Monday, August 31, 2009

Choosing Your Child...SN Adoption...My Thoughts and Experiences

I am writing this post because I have been contacted by several Moms who were in this place in their journey. The place where you are looking at the file of a child and you have to tell your agency whether or not you accept him or her by 5pm tomorrow. Sometimes you don't even get that much time. Sometimes you are being pressured that if you don't accept this referral, it may be a long time before you get another.
You are looking at the face of a beautiful child. You were so sure you would know instantly when you saw your child's face...but you don't know for sure with this look for any clue, any sign that this is the one.
You read every word in the referral over and over. You forward the referral package to your pediatrician and any specialist you can find. You are typing medical conditions into google search that you cannot even pronounce.
The little face is tattooed in your brain. This is a child living somewhere in the world who needs a family and their fate is in your hands. You could be their mother. All you have to do is say ok.
The anxiety creeps in. Is the file accurate? Can I handle this SN? How will this condition work with our family?
You cannot eat, your stomach is in knots. You cannot toss and turn all night long. Is this my child? What should I do?
You pray...literally fall on your face before God begging Him to tell you...give you a sign.

Sophia was the fifth file we reviewed. I had no peace and God was quiet while I suffered through the first four files and let the little girls move on to their forever families. It was hell. That is the only way to describe what I went through. Emotional hell. I questioned my faith, had I not been strong enough to accept the child meant for me? Had I missed a sign from God and let my daughter pass through my fingers?

File Number 1: Beautiful little girl with repaired spina bifida. Her birthday was my Grandfather's birthday and she had the double cowlick that runs in our family. We thought for certain that this was our girl. Many people fear spina bifida children, but I know through my relationship with Amanda at Starfish that these children can be healed and live wonderful lives and they deserve families. We sent the referral packet off to our pediatrician and he thought some things needed clarification.

The file stated she was standing and walking. He wanted to know if she had bowel control and if she could walk unaided. We contacted our agency and asked them to call the orphanage and ask these questions. They did. IF YOU HAVE A MEDICAL QUESTION THAT NEEDS TO BE ANSWERED IN ORDER FOR YOU TO FEEL COMFORTABLE ACCEPTING A REFERRAL, HAVE YOUR AGENCY CALL THE ORPHANAGE. THEY CAN AND THEY SHOULD.
We found out that this little girl was completely paralyzed from the waist down. The information in our referral packet was incorrect. We sadly turned down the referral. We had decided early on what SN's we could handle positively and at what severity and this was too severe for us. BE HONEST WITH YOURSELVES ABOUT WHAT SN'S YOU CAN HANDLE.

File Number 2: Almost the same situation as file number one, except we could not get the information we needed to feel comfortable accepting the referral back from the orphanage. They would not cooperate with us enough for us to feel comfortable moving forward, so we turned down the file. IF YOU CANNOT GET ENOUGH INFORMATION TO FEEL COMFORTABLE MOVING FORWARD WITH THE ADOPTION, IT IS OK TO SAY NO AND LET IT GO. All of the children whose files we reviewed found their true forever families. It was never us.

File Number 3: This one was the most difficult. Absolutely darling little girl with a heart condition. Thank you thank you to my friend Kelly who gave me the name of a fabulous cardiologist. We believed with all of our hearts that this was our daughter. I will always carry her with me. I sent the referral to my pediatrician who said that she would definitely need a second surgery (she had already had one in China), but that he thought it looked ok. I also sent the file to a pediatric cardiologist who called me within an hour to tell me that this little girls situation was grave, she wouldn't live past her teens. I have an excellent pediatrician, but he is not a heart specialist. FIND A SPECIALIST WHENEVER YOU CAN TO REVIEW YOUR REFERRAL. If we had not sent our file to a specialist, we would be the parents of a child who would pass away much sooner than we would be ready for her to.

File Number 4: This file never seemed right to me. I got the call from our agency and they sent over the file of a little girl with an eye condition. Her eye would need to be removed. We had asked for the referral of a little girl younger than Eli. We did not wish to adopt out of birth order. Our agency misread this little one's birthdate and thought she was a year younger than she actually was, she was truly older than Eli. I just knew in the pit of my stomach that this wasn't my daughter. We turned down the file.

Sophia's File: I got the call from my SW. She sent the file. I opened it up and refused to fall in love. I just didn't have it in me. I was afraid of investing in another little girl, I was afraid of the anguish again. I sent the file to Tim. He was instantly smitten. I sent the file to our pediatrician and to the same cardiologist who had given us the terrible news about the other little heart girl whose file we had received. It was 2:30pm and I was told I had until 5pm to decide on whether or not I would accept this little girl and that they had other families who they knew would take her. Thank goodness the cardiologist's office called back within an hour. They told me that this little girl's condition was much better than the last and that they thought she looked good and that if they were in our shoes, they would accept the referral.
I had been praying to God to please help me, to please give me a sign. I didn't need a burning bush (although that would be great). And then I noticed the red maryjanes. I know it sounds random, but it was not random to me. I knew it was God and that He had heard me all of those times before and that His silence was my answer regarding the first 4 files. Those girls were not mine.
But this girl was meant for me. I had peace. I had no sleepless nights. There were no knots in my stomach. Every obstacle in our path was removed. Our daughter came home.

IF I CAN GIVE ANY WOMAN WHO IS GOING THROUGH THIS COMFORT, PLEASE FIND IT IN THIS: I do not believe that God will allow you to miss your child. It's too big. It just is. He will let you screw up a lot of things in your life, but I do not believe this is one of them. God has a purpose and plan for your life and for the life of your child. He is not going to let you adopt the wrong child who was intended for another family and He is not going to allow another family to adopt the child meant for you. I truly believe this. It's just too big.

I also want to say that I am here if anyone needs someone to talk to. You don't need to worry about how well you know me or whatever. If you are going through this time in your journey and you need someone to talk to, e-mail me and I'll get you my phone number.


Isabella's Mommy and Daddy said...

You are AMAZING..
Thanks for sharing your story..
It will help many..
Love ya sister..

3 Peanuts said...

Oh KIm..there are tears on my keyboard. I LOVE your faith in GOD and how strong you have been through this. Although I did not know all of the details ...I knew you suffered. HE had a plan fro you! Much love my friend. You are a blessing to so many and I am sure this will help SO many people.


Kayce said...

Thank you Kimberley for writing this. You are so amazing and your faith and strength is such an inspiration.

Christy said...

wow!!! That is just amazing and I cant belive you had to go through 4 files before you got Sophia. That would have been torture!!! Thanks for posting that. It really makes others realize they are not alone. Your awesome!!


Keisha said...

WOW Kim!! You are truly an Amazing Woman!!! Thank you for sharing your heart here!!! This is so very important for others adopting to know these things!!! You have said it all "In a nut shell".. GOD WILL NOT ALLOW YOU TO PASS OVER YOUR LITTLE GIRL!!!! Amen Sister.. Amen!!!
HUGS!! love you!

Kim K. said...

Beautifully written, Kimberely. Your story sounds very similar to our own. The number of files versus the number of families and lack of clear medical information made things very difficult and emotional. At times, I was ready to thrown in the towel. A SN adoption is not for the faint of heart, but it's FOREVER life-changing. Love ya!!

a Tonggu Momma said...

What an important post, Kim. Thank you for sharing it.

Holly said...

You are so right!
Thank you for your openness and willingness to help others on the journey!

Nancy said...

Kimberley you are such an important member of this adoption family. You have been a rock for everyone that needed you, and still are.
Thank You for you honesty and friendship.

Truly Blessed said...


This is not only a well written and well thought out post, it NEEDS to be read by those who are thinking about pursuing a SN adoption.

I seriously think you should submit this to the "No Hands But Ours" website --

Can we get together for lunch (and also so I can get my battery charger back) some time this week?

Email or call me...


Truly Blessed said...

Oh, one more thing about your post. I feel very strongly that, after reviewing a file, should you choose to not pursue adopting that child, you are not saying "NO" to the child -- you are allowing another family, the right family, the ability to say "YES"!

Anonymous said...

You have me in tears to day too. Between you and Daleea, I am a mess. I SO agree with you. I did not go SN, but I had all kinds of delays in the process. Each one led to Jane. I believe God will not let us miss our children. His plan is so much bigger than we can ever imagine. Each adoption story is a miracle of its own. Yours has been amazing to watch and I am blessed beyond words to be reading this post from you :)!!

What size is Sophia? I truly want to send her something!!! as we know it. said...

Such a beautiful and honest post.

Half Gaelic, Half Garlic! said...

This is an incredible post Kim, hands down one of your best!! Thank you for opening your heart and sharing everything that you went through on this journey.

I am sure it was a very painful journey and one that only the strongest of faith could get through. I admire your courage and determination, and full heartedly believe that we are guided to our children.....or better yet, that they are guided to us.



Faith, Hope, and Love said...

Awesome post Kimberley! Without a doubt Sophia Jane is and always has been your daughter!

Love ya!

Diane said...

I just have to smile so big at the Gracious God Gift you received in the sweet red Mary Jane's.....really, and, truly amazing!!! AND...yet, each family who shares their journey into adoption, seems, in one way or another to be able to share their glimpse or thunder clap:) of the Hands of God being all over their journeys!!

Thanks for sharing!!!

Patricia/NYC said...

You are an ANGEL!!!!
This is an amazing post that needs to be READ!! You really should consider sending it to "No Hands But Ours".

I am inspired by your faith...I just LOVE what you said about God not intending for anyone to miss "their child"...beautiful!!

Juliette said...

Thanks for this post. Thanks for listening and being here dear Kimberley.

Your support is so precious and I am so grateful for all you do to help us.

Desiree' said...

Very well said. We too looked at many files this go round and knew what we could and would accept. You do have to be honest with yourselves and know your limits.

Christine said...

Lovely post. Thanks for sharing.

Cindy said...

Thanks so much for stopping by and posting on my blog. Your post really did speak to me. Just this weekend we had to turn down a referral after receiving additional medical info. It was gut wrenching and I find myself blindsided by crying spells. I needed the voice of understanding and without even knowing me you gave it to me when I desperately needed it. Thank you for your honesty, compassion and intuition.

k1 said...

I remember how emotionally draing it was for you when you were reviewing files, and how heatbreaking when you sent a file back, but how absolutely sure you were of Sophia as 'your' daughter.

Great post.

ps. I had to chuckle, once again, by the number of commentors you have with K (or K sounding) names.

Joanne said...

Wonderful, perfect post! I, of course, have a special place in my heart for SN's little ones, although Mia's was the first and only file we looked at ~ I can say without a doubt He let me know Mia was out is hard to explain, but you just KNOW :)
This post will help SO many!!!

Debz said...

Love this post. I totoally can relate.
You are very good at articulating...not sure I could have pulled that off as well as you did.
I'll tell you my story one day.

Heidi said...

How kind. How kind of you to share your very personal journey so that it may have the chance to give others comfort.
We all need to know that we're not alone.
Thank you for showing it!

Monte and Missy said...

Wise words that are so true. We also reviewed 4 files before the Lord led us to our Abigail. 2 of them we returned and 2 of them were gone at before we could move to the next step in the process. Each review was so heart-breaking, but now I know they were only stretching and reshaping our hearts and minds to receive the daughter the Father had already chosen. At the time is was so difficult to see His hand, but looking back now there is NO DOUBT He led us straight to our daughter.
Thanks for sharing!

k1 said...

I shouldn't have commented that late at night. Sorry about the misspellings.

The Byrd's Nest said...

You really are a blessing and so is your precious girl now. What a testimony to anyone who is frightened to go this route. You know my Emma is a SN child also...emotionally and physically...God still chose her for me.

Amy said...

You said that so beautifully. I remember how painful the process was. Your story is all to familiar to me. I still wonder what happened to Wang Xiao Lan the little girl with Spina Bifida that we thought was ours for an entire month, I pray daily that her forever family found her. Thank you for posting this, I know it will help so many.


Michal said...

Thank you so much for this post. I have felt adrift for about 2 weeks now, looking at SN children online and wondering if I would know my child or not.
This is our second adoption, our forst was NSN China Program. The burden I felt with that adoption - that yes or no decision was so mild compared to the way I feel this time around.
I truly needed to hear(read) the words that you put down here. I can not tell you how much you have helped me. Thank you for realizing that there were Mommy's and Daddy's out here that needed you to say those things.

Chris said...

Thank you for that!

Mardi said...

Wow...what a beautiful post. You are an incredible person and I hope to meet you someday.

Kudo said...

You are so right God will not let you mess this one up as long as you give it up to him for his glory. I so needed to read this post on the night before we leave for more testing. The last time she went through this testing it was the darkest days of our adoption. But I know God has put her in my hands because I am her Mother and will do anything for her. God got this one right.

KT said...

this is exactly where I am at tonight as I sit and try to settle in for the evening and sleep.
I may be in touch and want to chat;)
Thanks so much.

Anonymous said...

Please help my daughter . Jody read you letter and was moved. she sent it to me to read. Jody has not been able to have another baby after her first child 9 years ago. God lead her to adoption after 2 1/2 years of waiting she got her first referal and the little girl that she got did not end up well with her operation ended with brain damage in China .. She already bought clothes and all for her. This really up set her for her and also her sister and her started to gether with adoptions from China and her sister is leaving for her child in Nov. .. Jody then waits for her next referal and again this child is not right but her sis just whats her to get one. Jody is down and wondering if God wants her to adopt ... she said its to hard to go threw ... But satan knows her weakness. We all know that this is Gods calling for if you would have see her with her first referral you could not stop the happeness and joy from her . She is crying today and does not knowif she can move foward help help ... God is good and some thing in life are worth fihghting for ... this is one of them .. the enemy has not won but you are need .. please do not let her know that i wrote to you,her mom jody's email

Anonymous said...

I think I needed to read your blog today. At this moment, I am struggling to work through my doubts and questions about adopting a little boy through domestic adoption. After just over two years of classes and paperwork and homestudy, this is the first hint of a child... and yet, something doesn't seem right... I am trying to sort through logic and emotion and Christian faith to know if I am right in not adopting him. My gut tells me he is not the one. Others wonder if I am expecting too much. I am so hopeful, but somehow, this little boy does not seem to be the right one for me (I am adopting as a single mother). One hour I think one way, next hour, I think differently. It gave me incredible hope to read what you wrote about God not letting us miss an opportunity this big. I think that is a wonderful way to think about it. I may need your "internet shoulder" one of these days. But for now, I am praying in Ontario and asking for others to keep me in their prayers. D (

Stephanie said...

I know this is a comment on an old post, but I've had this one bookmarked forever. I stumbled upon it when I began researching SN adoptions. We have since adopted, but now I help to find posts for a Christian adoption website/forum called "We Are Grafted In" ( I think this post would be very helpful to waiting PAP's and if some of the specifics could be edited out, it would be perfect on WAGI. If you are willing to let us repost it we'd just need a brief bio and picture.
co-administrator for WAGI