Our adoption story started much like everyone’s adoption story… my husband Mark and I decided to grow our family by adopting a baby from China.
Our log in year was 2007, just before the Beijing Olympics and a few months before the Hague initiative. We were originally told our adoption would take approximately eighteen months from start to finish, and we could expect to add an infant girl to our family.
Fast forward to 2015 and we became the proud parents to Tyler Henry, a lovable, rambunctious, smart, loving, servant-hearted four year old boy. How we got here is an interesting journey.
When we began our process, adopting a boy was not an option. In fact, our local agency had never placed a boy in their 27 years of operation. We prepared our hearts and home for a baby girl.
After we had been on the waiting list for quite some time, hoping to reduce our wait time, our agency contacted us about “special needs” children. We had not really discussed “special needs” nor were we keen to the option. Honestly, we were even afraid of the term.
During the long wait, Mark and I had several heart to heart conversations about it and realized that special needs was not something to be afraid of and even something we could manage.
Our bundle of joy was presented as having a micropenis. Feeling lead, we said yes before we received any detailed medical information from China. After viewing the photos and consult with an international doctor and two local doctors, all agreed that this boy was perfectly healthy. Most likely his penis was hidden under a small layer of fat – something that he could very well live with for the rest of his life if indeed it was an existing condition.
We traveled to China and returned to the United States. One doctor’s appointment later and the diagnosis of micropenis was no more. We had a healthy boy!
Eventually, we did notice that Tyler’s eyes seemed to drift slightly – a condition we later learned was strabismus. The first diagnosis by our pediatric ophthalmologist was an immediate requirement for glasses. What a surprise, we now have a need!
After Tyler was fitted with glasses, his whole world expanded! What a joy watching him see more clearly. As our doctor continued to monitor the strabismus, he initially suggested a stronger lens prescription to see how our baby’s eyes responded.
A later follow up visit determined that Tyler did in fact have a need for the corrective exotropia surgery. This surgery needed to be performed relatively quickly in order to be completely successful. We learned if the condition goes untreated for too long, the eyes can be corrected physically, but the brain will not adjust properly thus grossly affecting sight.
Mark and I never wanted to face the reality of surgery for our boy. But in May 2016 Tyler had successful surgery to correct his eye alignment. He continues wears his glasses daily. His eyes are getting stronger all the time and his hand-eye motor skills have increased immeasurably.
Through this experience we have reaffirmed the real special need for Tyler and all orphaned children….
the need for a forever family’s love and care.
– guest post by Christie