We released the little boy’s file on a Thursday afternoon, and by Friday morning I was anxiously awaiting the phone to ring again. I knew it could be MONTHS before it rang again, but since the first referral happened so quickly, I thought, I was hoping, it would happen sooner. I knew that the shared list (a list put out monthly by the Chinese Child Welfare office of the adoptable children) would be coming out the following Monday night (Tuesday morning China time), so I hoped we would get a call Tuesday morning from our agency. And since the phone did not ring Friday, I put my hope in a phone call on Tuesday.
So, that is why I was a little surprised to see our agency’s name on our caller ID on Monday morning. I answered the phone, hoping for good news. Our amazing social worker, in her sweet southern tone, said that she had a file for us to review. The agency had just started a partnership with a new orphanage and this referral was from that orphanage. Our social worker began to share that the file was for a sweet, 13 month old little GIRL!! I think I stopped hearing all that she had to say at that moment . . . a girl??? She must have been mistaken; we were most likely going to get a boy. Sure, we said we were open to a girl, but truthfully, I never thought we would get matched with a girl. We had been telling our own boys for MONTHS that they would have a little brother. When I talked about our adopted child to others, I often referred to the child as “he.” A girl?? Not even on my radar.
Our social worker went on . . . this little girl had cleft lip and cleft palate, a special need that we had researched and felt comfortable accepting. Then our social worker asked the question, “Would you like me to send you her file?” Of course I said yes. I got off the phone with our social worker and immediately called my husband to say we got another referral, a little GIRL. I anxiously awaited the email containing the file and I could not wait to see her face.
I have read countless stories of families who have adopted. And so many of them, the majority of them say that they have seen the picture of their little son or daughter and just knew, instantly, that that was their child. Since we started this process so many months ago, I have searched waiting child listings, looked at more photos of orphans than I care to admit, and I have never felt that tug on my heart, that knowing that the eyes staring back at me, were the eyes of my child. I did not feel that when I looked at the little boy’s file just the week before. And I was hoping that I would look at this little girl and just know that she was my daughter.
As I opened the file and scanned through pages of Chinese script to get to the photos, I beheld the little girl and . . . NOTHING. .. I did not feel ANYTHING. At that moment I thought, oh no, I do not want to turn down ANOTHER file. And then I wondered if there was something wrong with me. She is a cute little girl, at a young age, and special need we wanted and I felt nothing. Why was I not ready to say yes?
Luckily, though, we had a full week to pray and review her file. I contacted the International Adoption doctor again and set up a consultation for later in the week. As a family we started to talk about the little girl: the boys did NOT want a sister. Even my hubby said he would prefer another boy. And truthfully, I wanted another boy too. I like being a mom to boys. Would I even be a good mom to a girl?? We had lots to pray over. Over the next few days, Andrew and Caleb came around and started to say they wanted a sister, but Joshua, my oldest son, was insistent that he only wanted a brother. My hubby was open to a girl, but both of us wondered why, if so many people wanted girls and waited for so long just to get a girl, and there were so many boys waiting, and we were open to a boy, why would we even get a girl’s file to review? We would gladly give up her file for someone else. So, on Wednesday of that week, I called our social worker and posed this question to her. She explained that they want children to get into homes as quickly as possible and we were the only family that was as far along in the process (LID) that was open to her special need. She said she would understand if we would prefer a boy and wanted to release her file. I told her that we needed more time and wanted to wait to see what the doctor would say before making any decisions.
I was at a loss. I would stare at this cute little girl’s picture, just hoping I would feel SOMETHING, but nothing was changing. So, I sent a message to a woman whom I have gotten to know a little over the last two years, an awesome adoptive mom. I shared some of my fears; I wondered if anyone had felt the same as I did. I wondered if everyone looked at their future son or daughter’s picture and just “knew.” She responded with a quick “Call Me.” We talked that afternoon, for quite a while. The call was amazing and just what I needed at that moment. My fears were alleviated. It was so good to know that other adoptive moms have felt the way I did. I told Lisa that I just wanted a sign from God that she was my daughter. I did not care if I felt anything or not, I just wanted to know that this was His will. And in the moment she said exactly what I needed to hear; “Katie, maybe your sign is that this little girl fits everything you wanted in a referral; with the exception that she is a girl.”
Something shifted in me after that phone call. It was not an immediate change, but over the next day, I would look at this little girl’s picture, and my heart would soften a little bit more each time. I started to, dare I say, love this little girl. A love for her was growing in my heart.
So, by Thursday evening, the night of our consultation with the doctor, we were all ready to say yes to this little girl, if the consultation went favorably. The phone rang and we prepped ourselves for the call. The doctor began, “Well, I reviewed the file of the little girl that you sent me and I want to say, Congratulations on a great referral.” That was it. That was all I needed to hear. The rest of the conversation consisted of details of the little girl’s growth, the severity of her cleft palate and future surgeries and interventions necessary over the next 18 years of her life. We got off the phone with the doctor, and I was so happy. I knew, at that moment, that we were looking at the file of our daughter!
Although we knew that night, we decided take a few more days and pray more before accepting the match. And in those days of time, we all just fell in love with the little one. Pete and I fell in love with the idea of having a daughter. The boys fell in love with the idea of having a little sister.
Now, almost a week later, our love and excitement for her has grown. We have chosen a name (which needs a whole post onto itself), and her picture is in most rooms of our house! We are so happy and cannot believe how faithful HE has been in this whole process.