Thursday, October 3, 2013

Adopting a "Special Needs" Child from China

I've said it before... I love your questions. It means you're interested. It means you care. In past posts, I've answered "Why adopt from China?" and "When is Emily Hope coming home?". I'd like to chat here about a great question so many of you ask. "Do you know what Emily Hope's special need will be?"

We are currently waiting for our match, to find out who our baby girl is. So technically, we don't know exactly what her special need is. But that's not really the entire answer.

When we began this journey, there were a million things to consider. Our number one goal in adopting a child is to live out the gospel, to be an example of what God did for us.

<We were spiritual orphans, bruised and abandoned because of sin. God fulfilled his wrath on his only son so that there would no longer be any condemnation for us, no more guilt and slavery over our sin. Moreover, he did it so that we could attain the righteousness of Christ and the right to be called "sons" of God the Father (Christ is our brother!). He adopted us (the cross being the cost of our adoption) in to His family (Ephesians 1:5) and Seamus and I want to be a living example of that.>

We also wanted to meet the greatest need, simultaneously considering our 3 young children and needing to make a responsible decision for our current family. Early in to our adoption process, we knew that God was calling us to adopt from China and that His plan included adopting a special needs girl. This is where the greatest need is in China. Special needs children are throw-aways in this country.

I'd like to clarify that "special needs" means something very different in China than it does in the US. In China, anything less than perfection is unacceptable. In fact, their culture considers a severe birth mark a "special need". Even gender (female) can be viewed as "not good enough". The special needs of Chinese orphans range from birth mark, vision impairment, and developmentally delayed (all institionalized children are developmentally delayed, by the way... most catch up after adoption unless there is an underlying cognitive issue) to HIV and more severe disabilities. So, what does this mean for us?

Our adoption agency required that we fill out a "Desired Child Form". It allowed us to indicate the parameters for our adopted child... age, gender, which special needs we can and can't handle, and the severity of each of these needs. Of all the paperwork involved, this was, by far, the most difficult to complete. It was necessary and very important in making sure we are matched with a child our family can care for the way she needs. It took lots of prayer to get through it but God was faithful in making it clear. We ended up saying "no" to things I thought would be automatic "yes"es and "yes" to things I didn't initially think we could handle. God revealed exactly what he wanted to and reminded us of his promises to provide through caring for our daughter. So, how did we answer the form?

While we are open to a child with a more severe need than vision impairment, we have eliminated severe disabilities as an option. Some medical needs that our daughter may have include a congenital heart defect requiring surgery or a cleft lip and palate. She could be blind in one eye or have a deformity of her ear or hand (just examples). We have indicated that we can handle a minor need that is potentially correctable. It's possible she may have a need that can not be seen. If this turns out to be the case, we may choose not to share her need, to respect her privacy and allow her to disclose when and if she is ready.

Our hearts may be burdened for a wider range of children in another season of life. For now, we are comfortable knowing that we have followed God's will in all of our adoption decisions. We eagerly anticipate God's revealing of who our Emily Hope is! Please God, can you make it soon? We don't know who she is but God certainly does. And He will unite her with us in His perfect timing.

"Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth" (Isaiah 43:6)

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