Monday, January 3, 2011

Let God

The original title of this post was "Let Go". But as I was typing my fingers got carried away and added a "d" to the end...As I went to correct the typo, I decided perhaps it wasn't really a typo after all.
So here it is - appropriately titled - the long awaited update.

Big News:
Okay...deep breath...I have big news.
For those of you who did not hear yet (and I'm so sorry if you didn't!) Shea is no longer waiting to find his forever family - they have FOUND HIM! :) I don't even remember the exact day...but right before Christmas a little bird told me they had noticed that Shea had been moved on the Reece's Rainbow site from "Waiting Children" to "My Family Found Me." My heart skipped a beat as I quickly went to Shea's page on Reece's...and he wasn't there. Of course at first this scared me - but I knew something had to be up so I went to the "My Family Found Me" link and frantically searched for my little brown-eyes and after what seemed like eternity - I found him. In his new home on the amazing "My Family Found Me" page. I was so pleased for him. They'd upgraded him to a "suite" right before the holidays. :) And more than that - this meant there was a family committed to him and actively filling out paperwork. Amazing news. I immediately emailed the director (as I've done ALOT) and asked about this new development. She informed me that yes there was a family - but until their initial paperwork went through she couldn't tell me anymore.
So I waited. And not a week later my sister was on Reece's Rainbow and saw that Shea was now also on the link "New Commitments" and with his bio was brief bio of the family who was going to adopt him. So I went there. And I read it. And I cried. And I smiled.
So please - Meet the Kulp family. :)

Making Contact:
I left a message on the family blog for Liz (the mom) to contact me if she would - that I would love to hear how they found Shea and how the process is going. I told her briefly how I had been the one to find him and started a fundraiser that turned into a huge effort with the help of many generous hearts. After a few days she wrote me. She was amazed and so thankful for all we had done. She said when she found Shea she was immediately drawn to him and couldn't stop thinking about him - she said she wasn't sure they could have committed to him without the large grant we had raised for him! (Awesome.) She was so grateful to all of those who have advocated for Shea - and made it possible for them to bring him home. I was so shaken to hear back from her - I so desperately wanted to - but once I did I was at a loss at how to respond. I couldn't believe it was all happening. I wanted to know everything - and yet felt frozen.
I can't believe I didn't have the words right away.

So again...I waited. And while I waited...I cried. Oh how I cried. It would be easy to say the tears were of joy and relief. But they were so much deeper and more complicated than that.
This past month I've cried so much I was sure I'd eventually run out of tears.
No one would know how this experience has broken my heart...unless you've been around me...then you probably got a clue. ;)
I haven't cried so much since we thought we were losing our baby boy. The tears this past month have been the same and different. They are the same tears of worry, confusion, desperation, fear and helplessness. Yet they have now been mixed with tears of relief, gratitude, humility, exhaustion and letting go. They aren't the tears of a mother desperately clinging to something like we clung to our unborn baby, they are the tears of of letting go of a baby who wasn't really ours to cling to...but I did. Oh boy...I did. I didn't realize how I'd been "clinging" since I saw his sweet face. Clinging to the idea of saving him. Clinging to God to help me do it. And deep down - stronger than anything - clinging to the hope that God was choosing me to be his mother. I'm not sure how it happened - I told myself and everyone that I only wanted to help him - and that I was looking to God for guidance. If another family came that would be WONDERFUL! But if no one came to rescue him - I couldn't let him go to an institution. So in my mind - we would wait for God to decide. Little did I know, I wasn't very good at waiting. ;) Okay - maybe I did know that.
But I didn't realize how it would torture my heart. How I would build up images in my head of what I thought God's plan was going to be. How I thought He was going to use us. Like I said, I never fully admitted to myself that I wanted him as mine. Subconsciously, I knew it - and told a few people about my thoughts of "what if we adopted him" and was continually encouraged by the "signs" - the obvious signs that God was working - that God was going to save this little boy. All the money donated (I'm still amazed by it) and spreading the word about Shea - it was so apparent that BIG things were happening - and I kept thinking...maybe it's a sign for us...maybe things will sort themselves out and we'll make that commitment...just wait a little more...just pray a little harder...just wait...just pray.
I was scared to death of what it would mean to adopt him.
And I was scared to death of what it would mean if we didn't.

When the first family came to me and wanted to adopt Shea - I dealt with all these emotions - and felt at peace with the answer. It seemed perfect. A different perfect than what I'd first hoped...but perfect. When that fell through - I was shaken again.
Was this our sign? What was God's plan?
When this second family, the Kulps, appeared on RR I knew things were different - they had gotten the initial approval, they had adopted before -things were working out - it was really happening. It was happening fast. I once again was floundering with my feelings. I didn't know this family. I didn't get to meet this mom at Starbucks and talk about Shea and look in her eyes and feel comforted. It was just happening...without me. And I had to put it - and all the tears and fears welling up inside me - in a drawer and lock it away for a little while. It was the holidays. Family was in town. My little man was experiencing Christmas. :) I needed to be free for a while.

When I finally decided to let go of my anxieties and write back to the wonderfully, sweet mother who was going to adopt our little angel, the words came easily.
I told her how I had found him.
How much I was attached to him.
How much I had prayed for him.
How much I wanted this for him.
How much I had cried for him.
How much I loved him.
And this sweet, sweet woman wrote back more thanks and assurance that she hoped "Auntie Joanna" would be a part of their lives for years to come. (cue the tears again. :) oohhh dear.) Since those emails I have followed her blog diligently - they are new family to me and I want to know everything. I have followed her friend Jill's blog (her first connection to little Shea) and her journey to adopt their son Elijah (from the same orphanage as Shea! Crazy!). I have read about how Jill has seen, held and interacted with our brown-eyed angel boy (without being able to say who she was speaking of...but we knew :) and ohhhhh it is amazing stuff). And the joy at seeing him smile...there is nothing like it. He looks happy. And knowing he has been watched over - and is now going to have a family to love him the way I love my own little miracle boy - God is SO Good.

And So:
So I was going to title this post - "Let Go." Not because I'm letting go of Shea altogether - I am am still very much holding on to hope, love and prayers for him daily. I will never let go of that.
But I am finally trying to let go of "my plan"...
And truly working...
to let go and "Let God".


  1. Joanna, this is beautiful!

    God is amazing. It fills my eyes with tears of joy to see this precious example of how faithful our God is.

    God has used in a mighty way for little Shea. And you were faithful! I can only imagine the emotions and struggles you have outlined here, but oh what a blessing it has been for me to watch God's plan unfold for Shea. Thank so much for letting me be a small part of it.


  2. Hi Joanna,
    and all of Sheas super women!
    This is Liz, his soon to be mama. I'm very touched by all of this...and Joanna, it wasn't that we probably couldn't have committed to him without your fundraising efforts....we almost certainly couldn't have without all of your support...we are still in recovery mode financially from the last 2 special needs adoptions. Soooo you all have made it possible for shea to escape transfer to the institution! We are eternally grateful! I will pray for your comfort Joanna - but please take heart in how God used you mightily for His work! I'm almost relieved I didn't find your blog until after we committed bc I would have sensed how in love you were with him and may have hesitated to say yes. But God's timing is perfect I keep learning over and over in many many ways. We also had a similar experience...let me share - I had been praying for Shea since early december and also advocating for him in regards to family husband was almost ready, but not quite. The night before we decided to commit a family contacted us and wanted to learn more about him and if they might be able to consider being his family....this gave me the frozen, joy/despair feeling that you have I know it feels awful for sure. So I just wanted you to know I can relate in a way. So that's all for now "auntie joanna" and I'm sure we'll talk soon! Thank you all...words can not express....Liz Kulp

  3. Joanna,
    As usual you are able to share with us you feelings and emotions in such an open and honest way. I feel as if I am right there with you and wish I could offer the support.
    I am amazed in your trust in Gods plan, even when it doesn't follow what you originally had imagined. But it seems to me that God brought everyone together in the beginning of December so that Shea will feel love and support he has been missing in his orphanage.
    I look forward to hearing more about what Shea's future holds and I am always thankful that you have given me the oppurtunity to feel that I am part of this miracle.



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