China / Society

Parents are the lucky ones

By Hezi Jiang (China Daily) Updated: 2016-04-18 07:50

Parents are the lucky ones

Michelle and Scott Morell with their five older children. All of their children joined the family through adoption. The three older children are through domestic adoption, and the younger ones are from China. PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY

When a young couple is starting a family through adoption, it's harder to consider a child with special needs. You have this fantasy picture and ideal of what your family is going to be. You feel as though you have already missed out on pregnancy and other experiences many couples take for granted. You don't want to give up on enjoying the newborn stage and becoming the parents of a "perfect" beautiful little baby.

But as we had more children and looked at the options of continuing to build our family, those things became less important. Every child - biological or adopted, healthy or special needs - is going to have issues and struggles in life. It's part of the package when you get your child.

A "Waiting Child" (children ages 8 months to 13 years waiting to be adopted) is so much more than just a medical/special need. They are a whole person. They have strengths and struggles, talents, dreams and a craving for love and acceptance just as all of us do.

We have seven children. All of them joined our family through adoption. The three older children are through domestic adoption. The younger ones are from China - Kate is 10, Claire is 8, and Luke and Ethan are 3.

After we brought Kate home in 2006, we had to wait a year to file for another adoption from China. This was when China's international adoption program for healthy infants slowed down.

We both felt that it was time for us to switch to the Waiting Child Program.

I called our agency and spoke to them about the needs we were open to and could handle. The next day, we got a call from the social worker about a baby girl who had hands that were formed different and was missing part of her right leg. We stared at the few pictures that were in her files, wondering "Is it really no big deal?"

That day we said, "Yes, we very much want to be her parents."

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