I have been thinking about this for quite some time and with the new special needs list coming out tonight, well there is no better time than the present. While I am thrilled for the possibly hundreds of babies that are going to be matched, I also feel uneasy. Now I know I am not going to make any friends with this post but I just feel it needs said.
I think some parents are just so tired of waiting or don't want to wait the now four plus years it is taking to be matched that they automatically jump on the special needs band wagon. Most will request a girl as young as possible with minor special needs. That is fine, however, I don't think most people realize there could be syndromes or undiagnosed special needs that just don't get reported or aren't really visible yet. I have seen and heard of a few families that fall in love with a picture but then when they get to China realize their child's special need is something more and don't follow though. In most cases these children are then left in the institution ans never adopted, in a good case scenario they will get the help they need or maybe have a second chance.
I guess my point is, do your homework. And then do more homework. Always be prepared.
With our second daughter we went to China expecting the worse case, hoping for the best but just being prepared. We were pleasantly surprised, her special need was not really a need at all.
But, and this is a big one, she was 22 months old and the size of a 6 mth old, she couldn't walk, sit up straight or eat solid food. She also has some sensory issues. It has been a long road but now, now she is a highly intelligent little girl who is very outspoken and loves being around other kids. She still has night terrors and has issues with textures, but you know what. She is OUR child and we love her.
Our third daughter had cleft lip and palate. Her referral paperwork said third degree cleft and that was it. We didn't know what to expect. She had also been living in a tent for four months after the earthquake. In some ways she was far advanced from our first daughter. She could walk, a little wobbly but she walked. She loved food and had attached herself quite easily to her daddy. She was always sick though, her ears were infected and she had pneumonia. They felt it was from her cleft issues and scheduled surgery once she was out of the hospital and well. Her surgery was a rough one. She had trouble with the anesthesia and had to have two blood transfusions. But, she did make it through. She will be in speech therapy for most of her elementary years,but that is OK.
Our fourth daughter isn't home yet. She sits in a orphanage waiting for us. We have a general idea what we will need once she is home but we are not sure. With any child you are never sure. I can't stress enough to just be over prepared. Do your homework on special needs and then do more. Have all your resources ready. Be prepared for something you didn't expect. Because sometimes the unexpected will happen.
I guess my bottom line is God will never give me more than I can handle. Also my kids are more than their special need. I can't define them as a "cleft baby" or a "club foot" baby ect. They are my children, my girls and I love them more than anything in this world.
When you get to China and if you happen to discover your child has a need that you are not prepared for, stop and pray and then think maybe your child has just shut down, I mean this is a huge change for them. You do not look like their ayi's or smell like them or even talk like them. Maybe this is their way of grieving. Or if the special need is more than you can handle, give it some time, maybe you will surprise yourself. Maybe you will find that you can do this. Give it some time. Maybe you will find a strength you didn't know you had. Also ask for help, many parents have been there before and would be more than happy to offer advice or help.