Special needs is a term that honestly I did not like to hear. It is a term that I struggled with for a long time. How can a child with a birth mark be special needs? How can a child who is older than 6 years of age be special needs? How can a boy be special needs? How can I be open to special needs? What special needs?
When we first started on this adoption journey, we requested a healthy, young as possible, baby girl. That was almost 2 1/2 years ago. God has worked on us and worked on us. I keep thinking that if we would have seen Isabella's file 2 1/2 years ago, would we have said yes? The truth is, probably not. That is not what we had pictured. Funny how God does that. He has of course known all along that Isabella is ours, that she was born to be our daughter and that we needed some time. God has worked on our hearts through following other blogs, meeting families who have adopted "special needs" children and also reviewing other files of children with special needs. In the fall, we filled out our paperwork ... the special needs paperwork. One of the documents we had to complete was the special needs form. It had 3 columns. One for minor needs, one for moderate needs and one for severe needs. We went through and checked (after much research and prayer) all of the needs we thought we could handle. While filling out that paperwork, I just knew that our daughter would have cleft lip/palate. Don't ask me why, but I just knew. This is something I only told a couple of people about and honestly we did not tell many people that we had filled out the "special needs" paperwork.
Also at the time we completed the paperwork, we requested the age range be increased up to 2 years of age. And once again, God worked on us. We felt it important to keep the birth order (that was Aidan's only request throughout all of this ... that he remain the oldest ... and who can blame him?). So again, we updated our paperwork in February to say we would accept a little girl with the special needs listed on the form up to 3 1/2 years old as long as she was born after Keenan. In March, we received our referral! I keep thinking, "What if we did not change the age we were willing to accept?" But I know that it was all part of God's plan all along. We just needed to come around to it.
For anyone considering adopting, but may be hesitant to the label "special needs" take 10 minutes and watch this video made by Love Without Boundaries. This is the organization that sponsored and paid for Isabella's heart surgery. All of these special needs children are just that, they have needs and they are SPECIAL!