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Friday, August 13, 2010

December 30, 2010

Day 803

Scottsdale, Arizona

Hind sight is 20/20.  The story prior to this was 2+ years ago.
then-day 1 being together as a family

now-day 803 of being together as a family

Here's what I know for sure-
  • When I think about how much I love them, just the thought makes me cry.  Not little tears, but big ol', messy, gasping, snot-running-down-my-face, crying.  It's not pretty.  It's love just like I have for each of my children.  I am so very thankful to be their mama.  
  • Jude's feet are doing well.  He stills wear his brace 12 hours per night and will likely continue to do so for the next couple years.  Actually they're doing better than well!.  It's a complete best-case-scenario!  He may need another minor surgery in the next couple years.  But likely, he will have no long term issues because of his club feet.  Jude also has some minor sensory issues, mostly with noises.  Like last night there was quite a rain storm and he was so scared he was up several hours with the blankets pulled over his head... literally.  But developmentally and physically he's your average get-into-everything and says-the-most-adorable-things toddler.  
  • Some doctors called it Autism.  Some called it RAD.  With the transition so new and Tess so young, it was far too soon the suggest either of these diagnosis's.  One therapist asked me if I wanted to disrupt our adoption.  Really she did.  Another asked if I wanted to consider putting Tess in a residential treatment center.  None of these conversations were initiated by us.  I'm 100% certain that Tess was already well on the path of institutionalized Autism when she was placed with us.  Some kiddos handle stressful situations one way and some another.  Tess handled it poorly at best.
  • Because of what I know just above this, I'm still very very very angry and the folks who made Tess and Jude wait 3 extra months for us to be united with them.  3 months for no reason... at least no reason we've ever been given.  None of the folks that made her wait, ever checked in on her, asked us how she was doing, or seemed to care an iota that she waited extra while quickly heading down a path of permanent isolation.  All for what?  A 90-year-old nun?  A hospital in a community with different values about paperwork and the proper procedural coarse to take?  A government that broke it's own rules and demanded other's break the law as well?  A safe house used to protect unwed teen moms?  What I do know is that those same folks that made Tess wait, never told us why.  Even though we asked.  It's T&J's history, and they have a right to it.  But they'll never know why and will have to live the rest of their lives under the fog of suspicion.
  • We used Jude's official title of "special needs" to get the babes out of the orphanage and into our arms.  Yes, I know using his special needs "label" to get something is wrong... in a way.  After months of pressure from LOTS of folks, there was a BIG phone conference that I've never written about.  A phone conference with big, high-up, muck-e-mucks and elected officials and lawyers and many worried mamas and papas with empty arms.  I still don't like putting any of the names in print for an irrational fear of retaliation.  They did hold the fate of my son and daughter.  Although I NEVER would want to use Jude's title of "special needs" to define my son, we did used it loudly and frequently to get him home to us.  So, during that phone conference I spoke up and asked why a special needs child with an anxious mother and father, who had already missed a critical surgery, was still waiting.  And when they finally did listen, with about 100 other people listening in, including those elected officials, we rode on Jude's coat tales of success to get Tess home at the same time.  In the end, it was Tess that needed to be in loving arms the fastest, and it was her brother that got her home.  God is incredible in the way He plans things out, the way He used Jude to get Tess home, a brother helping a sister.  In the end, man messed it up, and God had to piece it back together.
  • I've never been so so certain that the Lord directed and pushed me down the path of international adoption so I could be not only a better me, but closer to Him.  Closer to His purpose.  In the end, I am the lucky one.
  • I know that things are much much better for my children here, surrounded and wrapped in love than there, laying in that metal crib wanting to be left alone in her head.
  • T&J not only needed one another, but needed the many hands of this big family.   And equally if not more so, we needed them.  It was Patch that brought out Tess's first smiles.  Liv's outlook on the world and has been forever changed in the most wonderful way.  Tess is the one who teased Jude and forced him to test his limits of balance and mobility.  And I really really needed them and this whole crazy experience to search the depths of my sole, figure out what I truly valued in this world, and be pressed to really put all this into action.  I needed to be shook up, or rather shook awake.  I needed to be closer to Him.  I needed to learn to surrender.  I wanted these children so very much before they were here.  I wanted them to be mine, not for the martyr's cause of saving an orphan, but for the simple egocentric desire that I've always wanted to be a mama, a mama to many.  And without fulfilling this destiny, I'm sure that I wouldn't be living up to the objective that God has surely set before me.  
Here's what I don't know-
  • What circumstances brought T&J to the orphanage.
  • What their lives would be like if they weren't in our family.
  • What my life would be like if they weren't in our family.
  • How empty the hole in my heart would be.
  • In the end, I don't know what future holds for my babes.  I don't know what the future holds for any of my babes, whether they came from my womb or not.  I suspect that Jude will go through and deal with the effects of being an institutionalized child just like any post-orphan does.  More so, I think Tess will always have her demons.  But don't we all have demons?  I think she'll always have things that trigger her fears, and she'll have to steady her soul to handle problems the proper way.  And I guess in a way, that makes her pretty normal.  Just like everyone else.
After months and years of being scared, packing on 25 extra lbs., countless negotiations with God and so so so much prayer, I think the biggest thing I've learned is that the ultimate destination is the journey itself.  It's that surrender to Him and the destiny He has placed before me, that I need to focus on.  And focus less on controlling the future myself.  I mean the goals and objectives and dreams are good to have.  But in the end, we can't control our future or our world, only our reaction to it.  And giving up that control to Him, allows me the opportunity to focus on on the me He want me to be today.
our family today- blessed

The End.


  1. Thank you for sharing your trip to Vietnam. I loved reading every minute of it. Such sweet children.

  2. A beautifully written post - well, all of it really. Your story was a joy and enouragement to read, and will certainly be a treasure for Jude and Tess.

  3. International Adoption is a rollercoaster ride of lost stories and missing information. In the end we have to go on with what we’re told and hope our children will be at peace with that. During Christmas this year I looked at my little girl playing with my brother’s twin girls (also from Lang Son) and wondered what kind of life they would have had in Vietnam, but was so happy they could share theirs with us. As a AP like yourself I hated many parts of the adoption process, but I really can’t argue with the results. I always enjoy reading your blog thank you for sharing.

  4. I'm not sure when or how I stumbled upon your blog, but I wanted to let you know how much I enjoy it. I love your photography and the stories of your family. My daughter was adopted from Vietnam about the same time as Jude and Tess, and she spent more time in her orphanage than she should have while I fought to bring her home too. I really relate to your feelings about that. More than two years later, I still have anger about it, yet in many ways I can't believe how things worked out so perfectly. Thank you for sharing your story.

  5. I am so happy to have stumbled upon your blog! I also have always wanted a large family and wanted to adopt ever since reading The Family Nobody Wanted by Helen Doss. Hubby and I have 2 children by birth and 2 by adoption. We adopted 2 toddlers from India with medical needs 8 years ago. Our Precious, beautiful boy Sanjay just passed away during a bone Marrow Transplant February 25th, 2011. We were so blessed to have him for 8 years...we will always miss his bright smile and goofy ways!

    Anyway...I have loved reading about Tess and Jude...different countries and different children, but it reminds me so much of my trip to India to bring our blessings home!
    May god bless and keep you all in His loving care.

  6. "Yes, I know using his special needs "label" to get something is wrong... in a way."

    Actually, it's not wrong at all. You know that in the US we use the term "special needs" to mean "capable but may need a little extra help of consideration". Or in the world of adoption it also means older child, minority, sibling group, etc.

    In Asia, "special needs" simply means "defective", and it's a very dangerous label to have in Asia. Most of the children in the orphanages who are "special needs" were abandoned there because of the stigma the parents face for having a "defective" child. These children are pretty much doomed.

    So there was nothing wrong with you waving the "special needs" flag to get the business done.


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