The Road that Led to Taiwan: Baby Jesse

This is part 1 of a very complex and amazing story.  I have sort of been dreading this blog post because it is so difficult for me to put into words, and I fear I will not do it justice.  So thank you for reading despite my inability to eloquently explain it.  I pray God makes my words understandable and clear so you can fully grasp the awesomeness of this story and see His hand in it all!                                                      

God called us to adopt long before He led us to Taiwan.  A year ago, all we knew was that we were open to whatever He wanted to do with our lives.  We felt God leading us to adopt an older, waiting child.  Possibly one with Down Syndrome.  I'd always had an affinity for the culture and the people of Asia, but at the time, there was no clear direction.  So we just decided to wait and see.  We didn't feel a sense of urgency, we were just at the point where we felt certain it was in our future.  

Then, I got an email that changed everything.

It was a link to a blog titled: 'URGENT ADOPTION SITUATION', describing an 8-week-old  little girl with a brain injury that was in need of a family willing to take on the uncertainties of her condition.  Based on her MRI's, there was little doubt she would have at least moderate Cerebral Palsy.  My first reaction was, 'Cute baby...I hope she finds a family!  Wish we were ready..."  Almost immediately I felt the Holy Spirit pressing on my heart, "What are you WAITING for?"  I looked at Chris and saw it in his eyes, too.  This was different.  This wasn't just a picture of a cute kid that we could dismiss and never let cross our minds again.  God was saying "GO!"-- but she was a baby, not the older child we were expecting.  She had CP, not Down Syndrome.  I tried to silence my head and my heart and convince myself that this was not happening, but I couldn't.  So we decided to email Brooke, the girl advocating for 'Baby Jesse', and just find out more information. No commitments. There were two other couples that they were considering as potential adoptive families, so we answered their preliminary screening questions and then left it up to God.  After 2 extremely long days, we got a call informing us that everyone involved (Jesse's caregivers, Brooke, the Tennessee-based organization working with the center in Taiwan, and us, of course) felt confident that God was calling US to move forward with this adoption.  There was just one small problem.  We hadn't started ANYTHING.  No home study (which typically takes 6-8 weeks).  No background checks.  Nothing.  And the adoption had to be completed by July when Taiwan's laws would change, making it unlawful for unlicensed adoption 'agencies' to facilitate adoptions.  [Just FYI: unlicensed does not mean illegal.  It means they are registered with the government, but do not have the resources to complete the licensing requirements.  All adoptions through Morning Light Home were considered independent adoptions.]   

So everything hinged on our ability to get a home study completed in time.  I called a friend who was further along in the adoption process to figure out what to do next.  She contacted her case worker, explained the urgency of the situation, and the next thing I knew we had a home study appointment for the next day with a promise to have it typed-up and completed by the end of the week.  Anyone who is familiar with the adoption process knows that going from not even knowing the name of your case worker to having a completed home study in a week is UNHEARD of.  To us, it was just another way God was affirming that He was in control and that we need only to trust Him.  If this was God's plan for us, all doors necessary to make it happen would be opened. 

Throughout the week we sought out the wisdom of a few people who we knew would be on their knees for us as we moved forward with this life-changing decision.  There were some that expressed concern and others that were bubbling with excitement for this journey on which we were about to embark.  But most people had the same response -- 'Pray and seek God.  Follow Him and if it's His will for you, He will work out the details.'  Of course, no one could give us an answer or tell us what was 'right'.  It was between us and God, and the gravity of the decision was setting in.  It was all happening so quickly -- our heads were practically spinning.  Chris and I prayed together, fasted together, and tirelessly worked to get all of the paperwork done.  The last thing left to do before we officially accepted the referral to be 'Baby Jesse's' parents was a visit with the pediatric neurologist to look over the MRIs.  I had no idea what God was planning that day.  And honestly, I was not prepared for it.  That appointment would forever change the lives of not one, but two families...and two precious Taiwanese orphans.