A year ago today, May 5, 2010, a friend had forwarded me an e-mail. It had been forwarded to her, and 4 other people forwarded it before that. This is the e-mail we received:
Subject: Urgent---family needed to adopt deaf 13yo boy---please pass along
JF is a handsome, well-behaved 13 year old boy that is deaf and he uses sign language to communicate. He goes to a special school for the deaf. He is known to be very smart even though his grades are not the highest. He is described as being a very energetic child who loves sports and is good at basketball and skateboarding. He is also very good at the computer and participating in online chat groups. He is a tall boy who is responsible, independent and confident, taking the bus or riding his bike by himself to school. He helps the younger children and enjoys helping with chores. We were told his behavior is very good. He lives in a foster home with foster parents and five other children from the orphanage. When the foster father goes to work, he is one who is responsible for watching the other children and enjoys doing so. He is very envious of others who have been adopted. He needs a family to love and enable him to reach his full potential before he is 14 years old – when he becomes ineligible for international adoption. He has waited too many years already, and has been passed over so many times for adoption. He desperately needs a family who can recognize his many qualities before it is too late.
This was the first we heard about the young man who would become our son. We had been discussing on and off whether we would adopt or foster again. The biggest concern was always Tanner’s health. Would we be able to take care of his needs along with another child, and would both children get what they needed while dealing with Tanner’s issues? We had always assumed it would be a younger child in which those issues would be more of a concern, we hadn’t really considered an older child. We also hadn’t really considered international adoption either. In fact, on the day we received the above e-mail, I had decided (on my own) that we would never adopt internationally, it was too much paperwork and too expensive – but, clearly God had other plans. Another interesting (actually, providential) memory was from March, 2010. Jon and his sister were discussing investments one evening and a little bit later, I clearly felt God saying “why not invest in the life of a child?” Hmmmm, I hadn’t really considered that, and really didn’t think about that again until much later!
So, I forwarded the e-mail to Jon and he responded that we should pray about it. I didn’t think twice about it since I had already decided we wouldn’t adopt internationally. A few days later, Jon asked what I thought about it – I replied “nothing.” We decided to contact the agency that was listed in the e-mail to see if this was even something that was real (we had considered that it was several years old or that maybe not even true), and found out it was true. They asked us several questions right away to make sure we were pre-pre qualified (yes, that’s correct – pre-pre) for China to consider us as adoptive parents. There are a lot of other little details, but, basically, we started praying that God would make it very clear if we were to adopt this boy or not. We asked for Him to open and close doors if this adoption was to take place. We also knew, from day one, that if this was to happen, it would truly be a miracle since we had found out that Jian’s birthday was September 29th and he needed to be adopted prior to that day (his 14th birthday). WACAP (our adoption agency) reminded us many times that they would do everything they could to keep things moving, but, that if things did not happen in the right time, the adoption wouldn’t go through. All along, we were ok with this because we could feel and see God’s hand guiding this process. Up until the Thursday before we left for China, we knew that it was still a possibility that the adoption would not happen.
On May 11, 2010 we received some information from our agency, along with this, our first picture of Qin, Jian Feng.
|Qin, Jian Feng 11/1/09|
AAAHHHH, what a great smile, what a handsome boy! Could this possibly be our son??
So, we began our seemingly endless paperwork (I wish I’d counted how many pieces of paper we filled out J) including requesting an urgent homestudy. This included our pre-pre-approval paperwork, our pre-approval paperwork and then lots of papers for the US immigration and Chinese government as well. Thankfully we had a homestudy done several years before for Tanner’s adoption and prior to that to become foster parents, so, we only needed an international homestudy update. We were interviewed for the homestudy on May 22, 2010, and four months later we were on a plane to China!
There were many steps to complete in the meantime. We gathered the required documents and had to have them authenticated by the state and by the Chinese consulate. This entailed several trips to Austin, Houston and the Fed Ex office.
On July 15, 2010, we finally received our appointment for fingerprinting, scheduled for August 6, 2010. After calling WACAP, we found out that this would be too late for everything else to be completed on time and that unless we could get in earlier, there was no point in continuing the process. We were disappointed, but, were confident in God’s plans. Well, our friends, Paul and Robin Pennington who started Hope for Orphans, are very familiar with the adoption process and informed us that our congressman could help us to get our fingerprints done quickly. We called our congressman, Chet Edward’s office, even though our agency thought it wasn’t a good idea. I left a message and didn’t expect a call back until it was too late. Two hours later we received a call, asking for information. Before I had even finished scanning our papers to send her, she called back letting us know we could go to Houston that afternoon before 3pm. Jon had been able to rearrange his schedule and we were on our way. We also found out later, that at the same time I was talking with the congressman’s office, a friend of Jon’s parents was praying for us and the fingerprinting (we had let our families know the night before about the situation). We walked into the office in Houston and were greeted warmly and told they had been waiting for us. WOW!!! God was showing us how He can accomplish anything that He wants to, no boundaries are too great.
There were several more steps that went through very quickly, but, we had many more to go at this point, and it often seemed overwhelming and unmanageable. Amazingly, God continued to give us an overwhelming peace about whatever happened, either way! We were often reminded that God knew before the world began who this boy’s family was, and if it wasn’t us, He had a better plan!
Since this has become so long, I thought it would be best to post it in several parts - I will post part 2 of Jian's Journey tomorrow!