On Christmas Day, 2014, you would have found me sitting on our comfiest couch, hot cup of tea steaming by my side, allowing quiet tears to silently drip down my neck, saturating my shirt.
It had been a beautiful Christmas morning service at church and my two children were resting in their rooms waiting for Daddy to get home for the family festivities to begin.
Everything in our house was peaceful, warm, and loving.
But I was staring at a picture of a little boy who was alone on this day, had been alone the day before and would certainly be alone tomorrow as well.
He is listed as Brayden on the Reece’s Rainbow website, a non-profit grant organization for international adoption for children with special needs. I have been part of the facebook group for at least a year now. Really I was a lurker on the group; I read posts, cried and prayed for families, but had never participated in a discussion or anything. On there I’ve read countless stories of children just like Brayden without having the same gut-wrenching soul-anguished reaction.
Why this child, out of all the children? He doesn’t look like us; I couldn’t look at his face and see resemblances to a family member I love. His bio is quite short and rather bland.
So I don’t know why God used Brayden as our catalyst child but that is who Brayden is.
While we were still dating, I mentioned to my husband that I had always felt drawn to adopt. Timm was not completely opposed to it, but he didn’t jump on the idea either. Then years later, on the day our first child was born, he looked up from our daughter cradled in his arms and said he could see us adopting. Our little Della-bug was the key to unlocking the compassionate protector in my husband. When she made him a father he realized he could be a father to the fatherless; there was untapped unconditional love he had been unaware of until that day.
We didn’t jump straight to action then. There were all the trials of being first-time parents, moving, finishing grad school, moving, new job, new state, new home, new baby (born last September!) and life seemed to be flying by at warp speed. Adoption was never a main topic of a conversation, it lingered in pleasant yet complacent “maybe-someday-if-it-works-out” passing comments.
And then came Brayden, our catalyst child.
I posted my first question on the facebook Reece’s Rainbow group asking about the adoption process, began accepting friend requests from people who had already adopted, started receiving and responding to messages and making the first tentative steps towards what I call the pre-adoption process.
It was then that I learned that China has an age limit policy for adoption. Although there is a waiver for couples who are above the country’s age limit, there is not a waiver if you are under the age limit, which requires both parents to be 30 or older. And let me tell you: I pitted my American can-do attitude with the belief that surely if you just ask the right people, write the right letters, sign on lines, jump through hoops and play the bureaucracy game nothing is impossible against…
yea, one little voice squeaking for the life of one little child who clearly already does not have value in that society…
What was left that I could do? I would love to say that we could wait and adopt Brayden in a few years when we qualify, but LOOK at him. He doesn’t have a few years to wait. He is slowly starving from physical and emotional neglect. He can’t wait on us to get older while he fades away.
I began (and still am) advocating for Brayden, our catalyst child, in hopes that a family who is willing and able will see him and know that he belongs with them. I sent emails, made phone calls, wrote facebook messages, and, you guessed it, returned to dust off this little blog.
I can’t believe it was less than two months ago that I first saw Brayden, our catalyst child, that two months ago adoption was still a distant warm-fuzzy daydream rather than the urgent undeniable goal it is today.
Of the many intentional actions my husband and I are making in order to adopt, one of them is to document the entire process for our own benefit and to help show other couples in the pre-adoption phase how we are taking each baby step towards adopting a child (children?) so that they too may be influenced by Brayden, our catalyst child, and respond to the need of children around the world.
I’ll also continue to post about our little daily joys such as the garden (I have a three new varieties of eggplants for the veg patch this year!) and recipes, because this is a place to share insights from our everyday life and now adoption is a conversation of everyday life thanks to Brayden, our catalyst child.