If you have been on Facebook in the last week, and if you are Facebook friends with either Brandon or me, then you've seen this little girl: Adalyn in Russia.
You've also seen that we had decided to adopt her. We had been planning on adopting a special needs child and I had been doing hours of research every day to try to figure out which country we should adopt from. I started with foster children in the U.S. Then I called adoption agencies in the U.S. to find out if they have hard to place children from birth-moms there. Then I found myself ruling out country after country either because of cost, or age of children, or length of stay in country, or restrictions of the number of children already in the home, or minimum income levels. Russia had was not on our short list. It was just too expensive. Double that of another country we were looking at.
Then one evening we get an e-mail regarding a sweet girl in Russia who needs a family. Would we be interested in adopting a cleft palate? I sadly responded that no, because Russia was just too expensive, but I would begin to pray for the little girl that a family would find her.
Well, the owner of the agency, because I said I would pray, forwarded some pictures of this little girl to me and to another woman in order for us to pray for her. It wasn't a professional e-mail, but a personal one.
That is when I saw sweet Adalyn. And my heart was sickened. I stuck her story on FB and asked for money to adopt her or someone else to adopt her. I thought is worse than tragic that there was a precious baby who was without a mom or dad in an orphanage and because to get her costs what it costs to buy a car, I couldn't rescue her. I balled and we prayed and I balled and we prayed some more and finally Brandon had to come and escort me to bed.
Then the next morning arrived. Brandon woke me up before dawn and asked me to come look at Facebook. We had received so much support and so many offers for help that we were totally overwhelmed. All of a sudden it seemed that the huge expense (originally the only reason Russia was out for us) was not going to be a big deal! People were opening their hearts! And they promised to open their wallets!
We started researching what all it would take to get her home and to take care of her. We spoke with a plastic surgeon, we researched online, we got in contact with other adoptive families who had cleft palate issues. We prayed a lot. It seemed that God had put this little girl right in our path! And we were committed. We were prepared to handle multiple surgeries, severe speech problems, possible hearing loss, attachment issues, undernourishment, using feeding tubes, raising a child whose face isn't like everyone else's. We, with the Lords help, knew we could do this. That we should do this. That our discomfort and our difficulty was very worth this child's life. We could handle it all...
We got the e-mail from Reece's Rainbow that told us that they hadn't had a chance to add this to Adalyn's profile, but she looks as if she has FAS (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome). A couple of facial features, along with the hole in her heart, along with her cleft...all of those are super consistent with FAS and being that she is from Russia, the likelihood is great. We had done some research on FAS. We did some more. Brandon yelled at the Lord (really yelled, with tears), I cried. I felt sick to my stomach. The more I researched it, the more I felt that this was something I just can't handle. Brandon felt the same.
I want to write an entire blog telling all the reasons why we don't feel like we can adopt an FAS baby, but I need to just get this over with. It is so painful.
An FAS child can have a spectrum of problems, ranging from learning disabilities to severe mental retardation. FAS children are usually very likable and sweet, generous to a fault, and usually have poor impulse control. FAS children can have short term memory problems and be very untrustworthy because of it. FAS women (in the moderate to severe range) tend to have FAS babies. They don't have the ability to reason through the consequences of their actions. They tend to be very sexually active when they are old enough because they don't reason well cause and effect. They are extremely trusting yet resist anyone who tries to control them. As younger children, they are apt to wander off, can't always remember simple instructions. But always appear very capable and normal. They are brain damaged. The result of a birth-mother who drank while pregnant. The severity of the FAS is normally related to how much the mother drank, but there is no way to tell until the child is older as to what disabilities she will have.
What we read said that parents of FAS children need to provide as much stability and routine as possible. They they have to keep their eyes on them and give them a lot of wiggle room if they forget to do something after you told them the 100th time. That their impulsiveness is a result of brain damage, not because they don't want to obey. An older FAS child needs an advocate at all times. They don't have the ability to make good decisions about where they go after school or with whom. They are likely to get themselves into compromising situations.
I had to take a look at myself as a mother, and our family. We don't fit that. Our life is anything but routine! We travel and change plans at a moment's notice. We plan one thing and then we have someone show up at a door and our entire day changes. We have to be entirely flexible!
I don't think I'm the kind of mother that can take care of a child that needs that level of micromanaging. I am a big picture mama and my kids are very independent for their age. I need BoyD to help me with BabyK so that I can buckle GirlM into the car. That kind of special need...I just don't think I can handle it. And saying that out loud and writing it here makes me sick.
I was raised to believe that I can do anything. Literally. It has never occurred to me when faced with something difficult that I couldn't do it. Want me to climb that mountain? I can do that! Want me to get an Engineering degree? I can do that! Want me to move to Guatemala with my family? I can do that! Want me to adopt a special needs child? I can do that!
And then I am faced, maybe for the first time in my life, with something I don't think I can do. It is very humbling. It is sad to think that this girl won't be in my family in part because of my weakness.
I know that God has a plan for our family. I know that God has a plan for that little girl. My struggles with all this do not call that into question. I will continue to walk forward trusting in Him for what is best for sweet Adalyn.
We ask for your continued prayers. Please, lets pray Adalyn into a family! A dear friend told me I could be Adalyn's prayer momma. So that is what I am. Please pray for us on this adoption journey that God would council us and continue to guide us.