Tuesday, May 13, 2014

when the answer is "no."

i've never been especially good at being told, "no."
you can ask my mother.

in fact, if i'm being honest, i'd probably have to admit that when i hear "no" it kind of makes me want whatever it is even more.

i'm not saying this is exactly an admirable quality, just that it's true.

so, i've been a little quiet over here on the blog this month.
two reasons:
1. it's pretty busy around our house these days. (i'll save that for another post).
2. deep in my heart, i've been processing one of those unwanted "no's."

i've been dealing with a "no" ... and i haven't been dealing with it very well.

a couple of months ago, i shared that we were beginning the adoption process for another little girl over in changsha, china. (meet lu). there were some obvious logistical challenges and we knew it would take a lot for us to be allowed to adopt her. maybe even a miracle. but that was okay, because i happen to know a God who is in exactly that business -- miracles.

i was ready to trust. we all were.

in my enthusiasm i posted about little lu on her 5th birthday -- february 10th. probably a bit early in the process, but it caused many of you to pray for her. and though it might look like a spilled the beans before it was "safe," i don't regret asking for your prayers for this adoption. for us. for her.

in my enthusiasm i placed copies of this verse all over our house. every bathroom mirror. the refrigerator door. my dashboard. etc...
i was claiming these words for our adoption and for little lu over in china.

and so we began the paperwork and started the process and everything in me said "go!"
do this.
march forward.
plow ahead.
make a way.


in my mind, this was the right path for our family. the perfect fit. a no-brainer. an obvious next step. even an answer to prayer.

of course i began picturing little lu and bella playing in our home ... walking hand in hand ... giggling at the breakfast table ... sharing bedtime stories and hair bows and secrets.

but a few weeks ago, we were told "no."
through several emails and phone calls, the director of the asia program for our adoption agency, spelled it out for me: this adoption wasn't going to happen. it really wasn't a possibility. the CCWA would never allow it. we had a combination of things going which turned our hope into a "no."

i'll try to explain:
little lu is too healthy, she's not "special focus." special focus means the child has a higher level of special needs. it's a classification system china uses for its orphans. basically, there are three categories: healthy, special needs and special focus.  lu, praise God, is healthy with a slight developmental delay. though they could maybe classify her as special needs, there's no way she would be deemed "special focus."

so, the bottom line is lu is too healthy and i, according to china, am not healthy enough.

because of my little wrangle with cancer 3 years ago, china will only approve us to adopt a child who is on the special focus list -- and even that isn't guaranteed. in addition, in order to write a medical waiver on my behalf, they'd really like me to be closer to 8 years cancer free. three years isn't much to boast about by china standards.

it doesn't matter that my oncologist and other doctors have written glowing health reports and given me an exceptional prognosis. it doesn't matter that i am fully functioning (all things considered, that is). it doesn't matter that we've moved on from the cancer chapter. it doesn't matter that i'm carefully monitored every few months. it doesn't even matter that we have medical testing which places me back in the normal or average range of risk-recurrence.

it doesn't matter that we have the resources available to adopt her.
it doesn't matter that we have the room in our home and in our hearts.
it doesn't matter that our family is ready and willing.
it doesn't matter that we long to embrace another little girl from china.
it doesn't matter that we have fallen in love with her sweet face.

it doesn't matter that in china, every single day, children are being abandoned on street corners and in stairwells and around cities and  throughout villages.


it doesn't matter that there is an overwhelming shortage of people saying "yes!" to adoption.

china will not approve this adoption.

and, for a woman who doesn't like to hear the word "no," i haven't been handling that news very well.  knowing that this was a stretch from the beginning, i promised my husband and family and friends that i would "hold this adoption loosely." that i wouldn't get too attached or go too far down that emotional path. and in some ways, i've been good ... careful ... guarded. but, folks, the truth is, i'm not a very guarded, careful or cautious kind of woman. i'm just not.

and though i was polite in our final phone conversation. i haven't been quite so polite in my feelings since as i try to figure out how to make sense of this "no."

i've argued a little bit with God, telling Him this could have been a really cool opportunity for Him to work. this was a situation right there in His wheelhouse. it could have been a total win-win for everyone involved. (yes, i explained that to God. i did).

i'm mad at china and their rules and reasons and red tape.

the way it's set up in china adoptions is that if you are over age 50 or have a medical history, you can only qualify to adopt kids who are "special focus" -- kids with a greater level of need. seriously, does that make sense to you?

and, let's be real here, it's not like this is a supply and demand issue. i assure you, there is no shortage in china of children needing families.

and yes, i'm mad at the cancer.

i didn't even realize how mad until i was driving home from (yet another) appointment last week.  don't get me wrong, i'm so thankful for the great medical care i've had over these past three years, but yesterday's doctor, being very thorough with me, wanted to discuss multiple facets of my health, the cancer and further testing.  she was only doing her job, but by the time i drove away, i just wanted to scream, "enough already!"

i'm done fitting cancer into my life. i'm done hearing about it. talking about it. every single night when i pop my tamoxifen into my mouth i swallow the word cancer. i'm done. it took some things away from me a few years ago ... and the truth is i'm mad that it is taking this adoption from me right now.

i know that's not a very spiritual mindset.

i know i sound self-pitying and ungrateful.

and i know of many others who are, right now, in the midst of this ugly battle and only wish they could forget about cancer for a few minutes. my cancer situation pales in comparison.

i really am so incredibly grateful for my health and for how God carried us through that crisis a few years back. i'm grateful for how He continues to provide. i'm even grateful for that little, white pill i take each night to keep the cancer at bay.  i really am.

oh gosh, i have so much for which to rejoice in and so little for which to complain about. shame on me for even the smallest of grumbles.

but, being honest here, i still get kind of mangled up inside when it comes to hearing this particular "no" and knowing that it has a lot to do with that ugly cancer which i'd prefer to, instead, leave far behind in the dust.

maybe you've got something like this in your life?

it doesn't have to be cancer. but maybe you've got something which feels a little bit like an albatross hanging around your neck. something that keeps popping up. something which continues to rear its ugly head or remind you of an issue or a limitation.

maybe you've also heard a "no" recently and you just aren't sure how to handle it.

maybe you get it. maybe you understand.

and maybe you, like me, can mostly feel pretty grateful for all God's given and the work He has done, but sometimes ... sometimes ... you still want to kick the cancer or the red tape over in china or the whatever it is which needles your soul.

i'm writing this to give you an update on this adoption and little lu ... and, also, to give you a little glimpse into some feelings which aren't always admirable or inspiring, but which are just plain, old real and raw.

sometimes, dear friends, the answer is "no."
"for my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD." ~ isaiah 55:8
a few days ago, i shared mother's day with my five kiddos. i don't need a holiday to tell me how blessed i am and how much God has given. even in the crazies, i can see, touch, taste, feel that every single day.  life is good. the days are full. His gifts are great. the blessings are many. God's timing is perfect. His answers complete. His way is straight. His grace amazing.

and though we won't be adopting little lu, we are sponsoring her through pearl river outreach (more about PRO below), and we'll get to see how things unfold for her. and more than that, we'll get to watch how God's perfect plan unfolds. we trust He has the right family already picked out for this little girl. we are sad that she won't be ours, but she will be somebody else's "yes!"

and for that, we trust Him and we praise Him.

and we continue to pray for little lu.  join us! let's watch God work something great in her life.

so, will the mcnatt family adopt again? very likely. there are other options and we'd be honored if God calls us to pursue a child on the special focus list. that list might matter to china, but it doesn't matter to us ... all these kids are special ... all of them belong to Him.

may God use even this little story for greater good and for His glory.

a few endnotes:
if you'd like more information about sponsoring a child through pearl river outreach you can click on their website: http://www.pearlriveroutreach.blogspot.com  (you'll communicate with my dear friend, diana rouse)!
pearl river is not an adoption agency, but an incredible organization which provides training for care givers in china. they work closely with the foster mothers and they help find sponsors for the waiting children. contact diana!

or maybe God's been working in your heart and stirring up thoughts of adoption. do you need someone to encourage you? though we've been disappointed with this outcome for our family, we believe passionately in the process of adoption. you don't have to read very far in my blog to know the tremendous blessing adoption has played in the mcnatt family. as my daughter posted on instagram the other day, "adoption rox!" 
need encouragement, direction or a big push?  you can email me at emmyandty@aol.com.  


mnkristy said...

I am sorry for your no but so inspired by your grace and eloquence. I will be waiting with anticipation to see what God is going to do.

Barb Hayes said...

Oh, Jody, my heart breaks for your "no". However, as I approach 80 and my health continues to deteriorate, God is no longer allowing me to do the "good" things for Him that I did for so many years and my heart still yearns to do. On Sun. He allowed me to share with a younger woman something He had done in my life which renewed my hope of being used for His Kingdom. Know others are praying with you, aching with you and continuing to pray for Lu that God will place her with Christian parents longing to love her, too.

jodymcnatt said...

kristy and barb -- thank you for your encouraging words. i so appreciate those prayers. and yes, barb, that's it exactly ... praying that the family which adopts lu is one that knows Jesus. that has been heavy on my heart ... i didn't write that in the blog, but it is my #1 prayer request. yes, children need families, but more than anything, they need the chance to be pointed to Jesus.

Simply LKJ said...

So sorry to hear about the "no" you received. And, agree on many accounts, doesn't seem quite right. But, do believe God holds the ultimate plan for sweet little Lu. Will continue to pray for her.

Darlene Duggan said...

Hi Jody, I have been following your blog for a while, and love keeping up with your family and am always so inspired by your thoughtful words and faith. I haven't checked in with you for sometime, and actually cheered out loud when I read you were considering adoption again, and then my heart sank when you said it would not work out. I will join you in prayer for Lu, as well as God leading your hearts to another child needing such an awesome family!

carolyn bradford said...

I completely understand about not taking "no" very well. It's never been easy for me and truly never will be! I know myself too well…and yet, we all know that God is the author of our lives and therefore we should rest in that fact. It sure is very hard at times, though! Thank you for always sharing your heart with us! I wish I could write about that "albatross" hanging around me neck right now! Maybe I can soon…I sure don't want to comprise my children at this point! Just pray a silent prayer that God will work…in miraculous ways! Thank you, Jodi! I have loved getting to know you through your blog!

Sarah Rachel said...

Thank you for being real & raw. I'm sorry that you got a no for adopting Lu. Life isn't fair, it doesn't make sense at times & life hurts. But God's mercies are new each day. Tomorrow will be better. Jesus has a child picked out for you. His ways are better then our ways. This doesn't take away the hurt though :( Praying for you.

Paula said...

Oh Jody....that is so not a post I was wanting to read! Love PRO! Have been fostering little Rose for almost a year and a half now. Happy to learn that Lu is under their wing. Hugs and prayers being sent your way.