I convinced my man to put some thoughts down about his experience. I didn't direct him to any specific part of this journey on purpose. I knew he would not disappoint.
Enjoy Kenyon's debut as a guest blogger and feel free to leave comments or questions :-).
Well I am not the writer in the Sweeney clan, but my dear wife has asked me to put pen to paper….er…fingers to keyboard and share a man’s perspective on our recent experiences in China.
A few disclaimers on the front end:
First, I am a man fully in love with my new daughter so emotion may be a factor in my comments.
Second, I seek evidence for every position I hold in life and “signs” do not routinely figure into my decision making process. If you all are on board with that then here we go…
When Laur and I first started down this path, one of our motives was to give a little one a home that would have few other options. I envisioned the life of a deformed little girl in China, with no vested family members, protectors, educators, or resources contrasted with the propects of this little girl living in Park City with four tough as nails brothers paving the way for her.
Casts a pretty nice picture, huh?
Well fast forward to September 28, 2011 while I am in Colorado Springs on business and Laur calls to share that we have a file of a little girl to review. Immediately my pulse quickens and my mouth goes dry. We talk about the details and Laur tells me she has “beautiful eyes” and an “assymetrical mouth.” In a matter of hours we had four medical professionals reviewing the file and have an initial diagnosis (hemifacial microsomia).
I do what any educated, well read, and data driven individual does…I “Google” it. The pictures and description are daunting and fear takes hold of my heart and the picture of the little girl with a bright new future is dimmed by my own need for a certain kind of daughter, family, image.
Well, we hem and haw, worry and obsess and then finally I begin to pray and talk with some wise friends. My dear friend Gwen challenges me on two fronts. In a way that only she can, she cuts me to the quick on the image concern and says, “That is your issue you need to deal with.” On the real decision (is this little girl our little girl?) she says, "You need to ask God for a sign.” Well I reluctantly begin to pray for clarity and even an improbable sign.
You can read these blog posts to get caught up on the details of the signs that God has put in front of us (two words: “yellow car”).
What strikes me today that I missed in September is how lovely Joya actually is. The words on the referral letter “assymetrical mouth," the pictures on worst case scenario outcomes of HFM on the National Institute of Health website, my own bias and need to have the perfect picture of an American Family, as well as my fear of dealing with the pain of a girl who doesn’t look normal all STACKED up against me and disabled me from making a decision.
I remember verbalizing this to my dear friend David and his emailed response was, “I am sure you will make the right decision, which is to grab that little girl up as fast as you can!” I realize that the depth of the relationship, intricacies in relating, and real value cannot be communicated in a referral letter, from pictures on a well-respected medical web site, or in the dark recesses of your own mind.
Truly knowing and falling in love happens in looking into her eyes as she sits on your lap, comforting her as she mourns the loss of the family she knew, laughing with her as she learns her second English word, and realizing that we may have only known her for five days, but she already is worth protecting no matter what the cost.
Please keep in mind the aforementioned disclaimers and don’t hold me to following this logic or faith in the rest of my life…but I am sure glad that God gave me the sign I needed to see to grasp hold of this little blessing.
Just my two cents- ks