Join Angela, Axel, Abel and Asher as they welcome their new sibling home.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

How do you choose a child?

Choosing a child to adopt is so hard! No matter what child you choose, you know that others are being left behind. Some will get lucky and have a family come for them....eventually...but the vast majority will never experience that love. Never. Ever. They will be forever alone.

Can you imagine that? Now imagine this fate for a child who has severe medical, physical, or cognitive differences. The "least of these". Nobody is banging down doors competing for these children. There are no waiting lists full of families who want to adopt them.

The just wait. Most of them don't know what they're waiting for because they've never even heard the words "mother" or "father". They don't know what life could be like.

For our family, the decisions went like this:

First, we had to decide if we wanted to adopt internationally again or adopt a child from here in the US.  I have several friends who are currently struggling through domestic adoptions and they make international adoptions look like a piece of cake! Many people ask, "Why not adopt one of "ours?" (meaning a child from here in the US.) My first question is, "I have absolutely considered it. Have YOU?" This question often comes from people who've never even bothered to help out an adoptive family, much less choose to adopt themselves. Anyway, we looked into kids on the US waiting child lists, looking for kids who might fit into our family. While there were a couple, the process to get them was daunting. We're familiar with adopting from Serbia. We understand the process, the costs and the time frame are predictable.

Next we had to decide on age. A child needed to be close to either Angela's age group or close to the boys, but not developmentally younger than Asher. I say it that way because I could could be 5 and developmentally beyond where Asher is now, and we really want him to remain the baby of the family.

What type of special needs? Now this was tough for us! We were open to pretty consider pretty much any child. We didn't know yet what child was meant to be in our family so we were worried about making our criteria too narrow. Angela, Axel and Asher all have Down syndrome. If our next child didn't have DS would he or she felt left out of the chromosomal party we have going on here? If there is one thing we know, it is Down syndrome. We can see a child with DS who is coming from institutional care and...most of the time...know if what we're seeing is "just DS" or is related to post institutional issues. Anyway, we considered several children with a variety of special needs. This was SO HARD! There are so many "what if?" and potential hidden diagnosis with any internationally adopted child. Not only did I start reading information websites, but also started contacting families who are parenting children with needs similar to those we were considering. It seemed overwhelming sometimes, and we've done this a couple times before!

Boy or girl? Well, there has to be boys and girls available to even make a choice in the first place. Back in September and October there were no children who met our criteria at all, and suddenly in November there were! Finally a couple weeks ago we were able to narrow it down to just two children; one boy and one girl.

 Oh, these decisions are so difficult! We always have taken this decision very seriously, but I have to be honest with you about my emotions about this adoption. This is our last one. We are done. When this adoption is complete so will our family be. (and no, it's not possible for us to change our mind about that.) For some reason this seems like a bigger decision that Axel and Asher's adoptions were. Maybe part of that comes from the process being so different for each of  our kids. In Axel's case, we were planning to adopt another child who turned out  not to be a legal orphan. Our hearts were broken but we decided to adopt whoever was next most in danger. At the time it was Axel. With Asher, there were only a few kids who met our criteria, and when we narrowed it down to two we realized one of them would require us to make a change to our USCIS paperwork because of when her birthday fell. Also, she wasn't walking yet and I just didn't feel I could carry a non-walking 6 year old around. (and having met the child previously I knew she wasn't a tiny petite thing!) By description Asher seemed the better fit for our family. But this time? This time we agonized (well, probably me more than Dean!)  Dean and I discussed each child and all of the different scenarios, the potential for undiagnosed syndromes or medical problems, our ability to learn ourselves and provide the best possible care for each child, as well as  how each child would fit in with our other three here at home.

The one thing we do not take into consideration is how the children look. We are going by profiles only and not faces. I do like the process this way. There is no tendency to fall in love with a picture and in our heads create a personality to go with that picture, only to find it doesn't really fit.

By description we know that both chronologically and developmentally Little B will fit right in between Axel and Asher. Now, I do learn pretty quickly! Asher was considerably developmentally much younger than what we were expecting. Don't get me wrong, the description I had was accurate, there just wasn't enough of it for us to get a clear picture of where Asher was in his development. We could have asked more questions but decided that it was just as easy to get on a plane and meet him instead of fill the ministry's email box with my daily questions! LOL So, by description, B fits right in between our boys. Is it possible we will get there and find he's actually behind where Asher is? Yes, this is totally possible but I trust the information I was given and at this point have no reason to think it's inaccurate.

So, that is how WE made our choice this time. Several of you reading are adoptive parents. How did you decide which child or children to add to your family?

2 comments:

  1. So excited to follow your journey again :)

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  2. We had to decide between two children and my husband was drawn to one and I to the other. In the end, the agency called and said there was a family who was interested in the one child. We choose the other, and then they both had a family.

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