Mark and I have been married for 8 years this summer, and it has been an awesome ride! Filled with sweetness, craziness, and miracles. We could not have guessed the journey our life together would take or the blessings the Lord would put in our way. This year, our path has been focused on a little girl in China who has our heart in a big way. Her name is Camilla Lyu. She is three years old and has special needs. We will be traveling to China this September to adopt her!
I have felt the ache of wanting to add another child to our family and be a mother again for a long time. But the timing and life circumstances didn’t match up. I also had a feeling that there was something out there I was supposed to be doing with my life, but I had trouble pinpointing what path to take. I have always had deep desire to help children especially those in need. One night, I was listening to my friend tell her story of how she met and adopted her beautiful and spunky daughter. I thought of how different her life would have been without her family, and how different her parents would be without her, and the seeds of adoption were planted in my heart. Mark was not so convinced and wisely felt we had too much on our plate. He had already raised his two older children and then taken on my 2 children. But over the years, he changed his mind. I am sure at this time in his life he could spend his days off fishing, biking and camping, and watching Planet Earth. But for now, he fishes with Kayla and goes to scout camp with Zack. Instead of watching his documentaries, he will be watching Doc McStuffins with Camilla. Recently, he told me “Life would just be boring without kids!”. And this is why I love him.
About 3 years ago, we started seriously researching different types of adoption, but none felt right. They all left us feeling frustrated. We would leave it for a time, then always be drawn back to it. I believe in answers to prayers, but needed this to make sense to my heart and to my brain. I started praying if adoption was the right thing for us to do, that it would make logical sense to me and I could see the path we were supposed to take. That year, a typhoon hit the Philippines and I saw images on TV of orphaned children desperately crying because now they were alone. I remember the anguish on their faces, and it led me to researching International adoption. As I studied orphan adoption, it hit me that these children had no parents–NONE. No one to call mama, or dad. No one to really tuck them in, or track their progress, or care for them when they were sick. How would that feel? After several weeks of research and prayer, we received our answer–this was our path! I wanted to shout it from the rooftops! But we didn’t. We sat on it for 6 months–because the cost and the uncertainty and craziness of this idea scared us to death. About a year ago, we had an experience that left us with the confidence we needed, and we started our adoption application–our journey began.
Mark heard about Camilla last July, while he was away at a week long Scout Camp with Zackary. While he was gone, I had seen this little girl’s story on our agency’s website and casually asked to see her file. When I received it, I saw her name and my heart cried. I researched it late that night and it all seemed to make sense in my mind, that she would fit right into our family and our lives. It was a sweet and exciting feeling I will never forget. The Lord had answered my prayer in the way I needed, in my heart and my mind. I woke up early the next morning but waited to call Mark till 6:30 am. Unfortunately, camp cell service was extremely spotty and he was out of service. I called again at 7:00, 7:30, 7:45, 8:00, 8:05, 8:10–he finally got service and when I told him what I was up to, he said, “Amy…what have you been doing?!” I don’t think he will risk going to Scout Camp again! Mark said he think about it. A short time later that morning, he said yes. He said while he felt nervous, he felt very good about it, and he couldn’t wait to come home and see her picture and file. From the moment he saw her pictures and video, he knew she would be our daughter and a blessing to our family. He felt we could provide for her needs and give her the love and care she deserves. She needed us and we needed her. So we said “yes”!
I wish I could say it was that easy, but it wasn’t. As we consulted doctors about her care, we went thru a real trial of our faith. We felt incredibly inadequate and questioned our ability to be parents of a special needs child. Camilla has PKU. Her body doesn’t process or breakdown protein properly. She has to be on a special diet for this and will need medical care. It can be expensive. PKU, if not treated, can cause brain damage, and we didn’t know what extent of damage she had suffered or what her abilities would be. We still don’t know. When we made the final decision to adopt Camilla, we knew this would stretch us out of our comfort zone by a million miles, but it was the right thing for us. We knew that no matter what her abilities or challenges, we would face them and love her and the Lord would help us. We would provide for all her medical needs and give her a forever family. Since then, our love for her has grown in ways that surprised even us. We feel she is our daughter and can’t imagine our life without her as our child.
Our hope for Camilla is that she will grow up and be happy, to have a life full of laughs and smiles. We hope she will be able to enjoy all the blessing of a sweet life including education, mission, career, and family. Whatever her abilities turn out to be, we want her to feel loved and settle in the peace that she has a mom and dad and a forever family.
♥ Mark and Amy