Thursday, February 21, 2013

Day 21 - Joshua & Joy Peterson

Adopting a child with life-threatening special needs is like volunteering to have your heart broken.” Dana

I cannot tell you how the seed was planted. This thing called adoption.

Our life was finally settling down after 10 years of foster care, ministering to many children and families, eventually saying yes to five children needing a place to call home.

Yet God kept calling. That small little persistent voice whispering, “You can do more because I AM asking you to. Open your heart!”

On paper the whole idea of adoption, never mind international adoption, was pretty ridiculous. We had eight kids. Our income was not enough by most measuring sticks.  Medication that was against the rules. Several adoption agencies turned us down. Only one agency stated we might adopt a child from Ethiopia above the age of seven. Oddly, instead of being discouraged, we waited and hoped.

One fine day in November of 2010, I came across his picture on the side of a blog. Heart jumped. Everyone agreed he was incredibly cute. Husband completely on board? Yes.

Never again will I underestimate the power of a picture. To this day I gaze at his eyes and they pull me in. All the way in.

 On a whim with absolutely nothing to lose and totally expecting a “no” in light of the other agency rejections, we sent an email.

And got a reply. With profiles of other children with less major needs.

All of them made more sense. None of them felt right.

The agency said okay. Go to the cardiologist and then we will talk.

That is when doors began to fly open with life changing consequences.

We got an appointment within two days. With a cardiologist, a very good one who had trained and worked at Boston Children’s, a top pediatric cardiac facility.  Exceptions for income and medication were made. We passed the older child committee inquisition. Special letters were written. Pre-Approval was acquired.

Oh my goodness! We were going to CHINA!

Where a little boy waited. For eight years. Our son.

China deemed him inoperable. His long list of problems included dextrocardia, heterotaxy, single ventricle, moderate valve leakage, and serious pulmonary hypertension, the beast that precluded intervention. We left the initial cardiology consultation with an 80/20 impression. An eighty percent chance that Joshua would remain terminal and a twenty percent chance that surgical intervention would be possible.

The honest truth? It didn’t matter. Those statistics didn’t faze us. At all. And we found that laughably odd.

Because what Dana said about our family, “Adopting a child with life-threatening special needs is like volunteering to have your heart broken,” is true.

Our hearts broke for a little boy waiting in China, without a family to see him through the hard places.

We left for China on August 21, 2011, Joshua’s eighth birthday, about eight months after we began the process to adopt the child whom God had chosen for our family.

We came home to a diagnosis of inoperable and gradually learned how to talk about “quality of life” without crying.

Three life lessons we have learned since meeting our ninth child:

- We are better people for knowing Joshua. Everyone who meets him understands.

- Joshua knows Jesus.  And I believe this to be the ultimate goal. He has been covered in prayer before, during, and after his adoption. He was blessed and anointed by a special friend before we even left his city in China.

- Joshua’s life, courage, and loving personality have taught us how to live for today and not let the worries of tomorrow get in the way of finding true joy.

We were inspired a year later to go back to China for another heart kid with a serious diagnosis of pulmonary hypertension due to a very large PDA left untreated for six years.

We named her Joy.

And she is!

The story continues to unfold at

Today, February 21, 2013, Joshua is exactly nine and a half years old. Joy is currently in surgery addressing health issues affecting her pulmonary hypertension.

Friends, today is what you have. Be blessed, from all of us!

To read the newest update on Joshua FanKang and Joy MeiNi, please click here.


Drea said...

I have my own selfish reasons for being grateful that you sent that email, for I gained a friend and confidant who has seen me through as I have walked this path. I have loved seeing your beautiful children flourish under your love and care!

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