Never Alone- an adoption journey

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Note: Today’s post is the story of adoptive Mom, Emalee Wright. Emalee adopted her precious daughter, Ellie Grace in 2011, from Nanchang, China after waiting 5 years. Five years. Her story is one of hearing the call of adoption, trusting God’s plan when there seemed to be no end in sight, and waiting for Him to fulfill His promises. She is part of an amazing group of women who adopt as single Moms. God’s grace is her constant companion, no doubt. And that cute little Asian princess she calls, daughter.

My adoption journey officially began on paper in January of 2006. However, it really began in my heart several years before that. While having a garage sale, I met a foster parent. As she shared her story with me, my heart was so touched and I began to cry. I knew at that very moment the Lord was calling me to adopt a child. I began to research foster care, domestic, and foreign adoptions. During that season of my life, I had other things going on and didn’t have an extra bedroom in my home, so I pushed thoughts of adoption aside. About a year later I found myself researching foreign adoptions again. I ordered information packets from several agencies and attended a few seminars.

Every time I read an adoption story or watched an adoption video, my heart would be touched. Each time I would cry and get a stronger feeling that the Lord was calling me to adopt. Then the fears came.

Adoptions cost money–how would I ever afford the adoption in the first place? I’m single, could I raise a child on my own? Could I afford to raise a child on my own? A foreign country–how could I ever travel to a foreign country when I had barely traveled the US? I let my fears get the best of me and I threw all the packets in the trash. “There was just no way I could ever adopt. “, I thought.

A year later I felt the desire to adopt a child again. It was at this time, I seriously started praying and asking the Lord to lead and direct me. The plan of adoption was laid so heavily on my heart. It was in every thought. It seemed that TV commercials, radio ads, movies, magazine articles, and randoms books–everything always seemed to be about adoption. The Lord had surrounded me by people who had either adopted children or had been adopted themselves in both my personal life and in my workplace. During this time, my employer started offering an adoption benefit to help cover a portion of the cost. It was obvious the Lord was removing all barriers that were stopping me from adopting. As I researched more countries and agencies, I began to feel the Lord leading me to adopt from China and to use CCAI as an agency.

I finally gave all my fears to the Lord and decided to trust Him to make a way if it was His will for me to adopt.

This was during a time when China allowed single women to adopt, but only 8% of an agency’s applicants were allowed to be single. I was one out of only 79 singles in the US selected to begin the process. And so my journey began. At the time my dossier was submitted (May of 2006), adoptions in China were being completed in 11-14 months. I remember thinking that was such a long time and wondered how I could ever wait 11-14 months for a baby. While I was in the waiting process, the wait times increased to 5 years! The waiting was long and hard. I often wondered if it would ever happen. So many times I cried out to the Lord asking him to speed it up. Just as the wait increased, so did the fees. There were more fees each year when I had to renew my paperwork. Amazingly enough, during my waiting, my employer increased their adoption benefit. They went from reimbursing 5K to 10K, the exact amount of the increase in fees.

Through this time, even though I couldn’t always see it or feel it, God was still at work.

There were still times I would be sad and even mad. I remember thinking, “If one more person tells me, “It’s all in God’s timing.”, I’m going to scream!” I knew it was His timing, but it was not easy waiting year after year.

I remember, December 5th, 2010 like it was yesterday. I had waited nearly 5 years to be matched with my precious Ellie Grace. I was weary of waiting. I was frustrated and it almost felt hopeless. I was so addicted to every adoption website I could get my hands on, grasping for any kind of information. That day when I got to work, I checked one of the many websites I read daily. It said there was a rumor there would be no matches for the month of December. I was crushed. If they didn’t send matches in December, then most likely, it would be April or May before I would get to travel to China.

After waiting almost 5 years, what’s another 4 or 5 months when you are so close, right?

But my heart was saying, “After almost 5 years, there is no way I can wait another day, let alone 5 months!” I believe I hit my rock bottom at this point. I called my agency and spoke with my social worker. One thing she said to me that I’ll never forget was, “I can promise you this, when it does happen the depths of despair you are feeling now, will be replaced with heights of joy like you’ve never known”. Her words helped me to not go “blow” the crib money I had been saving, as soon as I got off work! That night I was still crushed, exhausted, and tearful. I remember going to bed at 6 PM. I was so addicted to reading all the blogs and rumors, that I would actually sleep with my laptop on the bed, but that night I didn’t even turn it on. I could not take any more bad rumors. All I could do was cry and pray. I poured my heart out to God and told him about all my frustrations and sadness. I really didn’t know how much longer I could hold on.

After finally falling asleep, I dreamed about my baby. She was about 9-10 months old with lots of black hair. We had been shopping with a friend. In the dream, my friend went to go change the baby’s diaper. I stopped her and said “No, I need to do this, she’s never known love like this before”. To my surprise, the baby turned to me (in my dream) and said “No, you’ve never known love like this before!” My alarm went off and I woke up.

I immediately reached for my laptop and brought up the rumor site. To my surprise, it had been updated the night before around 10 PM (while I was heartbroken) saying there was a rumor that matches were on the way and the cut off date was May 29, 2006, my log in date! I cried with joy! Could this be true? For nearly, 5 years I had prayed for, waited for, and dreamed about this day. I was so excited, yet still guarded my heart, just in case they were wrong. After all, this was still just a rumor! My mind was going all over the place. What if this rumor wasn’t true? But what if it was?

On December 20, 2010, the rumor turned out to be true! When I got “the call” that all information was confirmed, we left for the agency. This was it. The moment I had waited nearly 5 years for! I was about to be introduced to a precious little girl, who the Lord created to be my daughter, waiting for me on the other side of the world. I cried with joy when my social worker read her name, Lu Li Qi and told me she was in foster care in Nanchang, China. I cried even more when I learned she would be only 7 months old in a few days. We praised the Lord for two very specific prayers were answered: she was young and in foster care, instead of an orphanage.

It was only a few weeks later that I boarded the plane for China to bring my precious daughter home.

On February 9, 2011, Lu Li Qi was placed in my arms and became my daughter. She has now been home almost 3 years. When I think back to my dream that night, the baby in my dream was right. I had never known love like this before, the love only a Mother could have for her daughter.

20131121-095224.jpgThe journey was not easy. The waiting was long and hard but God was in it each step of the way. Not only was He at work in the actual adoption process, but he was also at work in me. God showed me I could trust Him and His timing. He also showed me how He does provide every need and has a plan for each of our lives. I’m forever thankful God lead me to adopt. My daughter is my most precious gift. Not only was her life changed, but mine was changed too. God is good!

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

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