Dingle, Party of 8

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How can you find contentment when the child you hoped to adopt is presented to another family?

I'm not sure how to begin this post. I've only shared about this on friends-only Facebook statuses so far, so forgive me for the surprise for the rest of you. I didn't want to go public until I felt like the situation was more firm...

I don't think we'll be able to adopt the boy we've named Sam in our hearts.

Yes, he's Zoe's brother biologically. Yes, we were contacted to adopt him. Yes, we prayed over the opportunity and said yes. Yes, we've planned and sacrificed and been fingerprinted and background checked and scrutinized and spent some money toward that end. Yes, we have two or three boxes labeled "Sam" full of baby & toddler stuff in the attic. Yes, we love him and always will, no matter what.

But when I blogged about the possible adoption, I titled it "Dingle, party of 9?" with the question mark on purpose. When we announced our news then, we shared:

Right now, we’re in the early stages, so there’s a possibility something could change. That said, we’re far enough in that we feel safe sharing with confidence that this process will end in Zoe and her brother growing up as siblings in our family. (In other words, if this were a pregnancy, we’d be entering the second trimester - not completely out of the woods for complications but far enough along that the odds of everything else going smoothly are pretty good.)

Well, something changed. It seems another family will get to hold and love and raise "Sam."

In Taiwan, large families aren't the norm, HIV is even more stigmatized than it is here, and people with special needs sometimes face discrimination. Don't get me wrong - I love Taiwan. I can't wait until the day we return, whether to visit or for this adoption if the tide turns back to us. But just as I love America while still acknowledging both flaws and cultural issues present here, I'm doing the same here for the island country branded on my heart.

The orphanage where "Sam" lives decided, based on our family size and special needs present in our home, to present Zoe's birth mother with a smaller family to consider and suggested that he would be better served by those prospective adoptive parents. She signed off on that. We have to respect that decision, even as it breaks our heart. It would be arrogantly hypocritical for us to advocate for foreign countries and first parents to have autonomy in adoption decisions and then rail against those principles when it doesn't work out for us like we'd like.

The referral for the child we hoped to adopt has been presented to a different family.

If they say no because of certain risk factors in his file, the referral might return to us. At this point, though, I have to assume they will say yes. Why? Well, I know we would say yes in a second and immediately pay the fees necessary for the adoption services. That money is waiting in an account at our bank, ready for that purpose. Given that we would say yes in a heartbeat, I can't imagine why they wouldn't do the same. We've shared our information with their agency and with the orphanage, in hopes that the siblings will have contact in the future even if they can't grow up as siblings.

Do I know what God is teaching us through this right now? No, to be honest, I really don't. But I know that he is good and perfect and that he loves us and Zoe and her brother and this other family more than I could ever feel or imagine, so we're trusting him to write the next page in each of our stories.

After all, God has gone above and beyond anything we could ever have hoped for our family so far. So for now, we're settling in and striving for contentment as Dingle, party of 8.

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