When we began this journey seeking to add another child to our family, I could never have dreamed where God would lead us. I struggled through nine years of heart wrenching infertility wondering why God had not answered my prayers for another child.
I simply did not realize that God had a much bigger plan for our family than I could have possibly imagined.
Through all these years, God was very patient with me as I fought so hard to expand our family according to my own desires.
As I reflect back, I can’t help but feel a little ashamed at my stubbornness, but I am grateful for the path that God led me to, and for this sweet little girl who was brought into our family in such a beautiful way. Every step of this adoption process has been a beautiful unfolding of the hand of God in our lives.
As we began the application and paperwork, we poured over photos and brief information about dozens of children. Honestly, it was so hard to look into the eyes of these orphans… how could I choose just one of so many children? The biggest question weighing on my mind was how I would know which child was supposed to be mine.
One wise piece of advice a seasoned adoptive mom gave to me echoed in my mind as I continued scanning through all of the waiting children photos. She said, “If you walked into a room full of children looking for your son or daughter, your eyes would immediately fix upon your child because his or her face would be familiar to you. There is something beautiful about the familiarity in a little child’s face you have never met. There is a knowing deep inside your heart that you cannot deny. And that is how you will know.”
I longed to feel that “knowing” but I wasn’t even quite sure how that feeling would present itself in my heart when I found my child among all these waiting orphans.
When that moment finally did come, it was undeniable!
I was scanning through pictures of waiting children, and I saw a little girl who at a moment’s glance looked so much like my 16 year old daughter when she was about five years old. I stopped and stared at her big, beautiful smile, and there was something familiar about her — something so profound, and yet beautiful beyond description.
I clicked on her picture to read a little more about her special needs. As I read, I must confess, fear swept over me as I read the word blind. I looked at her picture with that big beautiful smile and her darling ponytails, and I had a moment of peace in my heart. Then my mind took over with a barrage of doubts and fears.
Blindness was not a condition we had ever even thought to consider, and honestly on that day it seemed to be more than I felt I could handle. I couldn’t deny that familiarity in her little face or that feeling of knowing, and yet I hesitated because of fear of the unknown.
I approached my husband with her picture and profile and explained to him how I felt about her, but he expressed the same reservations and fears that I felt. We continued requesting other children’s files, all while this precious little girl’s face was etched in our minds.
As I reflect back on those early days, guilt sweeps through my heart.
Being home just over two months with this wonderful, intelligent, strong-willed, beautiful little girl who amazes us everyday, I think to myself — why in the world did we ever hesitate?
I believe it is common when you begin the process of international adoption to desire and possibly expect ‘minor’ special needs. As you mature in the process you realize that no child coming from such a tragic background has ‘minor’ needs.
After being matched with our little girl we came to a place where we realized that with international adoption comes the unknown. When you embark on this journey, you have to be prepared for whatever comes your way. You open your heart and your home to an orphan who has special needs simply because he or she is an orphan. In that process your heart, your mind, and your entire world expand to a place far greater than you could ever have imagined, and you learn to be open to whatever life may present on this journey.
When we decided to submit our letter of intent to adopt our daughter, in all honesty, there was some fear in my heart, I felt as if I was jumping into deep water not exactly sure if I even knew how to swim. In my heart I knew she was our daughter and that is what I held on to when fear entered my mind.
We are still in the early days of post adoption life, and our story is still unfolding each and every day. As I watch my daughter learn new things and open up just a little bit more as the days unfold, I have come to the realization that there was simply no basis for my fear and hesitation, at least not about the part of raising a child who is blind.
Is it different than raising a sighted child? Yes.
Let me emphasize that when I say different, it is simply that and nothing more…
Just simply different.
She has expanded my world in ways I never could have comprehended. Looking back at where we were one year ago, I am so thankful that I opened my heart to that familiar little face and that I didn’t let fear stand in the way of the greatest journey I have ever taken.
– guest post by Tandi