our special needs story

I have a passion for waiting children, but I didn’t start out feeling that way. Just a few years ago, I would often look at the children on many waiting child photolistings and think, ‘Aw, I hope they find their family, but that family isn’t mine.’ We always said we would adopt children one day. When that day came sooner than we thought, we knew we wanted to adopt a child as young and healthy as possible.

When we started the process to adopt in June of 2008, we were led to the Korea program. I was a tad hesitant – well, maybe “terrified” better describes my emotions. Because we didn’t live in one of our agency’s branch states, we would have to be in the “waiting child/special needs” part of the program – a requirement of Korea’s central authority, which oversees all international adoption from Korea. To me, at that time, a “special needs” child meant a child in a wheelchair, who might not be cognitively or physically able to do “normal” activities.

That was a lot to swallow, especially for first-time parents dreaming of a “perfect” child.

But the Lord, in his faithfulness, put a family in our path to calm our fears. This family told us their story of adopting two children with special needs. Our agency is GREAT, but sometimes a momma just needs to hear from another momma. When the mother of this family told me about her son’s special need, my fears were calmed.  We really just needed to hear someone say, “It’s okay to adopt a child with special needs. ‘Special needs’ just means special needs, not broken or defective or never able. Just SPECIAL.”

I knew we could handle “special needs.”

I marvel at the way God opened our hearts and our minds and then led us to our Bates on awaiting child photolisting!



Now, three years and two special needs adoptions later, I know of no other way to grow our family than by adopting a waiting child.

-Mary Leigh, SWW writer



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