I'll Say It

June 12, 2010 older child adoption, Wife of the Prez 17 Comments

This post is one that has been brewing, stewing, soaking … whatever you want to call it … in my head for a LONG time.

I just read the latest update on our agency’s blog. Here is an excerpt:

The current wait time from LID to referral is 50-51 months with a trend of increasing approximately a full month each month. Families should read the China Program Newsletter emailed on 3/19/2010 to understand the variety of factors contributing to the wait time and the reasons why it is impossible to predict the referral wait time for each family. Families should continue to anticipate a long wait for a referral.

50 to 51 months. In reality, that is 4 years and 3 months.

4 years and 3 months.

Let that one soak in.

And then this excerpt:

The Waiting Children program is also an excellent option for families who are interested in a boy, an older child, or a child with various types of medical or repaired conditions.

And there are over 1,000 children WAITING.

Does anyone else besides me wonder why there are THOUSANDS of people waiting YEARS for a child they want so badly when there are children WAITING? There are more than 1,000 children waiting on a list who are paper-ready and there are an estimated 30,000 families waiting. What are these families waiting for? Or rather I should say whom?

I know many will say it isn’t really that simple. But isn’t it?

I can tell you that the VAST majority are waiting for an infant girl, who is deemed healthy, and is under two years old. Is that in and of itself wrong. Of course not.

And yet, is it possible that at least a small percentage of those waiting, particularly those who say they were called to adopt by God … isn’t it possible that some of those 30,000 families might actually already have a child waiting … if they would just allow God more room to work?

Is it possible that a couple with no children could be equally blessed to have a SON as much as a daughter?

Yes, I just said that.

The TRUTH sometimes hurts. And the truth is that little boys under two who are listed with the need of cleft lip and palate, just as an example, are waiting on the list sometimes for MONTHS. A little girl, under two with cleft lip and palate … they are FOUGHT OVER by families. And I do mean fought over. Visit forums and boards when a new shared list is released by China once a month if you doubt that. You’ll see words like “disappointing”, “lacking”, “small” and others I won’t even type. What people are really trying to convey is there is a lack of young girls available with minor needs.

It really reminds me of supply and demand, and quite frankly it turns my stomach.

Before anyone asks, I will tell you straight up that back in September 2007, the Prez and I filled out a checklist. We marked 12 special needs, two of which were repaired heart disease and unrepaired cleft lip and palate. We later changed heart disease to unrepaired as well.

And we marked another box: GIRL.

But we didn’t know … about the boys. And we wanted a girl. And we didn’t know about the boys.

Once you know …

I will share that our little girl was NOT fought over. I know that. She waited for weeks on the shared list before we received THE CALL about her. If we ever adopt another little girl or a big girl from China, she WILL BE WAITING. We will never join the “feeding frenzy” (not my words but one you’ll see every month if you visit the forums).

No thanks.

But back to the waiting children and our agency … all of the families undergo a stringent process …one aspect of which includes a statement of faith in Christ and a letter recommendation from one’s senior pastor. And I am left to wonder: is God REALLY calling such a disproportionate number of families to ONLY be open to a little girl under the age of two?

Or are His people just not listening? Or willing? Or insert any number of words in that blank.

Sometimes the truth (at least as I see it) really, really, really hurts.

If this posts makes you angry and you are a believer and you are waiting YEARS for the *perfect* child for family, PRAY and ask God to reveal to you HIS WILL. Does it mean that you heard wrong years ago when you marked “girl under two” on your application if you now open your home and heart to a little boy?

I don’t think so.

Maybe God needed that time to shape you in some particular way. Maybe YOUR child was not ready to be adopted yet. I don’t have those kinds of answers, but I’ll never believe that there are so many BOYS waiting and so many families waiting for years and that this is God’s will.

I just can’t believe that.

I could be wrong though. I have been before.

This Thursday, The Prez and I will depart early in the morning for the first of three flights that will take us all the way to China to bring home our TWO SONS. They are 10 years old and 5 years old. They both waited a LONG time on agency lists. As far as I’m concerned, they were waiting for us and us them. And yet I know there are countless other boys just waiting on the shared listing. Your agency could give you the files of countless little and big boys who are just waiting.

Our oldest waiting son has heart disease; it was unrepaired when we sent our letter of intent to China and we found out he had heart surgery in December. Our younger waiting son has heart disease and cleft lip and palate. He has had surgery on his heart and cleft lip.

Our boys fit the description of “harder to place.” I’m not sure how I feel about that, but it is the truth. And sometimes, the truth really, really, really hurts.

Maybe your son is just waiting … for you. And you … for him.

17 responses to “I'll Say It”

  1. Tara Anderson says:

    As an adoptive parent who went from "healthy girl AYAP" to a BOY with multiple needs, I can also testify that there are abundant blessings waiting for those who step beyond the "demand" and open their eyes to what God has in store for them. I never in a million years would have guessed that I could feel such unspeakable joy when I stare at pictures of my SON!!!

  2. Amy Murphy says:

    AMEN!!!!!!! OH! I just want everyone in the world to read this and UNDERSTAND. Thank you! Thank you! We hope one day to go back to China, and get another boy, w/ club feet (hopefully, but we'll see what God's plan is!) Our boy is the most wonderful thing on this planet! I couldn't imagine sitting here for 2-3 more years to get a "healthy" girl!

  3. Carla says:

    YES! I so desperately want people to see how precious these little boys are… our son (from China, deaf, adopted at 2.5yrs) is a treasure that we thank the Lord for each day. I hope others will have their hearts softened and eyes opened. Thank you for writing this.

  4. Allison says:

    We are one of the families you are talking about. Started the journey 4 years ago, "knowing" that we were called to adopt AYAP girl from China. I mean, they are not loved by their own, and we knew we would love any little girl that we were given! Jump ahead 3 1/2 years, much like you, I did not know about the SN boys. No one had ever told me, but I had never asked. Randomly we received an email (having just spoken with our SW expressing we were just going to wait it out) with the picture of a little boy with a CL/CP who was just 13 months old. It was only then that I realized that so many little boys were being looked over and were waiting WAY too long for families. It took us just a few days to decide that our new calling was to this BOY! Not AYAP "healthy" girl, but a 13 month old, SN boy. I praise the Lord every day that He spoke loud enough for me to hear Him, and I am so grateful that our hearts were prepared to listen and obey.

  5. Joan says:

    I spent a summer working for a children's home, we had two children with the same diagnosis, one a boy and the other a girl.
    I went back the following summer and found him, and it breaks my heart that he wasn't snatched up.

    Thanks for sharing, I hope that many people will be open to having a boy, and I sure hope and pray that he isn't there next time I visit.

  6. Courtney says:

    Thank you for this post. Both our boys from China were not fought over and were considered hard to place. Isaac was unrepaired cleft lip and palate, and we are currently in the process to adopt our little boy from Hubei with limb difference. The boys need homes just as much as the healthy little girls do. We wanted to adopt children that might not get a home if we didn't take them.

  7. Donna says:

    Amen!!! Our first adoption was "female ayap" – and she is an amazing blessing. But when God put our son on our hearts, He opened our eyes to all the boys waiting for families. Boys like our own who wait 6-7 years to be in a family forever. Years. Couldn't quite wrap my brain around it. I would love to see more of these dear ones find families….

  8. delucchi family says:

    The truth hurts, but it has to be heard. I also dont understand why so many parents are waiting while the orphanages are full of so many children – I know, I have been there and seen them. Great post.
    Love Jules

  9. Hartley says:

    My son isn't adopted internationally, he is adopted domestically through foster care. I just want to put it out there that this post applies to families wanting to adopt here in the US as well. Infant girls, and girls in general, are often placed quickly, while boys are left waiting for years (check the adoption photolistings). I encourage anyone considering foster-adopt to consider SN boys as well.

    I always thought I would be the mom to girls — and truly would love to have a daughter still — but that isn't what happened. I have three beautiful sons, and know is what was MEANT for me.

    Thank you for such a heartfelt post.

  10. Regan says:

    It wasn't until I gave birth to a child with complete bilateral cleft lip and palate that my eyes were opened to the plight of children with medical needs waiting in China to be adopted. We have three children, and thought we were done. We have since decided that we will adopt from China in the not-too-distant future. God bless you all!

  11. Jen says:

    I appreciate your point of view, and even agree with it for the most part, but I would caution against judging. We can't possibly know the personal circumstances of families who choose not to adopt through the special needs program…

  12. Chris says:

    In defense of some of those parents…I was one myself….I said "no way can I pick a child" "I'll just let God and the C2A2 pick one." "How can I say I can parent a SN..I'm not that good of a parent"
    Anyway God changed our hearts…we didn't pick our son God did. Our son was on a list and when God showed us….that was it. No I don't feel any more capable of parenting SN, but with God's help we will do it.

  13. connie says:

    Adopting SN was definitely a heart process for us. Of course, the way God opened our eyes to adoption in the first place was an instantaneous revelation. Praise Him that He changes hearts! He blessed us with two 'healthy' girls, a SN boy (who is adorable btw!), and then a SN teen boy and SN toddler girl at the same time. Only with His help can we do this thing called parenting.
    Have a blessed journey to your sons!

  14. Kristi says:

    I have a biological nonverbal daughter with classic autism who is almost 6 years old. We are in the NSN line for a girl age 18 months to 2 1/2 years of age. I selfishly wish that the many people in line ahead of us that have 2, 3, and 4 healthy children already would move over to the SN line. (Sounds horrible of me doesn't it? Sorry, just how I feel some days.) Believe me, I know firsthand just how loveable these special children are. But, I also know that we are in the line that we are meant to be in for our current daughter's sake and our future child's sake. Hope this is understandable.

  15. Mary Beth says:

    I think it is very understandable for you to be where you are. God calls us all to different places in His own time. No one knows our hearts or needs like He does. Thank you for sharing a very different and valid view on this. Blessings to you during your wait. It must be so difficult.

  16. Faith, Hope, and Love says:

    Amen!! Thank you for writing what I've been thinking. I do understand that SN is not right for everyone. But what I don't understand is how there are 1000 waiting children. Surely in this big ole world…there are 1000 families that could love these children. Surely….

    Love and blessings,

  17. k says:

    Should we be open if there is a nudge in our hearts? I think so, absolutely. But 30,000 dossiers and being at the back of that line is never a reason to consider adopting a child with a known medical condition. Or thinking for a minute that cleft lip and palate are "minor" medical needs. It takes discernment, and careful planning, and putting the child first (meaning, their needs are put above yours- making sure you have the financial resources, medical resources, emotional resources, etc, to parent a child with special needs).

    God may call us, and you may say God will equip us- but we're not automatons. We're not God's robots. We're in a relationship with him, and by the nature of all relationships, we have responsibilities within that relationship. Those responsibilities are to question, dig, research, and be fully prepared should we decide to say yes. To look in the mirror at ourselves and ask the hard questions. (Do you have life insurance? Guardians that will care for your child? Medical insurance that will cover certain aspects of a child's condition? A plan in place should something happen to your spouse? Do you have the ability to set aside a huge chunk of change every year, knowing you will meet out of pocket expenses without fail- every year?). And while that all sounds practical, it's the basics that need to be in place in order to parent children who have special needs. And I'm just scratching the surface.

    Adoption is complicated and complex IN and of itself. Add IA into the equation, and you add many layers to those complexities. We are adopting not just a child, but as I've said before, a history, a culture and a primal loss: the loss of birth parent and heritage. That alone is unique and equates adopting a child with "special needs". Add a medical condition, and well, you get the picture. Not all of us ARE meant for that.

    I'm certain God will fault no one for coming to the conclusion that this path is not the right path for them.

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