This post originally ran on my blog last August. The response to it was so strong that I felt I should post it here as well.
I am writing this post because I have been contacted by several Moms who were in this place in their journey. The place where you are looking at the file of a child and you have to tell your agency whether or not you accept him or her by 5pm tomorrow. Sometimes you don’t even get that much time. Sometimes you are being pressured that if you don’t accept this referral, it may be a long time before you get another.
You are looking at the face of a beautiful child. You were so sure you would know instantly when you saw your child’s face…but you don’t know for sure with this one…you look for any clue, any sign that this is the one.
You read every word in the referral over and over. You forward the referral package to your pediatrician and any specialist you can find. You are typing medical conditions into google search that you cannot even pronounce.
The little face is tattooed in your brain. This is a child living somewhere in the world who needs a family and their fate is in your hands. You could be their mother. All you have to do is say ok.
The anxiety creeps in. Is the file accurate? Can I handle this SN? How will this condition work with our family?
You cannot eat, your stomach is in knots. You cannot sleep…you toss and turn all night long. Is this my child? What should I do?
You pray…literally fall on your face before God begging Him to tell you…give you a sign.
Sophia was the fifth file we reviewed. I had no peace and God was quiet while I suffered through the first four files and let the little girls move on to their forever families. It was hell. That is the only way to describe what I went through. Emotional hell. I questioned my faith, had I not been strong enough to accept the child meant for me? Had I missed a sign from God and let my daughter pass through my fingers?
File Number 1: Beautiful little girl with repaired spina bifida. Her birthday was my Grandfather’s birthday and she had the double cowlick that runs in our family. We thought for certain that this was our girl. Many people fear spina bifida children, but I know through my relationship with Amanda at Starfish that these children can be healed and live wonderful lives and they deserve families. We sent the referral packet off to our pediatrician and he thought some things needed clarification.
The file stated she was standing and walking. He wanted to know if she had bowel control and if she could walk unaided. We contacted our agency and asked them to call the orphanage and ask these questions. They did. If you have a medical question that needs to be answered in order for you to feel comfortable accepting a referral, have your agency call the orphanage. They can and they should.
We found out that this little girl was completely paralyzed from the waist down. The information in our referral packet was incorrect. We sadly turned down the referral. We had decided early on what SN’s we could handle positively and at what severity and this was too severe for us. Be honest with yourselves about what SNs you can handle.
File Number 2: Almost the same situation as file number one, except we could not get the information we needed to feel comfortable accepting the referral back from the orphanage. They would not cooperate with us enough for us to feel comfortable moving forward, so we turned down the file. If you cannot get enough information to feel comfortable moving forward with the adoption, it is OK to say no and let it go. All of the children whose files we reviewed found their true forever families. It was never us.
File Number 3: This one was the most difficult. Absolutely darling little girl with a heart condition. Thank you thank you to my friend Kelly who gave me the name of a fabulous cardiologist. We believed with all of our hearts that this was our daughter. I will always carry her with me. I sent the referral to my pediatrician who said that she would definitely need a second surgery (she had already had one in China), but that he thought it looked ok. I also sent the file to a pediatric cardiologist who called me within an hour to tell me that this little girls situation was grave, she wouldn’t live past her teens. I have an excellent pediatrician, but he is not a heart specialist. Find a specialist whenever you can to review your referral.. If we had not sent our file to a specialist, we would be the parents of a child who would pass away much sooner than we would be ready for her to.
File Number 4: This file never seemed right to me. I got the call from our agency and they sent over the file of a little girl with an eye condition. Her eye would need to be removed. We had asked for the referral of a little girl younger than Eli. We did not wish to adopt out of birth order. Our agency misread this little one’s birthdate and thought she was a year younger than she actually was, she was truly older than Eli. I just knew in the pit of my stomach that this wasn’t my daughter. We turned down the file.
Sophia’s File: I got the call from my SW. She sent the file. I opened it up and refused to fall in love. I just didn’t have it in me. I was afraid of investing in another little girl, I was afraid of the anguish again. I sent the file to Tim. He was instantly smitten. I sent the file to our pediatrician and to the same cardiologist who had given us the terrible news about the other little heart girl whose file we had received. It was 2:30pm and I was told I had until 5pm to decide on whether or not I would accept this little girl and that they had other families who they knew would take her. Thank goodness the cardiologist’s office called back within an hour. They told me that this little girl’s condition was much better than the last and that they thought she looked good and that if they were in our shoes, they would accept the referral.
I had been praying to God to please help me, to please give me a sign. I didn’t need a burning bush (although that would be great). And then I noticed the red maryjanes. I know it sounds random, but it was not random to me. I knew it was God and that He had heard me all of those times before and that His silence was my answer regarding the first 4 files. Those girls were not mine.
But this girl was meant for me. I had peace. I had no sleepless nights. There were no knots in my stomach. Every obstacle in our path was removed. Our daughter came home.
If I can give any woman who is going through this comfort, please find it in this: I do not believe that God will allow you to miss your child. It’s too big. It just is. He will let you screw up a lot of things in your life, but I do not believe this is one of them. God has a purpose and plan for your life and for the life of your child. He is not going to let you adopt the wrong child who was intended for another family and He is not going to allow another family to adopt the child meant for you. I truly believe this. It’s just too big.
– Red Mary Janes