Saturday, October 30, 2010

Researching a Little Girl

There are almost 2000 children on this month's Shared List and hundreds more on agency-specific lists. On these lists are children with special needs or children who are healthy, but older, usually 10-13 yrs. old. At 14 yrs. the kids "age out" of the orphanages and they are on their own.

I have found many, many children who tug at my heart. Unfortunately, most are agency-specific, meaning only families using that agency can apply to adopt that child. However, after a certain period of time, if no one has applied, the children's files are sent back to CCAA and then they are available to all.

One little girl has stayed on my mind. She is on the Shared List and I've seen her file. She is 6.5 years old and cute as anything. Her special need is significant and private, but doesn't affect the intellect or limbs at all. No one would know what it is just looking at her with clothes on. She had surgery about a week ago at one of the best hospitals in China. She will need further surgery, but it will never completely correct her special need.

The decision of choosing a child is extremely difficult for me. I feel like I'm stepping on ground reserved for God. Some days I want a young child, others an older one. Sometimes I want the most simple special need and other times it doesn't matter as long as I can handle it properly.

I have asked myself what it is about this particular little girl that keeps her on my mind. I wish I could say it's an obvious spiritual connection, but it isn't. She is very cute, has a smile like a cute little elf. She's a little fair, with brown hair instead of black. Dozens of families have apparently inquired about her but none have locked her file and applied to adopt her.

When I've read the blogs of other families who have chosen a child with special needs, they said that when they saw the photo or read the description, they immediately knew that they were looking at their child.

When I see the latest picture of this child, taken about a week ago in the hospital, I can easily imagine stroking her little arm as it lies listlessly on the sheet, and caressing her cheek. I can imagine getting her home and bathing her, learning every inch of her, the way her ear lobes curl and the shape of her fingernails, finding her ticklish spots and making her feel good about her body that didn't form quite right. I can imagine her as a teen when her special need causes her worry socially and then as an adult when the full limitations of her condition are realized and she grieves at what she cannot accomplish on her own because of it.

And then I feel the restriction of my budget and wonder how in the world I will ever afford this and ask myself if further debt is worth it. My plan is to not have my agency search the lists for me until January when I have more children enrolled in my childcare (hopefully) and have refinanced the house, found out what my taxes are going to be like, etc...

Some people put up donation buttons on their blogs and hold fundraisers. I always said to myself, "If you can't afford the adoption, how can you afford to raise a child!" But I know better now. I didn't have the luxury of planning this adoption like I did Apple's. CCAA suddenly created a new program in August 2010 that would allow me to do a concurrent adoption as long as Apple's adoption wasn't final yet. That is the critical thing: Apple's adoption cannot be final. So, I have a small time-frame to work with. If I'd known this was coming, I wouldn't have bought a house.

Others might reason that I shouldn't pursue a concurrent adoption at all.

I'll tell you a secret: Whenever I imagined what it would be like to go and get Apple, I always pictured walking through the street and having another baby thrust at me. I've heard of this happening. And then convincing CCAA to let me keep it.

Another scenario I imagined was that I'd visit Apple's orphanage after adopting her and finding out there was an older girl who is desolate without her because she always took care of her. Orphanages often have older children help out with younger ones and the older ones sometimes become true parents and grieve horrifically when separated.

I never imagined CCAA opening a new program and just letting me adopt a second child.


Shirlee McCoy said...

Hello, K!

Thanks for commenting on my blog and reading about dear Cheeky!

I understand the feelings you're having regarding 'finding' your child. Our daughter was chosen for us by our agency, and the decision to accept the referral was an easy one.

Go with your heart and your gut, and once you've made your decision don't ever look back and wonder if it was the right one. God knows what your family will be, and who your children will be. Rest in that as you continue this exciting journey.

I'd love to hear more about your writing when you have time. Being an author is a great career!

Christel, Jerry, Alex and Anthony said...

oh!! I will pray for you to know your daughter when you find her! I did not have any BIG connection with either girl that God has chosen for us, I just know God chose them and that makes me so happy. They "worked" out. the more i look at their pictures the more i fall in love with them. Also i know if you are following God's will then He will bring you the necessary monies! We are just over 4k shy of our goal... so I KNOW! How can not be God's will for you to care for His little orphans... keep strong, don't listen too much to the nay-sayers! :) Wish i could donate to the fund... but not yet. :)

Cassandra said...

I know, I know... again I am commenting on a really old post. :) But I totally understand what you were saying here. The girl we're adopting kind of found us, rather than us finding her. It's a really long story and we hope it ends well. We know that we want to adopt another child soon after bringing the first girl home but I am having such a hard time looking at the advocacy posts. There are SO MANY children out there that need families. Saying yes to one means saying no to hundreds of others. I told my husband I have no idea how we are going to know who our second daughter is. He said when the time is right, we'll know. I hope so because right now there is no way I could say "this particular girl is meant to be our second daughter!"