catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 4, Num 9 :: 2005.05.06 — 2005.05.19


New life in adoption

There my wife and I were, sitting in a hotel room in Washington D.C. on another DINK (Double Income No Kids) vacation. We had now been married a little over six years and had pretty much decided that children were not in store for us. We had grown very comfortable with our life without children; after all, we were both teachers and had students as our kids. Still, something was missing in our lives.

About one year earlier, my wife?s sister and her husband had returned from China with a beautiful little girl named Laura Chiang Liu. The moment she saw me, she had reached up to come to me and we had an instant connection that remains to this day. I fell in love with that little girl and my wife and I had often talked about the wonderful opportunities that she now had in the United States. For some reason, little Laura was in my thoughts often. I kept pictures of her on my desk at school and talked about her with my students on a regular basis.

Now Mary and I sat on a hotel bed discussing the city, our careers, and our lives in general. Almost simultaneously we both asked the same question: Do you think that we should have children? For a second we both sat quietly. Mary feared having children, and I didn?t like the thought of Mary going through childbirth. As we sat, the idea of adoption came to us. We both had adopted siblings and Laura was such a wonderful addition to the family that adoption instantly became the obvious answer. Strangely enough, I remember the date clearly: August 5, 2003.

Upon our arrival home, we immediately made some phone calls and did hours of research on international adoption. Our hearts were set on China, largely because we knew that a child from China would have a special cousin to relate to. We then contacted Bethany Christian Services and began the yearlong adoption procedure.

The paperwork seemed endless, but we continued to gather all of the necessary documents and carefully sent them to the appropriate agencies. Time seemed to go so slowly as month after month passed with no word from China. Finally in early September 2004 I got ?the call? from our social worker at Bethany. ?Dave, are you sitting down? We have the documents back from China?I am looking at a picture of a beautiful girl with two pigtails who is waiting for you to come get her.? I was sitting in front of my students and my eyes filled up with tears. I immediately called my wife and told her the great news. I don?t think that I was a great teacher the rest of the day, but my students seemed to understand.

That night we hurried down to the Bethany offices to get the pictures and the little bit of information that they had on our little girl. She was absolutely beautiful and we immediately named her Anna. Interestingly enough, she had been born on August 5, 2002. She was celebrating her first birthday on the exact day that Mary and I decided to adopt her. God works in amazing ways.
We then waited for an invitation to travel to China. After a few weeks, which seemed like forever, we were on our way to pick up our little girl. The plane flight over was almost surreal. Mary was able to sleep?I wasn?t. All I could think about was the responsibilities that I now would be charged with. Needless to say, I prayed a lot on the plane.

We landed in Beijing for three days of touring where we met 13 other families who were also starting a new phase of their lives. Beijing was great, but our minds weren?t really on the Great Wall or the Forbidden City. We couldn?t wait to get on that plane again to fly to Fuzhou to pick up our little Anna.

When we finally landed in Fuzhou we were bussed from the airport to the hotel. We had no idea what to expect. We were told that we should check in and then head directly to the 26th floor, where our babies would be brought to us. Mary and I hurried to check in, grabbed the camera, and hopped on the elevator. My heart was pounding harder than I ever remember as the doors opened. We walked around the corner and there she was! I saw her immediately. They didn?t even need to call out our name.

She was beautiful and our whole lives changed on that Reformation day! Her first looks at us were inquisitive and noncommittal. She grabbed the candy sucker we brought for her and seemed interested in the toy keys and teddy bear, but was rather casual when it came to Mary and I. I remember the tears welling up in my eyes, but more so the tears of joy and look of love in my wife?s eyes as she held Anna for the first time. We were now officially a family.

The first night with Anna was the most awesome and most heart wrenching night of my entire life. Anna was two years old. She spoke Fukanese (a dialect of Chinese that our interpreter didn?t understand) and she was scared, angry, and confused. She kicked the door and shouted at us in her native language. She was grieving for what she had known. Finally, I just held her tight and she fell asleep on my chest.

The next day she was daddy?s girl. I couldn?t do anything without her. I felt for my wife, but we were both glad that she had attached to one of us.

The rest of our trip was spent learning to be a family. We had our ups and downs, but a bond was definitely built and I am so thankful for our days in China. It was Mary, Anna and I, with no distractions.

We have now been home for eight months. Anna speaks fluent English and is a happy, healthy girl. She has become the center of our world. She is definitely the best thing that has ever happened to us. It is strange how God works in our lives. We had no plans of having children. Now we can?t imagine life without one. We wanted to give an orphan a new life, and she has given us that in return.

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