Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Worst Piece of Adoption Paperwork EVER!

The title says it all.

This post is hard.  It's taken me almost 2 months to write it all down.  Maybe because it reminded me that I felt like the worst person in the world while filling out this one piece of paper.  Never mind that a licensed psychologist had stated that we were appropriate parents to adopt.  Or that a social worker had looked into the depths of our family and home and said we would be excellent parents to an adopted child.  In filling out this form, I felt awful. Selfish.  Picky. Horrible.  Undeserving of any child.

I bet if you ask any adoptive family what's the one piece of paper they hated filling out the most - it would be the child desired form, or at least that's the "title" of the form for our agency, anyway.  They're all the same, though...a massive list of potential and common medical needs that a child may or may not have as a diagnosis.

It's the worst piece of paperwork in the whole process.  It's literally a checklist...complete with "yes", "no", or "maybe"...and you have to determine your yes's, no's, and maybe's.

You feel absolutely wretched while doing it.

So, how did we do it?

We prayed. We prayed not only for what our yes's should be, we asked God, "How do we complete this list?!"

When I was pregnant with each of my kiddos, I wasn't given a checklist of what type of child I "desired" or would accept.  And I'll admit, it'd be nice if there were such a checklist with things like

not prone to tantrums
potty trains easily
immediately sleeps through the night
does not know how to disobey
listens attentively to mommy and daddy all the time
does not tattle
does not whine
does not complain
does not argue with siblings
not prone to tantrums...

But, like I said, there was no such list.

So why a list now?  Why was I forced to fill out such a list for this child? The simple truth is, there are a lot of orphaned children - especially in foreign countries - who have medical special needs ranging from mild and easily correctable to severe, lifelong needs.  And it is each family's responsibility to determine what medical needs they are open to accepting.

In one way, I felt that by marking "no" on any of the listed conditions, I was saying that a child with that medical condition wasn't good enough to be my child - but that's not the case at all.  The fact that I have any children is a blessing, because the Lord knows that I do not deserve the honor of being called "Mommy." I fail at that way too often.  Any and every child is more than good enough for me. Maybe I also felt like I wouldn't be good enough to be that child's mother, I don't know...

It was also horrible, because so many children available for international adoption have been completely looked over by everyone in their family and their ENTIRE COUNTRY before they make it the international adoption list.  And often times (but not all of the time), it is children with these medical needs who have not been chosen.  And now I was asked to "not choose" some of them again...

So back to the "how did we fill out the worst piece of adoption paperwork EVER" question:
1. We prayed.
2. We prayed, again.
3. We researched over 100 common medical issues our agency provided us with on this dreadful form that had explanations that we could barely understand.
4. We kept praying.
5. We separately, and without discussing with each other, filled the horrible form out.
6. Any of the medical conditions that we had both marked were put on the Master List.
7. We prayed.
8. We discussed any conditions that did not match up - not to look for excuses or try to convince the other of changing their mind, but to make sure we both had the same understanding of that condition and what all it would entail for our family.  During these discussions, there were conditions that one of us had misunderstood and those conditions were added to the Master List.
9. We held onto this Master List for a couple of days and continued praying, just to make sure it was "right".

I think I stated earlier that it was hard...something along the lines of being the worst piece of adoption paperwork EVER! But we had to do it.  It was a necessary part of our process.  We had to trust God as we filled it out.  We had to look at each of our beautiful children and determine whether or not being open to a certain condition would take us away from them or cause us to neglect them in some way.  We know that our family could not take on a child with a medical condition that involved months-long stays in the hospital or would require us, as parents, to focus all of our time and energy and resources on one child and have nothing left for our other 3 children.  We could not choose that.

And that's the key here.  We have a choice.  A hard one, for sure.  But God laid certain desires on our hearts leading us to certain conditions and others He turned us away from.  He knows exactly who our child is and what his needs will be and He knows that He will equip us to handle them.  This form looks different for every single family.  And for some families, any medical conditions are completely out of the question - and that is okay.  I would never dare tell another adoptive family to choose or not choose a child with a certain medical condition - that is something that is strictly between that family and Jesus.

What I would tell any family considering adoption, is to be open.  To pray.  Really, really pray. Try to understand each condition enough that you can consider in light of your entire family.  Seek the Lord so much and so often that you fear you just might get on His nerves (you won't, by the way - I don't believe He could ever get enough of us and enough of pouring His love and wisdom out over us and having us stay in communication with Him!).  Be open to considering things you just might never have considered.  I know we sure did...and it's scary, crazy, amazing, and good.

*I know that we are very open to discussing many aspects of our adoption process and have encouraged you to ask questions if you have them, but this is one aspect that is off limits. Please respect this and do not ask us about any specific or potential medical needs our son may or may not have. We will share only what is necessary in order to advocate and educate other adoptive families in a private manner. Please feel free to ask any other questions you may have regarding how we made our decisions for our Master List. Thanks so much for understanding!

1 comment:

  1. Very, very, very well written. God bless you for your candidness and your hearts!