Neatly laid out in Times New Roman in alphabetical order are a list of labels, special needs, what China calls diseases.
Albinism…Anal atresia…Cerebral palsy…Cleft lip/cleft palate…Club foot…Congenital heart disease…Delayed development…Down syndrome…Hemofacial macrosomia…Hemangioma…Microtia…Syndactyly…
Some of them you’ve heard of. Others you struggle to pronounce, and you wonder if they’re even in English. Little “x”s in columns with a ball-point pen seemingly have the power to determine the rest of your life.
Every adoption agency’s going to make you do it. And, even if it wasn’t inevitable to the adoption process, it’s important to think through. Are you willing and able to walk a child through multiple surgeries? Does your insurance company cover serial casting? speech therapy? prosthesis? hearing aids? Do you live close to specialists? Can you afford to travel if you don’t? Do you feel uncomfortable about physical differences that will invite even more questions? You have to have the conversations, as uncomfortable as they are, even though they make you squirm in your seat.
But, there’s something very important you have to remember—real life children who don’t lay neatly on a page in alphabetical order.
He hates bananas and loves to dance.
Don’t even try to take a cracker out of this one’s hands.
She likes to ride behind a buddy on a plasma car.
She’s pretty serious except when you tickle her and blow air in her face.
They may be listed in an orderly fashion by name, birth date, and disease on a database that your social worker can easily sort. But, do not be deceived by the order of it all. Every child listed there is very much a four-dimensional child who is way more than a special need.
Let your YESes be YESes. And, do not be afraid to let your NOs be NOs. But, maybe, just maybe, there should be more MAYBEs than anything else with a very un-neat * disclaimer handwritten on the bottom that says something like this—
*We do not necessarily feel called to parent a child with this diagnosis assigned to him or her. But, we are not comfortable closing the door on the possibility that He may call us to a particular child and that that child may come with this label. So, unless you hear differently from us while we wait, consider this a MAYBE because we’re holding this whole process in our hands loosely with hearts not only willing but desiring only to do that which He’s called us to do.
Feel free to blame me if your social worker has a mini panic attack. I can take it.
Amen. So good.
I love this post Kelly. We originally checked no on Albinism, then changed to a maybe, but when we received our daughters file God made it more then clear our Yes was to be YES and oh my are we ever glad we changed that no to maybe so that we could say yes!!!!
Our list was so fluid–our social worker probably had daily emails from me 🙂 She’s now a stay-at-home mom and serves on the board of The Sparrow Fund with us. So thankful that she rolled with us as we gave her lots of notes to our notes even. 🙂
Kelly, this us the best thing I’ve ever read! You spoke my heart. We have 2 from China (1 with his own alphabetical list of labels), a bio blessing, and are in process on a boy (with a list) from India. I sometimes struggle to put the “why” into words. You’ve done it beautifully. They are not their needs. Made my morning!
Monica, such a blessing to me to read your comment. Bless you as you parent your special children!
Love this post.
I just checked off everything just in case lol