Wednesday, March 19, 2014

REPOST: Adoption is not for the faint of heart.

** I wrote this blog about a year ago but its worth sharing again**

Recently I was contacted by a set of parents who needed new info for their referred child.....they had less than 24 hours to make their decision.  The file was over a year old and they had a couple of photos of her.  She was institutionalized since birth and is currently 26 months old.  Her special need was "autistic features"

These parents were not scared of the autistic diagnosis...they just wanted to see where she was on the spectrum of severity.  However, I heard fear in their questions...  why is her head flat?  Why does she have a red mark around her arm like she was tied?  The other comment...."I have no idea how parents do THIS more than once... Adoption is hard"

I told them... Adoption is not for the faint of heart.

My main point of this e-mail is to say that adoption comes with many unknowns.  The unknown of timing, the unknown of cost, the unknown of what child you will make a part of your family, and the unknown of the extent of special needs your child will have.

I have brought home 8 children from China who were listed as waiting children.  Each time our family stepped forward in faith, we knew the medical file we received may or may not be valid.  We only once had a video of a child and even it was deceiving. There are always holes in the information and  the information you receive is usually very general (like the developmental milestone page)

On his gotcha day, I was given my son, Jonathan, along with an echocardiogram and told...He has a heart defect "Do you still want him" 

 On gotcha day, I met my 11 year old daughter, Piper, and as we left the 2nd floor of the civil affairs building, I was told, "She cannot do steps"  I carried her two flights of steps on my back to just get out of the building. We lived in a split foyer home and in her file "can do steps" was checked.

On gotcha day, my husband met our 6 yr old son, Elijah, and realized he cannot form words correctly and cannot be understood when he speaks.  The box marked "can speak 2-3 word sentences" was checked.

On gotcha day, my son, Joseph, was brought to me barely alive. The child I received photo of was at the BOTTOM of a slide, was pictured standing in the middle of a playground, and was pink.
Joseph was the picture of death-- purple and gasping for each breath.         

I have wondered recently.... why?  This is the age of digital cameras...this is the age of computers.  WHY are these files so empty and WHY are we not getting the full "picture" of our child to be?  Sometimes I think the files are worded and purposely left empty to help the child get a family.  Sometimes I feel the file is filled out by someone who really doesn't know the correct diagnosis but fills in a blank with a guess.  Sometimes I think they are filled out correctly and then the "higher ups" remove needs that could potentially be hidden until the child is being parented.

Adoption is not for the faint of heart. Adoption is a gamble.  Adoption has many unknowns and you have to be willing to accept it.  I don't feel it should be this way but, frankly, we enter into adoption knowing it will happen this way.

When you are adopting think of these few things....
--I will love my child not matter what.  
--I realize there may be many more issues to handle than what is in the file
--I realize these children did nothing to make them the way they are...they were born into an unfortunate situation and given less than they deserved for whatever period of time they were without a family.
--You cannot control many of the unknowns of adoption.
--You can prepare yourself as much as possible by educating yourself about the effects of being in an institution.
--Your child is not cured just because they have had surgery.
--You can prepare yourself by realizing that bringing a child into your family through adoption will be very very hard.  It is not rescuing the child and making everything ok.  It is taking them from everything they know and removing them from what they feel is security and home. It will take along time for them to acclimate to your home, family, and our country.
--Your family may go through come rough times and it affects the other children in the home as well.
-- Your trip to get your child will be exhausting and full of difficult times.  It is not a vacation.

Once you can wrap your brain around all of this... 
 Live with confidence and stand tall....

--- YOU are about to do one of the hardest things in your life with the BIGGEST blessing on the other side. 
--- YOU are about to be the hands and feet of Christ to a child.
---  YOU are about to show others the possibilities of infinite love for a child even if they are not "yours"
---YOU are about to show others in your family, church, and community what unconditional love is.


Piles everywhere.
This is what my house seems to consist of ---- laundry piles, toy piles, paper piles.
Can you relate?
 I am no June Cleaver when it comes to housekeeping and I admit it.
I just can't justify cleaning when the human tornadoes I call children whiz through the house mere seconds after picking up everything to create more piles. Its frustrating, so, I don't deal with it.
Yes, I should be "THE mom" who demands order and keeps after my kids with every breath I take.
I don't have time for that. I know I need to "train up"my kids and I have to make it a priority but right now I can't for MY sanity.

So, I have designated the refrigerator as a place of importance.  The side of the frig is mine to put important papers and reminders -- you know, the bills!
The front is a place of commendation - where my kids desire to hang those precious works of art I will cherish in 20 years after they have grown.

Today starts a new weekly blog post called "THE FRIG". As I said, I use the front of my frig as the place where I display my children's art work.  I am now sectioning off a space about eye level on my refrigerator for something special to me.  (The kids cant reach there anyway)
It will be something  or someone I want to pray about for the week and every time I walk by I can lift a prayer to the Father.  Of course, I will put orphans on my special spot - but I will also call your attention to scripture and opportunities for you to pray and seek Him.

And, just so you can see what I am talking about with my FRIG---

so -- did you spot HIM??
Yes, of course my first "FRIG honor" goes to a deserving lil guy who needs a family!
His advocate name is Kellin and he is precious.

Here is a closer shot:

I have been watching Kellin for several months as he was with an agency for awhile and then was returned to the shared list.  This means essentially he gets lost in the shuffle of 1800 children's files that are waiting to be found.  Its so sad because he basically become a number on the shared list unless someone brings him to the spotlight - or the frig...
I'd love to bring him home but there are reasons why we wont. (We are done) (I think)
In China there are special places run by non government organizations (NGO's) that help a small percentage of the children who wait for a family.  Most of these foster homes are for medically fragile children or children who need specialized care.  Kellin was blessed to be at one of these facilities for visually impaired children for a small time in his life. (Bethel) You see, he came into care there as a sick, fragile baby and he THRIVED.  He was doing fantastic and was healthy and was making forward progress!  The above photo was taken during his stay there.  However, Kellin's orphanage decided to call him back.
Think about this.  He is blind.  He was returned to his orphanage to strangers and is now left to lie in a hard crib day after day with little stimulation.  Can you imagine the truly devastating circumstance Kellin is in?  He cries... and cries..... and cries.  Noone there to love him.  I can hardly type this as I just need to fall on my face for him.  I cannot turn my back. I cannot move from the paralysis of this completely wrong situation of this tender child.
Do you get it?
No, really....DO YOU GET IT?
I could go on and on about sacrifice and how we, as Americans, are spoiled and have an air of entitlement.  That's another blog post.  Today - I want you to think of Kellin...
Think about the fact that he may be there--in the crib-- no touch-- little interaction--- for years.
Do you get it?

Say a prayer for Kellin today for me.  I am broken for him.