This has been such an intense week and a half — again — as we’ve been trying to prepare to get to our son who is waiting for us and knows that we’re coming for him now.
We have continued juggling a slew of appointments for the kids — some planned and some new — while also adding in unexpected challenges like van brake issues, 103+ temp for Lilyan (turned out to be a UTI), broken air conditioner in the house, and new problems with a couple of the kids’ braces (even though we spent ALL day last Thursday with our orthotist working on brace issues for a number of the kids). And then late Friday afternoon, we were super surprised by a phone call that intensified things even more. But it was awesome news.
A few months ago Lilyan was, amazingly, granted a wish from Make-a-Wish. (Jaden was, too, but his is still in process, so more about that later.) Lilyan’s wish was for a pool “so my whole family can swim together.” We didn’t expect this to be something that Make-a-Wish could do, and it did turn out that they have a policy that prevents them from installing in-ground pools. But last Friday, they called to say that they had approved a very large above-ground pool for Lilyan’s wish and that it would be installed on Monday!
We can’t possibly even come close to describing what this blessing means to us. Those are not just words; we are still trying to process this amazing surprise and honestly don’t have words to express how huge this is. Years ago when we were swimming in a friend’s pool, Owen was amazed as he got into the water and exclaimed to us that he almost didn’t even feel paralyzed anymore. Swimming is one of two activities we’ve found we can do as a family with almost no modifications at all. (The other is Bingo, as long as Colin has his Brailled Bingo cards.) Cerebral palsy, paralysis, even blindness . . . these things practically disappear when we are swimming together. Additionally, our children’s physical therapists have always been amazed at the kids’ progress anytime they have access to a pool. So I started privately praying about this after that experience in our friend’s pool. I have prayed all these years, and we are still marveling at the way in which God provided the answer to this prayer. But that’s not all!
Make-a-Wish also has a policy stating that they can’t do any construction projects, so they couldn’t add the deck needed to get the wheelchair-bound kids into the pool, but they seemed to really want this for Lilyan and, before we knew what was going on, called deck companies here in town to see if anyone would help. A small family-owned business eagerly agreed to come alongside in this project and came to meet our family. It turns out that this couple has been considering the possibility of adopting and they are so excited about being a part of this project. They will be building a very large deck around the pool that was, indeed, installed on Monday, although the deck installer will be trying to fit our deck into an already full workload, so it won’t be done until fall sometime. We have found a temporary fix that we think will work for getting kids into the pool once it’s ready for swimming, while we wait for the incredible gift of this deck. We will cover the now-filled pool with its solar cover for now while we’re gone and then work on getting the last few pieces into place for swimming once we get back home.
So, as I said. We are at a loss for words as we try to grasp that this is real. And as has been the case so many times through the years since we began our adoption journey, we will never be able to express how thankful we are to all of the people who allowed God to use them to be a part of making this happen.
So many times through the years . . . hundreds of people . . . . blessing us financially; providing meals; giving up their own precious hours to serve us by painting, building, cleaning, mulching, planting; joining us in our battle to bring home one more child. Our children have had thousands of prayers said for them over the years. How do we ever tell people what this means to us? And each child has a list of donors who were part bringing them home. Including our newest son.
Because of all of you, except for the change fee if we have to change our flights, we have all we need to bring our son home even if we have to stay for two weeks! If we stay only one week, we have more than we need. (As we mentioned in a previous update, if there is money left in his account after this trip is finished, it can be used toward his adoption finalization costs in six months, or for any of his other needs — clothes, school books, medical co-pays.)
Thank you, thank you, thank you. How do we ever say it loud enough? It’s such a beautiful gift that we can fly out of here tomorrow morning, knowing our costs are taken care of. If we have to change our flights later, God will provide for that, too.
And so many of you have signed up to provide meals for our children while we’re gone. This is huge! It helps so much to know that they are taken care of while we devote our time and attention to our new son.
So now, our plea is that you will continue your prayers. We have enough information to be wisely fearful as we move into this next phase of the adoption. Please pray for wisdom on our part and deep love for a child who may reject any offers of love we bring with us. Please pray that his heart will be softened and supernaturally prepared for our arrival and his transition into our family.
The next time we write to you we expect to have him with us. We will continue to update here on our blog, and our hearts remain forever grateful to all of you for being a part of his story.
Here are some pictures of the pool installation on Monday. Enjoy!