by Lucy, mom to Ally and Alaina from China with heart defects
We began our adoption process like most families – waiting for a NSN “healthy” child. We never even considered ANY SN at the beginning. Early in our “wait” I began looking at children on the Waiting Child list, but was always scared away for various reasons. Each time our agency got a list, I would look. We requested a few files and once were not “chosen”. That was about more than I could take. I convinced myself just to continue waiting (even though the wait was getting longer, and longer).
In late April of 2007, we got an email from our agency to let us know that they would be posting a new WC list that evening. We talked about it and decided to “just look”. I wasn’t even that excited about the list, because I was guarding my heart not to get excited and/or disappointed… again.
There were 10 children on the list. We looked at each description of the children without looking at the pictures. We figured we needed to consider the NEED of each child before we were sold on a cute face! Based on the needs listed, there were about 3 or 4 we felt we could handle. #8 caught our eye – she had a heart problem. That was very scary to us – you know, it was one of the ‘big 3’ (heart, brain, spine) and that terrified me. We emailed our agency immediately and requested the meds on little girl #8.
Upon doing further research, we found that her heart condition (PDA) was very common in preemies everywhere and usually required no treatments or had any limitations. So, maybe! But we had to wait. Finally, the call came that WE had been selected to be her parents. This was in mid-May and we met our new little girl on July 15 (just 2 months later) on a HOT day in Xian. Everything went very quickly once we found her because our paperwork had been in China for 15 months (already thru the NSN review room).
Her name is Ally and she has been with our family for 18 months. We visited the cardiologist 2 times and she was dismissed. Her PDA had spontaneously closed – gone, no longer an issue or concern! Praise God!
Our second heart daughter from China came to us in a different way. We went looking for her. We decided that we wanted an “older child” (5 – 7 years old) and we were comfortable with minor heart conditions and open to other SNs. We found her in late April of 2008 on an agency list. She too was a heart baby but she had already had surgery for her VSD in China when she was a baby. She was 5 years old.
We began our paperwork AGAIN. Fortunately, some of our documents (USCIS) were still valid, or maybe we slipped through a loop-hole in some of their transitions. Anyway, we worked to get our dossier to China and pushed our way thru to be one of the first families to travel (late Dec 2008) under the new 800 Hague regulations.
We have been home with Alaina for a month. She is now 6 years old and loving Kindergarten. We were somewhat unsure what we would face bringing an “older child” inot our family, but she has adjusted beautifully! She is such a happy girl. We haven’t gotten to the heart doctor yet (insurance delays with work), but she is full of energy. She is, however, very tiny.
When we started our first adoption, we NEVER imagined that we would travel back to China just a year and a half later for a 6 year old. Looking back I know when God put Alaina in our hearts – it was when we visited Ally’s orphanage. Seeing those children (all SN of some type) — seeing them in person. There they are. Right there. With no one. WOW – it took my breath away, and still does. We knew that if we could, we would have to adopt again. God put us right there – where they were – we had to do something.