Friday, January 18, 2013

Down's Syndrome

Domestic Adoption


3 months old

Baby Girl

Down's Syndrome

I'm sure when you read that list, the last words that stand out to you the most.  Down's Syndrome.  They did for me, too.  We had actually talked quite a lot about adding Down's Syndrome to our list of special needs we would consider.  I have a dear friend, Kirby, who has Down's Syndrome.  Kirby and I grew up together and it has been a great gift to have her as a friend for 20+ years.  I have seen our friendship as a significant resource - an experience that equips me in a way that many people are not equipped.  So I have often asked the Husband if he would ever think about adopting a child with Down's Syndrome.  His answer has always been something like, "Not right now.  I don't think I'm ready for that."
Isn't she pretty?
Can I pause here and say that I love him so much for the "not right now" part of that?  It means he's allowed himself to remain open to the possibility.  I count my lucky stars that I married a guy who is willing to consider adoption at all - much less a special needs adoption - so I have been careful not to press him on it.

When I saw Down's Syndrome in the email, my initial thought was, "Oh, probably not," because I assumed the Husband would give me the same answer as in the past.  But I couldn't help but wonder at the coincidence that the baby was Chinese.  And here in Kansas City.  And a girl.  And three months old.  I couldn't ignore that all of my Impossible Prayers were answered in this small one.  We thought we would be going to China for our Chinese adoption, but I couldn't help but wonder if China had come to us.  But I tried not to think about all those coincidences because I was certain the Husband wouldn't feel ready to take on something that severe.  I wasn't sure I was ready to take on something that severe.

All the same, I mentioned the email to the Husband when he came home from work and to my utter shock he didn't say no.  He said, "I'll have to think about that.  Let's talk about it."  Cue jaw drop.

So we talked about it.

We talked about the realities of parenting a child with such severe special needs.  We talked about what that would mean for Lila, what that would mean for us for the length of our lives.  I worried about potty-training a child with Down's Syndrome (they're notoriously stubborn) and the Husband worried about caring for an adult dependent in our old age.*

In the end, we agreed that we both felt peaceful/curious enough to at least get more information.  I jotted down a list of questions and sent them off to the adoption consultant.  She responded that same night with the answers she had and told us that she would know more the next day because the birth mother was coming in to talk with her.

We already had a meeting scheduled with our social worker at the office the next evening for our Chinese home study so we hoped that we might be able to get more information at that meeting.

Before bed, I jotted down my thoughts to try to get them to stop swimming frantically around in my brain.  The first words I wrote were, "I want to say yes."

*It probably goes without saying that there was much more to our conversation than just this quick summary.  I'm planning on writing out more of our thought process and decision-making in another post.

1 comment:

Totschies said...

Tell on friend, I love it