But then I see Caleb, who has a faint tracheotomy scar, in his picture. I wonder, who was with him during that procedure? Was he alone? Did a nanny accompany him?
I see Cory, a handsome 12 year old boy who will age out when he turns 14, meaning he will no longer be eligible for adoption. He has "scald scars" on his hand and face. Did he have an accident at a young age? Did someone hurt him?
Then there is Henry...beautiful, precious Henry. I cry looking at his picture again. He is amazing. The video is heartbreaking because there is a line of kids outside the room waiting for their turn to have their videos made...in hopes that someone will see them and love them and take them away from the orphanage where they live.
As if Henry didn't break my heart enough. Then I saw Jimmy...and watched his videos. What a clever, beautiful, joyful little boy. I dare you to watch his videos. I double dog dare you. He is incredible. Again, tears.
Ollie is just like Cory. He is 12 and has little time for a family to come forward for him. He is blind. I wonder how long his file to be adopted has been ready? Did his orphanage prepare it when he was 2? Is it possible that he has been "paper ready" 10 years and yet because he is a BOY and because he is blind, people are not interested? His videos are amazing. This beautiful boy (this old picture doesn't do him justice) not only sings, but he can play the piano...the PIANO! It was beautiful to hear him play while his fingers danced on the keys, and at the same time, my heart broke that he was encouraged or felt the need to "perform" so that someone would be more interested in him.
Yes, I am only sharing today about the boys who continue to wait for a family. As a mother of 3 boys, my heart instinctively focuses on the boys waiting in China. Plus, I so badly want people to realize that just as many boys are waiting for families right now, and yet girls were adopted 3 times more often than boys last year.
Yes, each of the boys I listed have a medical history of some kind. Is this what stops families from coming forward? I know that in my heart of hearts of that if any of our biological children - yours or mine - were born with medical needs, we would fight tooth and nail to make sure our child had the best doctors, treatment, and care. So why do we fear adopting a child with these issues?
What are we waiting for?
I've been writing about our adoption journey since August 2012, and the following, love, encouragement, support, and interest has been amazing. We were asked to speak at our church and share our story with approximately 3,400 people in August. We were interviewed by a local magazine, and it was released today. I get encouraging email and Facebook messages from people who are talking to their spouses and small groups about how God is tugging at their hearts. They are having serious conversations about adoption.
I have yet to see someone come forward, make the decision, and take the leap.
So again I ask, what are we waiting for?
The MONEY: I have seen dozens of families use their own funds and donations from others to fully fund their adoptions. DOZENS! Average people adopt everyday. They found a way to make it happen. You have to believe you can, too. I can give you lots of ideas if MONEY is what stands between you and a child who deserves a family.
The LOVE: Can you love someone not born from your body? Do you love your nephews and nieces? Do you love your spouse? Do you love your friends? I have been extremely transparent about my strong love for Tucker before we met him, but then his rejection of me in China probably caused me to step back. For the past several weeks, I have made the CHOICE to love him, even when my feelings weren't natural. I can honestly say I LOVE this boy with my whole heart. That love is growing stronger everyday, and it as natural as my love for Noah and Liam.
The JUDGMENT: Yes, people have opinions. Friends have shared negative and hurtful remarks made by their loved ones. I have been so lucky to not have anyone make those kinds of statements to me (yet). God's judgment of us is the only thing that should matter at the end of the day. He loves the fatherless and asks us to care for them. PERIOD.
The AGE: Your children are in middle school? High school? Grown? You wouldn't believe the number of families I see who are in their 40s and 50s, and that isn't stopping them from adopting children from China. Oftentimes, they are the brave ones who adopt the 8-13 year old children who we younger couples are afraid to adopt. Yes, I said "we" because when Ryan and I began our journey, we said only under age 4. See, I was no different than many of you. Ryan and I have serious conversations about adopting an older child now.
The UNKNOWN: Of course there are a million unknowns as you navigate this process. Not knowing where to get started, how the process works, who your child will be, when he/she will come home - all unknowns. I am more than happy to be someone to talk to about how to get started, how the tax credit works, how to raise money and find grants or matching opportunities, how to choose a country (if international), and how to pick an agency. You just take this one step at a time, and eventually, you will find yourself home with your whole family (until you are ready to adopt again). :)
There are MILLIONS of children waiting in China alone, but only a small portion of them have their files prepared so that they can be eligible for adoption. The cost to orphanages to prepare those files is very expensive and tedious. The orphanages have done their part, and too many kids continue to wait years and years.
Here's the harsh reality. There are children dying while they wait. They die because they do not receive the medical treatment they could have had if they would've been adopted. It's not right. There are children being neglected while they wait. There are children crying because they want someone to love them.
In most of my blog posts, I am a "PASSIONATE BALANCE" of encouraging and pushing readers while also being patient with God's timing in your lives and being understanding of your personal reasons. I will try to write from that perspective next time.
Today, I am sad. I am angry. I am heartbroken. For Caleb, Cory, Ollie, Henry, and Jimmy. They need families. They deserve families. Don't turn a blind eye today after you read this blog. Go to the website and look at their faces. Watch their videos. Open your hearts and pray.
They are waiting......but what are WE waiting for?