Jo Jo: adopting a child with undiagnosed urogenital defects

March 16, 2015 Family Stories, micropenis, undescended testicle, Urogenital System 1 Comments

My name is Lynn and I asked if I could share my family’s story. Our hope is that in sharing about a sensitive special need like our son has, a family out there that is thinking of adopting a child with it will be helped.

We have five children. The first three are biological followed by our son who came home from South Korea in 2012 and our youngest son from China in June 2014.

The pull to adopt wasn’t always there. It first was put on my husband’s heart after our second child was born. I always played with the idea in my head but not being a Christian earlier in our marriage played a part in not being serious about it. It was not until I gave my life to Christ that I knew God was calling for us to do this. I know that those of you who are reading this right now, most of you, will get it when I say that I am so grateful we were picked for this awesome journey. I can not imagine it any other way. Once your eyes are opened to God’s plan through adoption, it is a humbling experience and privilege to be included in it. Over our two adoptions, I have never felt closer to God than when being in the middle of it. The feeling of God being so close to you, and the need you have to lean on him because everything is so out of your hands is amazing.

It was about a year after our son came home from South Korea that we started our second adoption. We completed our dossier for South Korea again but this time I just felt like it wasn’t right. I felt we belonged in China. I told my husband that I felt like we were being disobedient if we didn’t listen to God’s pull. Soon enough we pulled our dossier out of South Korea and decided to follow God’s lead. God always knows best.

My husband was away on business when I got a call from our social worker and as soon as I opened his file, I knew without a doubt that this child was our son. I frantically called my husband before he boarded a plane and told him that I thought this was the one. He thought so, too. We knew God was telling us that we had found our little guy. His file didn’t have much to offer for information. It was about a year old and maybe a total of two paragraphs long. His special needs listed were missing digits on all four of his limbs and a deformed ear. All things we thought we could handle. To be honest, at that point it didn’t matter. His picture was already in our hearts.

Fast forward to June of 2014 and we found ourselves sitting in a hot 12th floor government building in Guizhou Province. This is where we picked up our very sick, 14 pound, 22 month old son. He was so scared and sweaty from his very first car ride that lasted 9 hours to get us. And he’d just left behind everything he had ever known.

We brought Jo Jo home and just let him settle. Of course our doctor wanted to start tests right away but we felt we could wait a couple of months. This was one of the best decisions we have ever made. He just started to bloom. He was getting stronger every day and gaining weight like a trooper. He went from 14 pounds to 21 pounds in a little over two months. I want to tell everyone out there that has not picked up their child yet and has not adopted before, you will be completely overwhelmed when you meet your baby and it’s O.K! Some children like our son from South Korea are happy and healthy from the start. Others have not had the resources to do so. My husband and I can both testify that we have never cried so much than in our 2 weeks in China. It was beautifully exhausting and we would not trade it in for the world.

So here we are. Jo Jo has now been home for about 8 months. We have settled in and have a few more diagnoses under our belt. He has also been diagnosed with undescended testicles on both sides and micro penis. Let me just say that none of these diagnoses takes away from the pure joy and laughter that radiates from this child. He is intelligent and handsome. He truly lights up a room. I am so glad that God knows what we need to know at the right times. If we would have read this on his file, I would like to say it wouldn’t have been a game changer for us. God knows better. He kept that out of the picture because he knows all too well that we would have walked away from one of the best things in our lives.


Jo Jo will have surgery in less than two days. It will be a 4-5 hour surgery to fix his undescended testicles, some of his hand and also his ear. The doctors are very confident that they can at least save one of his testes if not both. Worse case scenario, if both are unsuccessful than he will need to take a pill once he hits puberty for the rest of his life. We are so fortunate to live in a country where this is not a problem.

As for his micro penis, we have found a child endocrinologist that is familiar with this. Jo Jo takes a very small dose of testosterone once a month, every month, given by me in the form of a shot. There is a very good chance by the time he reaches adulthood, no one will ever know this was a diagnosis that he once had. It is a scary diagnosis at first but just like anything else, if you take it step by step and lean on The Lord, it is so doable. None of these will affect his life in the long run. Our son will grow up with confidence and the sky is the limit for him.

Please don’t shy away from any of these diagnoses. There are resources out there for you. There are options. If you feel the pull at your heart, listen to it, you will be so glad you did.

– photo by Tish Goff

One response to “Jo Jo: adopting a child with undiagnosed urogenital defects”

  1. Ana says:

    Thank you sooooooo much for writing about this special need! It is such a question mark and sounds like the kind of diagnosis that would lead to a tough adult life. Of course, you cant just google something like that for fear of what you will turn up! I googled hypospadias once and got a whole load of pervy photos of men showing off their doodahs. Bleh…
    very kind of you. We could do with a few more practical posts by parents of children with personal diagnoses!

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