Adoption – A Father’s Perspective Day 3: The Match
“You did not choose Me, but I chose you” (John 15:16, ESV).
We had been alerted that getting our match was a possibility before a break at Christmas time would hit. But we tried not to get our hopes up. So when my wife was talking to her brother Jeffrey and another call beeped in, the caller ID made her heartrate double: “Holt International.” She left poor Jeff hanging on the other line as our representative passed along the incredible news, “You have a match!” Cindy immediately called me at work and passed along the development. Never before has the end of a workday dragged on like this one did! All I could think of was what awaited us in Cindy’s unopened email inbox. This was what our wait had been for. The timing was impeccable. The match was sent on Wednesday, December 21. If we could effectively keep a lid on things, our families were all going to get a huge surprise for Christmas. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves!
As I pulled into the garage, I tried to keep my cool. Our two daughters had no idea what was going on yet, so we basically told them to hang out downstairs. We probably used the guise of their getting to watch something on TV. Cindy and I walked upstairs and opened the email that would change the rest of our lives. The subject told us her Chinese name (Ya Yu Chang). Opening the email really tested our patience, as the wretched, slow-as-frozen-molasses DSL service decided to take its sweet time loading the attachments. One of the attachments was the one we wanted, and for the very first time, we laid our eyes on our soon-to-be daughter. And boy, was she cute! As we quietly celebrated the moment, we had a bit of a dilemma. That night, we would be going to church, and wondered how much we could trust a 6-year-old girl (our oldest daughter) to keep it secret when she saw her family at church. But we were too excited, threw caution to the wind, and told her. She was almost as excited as we were!
A few nights later, my family celebrated Christmas Eve on the 23rd, as Christmas was on a Sunday that year. My sweet mother was the perfect target, and so we inserted a picture into a gag gift. She laughed when she opened the gift, but everything changed when she found the picture. The picture was of Lacey Hope Chang Petterson with these words on it: “Can’t wait to meet you!” Absolute bedlam ensued, as my dad and my sisters flipped out. It was chaos, and it was beautiful! The next day, we drove up to Ohio to spend Christmas with Cindy’s family. This time, the picture was placed into a book as a gift for Cindy’s mom. When she opened it, bedlam ensued again! Her mom, her sister, and her father all squealed in turn. Let me tell you, this really was the “best Christmas ever!” Seeing, hearing, and experiencing the joy is something I still love to relive since we caught it all on tape.
Looking back, it is amazing to think through the process. We didn’t choose her, and she didn’t choose us. Instead, someone in China was in charge of looking over our dossier, looking over the children in their system, and saying, “Let’s put this girl with this family.” It was probably somewhat methodically done on their side, with very little emotion involved. And thanks to whoever made that decision, our world was made better and our family whole. And, by the way, we had 24 hours to make our choice. Were we willing to adopt Ya Yu Chang? Although she was only 9 months old at the time, had she known the idiosyncrasies of her dad she might have asked for another one! But the choice was ours, and we immediately said, “YES!” The choice wasn’t up to her. The whole matching process is difficult to come to grips with, but it definitely reminded me of the verse quoted above in John 15. Even when I, a sinner, and we, a fallen creation, despised and rejected Jesus, He still chose us. I didn’t choose Him, but He chose me. Despite my faults, my repeated failures, my stubbornness, and my stupidity, He loved me. He chose me. And just as Lacey is forever my daughter, I’m forever His child. I’m so thankful for His immaculate grace!
The match was made, and now all that remained was the seven-month wait to meet our match.