Throughout this adoption journey, I have had several friends and family ask questions - mostly the same questions. I'd like to address some of these questions en mass.
1. Why are you adopting? Can't you have any more kids of your "own"?
We are adopting because we are just aching for another child to love! This wasn't our second choice or fall-back plan. Yes, we could have more biological children, but are convinced that adoption is the way we want to expand our family now. And they will all be our "own."
2. There are lots of kids in our country that need families, so why China?
Yes! You are right! Children all over the world need families. It is estimated that 143 million children in the world are orphans. Some people feel called to domestic adoption, others to international adoption, and still others to fostering and mentoring. There are so many children who need to feel loved. All God's children - both in our country and others - deserve families.
3. Did you know your child would have a medical issue? Couldn't you have asked for one that was healthy?
Ben and I intentionally sought out the Waiting Child Program through China. We requested to be matched with a child who had a known physical need. Our daughter, Veronica has an un-repaired cleft lip and cleft palate that will require multiple surgeries for over a decade and intensive speech therapy and orthodontic work.
Surgeries for a child are never easy for a parent to deal with, but we have done it before and we can do it again. We have already had a child with speech delays. We felt up to dealing with a few additional medical quirks along the way. But, Veronica is more than just a medical need attached to a kid. Her cleft is only one little part of who she is.
And, as you all know, there are never guarantees for a "healthy" child. Two of my children have been in the ICU with life threatening illnesses. All parenting is a leap of faith, and we are ready to make that leap again.
4. Why didn't her birth mom keep her?
Unfortunately, there is no way for us to contact Veronica's birth mother to know why she was unable to raise her.
Perhaps, her family already had a child and was unable to raise her due to the single child rule.
Or, without medical insurance in China, fixing a cleft lip and palate could bankrupt an entire extended family. Her family may have made the decision to place her for adoption to ensure she received medical care. This happens every day in China - to both boys and girls.
The truth is we will never know. But, we have no reason to assume that her birth family loved her any less even though they were unable to raise her. We know she was left with a note in a very, very safe place. Someone loved her enough to ensure she had a chance at a good life. And now I will do everything I can to give her that life.