Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Special Needs Post.

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It's hard to even believe that this picture was taken on Dec.28, 2009, almost three months ago ! Maggie came to us as a quiet, floppy, shocked little girl. She had no idea what was happening and really neither did we.  We had no idea what a complete JOY and BLESSING Maggie is or how much we would love her immediately.  We also didn't know she was deaf.  Looking back at our China pictures now, I see how Maggie was so confused and detached.  She couldn't hear what was happening around her and she had to have been scared to death.  She did not respond to her Chinese name or to our voices, she did not take a bottle for three days, got very constipated, continually looked at her hands and laid her right ear down on tables or floors to hear the vibrations. She preferred to lay down on the floor rather than sit up. Her little body went through so much as she grieved and tried to understand what was happening.  I think her way of dealing with all the changes was to just shut down.  How could she have known that we were going to love and care for her, that she would have a forever family and all the hugs and kisses she could stand.  She couldn't.  She didn't.  But, that is ok. We have taken it slow, and day by day we have watched her unfold like a beautiful flower.
Her special need was multiple: A heart condition called VSD (small) and microtia/atresia ( later we found out she has severe hearing loss a.k.a. deaf)  We were told she could say bababa, smile, stand on her own and that she was lively and liked musical toys.  All the pictures of her showed her to be a very healthy looking  little girl.  We had done all the research, read special needs blogs, attended a seminar on what to expect when you adopt internationally and prayed a lot for our daughter.

I remember when I first saw her through the curtain at the adoption center in Guangzhou.  Maggie looked a little like her pictures, but really she looked different.  I saw her head was crooked to one side, her facial expression was out of sorts, she had what looked like bug bites on her face and  her head was oddly misshapen.  Chuck and I waited till it was our time to officially meet Maggie and she was first handed to me.  With a pink toy duck in one hand, I reached out to Maggie.  Finally, I was holding my baby girl.  This was the moment I had dreamed about for so long.  There was a big smile on my face and my heart was beating so fast.  I took a good look at her.  I loved her so much already and it was evident Maggie had some things to overcome.  She was more like an infant than a 14 month old.  She would lean way back when I held her and she stared at her hands constantly.  At one moment, I stopped to pray and tearfully thank God for Maggie, I asked for wisdom to be her mother and I prayed that Maggie's pain would be washed away, that she would know she is accepted and not rejected.  It was a crazy Gotcha day and I was so overcome with emotions and questions.  Was she ever held ?  Did she ever have toys to play with ?  Just how neglected was she ?  I thought she was lively and talking ? What really went on in her orphanage ?  I had a feeling that Maggie was severely neglected.  I was right.  I also watched her intently and knew that she was very smart and she was a fighter, chosen by God to be my daughter, and destined to overcome her special needs.  I saw it.  I knew it.  My heart felt it. 

Although we did a lot of research on what to expect and knew the self soothing and floppy, flat affect was "normal" for a child that was institutionalized in an orphanage in China, nothing can really prepare you for the reality of it.  You see, Maggie was just another baby in the orphanage.  She probably spent over twenty hours by herself in a lonely crib with no toys and no sounds.  She learned not to cry and to sooth herself by rocking back and forth and looking at her hands.  She was given a bottle with a big opening filled with formula and rice cereal.  It would have been propped up and too bad if it spilled.  Everything was on a tight schedule. She was bathed with cold water that was poured over her.  She learned to just survive. I was once told by a fellow adoptive mom, Katherine G, that there is a difference in surviving and thriving .  She's so right.

Because now, we see Maggie thriving.  She laughs and smiles, plays and discovers, hugs and snuggles.  She is changing every day into this bright, sweet little girl that we knew was there somewhere.  Sure, we still have days where she looks lost and sad or she stares at her hands too long like she doesn't know what to do.  But then, she's back and laughing in her daddy's arms.  All Maggie needed was love, someone to give her a chance, to believe in her and tell her she matters.  Her special need was that she needed a family.  Everything else is minor compared to that need.  She has completely and totally captured our hearts and we are forever changed.  How could we not be ?

Would we adopt a special needs child again ?  Yes !!! A thousand times yes.  Was it worth all the unknowns, money and time ?  Yes ! Every child is precious and important - the whole and the broken, the sick and lame.  My heart breaks to know that there are 147 million little Maggie's around the world that need a family and someone to say to them " you matter, God loves you and so do I".  My prayer is that by sharing Maggie's story, more families will hear the cry of the orphans and say YES to adoption.  I pray also that James 1:27 will burn in the heart of Christians  " Pure and lasting religion in the sight of God our father means that we must care for orphans". 

Thankfully, Maggie's story does not end here.  But, that will have to be in Part 2.


chinamomof2 said...

Amen! That sums it all up. Yes, these children are hurt and neglected, but they are amazing. They have deep in their souls' the will to fight and to live. They are my inspiration. We as Americans have no idea how hard life can be but we see through our adoptive children what life is really all about. It may sound cliche, but all they really need is love, to be loved. These are all God's children. Everyone of them just longs for one thing, to be loved. As my good friend with 6 adoptive kids once told me, "this is not for the faint of heart, but every moment is worth it."

Tami said...

Tears of joy here. This was so beautifully written, Kathy. When you stated Maggie's special need was that she needed a family to love true and powerful... AMEN!!

God is truly 'smiling' down on all of you.

Wishing you many blessing to come.


Mandi said...

Kathy, what a beautiful post. I love to read about the honesty of adoption, the good, the bad, and the ugly and how with faith God turns it all into the greatest gift of all ~ our children.

Thanks so much for sharing this.

Oh, an Maggie is just the cutest thing ever.


Mama Hen said...

What a wonderful post Kathy! She is just beautiful!

Gavin's Family said...

Wow! Kathy it's posts like this one that keep me going.
It's not our story being written, but our childrens and we are just parts of the story in their lives.
Thank you for your heartfelt look at the little ones all over the world with the love that you and Chuck have for them. Gary and I hope to see this first hand our selves in the coming months with Gavin.

Vieven said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vieven said...

Thank you for sharing your heart. We just watched Natl Geo's China's Lost Girls, and I was just devastated at the thought that my little girl could still be lying there. Our girls are incredible blessings, aren't they?

Warmest wishes,

Sheri said...

Thank you for sharing such a beautiful story. We adopted through the foster care system. The Lord delivered us a precious drug addicted baby girl. She also had heart issues. She also had a laundry list of other issues that the Lord has one by one crossed off. Today she is a happy healthy 2 year old with just few lasting issues, that we are expectantly waiting for the Lord to heal. Once you've adopted, it remains near and dear to your heart! Blessings to you on getting another little blessing!
Hilltop Blessings

The Coopers said...

Kathy-I am sitting here crying catching up on your blog:) What a precious, precious miracle she is! My heart aches to think of what she went through, but rejoices at the wonderful home she has now! Praise God!!!:)

The Raudenbush Family said...

I'd love to talk to you about reposting this blog entry. We are launching a new website this week, hopefully, for adoptive families and families interested in adoption from a Christian worldview. Can I talk to you more about it?

In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation. Psalm 5:3
We have a daughter !!!!!!
Maggie Caroline was born Oct. 29, 2008.
She is in the SWI of Gaozhou City,China.
Guangdong Province)