When we started the adoption journey with Payton and Yana, we were concerned about possible rejection by the agency, or China, because of Bill's ongoing health issues. For those who don't know, Bill started having unusual physical symptoms immediately upon returning from Afghanistan. These worsened three years ago. He has had hundreds of tests done, and we spent three weeks at the Mayo Clinic, but we were only recently able to get any real information about the cause of his ailments. In any case, it was a real concern whether or not we would get approval to move forward.
Over the course of the past three years, we have done a lot of investigating about his condition- both online and in our own home. I utilized my chemistry education, and years of experience in the field, to understand the toxic chemicals that he was likely exposed to during his deployment to Afghanistan.
During his year in-country, he traveled over 8,500 miles and visited more than 25 bases. He was frequently living only feet from toxic burn pits, and was constantly breathing in air that was full of pesticides and herbicides. Needless to say, we knew that toxic exposure was likely the cause of his health issues. Thankfully, a vascular neurosurgeon recently confirmed this with us.
In researching toxins, we came to realize that Bill has also developed severe chemical sensitivities. This was first noticed when he came home from Afghanistan and was immediately allergic to our bulldog (Buddy), dairy, eggs, wheat and soy. Thankfully, some of these allergies have lessened, though we did have to pass Buddy on to a loving owner.
In particular, we believe that our previous two homes since Afghanistan were off-gassing heavy amounts of toxins, significantly accelerating Bill's health decline. Both were new homes, which are known to release heavy toxins in the first few weeks, months and even years. In the last few months, though, we were blessed to purchase a new home with numerous non-toxic upgrades. It has non-toxic hardwood flooring and is painted with zero VOC paint. We also have put up low-emission blinds with non-toxic drapes. In addition, we have also eliminated harsh cleaning chemicals, and rely on baking soda and vinegar (except for dish detergent- we have yet to find a healthy detergent that will actually remove stains- Bill just gives his dishes an extra rinse post wash).
Since moving to our new home 4.5 months ago, Bill's health has gradually improved. He has started taking organic vitamins in the last two months, which includes two detox formulas, and we find that these are accelerating his improvement (http://teamrobinson.mytouchstoneessentials.com).
In spite of these issues, we felt God's leading in the adoptions. We know that God calls us to rely on His strength in challenging times, and we felt His heart for Payton and Yana. As I mentioned, we were nervous that China would not accept our application because they originally had required that both parents be in "good health" at the time of adoption. When we got Bill's medical evaluation done for the home study, his doctor truthfully wrote down that he is in "fair health."
An amazing thing has happened in the past month, though. It was announced on December 5th that China was lowering their adoption qualifications for Waiting Children! (I should mention that December 5th was the same day that we announced publicly that we were adopting!) What a blessing! My hope is that they have realized that it is more important to get these kids in loving families, than to have the "perfect" families step up to adopt (which leads to fewer children ever being adopted). China's new health requirements for Waiting Children are:
• Applicants must be in good physical and mental condition necessary to provide responsible care for an adopted child:
◦ If diagnosed with anxiety, depression, mania, phobia, or OCD, must be under good control with a small dose of medication (couples only)
◦ If one parent has (or has had) cancer, lupus, nephrosis, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, hearing or language function impairment, or organ transplant within the last ten years, etc., must be under good control AND the other parent healthy
◦ Must not have significant vision loss, limb impairment or paralysis, schizophrenia, or infectious diseases (such as HIV).
• Body Mass Index (BMI) must be under 40
Bill easily falls within these requirements, which is why we were able to get pre-approval for Payton and Yana!
Please pray for Bill's continued health improvements. None of us knows what day will be our last, but our prayer is that he would live a long and fruitful life with his family, serving God.
If you would like to join with us on this journey, your prayers and financial support are coveted. Please give via the links at the right. Thank you from all of the Robinsons!
Here's a cool video that Bill made after his 2007-2008 deployment: