The past year, in a nutshell....
We have made many great new connections here, one of which led us to begin hosting exchange students who were being moved from their original homes! This past winter/spring, we were blessed to become host parents to a young man from Egypt in February and then another young man from Japan at the end of April. While we didn't get to enjoy them for the entire school year, we were blessed to get to know them in the short few months they were with us! You see, our home would not have been ready at the beginning of the school year, we had to do some major remodeling to get our new home from 4 bedrooms to 6! God's timing was perfectly planned! Sending those boys back to their home countries in June was hard but worth it!
Because of that awesome experience, we decided to host again! This time for the entire school year. We are now host parents to two more awesome young men, one from Germany and another from the Republic of Georgia. Two more wonderful blessings. We are traveling around the world without leaving our home!
During the "down time" between the exchange students, this summer, we decided to host an orphan from China. We originally chose to do it to host a precious nevus boy who I had been advocating for, over the past 3 years. The goal, to help better advocate for and find him a family. By the time we got our application in, another family was reviewing his file to host him. Well then were notified that the family instead decided to adopt him!!!! Praise the Lord!
Since we had already gone through the application efforts, we decided to ask about another child - a beautiful 7 year old girl (Lan) who was stated as having cerebral palsy (CP). We reviewed the little bit of medical information they had on her and watched a few short video clips that showed some of her skills to be sure she would be able to walk up and down stairs (because that is where her bedroom would be). From what we saw in the videos we presumed the CP must be mild. She was to come stay with us from the end of June till the end of July, a four weeks visit. Unfortunately, there was a world wide Visa technical issuance glitch that prevented her Visa (and many, many others) from being completed on time and was then only able to come for 2 weeks.
I had a family very interested in her during this time but the agency said there was an age concern (China's adoption rule: If both parents are over 50, no more than a 50 year age difference between child and the younger applicant). Lan's file was also reviewed by a handful of families while she was in the states but her medical file was 3 years old and stated two special needs. You can look at either one of these special needs and be intimidated by them but when you put them on paper together and consider the extreme case of either one it sounds intimidating to take on. Therefore, I think families were worried it was more than they could handle.
Our experience with her was quite the opposite. We saw a little girl with so much potential. We took her to a physical therapist who was not convinced that she has CP. What he saw were likely motor delays due to institutional living. Her medical file was deceiving and hindered her chance of a family committing to her.
I went into this with the mindset that adoption just was not on our radar. We already have 6 kids ranging in age from 16 to 6, plus two exchange students coming. We were too busy and I didn't feel I could handle any more while trying to finish up my master's degree. I should know better by now, God takes those exact opportunities to show his presence, grace, and support. While standing at the airport I received a text from my husband - "maybe we should lock her file" - my heart skipped a beat and pressure filled my chest...
God, you picked a really crazy time to answer my prayer...... to be continued.