I also want to point out a few people that will be mentioned throughout the story so you can get the whole picture...
- Stefanie-mama to 9 (waiting to bring sweet baby Vivi home from China)
- Karla-Our Lifeline adoption agency rep (located in Alabama)
- Lily- Lifeline's rep in China
- Laine-mama to 7 sweeties, three from China and also lives in Alabama.
Way back in the summer I kept feeling a little tug from God about adopting again. I felt unsure and a bit reluctant to even bring the subject up to CJ because I knew at that time he would maybe say "Now is not the right time" and I would have agreed one hundred percent. I was trying to catch my tail between kids, Linzhi's therapy, the house and trying to work from home as a health care recruiter. In my mind there was no way I could even think about adding more to my plate. So before I said anything to CJ, I simply prayed "Lord whatever your will, please open my heart and pave the way to make it happen." Boy, did he ever! Within the next few months, I left the job I LOVED as a recruiter and started to settle into being the keeper of the kids and home. It was a bit of an adjustment but I'm feeling totally blessed everyday I have here to just focus on family and whatever else God wants to me do. Ok, let me back up a bit. Before I left my job, I emailed my sweet friend Stefanie. Stefanie has always been such an encouragement not only for me but to many mom's out there and she truly is an advocate for special needs orphans so I felt very safe going to her for advice on adoption agencies. In order for us to adopt again, we would need to find an agency to advocate with the CCAA on our behalf. Based on the new requirements we don't qualify based on divorce (mine) so again, we needed to find a special agency. Divorce has been a hard pill for me to swallow, very big! Only God helped me get over my pain and embarrassment but even with forgiveness it was still a very hard subject for me to discuss with a perfect stranger and I knew in order for an agency to work with us I had to tell my story to a perfect stranger! UGH, is the only word that comes to mind. Honestly, it's a pride thing and I had to pray for that to leave my heart in order to serve him wholly. With that said, I spilled my heart to Stefanie in an email asking for any advice or reference she could provide. I got an email back right away saying "I bet Karla at Lifeline would help you" I was thrilled to say the least but I still couldn't get past the pride issue so I prayed even more about it and finally talked to CJ about what I was up to. He told me to go ahead and see what they have to say and if there's a possibility than we could look into it even more...Ok, another green light I thought...hmm, maybe I can email Karla to feel her out since I was too much of a chicken to call her...So that's what I did. I emailed Karla the day we left for Disney World...Yup, I chickened out! So we have a wonderful vacation, I see Asian children everywhere including mine, I could feel the Lord opening my eyes and heart for China again... Dare I say it, I was getting pumped up! I wasn't thinking "We get approved first" no, I was thinking will it be a boy or girl? Big or little? Limb difference, club foot, heart defect? Oh Lord, I prayed, bring us a child with Arthrogryposis!!!! I selfishly wanted another child with the same condition not only because we are almost experts but also for our Linzhi Rose. I desperately wanted her to have a sister or brother that looked like her so she wouldn't feel so different from everyone else AND the other child would also have a sister faced the same challenges and victories..., I could go on and on but anyway, I knew it was a long shot because Arthrogryposis is so rare. I trusted the Lord had his own plan and I was just so excited to see what he had in store for our family....
When we got back from Disney, I had an email from Karla asking me to call her when I returned. Ok, I thought, this is good...I'll give her a call and just let her kind of lead the conversation... My hands were shaking as I dialed Lifeline. Darn, got her voicemail! So I leave a very L O N G voicemail (I am so bad at voice mails) and within the next few hours Karla called me back. All I remember is her asking me "what can I help you with" and it just ALL poured out of me...divorce, our dreams, our children, our income, yep... I was a blubbering moron but Karla just listened and was so sweet to me, I just felt at ease with her like she was the one I was meant to talk to. God worked through Stefanie to get me to Karla. I was completely relieved! Karla said she would contact her rep in China by the name of Lily and would get back to me. So the next few days, we waited. I was all anxious and CJ of course, was calm. He kept telling me. Don't worry, if it's meant to happen it will... So I finally hear back from Karla and we got some good news that yes, Lily would advocate for us and oh, by the way...She sent us two files for you to review... Huh??? Already I thought??? Wow! God is working it out! Well, unfortunately after talking with Karla about the two little girls, I knew they weren't the children for our family. It was VERY hard to turn them away but I knew the multiple medical conditions they both had would be too much for us and our kids. It was difficult but we had to say no. Karla told me she totally understood and that there would be more files coming in at the end of the month (March). I told her I would touch base then but if anything came up to call me. I was a little bummed but decided to pray for those two little girls asking the Lord to find them homes.
About a week later on a Sunday night, I open my inbox to see an email from my buddy Laine. It was a simple note asking if we were still open to adopting and if we had ever thought about an older child? I quickly emailed her back answering YES and YES to her questions... The next morning I get an email back from Laine telling me she had received a file for a little girl, age 7 and that she thought she might have the same condition as Linzhi... My. heart. dropped. Laine also said she would ask Lily permission to share the file with me if we were interested... Yes, we were very interested and Hmm, Lily? Could this be the same Lily that sent the two files to Karla for us to review? Could this be the same Lily that knows our story and agreed to advocate on our behalf with CCAA??? COULD IT REALLY BE HER???
The next day (I think, I was a bit fuzzy with excitement), Laine sends us the file of Ying feng. When I opened her picture, I knew I was looking at my daughter. I. Just. knew. it! (CJ felt the same way too). Tears welled up in my eyes as I looked at all the beautiful pictures before me, she really took my breath away! I then came across pictures of her arms and legs and couldn't believe what I was looking at. This kiddo has Arthrogryposis too! I couldn't believe my eyes!!! In fact, when I showed Linzhi this picture she said "hey, that's me" Again, the tears started to flow as I was able to show Linzhi pictures of a little girl that looked similar to her. She was very excited and so was Rachel. It was a very special moment for me and my girls. Trevor thrilled to say the least. He has a heart for adoption and hopes to adopt one day too. At this point, it was confirmed, we were ready! Whatever we needed to do to bring that child home, we were up for the game. Our prayer from that point on was "SEND US LORD"
I called Laine immediately after all of the above happened and we were both almost speechless. There was no explanation except that God's hands were orchestrating all of this right in front of our eyes. And yes, she confirmed with me that Lily was in fact the same Lily that Karla talked about and yes, Laine knew Karla because of her previous adoptions working with Lifeline. It was really unbelievable BUT believeable because we share the same faith and knew no matter if this child was to be our daughter or not, we were going to help her find a home. (I always prayed for her to be ours if it was His will). At this point, we agreed to let Karla in on what was going on because Laine had her file directly from Lily. So, Laine called Karla and told her a bit more about me, etc.. Karla contacted Lily and discussed it further as well. So within about a week or so, I heard back from Karla letting me know that it didn't look good. CCAA wanted her to go to a family that had a dossier already logged in and we hadn't even started our dossier! My heart sank, but for some reason I didn't lose Hope, I just kind of let it go because I didn't want to doubt or step in the way of God works so I left it alone. I emailed Laine to let her know and I could sense her disappointment too.
About three days later, I get an email from Karla with some pretty amazing news. Lily got us an extension with the CCAA and they agreed to lock her file for our family. Let me repeat. LOCK HER FILE FOR THE CORZINE FAMILY. I can still see the email. I almost came out of my skin with joy!!! I called CJ as fast as I could dial and got his voicemail (just like when I got Linzhi's file) UGH! I quickly emailed Karla and said YES!!! Please lock her file for us, I knew CJ would agree so I went ahead and made the decision. By this time, CJ called me back and his voice was full of excitement and he was just fine with me asking them to lock her file. I quickly got all the documents and care plan ready so we could send off our LOI... Officially, it was sent in on Friday, March 13th. Karla said it would take about two weeks to hear if we indeed get a PA (pre-approval from CCAA) to move forward with the adoption. Ok I thought, I'm going to trust the Lord here and let him work on that PA while I started collecting documents for our dossier...Just in case... Well, two weeks came and went with no word. I was getting a bit anxious to say the least, I knew if she was to be our daughter we would get the PA and if she was meant to be in another family then we would get the dreaded NO. I was ok with His decision either way but PLEASE Lord jsut let me know... YES OR NO!?!? ... CJ on the other hand was still calm as could be, if he was anxious he didn't show it or admit it after the 300 times I asked him. I'm so grateful he was calm because it actually calmed me a bit...Just a tiny bit...LOL
Finally! Late one evening, I decided to check my email. I open my inbox and there is an email from Karla, my heart dropped, I was scared to open it!! I finally clicked it open to read "if you're still up please call me...I don't care what time" It was 12:11 AM her time...Darn, do I call her at this hour??? GO FOR IT, I thought... quickly dial her home number and get her voicemail-ugh-I leave voicemail apologizing for calling so late and that I would call her in the morning. I then quickly call CJ, he's asleep but wants to know what's going on so I was half way through my story when my phone beeps that I have a call waiting...it's Karla! I scream to CJ...IT'S Karla...click...Yes, I hung up on my husband...oops! I click over to Karla and trying to sound calm I apologize for calling so late...She stops me and says it's ok and "SHE'S YOURS" I melted. I couldn't believe my ears!! I couldn't wrap my mind around the entire story starting with Stefanie to Karla, Karla to Lily, then Laine gets a file from Lily, back to Karla, etc... It was and still in truly amazing stroy. We're still awe struck and I hope this feeling never goes away!
God is so amazing! I feel so blessed to be connected to all of these women!!! I promised God after we got our PA that I will not be fearful, anxious or impatient while going through the paper chasing and our trip to China. I was so impatient the first time and while in China I was so homesick it was hard to enjoy the adventure He prepared of us...This time, I'm going to do what I need to do to get the dossier finished but I'm going to do it with a joyful heart and when we're in China, I'm going to ENJOY our time there. CJ needs to return to the US after the adoption is final so I will have a little adventure on my own with Trevor and Madelyn. I'm looking forward to it and I know my babies at home will be loved on by grandma and grandpa Sills until daddy gets back to them followed by Mama, Trev and Madelyn a few days later...What a reunion that will be!!!
That's the beginning of our story to Madelyn, I hope made sense and I didn't make too many grammatical errors... I'm beat! Off to bed!!!
Oh, one more thing. We are planning a fundraiser!! Looks like we're raffling off an iPod Touch so far. I'm thinking about some others items so if anyone has a suggestion please let me know!!!
God bless!Our Madelyn...