It took six years for us to conceive, the birth of a beautiful son, two exploratory surgeries, and nine more years of disappointment to realize there would be no more kiddos.
Somewhere in the middle of that we tried to fill up our empty nest by sponsoring children through Compassion International. All three of them were from Brazil. Gladys was 7 when we started sponsoring her. Belinda was 8. And Leonardo was 12. Gladys was killed in an earthquake a year after we got her. Belinda’s father got a job in another city that same year and moved her family out of the program. And Leonardo, we sponsored him until he graduated from the program at 17. Through all of that, we never considered adoption.
Then we met John and Stefanie Lawry. John was the keyboardist for the Christian rock group Petra. They had adopted a little boy from Korea and were applying to adopt a second. It was the combination of sponsoring our kids through Compassion and John and Stef’s encouragement to talk to Holt International Children’s Services that finally led us to take the step to adopt.
The thing we feared the most was adopting a child only to have his or her parent turn around and want them back. There had been so much in the news about that problem that the possibility of that happening scared the beejeebers out of us. But after watching the Lawrys with their son, we were truly inspired to commit to an overseas adoption. In November of 1986 we contacted Holt and started the process.
Our son was excited (he was 8 at the time), our home study with Marion, our social worker, had been completed, and the paperwork with Holt was all done. Since we had a son, we had decided to adopt a little girl from China. Not a baby. Babies were always wanted, so we choose a child between 5 and 7. I immediately started a journal talking about all the things we had to do, how we were feeling about it day to day, and the excitement of getting a room ready.
And then nine months later, August 1987, Holt called us to say we were not going to be able to adopt a child from China after all. China’s process had taken so long that we were now older than we were allowed to be to adopt from that country.
We were devastated. We had waited so long. And now we had a big decision facing us.
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