We’re going to China! Again! We’re going to have four kids. FOUR!! I still kinda can’t believe it myself, so if you’re shocked you’re in great company!
As soon as we got home from getting our sweet Lila in June of 2015- well maybe even in China- we started talking about if we would ever adopt again. Those conversations would happen here and there, and we would always say “maybe”. We would talk about the kid we might adopt- how old, girl or boy, etc, but never, ever did we really get “serious” about it! We sold our house this year, we’ve moved to a rent house….with everything going on adopting again wasn’t really on our radar.
One Sunday morning in the spring, one of our pastors at church talked about prayer. He talked about praying BIG prayers and it was just a powerful message on how important prayer is, and how we are to ask God for big things because He is a BIG God! You can listen to the message here– http://www.watermark.org/message/4577
Basically what JP said was this- “When God’s people pray, we see an incomprehensible peace; when God’s people pray, we participate in God’s power; and when God’s people pray, we witness the impossible.” He told a story of praying big prayers with his kids, and so that night at bedtime, Trey and I talked with the kids about JP’s sermon and praying big prayers. Then we asked them to pray, and they each prayed BIG. Jack went first, and prayed that a distant family member would come back to Jesus and to our family. BIG. PRAYER. Chloe was next, and she asked that “we would be able to adopt another orphan because everybody needs a family and there are so many orphans in the world!” At that point Trey and I looked up at each other like “OH GREAT WHAT DID WE JUST DO?!” Lila was next, and I think I was so in shock of what Jack and Chloe prayed, that I forgot what she said- but I’m sure it was something about her school bus since that is a daily prayer of hers. Ha! Chloe and Jack kept praying those prayers most nights, at the dinner table, in the car, etc…whenever they prayed, these asks were on their list.
To back up, about a year ago, someone from our agency had emailed to check in with us and ask if we would be open to more adoptions, and I said “yes” but who knows when and how and if ever, so they had me fill out a checklist of special needs we would be open to if we were to ever adopt again. So, they did have that list and knew what we would be open to, but other than that list, we had not done a single thing in regards to a second adoption. Well, on May 8, 2017, I got a random call on my phone. I didn’t answer it, but saw they left a message. It was our original adoption agency calling- out. of. the. blue. So, I called the woman back, and she let me know they had just received a file of a little boy and would we like to review it. She told me a little bit about him, and I just had a feeling we were going to fall in love. I called Trey at work and told him, and I honestly thought he was going to say how there was no way we could do this right now- with moving, etc…but he said to forward the file to him so we could look at it! A few minutes later we had an email with the sweetest little guy staring back at us in pictures, and we also received two videos of him. He could not be any cuter and y’all, my heart just melted!
We found out he was born in November of 2015 with a major heart condition, but had it repaired in China about a year later. He has been living in an orphanage since he was a day old. We found out he is living on a special floor of his orphanage that is sponsored by an American-run non profit, so we think he is getting adequate care. From what we know, he is in a much better place than where Lila lived.
As cute as he was and as much as we knew he needed a family, this was not an easy yes for us. It is a HUGE commitment- changes so much in our family dynamic, finances, etc, but after a week of praying and praying and processing with each other, and after consulting with two pediatric cardiologists, we just knew this little guy was meant to be a Clemens. We have seen God move mountains and answer big prayers with Lila’s adoption, attachment, and transition to our family, and we are just praying those big prayers again for our sweet boy.
One thing I knew once we decided, is that the kids were going to be SO EXCITED. So, we wrapped up a “big sister” book to give to Lila for her birthday. They were all sitting around together when she opened it, and immediately Chloe saw the title and just threw her hands in her face and started crying. Jack doesn’t really know what the heck is wrong with his sister- so we tell him the title of the book again, and say “Lila is a big sister??” and he says “No, Chloe is the big sister!” We laughed and told him that the book is for Lila so she must be the big sister, and then Lila turned to the back and there were pictures of their brother! Oh, y’all. Such a special moment with our sweet family. One of the reasons we said yes is because we knew our other kids would be 150% on board. They LOVE adoption, they have seen the hundreds of kids without moms or dads sitting in an orphanage, they have seen first hand the healing and love and JOY that comes with having a family; we knew they would be all in. At one point after seeing his pictures, Chloe looks up to heaven and says “You answered my prayers.” Y’all.
The first thing Lila said when she saw his picture is she shouted out “Chinese!” Melt. My. Heart! Another reason we said yes is because we always thought it would be so great for Lila to have a Chinese sibling so that they could really know what each other was feeling- having the same story, being raised by a white family in America- all of the questions and hard stuff they have in their past, we were drawn to the idea of them each having a sibling to help them through those hard things. Lila seems very excited about her brother and constantly asks to look at her cards (his pictures) and look at his picture on my phone. She says she loves him all of the time, and I just know she will be a great big sister!
We hope to travel in early 2018, if all of our paperwork is processed smoothly. We are doing it backwards this time- we did all of our paperwork upfront for the first adoption, then got Lila’s referral, and then traveled 4 months later. With this one, we are starting over from scratch, and we have to get all of our US and China approvals again, so travel looks to be around 7-9 months from when we accepted his file. We just finished our home study this week. God answered BIG prayers there because we were able to keep our same social worker and she had just come to our house for Lila’s 2 year post-adoption visit, so it really has helped speed up our timeline drastically having that work out!!! So, we are just waiting for the home study report to come in, and then that starts our timeline with the US approval side of things. Basically it goes US Approval to adopt —>> China Approval to adopt this child —>> US Approval to adopt this child —>> China Approval to Travel to get him! Each of those steps takes between 1-2 months. We are really praying that we travel in January due to Trey’s work schedule, so we would love your big prayers there as well!