Years ago, as we were knee deep in infertility medications, failed IUI's, and broken spirits, Brandon and I began looking into adoption. Specifically, we wanted to find a child with PKU who needed a family. Many of you know that I have PKU (Phenylketonuria), which is a genetic disorder that affects the body's ability to break down one of the amino acids in protein. Untreated PKU results in severe mental retardation, seizures, and other devastating outcomes.
At the time that we were exploring our options, we were told that finding an orphan with PKU is like finding a needle in a haystack. It wouldn't happen, give up. That's what we were told, and after a few months, I let that dream go.
Fast forward to March of this year.
I'm a member of several little online PKU communities. One of them sent out information about a little girl in China who is up for adoption and has PKU. She had been abandoned on the public transit system at the age of 4. The agency was hoping to find a family with knowledge of PKU to bring her home, thus reaching out to the community.
I'll be honest, when I found out about her, my heart skipped a beat and I immediately felt a little tug. I emailed the agency and found out that there were many, many mountains in the way. We had NOT been planning to adopt. We weren't even thinking about it! That was not part of our family plan anymore. (I am chuckling right now because every time I say "our plan" I'm pretty sure God laughs so hard he pees a little.)
Anyway, so I emailed the agency, found out the cost and the regulations for the adopting family, and then literally told God "HAHA, that's a good one! Very funny." And I tried to ignore the tug.
Several weeks went by, and the agency sent me a photo. This beautiful, perfectly made little thing was sitting on her wooden bed (no mattress) and just grinning ear to ear.
So the dialogue went like this...."Okay, God, you got my attention. I will look into it for real this time. I'll ask for more info and I'll chat with some people about it. But I'm not gonna get excited because I KNOW this is too much. Too many mountains are in the way and we're not the ones. We're not THE ONES. But okay, I'll humor You."
Over the course of a few weeks, the tug became more like a yank. I laid awake at night, seeing this little face. I pictured her, standing on the train, crying. Wondering where her mama went. Scared and alone. I wondered what I would say to her. I thought of how our family would change. I thought of how our daughter Emory's life would change. I thought of how HUGE the financial aspect of a Chinese adoption is and how unprepared for that we are.
I thought of how orphans in China age out of the system at 14. That leaves 7 years for this little girl to find a family. Just 7.
The dialogue continued like this..."Really? I'm not sure........maybe it could work? It might work. I won't work. There's no way. Or maybe it could?"
I sought more advice from people who were not emotionally attached to me, to try and get an outsider's opinion. Was this too much? Was this too big? Is this a crazy idea? Is this God speaking to me? Or is it just my sympathetic heart talking?
In the meantime, B and I discussed it. He was open to the idea, but like me, he felt like it's an impossible mountain to climb. I mean, we make enough to pay our bills, but there's no way we could come up with $30,000 for an international adoption.
We prayed and prayed, and talked and talked. Finally, we decided that we just couldn't make a decision without seeing a video of the little girl. We know she suffers some delays due to her late PKU diagnosis. Also, according to her medical report, she is eating things that CANNOT be on the PKU diet for successful treatment. It wouldn't be fair for us to get her and then not be able to afford to care for her long term, if she is so severely delayed that she can't live independently.
So I asked for a video.
And I asked.
And I asked.
Weeks went by, then months.
I had been praying for God to send me a big, blingy, flashy sign. Yes or no, which one is it? Since there was no response to my request for a video, by the end of May I assumed that this was the door closing. As a last ditch effort, I emailed one.more.time.
And just like that, the video came. And she is beautiful, y'all. She is timid, shy, and somewhat confused, but she can communicate. And she wants to please her caregivers. She wants to help with the other children, and she understands a simple request. She is not the vegetative, unresponsive little girl that I expected to see. I had some professionals view the video as well, and we all agree that the damage is not catastrophic. There is hope for her yet.
So here we are. Walking by faith. B and I want to bring her home and have her join our family. I want to help her get proper PKU treatment and reach her full potential. Some of the damage is reversible, but not much. The important thing is to get her here. Stop the damage that is currently happening, and get her on the road to being the best she can be.
What started as a "Yeah, right, God. Good one." has become an "Okay, I'll go. Just help me get there."
Her name is Fanni. Please be in prayer for her and for us. This is all very much uncharted territory for us. We are scrambling to raise the money to bring her home, which is scary. But like I said, we are walking by faith. If it is truly meant to happen, it will. And if not, we can still help Fanni find a home. We are setting up our fundraisers to go either to our fundraising page OR directly to the agency. It can be earmarked for Fanni and that way, the money will stay with her, even if we fall short or for some reason are not approved.