Here are the details: (Warning: it's long-so grab a cup of coffee and enjoy the story)
Back on Feb. 4 my cell phone rang and it was the ring tone for my adoption agency. I thought to myself, I wonder what they need-they must need something for a post-placement report for Janie. Keep in mind, my caseworker was in Taiwan at the time so I really wasn't sure why they were calling. And, Janie has only been home 5 months so I was still doing post-adoption paperwork.
I answered the phone and Hollen (who told me about Janie's birth and about my final court decree-all because all these things seem to happen while my caseworker is in Taiwan) asked me if I was sitting down. She then goes on to tell me that Janie's birth mom went to the hospital in Taiwan. (Ok...let me just say right then and there my heart sank. I immediately thought she was in dispair and wanting the baby back...of course, I know that is impossible. Janie's adoption is final and complete, she is a US citizen, and all is well-but that was my first initial reaction).
Then she completed her sentence and I couldn't believe my ears. She told me that Janie's birth mom had just given birth to another baby girl and told the hospital staff that she could not keep the baby. The hospital social worker recongnized the name and contacted my agency's Taiwan staff.
My head began to spin!! What? Janie has a sister alone in a hospital in Taiwan? Janie was not even a year old yet. We were in the process of planning her 1 year party? What does this mean? Janie has a sister? I am also planning Janie's big baptism celebration. Janie is not even 1 yet-how can this be? Oh my...the thoughts were pouring from my brain. Honestly, I only heard about half of what Hollen was saying.
Fast forward a few days....the agency got all of the info, Taiwan staff met with birth mom and she wants the baby to go to a loving home. Taiwan staff asked her if she would want the baby to be with her sister in America. Birth mom said yes. So, I had a HUGE decision to make!!!
And, can you believe I knew all of this at Janie's birthday and baptism---when sooooo many friends/family were around? It was beyond hard to keep quiet about it. But, it was a private decision and those days were about Janie--I didn't want the focus to be taken away from her--but it was sooooo hard not to shout it to everyone!!
Of course my heart says YES, YES, YES. But, my brain says-slow down and make sure I can handle this. Let's see here are what I consider my biggest challenges:
1. Being single and raising 2 baby girls (less than 1 year apart in age)
2. Financially-not just the adoption expenses, but the day-to-day life for many years to come (on a teacher salary)
That's it--those are the only 2 things that could possibly prevent this. Yes, I know they are 2 very serious things-but I spent several weeks in deep prayer and lots of discussion about it. My heart knew what I wanted but I had to make sure this was the right thing for the baby and for Janie. I knew the baby would not be left alone. I knew there were other families in the Taiwan program waiting for thier child--so that was hard to accept. I didn't want to feel like I was "taking" someone else's baby. I know that sounds crazy and I really can't explain it in words very well..it's just a feeling. I remember when I was in the Vietnam program waiting for my referral and I would read of other's joys in seeing thier baby's face, travel, etc while I still waited. In my heart, I knew that God had chosen that child for them but if you have EVER waited out an adoption process-you know what I mean--it is hard to not feel some envy. Happiness for the family of course, but deep down, a little jealous. I hate to admit that-but I'm trying to be honest.
I also know that blood is not thicker than water. It does not take DNA to make a child yours, or a sibling. Becoming a family member thru adoption is just that-creating a family...but having said that--how amazing that they are bio sisters! Yes, full bio sisters (same birth mom and birth father).
The conclusion-how can I not bring these girls together?!?! How can I look at Janie everyday and know she has a sister not with her?? How can I leave this child without her family? Janie and I are her family-she needs to be with us!
I knew I always wanted 2 children...and I knew I wanted them close in age (under 3-4 years apart). My mom and I talked about this all the time. Guess I didn't realize that God really does listen to our prayers doesn't He? Or, maybe it is something different.....I believe with every inch of my being that God KNEW and PLANNED this path from the beginning. He knew these sisters would be together and he put it in my heart to desire 2 children close in age--that way, when the day really came-my heart would already be prepared. Amazing isn't it!
Back to the story: I made my decision! I am adopting Janie's sister! I am mentally/emotionally ready and the process is in place. I had to re-do all paperwork-new adoption, new paperwork. Homestudy, USCIS approval, dossier, EVERYTHING. That took a little while since I was not prepared at all-wasn't even thinking about doing any of that. And, I was in the end of the school year, special olympic season, new cheerleading season beginning (my busiest time paperwork wise). Not to mention raising a baby!!!! So, it took a little longer than expected....but, the paperwork is done and on it's way to Taiwan!
Now, I just wait for a court date! I am applying for several grants and praying I get some financial assistance-that would be great! Janie is trying to learn to say Lexie-so far she just says the ending sound "zi" which is cute!
I have received several pictures and video of Lexie. She is beyond beautiful and looks JUST like Janie (except for one thing-I'll get to that in a minute). She was a preemie also so started out pretty tiny but growing and happy/healthy. She has a head full of hair-just like Janie. She is in the same home as Janie was and being cared for by the same people--so I KNOW she is in good hands.
Now for the one difference--she is a HUGE baby compared to Janie. Now, let me clarify: Lexie was a preemie and is small compared to other babies-but compared to Janie she is big. Lexie is going to be the younger sister-not the little sister. Last update she was 4 months and already at 11 pounds 9 ounces and at the same time Janie was going for her 15 month check up and weighed in at 15 pounds 13 ounces! Yep, Janie is still tiny-but fiesty and developmentally on track-just tiny! Looks like Janie may get the hand-me-downs!!
So there you go! That's my big news! I am so thankful that God has granted me such wonderful blessings. What an amazing story! I remember those long days/months/years of waiting for my baby and now I have 2! I am honored and blessed that God has chosen this path for me and my girls!
I have created a blog for Lexie. It is www.hurryhomelexie.blogspot.com.
You can click the address or click HERE
One of the first posts I plan to do deals with how I am responding to some of the comments I have received when people learn of this situation. Most have been beyond supportive and so excited-but as you can imagine, I have heard some unusual and often rude comments too (adoptive parents-you know what I mean).
When she comes home, then I will merge these 2 blogs into one big family blog and let you know. In the meantime, I will keep adoption stuff updated on Lexie's site and Janie updates here! Just like with Janie-I won't be posting any pictures of Lexie until she is officially mine and in my arms in Taiwan. However, privately I can email it to you for you to see if you are interested....she is a mini Janie!
Someone told me in a few years when they become teenagers, I will need to get some guard dogs and an electric fence to keep the teenage boys away!!
Please keep us all in your prayers...and please lift up the girls' birth mom in prayer. I think about her often.