This post has been rolling around in my head for a week or two because I just wasn’t sure if I was ready to talk about it or if I should talk about it. Then I have had three instances since Saturday that made it very clear to me that I needed to share this.
Most of you are aware that we are in the process of adopting a 3-year-old girl from the Dominican Republic. She is beautiful. I have never heard her voice and I have never seen her in person. I have 3 photos and in two of them, she is sleeping. In the third, she is sitting in a chair staring at a babydoll. The look on her face is one of maybe boredom, maybe annoyance that she is being made to sit still in a chair and given a doll to appease the frustration, but I can see her face and her eyes and the moment I saw her face, I was hooked. I immediately wanted to know what her hair felt like, what her voice sounded like, if she spoke any English with a Spanish accent or did she only speak Spanish… I posted about how I found her here and about our excitement and acceptance of her file. What I didn’t tell you was what was in her file and the phone calls with the IAC (International Adoption Clinic) doctor in Birmingham. What I didn’t tell you was that we are not just going to the Caribbean to spend a few weeks getting to know a perfect little girl with a yellow headband that has absolutely no health issues and will bebop into our lives as though she was always there. What I didn’t tell you was that our little girl has special needs.
We have been told what the doctors in the D.R. suspect her diagnosis is. We have been given a best-case scenario and a worst-case scenario. Best case, she finishes high school (eventually, probably later than most kids her age) with a lot of interventions along the way, maybe attends a technical school or received training to perform a job that pays minimum wage and requires little skill. Worst-case scenario, she never lives independently from us. Either way, there is a plethora of social, emotional and mental therapies and possibly physical therapies that will come into our lives that I have only read about in case studies.
Why am I sharing this with you? I want you to realize that we are not just taking a vacation for a few months just to come back and live happily ever after. We will travel to a lovely foreign country, away from all of our friends, family, bed, cars, BBQ, and live there for a few months. In those few months, we will spend a week “babysitting” our new daughter. She’ll come, she’ll stay with us for the day, and at night she’ll go back to the orphanage. After that week, if we are deemed competent, we will become her full time guardians. The next several weeks, we’ll begin the havoc of international paperwork, at-home therapies with our new daughter while still caring for and teaching our first daughter. We will most likely deal with multiple sleepless nights that could last days, weeks or the entire time we are there. We will experience emotional outbursts of anger, sadness, and the whole gamut of emotions from our new daughter. She will have very little idea how to communicate with us or what we are trying to communicate with her. She will be grieving the upheaval of her familiar surroundings and previous caregivers. We will experience the emotional rollercoaster of excitement, regret, sadness, overwhelm, acceptance, reconstructing and pressing forward. We will probably experience rejection, maybe even by both daughters. We will deal with jealousy and the typical four-year-old tantrums. This is just what we know. There are so many unknowns.
So WHY, if we can expect all of this “bad stuff” and the prognosis for the future being what it is, WHY are we doing this? We were recently asked, “Couldn’t you find a kid in the U.S. to adopt?” Yeah. We could have. And chances are good we would have a list much shorter to contend with than this one. But I saw her face. I saw that yellow headband and those eyes and those cheeks. I wish I could show you those cheeks. Soon, I hope. But I saw her, sitting there in that chair looking so very annoyed that her day was interrupted for a photo. She was mine. She was ours. That’s why. Would you choose this for your life? Maybe you would. Maybe not and that’s O.K., too. We have. God has chosen us to love this little girl. If WE don’t, who will? I know God could have line up a dozen people for this child. But He hasn’t. He chose US. I think that is reason enough. God probably knew if I had read her medical file and talked to the IAC doctor before I saw her that this process would be different. Instead, He knew exactly what He was doing and He still does. All we know is that our peace and joy over the process, no matter how expensive or time consuming it turns out to be, we hope to pursue it, to pursue her, with the same fervor God pursues us.