How Grateful Are We: The Gift of Adoption

December 2, 2018 arthrogryposis, clubfoot, December 2018 Feature - The Gift of Adoption, Family Stories, limb difference, Orthopedic 1 Comments

This morning at 8 AM….

My little girl and I… together rocking in a chair.

Her tiny little body cozy against mine, her head confidently against my chest, her breath in the same rhythm as mine, both enjoying this very precious moment.

Mother and daughter…. united in a harmony that I couldn’t imagine before.

Life is wonderful.



It’s now five months since En-Fan is at home.

She was already in our hearts for a very long time, but she really arrived on June 12th. Since then, our house is filled with a new energy. She brought us a basket full of happiness in so many different ways for each one of our family.

But to be honest… we almost didn’t get her, due to our fears.

Let me tell you why.

We live in a country (Belgium, so sorry if my English is not top…) where it is not allowed to look into waiting children files. We can’t fall in love with a picture of a child or be reassured by a smiling face.

In our country, the matching is done by the adoption agency, and as a parent, you have no access at all to the Shared Lists nor to pictures or any other detail regarding child profiles. As a would-be adoptive parent, you define your child profile in general terms, like age range and the medical needs you think you can handle. And then, it’s up to the person handling your file in the adoption agency and all you can do is wait until the matching happens. The specific special need, the age, boy or girl, it’s all out of your hands.

It’s important to know that in the months preceding to the final steps of our adoption procedure, my husband and I both felt already a strong spiritual connection with our child. We didn’t know the age exactly, we didn’t know the medical condition nor if it was a boy or girl, but we had a strong feeling that there was one particular child meant to be ours.

But who?
And how could we find her or him?

The only thing we could do was open ourselves to as many special needs as possible to make a match happen. Preparing our file and the child’s profile, we kept this in mind. We tried to include as many special needs as we thought we could handle. We wanted to have the largest possible child profile.

But then something very strange happened… I don’t know exactly what it was, but suddenly fear took over…

This long list with all the possible diseases, syndromes, and medical conditions caused panic attacks.

Could we handle this?
Would it affect the life of our other three children?

Instead of seeing a child with medical issues, we just saw the medical issues… So we freaked out and let fear win.

We decided we could handle the minor special needs, but the major ones? No way. So we “protected” ourselves and signed a file with special needs within our comfort zone.

Fear took over.
We replaced trust by control.
We took the safe way.

So we signed the necessary papers to complete our file. And then, instead of feeling relieved and comfortable, we felt miserable.

A strange feeling came over us… our child, that lovely little child who had already been waiting for us for such a long time, and that matched with us on every level, didn’t “match” with our file.

It wasn’t a rational thought, it was an intuitive feeling.

We restricted ourselves so hard that we had blocked the way to our child… that’s how we felt.

So we decided to listen to our hearts and to trust God, knowing He won’t place us or our family in a situation we couldn’t handle and began to talk about changing the papers – again. My husband and I had a very long and emotional talk together and finally, we decided to step out of our comfort zone.

We contacted our adoption agency to widen our child’s profile, what is normally not possible during the procedure in our country, but we can be very convincing when it really matters. 🙂

The moment we got the permission to widen the special needs profile, we felt a relief and a sense of trust.

Only three days later the phone call that we will remember forever came: “We have a child for you!”

There she was.
A two and a half-year-old with a big smile.
A sense of self-confidence that we didn’t expect at her age.
Her eyes sparkled with joy.

And we realized that maybe we have a lot to give to this child… but what a treasure she has to give to us!



Three months later we brought her home, to her three older brothers, all caring for her (like the little adults they already are) and playing with her (as the children they still are).

En-Fan connected with us from the very first moment… It was love at first sight, not only with us as her parents but also with her brothers. My eldest son (16 years old), who at first was not so enthusiastic about his little sister, sat on the bed with me the first night home and said, “Mom, I can’t believe it myself, but I love her already so much!”

And she opened her little heart in the same way.

Guess what were the first words she said? The names of her brothers.

Although the connection was immediately there, every new day she learns with us that connection can have a deeper dimension and we are so grateful for that. God sent her our way to bring endless joy and pleasure.

We are so glad that we listened to our heart and not to our fears.

We also learned that special needs, written down on paper in a medical file, do not always match reality.



En-Fan had a diagnosis of malformations on four limbs.
Officially she couldn’t walk, couldn’t speak and couldn’t use her hands very well.
There were developmental issues.
Her length and weight were below the standards.

On paper, she was obviously a girl with major special needs. In reality, she has only minor ones.

In China, she already got surgery for her clubfoot (done very well) and now she can walk like everyone else. Her length and weight recovered to normal standards in a few months and there are no big developmental issues left. Her hands will always keep a certain fixed flexion, but functionally, there are no big limits.

I know that sometimes it is the opposite (that the medical condition is worse than the file mentions) but we had the other way around experience.

We can also say that China has looked well after our little girl… and we are so grateful for that.

So now as we are looking forward to the Christmas season, we are grateful that we can finally celebrate it as a complete family!

guest post by Wendy: email || Facebook



One response to “How Grateful Are We: The Gift of Adoption”

  1. Rachel says:

    Beautiful story 😀

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