Adoption Story, Part 1

Back in 2000, we had three children and were excitedly anticipating the birth of our fourth baby. At about 19 weeks, I had a dream only understood the significance of a week later. In the dream, our baby had been born, but wasn’t with us. I remember thinking that the baby would have been much too small and young to survive, but in my dream, I knew the child was safe and being cared for by God. A week later at a routine prenatal visit, the little heart we’d heard beating so strongly just a few weeks before was silent. Our baby, a little boy we called Jesse, had died.

At the same time we grieved Jesse’s loss, my mom was undergoing chemo for breast cancer. Our world was rocked, and it became very clear that the “safe” feeling of control we hung onto was an illusion. I had to ask myself whether I really believed God was in control, and if so, why I didn’t do more“scary” things. I remember asking my husband, and him answering with a laugh,“because they’re scary!” We’d considered adoption through the 12 years of our marriage, but it never seemed to be the right time before. Now, we were left with a baby-shaped hole in our hearts, and a determination to find a child – our child – somewhere out there in the world who needed us.

I started to research and ask questions and send for materials.We learned that little boys wait significantly longer for families than girls, and once they hit toddler age, with any medical issue, their chances of being adopted get much slimmer. We prayed our way through the mountains of information before we chose Children’s Home Society and Family Services (CHSFS) in Minnesota as our placing agency. They have an extensive waiting child program, and we had a strong feeling that our child was a toddler with a medical issue, from Korea. We spent hours perusing the Rainbow Kids adoption photolisting, and researched many complicated diagnoses and issues, getting an idea of what special needs we felt comfortable with. We weren’t always in the same place, and this process helped us a great deal as we explored the idea of raising a child with a disability or special need. We finally decided we’d be comfortable with a medically correctable special need, like a cleft or a child who needed surgery.

Our First Korean Son

The one-year-old boy we fell in love with though – head over heels, knowing he was our child in love – had a scary-sounding, asymptomatic special need. He‘d also been a preemie, and had been hospitalized several times for pneumonia. We didn't think his main special need would cause him issues, although in certain instances, it could have indicated a syndrome. He was developmentally on target, cute as a button, and despite the uncertainty, we felt he was our child. We eagerly completed our homestudy, and went to Korea in 2003 to get "D" when he was 21 months old.

Now, if I told you I was not terrified as we waited, I would be lying. I was awake at night, panic-stricken terrified, and I share this because it's real. My fears vanished when we held our pudgy, beautiful little brown baby with a head full of standing-up-straight black hair for the first time - we knew he was ours, no matter what.

Finalization celebrations

For the record, he is not affected by his identified special need, but we learned when he was 7 that he had an undiagnosed hearing loss. He wears a hearing aid, is a super kid with a huge heart, a great athlete and he plays a rockin' guitar.

We thought, when we began the process of adopting "D", our Musician, that we would adopt our fourth child and our family would be complete. How wrong we were!