Staring at the long list of special needs, trying to decide which boxes to check we were open to, seemed overwhelming.
Researching each medical condition was just as daunting. Did we check the right boxes? How can we “decide” which special need our child will have?
Arthrogryposis multiplex congenita (AMC) first seemed like a big scary word among many other medical conditions on the openness form for special needs adoption. When we first filled out the form, we checked “no” to arthrogryposis, meaning we were not open to a child with this medical condition. Clubfeet also received a “no” on our original form.
But now that form has long been shredded and recycled, the official form replaced with a big “YES!” Why the change, you might ask? We changed our answer because of a person. A very precious three year old who could not walk when we first saw his pictures and videos, but who I could tell was one of the most resilient people I had ever seen… and I couldn’t wait to make him our son.
Rewind six years. When my husband and I were engaged, we decided we wanted adoption to be a part of our story. So we set up an adoption fund for our wedding; any monetary gifts would be set aside for a future adoption. My husband and I are both planners, so naturally we planned out our ideal future family. First, we would have biological children and figure out the whole parenting thing, and then adopt internationally. As the years went by and we couldn’t get pregnant, we decided to change our plans. God had humbled us. We could not plan out our ideal family. And, little did we know, our ideal fell way shorter than God’s marvelous plan for our family.
With the Lord’s guiding we chose to adopt from China and were ready to jump right in to the adoption process. But I was 29 years old…. so we had to wait again as China’s age requirement to adopt is 30. Time went by slowly, but we started the paperwork as my 30th birthday neared. During that time God spoke to my heart. “You are not surrendering to ME the openness form. Trust ME, I know who your child is.”
Almost overnight, my walls of uncertainty came down crashing as I saw my son for the first time on the waiting list. I was captivated by his video, how he was figuring out how to do things differently in spite of the challenges his body faced due to his medical condition. I could not describe the way I felt when I looked at him, day after day… I was drawn to him. I could clearly tell his condition was not one that we were “open” to.
But there were two things I knew: I loved this boy, and he was absolutely the most resilient child I had ever seen.
As days and weeks went by, joy flooded my heart and I began to hope. I prayed the same prayer day after day after day: “Lord, someway, somehow, allow us to adopt this precious boy.” My husband, you can about imagine, was in shock at my sudden heart change. One day I was hardly open to any special needs on the openness form, and the next day I wanted to adopt a boy with not one, but two moderate special needs. He was not ready to commit to adopting a child with arthrogryposis and clubfeet.
As I was quickly becoming defensive mother bear, my husband was weighing the costs of moving forward. We had to ask ourselves big questions if we adopted him: Will this boy who can’t walk at age three, be able to get up our stairs to use the bathroom or go to his room upstairs? Will we have to sell our house and move to a more accessible home? We are very active people, will our son ever ride a bike or play an instrument?
Over several grueling months of waiting, God united our hearts and we were ready to commit to adopting this precious boy, whatever future challenges would come our way.
But during the waiting, his file had been picked up by another adoption agency who was advocating for him and another family was considering adopting him. “Lord, what is happening? Why are you putting my heart through so much anguish?” I cried out to God and clung to His Word, especially Psalm 37: 5-6 “Commit your way to the Lord, trust in Him and He will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the sun, and your justice as the noonday.” The Lord did act and brought about justice for this little orphan, and for my anguished heart. We were soon matched with our son and finished up paperwork to get to China as soon as possible.
In November 2018, we got on a plane to China to bring our precious son home. During our wait, he had received physical therapy in China and learned to walk. We chose the English name “Jadon” for him, because it means “God has heard” and “thankful.”
He bonded very easily with us and was clearly very well cared for at his orphanage. As soon as he was home he began physical and occupational therapy. We didn’t sell our house… he learned how to go up the stairs on his second day home. And within two months of being home he started riding a specialized bike. I cried when the therapist said we could take the bike home to keep.
Prayer after prayer had been answered. God had heard.
Jadon is not defined by AMC or clubfeet, but neither are we ashamed of his special needs. Our resilient boy continues to surprise us and others with the leaps and bounds he makes physically.
He brings joy to so many people, but none more than his parents. We are the ones who are blessed.
Blessed to have a son with arthrogryposis multiplex congenita and clubfeet.
Blessed to have a son who won’t give up and continues to prove his resiliency day by day.
– guest post by Angie