If you read my earlier post, you saw that our current adoption with His Hands is actually our 2nd attempt at adopting from Taiwan. If you are like me, you enjoy hearing "the story behind the story" when families adopt. So here is a fuller explanation of our Taiwan adoption experience, the first time around.
------In the fall of 2008 Eric and I started discussing the possibility of adopting again. We knew before Noelle ever came home from China that this journey was just beginning. We had opened ourselves up to the heart of God, and we were willing to follow His lead in the process of growing our family. I joined some adoption forums for research purposes. After reading several discussions about adopting school aged children and following the blogs of families who were adopting waiting children, I felt drawn to the idea myself. I started keeping tabs on Waiting Child Photolistings of several adoption agencies, particularly the ones for kids waiting in Taiwan. I was drawn to a 9 year old girl whose face and profile I saw online that Christmas holiday season. She had had a very rough start in life and needed to experience the safety and unconditional love of a forever family. Eric was initially reluctant to pursue an older child but agreed to seek the Lord in prayer. By March of 2009 Eric felt confident that God was giving us the green light to move forward.
So we signed with an adoption agency representing the girl and began the home study and dossier. We were approved by the orphanage to continue the adoption process and waited next for the Taiwan social worker assigned to the girl's case to approve us. We waited for weeks then months and still did not receive word of being approved. It was during this period of waiting that Eric and I realized that we just wouldn't be able to come up with the hefty fees due upon approval. So we very sadly asked that our case be put on hold until we could raise the funds. This was around August or September. I remember feeling at the time that we would never be able to adopt "Claire" (the name we had chosen) and was very discouraged. It would take a miracle.
In early December we received a voice mail from the agency director telling us to call her right away. On December 7, we spoke on the phone. She told us that the orphange in Taiwan wanted to help us out and was reducing their fees so we could adopt. Wow!! Our adoption was back on! Then a couple weeks later our agency emailed us that an anonymous donor had come forward to pay the majority of our fees. Double wow!!! There's that miracle we were talking about! So we set about planning garage sales and fundraisers, doing more paperwork and updating our home study.
Everything changed on March 22, 2010. We received an email from the director of our Taiwan adoption agency that started something like this: "Dear Johnson family, It is with much regret that I provide you with an update regarding the adoption case of ******." Basically in light of some things that happened to "Claire" and with the adoption case, our agency would no longer represent her for adoption, to our family or any family. Our adoption had ended, for real this time. Eric and I were devastated.
The next many weeks were spent in tears, questions, soul searching and lots of praying. We were both trying to figure out what God's point was in clearly leading us down an adoption path that had no child at the end of it. And why this precious little girl in Taiwan was still without a loving permanent family. In time we came to realize that God never promised this child to us as our daughter. He only asked us to pursue her. To draw attention to her situation. To call hundreds of people to pray for her. To awaken the hearts of many to the plight of the orphan and God's love for these forgotten ones. And also...to do a work in us. To grow and stretch our hearts. To take us out of our comfort zone and rid us of our preconceived notions. To develop within us a greater willingness to seek the things of God and the people who matter most to Him.
People sometimes ask me how I feel now about that whole experience. I can honestly say that even though the road was one of the most painful I've been on, I don't regret walking it. It could be SO easy to say that we wasted nearly a year and a half of our life loving a little girl who would never be ours-- we could have been doing something else or pursing another adoption path. But God never wastes our tears or our time. His purposes were right and good and are still unfolding. And a precious girl in Taiwan has a family back in the U.S. who has photos of her around the house and still prays regularly for her.
And it's our privilege. :)