It's amazing how God's handprints are all over our adoption journey. When we were working with our social worker on our homestudy, she asked if we wanted our homestudy to approve us for 2 children. Chris and I hadn't given it too much thought up until then, but after more talking and praying we decided to move forward with being put on the waiting list to adopt a special needs little boy. And that began the second leg of our journey. We first filled out the checklist to indicate which special needs we would accept - things like cleft lip/palate, club feet, dwarfism, etc. We started looking at the Shared Files to see if there were any little boys available that met our criteria, and we waited for the new shared files to be released at the end of each month to see if we would be matched with any little guy. We didn't have a lot of time - our agency told us that we would need to be matched no later than when we turned in our dossier to be sure that we could complete both adoptions during the same trip.
So began a most heart breaking few months. We were referred a file on three different occasions. And each one tore a little bit out of our hearts. We would review the file, be skeptical, and then consult with our International Adoption physician, and be told what we feared - that this child had much more severe special needs than what we were prepared to parent. Chris and I were beginning to doubt that we would be matched - maybe God had some other idea in mind for us.
Our agency works exclusively with a few orphanages in the Guizhou region, and they have a special program called the Jing Li program, where they get exclusive rights to the files of some children in the region for a few months in order to try to locate them a family. Jing Lan was part of that program, and our agency had been told that they were soon to receive a new set of files, and that they had been told that it included a few little boys that matched what were were looking for - particularly a little boy with a cleft lip/cleft palate. The only problem was we didn't know when their files would be sent to our agency. So we decided to just wait and see, and if it was meant to happen, it would all work out.
Well, on October 14, we finally received the file of the little 16 month old boy with the cleft lip/cleft palate. But his file was not listed as "special focus", which meant that we couldn't lock in his file until after our dossier was sent in to China. Luckily our agency didn't have any other families on the waiting list for a boy as young as him, so if we decided to move forward, they could hold his file for us while we rushed to finish our dossier. Although his photo didn't look too promising, all of his paperworks seemed to check out. Of course, we wanted to send it off to our physician to review. And boy were we surprised when she came back and said that based on his photos, she had some big concerns, and wanted us to try to get updated photos, measurements, and a video. So we went from a high, to a low, and then back to a waiting game as we requested the updated information.
A bit about the Himsels
In July 2011, we were drawn to a posting by our adoption agency of a little girl that was soon to "age out" of the orphanage in China, and they were hoping to find her family before her birthday in February, when she would no longer be eligible for adoption. After reviewing the information, giving it alot of thought and prayers, we knew she was to be our daughter. So we started the paperwork chase to bring her home. But God had a bigger plan in mind for the Himsels. Along the way, we decided to pursue adopting a little boy, and that journey actually led us to two little boys, who are 18 months and 14 months old. All three children are located in the Guizhou province. We are excited to be so close to bringing home Ella (Jinglan), William, and Ethan, and we hope you follow along with our journey.