Considering adoption and maybe even a child with special needs?
Are you thinking about adoption or more specifically a special needs adoption? Maybe you are finding yourself drawn to the kids who look a little different or need a little more? We would love to share some of what we have experienced with you! I haven't found a ton of resources for this journey. The greatest resource has been other parents who are willing to walk along side us and tell us their story. Which is why we thought it would be good to share our story. For those that don't know our son has Septo Optic Dysplasia (SOD). Which can mean a lot of things but for him it means he is visually impaired, has hormone deficiencies, and Autism.
First, I know your excited and so were we! It is a wonderful time for God to weave love and beauty into the fabric of your family. An amazing time for him to teach you lessons on patience and trust. It is however, important to understand all adoption comes from loss.Your child has lost his/her birth family, and in our case, foster family, school mates, teachers, and culture. We need to respect and understand that our children have to grieve in their own way and own time. The more you respect and love them through the loss that better bond you will develop! As we said goodbye to our sons friends at school and his foster family in the airport the loss for him was almost overwhelming. Our son had no control over this loss, no real choice in rather or not he wanted a new home/country, and no voice to say no. It is overwhelming to think of how scared he must have been! Don't get me wrong he was well prepared and seemed to understand his forever mom and dad were there! He accepted us immediately but still had many tears (especially when the newness of home wore off).
Why did we choose to adopt a child with special needs? First, we have really considered the plight of the orphans in our world. Adoption has been on our heart for many years and we have had a long time to really pray and think hard about it. We had learned that the children with special needs are often the ones that get overlooked. To read a medical history and immediately dismiss it as, "Oh that's to much to deal with!" was exactly what we wanted to avoid! We have experience with lots of people who are differently abled. Plus the path God lead us on was so obviously straight to our son that it would have been hard not to see!
From the moment you see the picture of your son/daughter for the first time and that heart connection is formed all reason seems to fly out the window. Diagnoses, meds, social history is suddenly not that important because you just know this is who God has for your family! I fully believe that before our little guy was born God knew how much we would want him and how much we would love him! I believe that if God has a child for your family the same will be true! The journey is long and steeply uphill, but it is worth every bit of it! Here's a few things we learned along the way:
At some point though when your feet touch the ground again it would be great to take that referral and discuss it with a doctor. Get as much information as you can prior to saying yes or prior to travel for sure!
Nesting is a huge deal for any parent, and yes even adoptive parents! Enjoy preparing your child's room, toys, space and etc... However, add to your nesting time reading God's word, praying, and finding adoption resources. You will want those in place before your back home.
Take all your expectations and set them aside. That is easier said than done, but if you do this it will help. Pray for God to fill you with his hope and to release you from your own and others expectations. This step continues for many months and in some cases years to come.
Never forget adoption comes from deep loss. Be ready to let your child grieve, and be ready to grieve so deeply for your child. I still grieve on our son's birthday and mother's day for his birth mother.
DO NOT over share your child's story, trauma, or disabilities! Your child's trauma does not belong to you. Protect their story just like you protect them physically! Of course you should have a close support system to share this with, but don't let it surprise you if random strangers asks about the birth family out of blue. If someone asks you do not be afraid to say no. You can say it nicely of course! For example, "I appreciate you being interested, but for now we are focusing on the present." "Thank you for asking but we have decided to let our child decide when and how they will share their story."
Find a way to share about God through your adoption story! We found the testimony God wants us to share through understanding how God pursues us. Just like we pursued our son from across the world, God never stops pursuing you! This is our response when anyone asks us about our adoption story!
Respect your child's culture, but don't be afraid to help them embrace the culture of your family! Make new memories and traditions of your own and celebrate all the big and little victories!
Be ok with answering questions from other kids or parents. It's ok to educate others about how God made us all perfectly and uniquely based on his design! Most are just curious, and end up being excited when they see how much we love him. However, gently but firmly correct anyone who asks you inappropriate questions!
I hope this has helped you! For more resources on adoption, homeschooling, and resources at: https://www.facebook.com/scca.family