- Mark Batterson
The Circle Maker, pg 13
From Healthy Children Only...
Andrew and I initially were thinking we would adopt only healthy children for several reasons. Our reasoning was that healthy children seemed best because of our limited financial resources. Medical special needs may require expensive treatments! We also know that parenting a child with special needs can strain a marriage, in addition to the strain of parenting children through adoption, and parenting in general! We felt our marriage must come first, not just for our own well being, but for the well being of our children.
To What If?
But God has a way of leading us and changing our hearts and minds! First, the topic of adopting a child with special medical needs was opened up between Andrew and I again by an email from someone we have never met in person, but have a slight connection with through the adoption. Next, I ran into a friend who is also adopting from Bulgaria and we discussed different special needs that their family was open too. A few nights later in women's Bible study, we were challenged to pray big prayers. What will the result of these big prayers be as God works in our lives? After that, Andrew and I prayed that God would help us to know what special needs, if any would be a good fit for our family.
Facing our Fears...
There is nothing like information to drive away fears. About that time we started meeting with our social worker and she connected us with a doctor who has experience with children adopted internationally. The pediatrician and I had a great chat. She went over each of the special needs on the list and explained a little about the challenges associated with each, as wells as local resources available to help with some special needs. This helped us narrow down the list to what we thought we would be able to provide good care for with good health insurance and the resources in area. Andrew and I talked some more about each of the special needs on the list. As we looked over the list, some of the needs listed didn't seem like a big deal to us! Vision problems are considered a special medical need? I know lots of people who need to wear glasses or contacts and I even have a sister who is blind in one eye. That isn't so scary! Club feet? That can be corrected with free or low cost surgery/treatment at Shriners Hospital for Children. I think we could handle that!
God's Perfect Timing
For us, the timing God used to open our hearts to the possibility of special needs, was perfect. You see, we have to be specifically approved by our social worker in our home study for each special need we are willing to considered adopting. If the email or the Bible study had happened a month or two later, we would have already completed our home study and would have only been approved to adopt healthy children.
Stepping in Faith and Obedience
This week, I email to our social worker the list of 19 special needs we feel we could parent. While we are still going to be approved to adopt healthy children, we are also going to be approved to parent children with certain special needs. What made our list? Probably different things than someone else who is adopting.
We still have uncertainties, but we know that the God who called us into adoption is with us every step of this amazing journey, leading us, guiding us, and providing the strength and wisdom we need. And believe me, we need God's strength and wisdom!
Don't think you could adopt a child with a medical or special need? Pray and ask God what His desire is for your life! The following resources may also help you with your decision.
- Love Without Boundaries Special Needs Adoption Page
- Shriners Hospital for Children
- Early Intervention Support
- Kid's Health
- Recee's Rainbow Webinar
- Special Needs Medical Glossary from Children of All Nations Adoption Agency