It's a GOD thing

 July 14, 2011

I didn’t plan to go to China on a mission trip until just a few weeks before I left.  Shannon the group’s leader emailed me pretty much on a whim.  She knew a friend who adopted a child from Kaz, (a child they also named Nina) and this friend read my blog and one day mentioned the blog and me to Shannon.  Shannon sent an email inviting me (a perfect stranger) to join her trip and without a ton of thinking about it I said yes.

I’ve mentioned here before that visiting orphans in China while your own child waits in a Chinese orphanage was not one of my better made plans.  Going into it I thought it would be a good way to fill the time while I waited for Mia to come home but the truth is it left me even more desperate to bring her home.  

We can wax on all we like about the nannies being so loving, the orphanage is clean, the Director is kind, blah, blah blah.  In fact I am sure someone reading this will say “yes BUT our orphanage was different” ….”They did the best they could with what they had”.

Maybe so, but would you send your kid there now?  Perhaps for a little summer camp? How about just one night?  I doubt it.

The truth is these places are awful, even the best of them simply pale in comparison to the ideal situation…a family.  

An orphanage is NOT a sunny day care center where kids just happen to spend the night. And frankly China standards and sensibilities are NOT America’s.  Every minute I was in the Chen Zhou SWI made me more aware of this and more impatient for Mia to come home.

But of course while by definition no orphanage can be considered “good” or even “good enough” some are better than others.  When we arrived at Shepherd’s Field I knew immediately that they were one of the “better” orphanages.  By the time I left I was consumed with one thought, “How do I get Mia here?”

Originally the trip to China did not include a stop at Shepherd’s Field but Shannon having a heart for all things adoption wanted to visit this place and help advocate for some of the children there.  It almost didn’t happen except for her tenacity (and Him of course).  

We spent only a few hours at Shepherd’s Field however I was able to tour though almost every building and see first hand how the children there were thriving.  The difference compared to Chen Zhou was remarkable.  Yes it was still an orphanage but efforts were taken as much as possible to approximate family life. I was able to meet and talk with Dr M, the American physician who ran the clinic at the facility and I was impressed once again at his passion for the children in his care.  He was a practical man who understood the limitations they faced but somehow remained cheerful.  I shared my story with him about Mia and he was (it seemed to me) both surprised and encouraging about our decision to adopt a child with cerebral palsy.

Because Shannon and I had a mission to meet all of the children available for adoption we were given tremendous access to the facility.  Although we were originally told we would not be allowed in the clinic our guide brought Shannon and me into the building anyway.  It was there that I met Dr M who would later play an important role in our mission to move Mia.

I came home from China and continued to think abut Mia and Chen Zhou and Shepherd’s Field.  I also learned that there were more delays for our adoption; delays that could push us well into 2012 until we are able to bring Mia home.  And so I took a chance.  Using Ann at Red Thread I sent a gift to Mia and a letter to her orphanage director.  A letter that asked if he would either allow us to provide for a private speech therapist or move her to Shepherd’s Field.  To my surprise he responded very quickly though Ann agreeing to either option. I immediately set about researching therapists in China and also sent an email to the people I had just met in China.

About a week went by.

A few nights ago we were laying in bed when a little after 11pm the phone rang.  It was Ann from Red Thread calling from China! She was calling us to follow up on our letter.  She said she was so moved by our request that she wanted to make sure the director knew how we would proceed. Since then she has worked as our unofficial translator and facilitator.

And then, finally, this morning came


I have to say that I am actually kind of completely shocked that this is going to happen because honestly I’ve never heard of anything like this before. This is not how things work in China.  

Mia will now be living in a family styled group home.  She will have PT, OT and speech therapy. If I can’t have her here, I’m glad she can be there! It is a miracle as far as I’m concerned.

A total GOD THING.

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