by Jenn, mom to Karleigh Mei from China with vision issues
Everyone asks us when we made the decision to adopt. It was a seed that was planted in both Karl and I many years ago. I believe, for myself, it was planted when I was a child. I’ve always wanted to adopt a child. It’s always just been there…that thought, that dream, that longing. I had expressed my feelings to some of my friends and family members, only to realize that not everyone had this. Could the Lord be calling me to adopt? If this is not a longing for everyone, what was this?? After years of this longing growing…and in the meantime raising our four biological children (20, 14, 12 and 10 at the time), the Lord finally told us it was time. We both just knew that this was something we wanted and needed to do.
We began our “paperchase” in March of 2007. While I was gathering up all of our documents, my then 14 yr. old daughter stumbled across some blogs of families that had adopted. I loved reading the stories and looking at the pictures of all the beautiful children. And in some cases, I was able to watch unfold a child become the part of a forever family. My daughter then told me that many of the children in these blogs were “special needs” adoptions. What??? Special needs?? As I read further in the blogs I discovered that some of these children were born with heart defects, webbed fingers and toes, hearing loss, cleft lips/palates, etc. I found myself saying, “If these were children of my own, I would love them just the same and do whatever it took for them. These children are every bit as worthy as any other child…as my own children.” My daughter was the one who really encouraged us to take a look at the special needs/waiting children. I almost felt like by NOT filling out the special needs application that I was closing the door on the potential child that the Lord had planned for us. So we filled out the special needs application with our agency in October of 2007 and decided to wait and see what the Lord had planned.
On July 10, 2008 we received a call from our agency saying that there was a little girl on the shared list that we might be interested in. She was 32 months old and was blind in her right eye. We agreed to take a look at her file. When I opened up the email with her picture I saw a precious little girl with the cutest little lips!! I should have been overjoyed, but fear gripped me. What a huge decision we had to make and because she was on the shared list, we had to act quickly if we were interested in her. What was I afraid of?? For one, I had never seen a child with her condition. Her diagnosis was very vague. She had something on her eye and she was missing part of her upper eye-lid. We could also tell from her picture that she possibly had a cleft in her nose. I was also very fearful of her age. At this point I had read so many books on adopting and attaching, that I was so afraid of attachment/bonding issues. All of the “what if’s” scared me. But, my husband had no doubt that this little one was ours. After time, I realized that no matter WHAT child we had been referred, the “what if’s” would have plagued me. There is ALWAYS something to be fearful of! We sent our Letter Of Intent the very next day.
Fast forward to December 8, 2008, the day that Shi, Qian was placed in our arms!! All of my fears completely dissolved!! Sure, we had and still have some bumpy roads to get over, but this little girl is such a blessing to us and our family. After we got her home we took her to see a pediatric ophthalmologist and she has been diagnosed as having “abortive cryptophthalmos”. Basically, this big word means that her right eye-lid did not form correctly and part of her eye-lid is fused to her eye. Her “special need” is almost non-existent to us though. Being blind in one eye has not slowed this girl down one bit!! I’m amazed that she can’t see in that eye…we forget all the time that she can’t see out of it. We have her eye-lid surgery scheduled for the middle of March 2009. And we have an appointment to see a cranial/facial doctor just to make sure that there are not any hidden issues. And her age?? Oh my goodness, what a perfectly beautiful and fun age she is!! I simply cannot imagine another age! And did I mention she was completely potty trained!! YES!!! No bottles, no diapers, and a beautiful perfect child for our family!
Karleigh Mei Qian is our beautiful daughter, adopted from China. She is filling our lives with sooo much joy! We love her so very much and we cannot wait to see how the rest of her life will unfold! We feel incredibly honored and blessed to have THIS child as our very own.
If you are interested in following us along on the rest of our journey, you can find us here.