Tuesday, August 30, 2011

So here we go!

Wow.  I am not really sure where to start with our adoption journey story. The "beginning" sounds easy enough, but where was the beginning really?  I feel like this is something that God has been preparing me for my entire life. Through all the heartaches and hardships, all the miracles and rejoicing, the people I have met, the places I have lived and even the tiniest details I remember from my childhood.  I feel like it is all pointing to this - Our Adoption Journey!

Derek and I began discussing adoption in our teens when we were dating. Attending the same church and youth group we were presented with outreach opportunities to other countries and orphans.  We discussed the realities of adoption and how maybe we would adopt when we got married (yes, we KNEW we would be married even when we were only 16 and 18 years old!).  Probably never very mature talks about adoption like we have today, but the seeds was there and we were both willing! Fast forward 18 years and we are married with three biological children....all boys; Montana, Maxwell and Parker. I often wonder if God gave me all boys so that I wouldn't lose my desire to adopt.  Perhaps he never wanted me to quite that desire inside me to have more children and to experience having both boys and girls.  Perhaps he knew that if I had been able to continue having babies I would have and again would have felt like I just couldn't add another child after having 4.....whatever the reasons, I only had boys (who I am totally and completely in love with and can't imagine my life without!) and was told by the doctor after my last birth that perhaps I should not try that again. 

Throughout the years our talk of adoption was never absent.  Mainly fueled by me and my deep feelings that God had a plan for me that involved adoption. Of course, once I started having children with Derek I assumed that my role would involve some how working with or assisting others in adoption. I had always considered adoption was something that you did if you couldn't have biological children. I was so ignorant to the other side of adoption. So through the years I have gone from listening to and indulging that still small voice inside to ignoring it and going on with my very busy, very happy and very fulfilling life.  Pursuing the things that I thought were what I wanted and my husband wanted to pursue.  We continued to pour our hearts and time and energy into serving children through our church, community outreaches, etc, but were content enough with our family and left it at that. After all, I thought, God had given us babies and that should be all we desired....right?

When my youngest son was about 3 years old I told Derek that I really felt God had been speaking to me again about adoption. I knew we couldn't have any more babies and had been reading about how many orphans and abused children even right here in our neighborhoods that world that may never know what it is like to have a family - a mom & dad, brothers & sisters, cousins, grandparents. My heart broke for them and I felt certain we were supposed to explore that further.  After some discussion I contacted the county and signed us up for the necessary classes to become certified through the Foster to Adopt program. We both took all the classes, filled mountains of paperwork and then did NOTHING!  It felt like God had put the brakes on. My desire to do it was gone. I was worried about the potential complications of bringing in foster children to adopt that were from abusive homes. How that might affect the boys and our family overall. I was beginning to feel overwhelmed with all the personal and business struggles we were beginning to have then and I just knew that the timing was all wrong. Mix that in with my growing doubt and the feeling that God was no longer in this and we literally closed that book.

Here we are 2 years later; again I began to feel so strongly that God was speaking to me about adoption. This time I thought maybe I should go a little slower since the last time I thought I heard Him it all fell apart.  I began praying about it, talking with Derek about what he thought (he was somewhat resistant at that time) and then praying some more.  I started doing research on the internet about international adoption and sharing what I found with Derek.  We began reading about the different adoption options in different countries. We would watch YouTube videos of families adopting children from all over the world. Now Derek was starting to feel called to do this. We began asking for prayer at church and getting some prophetic words that were very encouraging and confirming.  We began to get little signs and confirmations throughout our normal weeks...all that not only pointed to adoption, but to adopting from China. God was that specific!

We knew that we were not looking for a newborn or an infant.  We feel strongly that we are being called to adopt an older child. A child that just because of their age would probably spend the rest of their lives in an orphanage with almost no hope of a family coming along as they grow up. A little girl for our family most likely between the ages of 1-3 years old that will fit perfectly into the birth order and grow up with three strong, loving and doting big brothers to watch out for her!

After signing with and international adoption agency we began the process of getting approved for China.  Let me start by saying that China is extremely particular and specific about what they want out of adoptive parents. They regulate everything from if you can be divorced to how many years you have to be married to your BMI and any health conditions all the way to your net worth! This was all quite intimidating for us and would have been much easier in several other countries, but that is not where we felt led. After pulling together all the statements and information they needed from us we submitted it to the agency and waited. They were literally sending all of our information to China so we could get a "pre-approval" to move forward with the adoption process.  We turned all this in on July 6, 2011

We waited and waited and waited!  Days turned into weeks and finally on August 7, 2011 I received a call from the agency and they asked me to sit down because they had some news....We had been pre-approved through the Chinese authorities to adopt a child!! I can't tell you how emotional that moment was for me. We had already decided that if the news came back unfavorable then we were going to be okay with it and move on.  We have a great family that we are so happy with and feel blessed every day by what God has already given us.  We felt we were following obediently the path God had for us and if another door closed then we resolved that perhaps we weren't hearing very clearly.  Thank God that wasn't the case!  This door had been swung wide open and we were holding hands and leaping through it!!

We are now officially in process of filling out paperwork and working on all our home study documentation.  This is such an involved process. It can feel overwhelming at times. It can be daunting as the rest of life's stresses and issues don't just go away so that Derek and I can indulge in the bliss of waiting to become parents again! At times we can feel run down and like maybe we aren't worthy of this. Like there must be much more qualified people out there, better parents with more patience and much better behaved children than we have been able to raise thus far. Something someone may have said to us or about us that was unkind or critical must surely have some merit to it - perhaps they are right and we just really should take another look o remove away from this commission? Little seeds of doubt that if we water could certainly be enough to take us off the path and the journey that we believe God has for us. But just as I may get frustrated or disheartened by a road block I run up against or a stumble we may take, God will give us a reminder of why we are passionate about this. In the way of my son giving me a Lego figure of a Chinese girl (that he just happened to get in his new pack of Legos he just bought right after some doubt about this journey entered my mind!) or us running across the word "China" written in a completely unusual and unsuspected place as Derek and I are discussing the adoption or randomly meeting a new friend who just finished the adoption process from China and has wonderful and encouraging stories for us after someone suggested we may be taking on too much. Even financial blessings and confirmations through our business.  Contracts that come in out of the blue and total almost exactly what the next set of fees are that we need to send in. Like God wants us to know that he will provide above and beyond the savings we have set aside for this process just to show us that any fear or doubt is unfounded. When we step out in faith God will meet us more than half way and He will provide over and abundantly what we could have ever dreamed!

I guess that pretty much wraps up how we got started on this amazing journey we are on.  I know it is alot to take in...trust me there is so much more I wanted to write, so many details I didn't put in for fear that this would literally turn into a book! I hope that I didn't go overboard with, but was able to express enough so that anyone reading this understands what a journey this has already been. A life long journey, really. Even when we didn't know we were on it through all these years.

God brought our lives together and only needed us to be obedient to carry out His will. I think we have made many missteps along the way, but God is patient and kind and full of grace and has only waited for us to get back on the path and often pointing out the way for us. We are constantly reminded that God never asks anyone to be perfect - only to trust Him and be willing. That we can do! I hope that we are able to hear Him clearly throughout the rest of this journey as He brings us and our daughter together.  It is amazing to think that she is probably out there already just waiting for us. Waiting on the family that God has for her. The family whose hearts he has been preparing for her since before we ever felt Him working!

I will do my best to update this blog as we continue through the process, paperwork, meetings, etc. Hopefully, anyone who would like to can keep up with the process as it moves along and perhaps it could be helpful for anyone else considering this process. It is so much easier to understand if you can read step by step how the process is going for someone else.
 Thank you to everyone who has and continues to support us on this journey.  Your prayers, encouragement and support mean more to us than words can express. 
We do plan on using this blog to help build a book for our daughter so she can understand how much we wanted, waited and planned for her. We welcome comments or words of wisdom that you would like to leave here as you read and visit our adoption story.  They will all help build her story of how she came to us and why she is and always will be part of the Tye Family! Blessings!

"Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is fatihful."
Hebrews 10:23

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