Monthly Archives: August 2010

A Special Need Adoption

It’s hard to even believe that this picture was taken on December 28, 2009. Maggie came to us as a quiet, floppy, shocked little girl. She had no idea what was happening and, really, neither did we. We had no idea what a complete joy and blessing Maggie is or how much we would love her immediately. We also didn’t know she was deaf. Looking back at our China pictures now, I see how Maggie was so confused and detached. She couldn’t hear what was happening around her, and she had to have been scared to death. She did not respond to her Chinese name or to our voices. She did not take a bottle for 3 days, got very constipated, continually looked at her hands, and laid her right ear down on tables or floors to hear the vibrations. (She preferred to lay down on the floor rather than sit up.) Her little body went through so much as she grieved and tried to understand what was happening. I think her way of dealing with all the changes was to just shut down. How could she have known that we were going to love and care for her, that she would have a forever family and all the hugs and kisses she could stand. She couldn’t. She didn’t. But, that is okay. We have taken it slow; and, day by day, we have watched her unfold like a beautiful flower.

Her special need was multiple. A heart condition (a small VSD, ventricular septal defect) and microtia/atresia which we later found out was also severe hearing loss (a.k.a. deaf). We were told she could say “ba, ba, ba,” smile, and stand on her own and that she was lively and liked musical toys. All the pictures of her showed her to be a healthy looking little girl. We had done all the research, read special needs blogs, attended a seminar on what to expect when you adopt internationally, and prayed a lot for our daughter.

I remember when I first saw her through the curtain at the adoption center in Guangzhou. Maggie looked a little like her pictures; but, really, she looked very different. I saw her head was crooked to one side, her facial expression was out of sorts, she had what looked like bug bites on her face, and her head was oddly misshapen. Chuck and I waited til it was our time to officially meet Maggie, and she was first handed to me. With a pink toy duck in one hand, I reached out to Maggie. Finally, I was holding my baby girl. This was the moment I had dreamed about for so long. There was a big smile on my face, and my heart was beating so fast. I took a good look at her. I loved her so much already, and it was evident Maggie had some things to overcome. She was more like an infant than a 14 month old. She would lean way back when I held her, and she stared at her hands constantly. At one moment, I stopped to pray and tearfully thank God for Maggie. I asked for wisdom to be her mother, and I prayed that Maggie’s pain would be washed away, that she would know she is accepted and not rejected. It was a crazy Gotcha day, and I was so overcome with emotions and questions. Was she ever held? Did she ever have toys to play with? Just how neglected was she? I thought she was lively and talking? What really went on in her orphanage? I had a feeling that Maggie was severely neglected. I was right. I also watched her intently and knew that she was very smart, and she was a fighter, chosen by God to be my daughter and destined to overcome her special needs. I saw it. I knew it. My heart felt it.

Although we did a lot of research on what to expect and knew the self-soothing and floppy, flat affect was “normal” for a child who was institutionalized in an orphanage in China, nothing could really prepare us for the reality of it. You see, Maggie was just another baby in the orphanage. She probably spent over 20 hours by herself in a lonely crib with no toys and no sounds. She learned not to cry and to soothe herself by rocking back and forth and looking at her hands.

Making Eye Contact

When I first saw this image, it caught me off guard. It made me cry, and I couldn’t figure out why. Then, I remembered the days when Tess would have never had made eye contact like this. Maybe it’s just the depth of her eyes or that sweet little smile that is creeping up. Maybe it’s the fact that if I zoom in, I can clearly see Jude’s (one of Tess

Setting the Lonely in Families

After our adoption of Karleigh Mei in December 2008, we realized even more what a blessing it was to bring into our family a child who so desperately needs a family. The Lord began whispering in my ear that there was someone else who was made perfect for our family soon after Karleigh Mei had been home. I would look at China waiting children lists and wonder if we were supposed to pursue a child from China again. I would look at other programs from Ethiopia, Rwanda, India, etc. wondering if He was calling us there. I never had a clear answer, just that somewhere there was a child for us.

On January 12, 2010, a devastating earthquake hit Haiti. Two weeks later, we were told about a group who was trying desperately to get help to some orphans in Haiti and find them homes. These were preearthquake orphans. We were told they were looking for families who were homestudy ready or had adopted internationally before. We signed up and made ourselves available. By the time we were given the list of children, there were large sibling groups and older children remaining. We heard the Lord telling us not to pursue any of these children.

As soon as that door was closed, another possible door was opened. There was another group who was looking for families to take injured Haitian orphans in to get the medical treatment that was needed for them. We again came forward ready to help. This group wanted to make sure that not only were families homestudy ready but also state licensed to foster. We were given information on an agency who could get us licensed very quickly. The Lord was not telling us no, and so we filled out our application and off we trotted to the classes.

It was in these classes that we learned of the huge need for families to take in local children. The need is huge! We left the classes wondering exactly where it was the Lord was leading us. We had already committed to the group wanting to help the Haitians; so, we sat and waited.

Sometimes waiting is not so bad! Especially when you know all you can do is wait. The Lord is so good and gentle and kind. He really gave us a lot of time to come to grips with what He was asking us to do.

Because of circumstances in Haiti, it began to become clear to us that we would not be getting an injured child from Haiti.

I have always thought that someday I’d like to foster to adopt a child. I think that the enemy really doesn’t like this. He’s been quite successful from keeping the Church from helping hurting children. Oh, the fears that he can make us believe! The biggest fear I


Welcome to! This first post is the culmination of years of discussing the need for a site like this and months of more intentional planning to actually make it happen. We pray that the site will be an encouragement to families considering adoption, in the process of adopting, parenting their adopted child, fostering children, or considering the significant ministry of orphan care.

We encourage you to join the forum and use it to interact together and discuss any thing from paperwork and how to choose an agency to preparing for travel, preparing siblings for a new child, or how to engage your church in your process. May it be a source of education, encouragement, and fellowship.

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