Nope, she’s not one of the five other little beauties who are sleeping (hopefully) snug and warm in their beds. But, she’s had my heart for over a year now. I’ve longed to be her mother, and I once thought it would happen. Then I was sure it wouldn’t.
Sometimes, the road God leads you on is winding and strange. It doesn’t seem to make sense at the time. If He’s asking you to do something, why doesn’t He make the path smooth? What’s the point of all these bumps and obstacles?
In February of last year, we began our Journey to Jillian. I was in love, and despite the many fears I had, I was excited and at peace about pursuing my newest daughter. Our family started on an adoption journey that we assumed would end just like all of our other adoption journeys – with a trip to China and a child in our home. But God had other plans.
There were many pieces that didn’t fit during the beginning of our process last year. For some reason, even with two newly-adopted children in our home, we still had two children on our minds and in our hearts. But, our agency at the time told us no, they would not allow us to pursue two children. The Daddy, who usually is totally on top of all the adoption paperwork, wasn’t feeling it this time around, and was dragging his feet. Our home study agency was taking FOR-E-VER and caused us to miss the chance to renew our USCIC fingerprints, kept losing paperwork, etc. There’ve been many times when the road to a destination has been super difficult for our family, so we just kind of assumed it was par for the course. We prayed harder for clarification, for the details to work out, and for God to give us a flashing “turn here” sign if He had something else in mind.
We got our sign. Our oldest son, who has struggled pretty much his whole life with anxiety, began to struggle again last summer, but this time, he entered a very dark place. He finally confided to us that he was worried about losing his place as the eldest in our family, and had conflicted feelings about bringing home Jillian.
We don’t always base major family decisions on one child’s feelings, but we both felt it was very important to really pray over this issue and take some time to determine the best course of action. It was not even a few weeks later when we saw the post about L and T. I was intrigued and inquired about them, but not for us to adopt personally. I told Mike about them, and I could instantly see what he was thinking. Honestly, I didn’t like it at first. My heart was breaking. My son was hurting; Jillian was already my daughter in my heart, and now here we are considering adopting two more kids domestically instead of internationally?
There are many details, but let me just tell that that GOD worked it all out. We released PA for my girl Jillian to pursue L and T. All the while, my heart was aching, but I had peace that we were doing the right thing. I was following God as well as my husband, who was 100% convinced we were the family for these two precious little ones. I followed and prayed and prayed and followed. (And I am still convinced God led us on this detour, as I very much love L and T, and they fit very well into our family.)
During the months we were in process for L and T, several families asked me about Jillian. And I prayed constantly that she would have the perfect family…that God would answer my prayer and remove the longing that I still had for her. It was so bad that I woke up every night thinking of her and continued to pour out my heart on her behalf in those moments.
In December, we finalized L and T’s adoption. Jillian still did not have a family, and my heart still was not at peace. Several of the kids did not understand that we had let go of Jillian to pursue L and T and were devastated when we told them Jillian was not also going to share our last name.
I prayed more. I prayed for God to work out the details. I prayed for the perfect family for my girl or for Him to make a way for her to be a part of ours. And then, two weeks after finalizing our adoption for L and T, this happened:
Ely, without any prompting from us, changed his mind about Jillian (and has since remained unmoved). And unbeknownst to me, so did my husband. He told me, during the week of Christmas, that we could go ahead and see where her file was at and if it was even possible to pursue her. You see, files have to be in the exact right location for a specific child to be identified and locked by a particular agency. AND, China has to approve. Shall we say that many of our family “details” are nowhere even close to what China likes to see.
I prayed again…and again…and again. God, let China say NO if we are not meant to have her, if she is not meant to be ours. China said YES. And so we say YES. Again.
We have many fears, very little resources, and lists miles long of why we could say no. But she has less than 11 months until she ages out, and her hope for a family is gone. The urgency of her situation and her need for a hope and a future far outweigh our fears. God has given the strength to once again say YES; He has our hearts, and so does she.
AND HE is FAITHFUL. His timing is always perfect. And He has already begun blessing us in this journey.
It is our great honor to once again announce that we are pursuing Jillian as our daughter!