Thursday, January 15, 2009

Room at the Inn

This post has been weighing on my mind for some time. I have had many questions about our newest little guy—and have put off answering them until I could find the right time to sit down and really take awhile. Many of you have asked to hear his story—how we found him, if he had any special needs, etc. It’s one of those things that only a real writer could find the right words for—and something that would take really opening up one’s heart to whoever may be reading this. I’m not a writer, and it’s hard for me to just open up and be vulnerable, but I do feel the need to share the story of how this special child of God found his way into our hearts.

Even before we went to get Graci, Jeremy and I found ourselves feeling that there was another little spirit waiting to come to our home. At the time, we thought that maybe I was supposed to get pregnant. After a lot of discussion and prayer, I visited with a high-risk specialist, who basically told me a lot of things I didn’t want to hear. Besides having an extremely high chance of another stillbirth, my own life seemed to be at risk if I was to become pregnant. So we basically put things on hold until we could really feel comfortable with a decision. It was something that was always on our hearts, but we just weren’t sure how to proceed.

Well, in September I was sitting here at the computer and found myself typing in the website address to the adoption agency we used for Elli’s adoption. When I say “found myself,” I mean that, exactly. This was not something that I thought out in my head—I literally just typed in the address without thinking at all. Adoption had not been a topic of conversation with us for some time. I immediately went to the view the profiles of waiting children. As soon as their faces popped up, the Spirit settled over me in a very compelling way. I have looked at lists before, and of course my mother-heart always feels for the children—but this was different. I knew immediately that we were to adopt again. This made no sense at all, as we were barely keeping our heads above water with the five children we already had. But there was no way to deny what was put in my heart—my whole body felt on fire with what we were supposed to do. So I picked up the phone and called my very unsuspecting, overwhelmed, overworked husband and said, “Hi, honey—um… I think we’re supposed to adopt again. Now.” And he said what only a man of God—a true disciple of Christ and a doer of the word would be able to say – “Wow. OK— why don’t you go ahead and request information on the kids you are drawn to.”

I am crying as I write this, because looking back—it really was a miracle that he could respond this way. Jeremy at the time was overwhelmed with some very big trials in his life—and to put something like this on him was just crazy, to say the least.

We picked three little children that we wanted some more information on, and I proceeded to write CCAI requesting their files and telling them that yes, we knew we were out of our minds. I was so grateful for their wonderful, excited, supportive reply. To have someone place confidence in us helped me to realize that maybe this was something we could do after all. They told us that two of the children already had families looking at their files, but sent information on the third. She was a sweet little girl—and my heart felt for her in every way—but she wasn’t ours. I just knew—I don’t know how else to say it.

The next day I logged in to the same website to find that one little boy had been added to the list. His name was Dang Xu Chu, (pronounced dong shoe choo,) and he was darling. Could this be our boy? (:

We requested his file and reviewed all of his information. The peace in my heart was so amazing, and Jeremy felt it as well. We asked for time to have doctors review his profile—and we were given a week. Oh, and did I mention that this was the week of Graci’s open-heart surgery? Um, just a little overwhelming? Well, I guess the Lord thought so too—we got a call that the surgeon was sick—and surgery was postponed until the following week. (:

I brought little Chu Chu’s file to our pediatrician, Dr. Daynes. I have to insert here that I felt VERY STUPID even asking him to look at a file for us. I almost felt embarrassed, and even apologetic to bring up that we were considering adopting again. Dr. Daynes knows our family well. He knows about Graci’s heart, and Elli’s blindness and how loud she can scream! I was just sure that he would think us out of our minds. We were in the office for shots or something (we practically live at that office) and I casually mentioned that we were thinking about adopting again. He looked up from his computer, rolled his chair closer to mine and looked me right in the eyes. He told me that he thought it was wonderful, and that if anyone could do it—we could, and that the Lord would provide the way. I was stunned and emotional and happy and humbled. I had thought for sure that everyone would just balk at the idea—and his faith in the Lord made me realize that I needed to have more faith as well.

Chu Chu’s special need was listed as “fibroma of the leg and buttocks, missing and malformed toes.” Dr. Daynes looked at his pictures and reviewed his medicals. He told us that we should try to get some information from Shriner’s hospital. The problem was getting an appointment there. We had a timeline, and he said that Shriner’s was the one place that was almost impossible to communicate with. He suggested that Jeremy take his file up there in person and pray that someone would open their hearts enough to pass it on to a doctor.

The following day, Jeremy walked into Shriner’s. As he was explaining the situation to the front desk, a doctor just “happened” to walk by who just “happened” to let him in her office and just “happened” to spend 20 minutes reviewing his file then and there. She explained that Chu Chu could have one of two things, and we are leaning way towards the one called Klippel-Trenaunay-Weber syndrome (KTWS). It is most often defined by the presence of three classic characteristics: vascular abnormalities, prominent varicose veins or darkened skin patches, and limb enlargement. Chu Chu is a textbook example, and we are pretty confident that this is what he has. Talking to the doctor made us realize that it was something a little more serious than we thought (doesn’t look like surgery will be an option), but it also helped us to feel informed enough to make a decision.

As I have researched KTWS, I have found that it is extremely rare. Most websites just say “very rare” but one said “1 in 80,000” and another article claimed there are less than a thousand cases in the world. Bottom line: this is not something most people have even heard of. So you can imagine how we felt when my little sister called to tell me that her baby boy had just been diagnosed with the same thing. I guess if we are going to go through a trial like this, the Lord is blessing us by letting us go through it together.

Back to the adoption decision… I should mention here that of course our kids were involved. Early on, we casually showed them pictures of this little guy and his condition—not saying that we were considering adopting him—more like, “come look at this little boy’s leg—it’s kind of different!” Parker looked at the pictures and immediately said, “Are you thinking about adopting him?” I asked why, and he said, “Well, cause I think I want to adopt him.” Taylor, however, was TOTALLY against the idea. He was very interested in the pictures of his fibromas, and he thought he was sweet, but he did NOT want to have more kids in our family. I think his exact quote was, “Our family is just too crazy already!” (: I told Taylor that there was no way we would adopt unless everyone felt it was right and kind of let it go. We talked about it a couple of times, just casually, and he wasn’t budging on how he felt.

The day before we had to give CCAI our answer, I had a little talk with the Lord. I told him that I knew we were supposed to go forward with it, and that we would. I then told Him that it would sure be a lot easier if a few things happened. ☺ See, I don’t consider that exactly “bargaining.” ☺ I told Him we would do it either way—but I did tell Him the desires of my heart! The first was that Taylor would find his answer BEFORE we had to tell CCAI. I had already promised Taylor that we wouldn’t do it unless we were all on board. I didn’t want to go back on that, and I felt it was so important for Taylor to find the answer on his own, and not feel talked into it. (For the record, I won’t tell you the rest of my "list", but if you find us moving into a bigger house in the next couple of years, well...)

That night we knelt in a circle for family prayer. I hadn’t discussed with Taylor that we had to give our answer the next day. I don’t remember who said the prayer, but I do remember that Dang Xu Chu was not prayed about. As soon as the amens were said, Taylor looked over at me with the sweetest, most serene smile on his face and said, “I’ve changed my mind.” My heart really started to race, and I said, “about what, honey?”

His reply—“I know we’re supposed to adopt that little boy--- and I feel so happy about it.” I gave him a hug and asked him when he knew, and he said, “I don’t know—just now, I guess. During the prayer.” He followed me around all night, just basking in the sweetness of the moment, and couldn’t stop smiling. He has been on board ever since and is probably the most excited about the whole thing. Yes, God answers prayers.

I, on the other hand, began to panic. On Friday morning, I wrote an e-mail saying that we wanted to proceed, but I could not press send. I started having second thoughts. I wondered how in the world we could manage, and how we would provide for all his needs, and most of all—how it would affect our kids. I went into a full-blown panic—and just felt terrified of the whole thing. I called my friend, Heather, who was going through her own adoption, and she said some words that I so needed to hear. She reminded me of the things I had said to reassure her when they were making their decision, and I started to feel better. Still, I couldn’t send that e-mail. Then Jeremy came home from work. I thought that if I told him I was scared, he would probably have second thoughts too, but he just kind of laughed at me and said, “Oh, just push send. You know it’s right.” I finally did, and the second I did was filled again with peace. Though I have at times been overwhelmed with the whole thing since (remember my post while in the hospital with Graci, about having a big family) that underlying peace has always stayed with me.

I know.

I know that He will provide a way.

I know that somehow, our kids will be blessed for the sacrifices they will make—and I know that there will be sacrifices.

I know that this sweet little boy is a child of a very loving, powerful Father in Heaven who wants him to have a home with as much love as we have.

I know that the Lord has this amazing way of stretching our hearts to fit one more—and in doing so gives us an increased capacity to love. That the love we have for others does not lessen when we bring another into our lives—but deepens and becomes more perfect.

I know that little Dang Xu Chu is ours. And I am SO grateful.

The first day that I saw his picture, I opened up my scriptures. I love to do this—to have something on my mind and open up the scriptures randomly and see what the Lord has to say to me. That day, I opened them up to this exact verse:

“The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor, he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.” --Luke 4:18

That scripture spoke to me with such force. I will not post pictures here, but Chu Chu has a very large port wine stain on his hip, and what looks like bruising because of his vascular disorder. I felt like this scripture was reassuring me that Graci (broken-hearted), Elli (blind), and Chu Chu (bruised) were indeed all mine, and that the Lord would in time heal each of them.

To those of you who have offered words of excitement and encouragement, thank-you. It means so much to us to have the support of those we love. We can’t wait to introduce you to our new son and appreciate beyond words the love you will give him. We couldn’t do this without such amazing family and friends.


--Christianne


P.S. Yesterday I received an e-mail with lots of new pictures. ☺☺☺☺☺ I am including some of them here. We don’t want to post pictures of his bottom, but you can see his legs and feet. These pictures were taken when a group of doctors went to China on a mission trip. They fitted him with compression stockings to help with any pain he has. He is in a wheelchair because it’s a bit easier for him, but he does walk, can get up and down stairs, and even jumps on a trampoline. The hope is that the physical therapy he will get here will really increase his mobility.


20 comments:

  1. So sweet! We all know you can do it Christi--and we're amazed that you are close to the spirit enough to realize he IS yours. The pictures are adorable--I just want to give him a hug and comfort him when he's crying!

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  2. Darling little Chu Chu is already part of our family, and we all know it and welcome him. It's amazing how love grows and how the Lord provides ways "His wonders to perform." Leslie is right. What if you weren't "in tune" and missed this wonderful blessing? I don't know how you can say you are not a writer. Both you and Jeremy are amazing and I sincerely think at some time down the road you should write a book. All these posts and journals will help you remember things, so it won't be so hard. The best part of your writing is that we can FEEL so much of what you are saying. You have a gift for conveying your emotions. We love you all.

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  3. He is so beautiful!! You have a beautiful family, and he is just going to add to it more. How neat for all of you!

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  4. Very powerful story! If anyone can do it, it's y'all!
    Congratulations!
    P.S. I wear compression stockings for work :-)

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  5. What a great story, thank you for sharing.
    Heather BT

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  6. Thanks for sharing your wonderful story. Darren told me, after talking to Jeremy, that you were planning on adopting again. I was excited to see, when checking out your blog tonight- (Darren's at work and I had a little extra time!) that you had written about your experience. I love reading your posts. Yours is the only blog I've ever read that I feel as uplifted as if I'd just watched General Conference. Darren and I were so sad that the weather was so terrible on the day we were planning on coming to visit. We had really been looking forward to seeing you and your family. We are hoping we can come back to Utah soon, though, for a visit. I have to come back in a month or so for an Orthodontisit visit. Maybe Darren will be able to take a day off of work and come with me. We'll keep in touch. And lots of love and prayers your way for all that your family is accomplishing.

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  7. If you're not a writer, then no one is! Thanks for sharing the whole story. I can't wait to meet my new nephew!

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  8. Precious story. Thanks for being so open and sharing with all of us. It is a beautiful story. It is so amazing how the Lord works. Can't wait to read about his journey home to you all!

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  9. As always, an uplifting visit to the Green Blog. You guys are amazing. Thanks for sharing your testimony freely. I was telling my young women some of your story (it went along great with our lesson) and they were just in awe and the spirit was so strong. You are touching people you don't even know with your courage and example. Keep up the great work. We will be praying with you. I am so glad I can keep in touch with you on your blog! One of my favorite sayings by E.E. Cummings is "It takes COURAGE to grow up and become who you really are." I'd say you are certainly courageous as you try to follow the promptings that our Father in Heaven is giving you...to help you (and us) become who you/we really are.!

    Love,
    Tonja

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  10. We are so excited for your family.I can't wait for the day that little Chu Chu and Max meet each other. It makes me wish we were closer! I can't wait to follow your journey.

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  11. I just laugh with joy whenever I see these glimpses into the inner workings of the Green fam.

    I am most impressed with the verse and its alignment with your adoption experiences.

    Now, how 'bout that 'poor' child? and the 'captive' one? Where are they? Hmmmm....(only half-kidding here)...

    God is wonderful!!!! You do not need to fear for a moment that he will provide. If you ever do have a moment of 'freak', let us know. We would be honored to help pray you and Jeremey back to peace.

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  12. He is adorable. You are amazing!

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  13. I can´t believe it. I didn´t see your blog a lot time ago, and then, today I came back. That is a sight.
    Congratulations!! You are a wonderful family!. And Chu chu is a true bless for you.
    I´ll be, again, with you and your family looking forwad to bring him at home.
    From Spain, with bad english :-)
    Leonor, mummy of Hector 9, Leonor 7, Julia Qiao 5 and Beltran Yong 2 cleft lip/palate

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  14. My heart is full and my words insufficient. Your family is a wonder and an inspiration to me. You make me wish that I had your strength and energy. You have amazing children in a large part because you are amazing parents. I miss you all greatly.

    Kim Rosier

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  15. Thank you for sharing! Your faith and hope helps all of us with what we are experiencing in our own lives. He DOES and WILL provide the strength and the miracles needed to accomplish the things HE needs us to do. Chu Chu is a really cute boy and will fit in perfectly with your family. Ü

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  16. Your family is amazing! God bless you and your sweet little man on this amazing journey. He found his family with God's help. You are truly inspiring.

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  17. What a love he is! how blessed you are to be chosen to be Chu Chu's family. That little sad face will melt your heart.
    Patricia

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  18. I had to write and tell you how much I loved reading your blog-especially since I grew up with Jeremy. Just look at you now Jeremy Green! Beautiful family-and thanks for sharing your amazing journeys.

    Rebecca Chamberlain
    PS-Tried to email on your main site, didn't let me.

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  19. Christianne,

    All I can say is, you and Jeremy are amazing! You have me in tears every time I read your blog. I knw that Heavenly Father will bless you, your family and this little boy. You are an awesome example to me.

    Norma Evans
    (Murfreesboro ward)

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  20. I hadn't had a chance to read that post. What an amazing testimony your family continually shares with others. Can I just say that Chu Chu is so precious and he is about to woven into the fabric of a beautiful family! I often wonder if our family is complete, secretly hoping that maybe not and then fearfully thinking .. .I don't think I could handle more - could I handle the chaos, the laundry, the loudness, the disarray! You inspire me to consider more than my physical and earthly desires and needs! You show the rest of us what it looks like to completely and whole heartedly submit to whatever the Lord calls! I am awed ... continually awed! Your life is full of his richest blessings and I am blessed to get just a small window into your world! Your children are beautiful and I await to watch you travel and bring home Chu Chu!
    Hugs!
    Cristie

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