Saturday, February 6, 2010

Day 37 - No one ever told me...

We had another day filled with play-do, crafts, reading books, dress-up, cooking and more :o) As much as I enjoy these indoor activities, I am soooooo ready for warmer weather so we can play outside!

I am happy to report, we have a new tooth update...Julianne is getting her second, top front tooth :o) I am ready for that one to come in. I am pleasantly surprised at how quickly her teeth are coming in...finally! This front tooth will make #9!!

Here is an interesting conversation I had with Hillary Ashton...
HA: Mama, are Julianne's parents in jail?
Me: No. Remember, Julianne's mommy and daddy died and are in heaven (I pray!).
HA: Oh, yea. I remember. I was just asking because I know Jonah's parents are ******** (can't put private info about Jonah online :o) ) and Julianne's parents are in heaven, but I just don't understand why Sophie Le's parents can't take care of her.

I understand where she is coming from. She isn't asking because she doesn't want Sophie Le here or anything like that. She is just curious. Having foster kids in our home, it is pretty common talk around our house about why some kids can't live with their parents. Drugs, jail, neglect...they are all legitimate reasons to a five year old.

Honestly, it is really hard for me to talk to the girls about why Sophie Le was given up for adoption. It is a pretty common reason children are given up for adoption in Vietnam...Money. How silly does that sound to a kid? Money doesn't make a good parent and I don't ever want to give them that idea. I always try to shelter them from money talk because really, at their age they do not need to worry about that type of thing. There will be plenty of time for that when they grow up. It is so hard to explain to children that one set of parents cannot keep their children because of a little, silly thing like money. It.breaks.my.heart. How unfair. And then the questions start about if Sophie Le's birthmother has enough money to eat now and if she has a house and if she will have any more babies. I know as the girls get older, the questions will continue and probably get harder. All I can say is "I don't know." I try to assure them that Sophie Le's mom is okay, but really I don't know. I think about her EVERYDAY, but the truth is I don't know.

Adoption related issues are hard. But adoption is soooo worth it :o)

Do any of you ever check rainbowkids.com? I HEART that website. It has great adoption related articles and CUTE, CUTE kiddos available for adoption. Most of the kids are older and/or have special needs. I saw a great article on their site tonight. It is written by a mom who has adopted three kiddos, two with special needs. It really puts things into perspective! Here it is:

What No One Ever Told Me About Special Needs Adoption
Loving our perfect child
February 03,2010 / Tamera Wong

Adopting several children from China has been a joy-filled, faith-building, abundant adventure. We have four biological children and feel as though we are experienced parents. However, sometimes even experienced parents can find that they are not adequately prepared for some issues.

During November of 2006, we decided that we would pursue a special needs child on a waiting child list. Our agency diligently prepared us for parenting a child with special needs. Our adopted daughter was born with a congenital right limb transverse deficiency. This is a lot of medical jargon to say that her right arm ends 3 inches above where her elbow would have been. She has one little partial digit on that limb. While preparing for her adoption, I read about limb differences and I considered the challenges we may face as a family. I prepared for the possibilities of surgery and maybe prosthetics. I learned the proper, politically correct terminology for limb differences and prepared my children at home for the difference they would see in their new sister.

I was very pleased with the amount of preparation that went into the adoption of a special need child. However, once she was placed in my arms and I began to watch this little girl unfold, I realized that there were some serious issues that we were not prepared for. In fact, I am pretty certain that these issues were not ever once disclaimed to me or my husband by any social worker.

Here is a list of items that no social worker ever prepared us for:

1. No one ever told us that when we had our adopted "special needs" daughter evaluated by an occupational therapist, that she would be 6-months ahead of her typically developing two-armed peers in motor development

2. No one ever told me that at age 2, she would figure out how to climb to the top of a bunk bed with her one arm just to admire her brother's trophies on a high shelf.

3. No one ever told me that she would be only 19 pounds but have the desire, tenacity, and strength of a Super Bowl bound football team.

4. No one ever told me that in one short year of knowing her I would learn more about not giving up than I had in all of my lifetime.

5. No one ever told me that her older brothers would be so touched by the beauty that she emits even with her "imperfect" arm that they would tell her everyday how beautiful she is.

6. No one ever told me that she would touch the lives of total strangers with her genuine zest for life.

7. No one ever told me that a 2-year-old from China would be so grateful for pretty clothes and a family to call her own.

8. No one ever told me that our "special needs" daughter would learn to balance on a regular swing and pump her legs earlier than any of our "non-special needs" kiddos did.

9. No one ever told me that our daughter was just a regular child disguised as a "special needs" child because her arm is a little different.

10. No one ever told me that when our family stepped out in faith thinking we would make a difference in this little girl's life, that we would be the ones whose lives were changed and were blessed beyond measure in just knowing this little fire cracker whom we call Bethany Grace.

If you are reading this and you are a family that is considering a "special needs" adoption, I just want to warn you that there are some things that no one may ever prepare you for. There are some hidden blessings and unexpected pleasures that you may find as a surprise. And just for the record, I have gotten over the fact that our social worker did not prepare us for the above mentioned items.

More on adopting a child with limb differences

Tamera Wong has been married to her husband Bryan for 17 years. They are the proud parents of 7 kiddos (4 biological, 3 adopted). Two of their children have special needs-limb differences. Their children are ages 13, 12, 10, 6, 6, 4, and 4. Tamera feels that life with a big family is a great blessing and a great adventure. Tamera attributes her success in parenting to a great big God and a tight-knit family that they call Team Wong.

Here is a picture of her daughter...how cute is she???

1 comment:

Heather said...

Yep...no one ever told us either ;)
Some days I forget that Caleigh is a special needs child. She is just Caleigh with some medical conditions that we took care of & will continue to care for. I remember when we were reading over her referral information & all of the unknowns about the condition of her legs & feet...I remember my mom saying "she is not her feet. If you choose, she will be your daughter & physical things are just that...physical...they don't make the person who they are." So true. She is the light in our lives...so full of strength & perseverance! I wish I could keep up with her...this little girl who we never knew if it would even be possible for her to walk.