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Friday25 April 2014

A Blessing in Disguise

By Kelly C.

When I asked my husband, Mell, what he thought about adopting a child, the question caught him quite by surprise. We already had two girls by birth and had made the decision that we were not having anymore children. But God had put something in my heart and I couldn't ignore it any longer.

We discussed at great length what an adoption would mean to not only us, but our whole family. Once we decided it was what we should do, we were both very excited. But that was short lived. We learned that Korea had age restrictions and that my husband was past the age limit to adopt a healthy child. We could still adopt, but it would have to be a special needs child. That was something that Mell could not readily agree to. We already had two daughters who needed us and required so much of our time. Jordan had just turned 7 and Spencer was only 4. How could we possibly take on a child with a special need?

But that didn't keep me from calling Wide Horizons For Children. The social worker answered each of my questions about waiting and special needs children. I learned that most of the needs these children had were not as terrible as I had imagined. We would not be placed with a child that had a major life-long need.

In the end, God reminded me of the simple fact that I had once been a special needs child. I, too, was adopted from South Korea. When I came to the U.S. as a 7-year old, I was far from being a sweet little baby, and nowhere near being a cute, precocious toddler. I was a little girl who already had a stubborn streak well in place. What if I had not been adopted? What if my own parents had decided that I would be too much trouble, or too difficult? The truth is, all children have special needs. They require a tremendous amount of time, sacrifice and unconditional love. And as Mell said, we were given no guarantees about our girls' health, why did we need one now? So, we decided to follow our hearts. With love, faith and a lot of hope, we began our home study.

I first heard about our son from our social worker. She said that a new baby had been added to the list, a boy, 2-months old and he had a facial hemangioma: a red mark on his face. It was quite prominent and getting larger, and there was the possibility of complications. We received his pictures, and that's all it took. After speaking with my pediatrician, we decided to move forward. No matter what the complications, we couldn't imagine changing our minds. Then came more waiting. First, we had to wait for Wide Horizons to match us with him, and then because of my husband's age, we had to wait for Korea to approve us.

While we were waiting, we decided to go ahead and introduce our son to others. The girls took his picture to school and we named him Lee Alexander.

I must say that the wait was no easier than when I gave birth. At times it seemed harder because I had absolutely no control over any of it! The fate of my child was in someone else's hands. I worried every day about whether he was well cared for. Did they hold him enough? Did they let him cry? Was he happy, did he smile a lot? I longed to just hold him. My baby was growing and I wasn't there to see it. He would be 6-months old by the time he came home.
Lee finally arrived into our family. It only took a few minutes for Lee to start smiling at his sisters and at his father! As it turned out all my worries about the care my son was receiving in Korea were in vain. He was in a foster family who took wonderful care of him. He arrived with a book of pictures to show how he had grown, and a beautiful prayer from his foster mother was written inside.

It has now been over two years since Lee came home to us. I am amazed by this child. The hemangioma is almost gone. It had stopped growing when he was 6-months old. Around his first birthday, I noticed that it was fading. As it is now, he will not require any type of treatment.

Adopting my son was not about healing my heart or filling a hole in my life, it was about having another child and raising all of them the best I could. My son may not have born out of my physical body, but he certainly was conceived in my heart. Having been adopted I knew that there were children who needed a family to call their own. I knew that every child just wants to be loved for who they are regardless of where they come from.

When our daughters first asked about the mark on Lee's face, Mell and I told them that God put it there so that Lee could find his family. The special need that we were so concerned about ended up being a blessing in disguise. Lee will always know what a special child he is. He will also know it didn't take courage on our part to adopt him, but it took tremendous courage and love for his young birth mother to give him life and then let him go.