Very quickly after beginning of our adoption process we were asked to fill out a Medical Needs Checklist… a checklist of medical conditions commonly seen in China’s orphans. You must go down the checklist and check “yes”, “no” or “willing to discuss” about adopting a child with the listed condition.
Nothing makes you feel more like an awful person quite like checking “no” on one of these lines.
The further along in the process you get, the more specific these lines become… you are open to hearing loss, okay, but are you open to a child with just one ear? Or must they have two?
While your heart physically aches when you check “no” to yet another line, you know the importance of being honest with yourself. You must research these needs, consider how they would affect each member in your family and try to predict if you can meet the demands of that need.
This is not easy, especially when medical files are not always accurate and the unknowns greatly outnumber the knowns.
On paper, these special needs can be incredibly daunting and seem scary and, quite frankly, impossible at first. But in reality that might not be the case.
Ultimately, your faith must be louder than your fear.
As I sit here in my living room and write this I have a child on each side of me with a condition that I, not very long ago, checked “no” to.
When we came across the line osteogenesis imperfecta my husband said he couldn’t imagine having a child who breaks a bone a few times a year and I agreed. And admitted that the idea of a wheelchair bound child scared me.
Well, I spent the last few weeks pushing my daughter around in a wheelchair due to a femur fracture and you know what? It isn’t nearly as scary as I expected. She is still my spunky, intelligent, charming little girl.
And our son is wobbling around with not one, but two broken legs and a compression fracture in his back… but he still made baseball this evening and rocked it.
We have far more than a few breaks a year and the possibility of being wheelchair dependent is real for both of these kids; but their special needs are just a small piece of who they are. We travel a couple hours away every few months to receive infusions and fly across the country annually for clinic with specialists.
We have days that those brittle bones get us down but I thank God every day for giving us the faith to look beyond the condition written on checklist and the heart to see a girl who needed a mom to paint her nails and a boy who needed brothers to teach him to catch a ball.
If you find yourself considering special needs adoption or are working on completing a check list yourself, I encourage you to do your due diligence but don’t lose sight that these needs are only a small piece of child who is so much more.
I am Heather and my husband Dustin and I have six children. We have twin boys, Rocco and Bruno who are 9 years old, a daughter Lucy who is 8, and our son Dash who is 5. Our daughter Xiao-Xiao is three years old and home from China for 18 months; our son ZA is 9 years old and home from China for 3 months.