I have wanted to adopt a child since before I had a husband or was blessed with three awesome boys of my own. I can remember as a teenager watching a video at church about China and all of the orphans there. That is what I always thought I would do, adopt a little girl from China. Of course life happened, we got busy doing our thing, raising our three active boys. On two previous occasions we considered whether the time was right for us to adopt. One time we received a call from the Tennesse Baptist Children's Home where we had been on a waiting list for 2 years...I was 8 1/2 months pregnant with our youngest child. Somehow the timing did not feel right! A few years later, we were all set to start the process of adopting that little girl from China. Again, something didn't feel right. So we dropped it and I thought that would be the end of our adoption plans.
Since the earthquake in Haiti, my church has sent 3 or 4 mission teams to serve in Haiti. In February 2011, I was able to be a part of one of those teams. I knew that over the course of these trips several families had felt God calling them to adopt girls from an orphanage in Camatin, a 3 1/2 drive up the mountain from Port Au Prince.
Weeks before we left, I felt that tug at my heart about adopting again. I told Woody to be praying and to pray while I was in Haiti that we would be obedient to whatever He was calling us to do. Most of the week the team worked at the church at Savan Pistache, in Port Au Prince. Two members of our team are already in the process of adopting and their girls were able to spend the week with us. I totally fell in love with all three of these precious girls and can't wait for them to come home.
The last full day of our trip we made the drive to Camatin to spend time with the girls at the orphange. Many prayers were being prayed on that drive and not just because the roads were narrow and winding! I continued to pray that I wouldn't force anything and that God would orchestrate this day as He wanted. When we arrived at the orphanage we were greeted by 26 smiling faces, most of them standing on the porch waiting our arrival. I remember getting hugs from many of the girls as I walked in. It wasn't long after we arrived, while I was hugging some of the little girls when I felt this hand in mine. I looked down to see another smiling face looking at me. This is where it began, she grabbed my hand and she grabbed my heart. She began to tug my hand as if she wanted me to go with her so I followed. We ended up on the floor of the room that she shares with 7 other girls. I opened my backpack and took out the silly bands, beaded necklaces, and chapstick that I had brought for the girls. It's amazing how you can give something to one of the little girls, they leave and come back with many girls wanting what you have. They look after each other so well.
Just spending time with this little girl playing on the floor I began to feel such a connection with her. She wanted to sit in my lap or be beside me the whole afternoon. We brought jump ropes and I was able to get her to go play with the other girls. As I stood watching her laugh and play she reminded me of my own children when I would take them to a park to play and they would lose sight of me. She did the same thing, and when she finally spotted me still watching her, she got the biggest grin on her face. It just melted my heart!
As we left Haiti the next day, I felt that as much as I had loved the whole experience I didn't think I could go back to Haiti without being in the process of bringing her home. I now look at pictures of her and see my daughter, Cadonia. Even though in my head I had someone picked out that was younger (maybe 4-5 years old) I knew I couldn't go back to the orphange and bring another little girl home, leaving Cadonia there. It felt like she chose me, but ultimately it was God who chose to put us together.
A couple of days after I got home I was able to tell Woody about her and asked him to think and pray about it. The next day he told me he was ready to bring her home and that he had already been praying about it long before I asked him to. He already loved Cadonia because he could see how much I loved her. It is amazing how quickly God can give you love for a child that you spent about 6 hours with and could hardly speak to because of a language barrier. Our whole family already loves her and can't wait for us to get through the mounds of paperwork and bring her home. There is still so much about this journey already that I need to share but you will just have to wait for one blog at a time!