We received an email from our agency that revealed two things:
1. Faith's birth mom was definitely leaning toward choosing our family to adopt Faith
2. She would not be making the official decision by the end of January
After much obsessing and frantic email checking, we finally had some news. We were extremely encouraged by the information that showed she was leaning toward choosing our family for Faith. The fact remained, however that she still hadn't officially chosen us and it didn't seem like she would be making a decision any time soon.
I know without giving you details, it may seem to you like Faith's birth mom was waffling on the decision to place her daughter for adoption. But with what we know, we don't think she was or is. It may seem like she was changing her mind and her plan at every turn, but it was actually a case of us (the agency and Eric and I) misunderstanding her intentions from the beginning. Once we got some clarity, we had this moment of, "Oh! So that's what she meant when she said that!" (Just for clarity's sake, we haven't met or talked face-to-face with Faith's birth mom. All of our information is relayed to us from the agency which is how it's possible to get things a little muddled when information is being passed down the line!) Of course, there is always the lingering fear she will change her mind and choose to parent Faith - that is the case with every domestic adoption. But we do not feel that the situation is unstable enough to make us more nervous than we would be with any other baby-birth mom situation.*
By the way, I know I'm being a bit cryptic with what I'm sharing here and that's mostly because I'm avoiding sharing most of the details of the situation. I don't feel comfortable sharing every detail of Faith's background here because it's not my story to tell. Most of her story is her birth mom's story and if I were in her birth mom's shoes, I would not want every detail of a very difficult part of my life to be divulged as narrative for all to read and analyze. I do want to say that it is so evident to us that Faith's birth mom loves her daughter. Every decision she has made has been with Faith's best interest in mind. We are so grateful to know, if we are privileged to adopt Faith, that we can tell her how much her first mom cared for her and wanted her best. That is a gift and an answer to an Impossible Prayer.
So, as much as we were encouraged and excited about the good news, we also were acutely aware that we were now in a difficult position. Our international agency had given us until the end of January to withdraw from the China program and receive a refund for a fair amount of the fees we had paid to date. We had hoped we would have a clear answer from Faith's birth mom before we had to make any declarations about our China plans, but it was now apparent that we would have to decide on, well, faith.
We took some time to talk and pray some more and process with our friends and family. One of the big questions we were asking God was why He had led us to that place. We had both felt a great peace about each "yes" up until that point, so now we were asking what we should say yes to next. Faith specifically? Domestic adoption? Being open to more severe special needs in China than we previously considered?
From a practical view, we had three options:
1. Withdraw from the China program and continue to stall with our home study until we heard one way or another from Faith's birth mom.
2. Withdraw from the China program and, in faith that things work out with Faith, do a domestic home study and if things with Faith fell through, consider a domestic adoption.
3. Walk away from Faith and do a Chinese home study and proceed with our Chinese adoption.
It seemed risky to pull our back-up plan (China) without a clear indication of Faith's birth mom's intentions. I think most people who have been involved in a domestic adoption would consider us a little nuts to go all in with a baby whose birth mom hadn't even officially chosen us. But we had to ask ourselves: Do we or do we not want to adopt Faith? If the answer was yes, then what choice did we have than to drop everything else and put everything we have into bringing her home?
In the end, it became a simple decision. We wanted Faith in our family. And we didn't have any reason to believe that wasn't the path laid out ahead of us. Yes, it is an unusual path, but we're used to that by now! It also was a path marked with un-ignorable road markers. It was a path that could only be paved by a God who knows how to make a way in the most unusual of circumstances. We made the decision the way we have made all of our other decisions about our adoptions. We held up our compass, and stepped in faith in the direction it was pointing.
And in this case, it was pointing to Faith.
*In fact, we feel less nervous than most prospective adoptive families. We would, of course, be heart-broken if our hopes aren't realized and Faith is not meant to be our daughter. But we also know that Faith's birth mom is a great mom. We don't have any fear for her well-being in her birth mom's care. It is a great comfort to us to know that even if we are disappointed, we will feel at peace about Faith receiving the love and care she deserves.