"You're my servant, serving on my side. I've picked you. I haven't dropped you. Don't panic. I'm with you. There's no need to fear for I am your God. I'll give you strength. I'll help you. I'll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you....Because I, your God, have a grip on you and I'm not letting go. I"m telling you, 'Don't panic. I'm right here to help you'". Select passages from Isaiah 41, The Message.
My Bible study leader shared this chapter of Isaiah with our group last Tuesday night. It came only hours after we learned some disheartening news about our Zoe. (Thank you for sharing it, Bonnie). Our social worker (SW) and I had been communicating about hotel rooms in China and anticipated costs. She had asked me to call her so we could talk about the specifics. When she got on the phone, her first words, after our initial pleasantries, were something like, "I wish I was telling you this in person instead of talking over the phone." Heart drops to the stomach.
In recent weeks, we had expressed some concern over the fact that in none of Zoe's pictures or videos is she standing or walking. The agency was following up on this concern for us. At the time that the agency's China liaison (CL) was checking with the orphanage, the orphanage was taking Zoe for testing for Spina Bifida and Cerebral Palsy. The tests did come back negative, so that was a great relief, but there is still a great concern that Zoe is not walking at the age of 26 months. The CL believes that the orphanage is weak in the area of allowing children autonomy and allowing the ability to learn to walk. Zoe is in a foster home, so the orphanage and the CL have asked that Zoe have more daily exercise to help her learn to walk. We received more information tonight, supporting the fact that she has some severe developmental delays. The information also indicated that her right arm is shorter than her left (which we knew), and her right leg is shorter than her left. This would mean even more issues with walking if the difference were significant. We have reviewed all of Zoe's pictures and videos and believe that some of this information may be incorrect. In all of her pictures, her legs appear to be about the same length. If there is a difference, we don't believe it is significant. We were told that our Article 5 (which is to be picked up Tuesday and is the last step before Travel Approval) would be held until we were sure we wanted to move ahead. We feel that, for whatever reason, this child is to be ours, and she may have some amazing things to teach us. We are trusting that she needs more time and that she has the ability to walk but hasn't been given the opportunity.
We have also learned that our in country expenses will be more than expected as our in province guide will have to travel from another province. We will be responsible for her expenses. Although we totally understand this and wouldn't even dream of doing any of this without a guide, it is still something else that adds to the cost. At the same time that we learned this, we learned that Jeff's anticipated merit raise is on hold indefinitely. Although this raise certainly would not have paid all of our extra expenses, the extra in the paycheck would have helped some. Again, we are trusting that everything we need will be there when we need it. God has called us, we have to obey, regardless of the costs. A recent blog I read used the phrase, "the price of redemption" to describe a situation where the adoptive parents had to shell out money for an unexpected change in their travel plans while in country. I was struck by this, as it truly is the price you pay to redeem one of these children out of the orphanage and to bring them home. We will do what it takes to bring Zoe home.
So, please pray for Zoe's physical development - that she has the ability to walk and could even be toddling some by the time we get there, and pray that God will provide everything we need financially for this adoption.
Once we have Travel Approval and we know our itinerary, I will post trip details and specific prayer requests for our trip.