March 16, 2012

Josie's Adoption Story

Today, we celebrate our 4 years of becoming a family of four.

March 16th is officially Josie's
adoption anniversary!!

A big sister at last!

For most of my blogging friends, you would assume that Josie's always been with us, but that wasn't always the case.

I've been thinking it's time to share our story again....

In February of 2006 (after several failed attempts at working with fertility specialists) we decided to pursue international adoption with China. 1 year passes and we had been logged in with our agency and the CCAA and I was tired of waiting for my daughter. The disappointment of not being matched with waiting special needs children with our agency nearly puts me over the edge (I was not a happy person at home...the migranes and the stress are nearly unbearable). So, I decided to take matters in my own hands.

On July 31, 2007, I found our Josie on a waiting child list with a different agency than the one we were currently involved with. I was determined (obsessed) to find my daughter.

Without Chris even knowing, I contacted this new agency and asked to see Josie’s medical files. The social worker agreed that they would work with us, but there was a family currently interested in this child.

We were second in line.

If the family decided against her, we would have the opportunity to put our letter of intention in motion. I said a few prayers and started researching her heart condition.

Just look at her referral picture.
I knew she was our daughter
the moment I laid eyes on her.

I just needed to convince my husband that this little girl was worth the risk. If we pursued her, we’d be starting over. That meant, pulling our files with our current agency, resubmitting them with our new agency, getting a new login date, paying new fees (in essence starting completely over).

Orphanage picture

I had knots in my stomach worrying about the whole thing falling apart, but I was ready to take the risk.

Josie is in the blue coat

It didn’t take Chris long to agree that she was worth it. We contacted our local Children’s Hospital to have her medical files reviewed. Her condition (Tetralogy of Fallot) was treatable, but she definitely needed heart surgery as soon as possible.

She had surgery 3 weeks
after we came home from China

In addition to a heart condition, she also had an extra thumb on her right hand.

We then contacted Chris’s medical insurance to make sure her treatments would be covered. Good news. Her medical needs would be covered. Now, we just needed the green-light from this new adoption agency that she was really available.

It was longest five days of my life.

Finally, we were told that the other family was not going to pursue her. This family has since become very close friends to our family and we spent some wonderful time together in the summer of 2010 (see pic below). God works in mysterious and wonderful ways.

We were told she was our daughter, if we were interested. Are you kidding? YES! Close her file to anyone else!!! From that point on, we had our work cut out for us.

Josie is on the far right

We needed to write a letter to our current agency asking them to release our dossier from the CCAA so that it could be resubmitted with our new agency. We also needed to update our dossier with all kinds of paperwork that would soon be expiring. Chris spent the last month of his summer break running errands, meeting with our new social worker to update our homestudy and driving to our capital office across the state to get the new paperwork sealed.

Josie's bath at the orphanage

I won’t bore you with the paperwork timeline, but it took seven months from start to finish to have Josie in our arms after switching adoption agencies.

Sightseeing in Nanchang China

Gotcha Night
March 16, 2008.
Notice how Josie is cautiously looking at Chris.

The entire time we were in China,

I was the only one who could hold her.
Tengwang Pavilion, Nanchang China

We knew while in China, Josie was going to require medical attention as soon as we were home. The simplest of activities (even eating or bending over) caused her to pant and become short of breath. Her lips and toes would often turn blue. Sleeping was less than a pleasant experience…picture constant spinning around in MY BED (cosleeping was a matter of survival) and crying out all night long. Chris often referred to her as our little clock. At nearly 22 months old, she wore 9 month clothes.

Despite our medical concerns with Josie,
she bonded with her sister immediately.

Emma playing with Josie in Nanchang, China

As you know from previous blog posts, both Josie's heart and hand surgeries were successful.

She will need additional heart surgery in her future, but she is a happy healthy little girl who loves life to the fullest.

I think we all believe she really
does have superhero powers!

I'll leave you with a very short video
that Josie asked me to take of her singing.

Happy 4 years, Josie!

Just in case you're interested,
here's the video of Josie meeting us
for the first time in China.

We love you to the moon and back, Josie!



KJ@letsgoflyakite said...

I have tears in my eyes right now those videos are precious. Josie is so right the Lord has been good (beautiful sweet voice). Your story is one of love and miracles that happen and make you realize the world is so small. Happy Anniversary!

La Dolce Vita: The Sweet Life said...

Such a sweet, sweet story of love. Love those in China photos. Happy famiversary!

Sue said...

What a wonderful video Josie! Reading the story of your adoption was a great way to start my day. Happy anniversary!

vivian said...

what a wonderful post! and like KJ I have tears in my eyes too.. Josie sang the perfect song for the occasion. I could feel your nervousness as you waited by the door for her to arrive. I cant imagine the anticipation!
what a wonderful sweet family you have kim.
I know you'll be celebrating this weekend.
ps.... so, is your easter tree decorated yet? (lol!)

Corey Moortgat said...

What a wonderful, wonderful story! A very good friend of mine adopted a little girl domestically, and I always love reading adoption stories. Such a special day for little Josie, and for your family!

Barbara said...

I knew I'd need a tissue as soon as I saw the subject ... such a beautiful story, such a beautiful family!

Anonymous said...

Always love a good song! :) Doesn't seem possible it's been 4 years already! My, how time flies...(speaking as the mother of a nearly graduated high school senior....ack!) Congrats to all! We need to see you guys again! Love, Vicki Lynn

Jboo said...

So sweet! Congratulations! Love your China photos! She is a little superhero!


Michelle @ Dream Home DIY said...

Oh my goodness, the video of Josie singning is darling. I love stories with happy endings and this certainly is one of those! Thank you so much for sharing your story with us :)

My Vintage Mending said...

Unbelievable. Your determination is inspiring. Josie's smile even in the orphanage is proof that she has always been yours. Thank you for the most breathtaking story, for sharing something personal and for letting us be a part of it. Smiles.Renee

La Vie Quotidienne said...

So wonderful! Such a happy ending and to think that there are so many more wonderful days to come.

Trisha said...

What an amazing story that brought tears to my eyes. Happy Anniversary to your beautiful family!


Katie said...

I cried four years ago today (tomorrow?) when we got to see that video of 'gotcha' from China.

You made me cry again today.

FOUR years. Incredible. What a beautiful family.

Katie said...

And look how little Emma is!

ImagiMeri said...

Aaaaaw, it was so worth waiting for that video alone!!! God bless you and yours for finding her, and now all your hearts are joined forever! Thank you so much for sharing your story, it's inspiring and loving.

Love ya'

Heather said...

What a beautiful story. Please give her an extra hug from me!

vintage grey said...

Such a sweet story. I have tears of joy for you! She is a true blessing from God! Happy Anniversary! :) xo Heather

Donna said...

Wow! What an amazing journey you all have taken, Kim! I bet those months of waiting were some of the longest of your life! And yes, I do believe Josie does have super hero powers:) Happy Anniversary to you all! PS: love the matching sister outfits, so cute!!

Anonymous said...

You didn't warn me that I was going to need tissue!! Happy Gottcha Day to all of the Kenwards!!

laurie -magpie ethel said...

Thanks for sharing the full background and this amazing story..yah Josie!

Elizabeth said...

Happy 4th Anniversary!! Love ya!

Lisa said...

Wow Kim. How precious. God always has the perfect plan for us, doesn't he? Thank you for sharing those videos. I have a smile in my heart for you and your family. :)

GoldenShellback1 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
GoldenShellback1 said...

I love watching your videos and reading your posts. Happy anniversary!

Janet said...

Happy Gotcha Day! What a blessing to read your story and watch the videos! It brings back so many memories... we had the stacking cups, bubbles and puppets, too! Josie is truly an amazing little girl and it blesses my heart just to hear her sing!

Courtney said...

Happy 4 year anniversary. She is such a cutie. I love that little video of her singing, I think it was the perfect song.

Debbie@Debbie-Dabble and A Debbie-Dabble Christmas said...

CONGRATS to your entire family!
All of you are an inspiration to all those who wish to adopt!
What a heart warming and wonderful story!
Josie is so lucky to have found such a loving and adoring family and you and your family are so lucky to have found such a loving child!
God Bless All of You!!!


Janet B. said...

A wonderful story of a family that is beautiful inside and out! XOXOX

Joanna B said...

Awww, I love reading Josie's family story again! Happy four years!

craftyles said...

Kim, I'm so glad you showed the video again-I've watched it before, but it is really amazing and heartwarming. Happy Anniversary!

Cheryl G. said...

Happy Happy Anniversary!
I have tears in my eyes too!
Such lovely pictures and videos!
What a sweet little girl and how lucky for everyone you all found each other!
Josie did such a great job with her song!
What a great big sister Emma is!
An absolutely beautiful family!

Nicole & Scott said...

Congrats!!!!!! :)

Karin said...

I totally love reading your adoption story--no matter how often you post it (should be an annual event, I think!). Josie is such a joy to watch. I'm so glad you blog so I can watch her grow up!

Sarah said...

That post makes my heart happy!

Pam said...

Such a beautiful story. Josie's video is adorable and the video from China is amazing. It's so sweet to see Emma playing with her in the hotel room and falling right into the sisters role.

Life in Rehab said...

Josie WAS always part of your family...she's just only lived with you for 4 years. What an adorable, sweet girl, and Emma is the big sister poster child.

Florence said...

what a gorgeous family you are,,,and god bless you for taking care of her,,,,i tiled(ceramic tile contractor) someones house who adopted four orphaned girls with no arms,,,,they will forever have a loving home now,,,seven bathrooms,,,,,14 children,seven with special needs,,,,not all ceo-s look for luxuries they can see,,,,,god has his light on you all for sure,,,,,,