the pillow again.  When I got a hold of my aunt the next day,
she had already mobilized multiple family members of ours in Taiwan to
help state our case.  Then she herself wrote a four-page description
of our family situation and wrote glowingly of why we ought to be
considered.  With the help of my mom, we called the hospital ourselves
that night to express our interest, the administrators having already
heard from several of our extended family but not yet from us
directly.

The whole time, Amy and I were piqued, but we never thought we'd be
chosen.  After all, by this point the story had run on TV and
newspaper in Taiwan, and hundreds of inquiries had been received from
all over the world.  But for us to even state our interest, we had to
get our heads around the possibility, however faint, that unexpectedly
we might have to race over to Taiwan to claim a baby and wrestle
through complex legal issues to bring him home.  We asked ourselves if
we were ready to go through such a process, ready already to add to
our family, a good eighteen months sooner than we had expected.  We
decided we were ready, and prayed for God's will to be done in the
situation and, regardless of the outcome, in the baby boy's life.  Me
personally, I imagined what it would be like for this to happen, but
it never felt very real, because the odds seemed so long.

And yet the longer time went on, the better our odds got.  My aunt
kept picking away, and other family members also chimed in on our
behalf.  I began to think to myself, "They might actually pick us."
Which became, "They should pick us."  Which became, "This is going to
happen."  My imagining got more detailed, more anticipatory.  It still
seemed far off, the odds still impossible.  But it could happen.  It
was getting more real.

This morning, I got another email from my aunt, with some good news
and some bad.  The good news was that it was down to six applications
and we were one of them.  Imagine: from one in hundreds to one in six!
But the bad news was that it looked less likely that the baby was
going to be put up for adoption after all.  They had said they'd
decide by this coming Wednesday, but we're not expecting to hear at
this point.

I called my aunt on the way to our church's morning service for more
details.  As I sat there, singing songs and listening to the sermon, I
couldn't help but think of this baby boy, who we first thought would
be a long shot to be our son, and then we began to think that maybe
this could happen, and now we were having to let go.  I do not want to
downplay the pain of those who go through miscarriages by comparing
our plights, for to miscarry is a far worse tragedy to get through.
But as I sat there in church, having to let go of a son I didn't
realize how much I wanted until I was told I wasn't getting him, I
began to understand a little of the anguish of losing a child that you
never had.

This may have been an unplanned adoption, and we may not have had a
whole lot of time invested into this process.  But it still hurts a
little to have to let go.  We were looking forward to giving this
little boy a home, to loving him as our own and watching him blossom.
But as I contemplated all of these things with sadness, I was also
holding Jada in church, singing a song of praise to God.  And so I
couldn't help but also feel a deep gratitude, for God might have
closed a door this week but He opened wide a door last year to bring
Jada into our lives, and someday soon we pray, He'll open wide another
door for another child to join our family.  And so it is that though
we lament not having a chance to add to our family this week, we still
feel rich and full, and anticipate even more future riches and
fullness.  Thanks be to God.

Postscript: I had actually first posted this almost a week ago (thus the date references are a bit off), but then took it down when there was a a possibility this adoption might go through after all.  But too much time has now passed for us to be optimistic.  My mom and I actually talked to the father of the mother, who by then was quite familiar with our interest, having spoken with several of my family members, in some cases multiple times.  Though I am grateful for everyone's efforts, the last thing I want to do is pry away a baby from a family that wants to keep it.  It turned out that if they were going to put this boy up for adoption, we were in the final three.  But one of the two other applicants was probably their first choice anyway.  What a roller-coaster of a week!
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