October 20, 2008 AGCI, Family Stories, hemi-hypertrophy, limb difference, Orthopedic 0 Comments

by Holly, mom to Josiah from China with a leg length discrepancy

What made you decide to pursue a child through the SN program?

We were called by God to adopt. It wasn’t anything we had really ever given any thought to before. It wasn’t that we were against it, it just wasn’t something that ever came up in our lives. It was very clear to both me and my husband that God had a plan for us that included us adopting a child into our family. We began thinking that we would adopt from the US and God clearly closed that door. Within a short period of time we both experienced a pull toward China, again separately, but when we shared our hearts we found that God was leading them in one direction- China!
As we found our agency and began learning about the process of adopting from China, we learned a little about the Waiting Child program, or Special Needs program. Immediately we both felt that this would be the route in which we would find our child. It had nothing to do with the wait times, we just simply felt in our hearts that this was the direction we would go.
We began the process in the “healthy” program and filled out a long list of special needs we were open to and which we were not open to. Filling out that list sure was difficult! How did we know what God had in store for us?
Less than a month from signing with our agency we received the referral of a 3 year old boy with a sensitive special need. We did not receive his photos due to a glitch in our agency’s system, but we prayed over the weekend and the Lord very clearly showed us to wait, this child was not our son.
My husband had a very specific word from the Lord that our child in China was a boy. I thought with all those precious girls, surely not, but my husband stood firm. Then, I had a vivid dream in which God placed a Chinese boy in my arms and told me that he was my son. I looked him over and said, “He’s perfect! Why did his mother give him up?” and then the dream ended.
Well, a week after our first referral, we received another phone call with the referral of another little boy. We were shocked at the seeming simplicity of his special need- a leg length discrepency that was fairly minor. Again, we prayed for two days and this time, the Lord confirmed to us that we had found the son He had ordained for us! We accepted his referral and began our homestudy shortly thereafter. There are so many waiting children with needs that are minor and/or correctable that it is sad to me that many people are simply afraid to take on a special need because it sounds so scary. I pray that more and more people will open their hearts to those who wait who have needs that may sound scary, but really are manageable. Every child deserves a loving family regardless of what their special need is! I have heard time and time again of families who adopted “healthy” infants from China who ended up having some pretty significant medical needs show up down the road. Of course this could happen to any child but my point is that when you knowingly accept a child with a medical need, you can PREPARE for it and often times the child can have a totally normal life! The need is great and the risks are there, but the blessings outweigh the risks every day of the week!

What was your experience like with the SN program?

We had smooth sailing adopting our son through the SN program!
We accepted his referral before we had any of our homestudy visits done and we moved quickly through the paper chase, got our CIS approval expedited and travled to China 6 months to the DAY of when we accepted his referral and began our homestudy! We didn’t have any snags- praise God!

What agency did you use and were you pleased with their services?

We used All God’s Children International and loved them! They treated us like family from the beginning! We received a weekly phone call during our paper chase phase and a call from our case manager every other week during the wait. She even called to pray with us before we traveled and we e-mailed back and forth from China! They totally held our hand and answered my million nervous questions without ever making me feel like a dork! We received a Moriah Grant from them that was a huge blessing in covering our adoption costs and we know that they truly have a heart for orphan care, not just adoption. We would recommend them without hesitation.

Have there been any additional issues with your child? (medical, physical, attachment, etc)

We did find out that our son had an intestinal parasite about 5 weeks after bringing him home, but it was easily treated. Attachment did not come as easily as I had expected for me (as the Mommy). I had expected that we might have issues with him (our new son) but I wasn’t prepared that I would be the one to struggle with feeling attached to him. I wish that I would have known that my feelings were very normal and that truly, time is a good healer.
His special need ended up causing us even LESS trauma than anticipated as his orthopedic surgeon said likely no need for surgery until he is done growing! We aren’t even using any special shoes for his LLD (leg length discrepency)!
We did find out once we got him in China that his leg is larger in circumference as well as longer in length but we were prepared for that and it didn’t change our desire to make him our son. His condition is called hemi-hypertrophy meaning that half of his body is larger than the other half. His is just affected in his legs and feet. He is at risk for a cancerous condition known as Wilm’s Tumor. We didn’t realize this when we adopted him although it makes no difference because he is our child just as if he had been born to us.
He will have to have renal ultrasounds every six months through the age of 6, when the risk for the tumor reduces greatly. To date (January 2009) Josiah has been with us for 17 months and he is grafted into our hearts and family as though he were a birth child.
His attachment is secure to us as ours is to Him. We are so thankful that we said yes to this precious little boy!
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