Sunday, September 16, 2012

Considering "Special Needs"

Thinking about Adoption? Have you considered the Special Needs list? Special Needs can be a scary term. I speak from experience as I write this on a cozy rainy day in San Antonio with my "special needs" child, Grace!

But what if instead I said "Waiting Children"? Doesn't sounds as intimidating, does it? Furthermore, what if we thought of "Special Needs" kids as "special", amazing children in "need" of a forever family? What if God had said, "oh, I don't want to save people with problems, only perfect people"? None of us are worthy of Him. We are all special cases in comparison to our great God. Praise God, that He, in His mercy, sent his only and perfect Son to die for all of us (John 3:16)!

When Adam and I first heard about this list from our case worker, we looked at each and said, "we don't think so", but God had other plans. He began to work in our hearts and brought people into our lives who had adopted children from China on the waiting child list and showed us that He had a completely different plan than we were thinking of for our adopted child. He showed us that we didn't need be scared of this special list of children but rather to see them as beautiful children created by their creator, perfect in His eyes, and waiting for us to adopt them! The truth of the matter is that many children on this list in China have things that can easily corrected in the United States such as cleft lip/palate or limb deformities. Sure, there are children on these lists with more severe issues, so pray about God's plan for your adoption and seek His will alone. Don't focus on the fact that you want a "healthy" child but rather on the child God has for you. Step out in faith, knowing that His plan is far greater than any you could ever imagine. Yes, there will rapids along the way, but He has promised to carry you through those times of trial and difficulty that are inevitable. He will be faithful. WE CAN TRUST HIM!! "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understand.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." (Prov. 3:5-6)

Grace's "Special Need"

Grace has deformities in her fingers and toes. She is missing her big toe on her left foot and the middle toes on her right foot are fused together as one. Additionally, her right foot was a slight club foot. Her index finger on her left hand is not properly formed and two of her middle fingers on her right hand are short. We took her to a renowned pediatric hand surgeon at Scottish Rite in Dallas who did some work on her right hand to help with mobility and may do surgery on her left in a few years. We also went through a series of casts on her right foot/leg to work on stretching the muscles and helping the foot straighten.  While all this sounds complicated, she can do anything any of her friends can do and you wouldn't even know there is anything wrong aside from unusual looking fingers and toes. Our greatest struggle will be dealing with her hurt feeling when other children ask her why her hands and feet are different. We know and always communicate to her that God made her perfect just as she is, but as we all have experienced at some point, children can be cruel so that will be a big hurdle to overcome in the future, and one that will most likely break our hearts. But I ask you, did any one of you escape the teen years unscathed, without a hurt feeling stemming from ridicule by someone over something "wrong" with you?

"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight." (I Peter 3:3-4, NIV)

To quote Johnny Diaz, "More Beautiful You",
"There could never be a more beautiful you
Don't buy the lies, disguises and hoops, they make you jump through
You were made to fill a purpose that only you could do
So there could never be a more beautiful you."

You You's "Special Need"

You You has a deformity in his right hand. He is missing some bones in his thumb and his forearm has shorter bones. Pat Marcus, a pediatric physical therapist, who works with the Gladney Center for Adoption (our wonderful agency), travels to Shanghai to meet with children for Gladney at the Shanghai Children's Home. She has met You You several times and said he is very confident and comfortable with his disability, thanks to the love and support of his precious foster family. We will have his hand and arm examined at Scottish Rite as well, but we are excited to share with Him the incredible, unending, perfect love of God who created Him just as he is for a special purpose ordained by God.

If you are interested in learning more about waiting children in China, Gladney Center for Adoption is hosting a webinar on some children Pat Marcus has met from the Jiangxi Province who waiting for their forever families!  There are still a few spots left!

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