by Mara and Kevin, parents to David from China with cleft lip/palate and hypospadias
Kevin and I knew before we were married that we might not be able to have biological children, so we had talked about adoption for years before we started the process in September 2006. Even then, we thought about a special needs adoption but decided that for our first child, we would go the NSN route. As the months dragged on and the wait to adopt from China became longer and more unpredictable, we had frequent discussions about switching to China’s Waiting Child Program. In November 2007, we attended a conference held by our agency, including a small group session with parents who had adopted special needs children. When we got home, we filled out the application for the SN program and 10 days later we got a call about a little boy with a cleft lip (already repaired) and complete unilateral cleft palate. It had happened so fast. We were ecstatic and terrified. We took our time reviewing his file with doctors. We agonized over whether this was the right decision for us and for the cute little boy in the pictures we had received. We wondered if the medical information was accurate. In the end, we both knew that he was supposed to be our son.
In May 2008, we brought David home, and I can’t imagine having any other child but him. He is healthy and happy. He dances to the music of Beyonce (and don’t try to play something different for him!) and helps make dinner in the evenings. He chases our dogs and kisses them night-night at bedtime. He romps with the other kids on the block and drinks disgusting amounts of bath water every night in the tub. He is the sun and the moon and the stars, and every day my husband and I marvel at what a blessing he is.
As it turns out, his medical file wasn’t 100% accurate, but all children come with a few surprises. His cleft palate is much less severe than documented, so he won’t need another surgery until he is 6. He did, however, have a hypospadias that we did not know about. It was repaired in January, and the surgery only kept David down as long as it took the anesthsia to wear off. We went into the hospital one morning at 7:30, were home by 3:00; and he was running laps through our house by 5:30 that evening.
David has brought so much joy to me, my husband and our families. When I see him I do not see my adopted son or my Chinese son, and I certainly don’t see a child with special needs. He is my son, and I cannot imagine life without him.
Feel free to visit our family blog here.