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.