Friday, February 17, 2012

The Nichols {Part 1}

Scott and I had been married less than a year when I was diagnosed with Stage 2 Breast Cancer. I had felt a little lump under my arm and wanted to get it taken care of prior to getting pregnant. That little lump led to a biopsy that would change our lives forever. Cancer was seriously not part of my grand plan. I still wanted to have another child though and the darn cancer was holding up the show. It was getting in my way, my plan. I decided to take the most drastic measures to make sure that the cancer would not return. I had a bilateral mastectomy, 6 months of chemotherapy, followed by a couple months of radiation. The doctors had told me that all of these treatments would likely make me infertile.  That prognosis made me even more determined to not allow the cancer to rule my life. I would not give in. I would have a child with the man I so dearly loved and provide a sibling to my precious daughter. This was very important to me as I had only one brother whom I loved deeply. I had to do this for her.

I began to research adoption. I had always thought about it when I was a child but grew up in a broken home to very poor parents. I didn't think that it would ever actually be something that I could really do. It seemed out of my reach due to cost and lack of exposure to adoption itself. I had never known anyone who had adopted. Frankly, I had never known anyone who had breast cancer before either. So, while spent the next year in cancer treatment I pored over material on the internet for information about breast cancer, infertility and adoption. I learned so much that year. I had a great deal of time as the chemotherapy and radiation had left me so tired and weak I couldn't work as an RN, my profession. God knew exactly what He was doing.

Over that year I did not become infertile as we thought might be the case. I did, however, become very educated about how one person could change the life of a child in some dismal part of the world. I read for hours and hours about the suffering of children in Eastern European orphanages. How they are left alone, cold and hungry. I read about how children in China and India were never held for feeding; the bottles were simply propped up and then taken before they were finished. I read about babies being expected to sit on pots and pee on command. They would be physically punished for accidents. I also read about how children were overlooked due to their gender or a mild special need. The fight to beat cancer taught me to have the determination and tenacity to make international adoption a reality.

I would go on to contact an adoption agency locally that would help us write a homestudy and guide us to the country that was a good fit for us. I do remember that I finished the last day of my radiation and came home that evening to do our first homestudy visit. I wore a wig to cover my bald head. I was being called to make this happen. There was no greater tug my heart had felt than the one I felt toward adoption at that time. I felt that if I could just save one child, ONE, I would feel complete.

My husband and I decided on Russia and a sibling group under the age of 4. I told the agency that I felt drawn toward an Asian child from Russia as they were discriminated against.  They were like second class citizens there. Within a couple of hours I received an email with at least 10 Asian babies from all over Russia. I can't really remember how many because I couldn't take my eyes off of one little boy. His dark eyes and puffy cheeks jumped from the page. I assumed he would have a special need as I couldn't imagine a child that beautiful had not been chosen by a family yet. The agency responded that his only special need was that he was of Asian decent and he was a boy. I still shake my head in confusion about my sweet amazing little boy of only 9 months at that time, being passed over due to him being Asian and a boy. He was healthy in every other way. So that was it, from the moment I looked at his face I knew he was my chosen one. We had thought we'd adopt a sibling group, but God had a different plan. He laughed lovingly at me and suggested once again that I just learn to follow him.


After I went to Russia to meet my son Zachary, it was arranged for us to have second referral.  This time it was to be a blind referral. I had requested a girl. The referral for a girl was not meant to be. I was once again determined though and wouldn't leave Russia without a new referral. So, two weeks later the local authorities gave me a referral. They showed me a photo of a little boy who had a blank stare in his eyes. I went to meet this little boy. He was 11 months old and had been passed up by many families already. He was a premee being born 10 weeks early. I held him and he was stiff and stared at the lights above. His breath was heavy and his ribs retracted when he breathed. At first, he wouldn't make eye contact. When they brought his bottle, he didn't have the strength to suck the entire thing down. He gave up after only half a bottle. He was tiny and frail. I don't know how or why, but the Lord reached from his heart to mine and created a bond after only 1 hour that would be the strongest I had ever felt. He was my son. I looked into his little precious eyes and connected with him. My heart did not know the difference between the love I felt for him and the the love I feel for the daughter I gave birth to. Today it is only my mind that can tell the difference.

We went on through the process to adopt my two “waiting children.” Waiting because they were boys and because of the shape of their eyes. Waiting because one had been born too early and needed extra help. They waited because God knew they were my sons. He placed all these obstacles in my path to directing me to what His plan was in the very beginning. He placed the idea in my heart as a child. I thought I knew it all though and had a grand plan when I married Scott. All my children by the time I was 30. {Right! Ha}  He had a different plan.

One of our children, Ethan, did have some special needs that we discovered after he was in the US for a while. As it worked out, our precious son would not have lived without American medicine and treatments.  We would likely not have adopted a child with significant special needs at that time. This too was His plan.

There is a saying from Carolyn Macke Schwenzer that says, “ God doesn't give children with special needs to strong people; He gives children with special needs to ordinary, weak people and then gives them strength."

That saying is dear to our heart as each step of the way the Lord has led us down a different path than what we initially thought . Now, after 10 years and 6 children later, we try to just follow Gods path for us. He knows what he is doing.

God Bless,


1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful story so far. Thanks for sharing with us.


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