I knew the second I saw his picture that he was my son. I still remember scrolling through my facebook feed when my heart drew me into the boy on the screen and with only seeing his hands I knew…
He was mine.
We were not looking to adopt and years before we would have been too scared to pursue the adoption of a special needs child; especially one with so many unknowns. But our journey had brought us to a place where we were no longer scared, in fact we rejoiced at the idea that this little boy could one day be a part of our family.
My husband and I had met in high school and although we were friends we were far from high school sweethearts. Our story was little more like, boy meets girl, boy likes girl and girl is mean to boy. But several years into college we reconnected and all the things that were important in high school didn’t seem so important any more. After eight months of long distance dating I moved hundreds of miles to marry that boy I once ignored in high school. We simply decided that we glorified God more together than we did apart.
Just over seven years later we found ourselves the proud parents of six beautiful children (three biological children and triplets born at 25 weeks, who we adopted domestically). We were also pursuing the adoption of four-year-old twins from Uganda. A couple months into that adoption we found out we were pregnant.
We were in complete shock but continued on our course trusting the Lord’s plans.
It was just a couple weeks before were scheduled to leave for Uganda that at a routine doctor’s appointment we were told our son had clubbed feet. Even saying the words clubbed feet was hard. Our triplets had introduced us to the medical world so we were all too familiar with the specialists, the waiting rooms and what it meant to be on a first name basis with our doctors.
We trusted in the Lord and stepped forward even in the moments when it seemed impossible.
I traveled to Uganda for a week and came home to care for the kids while my husband stayed for almost six weeks. It was while my husband was in Uganda that I headed back into that same doctor’s office only to overhear the word arthrogryposis. “It looks like he has arthrogryposis”, the doctor nonchalantly said the nurse in room.
The next several months were filled with doctor’s appointments, googling, support groups, tears, and finally a hospital stay. In June of 2012 our sweet boy was born. He was no longer a diagnosis, he was our son. Over the next year we would watch him blossom and fight and bring more joy to our family than we thought possible. We found ourselves traveling all over the US to see the best doctors in world. And the more we fought for him the more he surprised us. And the more he taught us.
Arthrogryposis was no longer something that was scary or limiting, but rather something the Lord had used to make His name great. It was a way for us to see and recognize grace in every second of our lives. We didn’t wait to rejoice until our son took his first steps, we had the privilege of rejoicing with tears running down our face when he wiggled his fingers for the first time. We knew what it felt like to be prayed for by people all around the world while we sat in room waiting for the next surgery to be completed.
We knew God’s grace.
So, really it seemed almost natural when I scrolled through facebook that day…..that I would fall in love. The sweet boy in photo has perfectly curved wrists just like the little boy lying in my room sleeping. And if I looked closely enough I was sure I could see the tops of little casts that would correct clubbed feet. We were already in the trenches of doctor’s appointments, specialists, and daily therapy. I knew that if the Lord saw fit this boy would be a sweet completion to our already-full family.
His file was not ready and so the agency asked us to wait. So we did. We waited and we waited for almost two years before we got the call that his file was ready. In November of 2015 we began the process to adopt a sweet boy we had once only known as Desmond. As with most adoptions the process was long and hard but we knew the boy at the end of all the paperwork was worth every sacrifice. In October of 2015, I boarded a plane to meet the boy who stole my heart two years earlier.
Once we got home we started with all the typical doctors appointments that come along with a child with special needs. And really we are still in the trenches of figuring everything out. He went through one set of serial casting to correct his clubbed feet, a small surgery… and we have a summer scheduled full of doctors appointments. But every day this little boy brings so much joy and life to our family. He is not defined by his condition or by his accomplishments.
We rejoice in the great gift given to us and know he is beloved simply because he is a child of God.