Psalm: 90:09- We spend our years as a tale that is told


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Introducing Talia Mei Youngerman born on May 1, 2009

Our Precious Angel

     These three little pictures accompanied her file that we received and our world was forever changed! Ready or not here comes toddler #2! It is uncanny how much she reminds us of Harper.  

Those sweet cheeks and big eyes

definitely a sweet soul

and she appears to be a dancing queen as well!

Our Link to Talia

    So you may wonder how this all came to be so fast? We are still wondering as well! No, this was not our original plan but the one above determined what He had in store for us way before Todd and I realized that adoption again would lead us to our second child. I have read countless stories of how once you adopt you will never look at things the same way again. For us this was true and our hearts and minds were with the children left behind. When we first came home with Harper I wanted to get on a plane and go back there as fast as I could to bring home another child. In reality, though, we were jet lagged, overwhelmed, paying our adoption bills, living at Harper's doctor’s offices and adjusting to life with a toddler. By the middle of last year, while sitting in one of Harper's appointments the doctor leaned into me and said, "You know if she stayed in China she probably would have died by the age of four." Yikes! My mind then went back to the countless children we saw in China on the streets, on adoption websites and the faces of the children that I know never made it to their families in time. How could I ignore it? So the yearning was there but being so engrossed with Harper's needs I found other ways to help the children left behind. I would advocate on adoption sites for children that needed homes, stayed in touch with the adoption community and talked to people all over the country via phone and e-mail on the best way to find their child and the fastest way to get them home. This was my way of volunteering so to speak.  I began to put the idea of adopting child number two out of my mind until one day my travel partner from China called to see if I looked at the new list of children that our agency posted. She was interested in a child and we began to chat, and chat, and chat (almost daily) and I began to help her. I got reacquainted with agencies and the latest requirements with the China program. Basically, with China's new Special Focus Medical Needs Program you can pick a child from the waiting list and reuse your paperwork but you have only one year to do so. I literally had one month left and I thought to myself there is no way we are adopting again so soon. The timing is not right, the money is not there, Harper has too many medical conditions – basically any negative thing you could think of surrounding adoption was in my mind. At the same time I was so inspired by my friend's personal journey with God and her dedication to learning from the bible that I decided to start really setting aside some of Harper's nap time to read. Now being truthfully honest this was a big deal for me as I don't normally sit down with a bible and do a lot of reading in my spare time:)

      So what happened next? It came to me that what happens if everyone said the timing is not right or we don't have the money? Then no one would ever adopt or move forward with their dream and to me once you have that fire in your heart you need to act on it. As adoptive parents I think we are all given a gift to accept a child we know nothing about and to make a commitment to them that we will love them forever. For us this comes easily but for others it does not. So why not take our gift of love and bring home another child? It just seemed like the obvious choice for us. Now to convince Todd that we needed to choose "love" again so soon! That to me was going to be the battle. I knew he wanted to adopt but if I told him what I was thinking he was going to tell me I was crazy. So I made the decision as a modern wife (ha!) not to tell him. Yes I know that was not so nice but I was still so uncertain myself. I needed a sign and a huge one! I knew we only had one more month to reuse our dossier documents and that could save us some money in the overall process. China produces a shared list of children that are eligible for adoption every 4-6 weeks. Our agency matches fast but I didn't know how many people would be in line in front of me. So with a nervous stomach I wrote to my agency asking if they would look for a little girl under the age of five. I told them the special needs I would be open to which is a much longer list now then it was a few years ago. Harper's medical needs have taught me that I can handle much more than I ever thought! My agency wrote back to me saying that it would be unlikely since they had ten families ahead of me. I really felt in my heart that if it was meant to be it would happen and if I was completely off base in my gut feelings then I would not get a file to review. I was completely at peace either way. I knew if I didn't get a file then Todd and I would wait a few more years before the topic of adoption ever came up again. I knew which night the shared list was coming out and that night I heard nothing. It is very hard to get a match on the shared list as every agency frantically tries to lock a file before another agency does. The system is a bit chaotic to say the least. After 72 hours, any file that another family declines goes back to the shared list and then the agencies stay awake all night trying to lock those files for their clients. Well at the 72 hour unlock, I went back to my bible and read for a few minutes – I knew this was my last chance. At 9:04pm I went back to my laptop and there was an e-mail from my agency saying, "What do you think of this beautiful girl?"  When I say I got weak in the knees, well that is an understatement! My body was shaking! Luckily Todd is in charge of bathing Harper and putting her down at night so I gave him some line about how I was going to be up late talking to a friend. I disappeared for the whole night and like a giddy teenage girl I called my friend in Indiana and whispered, "I got a file!"

Talia's File

     There is no such thing as an easy adoption file. They send you two documents: one all in Chinese and one in English. You hope they match up and things were translated correctly but you never know! Of course I went straight to the picture and as I viewed her for the first time so did my dear friend on the phone. She was talking more then I was as I was still numb that I even got a file. I then began to scroll down frantically through the 20 page document to find out what her special needs were. The email from my agency said it seems like a pretty manageable condition. I saw something that said G6PD and thought to myself what in the world is that? I quickly goggled it and learned that it was a blood disorder affecting mostly the Asian population. In the world of special needs you tend to look at the worst case scenario and you don't want to accept a file unless you are prepared for the worst case. The worst case of G6PD is that she will require a blood transfusion should she have interaction with certain drugs. Okay I thought I can just keep her away from this list of drugs and she will be fine. That sure seemed easy to manage to me!  Then I began to read her story and her "easy" file seemed very daunting. Her backstory was that she was left abandoned with the umbilical cord still attached outside a factory outlet. She was taken to the orphanage and after a few months she became very ill. She was brought to a hospital (which is a miracle itself) since most children in orphanages are not properly taken care of and when they turn ill, they all too often pass away. It listed her as going “blue” upon admission and her pneumonia was so severe she was kept in the hospital for a month. It also listed her as having an increased heart rate and then it read that she had a heart attack. In addition there was a picture of a four inch scar on her buttock from some sort of surgery that had no explanation. Now my legs were really shaking. All sorts of thoughts were running through my head mainly, what in the world happened to this baby? As I read the file there was no echo, no CAT scan of her heart yet it said her heart was failing. I thought to myself, dear God I know I can handle a lot but really how can I handle a child that might possibly die on me as soon as I bring her home? I just didn't think I could truly handle that. Just as I had that thought in my mind my agency e-mailed me again to see what I thought and I thought to myself I didn’t  know since her needs were much greater than I thought I could handle. As I was e-mailing and reading as quickly as I could, my friend on the phone was asking what I was going to do. My head was spinning and I literally just didn't understand why I got this file (of all files out there) and especially because I just had prayed to God please don't ever send me a file I can't accept. Give me the sign I need. More importantly give me a sign that only I would be looking for. If I declined this file then my agency could look for a new file for me but something told me to keep reading and then there was my sign, big and red and highlighted: October 14th. Of all days of the year this is the one that had the most significance for me. My closest cousin passed away two years ago on October 14th and when we were in the process of waiting for Harper's file I had prayed to him to find me my daughter. We previously had turned down a couple of files before Harper's and it was gut wrenching! When we got Harper's file I knew she was meant to be ours because the date she became paper ready and eligible for adoption was my cousin's death date – October, 14, 2009. There was no doubt in my mind that he is her guardian angel looking over her and he was with us every step of the way in China. The statistics of Talia's file having the same exact date just one year later is just unbelievable. There is no way to explain it! Call it fate, call it chance or call it God’s plan. China has no clue who receives these files. Whatever you believe I think it is comforting for all of us to know that when people pass away they are still a part of our lives. We may not be able to see them but if we just listen to our hearts and quiet our minds we can find evidence everywhere in our lives that they are still there watching over us.

     Well the rest of the story is simple. The date is all I needed and in my heart of hearts I said yes not knowing any further information or what Todd would think. I knew she was ours and I knew that I had been called to adopt again and the time was now.

    So you still want to know what Todd said right?! He found my laptop open the next morning with Talia’s file open by accident from the night before. I had stayed up all night organizing her file and getting it ready to be sent out to various doctors. He came downstairs for his coffee then looked me right in the eye laughed and said, "So who’s the new girl?" He had opened her file while I was away from the computer. It was the prayer of all prayers answered because he was open hearted and when I told him to look at the dates he was stunned and he instantly knew she was our little girl as well!

Journey of Faith

     When you sign up for adoption you hope, at the end of it, you will bring home a child but you never imagine the impact the journey could have on your life, especially spiritually. On our last adoption the journey to China, enduring 22 hour flights (my labor pains as I like to call them!) staying in a foreign country, and becoming new parents via adoption was my journey of faith. However this journey of faith is not about my "labor pains" or being on foreign soil. This journey is about relying on God to provide like His stories in the bible of the mustard seed. A mustard seed is small, but it's alive and growing. Like a tiny seed, a small amount of genuine faith in God will take root and grow. Almost invisible at first, it will begin to spread, first under the ground and then visibly. Although each change will be gradual, soon this faith will have produced major results and we will all watch in awe of how God’s work has been done to bring Talia homeI have always been a religious person, but until you take a leap of faith and truly rely on God you will never know his power. We are truly relying on him and we know without a doubt that we never would have received Talia's file if she wasn't meant to be ours. We have seen His hand work miracles this past year with Harper. As we look forward to walking through this journey of faith, we hope you will follow along as well and enjoy our tale of two!