Friday, June 19, 2009

In Need of a Sign

Ok...I'm going to put it out there. I've been having this internal dialogue with myself and I just need to get a part of it out here. Partly to vent...and partly because I'm hoping someone will have some advice...some insight for me about this.

We've come to learn about a beautiful little girl in Ghana who needs a mommy and daddy. Her situation is a bit special...so the adoption process could be longer and more complicated than "normal"...maybe. This particular little girl has the potential to have more "issues" than we would have normally said we were willing or able to handle. I won't go in to detail about what those issues are...but let's just say this little girl had a VERY rough start to her life.

She is young (just barely a year old now), and normally I would have thought that Z would say "no way!" just based on that. He's never been interested in having little babies or young toddlers around. He doesn't have a lot of experience with them...so he thinks he's bad at it...plus he says you can't reason with them! LOL! He's always been of the opinion that we should adopt children who are a little older (like 4-6 years old).

But...it turns out that Z is especially taken with this little girl. He is the one who has urged me to get more information about her. And the more we learn about her, the stronger the pull.

I feel the pull, too...but I also feel a bit of fear about the unknown. What if her health (mental or physical) is more complicated than we are prepared to handle?

Should she be in a family who has a stay-at-home parent? If she comes here, she'll have to be in daycare during the schoolyear. Is that fair to her? Could we be the best possible parents for her, even if she has to be in daycare during the schoolyear?

I've told only a very, very few people about this little girl. Each one of them, during some point in the conversation has said "you have to think about the boys that you already have". Ok...what I'm about to write is in no way meant to make those people feel bad, but...How could we NOT think about the boys we have?!? Of course we take the boys into account when we think about the direction our family is taking. And I know they mean well. I know that they mean "are you sure you are going to have time to give the boys what they need and care for a child who might have some special needs?" I get that. I do. Adding any child to our family will take away a certain amount of time from the boys...granted she might have more intense needs than the "average" kiddo. But isn't it also possible that having a child like her in our family might actually enrich the boys' lives in immeasurable ways?

How do you KNOW that you are on the right path? I thought we were on the right path with our last situation and that ended badly. I don't want to go down the wrong path again - its too hurtful. But I don't want my fear to get in the way of us going down the right path, either. If its the right path.

How do you KNOW that you are on the right path??

So please...come out of lurkdome and share your thoughts.
Share your experiences with following a path that lead you into the unknown. Share stories about adopting special needs kids. Share the good stuff...share the bad stuff.

I could use all the help I can get!

11 comments:

Kristin Jag said...

Well...I think the fact that both of you are drawn to her means something. I remember that when Daron and I felt that way about a little one, we would start praying specifically for the child and for God to open or shut the doors. Doors kept shutting until Fia and Kwame came in and people definitely thought we were crazy to have five kids in our family and worried about what we were doing to our family. God knows what is best and he lets us know what we can handle. You will feel it and whether or not it is this little girl that you bring into your home, it is very special that she is getting some extra prayers from you right now. We will be thinking and praying for you in your decisions.

Amanda said...

Chanda,

What a beautiful, exciting time for you and your family. Follow your heart and the rest will come.

Amanda

Tasha said...

I do not have too much to share as my husband and I are just 3 1/2 months into our wait for siblings 0-18 months from Ethiopia. But I wanted to comment that I believe that you are pulled toward situations for a reason. The same reason my husband and I are drawn to siblings. You are drawn to this little girl for a reason and I think it is important to follow your heart. Go for it if you do feel it in your heart, then you are the right family for her!

Heather said...

Chanda,

I do not have all the answers, I've only HAD all the same questions. Never ever, ever has the plan been to have 9 kids. And certainly not 4 at a time. These things just happen. Well, God makes thses things happen.

Here's my thoughts.
1) When we started adopting, people said the same thing to us. "What about your kids?" I will tell you that we have seen such growth, maturity, selflessness and joy grow out of our children each and every time our family has grown. We don't have any with significant special needs, but the sheer volume of children is a special need of sorts, and requires extra grace from each family member. They have ALL stepped up.

2) Who's to say that any child you adopt or birth will not end up having special needs? Anything can happen to any of our children at any given time. We are not guaranteed tomorrow or our children's health. If God allows this adoption to go through, then this precious little girl is yours, and was meant to be yours. And also meant to be Jellybean and Peanuts sister. No mistakes.

3) Another thought. The road that ended up not happening last time may not have been a mistake. Would you be looking in Ghana right now if that situation had not come up? Would your heart be open to a tiny little girl on the other side of the Ocean?

4) Daycare. I am not familiar with your little one, but have been around the adoption/foster care community awhile. Quite often Drs. and therapists have suggested to our friends/acquaintances that their special needs kids go to daycare, for the interaction and stimulation. You working may well be ideal for her!

I truly think that even the most well meaning people just say the wrong thing sometimes. Especially ones that have never known what it is to love someone you've never seen, that doesn't know you exist, that just so happens to live in Africa right now....

Blessings and Hugs on your journey, Girl!!
Heather S

Jen said...

I would love to talk to you about my year with Selina. I will say up front that her child care situation is a huge factor in the success she has had.
It is a lot to think about and hopefully you have a little time to decide and research.
If you would like to chat, send me an email and I will give you my number...

Praying for you as you make your decision....

Bingaling said...

Thanks everyone! Lots to think about here. Heather and Jennine thank you for your insights on daycare...that is something I hadn't thought about...though it makes perfect sense.

Thank you all for letting me vent and giving me feedback.

sara said...

I don't think I've ever commented on your blog before, but I have been reading since before you brought your boys home. I have to agree with Heather on several of her points. There is no guarantee that if you and Z were to biologically have a child, he/she wouldn't have special needs even more complex than the little one you are considering adopting. I also agree about the daycare thing. I work with children birth-3 with special needs, and when in the right daycare, some of these kids make more progress than if they were at home all day with a parent. It does 2 things - gives the child peer models to learn from, as well as show the other children in the class that "special needs" aren't scary.

All this to say, if you feel drawn to this little girl, and you feel that she has been placed on your heart for a reason, pray about it, and somehow, you will be given an answer.

Heather A. said...

I'm chiming in a bit late on this one, but I'll throw my .02 in there. I've gotten the "you've got to think about the kids you already have" line quite a bit, and it bugs me.

As an only child, I do not think it's healthy for one or two kids to get so much focus and attention from two parents. It's tough learning to share, work together, cooperate, accomodate others when it's never been learned before.

Yes, some attention will be deflected by the little one, but that's normal and natural. Your boys will learn to love, nurture, share, cooperate and accomodate their baby sister. And *I* think IMHO they will be better men for it when they're grown.

Go with your heart, pray over it, and it will come. I'm hoping that it's little "J" that you're thinking of. When I saw her picture, I knew she wasn't mine, but I thought of you and Zack.

BTW, I died laughing when I read that Z thinks it's easy to reason with older children. Maybe he should try to reason with my 10yo!!!

Praying for you my friend.

Amy said...

Hi Chanda,

I can't offer you anything that hasn't already been said, but I will let you know that the "you have to think about the children you already have" is an extremely common thread. Can't tell you how many time we heard that! That is the voice of fear. It is not the message from someone that has deeply considered your situation from every angle because if they had, you would hear about the potential BENEFITS as well, just as the fellow commenters here offered you.

Our "kids we already have" have been incredibly blessed to be a part of a big family. As others have said, they have learned to nurture, to care, to give and to be a part of something bigger than what they would have had without their new siblings. Is it all easy- NO WAY! But please tell me what is easy that is worthwhile? Why do so many think the easiest path is the right one? The easiest path tends to be the one the fewest growth opportunities. :)

I hope your decision becomes crystal clear for you Chanda. I know you'll make an informed decision, but be weary of the nay sayers... Fear should never trump faith!

Fabu

Kirsty said...

Hi, I'm just a random lurker who knows nothing at all about adoption or having children at all.

However, I was just sent this today in an email, about a decision of my own I have to make (work related). Hope it can help you.

1. His providence. Has he been ordering my life so that I can see how the next step links with what has gone before? His plans for us are not haphazard.

2. His people. Are the people of God who know me supportive of this step?

3. His kingdom. Will I have the opportunity to be of greater usefulness to God? In new service for him, he normally leads us from smaller spheres of service to larger ones, not vice versa.

3. His strength. Has God set before me a role that will stretch me spiritually? The challenge of new service involves the need for greater trust in him, not greater self trust.

Amy said...

I thought I remembered mentioning faith versus fear on your blog earlier as I read last night's wonderful post and here it is! :)

Fabu