- In China, the wait for a "healthy" child is currently running 5-6+ years.
- In the international adoption realm, the term special needs has a different meaning. Here, I think we tend to think of more severe, lifelong needs. While those needs fall into the definition of special needs in the adoption world, special needs can also cover easily manageable or treatable issues. Depending on the country, age and being in a sibling group can automatically label a child as "special needs," even if nothing else physically, emotionally, mentally, etc. is wrong.
One of the crummiest parts of the process so far has been completing the special needs questionnaires. These documents are anywhere from 3-5 pages long and cover a wide variety of needs. As I mentioned in my last post, I'm not sure if we plan to disclose any of our child's needs once we've been matched. But for now, I'm okay sharing some of the items we have considered:
- Premature birth
- Low birth weight
- Thalassemia (a blood disorder which in the minor form, appears to be quite manageable)
- Cleft lip/palate
- Ear deformity with hearing
- Vision impairment corrected with glasses
- Hearing deficit with some hearing
- Deaf in one ear
- Burns/scars on arms or legs
- Minor/correctible heart conditions
- Club feet
- Missing limb
- Webbed or missing toes and/or fingers
- Additional fingers and/or toes
- Limb deformity
Going through this list the first time was tough. I beat myself up over it, because every child deserves a home and parents. And then I beat myself up over it again, because biological parents don't get these choices and it's really probably not fair that I "get to," right? Going through the list the second time, although not fun, was slightly easier. We've had to become objective about this part of the process. It's about educating ourselves and selecting the needs that we can reasonably manage. In the end, we believe that God already knows which child is ours and it won't really matter which "special needs" we mark or don't mark.