The little guy who stopped me in my tracks
When we were waiting for “D’s” paperwork to be done so we could go get him, I saw another little guy just 6 weeks older on Rainbow Kids, and his laughing face stopped me in my tracks. He was born with a cleft hand and missing bones in both lower legs, which would never be functional. This was a special need we had never even considered. He had a smile that showed his spirit, and I was instantly struck that he was my child. Our first Korean son wasn’t even home yet, but in my heart I named this little waiting child, and prayed and prayed that his parents would go get him soon. After “D” came home and we taught him to ride a bike, I thought about “I”, and imagined how we’d adapt a bike for him. When “D” had night terrors and a difficult adjustment, I thought of “I”, and prayed for him to have a mom and dad who would love him and help him as well. Finally, when “D” had been home almost a year, we both knew “I” was ours, and we started the process to bring him home too.
I was feeling pretty confident about my abilities as a mom and my courage in adopting kids with special needs; even judgmental of those who said it wasn’t for them. Boy was I in for some humbling. I became anxious as we waited for approval to go get our little guy, but more so than the first time. I was shaking–in-my-boots terrified! What was life going to be like? It was perfect now, what was I thinking, changing all this? I was terrified of attachment disorder, of what a child with prosthetics would need, of what our life would be like. (Judge if you like, but I’m keeping it real.) People couldn’t always understand why we would “take on” adopting a child with special needs, and much of our support came from online adoption groups where other parents were walking this “road less taken.” While we were incredibly grateful for parents who supported what they understood as our mission, we really came to understand that God was our biggest support, the reason we were able to willingly enter the unknown, and the only way we would be successful.
“I” came home in 2003, and is an easy-going, amazing boy. He jumped into family life with a joyful spirit, and has been a privilege to raise. We had instant three-year-old twins, and their mischief and laughter filled our home. "I" learned English with surprising speed, and while we expected a child with delays who would need encouragement, we received a child with incredible courage and determination. A year after his homecoming, “I” had surgery to remove his non-functioning lower legs, and less than two months later, was walking in his first prostheses. While the surgery and recovery were difficult for him and scary for us, I was struck by the great privilege we had been given in being allowed to be his parents –allowed to be the ones in the recovery room, caring for him in the weeks following surgery, witnessing his first steps. It took my breath away to think we could have missed this because of my fear, and I gave thanks again.