By Guy Argent
For the first ten years of our marriage we focused on how we could build our family, we had always talked about adoption. We just assumed that it would be after we had biological children. When things weren’t happening naturally, we met with a fertility specialist. We set our limits up front of what type of treatment and procedures we were comfortable with doing. We started down the emotional roller coaster of fertility treatments. Somewhere along that path, a friend talked to us about becoming foster parents and the possibility of adopting from that system. After years of fostering and unfruitful adoption attempts, we decided to consider international adoption through Dillon International.
We reserved seats at an upcoming informational meeting where they would explain the process and options. We read over the flyers they sent us and decided we would go into this meeting looking for our “perfect” healthy Caucasian baby that would fit unobtrusively into our family. As the meeting progressed you could tell when couples would realize what country they would pursue. Some couples were even interested in adopting special needs and waiting children. Surprisingly to us, we did shift our focus from Eastern Europe to South Korea. The more they talked about the program in South Korea, the more we knew that’s where our “Perfect” would be from.
About 10 months later our dreams became reality- we truly did receive our “Perfect” son. He was healthy, handsome, bright, playful and rarely cried. Everything went as planned so we began to discuss adopting again. A few months later my wife had the opportunity to travel with a group of other adoptive Moms. The women went to serve and help at the Eastern Social Welfare
Society’s Children’s Home in Seoul.
Upon her return, my wife told me she felt drawn to adopt a special needs child. She had seen first hand that many things deemed special needs were things we could handle. We filled out our paperwork and settled in for what we expected to be a 1-2 year wait for a little girl. We had filled out the form showing which special needs we would consider and which we could definitely accept. As soon as our paperwork got to Tulsa we got the call. There was a baby girl with a cleft palate and we were the only paper ready family who had marked the box saying we would accept a child with a cleft palate. After reviewing the medical file with a cleft palate specialist, we confirmed our acceptance and she was home in about 8 months- much faster than we expected. So now after scrambling our finances to get her home we were faced with her physical challenges of eating and speaking, and multiple surgeries to repair the cleft. We faced and conquered many challenges with our Daughter, but I am sure you can understand that in our minds she is just as perfect as our son.
Since we started this journey a little late in life, we were quickly approaching the age limit for adopting from South Korea. We had a boy and a girl and we could be content with our family.It was decision time. We could try to adopt from South Korea again and risk aging out during the process. We could move our request to China or another country with higher age limits. We could just stop, but we knew it was still in our heart to adopt.
We took a family vacation to the beach in Florida. We brought our computer because my wife had developed a habit of going through the waiting child lists online and praying for the children.
Each time she would open the list a certain little boy was closer to the first. He had Microcephaly and it was expected that he would have learning delays. As she was praying for this boy, our social worker from Dillon called. She said she had seen a little boy with special needs. She said the child was not on Dillon’s caseload, but she felt like this was our child to adopt. It was the same child that my wife had been praying for. Decision made, we adopted him. Not long after he became our son, we found out that a portion of his brain had not developed. Children with this rare condition often did not walk or talk until 9 or 10. As scary as it was, we simply did what any parent would do. We did our research, found the best resources and doctors we could and raised our son. He is currently going into 8th grade. He has challenges but is physically healthy. He can read, write & do math. He is the most loving and happy child you will ever meet.
When people talk to us about adoption, we always offer this same advice:
Make sure both husband and wife are on board and have a heart for adoption. Be realistic and honest about your expectations. Be open to let God guide your heart.Don’t be afraid to adopt a child you feel is right for you even if there are special needs.Utilize your agency and any other resources available to you. Be honest with your adopted child about their story at age appropriate times.If you adopt from another country or culture, share that culture with the child.Realize that culture is now a part of your life, not just the child’s.
Follow your faith and your heart to give a child a forever family. It will be as much of a blessing to you as it is to the child!