Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Greatest Love Story of All Time...

Our adoption story began in 2006. My husband, Jason and I realized we would become parents through the miracle of adoption early in our marriage. Through many losses, heartaches, sleepless nights, tears, shame, and guilt, I woke up one morning and said, “OK Lord, I get it! You want me to carry our child in my heart!” Through many trials, God was simply preparing us for the journey to our daughter, a journey that would eventually place us in a 3rd world country for an indefinite amount of time.


When we answered the call to build our family through the miracle of adoption we had no idea how many twists and turns the journey would take. The wait was incredibly hard, heartbreaking, and at times, seemed absolutely impossible! After a country change, failed domestic adoption attempts, and even being victims to an adoption scam, it’s nothing short of a “miracle” and shear determination that we found ourselves adopting the most beautiful little girl from a Northern Province in Vietnam on September 1, 2008.


There were so many obstacles along the way and our journey was not an easy one, to be honest, it was the most difficult thing we ever imagined! Not only did our journey have twists and turns there were many “close calls”. Just to give you an idea…the day our application was received at Carolina Adoption Services (CAS) to adopt from Vietnam, CAS closed the Vietnam program! Luckily, we were able to remain in the program only because our application was post marked before that date. We quickly compiled our Dossier and it was logged in Vietnam on September 13, 2007. We were told by our first coordinator that we should receive our referral of an infant girl, 3 months old or younger by November 2007 and travel in December. We were so excited! We made sure her nursery was ready and clothes were in her closet.

In November 2007, the USCIS changed the format for I-600 approvals between the United States and Vietnam. What did this mean for us? We would not be traveling in December 2007 or January 2008 and we were now behind a multitude of other families to receive a referral and by this time we were on coordinator #3! We were told to expect to travel by spring of 08. Months came and went with no word from USCIS. On July 19, 2008, we received heartbreaking news. USCIS had issued a Request for Further Evidence (RFE) which basically said, “Go find a birth mother”. 43 other families received the exact same letter that day. We were devastated but we knew one thing, not bringing Halle-Grace home was not an option! We were beyond determined to continue the fight, not only for our daughter but for 43 other children who remained institutionalized in the Tuyen Quang orphanage. After weeks of fighting for the children, which included a trip to Capitol Hill where Jason presented our story in front of Senators, Congressional leaders and staffers across the country we finally said “enough is enough”. Our daughter was now 9 months old and we were determined to bring her home!

In order to do so, we had to sign a “risk waiver” stating that we fully understood and were prepared to live outside of the US for two years or until Halle-Grace received a US visa. As a military wife, I was accustomed to being away from Jason but I knew this would be very different. Even so, the decision for me was a no-brainer; I was determined to be with my daughter. She needed me as much as I needed her! We signed the paperwork and boarded a plane in late August, 2008, and adopted Halle-Grace two days after the plane landed in Vietnam.

This photo was taken just minutes after we met Halle-Grace face to face at her orphanage in Tuyen Quang, Vietnam.

Jason holding our tiny miracle after our “Giving & Receiving Ceremony” on the drive back to Hanoi

After weeks of living in our daughter's birth country and learning about her beautiful heritage, Halle-Grace received her US visa on September 30th. We immediately made plans to be reunited with Jason in the US.


God’s perfect plan for our family had prevailed through all the twists, turns, and close calls. We were determined and He was faithful!

Although it is not my blood that flows through my daughter's veins it is in fact her heart that beats inside my chest. From the moment our agency matched her to us I no longer lived for myself, but rather, for Halle-Grace. Regardless of the worldly means by which she came to us, there is NO DOUBT in my mind our family was created in Heaven.

Adoption made us complete…
 
In my eyes, this is the greatest LOVE story of all time…

Until next post, God Bless,

Shannon Devine

6 comments:

  1. So beautiful Shannon. I heard of a mother speak of her adopted son. After coming home from school one day her son was confused about how he did not grow inside his mother. She said well sweet heart you were born in my heart. Every time I meet an adopted child or adoptive parent I like to pass that along because I think that it is so true.

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  2. What a beautiful story! Your process goes to show what faith in God will bring to your life. Halle-Grace is very lucky and blessed to have you as parents. I hope as Mrs. International you will be able to encourage others to adopt, Congratulations, your win was also a gift from heaven, you deserve it!

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  3. Knowing Shannon and Jason BEFORE Halle -Grace, they were awesome wonderful people...they were giving og their owns body and souls then... but the day Jason was showing HG pic at church I KNEW what AWESOME parents they were... at that moment.. they became parents... and I say THANK GOD Halle-Grace will never have to know in how many ways she is lucky to have them as parents... or how blessed I am to call them friends... the INTERNATIONAL world.. pageant fans or not... should be listening to them...and all they have to offer... this is only a snippet of how wonderful they are!! Shannon.. your beauty is SO SO beyond physical.... I feel blessed to call u friend! Jason and Magic... you know we love you!

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  4. courtney whittakerAugust 20, 2010 at 8:59 AM

    Shannon that was so beautiful. I think i cried through the entire thing. Halle Grace is so lucky to have parents like u guys and u guys are so lucky to have her. God is Good!!!! Thanks for sharing your story!!!!

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  5. Wanda Baucom (Nanny)August 20, 2010 at 9:05 AM

    I can remember Shannon calling me and telling me she was going to get her Baby Girl and I don't know when I will be back but I can't wait any longer I have to be with her. My heart melted, excited but really scared for her. She is a very strong lady and God was leading her to her baby. On September 12, I boarded the plane by myself in Atlanta to join them. I flew by myself for days it seemed like but I wanted to be there with them. God was with me to go join and meet my Granddaughter, Halle-Grace. What an experience to meet Miss Magic and that she is. Our family is so Blessed to have her with us. Shannon and Jason was in Labor for a very long time, but the pain,tears, sleepless nights was so rewarding. Love you all sooooo much.

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  6. Our daughter is one of the 43 you mentioned. We would like to be able to communicate with you and catch up.

    Thank you for posting this story.

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