Monday, February 18, 2013

We Were Not Naive

    Three years ago we agreed to adopt a little boy based on a bunch of words on a page.

    "Aaron is a darling, blonde haired and blue eyed boy who was born with arthrogryposis. He is very high functioning, cognitively normal, and is able to walk on on his own. His feet are nearly normal, and his hands are only minimally affected. He stands straight and tall and is very active! Aaron has recently been transferred to the institution, so we need a family for him FAST! He deserves to have a loving family, not to be stuck behind 4 walls for the rest of his life! "

    We clung to the positive words in that paragraph.  High functioning.  Normal.  Walking.   Active.  Tall.  Straight. 
    We clung to those words as we waded through the paperwork to go get him. 
    Yet we were not naive.  We knew that he had several strikes against him.
    He was an orphan.  He was physically disabled.  He had been transferred to a mental institute.
    That last sentence froze us up every single time.

    We were adopting a child out of a mental institute who was cognitively normal.  What did that mean?  How would he be affected?  In what shape would he be in when we arrived? 
    And to make matters worse - no one really even knew him or knew where he was.  He was the first listed from his babyhouse and his institute was an unknown.  We were swimming in a world of nothing.

    We were able to locate one person who had been to Aaron's babyhouse and through him we were able to gather some information about our little guy from the director of his babyhouse.  His words did not encourage us but instead left us scratching our heads. Aaron was transferred to a level 4 institute because he was severely physically AND mentally disabled. 

     We were saddened but not totally blindsided  by the information.
    We had read enough and knew enough to know that mental and physical disabilities went hand in hand over there.
    We also knew that the tests given to determine mental ability were desperately biased against the orphan.  How could a child answer questions on a test about the workings of the outside world when he had never been outside his tiny section of the babyhouse?
    We were adopting a child based on a few sentences and some disheartening words from a director.  We were adopting a child without anyone to really hold our hands. Not too many children who were in Aaron's circumstances were being adopted out of level 4 institutes. 
    To say we felt alone would have been putting it mildly.
    But we were not naive.
    We were also not without some help.
    We had a list.
    A list describing what we possibly faced when we brought our dimpled little boy into our home.
    It was a scary list.
    A list that caused us to catch our breath and question what we were doing.
    A list that seemed endless and overwhelming.
    A list that spoke of neglect and sorrow and abuse.
    A list that cried out for redemption and grace.
    I took that list and placed it on my desktop. 
    I read it over and over and over again.  Rob and I discussed it.  Grieved through it.  Worried and wondered and waited.
    We read it with gratefulness because it kept our feet firmly planted.  It prevented us from pretending that love could just simply wash away six years of neglect.  It anchored us to reality.  It allowed us to prepare our hearts ahead of time for what we would soon encounter.
    We did not walk through the gates in that tiny village naive.
    We had a list.
    Though our first days there were filled with grief and shock - we went in prepared and for that I am very very grateful.
 be continued.....


  1. Julia thank you so much for sharing your journey. We have very similiar information on the sweet one we are adopting. We are hoping to get her before she is transferred. There are so many unknowns. We can't wait to meet our sweet girl

  2. I've been ridiculously curious about this aspect of Aaron's life. Most people will freely share about the physical challenges but keep the mental ones under wraps. :-(

  3. So happy to see who is on MFFM page this morning!



Loving words from kind people make our hearts glad!