Down Syndrome. Wow, wow, wow.
If you read my previous post, you can probably understand more fully why the wows are repetitive in this eternal journey called adoption.
If adoption was a stretch for us, special needs adoption resembled an attempted arabesque, while hopping on one foot and balancing on a high wire over a pit of dieting lions. It was a circus act that we had no training for, no experience in, no previous calling to.
We had just started our adoption journey. Like the hopeless romantic that I tend to be, I’m dreaming of a sweet little girl with dark, Asian eyes and stubby pigtails. I heart girls. I have two girls and while I love my son to pieces, girls are just so darn fun to dress and play with. I’m not a rough and tumble person. I like quiet. My girls are quiet. I’m an introvert. I like peace and tranquility. A girl is good for me.
My life, my choice, I want a girl. Yep.
Bring on the quiet and sweet!
Oh, there are no healthy children coming out of China, you say? Oh, ok…..well, a minor special need is fine…..let’s see. Maybe a missing thumb or cleft lip? That’s not too hard….
Oh, there’s a list? With checkboxes? Ummm…God? Ok, now what?
Even now, I cringe at how shallow my thoughts were, how unbelievably rosy and undeniably uninformed, immature….selfishly silly.
We are about one month into our process. Our agency cheerfully tells us, “You know…there’s this list of waiting children that we have a hard time placing. You should look it over!”
Uh oh. A list of kids that they can’t find homes for, that nobody wants. Hmmmmm….
Well, it can’t hurt to look.
The little faces scroll by. Hydrocephalus, cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome, Willi-Prader, blindness, deafness…the list goes on and on.
God, I can’t. I don’t know about any of these things, how can I?
Each syndrome, each medical problem has a little face attached….and their eyes. How does one describe their eyes? It’s a combination of lostness, sadness, hopelessness with a healthy dose of pleading questions.
Are you my mama? Why am I alone? Where are you? Whom do I belong to?
And then there was this:
It was this look. This photo. I literally couldn’t stand it. I saw him and I just knew. He’s the one!
I wanted a girl and God laughed.
I wanted a minor need, God chuckled.
Oh my stars, God, if adoption was a lion avoiding high-wire routine, what will Chris say to a boy with Down Syndrome?
I left his photo on the screen, biting my nails until Chris came home. He walked in the door and I carefully pounced.
Soooo, honey…there’s this boy on the waiting child list (I mumbled that last part)? What do you think?
He took one look at him and said, “That’s our son!” My jaw just about hit the floor….again…”But he has Down Syndrome and could never grow up, never leave us, he might be non-verbal, could need heart surgery, could get leukemia, will need multiple therapies, might have this…that…the other thing…oh, and that……” I run out of counting fingers with the list…do I start on my toes? My voice trails off in dismay. What am I thinking?!?!?
Without hesitation, “That’s ok!”
Ok, wow….we sat down for dinner and my mind is racing…we just both agreed and said yes to this little guy. I have ants in my pants, my appetite has fled.
“Go call now! Call the agency now and tell her we want to pull his file. Do it now.” Chris’ insistence bumps me into motion.
“You’re not going to believe this,” Tiffany’s voice travels through the phone, “But his file was just pulled 24 hours ago. Nobody has so much as asked about Lian the entire time he’s been up for adoption, and now two families want him in 24 hours!”
He was no longer available. My heart sank. What?
Why, God, why? We both felt so strongly about him? We were both in agreement, a relatively amazing minor miracle, we timidly stepped out in faith and now, he’s gone?
Ok, back to square one. Well, maybe this was just to open our hearts to Down Syndrome? Rationalizing our disappointment.
The days pass and I keep an eye on the list. No other child jumps out at me and I keep looking at Lian’s photo over and over again.
“Stop torturing yourself!” my best sister instructs. “God has something else for your family.”
She’s right. I won’t look, ok one more time. Last time. No, this time is the last one, I swear…..aaaand one more.
Every day I looked and prayed for Lian. I was happy that he’d finally found a home, but I was sad inside. So sad.
God was silent. Don’t you just adore those silent times with God when you assume you’re headed in the right direction and WHOOPS, shift in speed, direction, altitude…and there are no “this is your Captain speaking” announcements?
Yeah, me too.
I had finally accepted (not really) that Lian was gone and two weeks later, the phone cheerfully rings.
“So, the other family doesn’t want him, do you want to pull his file?”
YES! I shout, damaging her ear drums. PULL IT QUICKLY!
So, the file is pulled, the “yes” is said, the wheels start the forwardly motion and we all say “wow” in chorus.
I literally went from no boys, no severe special need to intensely longing for a boy with a more complicated special need.
God knew what I wanted and chucked that because, frankly, He knew better.
Not only did He throw out all of our preconceived notions, He made us long for what was better before He gave it to us.
And I am ruined. Forever ruined for any other type of adoption. I’m telling you that this sweet boy has entirely captured me, heart and soul. Down Syndrome adoption has turned my world upside down and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
So, if we adopt again (please, God!) I’m adopting Down Syndrome again.
Because I’m ruined for anything other than Down Syndrome.
And some say there isn’t a God.