Friday, November 8, 2013

On choosing a special child

Just an old post that for some reason I never felt led to publish until now.  I guess I was just getting down all my fears and feelings and thoughts that day.

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I am writing this post before we have even told anyone about choosing Ivelina.  We met with a pediatric specialist yesterday who specializes in developmental disorders and children with traumatic backgrounds.  She was great!

The only things we had to take to her was one photo, 4 videos, a few of our girl's measurements, and some very confusing anecdotal information.  It was amazing how much she could tell us about our girl from just this small bit of info.

We left the meeting encouraged by many of things the doctor said.  But also....I felt...a little fear creeping in.  We are choosing a little girl with special needs.  We don't even know the extent of her needs, but we know she is very behind emotionally, mentally, and developmentally for her age.  We also know that she doesn't speak any English.  Wha?!  Are we crazy?

Yes, I know what some people are thinking and will think about us:

"You guys must be gluttons for punishment.  Why choose such a difficult child?"
"How in the world do you plan on communicating with her?"
"What are you going to do about school?  She's so behind and no one speaks Bulgarian around here."
"You guys will be parenting her forever.  She'll never be able to catch up."
"Wow, this girl could have some serious issues.  You two have no experience.  What makes you think you can parent a child like her?"
"Do you know what you're getting yourselves into?"

*Sigh*  Yes, we know people are going to think these things.  And really some people have actually said these things to me. Admittedly, I have had some of these same thoughts running through my head in the 24 hours since meeting with the doctor.

Yes, we are new to parenting.
Yes, Ivelina does have some challenging needs, and we don't even know what they all are!
No, we don't know exactly how we are going to go about all this.
No, she might not grow up to graduate from college and have a high-paying job and a husband with 2.5 kids of her own. Then, again she might.

But, here's what I've also been thinking:

  • We're not in this alone.  We will be parenting with the help of each other and the Lord.
  • If we don't adopt Ivelina, who will? I think about the fate of a little girl like her if she remains in institutional care.  She is already at a crucial age where soon she will be moved to an older children's orphanage.  The prospects are grim for orphans as they get older and older.  They get less and less "cute," they grow further and further behind, and honestly families just hesitate to adopt older children who come with so much baggage.  Apparently, she has been looked over many times before, and her future, if she ages out of the institutional system, is not hopeful.  Orphans who age out of the system fall prey to abuse, prostitution, and human trafficking.  We feel a sense of urgency to love and care for and protect this little one.
  • All kids have issues!  Adopted children may have a different set of issues than a biological child, but all children have some special needs. 
  • I believe Christians should be in the forefront of caring for the least of these in this world.  Jesus encourages us to do so, and yet, I think fear of taking on such a challenging task scares the church away from this immense need.  Fear definitely got a hold of me for a little while this week.
  • No, we are not experts in special needs, behavior disorders, mental delays, or ESL, but who better to take on these challenges than God's people?  His perfect love casts out all fear!  He will be with us. 
So, those are my thoughts on choosing a child with special needs.  We are still figuring all this out.  I'm sure I can blog more on this topic once we actually have met her and have her home with us.

The need is so great for adopting children with special needs.  Is God maybe calling you to care for the least of these in this way?  

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Will you you be a part of this journey with us?  Help support our adoption by donating this weekend through our G1S1 fundraiser.  The link to our adoption video and giving button is HERE.  The fundraiser ends on SUNDAY, so visit the link today and please share with any of your friends. We only need around $60 more dollars and we will have our matching grant fully funded!

Thanks for reading,


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