I was so hopeful.
Between the messages that our agency had received and the ones we had received about this girl who completely turned our world upside down, nearly 20 DIFFERENT FAMILIES had inquired about our sweet Joy!
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 20!!!
As I picked up the phone to FaceTime with this family whose hearts had turned to Joy on Thursday night just 12 hours before her departure, I just prayed.
Lord, I begged, we picked this girl up an orphan. PLEASE let her board this plane tomorrow morning a DAUGHTER.
As this beautiful family chatted with Joy from her place in her car seat in the dark, I watched as this girl smiled and played and waved to a family who could have been hers.
And then, after this precious family who would have snatched Joy up in an instant hung up, I sent them the list … the list that has now broken almost every family interested in our girl.
And they, like almost every other family who has contacted me, texted back with sad hearts and sad faces … as they let us know that they didn’t meet the eligibility requirements.
And I cried tears of anger once again.
In the past, Joy’s country has made exceptions and accepted waivers for families interested in adopting waiting children — older children with medical and special needs who are sitting in orphanages and foster families just waiting for their forever to start.
Most of our friends who have adopted from China have adopted through these waivers that make exceptions for the net worth of the family or the income of the adoptive parents.
The family that began D.J.’s adoption (our summer host child) just six months ago was accepted by China under a medical waiver. (D.J.’s new daddy is a brain cancer survivor with six daughters already in the home. What’s your adoption excuse?)
But a recent change in personnel in China’s adoption and welfare agency has now changed that practice. China is now rejecting most families requesting eligibility waivers.
Including the family who actually applied to adopt Joy one week into her stay.
Including the several more families who expressed serious interest in Joy and who did not meet the strict eligibility requirements.
I can’t take it.
I can’t bear it.
I can’t watch another family fall in love with Joy and meet rejection because of their income or their student debt or their medical history.
But without all of us standing up for these superheroes and making our voices known, I can’t change it.
Friends, we need you. We need you RIGHT NOW.
We need people to write and advocate and beg and plead — to let the Chinese Center for Children’s Welfare and Adoption know that, if they offered waivers, an entire MOVEMENT of people would stand up to bring home the superheroes that fill those orphanages!
And we need eligible people to actually DO IT.
This girl we love — a majority of the 20 families interested in her, because of eligibility requirements, military status or income, cannot make her theirs.
WE can’t make her ours because of the restrictions for birth order in our homestudy. (To clarify, this is NOT a China policy or a Great Wall policy — this is a restriction set by our very trusted social worker after evaluating the needs of our specific family, which includes a dominant first-born child and a baby who was abandoned at birth. MANY people we know have successfully adopted out of birth order and have children just THRIVING! But our social worker, who we love and trust and who Supersoldier feels strongly about maintaining the recommendations of, has limited us to children younger than Superman, which makes Joy ineligible for us to adopt.)
But someone can.
Maybe you, like we, have fallen in love with Joy over the last 30 days.
Maybe you’ve been captivated by her smile, fallen in love with her heart.
Maybe, just maybe, you’ve considered making her yours.
Twenty other families already have.
But maybe fear has paralyzed you. A life outside your comfort zone has terrified you.
The thought of making the most loving girl we know a DAUGHTER has just stopped you in your tracks.
This is the time, friend. This is the time to SPEAK UP and to STAND UP.
These other 20 families … they’ve made gallant efforts to make this sweet girl theirs.
To give her a home.
To give her a family.
To give her a new name.
A name that means LOVED.
A name that means VALUED.
A name that replaces ABANDONED in her life.
But because of circumstances outside of their control, they can’t. At least not right now.
And the one who suffers is JOY.
The little girl with the heart of gold who today, is sitting in an orphanage.
Who today, is showering friends and nannies with hugs and kisses that should be going to mommies and daddies.
Who today, is wondering where her chance at forever went.
These 20 families — most of them can’t be her forever family.
But you — the one God has been calling and leading and WHISPERING to at night as you fall asleep with random thoughts of Joy you can’t clear from your head — YOU CAN.
And the truth is, now, you might be the ONLY ONE.
This girl, her heart is TOO TENDER and her compassion TOO BIG to waste one more second in an orphanage while well-resourced and well-equipped families weigh the value of their comfortable, convenient lives.
There is more than an adoption decision on the line. There is an entire LIFE.
In fact, there are MILLIONS.
Lives that might only be able to be changed by YOU.
You, sweet one. Not the friend next to you. Not the other 700 people who shared Joy’s photos on this blog. Not your neighbor. Not your church. Not your friend who has already adopted 17 children with special needs.
YOU. God might be calling YOU.
And you can, what my pastor called on Sunday, “stay in the boat.” You can stay in the place where you are comfortable and financed and life is easy and convenient and your biggest struggles involve first-world problems. Where you sail along in life facing only minor storms. Where you sit in comfort and in peace and travel that path that leads to an easy retirement and an American dream kind of life. Where your job is to OBSERVE beauty as you sail along.
Or you can stand up, follow Jesus and walk on water … and become PART of the most beautiful story God will ever write.
Because friend, that’s where JESUS is — IN the water.
In the unknown.
In the uncertainty.
In the place where waves and storms will certainly come … but HIS HAND will never be far.
Jesus is in the water, beckoning you to walk — not because you CAN, but because when you keep your eyes on HIM instead of the uncertain wind and waves around you, you CAN’T FALL.
With Jesus, you CAN walk on water.
You CAN tackle an adoption process.
You CAN adopt a child with that sparkly extra chromosome … and live the most fulfilling life you’ve ever known.
The “good life” – it’s not in the safety of the boat. It’s in the SECURITY of HIS HANDS in the midst of turbulent waters.
Do you want to live the most adventurous life you’ve never dreamed?
Do you want to be closer to the God who calls you than you ever thought possible?
Do you want to live a life POURED OUT for the things that MATTER? That have ETERNAL VALUE? That last longer than expensive boats or sailing adventures ever could?
And do you want to discover the REAL secret of adoption — that in the end, it’s not THESE CHILDREN who are the ones blessed — it’s YOU?
It doesn’t happen by staying in the boat with two hands over your ears.
It happens by standing up and speaking out and STEPPING out … with both eyes on Him.
And when you stand up and you STEP out and you conjure up COURAGE and discard COMFORT … you discover that life with JESUS … life with JOY … life with ALL of these special superheroes-in-waiting is a life FAR RICHER, far BETTER, far more MEANINGFUL than any life tied to a boat ever could be.
#dontbeboatbound #faithoverfear #changejoysstory #futuresuperheroesawait