Lulu’s story

What do we do when our child dies?  Adopt.  What do we do when our adopted child dies?  Adopt again.

After Rose died, our kids began asking right away if we could adopt again.  At first we questioned their motives, but we told them we would think and pray about their request.  We talked about how adopting again would not take away our sadness and how a new child would not be Rose.  We talked about how things would be hard and that we’d have to adjust as a family all over again.  In the best ways we knew how, we helped our children to understand the sacrifices and realities of another adoption.

For a little while, Pearl was very confused and thought that if we went back to China, Rose could come home again.  Then, she thought we left Rose in the hospital. Although Pearl’s reactions were difficult to respond to at times, I was also not surprised.  Milo had the same sorts of thoughts and questions as Pearl did after Stella died.

As if to say, “I’ve got this,” God provided a sizeable amount of money after Rose’s death. We used what we needed to make up for Mike’s lost income (from when Rose was in the hospital), funeral expenses, a grave marker, etc.  But, we had a decent amount left.  We didn’t want to just dwindle it away.  We wanted it to have eternal value and carry on Rose’s legacy.  It was just enough to begin the adoption process again.  Not enough to finish, but enough to begin.

When Celine was only a month old (in December), we had our one year post-placement visit for Pearl with our agency social worker, and we brought up our thoughts about adopting again. Her reaction was one of “cautious support” as she put it.  However, after she discussed our desire with the rest of her local staff, we were met with far more resistance.   Additional discussions ended with disappointing comments from their side.  We were excited about the possibility of adopting again, but we questioned whether their reaction was God’s way of telling us we weren’t ready or whether it might mean our new child was with a different agency.

We called up our fabulous independent social worker, Donna, who started with us when we began the process to bring Pearl home.  She recommended an agency that had helped one of her families complete the adoption process even after the husband unexpectedly passed away.  The agency we mentioned was the same agency several other friends in the past and had also recommended to us.  The next day, I called WACAP and spoke to one of the workers.  I explained our situation, our desire to adopt again, and asked if there would be any problem from their end on allowing us to do so.  All the while, our family was praying that if God did not want us to go down this path, that he would drop a boulder in our way.

WACAP was very encouraging and talked us through their process.  We were not ready to commit yet, so I thanked them and hung up the phone.  But, I did join a facebook Child Advocacy Group.  Big mistake. 😉  LOL.  Within days, we had spotted a little heart baby, and were very interested in her.  The agency she was with?  WACAP. Coincidence?  I think not.

I contacted WACAP, and there were several families reviewing her file.  None of them had said “yes” yet, though.  In order to have the chance to potentially lock her file, we would have to have an application on file with WACAP.  We sent in our application and application fee right away and waited anxiously.  WACAP emailed me the file, and we began reviewing it.  We asked our pediatric cardiologist to review her file, and in several days time, he came back with an extremely favorable prognosis for this little girl.  I was ready to say yes.  Mike was nervous and not as drawn to her as I was, but since she already had surgery and her outlook was very good, Mike also said yes, let’s go for it.  We told WACAP we would like to lock her file.  We were one day too late.  Our application had arrived later than another family who also wanted her. The other family had her file on hold and had two weeks to decide whether or not to proceed.  We were so bummed but decided to wait it out.

Meanwhile…Another mom in one of my newly joined FB groups was in the process of reviewing the file of a little girl with limb differences.  She was looking for someone who had a child with a similar special need, and I spoke up and said our daughter had the same special need.  She PMed me, asked me questions, and wondered if I’d mind reviewing the file for her.  Of course I said I’d be happy to.  When I opened the file she emailed me, I saw the most precious little girl, only ten months old, with cleft hands and feet.  The attached video showed her playing with her toys with gusto.   It was obvious to me that she was very intelligent.  I discussed my thoughts with this Mom over FB messenger, encouraging her that this child’s special need was really very manageable.  I told her, “If this was my referral, I’d say yes!”  She sounded very optimistic and told me she’d let me know.  I didn’t hear anything from her.

Two weeks went by, and we heard nothing about the little heart baby.  I checked in with WACAP again and again, and finally, we heard that the family had decided NOT to proceed.  Yippee! It was not our turn!  I told WACAP we were ready to say yes, and then the disappointment came:  there were two or three families wanting this little girl.  They asked us if we wanted to wait for WACAP to have a meeting to decide which family would be best for her, but there would be no guarantee we’d be selected.  (It’d all depend on who was further in the process, had access to medical resources, had more experience, etc.) We said that yes, we did want to wait for the meeting.   The meeting wouldn’t happen for at least another week or two.  We waited some more.  And filled out more paperwork, of course. 😉

The next day, I received an email from WACAP’s Waiting Child Mailbox.  We had been signed up for the email list after we applied and checked off what needs we’d be willing to consider.

I almost jumped out of my skin.  It was HER.  The little girl whose file I had reviewed!  I couldn’t believe it.  The family had returned her file, and now she was available.  Mike came home a few minutes later, and I showed him her photo.  He said, “I want her.  Yes.  Contact them now.”  I sent an email immediately back to WACAP.  I was the first one who responded, but within the day, two other families also came forward for her.  Now, WACAP said they would have to have the same kind of meeting to determine the best family for her.  They said they had never had this type of situation – one in which multiple families are all ready to say yes to the same child. They asked us to fill out paperwork for her, too.

There were lots more details, but basically, we went back and forth with WACAP on both girls for another week.  They asked us to choose only one girl we wanted to be considered for, but there’d be no guarantee we’d be matched with either one.  We asked if we could be considered for both.  They said no, because they were too close in age and too many people wanted them.

We agonized and prayed and waited and prayed and agonized some more.  We were torn.  The heart baby’s meeting was scheduled to be before the limb difference baby’s meeting. But, then the meeting for the limb difference baby got moved up.  We all decided to ask to be considered for Qiu Lu.  We spent more time filling out paperwork, answering questions about why we’d make the best family for Qiu Lu, how we’d give her great medical care, etc.  If you know me, you know I wrote some words.  Well, a lot of words. 😉

We got the call on Friday afternoon.  We had been chosen!  Qiu Lu was ours!

Qiu Lu means Autumn Light.  Our autumns have had so much darkness in them.  I believe God interwove our story and hers, all along.

We are leaving to get her in 5 days!!!!  Our Lana, our Lulu.  Our Autumn Light.



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