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