In 2012, we adopted our first son from Taiwan. From the moment we held his chubby little fingers, we were wrapped around them. During our three week stay, we fell in love--with him, his birth country, his birth culture. So, when the agency director asked if we would be interested in joining the waiting list again, for a second child, our answer was yes, yes, yes! We filled out the application right then and there, in Taiwan, with our little baby boy sleeping beside us. We weren't in any rush, but we were excited about the future.
Fast forward a year. It was a great one. We laughed, bonded, attached, and enjoyed being a family of three. Then, we got some sad news. The agency we adopted our first son from would not be processing adoptions to America for at least another year. Legal changes brought a new certification process that would not begin until fall 2014. We received a lot of e-mails from panicked waiting families, who asked if we had any insight into the timeline. And so, I began researching. Were other agencies open? What were their timeframes? How were the new laws affecting Taiwanese adoptions as a whole?
Long story a smidge shorter, I stumbled across Heartsent's "Waiting Child" photolisting. As I began clicking around, a sweet little toddler smirk caught my eye.
My husband, who is in a bluegrass band, was out playing a gig. I read the snippet about this sweet boy and watched an adorable video of him doodling on a dry erase board. My heart started beating faster and I clicked over to my e-mail account. I sent Heartsent a message, asking about their timelines/program openings (like I had been doing with the other agencies). And then, I also inquired about this toddler, nicknamed "Jonathon" by the agency. I assumed a lot of things, at this point. It was 10:29pm eastern, so for one, I didn't think I would get a response until the following day. I assumed we would not be eligible to apply for a waiting child, because we did not have an updated home study. Above all, I assumed other families had already come forward for him.
So, you can imagine my shock when I got a reply in exactly 20 minutes, with answers to all my questions and a link to a dropbox account with more pictures, videos, and files. The moment the e-mail arrived, my husband walked in the door, so we poured over those first details together!
I need to pause for a second and say--my husband and I had never seriously talked about adopting a "waiting child" before. When we talked about adopting out of birth order, he always replied with a firm "no." We had not discussed using another agency...we so loved our first adoption experience. But that night, God was working in our hearts.
This little boy was two, five months older than our first son. He was born with a cleft palate. He went straight from the hospital, as a newborn, to a foster family. There were a lot of negatives in his file. But, behind all the "possible" diagnosis and "potential" developments, there was a sweet soul shining through. He was "smart" and loved to "listen to others talking." He was "active" and "moves around quickly." We giggled at this line: "The caretaker needs to really pay attention to him for his safety."
That night, my husband and I laughed, smiled, and talked seriously. We prayed, we decided to sleep on it. With the new morning, our hearts had not changed. We immediately e-mailed Heartsent to tell them that we were interested in moving forward, and would be bringing the file to our pediatrician as soon as we could get an appointment. We quickly completed paperwork. We pulled our old home study, which was already translated, and added a write-up about our son. On December 23rd, 2013, the orphanage, St. Lucy's, had our complete preliminary application. We were the agency's "pick" as a family, but potentially, other families could apply for this toddler through the other agencies with his file. If so, the orphanage would choose a family from that pool. But, at this point, that didn't matter. We had done all we could, as quickly as we could. The waiting game began, and we had a Christmas full of hope...
...to be continued