Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Let's Talk Babies: Part 1

So, if you know Jer and I, we are big fans of Grey's Anatomy. Although, please, Derek and Meredith, just get married already beacuse frankly, we just can't take it anymore....

I was pleasantly surprised when I heard/saw the interview of Katherine Heigl on Ellen announcing she and her husband were adopting a daughter from S. Korea. Then when I heard Naleigh had special needs, I thought it was a bold move and was pleased Katherine mentioned it on national television. I was also pleased AS PUNCH when she said the adoption was "quite the process" and "since she has special needs, S. Korea wanted her to be adopted as soon as possible."

Kudos to Katherine and Josh for going through the process like the rest of the PAP's in this world (PAP=Prospective Adoptive Parent)!! I find it refreshing she didn't need to buy off a small village in the middle of nowhere, where international adoption is not practiced, and adopt a child who's father was there to see the whole thing go down. Kudos to her for not using her magnificent "star power" to move the powers-that-be to speed up her process just because she's a celebrity. Kudos to her for filling out the paperwork, enduring the interviews, getting her fingerprints taken and feeling like your a criminal, sharing every detail of your life and then some, and having someone else tell you whether or not you can be parent.

And yes, shockingly:
Kodus to Katherine Heigl and Josh Kelley for adopting a special needs child.

Yep, I said it. As a fellow adoptive parent, I had been pondering how to blog about this for a few days. Mind you, this is my first post about celebs adopting. Just sayin'. Then, ta-da, Ellen posted about it and she gave me the spark that lit the fire. Her post opened my eyes to this online article. The article itself passed my radar test. Some of the comments? Blew. Me. Away.

The pictures do not spell out the child's special needs. Nor should it. I do not consider adoption a selfless act. Honestly, I don't. I once heard a fellow AP (AP= Adoptive Parent) respond to someone who said, "How wonderful it is what you are doing," with, "What? I wanted a child, I went and got one." Now, when you look past the initial harshness of the way the comment is worded, there is much truth to this response. I do consider adoption of a special needs child selfless. Especially when I hear of families who adopt more than one child with special needs. I need to take lessons from them on how to turn myself into an octopus.

Think about this for a moment. You are signing yourself up for this position. You are willing adopting a child that has needs. Special Needs. We're talking about more than diaper changes and feedings here. You are willingly taking on a role of great magnitude, no matter what that child's special need is. To have confidence in that role, is to be admired.

Are you asking yourself why we aren't including ourselves in this mix? It's because this isn't our mix.

Our mix came in a hidden form. That's right folks: WE DID NOT KNOW AJ WAS A SPECIAL NEEDS CHILD.

{For those of you that already know our story, please keep reading}

We did not know when we received and accepted his referral. We did not know when we visited. We did not know when we brought him home. We suspected some developmental issues that were expected with living in an orphange; we expected motor delays for the same reason. We were told he was a happy, healthy premie. Those words are ingrained in my head. We did not know he had special needs until the Winter of 2007.

It happens. It happened to us. It is rare, but not as rare as I thought. It wasn't right. His needs should not have been overlooked, ignored, or hidden. Whatever they were: we'll never know. I would be lying if I said my heart doesn't burn with anger (still) that he would have died had he spent a month or two more in Guatemala. He deserved his needs to be known.

Hindsight is 20/20. But when asked, "If you had known, would you still have accepted his referral?" My answer: yes. We'll never know for sure, as that wasn't the case, but I do know that as soon as we saw his photo and read his story, he was ours. We would have like to have known, to be prepared. We could have petitioned the US Embassy to expedite his adoption process for medical necessity. We might have been able to begin grieving while preparing for his arrival. Maybe he would of had access to the world of sound earlier. Maybe, Maybe, Maybe. I could Maybe till I'm blue in the face.

He is here now, and that is what is important. I know, corny. While the fact he had 13 months of nothing is present now (sometimes I think more now than ever), we are doing all we can for him. You get used to knowing that feeling won't ever go away, but that it comes and goes. He deserves all that we can give him. That means Love and Discipline. Education and Therapies. Structure and Encouragement.

People have asked us if we could give him back or give him up for adoption. Yes, we've been asked that.

Short Answer: NO.

Long Answer: I will not run. I will not walk. I will tread softly in what I have been given. I will accept the challenge before me and experience all of the emotions that come with that challenge. I accept that it will not be easy. I accept that I have no idea where to begin or what to do. I will pray for strength. I will pray for understanding. I will strive to give my child all that he deserves, not matter what it takes. I will find joy in his triumphs, and pain in his trials. I will accept reason has given me this child, without knowing what that reason is. I will learn to love Holland more than the thought of Italy. I will learn from him far more than I feel he learns from me. I will love my child unconditionally. I will fall. I will get back up. Battles we will lose. Battles we will win. I will remind myself that this did not happen to me, it happened to my child. My marriage will be tested. My faith will be tested. My relationships will change. I will learn the ease of ignorance comes from what is unknown. I will embrace the good and the bad, for balance of the two creates a peaceful harmony.

To be continued....


  1. Great post Heidi!! I was just talking to another SN mom about this very thing today.

  2. That was a really beautiful, elegant post. And you are a very strong mama. I can only imagine the range of emotions you feel on a regular basis. I will read part 2 tomorrow......... I'm a little behind. :)


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