During this same time period, my wife and I had just finished honouring the 1 year anniversary of the day (November 3rd) that our little infant son, Daved, had been born...and died. His was a stillbirth. The memories were still raw and painful even after a year but we were trying to regroup and plan what the next step was for our family. After Daved's stillbirth we were informed that Sherry and I shared a rare genetic abnormality that caused the syndrome that brought about Daved's condition; and not only that but the chances were high that it would happen again. We rejoiced that we had had our beautiful daughter Grace and we wept that we would probably not have any more children.
Adoption had always been something something I was interested in and so , eventually, we began inquiring about the ins and outs of this process. After much thought and prayer - and a bit of desperation - we finally applied to Sunrise Adoption Agency in North Vancouver to adopt a little girl from China. It was just before Christmas 2014 and, oddly enough, Sherry's parents had just returned from a holiday in Vietnam ( they were, in fact, there - unwittingly- in the early days of Le Phuoc Thanh's life). For Christmas that year we received many souvenirs from Vietnam... little did we know what else we were to one day receive from there.
Over the course of the next year our plan for a little girl from China slowly morphed into a little girl from Vietnam as we received more information about opportunities in this South Asian country that was opening up again to adoption. Then came the phone call that there may be a little boy available for adoption - were we willing to accept a little boy instead of a little girl? After some quick discussion and prayer - we said yes , absolutely yes.
These 18 or so months during the adoption process ( combined with what we had been through the year before) were perhaps the hardest and most agonizing in our lives - certainly our married lives. The waiting and the uncertainty and the changes in plans from seemingly out of nowhere that come with international adoption are not for the faint of heart. Some have told us that we are "good people" because of our successful adoption but the truth is there were many times of selfishness ( we wanted another child badly) and there were also times when I was angry with the system and with God and ready to throw in the towel had it not been for the grace of that same God. God is good... we were simply there.
A few Bible verses sustained us during this time:
We knew that God would make " a way" that was "good" and that would "glorify Him" .
Eventually through it all we received our son whom we named Hudson Paxthanh Harder. Hudson was inspired by one of my favourite historical Christians, Hudson Taylor. He was a humble and daring man of God who was one of the first white men to go to Asia and tell the gospel of Jesus - not by trying to convert people to his white culture but by taking on the local culture in dress, custom and language. Thanh is one of his original names and means "Pure" in Vietnamese. We combined this with the Latin for "Peace" to form his middle name.
We must take time now to thank all of the family, friends and others who assisted and supported us through out this journey - emotionally, mentally, financially and spiritually. We simply could not have done it without you. First and foremost our parents and Grace who bore with us through it all and continued to put a smile in our hearts. Hope and George, Aunty Marg and Uncle Carl, Pastor Larry and Eunice, our care group from church,our church family as a whole, Delia, Fonnie and Dat from Sunrise Adoption Agency and so many more. There were times when we felt there was nothing moving us forward but an unseen "wave" of support and prayer. And, of course, above all else, we thank our Lord Jesus Christ Who is able to work all things together for good.
One more thing that needs to be made clear is that Hudson is not some sort of "replacement" for Daved. That would be horrendously unfair to both of them. It would also be dishonest to our feelings of grief we still feel for Daved and for our loss of biological pregnancy. No, Hudson is not a replacement child - He is an additional child. One we love dearly in all of his individuality.
It has only been a week since he has been home with us and we are still all processing and adjusting to each other but we are already in love with him a hundredfold. His infectious smile and heart touching laughter bring us great joy. We do not consider ourselves a special variety of family - we are simply a family. And to Hudson I would say this "You were never abandoned my son, you were always chosen. Chosen first by God and then by us, your loving parents."