The Road that Led to Taiwan: Through the Trenches

While I KNOW God many times works in ways that cannot be rationalized or explained, I don't think God calls his people to abandon all common sense.  He created us with emotions, instincts, and the ability to think and reason.  But the danger comes when, in our humanness, we allow our own fears or selfish motives to get in the way of God's will for our lives.  So as we were wrestling with this HUGE decision we had to make, we began to sift through our emotions and pray that the Holy Spirit would give us the ability to clearly discern the truth from the lies.  We felt uncertainty and doubt creeping into our hearts, and we found ourselves PLEADING with God.  I remember being on my knees the night before the neurology appointment and just repeating, "Help me!" over and over again.  I couldn't muster up any profound words or beautiful praises --  just a cry for help.  What was He saying to us??  I needed Him to make His will undoubtedly clear.

The next morning I was discouraged when I woke up with the same sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.  There was still not clarity.  NO peace.  It seemed God was silent in the moment I needed Him most.  I had once felt so confident that we were in His will, but suddenly I sensed that we had just stepped outside of it.  Let me tell you -- that's a bad feeling.

When I made the appointment with the neurologist, the receptionist told me the visit would cost up to $400, depending on the amount of time the doctor spent reviewing the records.  Even though it was an unexpected cost, we felt strongly that this was an essential step in making a final decision.  We prayed and fasted before the appointment, asking God to protect our hearts and allow us to hear only what He wanted us to hear.  We prayed that He would prepare the doctor's heart to listen to us and respect (even if he didn't understand) our desire to adopt a child with special needs.  We even threw in a very specific prayer that God would somehow make this appointment NOT cost $400. 

I wish I could put into words how I felt while I sat in that waiting room with my folder full of MRI pictures and 8 weeks worth of medical reports.  Saying that I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders would be an understatement.    

When I met the neurologist, my anxiety eased a little.  He patiently listened to me babble on, suffering from lack of sleep and surviving on just the frappe I had 24 hours earlier.  He was warm and kind and compassionate.  He studied every single MRI (there were at least 40, I think) and explained things in a way that I could understand them. 

His words hit me like a ton of bricks.  I don't remember exactly what he said, but I CLEARLY recall the words "devastating brain injury".  He went on to explain (as gently as he possibly could) how things might be for us.  We were looking at a child that would probably never walk, maybe never talk, probably struggle with sleep/wake patterns and incontinence.  He expressed a concern for the possibility of behavioral issues and all of the care she might need -- things he felt I needed to seriously consider.  He not once said anything unnecessary or hurtful, and he never came across as judgmental of our desire to adopt -- he was just stating the facts as he saw them.  I could tell he was trying to be positive and careful not to crush my spirit, but I could see the concern in his eyes.  At the end of the appointment he walked me out and hugged me, telling me how much he appreciated my heart for these special kids and he wished me all the best.  Then he told me not to worry about the cost -- that this consult was on him.  I was overwhelmed with emotion.  Not because I got out of paying $400, but because I finally had the clarity I had been pleading for. 

'Baby Jesse' was not our little girl.   

I somehow managed to hold myself together until I got to the car, and then the flood-gates opened.  I called Chris and the first thing I said when he answered was, "We aren't supposed to accept this referral."  I was expecting some sort of interrogation as to why I felt this way, maybe a very engineer-like attempt to logically work through the situation.  But instead, he just responded, "OK."  Very un-'Chris'.  I could tell as we talked that God had been revealing these things to his heart before I ever picked up the phone.  While we both felt at peace and it was clear we were making the right decision (FINALLY!), there were still several unanswered questions: If she's not ours, WHY did God bring us this far in the process?  What was His purpose for all the money, time and heartache spent over the past couple of weeks?  How could we just leave her an orphan?  We had grown to love her...it just didn't make sense.  

While the internal turmoil surrounding our need to make a decision had subsided, the urgency of the situation was still very real and heavy on our hearts.  After I made the difficult phone call to Brooke, telling her about the day's happenings, I spent the next several hours in prayer asking God what He wanted me to do (those 2 weeks taught me what it truly means to 'pray without ceasing').  Little did I know that the God I had accused of being silent in my time of need was about to get VERY loud and clear.  Hold on tight because you're about to have your mind blown :)