Tuesday, April 5, 2011

How Do You Choose Your Child?

How do you choose your child? I’d never considered this until we ventured down this adoption road. I didn’t have to pick my 3 precious kids. I didn’t stand in the nursery window and choose the cutest one. I didn’t read a medical file and select the one who had the cleanest bill of health. Nope, God just knit them nicely in my womb and they were wonderfully ours. But, with our adoption, it just isn’t that simple.

We are adopting through China’s Waiting Child (or special needs) Program and the matching process is quite different than many other international adoption programs. With many other adoptions, a family will receive “the call” from their agency that they have been matched with a child. Then they receive the child’s file with pictures and all the important details about the child. With the Waiting Child (WC) program, because the children have unique needs, the family reviews a child’s file first and then decides if they want to adopt the child or not.

When we started this process we talked with our coordinator about the types and severity of the special needs we are most comfortable with. Based on our input our coordinator will search for a child that may be perfect for our family. Many children are already available on China’s “shared list” – a list of kids available for adoption through any agency. Beautiful kids, boys and girls, of various ages with a variety of special needs. Some of the kids on the list don’t have any medical problems, but are older children and therefore more difficult to adopt out. While we are compiling our Dossier, we can be matched with a child from this list as long as they have been on the list for 30 days or more. More kids are added monthly and the younger kids and the ones with mild or correctable special needs are matched with waiting families very quickly. We have to have our Dossier in China (hopefully by mid June for us) to be matched with a new child.

So as we wait, it is an option for us to look at the more than 2000 children that are on the shared list that are currently waiting for a family to choose them. We can see a picture and read a brief description of their need(s). If we want to know more, we can request the child’s file and review a detailed account of the child – their birthday (often times estimated) circumstances of their abandonment, medical issues, personality, daily routine, and additional pictures. Then you choose - yes, we want to adopt you, or, no, you’re not the one, and they return to the list to continue to wait.

I can see why this is necessary. A family needs to make sure they can meet the needs of the child they bring into their family. But, I must tell you, this is one of the most unsettling things I’ve ever done. These files are real children that are waiting for someone to say “yes.” They have faces, names, personalities and in many ways they aren’t much different from the 3 kids we already have. So, it’s hard to say no – No, you’re not the one. No, your needs are too much for us. No, we won’t be your mommy and daddy.

We recently reviewed a file of an adorable angel that just turned one. To say she is beautiful would be an understatement! She is absolutely precious. I’ve poured over every word in her file so I could learn about what has happened in her first year of life. She was abandoned at a railway station when she was 2 weeks old. Her orphanage felt like her need was too severe and transferred her to a Christian hospice facility to die. The hospice facility realized a surgery would restore her and raised the funds to pay for her surgery. At 2 months of age she spent 2 weeks in the hospital for her surgery. No care taker was able to travel and stay at the hospital with her, so she was there alone. Wow - what a tough start in life! I read about her routine – like what she eats and when she sleeps. I love knowing that she likes music and she smiles and laughs when spoken to. She is wonderful, but sadly I don’t think she is ours. That is hard to type.

It isn’t her special need or anything about her that makes it so, it’s just that after praying and praying and praying about it, we think God has softly told us no. I’ve cried and cried over this sweet darling. I’ve prayed that God would lead the perfect family to her. I’ve prayed that if we’ve gotten this wrong, that he will make it undeniably clear that she is ours. But, for now, it’s no.

This part of the process isn’t talked about much. It’s a tough thing to go through and, in all honesty, it makes you feel awful and uncomfortable. I don’t want to do the choosing. I want to leave that one to God. I believe the choice has already been made and that it was long ago. He knows her and he knows how this story will unravel. Oh, how I want to glorify him through every twist and turn. I must believe that these heartaches along the way are for a purpose. They are to grow my faith, they are to remind me of the MANY children that need a forever family, and they are to prompt me to PRAY for these sweet children. God may not have picked me to be this baby’s mommy, but I KNOW he has picked me to pray for her. I may be the only one doing so right now. I may be filling in the gap until her forever mommy knows her and can pray for her. What a joy it is to do that!!

This process of saying no has left me a weepy mess the last few days. Poor Chris! It has left me with feelings I can’t explain and has re-broken my heart for the many kids that wait for a family. I don’t like the heartache I feel, but I’m thankful God is engaging my heart and aligning it more each day to be like His. One of my favorite lines in Matthew West’s song, My Own Little World, is “Father break my heart for what breaks yours.” I want to care about what God cares about even when it requires my heart to break a little. So, tonight I’m praying for all the orphans who need a family and I’m praying specifically for 2 – my daughter and the sweet angel I know so much about.

The LORD hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. The righteous person faces many troubles, but the LORD comes to the rescue each time.
Psalm 34:17-19


  1. It is so painful, isn't it? In some small way it felt like loosing a baby when we went through it. I still pray for the little girl whose file we reviewed non stop. I so wish God had said yes. We need to trust that He will say yes when she is actually the one who is supposed to be our daughter.

    Hang in there my friend. We will get through this together:) Our girls are out there in China somewhere. Praying God reveals that to us both soon!

  2. So very well written Amy. I can feel your pain. There was a little 7 year old special needs girl in Ethiopia I fell in love with back in January. We hadn't even brought Isaiah and Ruth home and I couldn't stop thinking about her. I wanted us to be her family SO BAD. But after hours on my knees, I realized I'm not to pursue her, but to pray for her. I was devastated. How could God not want me to go "rescue" her? But it was through that prayer that I realized how narrow minded and selfish I was. How could I think I could provide more protection and love than her Heavenly Father? I was underestimating the power of prayer for this little girl. And as of last month, she has a family. :)

  3. Thanks for sharing Amy. God is blessing more children who WE will all begin to pray for after hearing your story. There may be someone preparing your daughter's file now or even praying for you!