November is National Adoption Month. I remember last November being so excited about being in the beginning of our adoption. We were just in the beginning, hadn't had our home visits yet but were on our way in the paper chase. The beginning is overwhelming. There is so much to do before you really even understand what you're doing. There's all of the paperwork for the homestudy, the paper chase for the dossier and once you're done with all of that, you have so much more to learn and do still. Erik gave me a great piece of advice when I was feeling overwhelmed. He said, "We'll just chip away at it one piece at a time." And even though that didn't feel like enough and like we would ever get anywhere, it was enough and before we knew it, we were getting close to finishing up our dossier. It's a lot and it takes a long time but if you take it one step at a time, you can get through it.
There are a few reasons that I started this blog about a year ago. One reason was for our friends and family to be able to keep up with where we were at in our adoption. It's so hard to explain when people ask about the adoption and when you'll get to go to China. There's so much more to it than that and we didn't know when we were going until two weeks before we left. For anyone who wanted to know all of the steps and what was left, I tried really hard to explain on here what we were doing and what was coming next. Another reason, the main reason, that I started this blog was for Liana. I wanted our daughter to be able to read what all we went through on our way to adopting her and for her to be able to look back someday and see how much we wanted her and how much we loved her before we ever even met her. The third reason that I started this blog was for other adoptive parents or potential adoptive parents. I learned more from other blogs than probably anywhere else during this process. Before we made the decision to adopt, I read all the way through I don't know how many blogs. It was such a help to me to read about the different steps that you go through to get to your child and all of the different experiences people went through. Everyone has such a different experience and some of the children enter their families smoothly but many more struggle...a lot. I felt a lot more prepared when we went to China, having read about so many different people's experiences. I hope that people in the process of adopting have been helped in some way by reading my blog and I hope even more that it encourages others to take that step toward adding to their families through adoption too. We had our ups and downs on this journey. Everyone does. It's inevitable that you will have some delays and setbacks but something that I read once that encouraged me was that once you have an approved homestudy is, you will get your child. It will happen, no matter what you have to go through and no matter how much time it takes. There's no knowing what your journey will look like ahead of time and what problems you will face, what parts of the process China will change during your journey, but you can get through it. It's a lot like labor pains, once you have your child in your arms, the pain you went through to get to this point, just doesn't matter anymore. I'm so glad to be on this end of our adoption now...with Liana here with us, but I don't care anymore about the issues that we had with notaries and doctors and our ridiculously long LOA wait. Liana is here! She's playing with Ethan and interrupting my typing this very moment. And I wouldn't change a thing.
On another note, I want to plug Special Needs adoption, as it is obviously close to my heart. When you think of Special Needs, you think of pretty severe needs but if that isn't right for your family, it doesn't have to turn you away from Special Needs adoption. When you decide to do Special Needs adoption, they give you a checklist of different special needs and you check which ones you would be okay with and to what degree. When we learned about Special Needs adoption, it just clicked. We were matched through a shared list that comes out each month in China of children who have minor to moderate correctable special needs. This can be anything from a cleft lip and/or palate to a minor heart condition to a birthmark. Liana had two special needs. One was a small hole in her heart called a PFO. Liana's PFO had already resolved itself before we were even matched with her. It's gone! Her other special need was an esophageal hiatus hernia, which she had surgery for when she was about a month old. Supposedly she was going to need another surgery but she doesn't. She has had no issues with it whatsoever and she is able to eat anything and everything and she does! Truly minor special needs, if you even consider them special needs at all, which I really don't. We did discover one other "special need" when we came home. She has a lump on her back, which we learned yesterday is a deep hemangioma. Usually they are red birthmarks on the skin but Liana's is bluish and under the skin. Now, the reason I am even calling this a special need is because it happens to be one of the things that we checked on our list that we were okay with. There's nothing that we have to do about it except keep an eye on it to make sure it isn't getting bigger and it will more than likely shrink in the next few years. I have known families who checked only one special need on the list and were matched right away so you don't have to be open to a lot. You have to really think about it seriously and research the different needs but what a blessing when you bring home your "special needs" child.
This is the face of Special Needs adoption
I support all kinds of adoptions. I don't care if it's domestic, international, special needs or non special needs adoption. I <3 adoption. I just happen to only know about Special Needs from China so that's what I'm writing about. :-)