I've been debating on how and when to write this post and what to say in it. But I feel like the closer we get to sending our dossier to China, the more important it is for me to share with everyone what to expect when we get our referral for Kylie.
I've mentioned before that we have been approved to adopt "one female child of Chinese heritage from 0-3 years old". That's what our homestudy actually said and how we filled out our application for the adoption agency.
What this means is we have no idea if Kylie will be 18 months old, 2 years old or 3 years old. We won't know until we get an actual referral. Also, I have mentioned that we have requested a child with "special needs". I know this term conjures up a lot of pre-conceived notions and ideas so I figured it would be best if I just put it all out there and if you have questions, you can certainly ask.
Steve and I knew we were not equipped (emotionally, physically, financially) to deal with an ongoing special need such as Downs Syndrome, Spina Bifida or a lifelong heart defect. Let me say if Jenna had been born with any of these, we would have loved her as much as we do now and would have done whatever it took to get her physical issues taken care of. Plus, we just didn't feel that God was asking us to take on a child with an ongoing special need.
Let me back up just a bit and clarify...in China, "special needs" can be anything from cleft lift and palate (repaired or not) to a missing finger or toe, to spina bifida or any combination of these. (Also, older "healthy" children are considered special needs). So, in China, a child can have a missing toe and be considered special needs. Or they can have a large birthmark, be deaf, blind, or any number of things and be termed as special needs. Many times, especially with the cleft lip and/or palate, China will pay to have these things corrected, but once you are "special needs" you are always special needs.
In doing our research, we realized you could tell the agency very specifically what special needs you could accept and which you couldn't. And they ask you to speak with your (or a) pediatrician about the possibilities and then be very specific in your request.
And therefore, I'd like to share with you what Kylie could possibly have/look like so that when the time comes, you won't be surprised.
The special needs we said we would accept are repaired cleft lip and palate, unrepaired cleft lip, club feet (in a child under 2--our pediatrician suggested this since after age 2, club feet get more complicated to correct), missing finger or toe, ear deformity with no to mild hearing loss, hemangioma (though not covering a large part of the face) and minor burns and/or scars.
And we have already accepted the fact that there might be other hidden health issues we don't know about until after Kylie comes to live with us. And if that turns out to be the case, then we will deal with that day when it comes.
Why am I sharing this with you? Because I want everyone to understand our situation. This 'need' Kylie will have might be large or small and it might be repaired or not. But either way, she'll be ours to love and to take care of and God has already picked her out just for us. She's already a Taylor even though she doesn't know it yet!
If you have questions about why we chose these special needs or why we decided to go with special needs in general, please feel free to ask. I'm happy to share as much as I can with you!