When considering the orphans of China, many think of the the one child policy and specifically the incredible amount of girls that were abandoned as a result. When my husband and I began our adoption process we too thought that it was the girls most in need of homes and loving families.
Like many others, we were surprised to learn that currently in China the wait for a special needs girl is much longer than the wait for a boy.
My husband and I wanted to share our journey of adopting our precious three year old son in hopes that it would encourage those who are waiting for a referral or thinking about adoption to consider bringing a boy into their family.
When we first began the adoption process we were drawn to a baby girl with minor special needs. We already have two biological sons, one with autism and a repaired cleft palate, and one biological daughter. A girl, we thought, was the “logical” choice. And the younger the better. Our biological daughter would have a sister, and minor needs seemed like all our busy family could handle.
However, as our eyes were opened to the many little boys on the waiting list who were ready for families, we felt our hearts open as well. We couldn’t believe that there was no wait for these precious children, and that some of them had been on the shared list for years.
As we worked on our home study and application, we decided not to specify a gender and instead remain open to a girl or a boy.
Additionally, during this process God opened our hearts to a much broader spectrum of special needs than we had previously considered. I remember sitting in front of the computer with the daunting list of needs on my lap researching each one and finally realizing at the end that we actually were open to many of them!
Having a son with special needs who was already in need of various therapies and medical interventions, we felt equipped to deal with an array of special needs. Medical appointments, advocacy, therapies, and interventions were already a part of our daily lives. A child with more significant special needs would fit into the life we were already living.
When our home study and application were finalized, our Family Coordinator pointed out that if we were open to a boy or a girl than we would likely receive a referral for a boy. By that point we were excited about welcoming a third boy into our family and realized that God had completely changed our original plan.
Within days our Family Coordinator suggested we review a file of a little boy that had just been placed on America World’s advocacy page and seemed like a great match for our family.
Elijah was three years old (older than what we had imagined), had cerebral palsy, and at the time his file was written he was unable to walk. We requested an update from the orphanage, talked, prayed, and sought advice from doctors. We were trying to make a wise informed decision but deep down we knew he was our son. We decided to wait until we received an update to make an official decision, but we knew that we would accept the referral regardless of whether or not he could walk.
To our shock, a few days later, we received an update of precious pictures and videos of Elijah walking and talking! We knew he would need various therapies, leg braces as well as have some developmental and possible cognitive delays, but despite the uncertainties, the update confirmed in our hearts that he was our son.
We said yes on June 15 and met him on January 10 – only ten months after we began the adoption process.
Our son Elijah has been home three months now and has already been a huge blessing to our family. He is working so hard in physical therapy. He keeps up with his older siblings and tries everything they do.
It is crazy and beautiful to see how God takes something that you thought you wanted and molds it into what He wants.
We could not have hand picked a better fit for our family. Though we have had our struggles and hardships during the adjustment process, Elijah is sweet and loving and adores his older brothers and doting older sister. Our children adore having a “baby” brother to take care of and have fully embraced him.
Though the child we brought home was very different than the child we imagined when we began the process, we could not be more thankful that God showed us how much higher His ways are than our ways.
– guest post by Megan