…praise the Lord, for He is kind!
For His mercies aye endure,
Ever faithful, ever sure!”
“Something interesting is going on up here, I just know it!”
We’ve learned a little about the healthy and advantaged kind of Down syndrome and a little about the profoundly neglected and malnourished kind.
Verity wants to know, “Where’s Katie’s hand? I want to hold Katie’s hand.”
However, when we committed to adopt Tommy at the end of August, we knew next to nothing about cerebral palsy, let alone what sixteen years of neglect would mean for an older boy with cerebral palsy.
Here’s what that looks like from the inside…
On the one hand, we immediately began planning to make space for him in our family.
On the other hand, our ability to plan had significant limitations, because there were more unknowns than knowns. Way more! There was so much about the road ahead that we didn’t know and couldn’t foresee at the time.
The view we saw stretching before us looked like a path that immediately turned a corner and disappeared into a thickly wooded forest. We didn’t have the whole journey figured out. We could only see the next step or two.
But we did know this.
We love him and God just opened the way for us to go get him.
What’s more, if God was sending us for Tommy, at that point it didn’t really matter what was in his medical file, did it? Because God is faithful to keep His promises, He had already covered whatever was in that file.
When I finally did read Tommy’s medical file, I began researching and asking questions. The answers we got back revealed that we didn’t even know which were the right questions yet! And oh my! Are there ever a lot of questions and even more possible answers!
We still couldn’t see more than a step or so ahead of us. But just as it was beginning to feel like our path was headed into a tangled thicket, God graciously drew our attention to a gap in the trees to give us little glances of the path ahead.
What do you know!
Just like He said He would be, He’s already there, setting help in place!
~Do you remember when I sent out a request for advice about how to assess Tommy when I go to visit him? Not many people left comments here on the blog, but we received some wonderfully informative and supportive emails in response! Most were from parents of children ranging in age from toddlerhood to adulthood, with cerebral palsy ranging from mild to severe.
They gave us a further glimpse of the practical considerations and possibilities of life with a child with cerebral palsy, and open-heartedly made themselves available to keep answering more questions in the future.
For example, one mom who lives in our county wrote this,
“Just wanted to offer to be of any assistance possible to you in your journey with Tommy. I’m passionate about caring for my son, and I’m passionate about international adoption. If what I’ve struggled through many years to learn can in any way lighten your journey, then glory to God and I’m happy to help. Feel free to email if you think I could be of any assistance.”
~Two other adoptive families have offered us their unused adaptive strollers, which are the equivalent of pediatric wheelchairs. Both families live within easy driving range of the Philadelphia airport, so we can pick up the strollers on our way home with Tommy next year.
Another mom wrote to offer a tiny pediatric wheelchair that carries a child up to fifty pounds, and I’ve connected her with another adoptive family who is adopting an older child with cerebral palsy who is even tinier than Tommy. So God encouraged another family through this offer as well!
~We are learning that a lot of our experience with Verity and Katie will be helpful for Tommy, from the mutually respectful relationships we have already established with medical professionals like orthotists to everyday ideas like these color boxes.
~God continues to increase our trust in Him and bring glory to Himself through so many of you who are giving financially in one way or another. We never cease to be amazed and grateful to see this happen!
The Menges family added to the proceeds of their Avon fundraiser to bring the total for Tommy up to $500!
God sent Crystal Geib to take over the It’s Tommy’s Time auction in October, and she truly went the extra mile in patiently sorting out some of the loose ends!
My friend Becky recently told me that Tommy Candle sales were picking up again as some of you began to go back for seconds!
A long-time blog reader recently became an ambassador for Noonday, and is planning her first trunk show fundraiser to help toward Tommy’s adoption! She is planning this for January, when his fund will receive 15% of her total sales. Laura wrote to me about Noonday, “…the company is small and comprised of many adoption-loving (and adoptive) families, so lots of support and prayers will come along with the check.” More on this in a future post!
We finally got our application in to Lifesong for Orphans! We thank the Lord that instead of the usual 10 to 12 week review process, they approved us immediately, so anyone who wants to take advantage of a tax deductible donation is now able to do so before the end of the year!
~During this time that our family is preparing for the arrival of a newborn and a severely disabled sixteen year old child in the late spring of next year, it is clear to us that God has provided.
Ordinarily, the family carpentry business has some slow times during the first month or so of each year, but during this past winter, that didn’t happen. Joe and his dad could have worked every weekday this year were it not for deliberately taking time off for family plans. They have work booked well into next year. It is as if God said, “You do what you need to do to be ready; I have already provided.” In the past, we didn’t need the extra funds. Now we do. And God has it covered.
He also keeps providing in indirect ways. For instance, I needed some semi-urgent dental work done recently that turned out to be more extensive than we had guessed. After leaving the office, I called Joe to describe the problem and the procedure used to fix it. As I talked, Joe was mentally estimating the bill for all this work to be between $500 and $1000. He was stunned to hear that our dentist had first charged us only $120 and then added, “Give that little girl a hug from me.”
We recently received over a dozen large boxes and trash bags of clothing for ages newborn to adult, many new with tags or in like-new condition. It is not easy for me to get out and shop for good deals on clothing as often as I used to, so God brought the store to me! We were able to use many of the items that were passed on to us, and all we paid was the hours of time it took to go through them.
~God sees and knows when my strength is flagging, and He paces me, gives me rest, and bolsters me up exactly when I need it. Sometimes it’s through bad weather or a health condition that forces us to cancel our usual plans. This is no less a provision from Him than all the material help He is sending to us.
~Remember when I asked area adoptive moms of children with special needs whether they’d like to get together occasionally, as just us moms? Well, if you didn’t take me up on it the first time, you don’t want to miss the next opportunity! It was so energizing to connect this way, and we appreciated our husbands going solo for a few hours to give us this gift! Please email me at email@example.com if you’d like to be part of this in the future!
~You may have no idea how encouraging it is to me during a difficult time to receive a loving note for the Pleven director [I’d love to have about 15 more to add to the next package, if you haven’t written one yet!], or a letter to remind me that you are out there loving and praying for the children, and urging me not to grow weary. Sometimes it’s a kind gift tucked into a package for our little girls or other children. Seeing the generosity of so many of you making the Hidden Treasures auctions successful energizes me! God has used the kind words and actions of many friends at crucial times to strengthen me for the work.
~If we needed further proof that God knows what we need better than we do, and has no limits on His ability to provide…
A wonderful, qualified physical therapist with a passion for Jesus and orphans with special needs is planning to accompany me on the first trip to see Tommy.
Yes, you read that correctly! Can you believe it?! Someone has offered a large sum toward her travel expenses, and her credentials are already with our agency in Tommy’s country. I may not know how to expertly assess a child with cerebral palsy, but she does.
He is faithful to provide.
Ten year old sisters.