There has been something on my heart for well over a month now. When Tim and I started the adoption process, there was a checklist of what special needs you would accept. We, like many, many others, checked all the boxes that would fall under "minor special needs". In other words, nothing like heart disease, hydrocephalus, AIDS, etc. Nothing that could pose life-threatening. high-risk health problems. We are older and didn't want to deal with anything like that and didn't feel it fair to a child that may need care for the rest of their lives. One specific thing we requested, no heart children. Well, guess what? The little face we fell in love with was a heart child : ) and his special need, even though his referral said corrected, was extremely scary.
We received conflicting reports from specialists, one stating he would have trouble the rest of his life and would require so many more surgeries and another stating that everything seemed corrected and he would be able to lead a healthy life participating in whatever he wished. Talk about confusing! I feel comfortable sharing his special need referral list because if it helps anyone else, it is well worth sharing.
Postoperative Congenital Heart Defect CHD (which included the below listed in different places)Atrial Septal Defect (ASD), Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD), Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA), Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF), Double outlet right ventricle (DORV), Pulmonary Hypertension
Congenital Equinovarus (Clubfeet)
Abnormality in Vision Screening
Hearing - Failed in Left Ear
We prayed about whether to accept his referral. But, after hearing the extremes and the best, we decided to accept this sweet little round, dimpled face I couldn't get out of my dreams. God gives us abilities and it was our job to use every source available to find out what and how we could help him ahead of time by researching, reading material, joining Yahoo Groups, talking with other adoptive parents with special needs children, etc.
The first 3 weeks with Zander was a bit tough because he wanted nothing really to do with me except his general care. He was glued to his daddy, sister and nephew. I felt very low because I expected to be able to shower all this love on his that had been building for almost 8 long months. After we returned home, Zander woke up one morning and daddy wasn't here, Carmen and Richie weren't here either. It was just him and me. Slowly he came around.
Here's the honest fact, little did I understand or want to admit, it was ME who needed to come around. I look back now and see that I had put up a wall, I was scared to death to really love this little guy with all the special needs listed on his paperwork. He was probably responding to my vibe and me not even realizing.
Well, fast forward 6 weeks later since we first met Zander and I cannot get enough of our little dimpled cutie. I can't imagine life without his infectious giggles, his snuggles, his humor, his stubbornness, heck, just him!
He is as much loved as any of our biological children and grandchildren. He isn't a list of special needs, it doesn't matter what is on a sheet of paper, he's our son. I don't really know how to express the change I feel other than just saying the fear has been replaced with joy, wonder, and love.
So if you are contemplating adoption, don't let what's listed on that paper fool you, do your research and pray for clarity and knowledge because the joy a child with "special needs" can bring to you and your family is priceless.