Although full term, she was only 4lbs. 11 oz. when she was born. She gained weight and was catching up physically but she did not reach developmental milestones when all the other kids were reaching them. She didn't walk until she was almost 18 months old. Talking didn't really come until she was almost three. She had surgery at the age of one to repair a hernia, a rarity for a baby girl. Two more minor but necessary surgeries followed. Later she would be diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder that affects her growth and digestion. She would have to follow a strict diet for the rest of her life.
Who is the baby? She's my daughter. Not my soon-to-be daughter. My biological daughter, Jenny. I do not look her in any way as special needs, but the truth of the matter is she would most certainly be labeled as such in an adoption referral. And some of it sounds scary when written out that way. She didn't walk until she was a year and half old and she barely said a word until she three. (She has more than made up for lost time though.) She weighed four pounds when she was born and she really does have celiac disease.
She's also the smartest 11 year old I know. I cried every day in 6th grade and failed math one 9 weeks (true story!) She hasn't shed a tear and has made straight A's. She's taking pre-algebra as a 6th grader and making an A! My daddy would be so proud and I am in awe. She copes unbelievably well with her celiac and is an all around good kid. She is self confident and she loves Jesus and has a heart for orphans. I am one proud Mama!
My point in writing this it that the Lord is speaking to me and convicting me as I pray for my new daughter and think about what kind of special need I can "handle." If I had a read a file on Jenny would I have passed it by? What qualifies as too much for me? My prayer is that we won't be scared off. I read a blog post by another adoptive mom the other day who was writing about how their son's needs were greater than they anticipated. She said she had learned a hard truth and that it wasn't that his needs were greater than she had thought, it was that if she had known the full extent of his needs she might have passed him by and what a tragedy that would have been. What joy he brought to their family. What a joy it was to parent him. I'm not saying that I think parenting a child with special needs is a joy all the time. I know it's not. I know that there are things I think we can't handle. My prayer is that I won't be looking for just what I can handle, but for who God has for our family. Who He wants me to parent. I want to rest in the knowledge that He is in control.
And I'm anxious to see my daughter's face. Teach me patience Lord!