Saturday, July 28, 2012

Don't be scared.

I've heard so many people comment that we're "brave" or "special" for adopting a special needs child.  Particularly one who may have FAS (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome). 
We're not.  We're ordinary people. 
I'll admit that we do have a bit of experience with disability and behavioral issues.  We have a 4 year old son who has autism. 
He's the handsome little man on the left.  His name is Deacon. 

Having a child with a disability/challenge doesn't make anyone special.  Choosing to adopt one doesn't make you special, either.  All it means is you've chosen not to let fear rule your choices.  You've chosen to love a child and accept them into your life. 

Take a look at these children and tell me what pops into your mind when you see them.  Sad, hurt, sick, scary, and unattractive.  These are words that have been used to describe these and other pictures of disabled, orphan children.

Some people look at these sweet, wonderful children and all they see is the outside.  All they see are the negative things in the photos.  They see an unhappy child, a child with scars and bad teeth.  They see a skinny, starving child who needs lots of medical care and a child with a large head.  They see the surface.  They see the superficial negatives.

Now I'll tell you what I see... what many of us who are adopting (or have adopted) these children see in these photos.  I see soft hands and chubby cheeks.  I see potential.  I see a skinny, starving child who has survived thanks to her strength and will to live.  I see a scared little girl who would be smilin if she had a hug and a bit of encouragement.  And finally... I see a bright happy smile glowing in a small face.  Despite her issues... she's smiling and her beautiful little soul shines through. 

Those are the things I see. 

Now I want you to look at a pair of pictures.  One is a visa photo taken of a sick, starving child just before she was brought home.  Some of you may recognize her.
Skinny, puffy eyes, sad, hopeless... these are the things that some people see.  They don't see the love hiding inside.  They don't see the beautiful, shining soul within.  
Now take a look at the next photo.   It was taken of her after being home for about a year for approximately 8 months.  She's had the love of a family and good medical care to help her heal.
Do you see the difference?   Many of you will say "wow... I can't believe it's the same child.  She's totally different!". 

Me?   Not so much. 
You see... I know that the child you see in the second photo was there all along... just waiting to come out.  Just waiting for a mama, dada, brothers, and sisters to help her show her light to the world.   I also know that the children in the other photos will bloom and shine, too.   They're just waiting for their families to help them do that. 

The next time I (or one of your other friends) posts a picture of an orphan for you to see.   Take a moment to look... REALLY look at that child.   Look past the tears, the scars... Look past the fear. 

Take a look and see a child who is waiting to bloom.  Waiting to shine.   Waiting to love and be loved.   Then ask yourself.  Are they waiting for me?


  1. Lisa, it was a beautiful post, and a very compelling one--one that has the potential to move souls! You're a very good writer. I always took (and take) pride in my writing abilities (much more than in my skills as an attorney), and can assure you that you do write very well. It's a post to inspire even the most reluctant readers not to "think about it," but to pick up the phone and start a process!

    God bless,
    Lillian / Lillian Godone-Maresca

  2. If only all people could see from within their hearts and not blinded by what their eyes see. There is hope for all children but only we as humans can give them this. Maybe if we could blind everyone for just one day and they shall listen. And just maybe... Just maybe follow their hearts....

  3. About a year?! Katie came home in November '11. She's only been home about 8-9 months when that picture was taken!

    1. You're absolutely right! I don't know why I said a year. I followed Katie's story and I know when she came home.
      I apologize! I've added a correction to the post above. Thank you for pointing out my mistake!

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  5. The second photo, in the group of four, is that also Katie?

    1. No, that's Amelia. She's been home for a few weeks now and is doing really well!