Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Our Story

Here's our story.....................Ted and I were married on November 29,1997. We had both agreed that we wanted to start our big family right away. God blessed us with a beautiful baby boy, Andrew, in 1998. We were surprised to find that I was once again pregnant when Andrew was just 7 months old. We were right on tract for our big family. Luke was born in Dec. 1999. I had a perfect pregnancy and a quick delivery. Luke came into this world weighing over 8 pounds. He was sooooo cute and looked just like his big brother. Sadly, he was only with us for 24 hours. His cause of death was pneumonia ( very long story). Our world stopped.....even though the rest of the world seemed to be moving on. Less than a year later God, once again, blessed us with another child. Natalie was born in Dec. 2000. We had a healthy boy and girl so we decided that our dream of a big family was no longer going to be a reality. After giving birth 3 times in 2.5 years and surviving the most imaginable grief of loosing Luke, Ted and I agreed that our family was complete.
A year or so later my little sister was living in South Korea while teaching ELS at the Korean Nazarene University. For awhile she and her students volunteered at an orphanage. During this time she sent out a mass email encouraging people to consider opening their lives to the orphans of the world. Personally she told me that if we were to ever consider having more children to think about adopting. Although I wasn't interested at that time a tiny seed was planted in my mind about international adoption.

In 2003 my friend Michelle had her first child. Her son reminded me so much of Andrew as a baby that I started to feel those old "baby-urges." Ted and I started to talk about maybe trying to get pregnant again but I was still not even close to being "over" Luke's death. As much as I was ready for another child, I could not bear the thought of the possibility of losing a child. One day my sister's reminder of the orphans of the world popped back in my head. Well......let's give credit where credit is due........I believe that God put the desire in my heart to consider international adoption. I approached Ted and he said "sure, why not." We were shocked about how much it cost but believed that we could handle the expense over a few year time period. We learned about many countries that are open to international adoption. We decided that China was the best fit for our family. So in November 2003 we filled out our very first application with Children's Hope International out of St. Louis. Ironically enough in Aug. 2004 (just 2 months after sending our dossier to China) I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. I spent a couple of days in the hospital because I had become really sick. Shortly after my hospital visit I went to see an endocrinologist. The very first thing he said to me was "Mrs. Homan with your age (hey...I was only 33 at the time) and now being a diabetic you should NOT have anymore children." He told me that if we really wanted more children I could get pregnant but it would be very difficult to control my blood sugar and I would be considered a high-risk pregnancy the entire time. This only assured me that we had indeed made the right decision to adopt from China. On Feb. 2005 we met little miss Qin Chun Hong for the very first time in Xian. Privately I feared that I might not love Audrey the "same" as Andrew and Natalie........but those fears were soon relieved. Both Ted and I fell in love with her almost instantly. Audrey was 13 months old at the time of her adoption. We were matched with her through the Chinese government in the non-special needs program. During her adoption trip I developed a special place in my heart for Jordan, a four year old boy who was also being adopted. He was a special needs adoption. While still in China, Ted and I talked about adopting again. I knew that our next child would be a special needs adoption.
To make a REALLY,REALLY long story short we found Paul on a waiting child list with Christian World Adoption and started his adoption paperwork in March 2006. During all of that time we prayed that he would make it home by Christmas. Our prayers were answered. We met 21 month old Chen Zhi Qiang in Changsha for the first time on Dec. 4th. We had him back home by the 14th......just in time for Christmas. I knew in my heart and soul that Paul was not our last child. His special need is a missing lower right arm, which is such an easy need to 'manage.' We honestly don't even consider Paul to be special needs at all!!! So we knew that our next child would probably be another limb difference child from China. Ted agreed to one more adoption as soon as we were adoption debt free. I figured it would take us about 2 years to finish paying for Paul's adoption. Well, here's where it gets interesting, God must not have thought that we needed to wait so long in between adoptions. In April of this year(just 5 months after having Paul home) someone was advocating for a 6 year old girl from Armenia with an arm deformity. Just so you know I look at many, many waiting children's pictures. I usually say a quick prayer for them and hope that their family finds them soon. Not this little girl. I honestly took one look at her and knew that she was our daughter. I went to bed that night thinking "God, you can't be doing this to me.......I promised Ted NO more kids until we were adoption debt free and by the way.......where in the world is Armenia!!??!!" I really thought I would be able to "get" this little girl out of my mind but it was impossible!!! I waited a few days to get up enough courage to tell Ted about her. When I finally did he said something along the lines of "you've got to be kidding me??" Sorry honey, I'm not kidding, I think it maybe another God-thing that I have no control over. Once again to make another super long story short, Ted quickly came around to the idea of bringing this little gal home. Armenian adoptions require a lot more privacy than Chinese adoption so I can't share many details until after we have her home. The biggest thing that I want people to be aware of how much more expensive Armenian adoptions are verses Chinese adoptions. I really don't know why there is such a huge difference in the cost. All I know is that our daughter just happens to be living in Armenia and we have to do whatever it takes to bring her home!! Thanks for your support!!!!!!!!!