Thursday, January 6, 2011
The best laid plans..... Since we were going to submit our application I started researching agencies in the fall of 2010. Bay Area Adoption Services consistently got high recommendations for their straightforward fee schedule and fantastic waiting child coordinator. I was also interested in the changes going on in the China special needs program. First, individual agency lists were done away with except for 'camp kids'. There was a main special needs list of children that is added to every month. Some agencies aggressively pursue matches for their families when these lists are released and some families peruse the shared lists on their own to find a child they could welcome in to their family. The list has over two thousand children identified with date of birth gender and brief description of their medical need. Then a special focus program was started where agencies could have children's files for three months and advocate for them.
I joined a couple of adoption yahoo groups to help research special needs, adoption agencies and the process in general. One day someone way advocating for a friend of her daughter whom she had adopted in the summer 2010. I responded with some mild curiosity and she sent me a few pictures of a little girl I would later learn was Min.
The email arrived in the middle of production week for our community theater fall musical. I was the choreographer and my children were all in the cast. I barely glanced at the photos as I checked my email. Once the show was over I pulled up the pictures again, and felt something tug at my heart when I looked at Min's smile. I told my husband I thought we needed to pray because I thought this might be our daughter. He looked a little bit surprised, but agreed that we should pray about it. We prayed and felt good enough about her to request her file. She was on the special focus list for BAAS, the agency I had chosen. We reviewed her file, dropped a copy of it off at our pediatricians and waited. Our pediatrician met with us and discussed the need for open heart surgery, which we knew. We then had a pediatric cardiologist at John's Hopkins who was kind enough to go over her file.
Min was born with tetralogy of fallot with pulmonary atresia. It's a mouthful that basically means she has some serious problems with her heart and diminished blood flow to her lungs. In the USA surgery would have been performed when she was a baby, but Min is a strong girl who has lived, and continued to grow with her heart having this major defect. She will need open heart surgery when she gets to the USA and follow up surgeries as she grows. There is also a risk that as she has aged too much irreparable damage has been done to her heart and lungs to perform a successful surgery and she will be given medication but will have a diminished lifespan. We won't know until she is home. We do know that every month is important for her health and for her heart.
Min is 4. She is has been in an orphanage all of her life. We feel so strongly that she is our daughter and have submitted preliminary paperwork to China and have approval to adopt Min. Because the time line is so different from the one we had planned on,and her medical needs are going to be more than we had anticipated, we are trusting God to provide and to make this path straight before us.