Friday, November 22, 2013

Uneasiness and Fear Are All {perfectly normal} Parts of the Journey...

In my late 20's a fertility specialist told us my window to have children was going to close early.  Adoption never occurred to me at that time and we went through years of fertility treatments.  We were blessed with two little boys but also experienced 4 miscarriages, the last being a surprise pregnancy.  My doctor told us he felt it was time for us to be done trying have children.

…but I didn't feel done.  I grieved deeply for the children I had lost and the children I would never have.  

Then early one October morning I saw there was a new little boy at preschool and asked my son to invite him to play.  He did and was met with wide eyes but no response.  I hadn't noticed there was also a new Mom in the room and she knelt down next to my son and explained that her son didn't speak much English yet…  I didn't know it at the time, but God had dropped the answer to my prayers right in front of me!  

I spent a lot of time asking her about adoption and which agency they used and all the questions people who don't know anything about adoption ask an adoptive parent.  She suggested we go to an informational meeting their agency was hosting and we went thinking domestic adoption would be our route.  When we got in the car after the meeting all I could think about was how there are so many families lined up for a domestic newborn but around 2,000 "special needs" kids sitting on a list in China waiting to be chosen.  Just like that everything changed.  Armed with information about the Waiting Child program I felt overwhelmingly like my daughter was in China…but I haven't mentioned my fear of flying or leaving my children yet…  It took 3 months for me to get up the courage to mail in our formal application and first payment, but fearfully trusting, I did.

Several months later we were ready to be matched but only open to a minor needs girl under 12 months.  Amazingly, just a month after our paperwork was completed our agency called about an 8 month old girl with missing a hand.  Of all the special needs we said we were open to, limb differences was the one we were the least comfortable with.  It was the one I had found the hardest to research, and if I'm being brutally honest, I'm sure at the time part of it was cosmetic and a fear of something I knew nothing about.  Wow, a whole hand missing.  How would this child function in day to day activities?  (Clearly I'd had NO exposure at this point to anyone with a limb difference).

The research began.  I joined Yahoo groups galore about limb differences and parenting kids with limb differences.  I found blogs and pictures and articles.  I requested that people who have children missing a hand or arm email me their experience and the response from these families was overwhelming.  We even received an email from a 7 year old girl missing part of her arm and she brought us to tears telling us about herself.  

I'm a little embarrassed now to admit to everyone  our initial thoughts and fears over a missing hand, however, I'm hoping my embarrassment will give some comfort to this blog's readers who are feeling uneasy about the idea of a waiting child adoption. Please know that it's perfectly okay to be nervous and unsure about the special needs you are considering.  Do your research and connect with others who are already parenting a child with the special needs in question.  There is so much information out there and an entire adoption network of people who are happy to share their experiences.  We found both the adoption and limb difference communities to be welcoming of our questions and very supportive.

Once we were educated we became less concerned with our daughter's limb difference and just thrilled that she was overall a healthy little girl.  We submitted a Letter Of Intent for her almost immediately after her file was locked for us and felt an amazing sense of peace about her.  

We will be celebrating our daughter's second Gotcha Day this February and are so blessed to have her in our family.  

I wouldn't hesitate to adopt another limb different child and now find myself open to so much more than I ever would've imagined when we were just starting out the process.  These are innocent children and they deserve our consideration even if it's a little scary at first. We owe it to them to educate ourselves fully before deciding if their needs may be too great.  

If you are just in the research phase and learning about special needs adoption please branch out beyond just reading about a diagnosis or talking with medical professionals.  Connect with people who have gone before you and adopted children with the special needs you are considering, even those that may sound scary.  Although every child is unique you may find that these wonderful parents can give you a new perspective and possibly connect you with other adoptive parents they've met on their own journey.  There are many Yahoo groups, Facebook pages, blogs and waiting child adoption advocates like myself who are more than happy to offer encouragement and support for families who are just beginning to explore a waiting child adoption.  

Rebecca is a stay at home mom and waiting child adoption advocate with two awesome bio boys and a sweet little girl adopted through the Waiting Child program in China!
You can visit her blog at
and you can watch their adoption video at

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