Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Ironies of Life

I had a memory come back to me last night in the midst of a fitful sleep.....

About four years ago, just after we made our decision to adopt again, we further decided to walk down the path of a special needs adoption. There was a lot to consider, not least of which was the existing family and responsibilities that were already on our plate but also, what did we think that WE as a couple could actually handle. After lots of soul searching, Marc and I came up with a "list" of the needs that we deemed to be "right" for us.

Within a couple of weeks of the search for our next child, our dear friend Mary saw a child on her agency special needs list that called out our name as potential parents. It was a baby boy from the exact same place that Katie is from; Wuwei, Gansu. He was such a beautiful child and the words underneath his name on their website gave a vague description of a special need. If I remember correctly, it was "uneven iris's." I remember being shocked that with such a benign description that this child was still available. The most minor of special needs always go very quickly. I quickly wrote to the agency to inquire about the boy. I was told that the description given by China was quite vague and even had conflicting facts so that we should proceed with caution when reviewing the file. We were the first email of several that they had received overnight that were interested in this child. They would allow us to review the files with our doctors but there were no promises.

We took the file to not only our pediatrician but to a Pediatric Ophthalmologist that my mother was employed by for many years. After so many years he seemed more like a family friend than a doctor. As such, he told us that the information provided was too vague to make a determination on his condition. He asked us to request more info if we could. We followed his instructions and asked the agency to make the inquiry, which they did. A new examination was then performed in China and the results of the exam were laid out for us in typical China fashion...again conflicting but this time with enough facts for us to come to a decision....

Our doctor informed us that with the type of condition that this baby boy had he would indeed by blind very quickly, if he was not already. In addition, the type of eye issue he had would likely be paired with another medical syndrome of some type. Marc and I were so upset to hear those words. We wanted the words to be untrue to make our decision an easy one. We so wanted to adopt this little boy from Wuwei. It would have been so sweet to have two children from the exact same place. We agonized quite a bit over the file for the next couple of days. Could we handle such a special need? Would it be fair to Katie and to our family as a whole? Did we have the financial resources necessary. The final answer to all of the those questions was a sad....no. He was not our child. I sadly relayed that info to the agency including all of the feedback from the doctor.

The only consolation for us was that the family in line right behind us was already parenting a child with a similar special need and was interested in parenting this child. They asked the agency if they could speak to me in order to get more info on the feedback that our Doctor had given to us. The mom and I spoke several times and the last time that we spoke she was seriously considering adopting him but I will never know for sure. I never heard from her again. His picture never reappeared on the list though, so in our hearts we believe he was adopted.

I am a huge believer in fate and I totally believe that he was not meant to be our son and of course as it turns out Ethan was meant very much meant to be. Anyone that has seen our two youngest children together can tell you that they truly were "Beshert" the Hebrew word for meant to be.

The irony of it all still is quite startling. That same doctor who is a family friend was the first to detect Katie's condition and refer us to a specialist. He had to be part of giving us this sad news again. Thankfully he is a friend and he and his assistant Shannon are totally there for us!

What we believed that we could not handle has been handed to us again. The condition that Katie has may be linked with a syndrome and other medical maladies may follow. This will be determined when the DNA test shows us the bad gene that has caused this.

We not only have been handed this again, but thankfully we know that in our hearts that we not only CAN handle it...we WILL.


Vivian M said...

When we started our journey to adoption, we were convinced we could not handle any special needs. So we went the "healthy child/non special needs" route. And from the moment Kerri was placed in our arms, she was anything but healthy. We discovered more and more health concerns as the months went on, and then dealt with her RAD for longer than I thought we could. And looking back, I think G-d had more confidence in our abilities than we did. Because Kerri was and is our "Beshert". And I would not have it any other way.
I know you CAN and WILL....and we will all be there with you every step of the way as part of your extended FCC family.
Huge hugs to you all.

Judy said...

Sending you, Katie and family big hugs!!

Tammie said...

Keeping you all in my heart.

Candy said...

I know that you will handle this with with all the love and tenderness that you have and Katie will be fine.

If you need somebody to talk to, I'm always here.