When my oldest child was a newborn, I remember taking a walk around the block with my husband. I had taken numerous walks with him before, but I remember this one vividly because we discussed the idea of adopting one day. It wasn’t a serious discussion, but for some reason, a seed had been planted in my heart. A few years went by, and I gave birth to a beautiful boy with the largest brown eyes I had ever seen.
Again, I took a walk with my husband and discussed adoption. By this time the desire had grown stronger. He said he wasn’t interested. I asked if we could start praying because I wanted this to be our next step with our family. He agreed, and he said he needed at least six months to pray about it. Six months! I had to let go and trust that God was working to bring us into unity, whatever that meant for us. After six months was over, I brought it up again. He said he needed another six months to pray. Ugh, that meant more trusting in God, and I didn’t want to have to continue to wait. It took a lot of self-control to not nag my husband about it.
Finally, after that year, he said yes! However, another few years would go by before we could actually start the process. My husband had to travel for his job and be gone for long periods of time which left us unable to proceed. We also moved across country. In the process of our move, I found a little girl from Europe available for adoption named Tori, and I asked my husband if we could pursue her. We did, but then a month into it he said he couldn’t shake the fact that he had no peace. We stopped the process. I was so angry at this point, at God, and at my husband, at everything. I didn’t understand. I had to be in constant prayer. I didn’t want to trust and wait even more. I wanted to not think about adoption ever again. We did though, and through some friends who supported us, we started the adoption process with the China special needs program.
At the time, we were only open to minor special needs. We looked at a couple of files of children, and my husband again told me he didn’t have peace. It was so hard for me to hear. I remember crying and not understanding God. Once again I had to check my heart and submit to God so I would not be angry and say something ugly to my husband. Little did I know that in all my waiting and learning to trust Him, God was strengthening me to trust Him in one of the hardest trials I would ever face in my life.
Soon after, I came across a picture of a little boy with a minor heart condition.
We asked for his file. Something that is required of an adoptive parent is that they have to speak to a medical professional before the acceptance of a referral of a child. So, we did. Before that though, we requested an update. When the doctor looked over his updated file, he told us, “I can’t make heads or tails of his file, but his heart is bad. I can’t promise you he will live very long.”
With that news, my heart sank. I just knew my husband would say no. However, my husband is a praying man. He came to me a couple of days later and said, “Charity, I am getting the green light. Let’s go get our son!” I was shocked and so excited!
One of the questions we specifically asked in the update was if he had ever had surgery. The reply was no. You can imagine our shock when we started taking the layers of clothes off of him to give him a bath and we see a huge scar from the top of his chest almost down to his belly button. From being malnourished and his sternum not healing right from surgery, he looked awful and so sickly. My husband immediately got on his knees and started crying. He asked, “Is he going to be okay?” We were so worried about him.
When we arrived home, we found out that he had CCTGA L-type, DORV, VSD, Dextrocardia, and Pulmonary Stenosis and that he had the Glenn surgery in Beijing. His oxygen levels hovered around 82 at all times, unless he got sick,which would put his O2 in the high 60s. He was born a blue baby. He also needed another open heart surgery, the Fontan, in about a year.
Once again, I was going to be asked by God to trust Him. I didn’t want my new baby to have to go through so much pain. I had no choice but to give him over to doctors. They were going to help our son achieve higher oxygen levels by having this next surgery. They needed to completely cut out his pulmonary artery and give him an artificial valve. This would be an 8-10 hour surgery. To make things worse, one of our friend’s daughters had this exact surgery a couple of months before but sadly their little girl went home to be with the Lord. This evoked fear for us and we started asking people to pray. Would I still serve God if our son didn’t make it too? Would I trust Him in the good times and in the bad? I had to make my mind up, that no matter what the outcome would be for our son, that I would still serve Him. He had given me my heart’s desire for another child, and to bring that child home by adoption. Could I lay my new son the altar and trust Him? Whether I wanted to or not, I had to do so. Here is what I wrote that first day in the hospital:
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him. Psalm 37:7
Day1- surgery day 7-23-2014 Everett is strong. He is healed. Jesus, You did it on that cross. He is adjusting to his new anatomy very well. Thank you that he is making it through surgery. Thank you that You are here my King. You are here Jesus. You never leave me. You never leave Everett. You are strong in my son. You are Jehovah Rapha. You are King. Have mercy my God. I pray for favor my King. Though a thousand may fall at his left side, and ten thousand at your right hand, it will NOT come near Everett in Jesus’ name. He is strong. You are strong my God. You have already won the victory. You did it on that cross. You did it Jesus, You already did it for him. Thank you that his body is working correctly. All things are made new. ALL things are made new. His blood, his body, his lungs, his heart- ALL things are made new. You are King. You are Jesus. Nothing is impossible for You God. Nothing is impossible. Healing is here. Healing is now. The sun of righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. The same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead resides in Everett. He is my strong boy. He is Yours God. This sickness is not unto death but to declare the glory of God. With a long life You shall satisfy Everett and show him Your salvation. You are good. Surely mercy and goodness will follow me all the days of my life. God is good. He is moving and He has already done it.
If I were going to fight for my son, I would do it with faith even though I didn’t want him to have to go through this next surgery at all. I didn’t want to have to fight! Our boy ended up staying 6 weeks in the hospital. He had 13 blood transfusions, 42 injections in his thighs, blood drawn over 30 times, his lung collapsed, 6 chest tubes, and 5 IV’s. He puked a lot, had atrophy of his legs, and his lungs were a struggle to keep free from fluid. It was hard. I ugly cried in the ICU bathroom many times. I missed my husband. I missed normalcy. I missed my other two children. Yet, in all this, I can’t even imagine what he went through in his first open heart surgery where he spent 10 weeks in the hospital. The part that bothers me the most though is that he spent that time in Beijing in the hospital ALONE. He was an orphan. He had no one to advocate for him. That rocks me to my core. Did anyone love him? Did anyone send him teddy bears and gifts? Who held him when he hurt and needed a hand to hold? That breaks my heart. So many more children just wait and wait for someone to choose them, love them, and help them through the storms of life. Break our hearts for what breaks Yours Lord!
Today, our boy is stable. I am not sure what his future holds for him. I KNOW though that I can trust in a God that is faithful beyond my imagination. He is faithful in the good times, and He is faithful in the hard times and in times we have to go through things I don’t want to go through. When I look at my boy’s beautiful scar, I am reminded of these truths. God is faithful.