Louisa Margaret Hatcher
Born Chen Xiangying
Waiting for us in the Chenzhou CWI-Hunan Province of China
Yes, can you believe it? I still can't! One year ago I would have NEVER imagined this! But God had plans........so, this may be long-sorry, but it is important. So get comfortable.
Let's start at the beginning. Last Monday morning I awoke to our first day of vacation at the beach. It was early and I was by myself. I poured a hot cup of coffee and sat down at the computer to check emails real quick and then catch up on my favorite blogs. I never made it to the blogs. There in front of me sat an email from our agency stating they had locked a file for us and we had 48 hours to decide. I froze, but my mind went 90 miles an hour in 90 different directions. It is Memorial Day, we are on an island with not even a grocery store or gas station, we have NONE of our adoption "stuff", this is a surprise, etc.... Then I opened the file. There she was. She stared out at me as if asking "Are you my Mother?" My eyes quickly scanned the file for her special need.....there it was, just what we had wanted. I read on, no red flags of caution jumped out at me, in fact it all looked really good! "Hold your emotions in check, Amy! Remember how hard it is to get attached to those adorable faces only to find out the needs are greater than we can handle." You see we had already looked at several files, with great regret and hearts of heavy sadness we had declined those. (That is a post for another day!) I could not get attached to this child, only to turn her down. So began the frantic 48 hour scramble. We did ALOT of praying, we had some wonderful friends and doctors come through for us on short notice and on a holiday too, and we were able to get her file reviewed. All gave the thumbs up! So with encouraging prognosis for her condition and God's peace in our hearts we sent our Letter of Intent to adopt -Tuesday the 31st...with 24 hours to spare! Now this is funny, remember we are on an island with nothing! We needed passport photos-have those at home-does me NO good on the island-I quickly blow dried my hair, sand, salt, sweat and all, brushed on some mascara and blush stood against a white wall and Julia took a lovely photo of me and then Will on her cell phone. We texted those to Will's phone-his has email-and he emailed them to the agency. Next, we had, luckily, a family photo on my ipod touch. We promptly emailed that to the agency. Our agency then emailed me a mock letter of intent that I copied and changed to fit our needs and emailed back to her. DONE! We celebrated that night with ice cream and watched as the sun went down into the sea....looking as far as we could and wondering if Louisa was watching that same sun rise across the world.
Ok, so now for the "heart" and "mind" part. Remember, I told you this was long. A couple of years ago, before we found Xin, I had a "vision". No, I am not a kook but I did "see" this in my mind's eye. God appeared to be showing me a little girl with an upper body limb difference. Her name was Louisa. I was her Mommy. Fast forward...... we found Xin. We felt very certain this was the child God was calling us to at the time. I wondered what that could have been-maybe I am a kook? So we moved forward with Xin, brought him home and no secret here, struggled greatly with his adjustment. I am not a depressed person, but I must say, these first few months with him home were some of the lowest times I have experienced. I was angry at God, I was running with fingers in my ears not listening to a word He had to say to me. This was hard and I wanted no part of "hard". Yes, this is a pretty bratty attitude, completely ungrateful. I am not proud but it is how I felt at the time. One day in January, a file of a little girl came across my computer. I stiffened and said "NO WAY GOD!" Not adopting again! She caught my eye though, and my heart. God pursued me hard. He pulled those fingers right out of my ears and spoke. With great trepidation I listened, I prayed and then I let Him have my life plan back."I am yours God. What do you want me to do?" I remembered my "vision". My little girl with the limb difference,my Louisa. "Oh, I see now! NOW You want me/us to get THIS little girl! NOW not THEN!" So we did alot of praying, talking and soul searching and we took His hand and He led us into adoption #3. The files we turned down were hard but none of them had a limb difference and I knew God had that for us out there waiting somewhere. So, what do think our little Louisa's special need is? Yep! You got it! She has an upper body limb difference. She is missing some fingers on both hands and some toes too. She may have clubbed feet as well. From what we were told she probably has Amniotic Banding Syndrome. This is where little bands from the amniotic fluid come loose and get wrapped around parts of the baby, not allowing limbs to grow. She may have a surgery on her hands to enable better usage of fingers and she may have to have her feet casted. But hey, Mia Hamm, Olympic soccer player, had clubbed feet at birth.
For those of you that think we are crazy, or we have bitten off more than we can chew, know that we go into this with lots of forethought and knowing that God stands beside us. Our decisions might not make sense to some of you, but it doesn't matter. We try to lead our lives following what God desires for us. You see,He is just so darn smart! He gave me this "vision" BEFORE Xin. If it had been AFTER Xin, I would not have paid attention-remember I was running from God with fingers in my ears? We are ALL so excited. We think this will help Xin greatly. He will not be the "new" kid. She will. He likes that. He also sees how we talk about her, pray for her and put her picture up-just like we did with him. He gets to experience it first hand!
We are humbled, grateful and overjoyed that God is allowing us to parent this little girl and call her a Hatcher! We hope to travel within the next 6 months to bring her home to her forever family. All of our paperwork is done. Just waiting on our approval from our government and then off our dossier goes to China. We welcome prayers for Louisa and for us as we all move into this next phase of our lives as a family of 7!