Reece’s Rainbow and Finding Liam
Posted: August 20, 2016.
We are so thrilled to have a Family Sponsorship Page setup on Reece’s Rainbow! It’s actually kind of surreal to be up there as one of the families. I’ve been browsing, advocating, and giving through Reece’s Rainbow for some time. Time has passed as kids I followed would be moved to the MFFM (My Family Found Me page). Some I’ve even seen in their “gotcha day” or “we’re home” photos on blogs months after seeing them listed.
To think of the coincidences in seeing our OWN son on Reece’s Rainbow is just overwhelming.
First of all, when he was listed in May they were looking for a family with a completed homestudy. I didn’t think we fit that as we had most things done except for the home visits, interviews, and actual finalization. We originally signed a contract with our homestudy agency for their full program from homestudy to placement to post-placement. We, thankfully, weren’t done yet so we were able change our contract to move into their independent homestudy program. Our boy’s agency and our homestudy agency were able to complete the interagency agreement so that we could move forward.
Really though, we might not have seen him at all if I was not seeking out information on adopting children with special needs through some of their resources and previous families. I happened to be on Facebook right at the moment a post about him was made. Later that same day, we were submitting our application to his agency.
He has some serious needs. Little love has hydrocephalus that has caused his head to grow rapidly. It has effected his vision to the point the doctors in his country don’t believe he has any visual perception left. He also has a cleft palate. That is just what we consider are the “major” known things he has going on.
Loss and Found
Honestly, these needs were not something we would’ve considered just a year ago. There was a little girl on RainbowKids that caught my attention last fall. Let me back up a bit. After we moved into our house we began talking about foster care and adoption more seriously. I had prayed for a long time in our little 2 bedroom, 900 sq ft apartment about being able to have a home big enough to foster or adopt. Our home was an unlikely find and is twice as big as our apartment. It’s more than I could have asked for and gives us room to grow. \
But, then in September I found out I was pregnant. We were thrilled! I just didn’t quite understand, of course. I thought the big house was for all the foster kids we were going to bring in. We were excited but thrown for a loop.
After all that, more confusion settled over us when we lost our baby in November. It was earth-shattering. I’ve had friends and family lose children but it had never been us. Three healthy, full-term babies even with complications . . . then a miscarriage? Of course, I was still only 25 at the time. No more or less healthy than previous pregnancies. It was beyond my understanding. (Isn’t it always?)
Until my brokenness gave way for God to fill the cracks.
From my heart’s brokenness over our Elioenai . . . it was opened wider to children with special needs. The doctor telling you “sometimes it’s just your body realizing something is wrong” sinks into your soul and realities click. That little tidbit sent my mind reeling more than anything. If that were the case, my body rejecting our baby for some genetic or developmental problem . . . . Well, I am stuck in a body I fundamentally and spiritually disagree with. That’s true anyway but realizing it is overwhelming.
Now, I have come to understand a deeper, more humble valuation of life. You never think you can love your children more until something like that happens. I’ve always said . . . with every addition it’s not like I’m splitting a love pie. I get a whole NEW pie for ALL of us to share.
More recently I’ve seen this quote that just resonates so well:
“There is a crack in everything.
That’s how the light gets in.”― Leonard Cohen
So, my miscarriage caused my heart to burst. Now, it is open to love in ways I never knew before.
That’s when you begin to ask yourself questions. The What Ifs. Those questions make things click.
If my baby had these needs but she was able to live . . . what a joy. If any of my other children suddenly were injured would I not be stepping up to the plate for them. What if we have a child in the future with those needs? What if . . .
I look for stories to read. Personal and objective. You can find them. LOTS of them. Adoptive and non-adoptive families sharing their stories. Their normal which at first seems so different adjusts in your mind as just a variation. It clicks. Over and over. The doubts and questions and concerns just find solace. My husband and I have had so, so many clarifying conversations in the last year.
I can do this. You can do this. Together. We will. We’re doing this thing.
And you find your boundaries . . .
What can we take on and what can we not? How much can we afford? Can we manage? Who fits in our lives?
Then, maybe, you dial your calculations back and realize it’s YOU fitting into this little person’s life.
It’s a constant balancing act between possibility and reality; potential and providence; knowing and hoping; limitations and limitlessness.
Did you know they have a form for this called the “openness list” or “openness form”? Brace yourself. They do. This is where research really becomes a pivoting point. This is where you use unalterable ink to mark when you’ll say yes, no, or maybe. Diagnoses you’ve never heard of are on a list on a page. Each one needs an answer. You could, really, spend years on this evaluation alone. Imagine doing this for your biological children. (Some do. . . .)
Of course, the beauty of boundaries and limits is that they are not forever immovable or unchangeable.
All that to pinpoint, we were never saints seeking out special needs parenting. At first, we weren’t willing. We weren’t as open minded or open hearted as we’ve come to be. In an alternative universe, we may have said no. Thankfully, that’s not the case. Every card fell, provision was made, and moment came together to give us the best opportunity to say YES. Reece’s Rainbow’s existence is miraculous in my book.
The Coincidences Continue
Bare with me, some things I can’t share yet. I can’t wait to later!! Like some of the meaning for us in his name. It’s a complete picture beyond my own imagination. It just makes life that much more beautiful.
Today to see OUR family listed on Reece’s Rainbow with OUR beautiful, perfect boy . . . humbling, overwhelming, and joyful. God is good.