God’s plans are always best… even when we fight them.
After years of dealing with infertility and finally placing our desire for children into the hands of our Father, He revealed that His plan A for us was adoption.
When my husband and I first started our adoption process, we told our agency that we were interested in a healthy baby, as young as possible. How naive and selfish we were to let our dreams focus on a perfect small bouncing bundle of joy. We were looking at adoption through the eyes of the world, not the eyes of our Heavenly Father.
After several months of paperwork and blocks in the road, our case worker told us about the waiting child list in China. Initially we looked at each other with fear and trepidation and said, “We don’t think so”, but God had other plans. God gently whispered into our hearts. “I love you regardless of your imperfections. I love you so much that I sent my one and only flawless Son to die for your sins. If you were already perfect, you wouldn’t need me. All My children are beautiful to me.”
Enter Rong Zhi, the precious little girl who became our daughter Grace.
Grace is a vivacious fun loving five year old who makes friends everywhere she goes. She was born in 2009 and joined our family in May of 2011. Grace has deformities of her fingers and toes resulting from Amniotic Banding Syndrome (ABS). She is missing her big toe on her left foot and the middle toes on her right foot are fused together as one. Additionally, her right foot has a mild club foot resulting from the ABS. Her index finger on her left hand is not properly formed and two of her middle fingers on her right hand are short. We took her to a renowned pediatric hand surgeon at Scottish Rite Hospital in Dallas and their team did some work on her right hand to help with mobility and will possibly do on a follow up surgery to pull back the webbing between the fingers on each hand in the next few years. She wore a cast post surgery for 6 weeks for her first surgery, and the follow up surgeries would be similar but would require two surgeries, one for each hand.
We also went through a series of casts on her right foot/leg to work on stretching the muscles to help the foot straighten and stay in the right position. She now wears an Ankle Foot Orthosis (AFO) brace and we continue with stretching exercises at home.
In regard to fused toes, sometimes corrections can be made and sometimes not. With Grace’s toes, the doctors did not feel comfortable operating for fear it would be extremely painful and not necessarily improve her quality of life. Since her toes grew together in utero, the nerves are all intertwined, making for a painful surgery with no guarantees. She has all the joints so she walks, runs, jumps, climbs everything in sight and loves her gymnastics class! While all this sounds complicated, God has walked with us every step of the way, and we are excited to watch His plans for her life unfold!
Our journey is about to begin again! We just returned from China with our new four year old daughter, Eva, who also has hand deformities and limb difference.
One of our greatest struggles will be dealing with our children’s hurt feelings when other children ask them why their hands and feet are different. We know and will always communicate to them that God sees them as perfect and beautiful, but that we live in a fallen world, so there will be questions and looks. Haven’t we all experienced the cruelty of children at some point in our lives? Did any of us escape the teen years unscathed, without a hurt feeling stemming from ridicule by someone over something “wrong” with you? Of course, this will break our hearts, but we pray that we will use these opportunities to point our precious babies to the One who loves them more than any of us could imagine or fathom.
My children are beautiful!
“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” (I Peter 3:3-4, NIV)
Suzanne works as a Pilates instructor and teacher trainer while homeschooling their children and working as a part of WAGI, The Sparrow Fund Blog, leadership team. You can follow their adoption journey and life on their blog, Surpassing Greatness.
At NHBO, we love Family Stories. And we know our readers love them, too. Beyond being encouraging and informative, Family Stories shared here have actually resulted in children coming home to a forever family. If you’ve adopted a child through China’s special needs program, we hope you’ll consider sharing your family story. It just may be the reason another family considers that very special need.