Having a child is always a leap of faith. We never really know what the future holds for any of our children, whether they are our biological children or adopted children. We can't plan for future diagnoses, illnesses, accidents, surgeries, and so on. We also can't plan for the untold joys and rewards of knowing, loving or raising any child.
Granted, there are some things we can do to reduce our risk of heartache, but the reality is that we either live in constant fear and uncertainty of the unknown and unwanted, or we can choose to live in peace, understanding that there is good in every person and every circumstance--even when we might not first see it there.
We have not yet met Alina, and we have been asked a few times whether we think this process is worth the risk. Chris and I both feel that she is absolutely worth the risk. We are not just offering Alina a life with a loving family, we are saving her life. We are not concerned about facing uncertainty and don't fear hardship in bringing her into our family. We don't need to know all the details of the future to know that every person has worth and much to offer--and that we are absolutely prepared to care for Alina and to welcome her as our own.
What we do know is that Alina is almost three years old and has Down syndrome. We know she was most likely abandoned because of her diagnosis. We know very little else about her. We have just the one picture we first saw on Reece's Rainbow (RR), where her head has been shaved and her sweet little face shows no expression.
We don't know details about her parents yet, or why they chose to give her up. We don’t know anything about her personality or habits, or what condition we’ll find her in when we arrive in her country in a few months.
We are hoping for the best, but are preparing for every possible scenario.
We know that Alina needs the love, comfort and security of a family. We know that she will need good medical care and good nutrition when she comes home. She will most likely also need extra developmental support.
We know that she should be somewhere where her hair is never again shaved for convenience. We know that she deserves opportunities, and that she should be smiling, and laughing, and safe in the arms of her family.
We realize that we will be meeting Alina in her “raw” form—without having had the benefit of a loving home, early intervention, good nutrition, etc., and that her potential is huge.
When we found RR and saw all of the children who have been abandoned because of a diagnosis of Down syndrome, our hearts broke. We see so much potential in ALL of these children. Knowing what we know now (through Bridget) we see diamonds in the rough in every little face on RR.
We are not expecting that Alina will be just like Bridget. We really have no idea how healthy she will be, what her personality is like, or what she will be able to do. As is true with life in general, there are no guarantees for us in the adoption process.
And while we don't know what we will find when we finally get to meet Alina, we do know that while others may sell her short because she has Down syndrome, we will not. She is a human being with dignity and worth. She deserves to have the same opportunities and care as anyone else--and we plan to offer her the world.