I've written before about one thing that separates conception from adoption more than anything else, in my opinion.
No matter how it may seem, hopeful adoptive couples are given much control in their journey to grow their family through adoption. Sure, it's a long and stressful process... but we tend to focus on the control we DON'T have and don't focus enough on the control we DO have;
We get to choose the race of our baby.
We get to specify our comfort-zone when it comes to a birth-mom's past behaviors, lifestyle and health.
We can say 'yes' or 'no' to CP, or CF, or DS, or AIDS, or STDs, or ADHD, or missing limbs, or hearing loss, or blood disorders, or blindness, or prematurity, or heart defects, or kidney issues, or liver dysfunction, or pulmonary problems, or ...
Those last 5? Okay, yeah... it's getting personal now.
Many hopeful adoptive couples use themselves as the guideline by which they rank their level of comfort...
"I have never done drugs so I'm not open to a child who has been exposed to drugs."
And that's fair.
"I don't drink so I'm not open to a child who has been exposed to alcohol."
That's fair, too.
"If we conceived, our baby would not have A, B, and C so we aren't open to A, B, and C."
I get that.
I really do.
While Joey and I have always taken the 'check list of openness' very seriously, nothing causes you to stop and think about your level of comfort more than coming face to face with said baby who has A, B, C, D, E, F.... and so on.
When we first learned about Hunter, all of his medical issues were fully disclosed to us; heart issues, kidney issues, liver problems, and more I haven't mentioned... on top of his prematurity.
Here's the thing.... many many times in the 2 years we waited for Baby Smith #2 were we introduced to 'special needs' babies... Downs Syndrome, FAS, drug exposure, HIV, schizophrenia, and more. For each situation we became aware of we prayed, talked to family and doctors, researched, and asked ourselves honestly if this baby, and everything that came or could come with him or her was really right for us.
Inevitably, 'seomthing' always caused us to move on.... to continue waiting.
When we heard about Hunter... and ALL of his medical needs and unknowns.... we didn't hesitate to ask when we could meet him.
Sure, we did our research and prayed and talked to family and doctors but when it came down to it... when we were forced to be completely honest with ourselves and truly envisioned what our future could look like with this baby boy, it was right.
I've wondered many times why he felt right and the others didn't.
When I catch myself wondering.... never doubting.... but wondering...
I'm reminded of one thing;
God chose me to be his daughter.
He took into consideration all of my flaws...
External; my curved spine, flawed vision, high cholesterol, migraines, clumsiness
Internal; constant worry, self-doubt, gossip, doubting HIM, moodiness...
And he chose me anyway.
He chose to look past my weaknesses and unknowns and he chose me... for me.
We walked into Hunter's isolette and spent a few minutes getting to know him. Joey held him, we chatted with his primary pediatrician and nurse, we asked our questions, talked to our social worker, and finally made eye contact with each other...
My eyebrows raised... a sure sign to Joey that I'm asking him a question.
Joey nodded... a sure sign that he understood my question.
And we cried.
As much as I'd love to say that we chose this baby.... taking into full consideration all of his 'flaws'...
He really chose us.
And in the end, his 'flaws'... his 'list' or 'special needs'... are the things that make him ... him.
They tell his story... even the one's that are no longer there.
His 'flaws' are the reason we love him as fiercely as we do... because without them... without who they have made him... we wouldn't be who WE are today.
God chose us to be his children.... He chose Hunter to be his son.... and he chose us to be a family.
So maybe the questions and concerns and conversations were God's way of letting us, our human selves, feel like we had some iota of control over the future of our family.
The truth is.... we had a choice.
Except I'm so thankful that we really didn't.