Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Smitten.. by Tobiah Jianke Faile

It has been four months of challenges and joys, and I have to admit that my heart has been smitten.   Toby has come so far in just a short amount of time and we are so proud of his accomplishments. I have come so far as well.   I will share his progress with you as well as some recent pictures, but before I do, I just want to share my story... from my heart... with you.

When I got married and started to think about having babies of my own, adoption was NOT on my radar screen.  I LOVED children so much.  I had numerous nephews and nieces at a young age, always offered to babysit , teach children's Sunday school and even became an elementary teacher.  I knew that children were going to have a huge part of my heart.  But with adoption.....  I just could not get past the idea of loving another child born from another mother in the same way that I would love my own flesh and blood.  Besides that,  not many people in my circles were adopting so I didn't even have the slightest idea of the great need or how it all worked.  I feel SO bad about that now. How could I NOT have known?  Why was this need not emphasized in the local church?  Why weren't there any sermons on Isaiah 1:17 where it says that we are to "defend the fatherless."?.... As the years went by,  David and I began a family... having babies, being a mommy to them and loving every minute of it.  I was so blessed to be able to have children.  I had miscarried my first pregnancy and it was an awful and traumatic experience.  I honestly did not think that I would be able to have children of my own after that situation, but through God's grace, he gave me my sweet Bethany and then my baby Luke... and years later...I got my little Sunshine baby..Cassidy.  I honestly thank God for my children everyday.  Being their Mom was my greatest joy!  .....

 Let me interject something here that is important for me to say.... David and I decided from the beginning that our relationship would be top priority... (we would be the main part of our family) and that our children would be welcomed additions to an already tight-knit bond.  We wanted to make our relationship as priority because SO many couples put their children in first place which strains the marriage.  In some cases this ends in divorce which devastates the family unit.  I am so thankful that I have my David.. He has been by my side through thick and thin.  I never thought I would ever get my dream guy.. but I did on July 29, 1989.  (:  We love being parents, but we love even more being husband and wife!

Ok now back to my story.....after having Cassidy, I looked at David and said "can we do this one more time?"  I didn't want to stop having babies..  There was still so much room in my heart for more.  He looked at me in a peculiar way because 1) I had just had a baby... nausea, weight gain,  labor... and I was asking for all of that AGAIN?  Was I crazy?  2)  I was in my mid 30's so I wasn't a spring chicken anymore.. But because my hubby saw my heart... he said "sure."   12 days later, my dream of having another biological child ended in a near death experience.  I had randomly started to hemorrhage and had to be rushed to the hospital.  They told me that if the bleeding did not stop, I would have to have surgery and lose my chance of having another child.  It was such a horrible day (August 20, 2003) and it will be etched in my mind forever.  I still get very anxious just talking about that experience.   I had lost SO much blood that the doctors and nurses did not understand how I was still alive.  My blood counts were unbelievably low.  I had many blood transfusions as well, but what went in , came right out.   Around mid to late afternoon, I started to feel like I was dying.  In a panic, I told my husband and Pastor that I was feeling very strange and starting to black out.   They immediately called my parents and I had to say Good bye to them and my husband because there was only a slim chance that I would make it through the surgery.  The last thing I remember was seeing my husbands face, my Pastor's wife face, my doctors face and then everything went black.  Hours later, I woke up and my husband said  "You made it, Mary Beth!"   It was a bittersweet moment because I knew that I was alive (Praise the Lord!) and that I had a new outlook on my life, but my womb was going to have to remain empty for the rest of my life.  I would never be able to feel the kicking of a baby inside or see the combination of David and me ever again.  I was so happy to still be a wife to David and a mother to my three sweeties!  Words can't describe how blessed I am.  That day changed my entire life.  I became a new person in many ways on that day.  I saw a new purpose unfolding for me that I would have never known if I didn't go through that horrible day.

 Since that time, I have been a chairperson for 2-3 blood drives that we have every year  at our church. Gallons and gallons of blood have been donated to save others lives just like blood donors saved mine in Florida.  I will always want blood donation to be a top priority!  I would not be here today without it!

 Well as the years went by, I struggled in many ways.  Physically, I just didn't feel right.  I had missing parts.. I was way too young to have symptoms that I was experiencing.   Emotionally, I was a wreck.  I loved my three children so much and I just wondered why I had such an emptiness in my soul for another child.  It ate at me everyday.  I didn't like to see pregnant bellies , and when I got to hold someone else' baby, my heart melted and I cried in such deep grief.  I went on for years like this... (10 years)   During that time, David had mentioned adoption to me, but the same feelings that I had mentioned earlier surfaced in my mind.  I just could not imagine loving another child as my own.    About 4 years ago, I told a friend that if God dropped a little deaf boy in my lap , that I would take him, but I was not going to go looking for one.  I honestly was willing, but I just didn't even know how to process the grief that I was experiencing of not having another baby.  I was a wreck!  Well ,in November of 2012, I think God knew that Mary Beth Faile needed someone to fill that void.  He dropped this picture of a little deaf boy into my heart.

After a year of paperwork, fundraising, stress, and a huge adventure to China during Christmas, we finally met our little guy.  It has been 4 months since that day and we are forever blessed.  And you know the part in my story where I was grieving about the emptiness of not having another child?.. God took that away and gave me another chance to be a Mommy.  I am so thankful for that... this was a scar that kept opening up again and again.  I finally have accepted this and can look back and say that this was God's plan for our family.  Would I have ever considered adoption if I could have more children?  I don't know... probably not.  like I said earlier, it was not on my radar screen.

Well now I have a new feeling in my heart.  A little deaf boy with an unknown past living in a silent world has smitten my heart.  I see him blossoming everyday.  He communicates with me (in just 4 months) better than I could ever imagine.   He tells me what he wants and feels.  He tells stories and remembers things told to him just one time.  The crazy thing is that he does not know any English words, but knows the context of the signs in ASL so that we can understand him and translate his signing to English sentences.  That is why ASL is such a beautiful language for  the Deaf.  It is so visual and contains such powerful meaning.   Even though he is communicating with us, he still experiences thoughts of his past.  A few nights ago, he was having a nightmare and would not stop crying.  He was terrified and crying worse than he has ever cried.  He was still asleep as he was crying.  We held him for about 10 minutes and he finally woke up and said he was scared.  He did not tell me what he was dreaming about , but I can only imagine the thoughts that creep into his mind after all that he has been through.  The next day, Toby was sitting on my lap in the computer room and wanting to look at pictures.  We scrolled through several pictures of him in China.  He saw himself at his foster home and told me "Toby left there...mama where....Toby cry" ..... Then he proceeded to explain in ASL the entire story of when our family met him for the first time.    He got the entire thing PERFECT!  Then he said something that broke my heart.  He said "Toby..China... Toby Cry....I want Mama!"  (tears welling up)   He told us that he wanted a Mommy when he lived in China.  My heart broke but I instantly responded with " Now Toby  family here  America... Mama and Daddy stay with Toby"  The smile on his face was so big!  I am so happy that he is now able to communicate these feelings to us.  I can't imagine how all these feelings were bottled up inside him when he couldn't communicate.

Now I grieve over the many orphans that are still wanting their Mommy.  I look at all these pictures and stories of children searching for a home.  It breaks my heart to think about their loneliness.   I wonder if God wants us to get another child, but I just don't know if I could handle it.  I have been having a hard time with my joints and muscles since January.  I think it is because of the physical exhaustion of my body in caring for a 4 year old.  He wants me to hold him and cuddle with him  and of course I need and want to do that, but it hurts.  I have tendonitis and bersitus in my back, hip, knees and elbows... (I know I am falling apart)...  Plus the fundraising was so challenging and stressful, but I will say this........., IF someone handed me $20,000 and said go adopt a little Deaf girl, I think I would .  We are just waiting for God to speak again, but for now I think He is telling me to just make people aware of the great need for adoption.  I want other people to realize that our responsibility is to care for the orphan...period!  All of us may not be able to adopt, but we all need to care for them.  Alot of people could adopt, but it is not on their radar screen.  SO I told my story today to ask that you pray about how you can care for the orphan...through ADOPTION, FOSTER CARE, HELPING IN AN ORPHANAGE, SUPPORTING OTHER ADOPTIVE FAMILIES,  SUPPORTING ORGANIZATIONS THAT CAN GET THE WORD OUT.. Or even taking a child for one month with Project 143.. ..http://www.projectonefortythree.org/host/photo-listing-registration/ 

 Please consider what you can do to help these little ones find families so that they will never be lonely again.  Do it while you are younger too so that you will have more strength to handle it physically.  I wish I would have done this sooner!

Since our last blog, Jianke Zheng is now Tobiah Jianke Faile!  We completed the Re-adoption paperwork and had his name changed AND his birthday changed.  We were told that if we had proof from medical professionals that we would be able to change his birthday since it was predicted in China.  We were able to give Toby an extra year... His birthday is  now November 8, 2009 (not 2008)   He is 4 1/2 instead of 5 1/2.   We felt this was a great decision for him so he would be in age appropriate classes at school and church.  Plus he is very tiny and this helps him fit in with children his size.

Our family was able to take a trip to Georgia to meet David's side of the family.  Toby really enjoyed meeting everyone and gave everyone a sign name... He remembered them all... He was so precious there and we were so glad that the family got to meet him and love on him.

Mamaw and Papaw Faile (David's parents)

Uncle Steve, (David's brother) Aunt Betty, Connor

Aunt Terri (David's sister)  and Uncle Buddy

Uncle Tim (David's brother) and Aunt Amber, Jesse, Abbi, Jacob, Phoebe, Joseph, and Naomi

Toby's first visit to MOES!

It is such a blessing to have family that live nearby.  Toby gets to see his cousins here in Ohio often.  He loves being with family and is affectionate with them all.

Wojnarowski Cousins!  Gabe, Tabitha, Abby and Melody

Uncle Tom  (Mary Beth's brother) and Aunt Joy and family

His behavior has really improved.   On Easter Sunday, we did not have Sunday School for the children so they had to sit in church.  We came prepared with snacks, an IPAD and 3 siblings to help him during the service so I could interpret for our other Deaf friends.  Can I tell you that Toby signed during the songs and sat (playing the IPAD) quiet during the entire service until the last 5 minutes???  PROGRESS!!!!  Then after that we had another service where his Daddy preached.  Toby also sat through that one as well.  I was shocked and so happy!  He still runs a lot and even got lost in church a few days before, but he is making progress.   He really loves playing outside and had a blast painting Easter eggs and hunting for the eggs as well.  

Toby LOVED watching my dad cook Kielbasi and Sauerkraut ..

When Chinese meets Polish ....

Dying eggs...

Yes, my older kids still get baskets and they still have to hunt for them.. haha

More Wojnarowski cousins... Samuel, Tristina, Tessa and Tarah

Cousin Michael

Only a portion of my parent's (Namma and Poppy)  grandchildren... Zach, Tiffany, Tarah, Taylor, Tessa, Tristina, Michael ,Bethany, Luke, Cassidy, Toby and Samuel

Toby's first Easter!

As far as school, he is doing well.  His teachers adore him and he is making progress.  He goes to preschool 4 days a week and seems to really like it.  Yesterday, we were making letters with play dough and he knew all of them except for 5.  He is doing great and I think another year of preschool after this year, will really help him succeed in Kindergarten in 2015.  I can't wait for the day when he will start to read.  This will open up his world in a whole new way!

Toby loves to play games on the computer.. especially ABCMouse.com.

We are so blessed and excited for his future.  Please keep praying for us.  This has not been easy.  He is a handful at times and it wears on us physically (especially me), but we are grateful to be his parents.  God bless you all and pray about how you can bless orphans.  Put it on your radar screen ..you will be glad you did!  It is pure religion!