After James’ comment, Jim and I spent the next few weeks thinking, praying and witnessing first hand how God guides us to do his will. We started to see little signs, remember conversations that happened years earlier and have flashbacks to times when I obsessed about abandoned children.
Working in reverse chronological order, here are just a few things that helped us decide on a country and firmly believe that adoption was going to be a part of our life story…
#1) James LOVES to play at McDonald’s playground. I’m not ashamed to say we don’t eat there because of personal preferences, but we’ll buy him a chocolate milk to compensate for free play on their jungle gym! James earns ‘points’ for being well behaved, doing chores, etc., and he usually picks to cash in his points at McDonald’s. Since his older brother isn’t really a “playmate” for him because of the 14 years of age difference, James craves the connections he can so easily make with other kids his own age. To say he’s extroverted is somewhat of an understatement, but we love that about him. Within minutes of arriving at a playground, he’s made at least one friend and happily tromps around on the slides with his new “bestie” pretending to be super heroes. A day or two after James’ “little sister” comment, I dropped my husband, Jim, and James off at McDonald’s while I ran to do a few errands. While I was gone, I received a text from Jim which read, “Ok, of the 10 other kids here, James has befriended two little Asian children and is walking around holding their hands. It’s the cutest thing I’ve seen in a long time. I think this is a sign.” I smiled as I read the text, but I wasn’t sure China was the answer. I also felt drawn to Africa. I used to obsess when I was a kid about mailings that would arrive about starving children in Africa, and used to post the pictures on the walls around my desk in my childhood bedroom. On my way back to McDonald’s, I was switching between radio stations when a David Bowey song from the 80’s came through on one of them….
oh oh oh ohoo little china girl
Oh oh oh ohoo little china girl
I could escape this feeling, with my china girl
I feel a wreck without my, little china girl
I hear her heart beating, loud as thunder
Saw the stars crashing
I guess God was steering us toward China, and I will happily follow his “road” signs.
#2) Even with the country picked, we continued to receive signs that adopting a child was our destiny. Jim ran into former students at the grocery store who were adopted from China, sermons at church seemed to speak directly to us, and then I came across a cassette tape from a session with a Medium from Lilly Dale that had mysteriously turned up after many years of being lost. (Lily Dale is a spiritualist community located in Chautauqua County, New York, USA. Many mediums have summer cottages there where one can go for various fortune tellings and psychic readings.) For fun, I had gone to Lily Dale with a few colleagues of mine about 14-15 years prior, because one of my colleagues was writing a graduate paper about psychics and mediums. My session turned out to be excellent, and many of my dearly departed friends and relatives came through with messages and inspiration for me. Until now, I had forgotten one small but very important comment that the Medium had made. Since, at that time, I was a 25 year old, single mom, I had asked my Medium if I would have any more children. I had planned on having all the children I would ever have by the time I was 30, but I wasn’t in a relationship at the time. I was looking for clues as to what the future held for me in that department. Her response was,
“Well, you must understand, that children come to us in many different ways.”
I assumed, incorrectly, that I would meet a man who had children from a previous relationship. I met Jim about 7 years later. He had never been married. He didn’t have children. We were blessed with one child, James, when I was 34 years old. Now I understand…children come to us in many different ways.
#3) As a child, I spent every Sunday in “Sunday School” where we learned about the stories of the Bible. Adam and Eve, David and Goliath, and Daniel in the Lion’s Den were as much a part of my literary development as was The Little House of the Prairie series and The Chronicles of Narnia. But the story of Moses sparked something in my 8 year old heart that would lie buried deep until now. When I learned that a mother tried to save her baby from certain death by placing him in a basket and sending him down the river, only to be found by another women, who would raise him as her own….I was hooked. That summer, I rode my banana seat bike up and down our rural road, searching the reeds and cattails of the deep ditches for a basket containing an abandoned baby for me to love. I was quite sure I would find one, but in the end, I only found a box of kittens…which I proudly brought home as a worthwhile substitute. It was good practice for the day, not far from today, when I will joyously call another woman’s child, my own.
“…the magnitude of that tragedy and the depth of that privilege are not lost on me.” (Jody Landers)
Click here to go to Chapter 3 of our adoption story: