Monday, February 4, 2013

Day 4 - Bella

We always wanted a big family… Well medium… three or four children would do. Yes! That sounds like a great plan and boy oh boy "he" came right away without much planning at all. Our sweet heart, Peyton. We've tried to have another child since our son was born in 2005 but through the past years and my own journey to conceive, I finally had to look to the Lord with this part of my life as well. I love my Savior Christ with all my heart and I knew that he wasn't partial, he creates life. I just needed to get on the same page with him on how our family would be completed. Since we knew we always wanted to adopt “one day” the Lord really started speaking to me and preparing my heart. Could this really happen? 

Wait!!! God had been calling my heart into ministry! I don't have time to do this because I need to stay focused! This is not the direction he wanted me to go when I needed to be learning about his love for others and his ministry? Right? :o) What would adoption have to do with that?

The next few days he would open my eyes to a life of his ministries and his "big" love! 

I started looking on rainbow kid’s website. Jeremy and I knew that we would love to help a child that someone really wouldn't want because they weren't "perfect". So special needs were defiantly pressed on our hearts from the start. Searching.....he came across a little girl with pig-tails everywhere, she stole his heart. Sasha, was her name and she was a 6 yr. old little girl from Bulgaria. She had a bone defect among many other things. We contacted her adoption agency for her medical file that night and learned that there wasn't any way that we could care for all her needed. This was not going to be the little girl we would bring home. We were sad and a little discouraged, maybe this wasn't going to be the right time either? We had no idea what God had already planned and how it was fixing to unfold so fast.

The next day, I was contacted again by the lady at her agency. She encouraged us not to give up and asked if we would be willing to look at their special needs waiting list. We took it as the Lord leading! We didn't know where she would be in this world, how old or what her needs would be? We left that all up to him. They sent us a link and password to view all the children. We opened it almost hesitating because we didn't know what to expect but you always have this feeling of excitement about the possibilities. The very first row of pictures came up and on the end was this beautiful little girl that had big eyes and perfect little lips. She took my breath a little and right away I couldn't get over the feeling that she didn't belong there among all the other photos. I was thinking that I could not just stop at the first one that was crazy. We had to look through all the children! Oh… but how in the world do parents do this? How do they know which child is the right one to move towards?  So overwhelmed I continued to look but noticed soon I was going back to the little girl they named, Catilyn. The next morning we requested three girls’ files from the age of 1 - 6 years so we would not to feel as though we were choosing on our own. We sat down to read through all the information and see more photos of all of them. We read over hers first, so careful to every detail and we were so connected to her. 

Her name was Jiang Xin Qian and at that time I couldn't even being to try to pronounce it. She had a heart defect and was post/op (ASD & PS). She had a tumor of some kind that had been removed from her right eye lid, congenital cataracts and Aniridia (no iris) of both eyes. We had no idea what to do next? We had very little knowledge other than a few general adoption classes. We had no filled out applications, no home study started and we were crazy enough to ask if we could try for her. 

We continued to pray and knew God was going to have to open a big door. I called the agency and told her our interests, from the start she advised me to let her find a better fit for us.  She had so many “red flags” as she called them, it probably wouldn't be a good choice for us. In that moment God rose a fight and determination in our hearts! He had created our daughter already in this world and she just so happened to be born in China. We couldn't allow her to slip away for any reason!  We plead our case and was allowed the chance to get all that was required sent to China in 10 days for per-approval. Medical review on a child with big issues by a doctor that has never since her was not easy. We felt so discouraged by so many around us hearing things like, all you would be "giving up" and "loosing"!! Then on top of that trying to grasp the "worst cases" medically and emotional when you do get her home. She may have a bad repair job and have to have another open heart surgery? She will have to have repair surgeries on each eye and she may have very poor vision or even go blind? She may have syndromes and horrible delays which would leave her never normal. Surly we would just quietly bow out. NOPE! We trusted! Trusted that God will work all out and give us the strength to fight the fight with her from now on, no matter what that holds. I had no clue about what the word "waiting" meant at this point but I was so sick that they would never approve a family so unprepared as us? It was God's will for us not ours..... Opened or closed door? A few days later the agency called to tell us that we had per approval and her file was locked and awaiting our completed home study! Was this real? This just happened in two weeks. She was going to be ours? 

This face is now the face of our daughter. 

The middle part of her Chinese name meant "happy" and I believe with all my heart that's what she will end up full of! We named her our own special name that I speak over her each and every day. "Beauty with her imperfections, true happiness within and clarity without delays". Bella Xin KaLare

Rolling October 2012 I hit a road block! Even though it was a emotional one, it still stopped me dead in my tracks. I learned that my family, that was strangely not calling very much anymore, was not agreeing with our decision to adopt her. Not only not wanting to support us but actually expressing that I was now an embarrassment to them. I was crushed! I felt like I was loosing all that I had ever known  to love me for someone that I didn't know at all. I was hurt and angry and had pulled the covers over my head! BUT praise the Lord be never sleeps!! He never takes a break!!! He is still moving forward when I can't. 

He knew that I needed a gift of encouragement and restoration!!! On the 26th of October just two days before our sweet girl would turn two years old without us, I crawled out of the bed to check my email. All I had right now was the other precious heart baby's of others to pray for...I had an email from the yahoo support group and honestly I didn't always read all those that posted about looking for certain children with certain needs and I would just read the title and delete it. I read the subject line "Looking for a child"! I just opened it like I had not been deleting similar ones like this for weeks. I read to learn that the title didn't really fit?  Some one was looking for the matched parents of a certain child not a certain child! That is so weird to be looking for parents! The child's birthday listed is just in a few days! Wait that’s Bella’s birthday!! Wait!!! That her name!!!! It’s us! I knew in that minute that my life would never be same, good or bad and I haven’t even gotten out of bed! HaHa...

God's gift to me the day was bigger than I would have ever been able dreamed up. I answered the post and within 30 minutes I received an email from a woman that was a stranger to me, saying ...."Dear Ms Strickland, I am the mother of two adopted daughters from China and I live in Shanghai, where I found an abandoned infant in the street on Dec 18, 2010 whom I believe is your new daughter, Jiang Xin Qian.  I cannot tell you how happy it would make me to give you the photo I took of her the night that I and a friend found her outside a Dunk'in Donuts in Shanghai. I can also tell you the details of the bag of baby things that her birth mother left her with, and the circumstances of how she got to the orphanage that night." She went on to share about the next few months and how she had fought to help see that her medical needs where seen about. Leading up to the story behind how she received her heart repair at 9 months old. I was crying so hard I couldn't read anymore and not even being completely dressed, I ran and jumped in my car and drove to Jeremy's work. There was a baby picture that was fixing to come through our email and I could not open it without him!!! After seeing him and he understanding that no one had just died in our family, I only could ask him to read the email. We scrolled down when we saw colors at the bottom of the screen and our eyes were locked with this new born with all the perfect little features that we had been studying for the past five months. We wept together.

(For the ones of you who know about this story from almost two years ago in the adoption circles. Yes! our daughter is "baby donuts".)

I knew that this was such a precious moment, it was truly like her birth for us. Beyond all the excitement and disbelief that this really just happened, I was so humbled by the greatness of God! Only two hours it took for a stranger to search out matched parents of a child on the other side of the world not knowing any information? That is only HE! WHO! IS! He showed me that morning that he is supporting me no matter who is not in my life. He has NO obstacles and when we just follow him, we do not either. My heart was restored and my fight for her destiny and ours was back. The lady that was hand picked by God to found our daughter that night just so happened to be an Americana journalists. Not just so happened! She wrote a article about the events of that night for awareness about China's over populated orphanages and history behind it and that leading up to the push needed for her repairs. From what she wrote that day I am not sure if she would ever know how God would use it but it fulfilled a pray for my daughter that was only in my heart. I prayed that the Lord would not allow our daughter to be held back in life or her walk with him because of issues that may come from the thoughts of being "thrown away". Now my daughter could grow up knowing from this story that her mother cared about her with all her heart and she would never have to doubt.

This was taken by her also when Bella was around five months old. This was the only visit the lady was ever allowed to go see her before her heart repair surgery. She was being cared for by a nurse in a ICU type floor for sicker children in her orphanage.

Now... We are finally "that family" the family that holds a child's photo within their family photo!  For some funny reason it feels like we deserve to finally be at this place.  Like we had sacrificed just enough, paid just enough, cried just enough, shared her story just enough and believed just enough to get to this place.  For so long, I wondered just how families felt?  Now I know!  They are not families waiting for their lives to change, they are changed families!  They hold the child's photo in their new Christmas pictures because they are already a part of that family.  They are collecting things they will need and making a place ready for them in their home, they call her daughter and children already.  They say you and your sister instead of just you.  Everything is ready and all lives are already changed, no more waiting but for HER.

Please think of us and sweet Bella KaLare while she waits for us to arrive. Be encouraged through these stories to know that if God tugs at your heart it means he has already paved the way. These children are favored by the Lord and he has prepare a way for them to be found by the parents He sees being their happy ever after.

Ephesians 1:11 In him you were also chosen having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will!

When I heard the words I knew it was my heart's song ....When I sing it I feel like I am almost there with her and she can feel my love somehow!

I dedicate this song to my daughter.

"One step closer"... "Time has brought your heart to me and I have love you for a thousand years!"


Tera said...

Wow!! Such a precious gift to know about the night she was found! She is gorgeous! Congrats! My daughter's name is also Xin (must be same character too because it means happy) and she's also a heart baby.

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