Dear Anonymous

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post “Questions…. more answers“:

I want to know how you are getting child after child from china… Basically 4 in four years, when some couples have been waiting two or three years for their FIRST referral. Something about it just doesn’t seem right (nor fair) to me.

Well hellooooo, Anonymous.

You are correct. We began this journey in July of 2004 and by the time Shepherd comes home this summer, we will have grown our family by four blessings in 4 years. And we praise God for that! God has truly opened doors for our family time and time again. He has shown, in mighty ways, just where His heart is for these orphans. His plans for our family were not what we had planned, but His path for us was one that He had laid out, long ago. We only said, “Yes!” to His calling. So the glory is all His!! We just did our part. And this is what I consider to be ‘our part':

1. Do your homework ~ When we started this adoption journey we asked for references, experiences of others so we could go with a well-respected agency. We contacted said agency and began in earnest. We did not seek to learn more about other agencies, or how they might have run their programs. We just put our heads down and got to work. We were blessed to have chosen CCAI as our first agency and indeed, they took care of us. But soon after starting our paperwork I learned about the ‘Waiting Child Program’. I read about it. Inquired with CCAI about it. Researched the internet. Got involved in groups to learn about others’ experiences. Prayed about it. Discussed it with my husband. Prayed some more.

I think many people (certainly not ALL, but many) just get in a *line* and because everyone else is in the line, they figure that’s the best line to be in. They don’t ask questions, don’t research other *shorter* lines… they just wait. Then they get upset when the other line moves faster. Suddenly they want to learn about the other *line*: What’s the deal? What about us? Is this fair? Who is in that other line? What are they waiting for and why do they get special consideration? This is not the time to be asking questions. God opened my eyes to the special needs program in September 2004 and after that, there was no doubt in my mind that my child was going to be special needs. It was scary, to be honest. And believe it or not, very unpopular at the time. The wait for a NSN baby was just 6 months. But we followed where God lead. We accepted Isabelle’s referral in February 2005, 4 months after submitting our paperwork requesting a SN referral. There was only one other family on our CCAI group that was waiting for a referral.

Many families have been caught up in the changes the CCAA has made. The slowdown is truly unfortunate for the NSN families, but most of all for the children who are waiting. And there are families who would love to switch programs now, but can’t. I truly feel for them, I can’t imagine being told my child was 3+ years away. This is why I hope that this will benefit someone: do your research. Before you are committed to an ageny, call other agencies… many other agencies. Ask how they run their program. Get references. Ask about the SN program. Ask about the needs of the kiddos. Ask how many people are in *line* for a SN referral. Ask how they match families. Don’t go solely on Joe Schmoe’s recommendation, the decision to adopt is a life changing experience and thus deserves the appropriate time, diligence and attention. Learn about special needs. Email families who have children with the SN’s you would even remotely consider. Get on groups who are specifically for SN children from China. Talk to your doctor. Talk to your spouse. Search your heart and see if indeed, the SN program might be where you will find your child. You might truly be surprised by what you learn.

2. Be flexible~ The China program is filled with families who want what we thought we wanted when we started: ayap (as young as possible). female. ‘healthy’. We unknowingly fell into a heaping pile of families who didn’t even give a second thought to ‘special needs’, dismissing it as unrealistic, too expensive, and just too time consuming to think of caring for a child with additional ‘needs’. But, like I have mentioned, God gently opened my eyes to those children who wait and not only wait for a family, but for someone to love, accept and care for them, flaws and all. My husband did not switch *lines* quite as quickly as I did… he needed more time, more information, more prayer before he felt ready to consider the SN program. Which is wise, the SN program can not be taken lightly. These kids DO have additional needs. All families are NOT cut out for the program. I could not agree more. But I think many people discount the program (or used to before the slowdown) without giving it enough time and consideration. When we accepted Isabelle’s referral in 2005, the majority of families were saying, “only healthy.” When we accepted Sophie’s referral in 2006 most families were saying, “only ayap.” When we accepted Jude and Shepherd’s referrals, most people were (and still are) saying, “only female.” This is what I mean by being flexible.

I don’t know if you are a Christian, anonymous, but it has given us a huge advantage over someone who seeks to plan their own life. We can trust God to plan ours. His vision for our family is different than ours was. His plan is always better, always. So we have been able to rely on Him instead of our own fearful, short-sighted hearts. So while our line is *shorter*, it’s the same exact line anyone else could get into. That’s one of the main reasons for this blog, to encourage others to consider getting into the same line we are in! But you can be sure, we don’t get any special treatment. That is the beauty of the China program: no one does. But we are open to the kids that many families aren’t. When we sent in our checklist to Lifeline we were told there were 40 families waiting. 40. We were the ONLY ones requesting a boy. No. one. else. Unfair you think, anonymous? Not right? Unfair and not right to whom? Maybe to all those precious boys that need a family as badly as the little girls….

3. Play by the rules ~ While you say, “it doesn’t seem right, nor fair” that we have been able to bring home 4 children in 4 years, the CCAA has made it clear: they want the SN kids to get homes, asap. The families in the SN program don’t have to follow all the same rules as those in the NSN program, which makes total sense: 80% of the children languishing in orphanages have some special need! And those that are NSN have a good chance of being adopted domestically. The SN kids very rarely get this opportunity. These kids need families and need them NOW. Many have health needs that require immediate attention. Some just need a lot of love, nourishment and attention. Yet the number of families in line for NSN babies continues to far exceed the number of NSN children ready to be placed. Meanwhile there are referrals for SN kids that are sent back to China all the time, with no family stepping forward.

Thankfully many people have taken the time, especially since the slowdown, to learn more about the SN program. And MANY have decided to pursue a waiting child instead of waiting for a NSN referral. This is truly a blessing for the entire SN program, this *slowdown*, as it seems the eyes of the adoption community have been opened, if somewhat forcefully, to the need of these incredibly special children. Many of whom have needs that can be met by the average American family. So if CCAA wants to change some of the rules for the SN program, I say, “Well done!!” These kids NEED homes and they need them now. They are just as wonderful, perfect and deserving as the NSN babies. And it’s not the families that are given the special consideration, it’s the children. And isn’t that what this is all about? The children.

So, I’d like to thank Anonymous for his/her question. After all, it’s by asking questions that we receive answers :)

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Comments

  1. Excellent post and very thought provoking for those who may have never considered SN adoption.

    We have been blessed with 2 daughters from China, our first being a NSN adoption and our 2nd was a more serious SN.

    It is always excting to see other believes and how God leads us to the children He has for us.

    I am so richly blessed to read your blog, to see others with the same heart as we have, and look forward to your new little boy joining your family!

  2. girl of 1000 blogs says:

    Dear Anonymous: I have adopted two children in two years (from China). Both were special needs — both are 100% healthy now and have been cleared for any activity at all by their pediatricians. They were not babies — one of them was 2.5 years old and one of them was 1.5 years old… but other than that, we had a great adoption experience both times.

    Stephanie, this was a good post where you could have been defensive but instead took the high road. I loved it.

  3. Great post! We started our adoption in March 2006. We were going to get in the NSN line. Well God had other plans for our family. The day I called Harrah’s to request their packet I also joined their waiting child yahoo group. Someone posted a link to IAAP’s waiting child list, so I looked at it and as soon as I saw this chubby faced little girl I knew she was our daughter. A lot of people overlooked her because they were afraid of her SN. I contacted the best Dr. in the US and he looked at her medical and the rest is history. You can see her on our blog. She is a happy healthy 3 yr old.

  4. MattandSara says:

    LOVE it!! Thanks.

  5. Great question… one we know people have, but I throw my hat off to you Stef for your honest, loving and gracious response. The Lord has worked through you, given you direction, numbered your steps and now you have been obedient.

    Though I never questioned how or why things have happened in the timing they have – I just trust Him, I do believe that educating ourselves is critical for all things we approach in life. Your actions reflect this, so thank you for teaching me some things also.

    Quite simply, you rock!

    With love,
    Heather

  6. What a wonderful answer! We are also the parents of two SN children from China, and have been posed the same question. We adopted our daughter Oct. 2006 and our son Oct. 2007. Our children were most definitely God’s plan. Our hearts were changed from NSN when our facilitator emailed us a file for a beautiful little girl diagnosed w/ hearing loss. Our son captured my heart the first time I saw his face, less than two months after coming home with our daughter. No one else stepped forward for these absolutely perfect children. They are our gifts freom God.

  7. Wow! What a great post! You summed up my feelings on SN adoptions too. We are bringing home our 2nd duaghter in April while others with our original LID continue to wait. Like you said, SN is not right for every family, but I thank GOD for opening my eyes to the blessings of SN adoption. I cannot imagine NOT having our precious daughter, even though we originally thought her SN was too severe for us to handle. God showed us that with Him we can do anything. Every day I thank God for our daughter and can’t wait to bring home our new daughter who has the same SN.
    It is definitely a calling and not everyone is equipped.
    Thanks for handling your post in the most gracious of ways! You are a true inspiration.
    ~Rebecca

  8. Crew of 5 for Jesus says:

    Excellent post. I have also been asked this question (three children in 4 years from China – two SN and one NSN).
    I love the thought and tact (which I lack at times :O) you have put into your answer for those of us that have been asked “the question”, accused of “cutting line” or for those that need the answer so they too can be blown away by a SN blessing!
    Bravo.
    Jill S.
    crewof5forjesus.blogspot.com

  9. An answer filled with so much Grace. I just love you girl!!

    :)
    Amie

  10. What a great answer. We are the parents of two SN children from China. We adopted our daughter in Oct. 2006 and our son in Oct. 2007. Our hearts were changed from NSN when our facilitator emailed us a file for a beautiful little girl diagnosed with hearing loss. Less than two months after coming home with our daughter I opened our agencies new flier and saw our son. No one else stepped forward for these perfect children. This was definitely God’s plan; he moved our hearts and placed these children with our family.

  11. Stefanie, you know very well how instrumental you were in our decision to switch from NSN to SN. And look who God brought into our lives! I am constantly amazed at how God directs our steps so faithfully – and uses even those we’ve never met to bring us to our children.

    I thought this was a very poignant, well-written post… you wore your heart on your sleeve and I love that. You have a huge heart Stefanie, for ALL orphaned children.

    Blessings, Rebecca

  12. Awesome post. I think it’s wonderful that your have been able to expand your family this way and manage to run a “tight ship” (per your prior post). Some people view the WC program as an easy fix or a quicker way to adopt and that’s just not the case. You have to be open in heart, in spirit and in time. For some it’s a true choice and those children are the ones who are truly blessed. I’ve been waiting for 2 years for my referral. Shortly after learning about the SN or WC program I got on board though admittedly I was not as open as others in what SN I thought I could handle. I call it being realistic because every child has the right to be parented by someone who can give them what they fully need. So whether my referral is through the traditional program or the WC program it will happen when it’s supposed to. Thank you for always being so candid and open in your posts.

  13. Great answer! The question reminds me of the verse in John 21 where Peter is questioning Jesus about John and Jesus replies, “…what is that to you? You follow Me.”

    If you believe that God does indeed have a perfect plan (which includes perfect timing) for your family, then you are able to genuinely rejoice with other families who bring home their children earlier than you do. The only thing that is “not fair” is that little children are orphaned and abandoned in the first place.

  14. Patricia/NYC says:

    EXCELLENT post, Stefanie!! Your graceful answer is chock full of information!!

    What a great advocate you are!!
    HUGS, friend!!!

  15. Sophie's Mom says:

    What a wonderful, honest answer. I enjoyed reading it.

  16. This was a great post that needed to be written. It was very well written too!!

    I would hope that anyone who is in the process to adopt a child, whether it be for NSN or SN child, would know that it’s really about the Lord leading us to the child/children He has planned for us. Even if He were to direct you to an agency with a long waiting line…that He directed you there for that one particular child that He has planned for you and for your family.

    There have been times when I have felt like “jumping lines” (and we are waiting for SN referral), but then I hear the Lord tell me not to run in front of Him—that He has a plan and a purpose. It’s in this alone that gives me peace and hope. Every family is unique and has their own “timelines”. I love to see how the Lord so uniquely weaves families together. To God be all the glory!!

    Stefanie, it is so evident that you have listened to the Lord and stepped out IN FAITH! And I love to see how blessed you are because of it!

    You are a blessing to me!!

  17. Andrea & Stacy says:

    FAIR. Hmmmm? The CCAA’s rules are the same for everyone. They don’t say “Hey! Here’s Steph & Chris ,again. Let’s bump them ahead of everyone else.”
    UNFAIR, Is being left in a box, outside a police station, because you were born a girl or have a birth defect.

    I love you for taking the time to answer this question.
    I would have trashed it faster than “Superman on Crack”.:)

  18. Hi Stephanie,

    I am not the “anonymous” who left the question for you — I will have to have my 11 year old teach me how to actually “blog” on so I have an identity! I do want to say that your answer to the person who feels cheated by the adoption system was not only honest but, it was written with such grace and openness. I have followed your family from the very beginning through myadoptionwebsite.com and reading your posts have been wonderful and inspiring. Thank you!
    Take care,
    Amy (a Mom of 4 who is technically challenged)

  19. Oh, great job on this post. Yes, Special Need Adoption is one of the best-kept secrets of China adoption. Thankfully, other SN families shared the “secret” and that’s why we have our second daughter.

    I too encourage families to move beyond the fear to at least research and ask questions. It may very well be the best decision you could ever make. I know it was for us.

  20. you have many gifts and writing with sensitivity is one of them.

    you have God’s heart for orphans and children. beautiful answer – and also an encouragement to me :)

  21. This post is wonderful. I only wish I could change China’s ruling about singles. I look at the SN’s lists and cry. I would love to bring all of them home.

  22. Wow….all I can say is AMEN!

  23. sweet-P's Mum says:

    My friend…wise words!

    We went nsn in 2005 for our first daughter, then in 2006 when we decided to return to China we went with SN right from the start. We knew this was the right decsion for us for a multitude of reasons. The ‘speed’ in which we got our match was barely considered as our agency has a yearlong wait for SN referrals.

    10 months after we submitted our medical checklist we recieved our referral.

    I certainly understand why people are angry about the wait times for China adoption, yet it is not appropriate to question your path to your children.

    I to agree that EDUCATION is key. I feel very sad for people who would like to go SN but cannot because their agencies dont participate in the WC proagram with the CCAA, that is really sad and unfortunate.

    And lasty…YOUR family is the biggest reason OUR family decided to adopt a waiting child…yes…your blog, your friendship and your Faith encouraged us to make our decision…one we are truly thankful for.

    Hayley

  24. Stefanie: I appreciate you posting this. I have not considered us “eligible” to adopt from China since the new regs came into effect. However, we would consider the SN program. Are families considered on a case by case basis for the SN program (if they don’t meet all the regulations for NSN) or are their specific regulations just for the SN program??

    I love your blog and have really enjoyed following each of your journeys to China!

    Thanks so much for all your helpful and insightful info!

  25. Amen.

    Thanks for sharing your heart.
    Cindy…waiting for our 2nd sn

  26. We also began in the NSN program for a AYAP infant girl. God led us in a new direction and opened our heart to see a new view. We had many questions and concerns. Our confidence in this program, full of so many precious children, was created by surrounding and educating ourselves on SN children and their wonderful families. In our case, when we began the adoption process we were simply uneducated and misinformed about SN. While SN is not always the path for everyone, for us it was the right decision. We have a very sweet son, meant to join our family, because of it.

    Blessings and thanks for continuing to use your experience to educate others.

  27. I loved this post. So heartfelt and so “to the point”. I was one who had never really considered the SN program when we adopted the first time around (when you were adopting Isabelle). I just didn’t really know anything about it. Nothing…zip…nada. And later, well, I couldn’t figure out what I had been doing with my head in the sand before. Sarah is our blessing. Mandi too. And God is the architect of it all.

    Love to you and your family,
    Anna

  28. Jie Jie to Sarah Lu & Chayah too says:

    Wow! I just love what you have written here!! My little sisters are both SN. When we submitted our dossier for my first little sister, it was July 06. This was before we went to SN. Now Sarah is home and we are waiting for Chayah to come home. If we had gone through the traditional process, we would still be waiting with no end in sight. This was not why we went SN though. God has lead us to both of my little sisters in miraculous ways. And no matter what the SN, they are perfect! Sarah is the most perfect fit into our family!! And I am sure that Chayah will be another perfect fit as well because it has been God that has placed us with her! She was on CCAI’s list and no one had been willing to accept her due to her age of 5 yrs and her SN. I thank God that no one else was ‘willing’ to accept this awesome girl, because then she wouldn’t have been my little sister.
    Thank you for this post!! :)
    ~Staci

  29. One Happy Momma says:

    So well said! I have one daughter from China with Cleft lip and palate and only 6 mos later we found our boy and began the adoption steps again to bring him home. He also has a cleft lip and palate.
    I can say without a doubt, God opened our hearts for both these kids and we have been so blessed that HE showed us the way!
    Anonymous, I’m not sure if you are going SN or not, if not, I say open your heart to these children, they are the miracles!

    All my best

  30. Hi Stephanie! You don’t know me but I follow your blog as a result of following myadoptionwebsite.com. I just want to say that I AM SO PROUD OF YOU! Great reply to “anonymous”! I don’t know you but I wish I did! I have 4 children of my own and live in Littleton, CO. May God continue to bless your family with many more miracles!
    Sincerely, Lisa from Littleton

  31. I LOVE this post. You really have a gift of eloquence. I am sick and tired of people on adoption boards calling people who go SN “line cutters.” God leads us to our children. It’s just up to us to follow Him.

  32. Oh Stefanie I loved this post. There is so much heart and truth in what you have written. There is so much I want to reply to but maybe I will send you a private email. I’m not as graceful as you are with my opinion. lol!! One thing I do want to say though to families wanting to adopt SN is to research agencies but don’t sign a contract with them UNTIL you find your child!! China doesn’t allow anyone to switch agencies anymore and it is so sad for me to see families find a child only then to find out it isn’t possible to even consider it. Being DTC before you find your child does NOT speed up the process at all with a SN adoption so don’t rush it!

    Anyway, good job Stefanie. I LOVE your heart.

  33. Stefanie,
    BRAVO! You and Chris have totally surrendered your lives to the LORD and you are a wonderful example! A quote from The Purpose Driven Life: “When you are totally surrendered to God you don’t react to criticism and rush to defend yourself”. So glad to know you!
    HUGS,
    -Nicole

  34. Awesome answer:) I admire your honesty and your faith in God.
    You truly are an inspiration to many people.

  35. Chris, Tammy & the gang! says:

    This was a great question and a great response.

    It is so important to remember adoption is about finding families for children – each and every child deserves the love and bond of a family.

    Being flexible and open is important in the adoption process because there are so many children with such a variety of needs. Any “orphan” is special needs considering their start in life, being abandoned, living in an institution, not having one continual caregiver,etc…

    We were in the process to adopt a little girl from Ethiopia (between 19-36 months) and then we heard about a 5 year old boy from China that was not being matched with any family. We immediately felt God was leading our family to this little boy and being open to God’s leading and believing each child should find his/her forever family made the decision easy for us.

    We have since stopped our Ethiopian adoption to pursue the adoption of our son! All families overlooked him because he was 1) 5 years old, 2) a boy and 3) special needs (repaired cleft lip and palate.

    For our family, he is absoultely perfect and we can’t wait to share our lives with him.

    We didn’t even have our paperwork in China when we were matched with him and we will be done our China adoption in less than 6 months from start to finish.

    So, there are amazing opportunities for families and children to find each other through the SN program!!!

    By the way…this is our 2nd China adoption and our 4th child!

    Take care,
    Tammy MacKinnon
    Prince Edward Island, Canada
    http://www.themackinnons.blogspot.com

  36. Kristin says:

    Great post, Stefanie. I had negative comments from others when we were matched 2 years before them because of the WCP even though we had the same LID. But you go where your heart leads you. Your post was very informative. I applaud you for being so graceful with your answer. Perhaps it will encourage others to consider the waiting child program as well. I look forward to following your next journey-

  37. Well said Stefanie. It’s so easy sometimes to respond defensively or with anger, etc., to such a post, but you answered and explained your thoughts with grace, sensitivity and honesty.
    Yes, hubby and I would probably not have considered a SN child if not for the loooooong wait and all the news we heard of a much longer wait following our May 14 ’07 LID. But, that being said, once we made the final decision and surrendered ourselves to another ‘unknown’ and leap of faith, we felt like this was where we should’ve been going all along.
    I think what is unfair are people who don’t fully take the time to understand or appreciate the many decisions, sleepless nights and conversations that go on when a family decides to go SN. It’s such a huge, huge decision.
    Like you said, if families want to go SN, this is awesome news for the children since a majority are in so much need!
    Jenny G. in Macon

  38. babystepstoChina says:

    Stefanie,
    Your heart is so pure and honest, and while my family and I are still praying and seeking answers from the Lord regarding the SN program, reading posts like these help me to further open my heart to whatever God has planned, whether it is a 3 year wait or a wonderful child who just happens to have a special need!
    Blessings!
    Robyn

  39. Great post! You know, our SN adoption took EXACTLY 6 months from accepting our son’s referral to flying to China. I felt guilty b/c there were people in our local adoption support group who had been waiting for nearly 2 YEARS and still no referral. However, we know that this was the Lord’s plan for OUR family. Josiah’s special need is super simple and requires nothing but a trip to the ortho doc for x-rays once a year! We are considering special needs again, though not China, and NOT because it is a faster journey but because so many others don’t want the older, or SN children and they are so deserving of love and family! Also, most of the SN’s are correctable here in the US- but if the kids stay in their birth countries, most of them will live their lives out with their medical need going uncorrected.
    I believe that God has blessed us so that we can in turn bless others.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Holly in NC

  40. John & Michelle says:

    My dear cousin just sent me an email of encouragement that read,

    God has only 3 answers to our prayers.

    1. Yes!!!
    2. Not yet
    3. Wait, I have something better in mind for you!

    We are praying and waiting for his direction! Thanks so much for sharing this post with us and for answering such a sensitive question!
    ~Michelle

  41. Michelle - Blessed Mother of Two says:

    Well said, Stefanie. What an excellent post. In our case, I started researching the SN program early on because we desired an older child and found that we would most likely get a referral of “ayap” through the NSN program. Your advice to “be flexible” is the advice I give to everyone who asks me about our experience. My husband and I both felt very strongly about wanting an older child. Instead, we fell for Mia, who was 9-months old at the time we saw her precious picture on the Waiting Child list. Certainly not the older child we had in our minds. Like you, this is what I know… God has much bigger and better plans for us that we could ever imagine for ourselves. We praise God every day for leading us to Mia (as well as our older daughter, Leila). Whichever route your readers choose to take – SN or NSN – adoption is such an amazing blessing for us, just as much as the children. Thank you for all that you do to advocate adoption and the SN program.

  42. Team Gilbert says:

    YOU GO GIRL!!!!!! I LOVE THIS POST!!! People need to realize what they are missing in the big picture!!! SN children need us more than ever!!! God has once again spoken through your words. I’m a believer and you just keep up spreading the knowledge. Thank you Stef for spreading the news!!! You ROCK.

  43. living4him5 says:

    Beautifully written! I was in tears as I read it because I can picture my Linzhi waiting and waiting for a mommy and daddy to love her and do we ever! I just pray for the little ones that still wait for the love and warmth of a parent. We are being called again to bring another one home and this post just reaffirmed why we seek the “lest of these”

    Thank you!

    Blessings!
    Amy Corzine :)

  44. What an awesome answer! I can feel the passion you have for these SN children. We have been waiting since 09-11-06 for a NSN….our very first child. But we always think about those children who are in desperate need of a home and it just doesn’t make any sense. You are right…we will always find excuses. For us it’s been the challenges of being self employed and type 1 diabetes. The idea of deliberately taking on the added responsibilities of a SN child is scary to us. But at the same time we realize that there are still no guarantees with a nsn child or bio children for that matter.

    Your blog is so educational and inspiring.

    Marsi
    journeytomadi.com

  45. Anonymous says:

    Amazing, again and again! IF only there were more parents with hearts like this (like His) – imagine what could happen! Again, I thank God for choosing you guys to be the parents to these beautiful kids – just look at their precious smiles – how could you not fall in love forever? Thank you so much for sharing them (and your hearts) with us!

    Charlene

  46. Beautifully said…

    Kim
    ~waiting for Sophie~
    LID 3.29.07 and six months waiting for our SN referral

  47. Wonderful post. Very well written and straight from the heart. I am sure you have opened up some eyes and hearts, Stefanie.
    I feel the same as you, in that I will accept whatever God gives me. After all, He made every child, so each one is perfect (special need or not, boy or girl, any country–All are His).

  48. Stephanie,
    This is an incredible post! Thank you for being such an advocate for the SN program, and such an advocate for the CCAA! We are blessed to have a beautiful daughter from the NSN program. But, God is clearly calling us to consider a new path. I love how God challenges us to dare to live (and act) outside of our comfort zone! Thank you for loving ALL children, and for being obedient to God’s plan for your family! You inspire me to do more!!!!
    Blessings,
    Diana

  49. The Byrd Family says:

    Very knowledgeable and loving post. We have a special needs daughter from Korea and if I were to adopt again we would go that route!

  50. Anonymous says:

    I am disappointed whenenever anyone undertakes anything, especially something as important as becoming a parent without doing his or her research! (Anonymous, not you!)

    I am sorry that you have to see comments such as that one. As someone else said, you took the high road in answering and I respect that greatly – not sure that I would have shown such restraint! I, as a waiting parent, greatly appreciate your openness and willingness to share about your family and hope that you continue to do so. I have learned so much from your blog and many others.

    I look forward to checking out your blog every day to see if there is an update.

    Another anonymous, but not that one

  51. What a way to educate, Stefanie! When I first saw Oakley on a Waiting Child list, I was completely taken with her. I inquired about her but was told she’d been matched with her forever family. I was happy for her, but still felt an unexplainable longing deep in my soul. I prayed for her daily, and gazed her little picture multiple times a day until AHH finally removed her photo from their website. I mourned that day.

    We actually proceeded with another agency in the NSN route – after all, we had planned all along to request a baby girl AYAP.

    Three months later, I was contacted by the other agency and was told that Oakley’s match had fallen through. Were we still interested?!?!?

    So, YES, God most definitely guided our entire journey. We switched agencies and I thank God daily for opening our eyes and hearts to our daughter. I have no doubt that He orchestrated it all – we just followed his lead and have thus, been blessed enormously!!

  52. Rebecca says:

    I would just like comment on your last thought: “And it’s not the families that are given the special consideration, it’s the children. And isn’t that what this is all about? The children.”

    TESTIFY, SISTER!!!! :)

    Rebecca

  53. Family4Liv says:

    Bravo! This was so eloquently and ingeniouusly written and is deserving of some award! I feel it was deserving what ever that is worth! Anonymous opened up the opportunity for you to adress the SN and surely it will lead others to do the same research you have! Thanks for all your help in what im sure is inspiring others to open up to the SN program and kids so deserving of families! I know that is what drives you here. I know that God is blessing you for your faithfullness and helping to direct others.

    Blessings

    Ziller family who feel greatly blessed by the special needs program! Twice over and praying for a third time!

    God Bless

  54. Anonymous says:

    Well said!! Thank you for making the invisible Christ visible in all your posts, and in all you do as a family!

  55. Stefanie,

    Absolutely & Amen!! You know, until the slow down – many people weren’t (and maybe still aren’t) educated on the “options” for adopting SN kiddos. And with the CCAA changing their rules – once you commit to an agency – that’s it. You can surf and peruse all the waiting child sites that you want – I have had the opportunity to talk to many people about adoption & I completely encourage them to *find a child first* if they don’t want to “wait” so long. And there is a part of my heart that has the regret that we weren’t that educated when we began our journey – but we have also submitted to God’s control and know that He holds our daughter’s heart in His hand and when His perfect timing is right – then we will meet. :) We have been with our agency’s WC program for 6 months now….maybe this year we will see her face!! Until then, I will praise God alongside families like you – answering the call to God’s, “Do you trust me”? and stepping out of the boat.

  56. I am giving thanks to God for your presence in this forum, in this world, in my life- how BLESSED I am to call you my friend, and to know how truly and deeply you speak from your heart.

    Thank you for inspiring me, always, for helping to open MY eyes. You are one of my “little saints” (as we Catholics like to say)- a person who always points back to Christ.

    I have tears in my eyes and a HUGE smile on my face.

  57. Meizhi's Mom says:

    Go gett’um Stef! Nice post and quite polite too. I might not have been so Christian about it. It’s families like yours that keep families like mine hopeful the CCAA will change the rules just a schmidge more and and give waivers for something other than family size – even for the SN program. Prospective parents have to be brutally honest with themselves about their reasons for adoption and the true purpose – is it for you? or for the children? Are you making the choices out of your fears? or whats best for the children? Everyone has their own answer and they have to look themselves in the mirror, not us. God knows their hearts, no matter what they speak.

    Hoping like mad that #3 can be from China again (and be my boy!)
    hugs
    Erin and Meizhi

  58. Stephanie,

    Beautifully explained!!!

  59. TBG Happenings says:

    Wonderful and kind response to “its not fair’.

    All of the children waiting have a special need…for a family.

  60. Holladay Family says:

    This is just the post I needed to read. Could you do me a huge favor, though? It is so hard to “do homework” when there is so much conflicting and confusing info. on the web about the special needs adoption process. Is there any way you could explain in detail how to go about getting started? Where does one see the list of waiting children? Which agencies do you recommend using? Why do some agencies have referrals to a special needs child but not others? I find this whole process so confusing. Are the adoption rules about family eligibility the same for NSN and SN? Do they lower fees for SN children? Any help with any of these questions in a new post would be GREATLY appreciated! In the meantime, congrats on your new family member. Your family is beautiful and perfect! When we listen to the Spirit, God will direct our paths in a way that be joy, gratitude, and understanding in a profound way.

  61. Sanders' Double Happiness says:

    What a lovely post! Eloquently stated, poignant.

    :)
    Stacey

  62. Colleen says:

    Beautiful post as always : ) You are so inspiring in your post. We just sent in our SN list and it is because of your blog we added another SN to our list (club feet). Thanks for all the help with all my questions about club feet : )

  63. The Ferrill's says:

    Stefanie I have loved catching up on everything! This post is so perfect. You just know how to say things so well. Can I just email you my life right now and you put it into words? ;) Because you have nothing else to do, right? ;)
    The new pics of Shepherd are adorable! I know you cannot wait to get that baby doll.
    Why don’t you just blow off everything, pack up the kiddos and come to the Ham tomorrow? ;) We really do need to meet!
    Thank you so much for sharing Christ with the world…a great commission that is a great command to us all!
    Love,
    Laine

  64. I respect you more after reading your reply then I did before reading it and I did not think that was posible:) I admire you so much for taking the leap of faith with adopting 4 kids….
    My responce to her would have been so different then yours..then I read your post and OMG I soo admire you!!
    Your reply was PERFECT, HONEST and SO TRUE!!!

  65. You explained this beautifully! Great post!

  66. tiffany says:

    Well said.

  67. Don and Lisa Osborn says:

    Stefanie,

    What an amazing, grace-filled post. Clearly I am not the only one touched by your candor.

    Thank you for keeping your ears and eyes open to God’s will and for obeying him. You are blessing people over and over as you provide testimony about your faith and adoption journeys. Someone said at church yesterday, “You can count the seeds in an apple but only God knows the number of apples which come from a seed.” This reminds me of you and Chris. You are blessing the adoption community by stretching them and opening them up and encouraging in such humble ways.

    I appreciate the positive glowing light you are in this big world and adoption community.

    Fondly,
    Lisa

  68. I want to say that we have 2 SN daughters from China and are waiting for our SN son from China. I have a nonprofit dedicated to the needs of SN orphans and I have such a heart for these kiddos and while I believe every word you said and thought you were pleasant in your tone, we have to remember that the children are not the only ones suffering. I don’t know this anonymous, but for some people, they have struggled with infertility or even the loss of a child or two and after years of pain and hurt, sometime it takes a toll and sometimes that pain and that sorrow blinds us and sometimes we just need to lash out. God expects us to show love to all his people and sometimes the best way to show love is just to wrap our arms around the person and say yep, this stinks and I am so sorry for your pain and then maybe show them another way. I get so angry at the people who want that “perfect” baby and complain about what is fair and what isn’t. When I look at these children, I think now that is life not being fair, but not everyone knows how to love and not everyone has let God touch their hearts and what a gift it is for us who know Him to be able to open up our own hearts and show some kindness to someone who needs it. And as much as I love these SN children, the reality is that all children deserve to be in homes where they are loved and cherished. Even the cutest healthiest little one out there and the sooner they get adopted the less time they have to endure what some of our sweeties have had to endure. I don’t know about you, but I sure which I could have had my children the second they took their first breath. I look at my 2nd daughter and the hurt and sadness in her eyes and I wonder what could have happened to her to make her so scared and so fragile. What I would give to be the one who was there to hold her and comfort her and protect her. Iif God would have let me fight for her the minute He placed her on this planet, I would have taken Him up on it. I would have given anything to shield her from the unspeakable things that have broken her heart. I wonder if anonymous has had some of that sadness in his/her own life and the pain and the brokenness hasn’t been healed just yet and maybe he/she is reaching out and needs God to say let me hold you for a bit and give you strength so you can fight the good fight. Shelby

  69. You are awesome! I love your blog, and after that post, I just had to say how amazing you are.

  70. Very well said.

  71. I’m in awe of your well thought out response! We have two children adopted as waiting children. Our then 5.75 yr daughter came home in July 2006 and our son came home in August 2007. I will admit that the first reason I looked at the waiting child program was that we wanted a slightly older girl and I was uncomfortable with a blind referral, as in the NSN program. Since that time, my definition of what I think I can handle as SN has broadened immensely, and there are very few SN’s I would rule out for a future adoption.
    It’s so sad how, in particular, the boys on waiting lists seem to wait forever for a family. My own son’s file was sent to at least one agency before we saw him on a subsequent list. The first agency never found him a family and had to send his file back to China. Fortunately, it was sent out again. Even then, because we had so recently adopted our daughter, we had to wait until the agency was close to sending his file back before they would let us proceed with his adoption. So, that’s close to 6 months on waiting lists, with 2 different agencies without finding a family! Of course, I’m glad that we were lucky enough to be his family, but how much more wonderful for my son would it have been if he could have spent one year less in the orphanage. He was born with a missing hand and underdeveloped forearm, which is such a non-issue. He is supremely healthy and brings such joy to our lives, as does our daughter. It really hurts my heart to see people signing up for a long wait for children who may not even be conceived for years to come, when there are so many children out there right now who need a family.
    Isn’t that the point, to find families for children?? Not the other way around.
    The words ‘Special Needs’ has such a negative connotation here in the U.S. I think to most people, it means some type of mental disability, or a child who will never grow up to be independent. People are consequently so surprised when I tell them my daughter was adopted through the Special Needs program. Sure, she was born with a heart defect (repaired after she came home) but so did another little girl who attends her same after school care, and certainly no one considers her ‘Special Needs’.
    I wish that more people would understand that while some children certainly do need more involved care, many of the children may just need one time surgeries (like my daughter) to be completely healthy, or even require no special care at all (like my son).

  72. Beautiful post. Thank you for being so honest and clear. As the mom to two adopted from China in two years, I’ve had my fair share of folks accusing me of all sorts of things. Next time someone makes a fuss, I’ll direct them to your eloquent post.

  73. Stef – You have amazed us all, I tell ya! OK….I have a question…how in the world were you able to get all that written out in such a thoughtful manner without the response that most of us would have probably given with possibly a hint of “are you kidding…special treatment?” in there and with all of your other children running around???? I’m doing good to get one sentence typed out with only 1 toddler at my side!! HA!! :)

    You’re such a blessing to us. Can I be your friend? :) hee hee!!

  74. Anonymous says:

    I came across your “Dear Anonymous” reply today and had to comment…I have never read your blog and do not know your lovely family, but I absolutely had to congratulate you on handling this comment with such grace and dignity. I love being a SN mom, and am so grateful that something as simple as giving up the illusion of control has resulted in the “perfect” family for us…I wish others all the same sweetness in parenting. Thanks for the reminder. :)

  75. Matt & Mary Gerteisen, Cory says:

    Wonderful post. We are also Christians who felt God leading us to join the sn group and learn more about it. Two months after DTC for a NSN ayap girl, we switched to SN and now we are leaving May 1 to adopt our 20 mo. old son with cp. Praise God! Listen to His plan. Thanks for your eloquent words :)

  76. Well said and well done! I came across your blog from another I was looking at because we have accepted a waiting child referral. WE too started out SN and felt called by God. I just want to say that your blog is not only an encouragement, but a witness to a watching world. Thank you for saying this so well, so that others will know the need and be pointed to the ONE! Our special blessing is 2 and has unrepaired CL/CP and a heart defect. We can’t wait to bring her home!!

  77. the BLAH BLAH BLAHger says:

    Just found you through PW and want to say that you ROCK THE KASBAH.

  78. Stefanie,

    Girl, you rock! Well said and I could not agree more!!! After our first daughter was adopted from China’s SN list, we are in line for #2 and can’t wait. I have my fingers crossed our next daughter will be on our agency’s next list. :)

    I love your positive explanation sweetie. I hope this person feels a little ashamed for being so negative.

    hugs,
    Jonni

  79. Happy Campers says:

    It was heartwarming to read your post. My first instinct is to always get on the defensive side.

    Your post was amazing….

  80. Chinamama says:

    Wow! Am I too late to comment on this post? Hee Hee Hee…After all, I am 2 and 1/2 years late.

    You did an excellent job answering that question! You could have been bitter and angry with that person. You could have snapped at him/her. You could have just hit delete but you didn't. You answered the question from your heart and from God.

    You are one classy lady and an AWAZING mother. I am so glad I have had a chance to follow your blog and your family.

    Thank you!!

  81. WOW,AMEN SISTER!!!LOVE IT!!! Special need program blessed our family with two amazing children we couldn’t imagine out lifes without them!and hopefully if it be God’s will a couple more before were finished! I admire you Steph well said very well said!!!

  82. What’s love got to do with it? It ain’t no second-hand emotion !
    ~It’s about digging deep, opening your heart (in a very personal way) to the non-perfect.
    ~while also remembering none of us are perfect.

    We traveled with Stephanie & Chris to adopt a SN child, 8 years old, w SN. No regrets. Lots of challenges. We all have warts, but, these kids get left behind, often, because of something small (or big) so easily (or not so easily) addressed in our country. We have opportunity, healthcare systems, schools, freedoms that allow us to be generous. Don’t wait: research SN. Agencies also share children’s SN information in collaboration to get children placed. My first adoption in 96 took over a year. 2nd took 5 months in 04. It was a matter of opening my heart.

    May you receive all the best in your journey. Listen to Stephanie. It is never what you might imagine in the beginning, but what a journey it can become.

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