I’ve been thinking a lot about Special Needs (SN) adoption for the last few days… In case you’re not familiar with adoption, at least in Ch*na, Special Needs could be any child that is not a perfectly healthy child or a perfectly healthy child, over the age of 6.
I don’t want to disclose my daughter’s private medical information on an open blog, but I will say her SN was very minor…you would be shocked that it was even considered a SN.
But since we started the adoption process, the SN process has changed drastically.
Currently, there is one large list of children that goes out to about 30 agencies. I have heard rumor of some agencies still receiving their own list, but I can’t confirm that. So with the new large list, prospective parents complete a list of needs they’re willing to consider, and agencies match them with the children on this large list. But now, parents from 30 different agencies are essentially ‘competing’ for the same children.
Agencies lock the file of a particular child and then the parents have 48 hours to have the file examined by a physician, write a care plan and submit a Letter of Intent…that’s INSANE!! There is no way that a family can make a thoughtful, educated, non-emotional, prayerful (if you’re like us and depend on prayer) decision.
Add in the concern that the extent of a child’s needs may not be fully apparent at the time a file is submitted by the orphanage and I think you have a recipe for disaster. I recently heard of an agency that had 7 adoptions disrupted in one month… I don’t know if the families disrupted while still in Chi*a, or after they came home…but how tragic…primarily for the child, but also for the families.
Adoption is hard…we have had the best possible transition. Abby is amazing, I would do it all over again, but it doesn’t change the fact that even the best possible transition still has challenges. And then, if you have biological children, the challenges are multiplied by the number of biological children.
Are they good changes? ABSOLUTELY…we are all learning what it means to lay down our life for another, but emotionally, it can be tough. So I can’t imagine how difficult it would have been if we had been surprised with more needs than we anticipated.
Scott and I had already talked at length about what we would do if we arrived in China and her needs were more extensive than we thought…we both agreed, that at that point, God would have put us there for a reason, so we would have moved forward. But I have to honestly admit, I’m so glad God didn’t allow us to face that test…
You see, for me at least, when you’re thinking about all of these precious children that need a forever family, it is so hard to remain objective about what you can and can’t handle. It becomes very emotional, the heart gets involved, and sometimes you think you and your family can manage more than perhaps you really should… I think it would have been very easy to find ourselves there.
But having walked this path now, I’m so thankful that God knew better than us and He protected us from making a decision about a SN that was bigger than what He was calling us to. Would He have equipped us to handle anything He called us to? ABSOLUTELY…but sometimes it is so hard to separate what He is actually calling us to and what is simply His heart, in us, responding with compassion and love.
What do I mean by that? Well, if I jumped on a plane and responded to every tragedy that tore at my heart, my family would never see me. The more I grow in my relationship with Christ, the more my heart breaks at the stories I read…AIDS and orphans in Swaziland…children living on garbage dumps in Kenya…orphans in China…lepers in India…young prostitutes in Thailand…on and on it goes… But just because my heart aches for all of these situations and just because there does need to be someone who reaches out, it doesn’t always mean it’s me.
I have to pray and seek God’s will, what is He truly calling me to and then step out in obedience…that’s when He will equip me to handle whatever He calls me to, no matter how difficult it is…
And just in case you’re wondering what I mean by “called” to do something… don’t worry, He’s not dialing me on the phone and I’m not hearing big, booming voices from heaven… But for me, He will often confirm the desires that He is placing on my heart with a word from Scripture, perhaps something in my morning devotion, my Bible study or even a word from a friend or in a sermon…usually I just keep running into the same message over and over…and if it involves the entire family, like with adoption, He changed Scott’s heart too…I know for certain that He will NEVER lead Scott and I in two separate directions.
I pray for the families that are in the midst of dealing with this new system…I am so thankful that we found Abby on the last ‘paper’ list for our agency and that we had time to wait and pray…for God to show us clearly, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that she was our child. She is truly the most amazing blessing…perfectly matched with our family.
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