Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Our Story

We are a family of 9 about to become a family of 10! Many people are already asking why this large of a family is still growing? I feel there needs to be a long story before the answer.


Claude and I were married in Sept of 1992, and we blended our families (Claude's two sons Andy and Kris, and my two sons Alex and Eric) into one. We both feel so fortunate that our sons accepted each other as brothers and blended so well together. We feel so blessed to have our health, our business, a comfortable home in the country, and successful, happy boys who now have their own young children. When we were first married, Claude and I wanted children together, biological children, but I am a diabetic and the Dr's said, "Hey, you have four boys, the health issues etc..." and we did agree...so we decided to enjoy our sons, and went on with life.

At a convention we were at in Jan of 2004, a customer of mine shared photos of her new little girl and was explaining to me about overseas adoption. Claude walked up and saw the pictures and by the time we had finished the 4-hour drive home, we were convinced that we also wanted to pursue adoption.

We took great care in selecting an adoption agency. We did this by asking for references from other families who have adopted. At the same time, we learned about the special needs, or waiting child program that China has. With all of this information we then sat and wrote an e-mail addressed to our four sons, then ages 28, 26, 24 and 24, which explained that we wanted this to be a family decision, and that we wanted to ask them the following questions: Would they be able to accept a sibling the same as they had each other, as brothers? If something happened to either of us could they accept having a sibling to take care of? We also wrote that with great care and consideration, we decided to adopt a special needs child. All four boys either called or e-mailed back right away basically saying "Why haven't we already done this?"

Our next step was calling Christian World Adoption and asking if they had any children available on their current special needs list. There were three. We opened the file of a little girl that was approximately one year old in the photo. Her special need is Microtia (small ear). We closed her file, and looked at other children, but we already knew that first little girl we saw was ours...that Red Thread...That God knows every child's parents...Carol at CWA said they had prayed and prayed for her forever parents to find her. We traveled as a group of 6 to bring this tiny little girl home, Claude, my father and his friend, and Grammie Carolyn. We choose our children's names using family names. She is named after our sons Kristphoer, Andy, Thomas (Alex) and Eric. Her adoption was in Aug of '04 and she is from Hanzhong, Shaanxi province, China and she has a special need called Microtia. Her name is Kate.

Fast forward 6 months from our first daughter's adoption and we received an e-mail that said "Are you looking to adopt again?" and "We thought of your family as we know you adopted a little girl with Microtia" and so we were introduced to our second daughter, age 44 months. The agency that she was with was Family Tree Adoption. Our second daughter also has Microtia but this time we were sure we were working with a hearing loss as her ear canals were both reported as closed. We still felt comfortable knowing this, asked for her file and yes, we felt she was ours. How do we feel this? How do we know? I simply do not know, I leave this in God's hands. We adopted her in Oct '05. Claude and Kate stayed home while my sister Carrie, my good friend, Carolyn, and I went to China to bring her home. We used my mother's middle name as her English name, and she is from Nanchuan, Chongqing District, China. Her name is Adeline and we call her Addie

So we got home with our second daughter and settled right into our goats having babies, winter sledding, adjusting to new hearing aids, a first Christmas together, and the constant activity of two young girls in the house. Claude and I are on several adoption support groups and it is not at all uncommon for members to advocate for children to be adopted. In February of this year, I was checking my e-mails and there was one that said "5 year old girl needs family" in the subject line. Well, I opened the message to read that there was a little girl that a family had said yes to adopt, but later had backed out, stating her age as the reason. The message went on to say that the agency was searching for a family for this child and could we please advocate for her adoption. I said my prayers for her and hit send to forward her information and plea on to others hoping her forever family would find her!

Later that day, Claude came and stood by me and asked if I had seen the e-mail about the 5 year old. "Yep" I said. He asked if I had asked for her file. "Nope" I said. He said, "You can't can you?" "Nope" I said... Well he went and put the girls down for a nap, came back and was really quiet...then he said to me, "I feel that we are supposed to ask for this child's file. To make sure we are to either advocate for her adoption or to see if she is ours."

So I sent off a message to the agency, Villa Hope Adoption Agency and asked if we could be considered to see her file. We did tell them our experience with adoption and also with Microtia. They responded immediately with her information and when we opened her file we both knew that she belonged with us.

When Claude saw her first photo, his comment was, "She is beautiful" and what I saw was her hands. She was holding a girl's hand in comfort, and smiling at another little girl. I saw her as a big sister to our girls, and a little sister to the boys. We formally applied with our letter of intent within just a few days of seeing her photos and reading her medical reports.


"An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but will never break." "
An ancient Chinese belief


We knew that we could be delayed in the timeline of our third daughter's adoption as China requires one year in between adoptions, but we had hoped that we would get a waiver that would allow us not to wait, but that was not available. We sent several packages to China. These all include things to share with the other children, plus family pictures for her so she would hopefully feel a bit more comfortable when she joined us in the United States. Our third daughter has been with us for almost a year now, she has made such great strides. Her name is Vicky, We were able to locate her best friend from China, who has also been adopted and now lives in Pennsylvania, and we traveled to see her this past summer. We've even managed to orchestrate a telephone call to her former English teachers in China.


zoe said...

I really like your blog. :)

Carmi said...

Hi Ruthie, I happened on your post in the waiting child yahoo list and thought this must be you. We also adopted through CWA and I remember you posting on their old webboard. How wonderful to see your family is still growing! We are in the process of adopting a 3rd child and our 2nd sn child through CWA. Congratulations on your TA!! Our website if you want to catch up with us is http://www.hendersonhomeonline.com