We received Alejandro’s referral last Thursday (Aug 7). We were SO excited that it FINALLY came! Among the first few pages was a picture of our beautiful boy. He is perfect. He is so handsome and amazing.
I read through the pages and PAGES of referral paperwork. Court papers, his birth certificate, doctor’s evaluations, etc. etc. And to be honest…I didn’t know what to think. The boy I was reading about was not the boy I had created in my head. Not that I had made him into much, we knew so little about him. But the boy in my head was not the boy I was reading about. The boy I was reading about was full of problems. Behavior problems, psychological problems, learning problems, attitude problems, motor skill problems and on and on. When I had finished reading, hope had left and despair had taken its place. Not overwhelming despair…but just enough. Not enough to question our decision, because it was not our decision to question. But I wondered if we would be enough. I wondered how it was all going to work out. The referral had raised more questions than it had answered. Caused more concern, more wondering, more questioning…
As I read the referral again, this time out loud to Adrian on our way to Sunnyside I realized what was causing me to feel a twinge of desperation. There was ABSOLUTELY nothing positive. NOT ONE THING. How can you have pages and pages and PAGES of information about a soon to be 9 year old little boy and not have ANYTHING positive to say? Even on our worst day as a family of 6, we can find something positive, may it be ever so small or simple. But, that was not the case with our son’s referral.
The pages I had read said nothing of hope. With out hope, we are desperate.
Instead…there were labels. LOTS of labels.
Neuropathy, Psychomotor Retardation, Down Syndrome, Bruxism, Small and Overweight (this one made me smile), Oppositional and Challenging Disorder, Activity and Attention Disorder, High Cholesterol, Hard to Manage, Permanent Motor Function and Emotional Instability, None Verbal, Aggressive and Impulsive when Responding to Rules, Low Tolerance to Frustration.
That’s not even all of it. I could go on and on.
I was talking to an old friend of mine whom I haven’t seen in years just a few hours before we received Alejandro’s referral. We were catching up on our lives and talking about my families adoption process. (I think a general idea in non-adopters minds is that we’re a little crazy. Good crazy, but crazy none the less.) And as I was talking with her, I put into words what my heart has known but hadn’t said out loud about this particular circumstance yet.
God will prepare us. God is preparing us. He is making us into the family that we need to be for Alejandro and He is preparing Alejandro for us.
God has gone before us TIME AND TIME AGAIN. He prepared us for our daughter to have cancer. He prepared us for our son to have Down Syndrome. He has prepared our hearts for adoption and He is preparing us for our son. That’s it. There is nothing else. God is faithful. He will do what He says He will do. He chose our family to be Alejandro’s forever family. And He will be faithful to make it happen logistically, physically, spiritually and emotionally. This is His plan, not ours.
I take GREAT comfort in that truth. I said those words only hours before we received our son’s not so positive referral. God prepared me to see past the labels.
As I have had a few minutes alone over the past week (emphasis on few…), God has begun to create a love like have not yet known for my son. A love that will only continue to grow. A love that is born out of desperation. I am desperate to know him. Not to read a report void of all emotion and all things good. But to KNOW HIM.
Who is he? What does he like? What does he not like? What makes him smile? How does he like to be held? When is he scared? When is he sad? What is he capable of?
Everything I’ve read so far says what he CAN’T do. But what can he do? Who is Alejandro? Because I guarantee you, he is MORE than a label. He is more than his limitations.
This is my son. And it makes me SO sad to think that people see the boy I read about. Are they kind to him? Are they loving? Do people even notice him? Is he just that kid with the issues?
I know what my God says about him and it is reflected into my heart. He is loved. He is worth it. He is fearfully and wonderfully made. He is a child of God and for whatever reason WE WERE CHOSEN to love him for as long as we have on this earth. It is overwhelming and amazing. It is humbling TO THE CORE. This precious child, created in the image of God…we get to love him. We get to know him. We get to make new memories with him and discover what he loves, what he hates, what makes him smile, what makes him laugh. We get to do that.
His birthday is on Friday. He will be 9. My son is spending his last birthday as an orphan this Friday. We are having a birthday party for the boys on this day. It will be a day of celebration. Celebrating the sons we know and celebrating the son we will soon know.
“But God remains the strength of my heart, He is mine forever.” Psalm 73:26b
This is my life’s verse. So much so that I recently had it tattooed on my body. “My flesh may fail and my spirit grow weak, But God remains the strength…”
Alejandro has issues…”But God remains the strength”. 5 kids, 2 with Down Syndrome will be hard…”But God remains the strength”. I’m going to be exhausted some days…”But God remains the strength” (And I’ll have coffee!)
Things are going to be a little (OK a lot) crazy, and we’ve accepted that. We don’t have to have all the answers, or any of them really. We have to trust that God has gone before us and will come behind us. And we do. He is our strength and our hope, and realistically, ALL that we have. He is EVERYTHING. He is trustworthy and loves us more than we love ourselves. He loves Alejandro more than we ever can. He has asked us to love him for as long as we can. And we will. We will love him desperately. We will love him with a desperation that is FULL of hope.