I really want to express this. When we were going through the African adoption many people would say "ohhhhh I get it, it's because Dean's sister..." and both of us would be like "no, no...that's not it at all!" Yes it's true, God used her to call us etc etc. But it could have been a complete stranger that made that 'random statement' and it would have been God's answer. It's the same thing this time...people automatically say "oh... yes Janice finally gets her cleft baby!". Again...no, no, that's not it at all. God was totally gracious to give me the desire of my heart (while stretching me way out there at the same time). If this story was the same and this little boy had a heart defect or shorter limbs or deafness or blindness...the story would have still had the same ending. This is not about Janice and Dean having a desire to adopt a cleft baby and going on a search and finding one cute and falling in love and .. .and .. and...NO....none of that.
If you really knew the struggle we had for several days before we submitted to God ... you would know. We cried, talked, prayed, said 'no'....said "yes...not now'....said 'ok we'll think about it, leave us alone!' said "what .?!?! NO!"
Yes he's beautiful. Yes I get up every morning and stare at his picture. Yes I dream of the day I hold him in my arms and tell him he's home. Yes...but that was not my or our..immediate answer. Not even close.
See when God called us to Chazano and Zunduka it was a major struggle. We wanted an infant. Cleft lip and palate. ONLY ONE and perhaps a girl. It was nothing to do with Dean's sister and connections. It was such a clear call from God that we plunged in, surrendering our ideals. And you have no idea how glad we are in hindsight that He called us. The boys are precious, absolutely. Has it been easy? Not even close. I've often described the process like having open heart surgery...while I was awake. And I watch the surgeon take my heart and before my eyes open it up and reveal all the ugliness within. Yes...that's one of the things we had to go through. Open heart surgery on ourselves. Then there were the adjustments and no-so-adjustments. Then there were the rivalry issues between the boys and Azlan. Then there were the serious RAD issues that make you want to scream no matter how 'text book' it is! School...it was a nightmare so we canned it all. I cannot even sort of express how many times I went to the bathroom and cried to a Father that promised NEVER to leave me..."please don't leave me now!". I cannot express how many times I looked up and cried "I'm so glad you called us b/c this is Yours...!"
Though the world sees and soon forgets...we will not forget who you are and what You've done for us...!
Now to this adoption. I requested a packet of info 2 months ago from a domestic agency. Adopt a newborn right from the hospital. Bliss. We quickly decided we do not have the money and it's not the right time and we put it away. That was it. We thought 'someday' but who knows when. Maybe when Izrael is 2 or 3 years.
The beautiful part about little Zhonghua's story (one of the beautiful parts) is that God in all His love and total graciousness...while stretching us beyond where we thought we could go....(China? Now? A 2 year old boy?) gave us the desire of our hearts. If this little boy did not have a cleft...we would still be where we are today...working like crazy to get this process completed. It was His call. His choice. I am completely overjoyed that He chose us to be the parents of this precious precious child. His smile melts my heart. Think about what that means to you...then multiply it by 100. Melts my heart. Azlan Honor is a gift that keeps giving. He changed my heart. He changed my eyes. He changed so many people around us to see deeper. To love more genuinely. To empathize.
Because of Azlan we have become great friends with a family in Pakistan. Their little baby born with the same condition as Azlan. They call me "Dr. Janice" (Yah...imagine?) because (I say this so humbly) they credit me for their child's health. They didn't know how to feed her. They didn't know why she had pneumonia. They didn't know how to prevent ear infections. And in a weird way that I still haven't figured out, she found my message on a cleft message board that I posted on ONE TIME ever and never went back...and emailed me. Little Ezzah is thriving today.
Because of Azlan...my heart beats harder for our little Zhonghua. He has a medical team that we clawed our way to after 3 years of nonsense in Seattle. He has a speech team that we clawed our way to for FOUR YEARS. He'll have an easy diagnosis of Goldenhar Syndrome after we begged for help for 2 years for Azlan knowing there was more. He'll have a road of choices with his hearing that we had to BEG for 18months in Seattle to PLEASE TAKE US SERIOUSLY because we knew our child had hearing loss.
Did God give us Azlan "for such a time as this"...?
Oh You are so good. We are humbled to answer Your call.
Knowing there is a little boy a world away waiting for his forever mommy and daddy...that God has handpicked us for...there is a serious sense of urgency to bring him home.
Fundraiser plans are in high gear. We will not leave you as an orphan our precious little Zhonghua. (considering keeping his name....)