Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Paint Me a Picture of How it All Started

Today I'm reposting the story of how it all started.  Way back in 2009.

At the bottom of this post, you can use the linky tool to share a post about the beginning of your own adoption journey. It can be a post about why you adopted or maybe the post where you announced your plans to adopt. Share anything that paints a picture of how it all started. I can't wait to read each and every story. 

Why China?

Simply put – Because that’s where Wenxin is.

We’ve known we wanted to grow our family through adoption now for years. But there were so many questions. Boy or girl? Infant, toddler, or older child? Domestic or international? Healthy or special needs? Adoptive parents are called on to make decisions that biological parents never face. Those decisions can be paralyzing.

We tended to face those decisions that would alter our destiny (and that of all our children) late at night. There were many groggy, after-midnight conversations. Some options were ruled out. Others reconsidered.

Mike is a “possibilities” guy. Narrowing down options goes against his very nature. Exasperated, at one point I said, “Honey, there are millions of orphans in this world. If we have to consider each one individually, we’ll never do anything!”

My heart was drawn to waiting children. A lot of adoptive parents prefer girls – especially when looking at older kids. Our family seemed to be missing a boy.

And then we found him -- a sweet six year old Chinese boy on the waiting children’s list of an agency recommended by friends. Mike said, “Get more info on him.” After months of seeing things from different perspectives, suddenly we agreed on this child. I shot off a quick e-mail to the agency. So as not to seem too picky, I also listed four more kids we’d consider. The agency e-mailed back that the others were already being considered by other families, but offered to send Wenxin’s info. My heart leapt.

Suddenly we were holding photos, a video, biography, and the medical records of the little boy who just might be our son. But we were leaving town for two weeks in just two days, and we desperately needed our pediatrician’s input.

The receptionist was kind, but not very encouraging. This doctor is booked for months in advance. She also told me that the fee was $250 and definitely not covered by insurance. She took down all the details and left for a moment.

“Can you be here in 30 minutes?” she asked when she returned. Pandemonium ensued as we tossed our other 3 kids into the van and raced through rush hour traffic as fast as we could. It was kind of like driving to the hospital in labor.

Dr. Lagod reviewed his file. He looked healthy, but sad. She warned us of attachment problems that can occur with adopted kids. She pointed out that while his physical exam and lab work look fine, we know nothing of his birth parents. What about drugs and alcohol in pregnancy? This kid comes with a world of unknowns.

Dr. Lagod wished us well and refused to take payment for her services. She’s known us for a long time. She’s cared for each of our babies since birth. She was with us in 2001 when our daughter Sarah was born with a fatal chromosomal disorder.  She fought for appropriate treatment for little Sarah, valuing her as a person, in spite of her severe handicaps. She attended her burial.

We felt as if God were sweeping us along on this adventure. Wenxin has some burn scars from an injury as an infant. The next evening as we surfed TV channels, we settled on the news show, 20/20. The main story was about amazing advancements in the treatment of burn scars. I didn’t dare look at Mike. When I did, we were both teary- eyed.

A Christian doctor we’d just met the week before agreed to have a plastic surgeon friend look at photos of Wenxin’s scars. No need for further treatment at this time. Another green light.

For the next two weeks, we traveled as a family to Alabama and on as a couple to Colorado. Mike and I prayed and talked. We tried to shock each other into reality by brainstorming “worse case scenarios.” We made phone calls to the agency with nit-picky questions. At one point I said, “This is either the greatest thing we’ve ever done, or the stupidest.”

But aren’t all acts of faith like that?

For me, I think what sealed the deal was realizing that as scared as I am of all the unknowns, the thing I’m most scared of is that we won’t be able to adopt him. Mike agrees and we are taking the plunge.

So China it is. Let the journey begin.

When this post was originally published in 2009, I did not include Wenxin's photo per China adoption regulations.  I'm so glad I can include it now.  That photo won our hearts!

Use the easy linky tool below to share your own story.  Afterwards, please link back to Death by Great Wall from your blog using a text link or by grabbing the blog button on my sidebar.

More than one adoption? Link a post for each one. Don't have a blog? Share your story as a comment.  Don't worry about what really qualifies as older child adoption.  If you have a story to share, we want to hear it. Thanks!

Shared at Growing Slower's Tuesday Baby Link Up and Simple As That's Simple Things Sunday.


  1. I was just looking at our kids Lifebook the other day with them. I came to one of my favorite photos . I smiled at it and it gave me a warm fuzzy. It was a photo of you, Kristin, Hallie and I at the airport to welcome Kaden home. Sam is in Hallie's arms. Fast forward, now we have Everlee, you now have Wenxin, Kristin has Ava Grace. I am amazed at all of our journeys. Our own adoption started with an invitation to a bible study that changed my world entirely. You all played a part.I am so grateful. I love and cherish you guys forever even though our worlds are busy and we don't get to see each other. You are all still in my heart just as much. Blessings to all of you!!!!

    1. Sweet, sweet memories. I'm glad that's part of Kaden's lifebook.

  2. I so enjoyed reading this story Dana. Rally touched by the power of love-- and how crazy God's love is! It really does look either great or stupid, doesn't it?! Clearly in your case it is so very great! Thank you for linking all these stories. I am going to enjoy reading the others!

    1. Hi Beth, Thanks for your kind words. I looked at your post and think we may be in the same city.

  3. Oh I'm in tears after reading this of course! Thank you for sharing. Adoption has always been on my heart, but as a vague someday sort of thing. It is nice to read the details of your decision making process. I'm so happy it all worked out and you were able to bring your son home! Thank you so much for linking up with the Tuesday Baby Link Up!

  4. Love, love, love! I'm going to have to go back and find one of our posts to link up with you! In the meantime, I'm featuring you on my blog tomorrow for the Tuesday Baby Link Up!

    Thanks for linking up with us!


    1. Wow Christie, thanks! Hope you find a post to link up. I've enjoyed reading your blog, and would love for you to share your adoption story here.


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