The beginning

Before we got married, we talked about adopting. Clearly this was something we had to address early on as it is my job. So we both decided we were open to adopting and all was well. During our engagement we talked about adopting first, before we knew it we could have biological children or not. We talked about the positives about how we would get to focus all our time on this child we adopted and not have other kiddos distracting us from connecting with our child and purposeful attachment parenting. We decided it would be sometime in the future, probably a couple of years after we got married.

After getting married, these talks continued. We thought about looking into the adoption of a 3 or 4 year old, perhaps with some minor special needs. We don’t have benefits with our jobs or employer purchased health insurance, so we thought this would be a good choice for our family.

Boy, did God have another plan for us.

We wish we could adequately describe the feeling that overcame our hearts when we first saw this sweet child.  I came across Yan Yiyi’s photo-listing late one Friday night in February when I was babysitting some of my favorite twins. Now, it needs to be said that I have been an adoption social worker for over 9 years–working with hundreds of families adopting internationally and domestically–so I’ve seen my fair share of waiting-child photos. They are all darling. But there was something about this child. To my total surprise I found there was an immediate and visceral connection to this child.

I thought I kept it together, but for the entire weekend, I kept thinking about her. I was praying for her at every chance, praying for someone to adopt her. Praying to get her off my mind.

You see, Yiyi was born with congenital cataracts, and she has never received the appropriate operation. What seems like a simple problem to fix here in the U.S. is a much bigger issue in a developing country with a population over four times the size of the United States. And, she was 9-year-old at the time. We had talked about a 3 or 4 year old…and we talked about waiting a couple of years. 

So I held it in until Sunday when I word vomited it to Brian before church. It went something like this.

Brian: Nik, c’mon, we’re late. I don’t want to be late again this week.

Nikki: I’m almost ready!

Brian: (holding my coat out) I’m holding your coat out, just put it on and let’s go.

Nikki: I can’t put my coat on because I can’t go to church like this because I saw a child on a waiting child website on Friday night and I can’t take my mind off her I think it’s our child and I’ve been holding it in since then but I can’t anymore and I think I’m going to cry so I can’t go to church!

Brian: Ok, that’s a lot of information but this is totally something we can talk about in the car, so please just get in.

We proceeded to talk about this child on the way to church. Brian, being the smart man he is, knows me well enough to have to ask things like her age (9) and special needs. Smart man. Neither of those two things were things we had talked about being open to. He knows me well.

We went to church and prayed a lot and by the time we got home, Brian wanted to know more information and see her photo.

He took one look at her and agreed that there was something different about this child, something that stood out. She quickly became more than just a picture to us.

We prayed over her for a month, while getting medical assessments and more information about her background story. We hadn’t planned to adopt yet, and we certainly hadn’t planned to adopt a blind 10-year-old as our first child–but when we saw her, we just knew we were called to be her Mom and Dad.

We made the official commitment to adopt her in early March 2013. We got pre-approval on March 11. We started our home study soon after and did a ton of stuff to get the paperwork taken care of. We’re now in the throws of fundraising and grant writing, cause remember, we didn’t plan to adopt now so we don’t have a ton of, what’s that called? Oh yeah, adoption savings.

We just got the formal approval to adopt today and may be traveling before year-end.

Yep, that just happened.