the Cho Cho


{totally unrelated picture because… #theycute)

I hesitated to even share this story because really nothing is concrete and every single piece of it is up in the air, but then I remembered that we’ve been sharing every emotionally taxing twist and turn to this point, so it would be unfair and inauthentic to stop now.

After spending the better part of the week chasing the file for little B, I woke up in the middle of the night Wednesday completely panic stricken and said “They are going to match us tomorrow. And we will have to choose.” (the adoption committee meets on Thursday)

Sure enough, I woke up Thursday morning to an email from our agency saying that they have located B’s file but they also have another little girl in mind for our family within (mostly) the parameters that are already listed. ie… with down syndrome.

I flew into immediate panic mode. The night before I had told friends that I was predicting this turn of events, and we had had a silly hypothetical discussion about “how would you choose?” and I said it would be impossible… Sophie’s choice.. and a friend shared that she had been watching a show and they had illustrated a similar impossible decision and lamented that it’s a “real sophie’s cho cho” and we giggled and that was the end of it because clearly this would not happen, right? So I sent them a copy of the email and said SOPHIE’S CHO CHO.

Let me back up even further. Monday morning I felt the urge to be proactive and search waiting kiddos lists just to be sure there was no one that was a match. While we had been peeking at one website, I decided to register our family’s profile on another (knowing that it probably contained most of the same kiddos) so I could cross-reference their list. On the site that we usually use there is kind of a code for what country the child is in (most governments don’t allow the country to be named specifically) but there seemed to be no such code here. I saw a little girl with DS that was slightly older than our approval, and it was unclear what country she was in, but I typed a quick email to our agency and one to hers and continued on with the day. I quickly received a reply from her agency saying that she had a family, and since that was the case did not answer any of the additional questions I had posed (such as “where is she located?”)  I emailed our agency to let them know that I had heard back from her agency and that she was spoken for.  We let her know at that time that we would like to move forward with B. The next few days were spent trying to locate her file.

So, back to yesterday. My husband was on a business trip in the desert and I was in full panic mode. To me, this felt like an impossible choice. After 13 years, I know him pretty well and felt that I knew what his answer would be, but I am not going to lie: I was hoping that he would surprise me and say that we should adopt both girls. I secured information… money and a game plan… and sent it his way just in case he felt moved by the Lord. All day I went around and around. It was really an impossible comparison, apples to oranges. One child with an intellectual different ability and one with a physical one. It could be argued “good” or “bad” that their needs have little overlap and I spent the entire day fretting over which way I felt it would land for our family.

My super wise friend made an excellent point that really struck me that I chewed over all day long. Last winter, after months of emotional investment, we had to accept that a child that we were pursuing from foster care was not an appropriate fit for our family. His needs were just too vast and too many, and one of us would have effectively needed to stop parenting the other seven to focus solely on him and the other of us would have to parent only the OGs. While that is not a situation that would even practically work because hubby travel so often, it obviously would not be healthy for any family to divide in such a way. With the heaviest hearts we had to acknowledge that loving him (and our family) well would mean stepping back and allowing the right family to find him. My friend reminded me that adopting two littles with such a wide span of needs would almost be like adopting one child with all of those needs combined. With love she reminded me of the reasons that we had arrived at the decision to not do so. So, so impactful. Praising God today for sending me friends that I can trust with my heart.

All afternoon I prayed and chatted with my ‘most trusted advisors’. I seriously cannot say enough that I am so fortunate to have so many strong, smart, loving women in my village that share their wisdom and hearts with me. We’ve all been asked advice and I think it takes someone really special to give advice that you know your friend doesn’t necessarily want to hear. I am always thankful for that. My heart rules and that is not always a good thing.

So I landed on what felt like solid truth: Never, ever would I pressure my husband into any decisions. Also, never would I feel that he was a “bad guy” or mean or unloving to orphans or anything other than what I know him to be: wise, generous, thoughtful, firm in his commitments. I would pray not for my wish but for God’s will and I would pray for my husband to feel clearly in wisdom what is so muddled to me by emotion. These are our strengths, and on days like yesterday I am so thankful that we are so polar opposite in them. I praise God for blessing my marriage and allowing me to trust in my husband.

As his meeting drew to a close and I waited to be able to speak with him, I felt more and more strongly that we were going to arrive at different decisions.  My heart has been so in love with B for months. I could not imagine leaving her. I also felt that my husband would say this: Babe. We set out to adopt a child with DS. In the last hour, that child has been shown to us. WHY would we not do what we agreed to do? (Remember? He honors his commitments.) Every time I thought of not bringing home B tears filled my eyes. I told my friend that I felt that it was probably because I already knew that was the best choice.

Husband said what I thought he would and I was surprised at the peace that followed. I guess in all of my stressing and fretting and crying and literally puking throughout the day, my brain had already appealed to my heart.

Final plot twist (God, I hope) is that this little girl is the one that I inquired about Monday. What a journey it has been. 

So what is next?

Early next week we will send in our letter of intent. Today I am working to get our home study amended to include a child up to four years of age instead of two. This if the only change required, but it will cost us several weeks of time because we will then have to re-file an amendment to our USCIS paperwork. After that we can start to look at travel!

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