When considering embarking down the road toward adoption, I often hear the same questions over and over again. “How do we start?” This is always followed by “Domestic, private, international, foster to adopt?” What is right for us? “Is every child adoptable?”
If you have been called to adopt, bless you and congratulations! You are about to step into a lifelong journey that will forever change both your and your children’s lives. Now the big question: Just where are your children (or child)?
Domestic infant adoptions are on the rise, and while there is always a need for the newly placed baby, we often forget about those children that are hard to place or special situations. What about those? Have you been called to adopt the waiting child? The hard situation? The special needs child? All are waiting for their family. And that family may just be you. Every child no matter the age or situation that wants a home should and can have a home.
My husband and I set out five years ago to adopt a baby or young child. During the home study process, we were asked to complete a paper that listed all situations we would consider. This included special needs, drug exposed, older children with emotional or physical needs, the kids known as “the waiting child.” At that time, we turned down any special needs because we just felt we didn’t have the ability to care for a child in that situation. We especially did not want to consider any child with a heart condition since we lost our son, William to a heart condition as an infant. We didn’t think we could re-live the same situation all over again. So sadly we said, no.
I’m so glad that God saw the future and melted our hearts and even hid some of the unknown. Otherwise, we would not have our beautiful children with us today. He clearly had His hands all over our adoptions, and now I cannot imagine our lives any other way.
The adoption of our son, Nathan came as a little bit of a surprise. Born on our daughter’s first birthday, Nathan entered the world via a traumatic delivery and was not breathing. After being resuscitated, he was transferred to another hospital where he was diagnosed with a condition called, HIE or Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy. In other words, the lack of oxygen to his brain was long enough that he qualified for a new treatment called, “brain cooling.” His body temperature was lowered enough to allow damage to his brain to stop. Seventy-two hours later, he was warmed, and we signed to become his parents. Now, if you Google HIE, you will see that it is scary. To make things even scarier, Nathan almost died a few times. He required surgery and during the pre-op examination, they discovered that he also had a heart defect.
Now isn’t that just like God? We said no to a child with a heart defect because we were all too familiar with heart defects and didn’t want to go through it again, but God knew that we were actually the perfect family for this little guy because of that very experience with our other son.
You see, not every family is suited for every situation, but there is a situation out there for every family. For our family, babies born addicted, babies born premature, and even babies with special needs and heart defects were the perfect match for our family.
The focus needs to shift from finding a child for a family to finding that perfect family for each child.
There is a family out there that is perfectly suited for each situation. There is a family out there that is looking for a child and may not know what options await. There are families that have the “know how,” background, or set up that would be perfect for bringing a waiting child home to be one of their own to grow, to heal, to thrive.
The special situation, the special needs, or the waiting child can be clouded in fear, but that does not mean that these children are not adoptable. Every child, whether adopted or not, goes through moments that can be challenging and downright scary. But we equip ourselves with knowledge, with open arms and hearts, and we welcome them home. Because God created each of us unique and special. And maybe, just maybe, you are uniquely perfect for that child out there just waiting for you to bring them home.
Resources to research:
The Connected Child by Dr. Karyn Purvis offers wonderful insight and education to parent children from all situations adopted or biological. Video is also available on YouTube.