Sunday, March 29, 2009
Hou Shan Lei
We made it through Sam's first year. He began to do somewhat better overall and life settled down for us to a degree. We still had no money and overwhelming medical bills but we were just walking daily, trusting God.
Then the unexpected happened...
I got an adoption newsletter from All God's Children's Adoption Agency. Every once in a while I'd gotten one from them over the years. This one was different. There was a picture of this little abandoned Chinese boy with a vision problem that looked like Sam's. Little Hou Shan Lei had been abandoned near a police station in the city of Chengdu, China and was now in the Chengdu Social Welfare Institution. The agency was desperately trying to find a family for him because his time was running out. At that time in China, a special needs child's file was given to an agency for 3 months. If the agency was unable to match the child with a family, his file went back to China and that was usually the child's first and only chance to find a family. All God's Children (AGCI) had had his file for 2 months at that point.
So I'm looking at his picture and I felt God speak to my heart about adopting him. He looked rather pathetic and very sad in the picture. But I just knew God meant something else, like for me to be a contact for whatever family adopted him. I could tell them where they could take him for surgery etc... So being the helpful person I am, I called the agency and gave my info to the caseworker. I told her she could pass it onto whoever adopted him and they could call me. I learned something from that phone call...Don't call an adoption agency and leave your phone number!!! A few weeks later the agency contacted us and asked US to consider adopting him. I was quick to tell them we had no money and lots of bills. His case was about to go back to China and they were afraid he'd never get a chance for another family to adopt him. The caseworker was so sweet and had so much faith that God was in this! Before I knew it we were filling out the paperwork to begin the adoption process.
To send in the paperwork we had to put a deposit of $195 on him to hold him. To be honest, it was difficult for us to find that money! I wondered how we were going to find the rest of the $20,000 we would need to complete the process!! Unbelievably China approved us and the formal adoption process began.
To this day I can't really remember all the details of the finances but every time we needed a payment somehow it was there! There are Christian foundations that will give grants to families who adopt especially international special needs kids. I applied to 11 foundations and we received 3 grants totally $ 13,000! Various business people gave us gifts ranging from $100 to $4000. God worked unbelievable financial miracles for us!
One thing I have to say is although God did so many miracles, He did not do a one until we stepped out in faith. When we stepped out in faith, it was with great fear and trembling. It seemed so impossible for us at the time that we knew if it happened it would only come by the hand of God. The agency gave us no promises of help, just of prayer! I felt almost embarrassed to tell people what we were doing because it looked so foolish in the natural. At times I felt like we were frauds because I just did not see how this was going to happen. And I have to say, we had people question why we were doing such a crazy thing. Some did it to our face and others did it behind our backs. But God was on our side!
Remember, Sam was only a year old. We had over $20,000 in medical bills. I was not working , Jon had one job, working as a chaplain for the Florida Department of Corrections making about $30,000 a year. We got no money from any government agencies. We were living in a trailer on the prison grounds...not the most financially stable moment of our lives to say the least!!!!
I've never depended on God more than at that time. God just did one financial miracle after another. By the time we were about 4 months into the process, I realized God was going to make this adoption happen!
When Sam was first born, I had applied for SSI/Medicaid for him. We were turned down several times. Through a contact from my work days with probation I contacted our state senator and he made it happen! Sam was given SSI/Medicaid and it covered most of his outstanding medical bills. This did not happen until we stepped out in faith to do the adoption!
It was becoming apparent that God was going to cause all this to come together. I began to worry just a bit because God was making this adoption happen so fast and we would have to support another child with medical needs on Jon's one salary. About that time, Jon began filling in for a pastor who had had surgery. The pastor was retiring and Jon was voted in as the new pastor of Branchborough A/G. So know we had everything in place. Of course when Jon took the church, Sam lost his SSI/Medicaid but we are thankful that we were able to get out of the majority of our old medical debts.
On January 8, 2006, Jon preached his first sermon as pastor here. While he was preaching the evening service, I was in a cold sad orphanage picking up our new son, Hou Shan Lei! What a day for our family.
We renamed Hou Shan Lei - Shadrach James. What an amazing journey Shad's adoption was!
We learned, when God speaks if you will listen and follow His voice, He will cause His will to come to pass. The Bible is very clear as it speaks to us regarding orphans. God loves orphans, and He commands us in Scripture to take care of the orphans. Orphans are so vulnerable. They have nothing and no one really cares for them. We saw how God just opened the windows of heaven and blessed us when we did what He asked of us. Jon and I joke and say if you want to get out of debt, adopt an orphan! Forget all those silly prosperity preachers, just do what God says and take care of the orphans and God will take care of you!
All the paperwork we got on Shad led us to believe that he was completely blind. He's not! He is only blind in one eye. The other eye is 20/20! Unfortunately it is not correctable. It seems his right eye was damaged in some horrible way prior to him coming to the orphanage. We have wondered at times what happened but it's hard to tell. Our doctor in Miami said that eye was basically shredded. Evidently that led his Chinese parents to abandon him. But God had a plan for his life! Who knows what Shad will become? He has an outgoing personality and is very smart. In alot of ways he is like Jon, very much a people person. He's also a self starter. I keep telling myself that will be a good thing! Sometimes now it can be a problem!
Shad is now 5 and will go to school in the fall. He asks some hard questions about what happened to him in China and sometimes we don't know what to say to him. He's a deep thinker and I hope he will learn as he grows to accept life and trust God. He may go through some struggles regarding his adoption as he gets older.
The pictures above are in order, Shad's referral pic, my first pic holing Shad, and the picture that was taken the day he was abandoned. If you click on them, you can enlarge them.