When we were planning a family there were many considerations that went into deciding if we would try to have biological children. Many children in my extended family have been born with birth defects and as an “older mom” I wanted to be well informed about what the potential was for our child to be born with one. I was hoping, like most parents, that we would have a healthy child. But here is where we may have been a bit different from most families. I wanted to arm myself with the knowledge of what possibilities lay ahead.
I am a huge fan of thrift shopping or shopping the “as is” or “scratch and dent” section of a store. To be able to have an item that is a “treasure” and unique despite or maybe even because of the damage it has sustained gives me great joy.
Fast forward to my current job at an adoption agency placing children with health issues or special needs. Most countries are not placing healthy children internationally. Families come to international adoption for a variety of reasons. Many families have the dream of building their families with a “perfect baby”. This no longer exists in the international arena. Some become educated and embrace a child with a health need and form families, some begrudgingly look for a child whose “scratch and dent” doesn’t show on the surface, some let go of their dream of a family.
While I would wish no child placement into a family ill prepared to meet their needs, I feel sad when I think of all children we advocate for who are unique and should be treasured in the loving arms of a family. It makes me sad when children are discounted as unworthy because of a physical issue that needs a surgery, a health issue that needs monitoring or a genetic anomaly which makes a child a bit different. Diversity is what makes our world special.