Often when I describe our daughter, I don’t mention any of her diagnoses or disabilities. She is so much more than her CP or any other label that has been assigned to her. I think many of her delays are a result of orphanage environment, prior neglect and it will be wonderful to see how she progresses in our family. But I am acutely aware that her special needs are a big part of why she ended in an orphanage and why she waited so long for a family. And why no one in her extended family was able to care for her.
Adopting our daughter doesn’t make us special. In working with many children with her diagnosis, I know these children to be funny, joyful, determined, smart and full of life! I know the challenges that are ahead of us, but I also know the beauty that exists in the midst of that. There is no doubt that we will be the blessed ones for having her join our family.
I may write about this in detail some day, but while we were visiting Afua, a taxi driver pulled up next to us and began to make small talk. I could tell he wanted to ask me something and once we got the pleasantries out of the way, he finally said it: “Why you pay for her? She doesn’t talk or walk. Pay for a healthy one”. It took all the grace I could extend to tell him how she is perfect to us, just as she is, just as she was created. We would give her every opportunity to improve in America, but if nothing worked, if there was no progress, we would love her. Because she is worth it. I held back tears because at that moment I realized how my little one was viewed by some in her own country. And how us foreign adoptive parents have probably have made it known that we will only adopt the healthy ones, the little ones. Because we are paying. Wow.
I know that Afua is a perfect addition to our family.a perfect daughter, sister, cousin, niece and granddaughter. I also know it doesn’t make sense to people why we adopt any child, let alone a child who is going to need medical care and therapies. It doesn’t make sense to people in her country and it doesn’t make sense to some people here. But what they fail to see is that she is not her labels and she is not her past experiences. And in failing to see that, they fail to see the blessing that she is to us.