Before you read this, make sure you read this (Our Referral-Part I)-if you haven't already.
"I've got a couple of kiddos here I'd like to talk to you about..." had me cautiously optimistic. I then knew for certain that this was not a call about the fund raising efforts we were contemplating.
As our agency's director spoke, I began to recognize the baby boy and his older sister she was calling about. I waited until she paused and then informed her that we had already looked into this particular pair of siblings, but that the baby had tested positive for Hepatitis C. As my hopes for a referral began to fade, I explained how we had consulted with multiple medical professionals and the verdict was clear-our family and Hepatitis C was a bad match at this time. There was silence on the other end of the phone for what seemed like a long time. Faintly, I could hear her shuffling papers on her end of the phone and then she responded, "You're right. He did test positive for Hepatitis C, but he's been retested and he doesn't have it."
I must admit at this point, as God whispered again, I remained a skeptical mortal.
How can someone just *lose* Hepatitis C, the way I routinely lose my cell phone? I wondered aloud. She seemed a bit uncertain herself, but insisted that it was true and again asked if we were interested. As she waited for my response, I considered my four children playing in the other room. We had committed ourselves to an adoption which would not jeopardize them in any way, but had promised to be open to God's hand throughout the process. Finally, I told her we would like to see the referral, but would need to have our adoption doctor review the medical records. She agreed and almost instantly, the file sat in my email in-box. My visiting friends rushed in to see the pictures and scan the description of the brother and sister who, for the second time in 3 months, had found their way into our home. Everything looked great, but the menace of the original Hep C diagnosis still lingered. As nap time approached, and my visitors left, I forwarded the referral to my husband at work; where he, in turn, faxed a copy of the medical file to the adoption doctor. Then, we waited. When he finally called after dinner that night, he explained the possibilities:
- First, the lab made a mistake. One of the tests could be wrong, but in his opinion, knowing the caliber of the lab which was used, he believed it was unlikely.
- Second, the baby had tested positive for Hep C at the first test because his tiny, new baby self still contained antibodies from his birth mother, and the test will react to any antibodies-even those of the birth mother. (This is the same phenomenon which people find in testing babies under 18 mos. for HIV, which is why a special PCR test is used to determine if the baby is actually testing positive for the HIV virus, rather than just noting a positive reaction to antibodies still present from the birth mother.)
- Third, the baby had "converted" from positive to negative, which, the doctor explained, was possible but unlikely as this is usually seen in older patients.
Friday morning, the Ark started rolling south on I-55 headed for the Gateway Arch. We had a marvelous time in St. Louis (Ed. Note: If you're looking for a Midwestern weekend trip--this was a fabulous, family friendly, low-cost city). On our way home, we had decided to stop and pay a visit to the magnificent grounds of the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville, IL. We wound our way around to the Main Shrine and Amphitheater, where as CB and N napped in the cool of the car, the Captain and I took turns visiting the Rosary Courts where we found rows of devotional candles and cards for prayer requests.
I watched as the the Boy and B returned to the car with their Dad. As he hopped in the driver's seat, he handed me a small card and said emphatically that I should go and light a candle and deposit our prayer request. The request leaving, for once and for all, the referral we sought in God's hands. We prayed that God would bring peace to our family and to the children whose file we reviewed regardless of the outcome. Then, we headed back north on the interstate, to await the results of the Hep C retest over the coming weeks.
Monday morning, after the Captain had left for work, but while the children still slept (I know, a miracle silence on the ark in and of itself); I headed to an early morning rendezvous with my computer. To my great surprise, there was a message from our adoption agency. Trying not to get my hopes up, I opened it and found the test results-the ones that were supposed to take nearly two weeks to arrive-were in our hands after one weekend.
And that baby who was tested? What were his results you ask? Why they were negative, of course; and he and his older sister are now sleeping peacefully in their beds a floor above me as I type. The negative test results shouldn't have surprised us. From the beginning God whispered to us that they were our children, if only it didn't take us so long to hear Him.