While the news of a new child sometimes comes with a solid pink or blue line, it was a dotted line that sealed the deal on Chad and Lauren Haun’s youngest daughter, Lucy.
The “paper pregnancy” started in June 2012 after the couple decided that they wanted to adopt internationally. The process involves extensive documentation and paperwork as well as home studies and evaluations by the United States government as well as the government of the country from which the child will be adopted.
“It was pretty crazy from start to finish,” Lauren said. “We have three biological children — Carter, Cannon and Emmalyn. Emmalyn was 8 months old when we started the adoption process.”
She said that their biggest concern was to keep birth order with their children.
They applied with Lifeline Children Services out of Birmingham, Ala., and were accepted into the China program at the end of June.
Lauren said she had always felt a pulling on her heart toward Asia, and specifically China. The two ultimately chose China because it has more orphans than any other country in the world.
They found Lucy on the waiting list in July and thought it seemed crazy to find a child to adopt that soon after being accepted into the program. She was a few weeks younger than Emmalyn.
Lauren asked the agency to see her file. It was old, but there were video clips of her. It also contained some serious medical information.
There are ranges of special needs children who are candidates for international adoption. Lucy was on the more severe side.
Her heart had two holes and a flap that needed to be closed. She also had a droopy eyelid and a polydactyl, or extra, thumb. Each would require surgical attention, open-heart procedures being much more risky than adjusting an eyelid or removing an extra finger.
“Lucy was not the child that you picked off the page as being the cutest,” Lauren said. “Her poor little profile picture was pitiful.”
Was it enough to convince them to change their minds?
They called doctors. They found out what surgery would entail. They discussed with each other. They prayed. They felt like she was theirs.
In August, they submitted their letter of intent to ask to adopt her. They were rejected.
“Chad had just turned 30. For the China program, you have to be 30,” Lauren said. “I was 29 and a half; I would be turning 30 in February.”
Their agency had other families in the same position who were approved if the mother would be turning 30 by the time they traveled. They submitted an amendment asking them to take into consideration that Lauren would be 30 by the time they would leave to go to China.
The agency still said no.
Lauren lost it. Each agency only gets a set of files from China for six months and then they transfer them to another agency. There was no way to know where Lucy’s file would go.
Twice a day she checked to make sure Lucy’s picture was still on the agency’s website. If it was still there, she was still on the waiting list and had not been matched.
Nov. 30 was Lucy’s 6-month mark on the waiting list. On Dec. 1, she was gone.
Lauren said she prayed, “OK Lord, maybe she wasn’t supposed to be our child and I have to give it back to You. It is what it is.”
They were done with everything that was required, but could not submit for another child until Lauren’s birthday on Feb. 26. They just had to wait.
Around Jan. 22, roughly a month before she turned 30, their social worker called with unbelievable news. Lucy’s file had been moved to the agency’s special focus list. They still had her on file for 30 more days.
The social worker said that two weeks before her birthday, she could submit to put Lucy on hold for their family, which would lock her in for them. They did.
As soon as Lauren’s birthday arrived, they resubmitted the letter of intent and got preapproval for her four days later. They were fully locked in with China near the end of March.
Their social worker called with more news. Lucy was in the hospital with pneumonia and had already been there for a week.
The orphanages do not legally have to give any information until a child is officially adopted.
The Hauns found out that Lucy was all right, and that she had also had CT scans done. They requested information on why she was having the CT scans done, and for the results.
Lucy had a subdural hematoma, which is a collection of blood on the brain, usually from a traumatic head injury.
They were unsure if she had been abused, dropped or maybe fell.
The director of the orphanage started to send messages asking if the Hauns were sure they really wanted her. They were told she was mentally handicapped and incapable. This happened three different times.
Lauren said at that point they were surer than ever and needed to get her as soon as they could and bring her home.
They continued to find out a little more information and continued to be asked if they were sure.
On June 17, they got travel approval, which meant they could go get her. And they did.
“To see her 4 1/2 months ago and to see her now is a night-and-day difference,” Lauren said.
Lucy had doctor’s appointments for everything as soon as she got home.
Her subdural hematoma was from where she had been shaken during infancy. With each CT scan, it kept getting smaller. It is now completely gone.
The radiologists were shocked at how fast it subsided.
Lucy also had open-heart surgery in August. Her heart is fixed.
Though she still has a few surgeries to go, the progress has been what the Hauns call “miraculous.”
“I just enjoyed the whole process. Even though at times it was stressful, it was amazing getting to see Jesus work every detail of the process out, just like He does in our own lives.” Chad said. “I also love to see her interacting with our other kids and them with her. She gets so excited when they play with her.”
Carter said that he loves to make Lucy laugh, and Cannon said he was glad when Lucy “came to be with their family for forever.”