Blessings Await: Click here to watch the new Dillon International adoption video
Editor’s Note: We recently asked some parents of children with special needs, “What would you most like to share with families considering adopting a waiting child or child with special needs?” Here are some of their wonderful insights:
I was a little nervous when my wife and I first discussed the idea of adopting a waiting child. With two girls in the family already, everything had to be considered including the living arrangements, cost of care, our ability to emotionally handle whatever circumstances might arise, and most importantly, could we give the child the chance in life they would truly need?
Was God really asking us to consider this option? Were we being impatient? The bottom line was we knew we wanted to grow our family via adoption and we also knew that if we had a biological child born with medical challenges it would not change anything. Even so, we knew we had to be honest with ourselves and make sure that if we adopted a waiting child that it was truly because 1). We believed we could provide this particular child the kind of home he/she deserved and 2). We sensed in our hearts that this child was supposed to be “one of us”.
What helped us process these considerations was meeting with our social worker to discuss the waiting child list. We worked through a medical condition worksheet that forced us to be real about what challenges we felt would work within our family. After our social worker left we had a total peace about what was in front of us and began looking almost daily at the waiting child listings. We knew it would be clear to us which child was supposed to be our child.
The day we saw our son for the first time on the webpage my wife and I broke down in tears. She found him first and sent me an instant message at work. I logged in and she did not even have to point him out to me. As soon as I saw his face I knew which child she would direct me to. Four months later, we traveled to Korea and brought him home. He has taught us how to be more loving, less self-centered and the joy of life itself. He has a constant smile on his face and is known as “Mr. Smiley.” He is a perfect fit for us and our lives would truly be incomplete without him. Now we are praying about doing it again!
--Brady Speers, Texas, adoptive dad of a son from Korea, and two birth daughters
Leap of Faith
One thing that I learned about making the decision to adopt a child with special needs is that, ultimately, it takes a giant leap of faith to do it. Obviously you have to use good judgment and think and pray about whether it is the right decision for your family. You can and should seek the advice of a doctor, maybe get insight from other adoptive parents, and do a little research if the child has a specific diagnosis. But at the end of the day, it just takes faith. As the mom of three children with special needs, I've also learned that it does not take a "Super Mom" or "Super Dad" to parent a special child. It takes trusting in our Super God and I remind myself frequently that He won't give me more than what I can handle with His help.
The blessings you will receive from these amazing children will be beyond what you could have imagined. I am in awe every day of the attitude and disposition of my son who is in a wheelchair because of Cerebral Palsy. As far as he is concerned, there is nothing he can't do and he is no different than any other 11-year-old boy. In the times in which we live, I am also refreshed by the innocence of of my 10-year-old son who has developmental delays. My 9-year-old daughter with attention issues gives me the blessing of laughter every day. They are each a blessing to us in their own special way. And we would have missed it all if we hadn't taken that leap of faith.
--Jill Culbertson, Ohio, adoptive mom of three children from India
Following God’s Plan
After two years of prayer, we announced that we would be adopting a baby girl from The People’s Republic of China ... or so we thought. We were thrilled when we thought of her wearing the frilly little dresses we had purchased for her. We spent hours selecting pastel colors for her room. We chose a name for this perfect little girl we could already envision learning how to walk in her squeaky shoes. Another year later we were logged into the China Center of Adoption Affairs awaiting the referral of our bundle of joy!
Then, it happened. Late one night I began looking at The Shepherd’s Crook website. They had a link for waiting children. I had never looked at waiting children before and was even closed to the idea because I’m a “special needs” mom with many disabling health problems. Why I clicked on the link, to this day, I’m still not sure. What I saw was the face of an 8-year-old boy grinning from ear to ear. His face said, “I’m a winner. I am OK.” I felt led to pray for him, and after praying for about 20 minutes, I found myself crying like a baby. I knew that God was telling me, “This is your child.” Afterwards, I read his information and learned that he had spina bifida. Before I even researched his condition, I knew that God was calling us to adopt this child and would equip us with strength to deal with his special need.
It is because of our conditions that Luke and I are able to help one another. I tell Luke that everyone has a special need, and it is for a Savior. Some needs show on the outside and some are on the inside. God took what some would call outcasts and called us not only chosen but beautiful because of our brokenness. So many are unwilling to look beyond the surface, and miss out on God’s blessing that lies beneath. Had we not been open to following the twists and turns of God’s path for our adoption journey, we would have missed the beautiful vista that lay ahead. We now know that God’s plan is always better than anything we can ever ask for or even imagine! Who would have imagined that our child would be coming home in tennis shoes instead of squeaky shoes? God, that’s Who!
--Tina Elrod, Arkansas, adoptive mom of a son from China