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Monday, January 2, 2012

Am I Angry?

Since Squirt's as yet unexplained provoked tonic-clonic seizures last month, a handful of people have approached me to ask if I feel angry or frustrated about the situation.  You know, because the husband and I adopted through China's non-special needs program, with it's astronomical five year wait, yet here we are parenting a child with still undetermined medical special needs.  Most asked the question from the perspective "are you angry at yourselves for remaining in the non-special needs line instead of switching to the much faster special-needs program?," but a small few dared to go the whole "are you angry Squirt ended up having medical special needs when you requested a healthy child?" route.

(For the record, the first question doesn't bother me, but the second question... well... ticked off would be a good phrase.)

But the answer is no, to both questions.

I am not sorry we remained in the non-special needs line.  For us - as crazy as this sounds to many of y'all - it was an act of obedience.  While we believe the long wait led to many changed hearts and actions in regards to China's special need program - which we regard as wonderful - we also believe God called us to remain within the non-special needs program.  No, we do not believe that God's Plan A for Squirt's life involved our family (we were definitely her Plan B), but we do think that God's Plan A for us - for me, for the husband, for the Tongginator - involved Squirt specifically.  And we feel the Lord blessed us hugely with confirming glimpses of His plan: both in Squirt's birth date and her cribmate.  I also believe that the five year wait, as difficult as it felt, created a stronger family unit that could better welcome Squirt.  The Tongginator truly needed the extra time, and I grew so very much through the entire process.

I am not sorry we ended up adopting a child who does have some medical and developmental challenges.  There are no guarantees in life.  I don't think it's wrong to wish and pray for a healthy child, but neither do I think it's a personal right.  Adopting is not shopping for a child; it is committing to a child.  We committed to Squirt the day we signed the referral papers, and even more so on the day we signed her adoption papers.  At that point, less than twelve hours after meeting her, we didn't know she'd be developmentally assessed as a three- to five-month-old at thirteen months of age.  At that point, I'd never heard the terms hip displasia, renal reflux, tonic-clonic seizure or reactive hypoglycemia.  At that point, I never imagined that I would watch my child undergo two ultrasounds, a VCUG, a C/T scan or an EEG, all within six months of meeting her.

But am I angry?

Hell, no.

I am blessed... so very, very blessed.  Squirt is an amazing little gal, with a sweet spirit and an indomitable will.  Yes, it's been a steep learning curve for me.  And yes, I may fret a tad now and then about the medical unknowns.  Her medical needs are quite probably mild, but it's the not knowing for sure that worries me at times.  And yes, I may bemoan the daily wrangling involved with giving an angry toddler a morning glucose test.  Many parents deal with much worse, of course, but I know only what I live.

But no, I am not angry.

I'm Squirt's mom.

How can I be angry about a blessing such as that?


Asher's gma said...

I don't blame you for getting upset about those questions. When my grandson was diagnosed with a brain tumor we met a lady that told us "Kids don't come with guarantees, unfortunately". She was so right. Kids develop health problems just as adults do, biological or adopted. We don't stop loving them because of that, no matter how the child came into our lives.

Sharie said...

I remember you writing many times that you knew that waiting in the non-special needs line didn't guarantee a child without any special needs...so it never even crossed my mind that you might be angry.

What you learned in parenting T has helped SO many others through your blog...

I can only imagine God's plan for you and your family, but I know there is a reason he choose you as Squirt's "Plan B"

prechrswife said...


Jennifer said...

Amen...very well said! :)

Dana said...

Your so right - it's not shopping! Maybe people just aren't thinking, but the idea that the time and money and waiting that adoptive parents invest "entitles" them to something really grates on me.

The Gang's Momma! said...

Brava!!! to it all - BRAVA! Sharing this today with a friend who will be blessed. As I was. BRAH-VAHHHH!

Patricia/NYC said...

You are so right!! There are no guarnatees in life...be it with adopted NSN children, bio children, SN children...that question would anger me too.

You, my friend, R.O.C.K.!!!!

Anne said...

Ugg,I don't blame you for being ticked off at that question! It's so obvious from your writing that you are a loving, fully committed mom to your girls.
Happy New Year!!

Jennifer said...

I'm curious... do you think the people who asked those questions were genuinely concerned for you and Squirt and were trying to give you space to feel angry if you needed to? Or do you think they were trying to be smarmy and self-righteous?

a Tonggu Momma said...

Hey, Jennifer. To answer your question - yes, to both, depending on the person.

In the case of one friend, it came from a place completely devoid of self-righteousness. She is going through a lot right now, fighting breast cancer, and I think she's spending a lot of time thinking about God's will and why bad or challenging things happen to people.

A couple of other people asked from a place of caring, I think striving to give me a place to vent if I needed to.

Still more were curious, I guess because they don't understand adoption and still have that whole "you pick your child" mentality. But the people who came from that perspective are outside of the adoption community, so - while it grated a little - I didn't attribute negative motives to them.

Two people... well... I don't know if they were coming from a smarmy or self-righteous place, but it sure felt like that to me. Maybe I'm feeling defensive about it, but I don't think I am? Who knows... all I know is that I left those two conversations feeling icky and very protective of Squirt.

3 Peanuts said...

I am always amazed when people say/ask these kinds of things. When you are a Mom...you don't ask why...you just love them through.

Look...I have 3 kiddos and they ALL have some special needs to some extent. They have all needed surgeries. God chooses our children not us and not China. People asking this question assume we have ANY control. We don't. You are blessed. Squirt sounds like such a blessing!!!!

I am angry that people asked.

Adoption & Fire said...

Beautifully written! Thanks for writing this!

La-La-Liene said...

I'm trying to find the words so that what I say makes sense.

I now am the mom of 2 kids with special needs. One who was born healthy and recently was diagnosed with his issue and the other we chose to adopt with her medical issues. I think it's definitely easier to deal with things when you can do your research and know what you are getting into as in our case with Emi and her cleft issues and deafness. Who is to say some other medical issue with her won't arise later? I hope not but I know people who have adopted via the NSN route and their children ended up with medical problems later. As was the case with Eriks and his high functioning AS disorder.

With Eriks I'm definitely frustrated since there's so much to learn and understand about Autism Spectrum disorders. It doesn't help that a completely OCD woman (that's me) is trying to learn patience with Eriks and his behaviors. We're trying to find the best place to get him therapy where our insurance will pay and that's been a big pain in the rear since our insurance s.u.c.k.s when it comes to paying for that kind of stuff.

There's a reason God puts these kids in our hands. I don't always understand it because there are days that by bedtime I feel like playdoh that's been beaten to a pulp and wonder how I'm going to make it through the next day.

It's not easy having to deal with both of their special needs but I love them. They're mine. And I wouldn't want it any other way (except on the days they drive me to want to drink heavily which thankfully isn't that often - insert big smile and wink).

Cedar said...

I would never thought about the possibility that you might be angry. Scared and worried...yes...but angry? at what? God?

After spending the 5 years waiting that you did...and the 6 years we are traveling...I have spent a lot of time wrestling with God on His plan and trying to go the special needs route only to have Him say no. I do not expect a healthy child just because we stuck the NSN route, but I do expect the perfect child for our family...yes, we are her plan B...or C; but she is our plan A. (You always have such a great way with words.) That she is coming from a NSN referral is only one fact...the one fact we currently "know."

On the flip side, I can understand people putting their own expectations on things and asking the question. For me, I don't know how I will deal with the curve balls thrown at me in life, but I'd like to think that the submission to God's plan and faith in His goodness that the last 6 years of this process have taught me will serve me in good stead.

Life is not about perfection, it is about...well, life. And God brought redemption to two amazing parents and two little incredibly amazing girls to create your little family.

lmgnyc said...

TM, I was pretty sure someone was going to ask you this question sooner or later. I was asked some pretty shocking questions when my DD came home and I had a feeling that after waiting as long as you did in the NSN line and then to have her actually have an issue so soon after you came here.....I was waiting for someone to ask you. Because people can be so callous like that.

I have a special needs niece and when she was born people would often ask my sister if she "knew" when she was expecting that the baby had issues. As if my sister "knew" there was something wrong and "chose" to continue on anyway. I mean, if you follow out the question all the way... the assumptions can be terrible.

I wish people would conduct their thought experiments in private sometimes, ya know what I mean?

Aus said...

HOORAH - spoken like a mom!!

You 'get it' - always have - always will - no disclaimers, no warranty - it's a child not a new car!

And from here - well - I'm glad you get it!

And "smarmey" - what a cool word...I may have to use that sometime! ;)

Bemoan all you need to - but rest assured that I know you and T and TD all have the right hearts - the ones full of love for your child!

hugs - Happy New Year - only the best to you guys in 2012!

aus and co.

redmaryjanes said...

I just love this post.
Sophia's heart surgeon last month asked us if we knew we were going to get one so pretty.
That struck me as inappropriate. "get one"
I think that people mean well, at least I tell myself that.
I love how you love her. The same way I love all of mine. We are moms. Adopting moms face the same risks as bio moms. Bio moms don't know if they will get a "perfect" child either.
Moms love their kids period.

Sylvia said...

Yes yes and more yes!

Logical Libby said...

Whenever people ask me something like that I say "would you be asking me that if this was my biological child?"

Works every time.

Prayers for Squirt!

KO said...

I agree, there are no guarantees in life. We have 3 adopted children, and the 'healthiest' is not at all the healthiest.

After 7 years home, we just discovered a 3rd heart defect that will require surgery. Not to mention, all his sensory and development issues.

I wouldn't change a thing - except for him!

Anonymous said...

Some people ask unbelievably insensitive questions!

Kris said...

Yes...insensitive. I have a bio child with special needs, and no one asks me if I am angry about it. I have had people say they "couldn't do it" as if he is a huge burden. I find that insulting but try to remember people don't always think through what they say. I consider him a huge blessing and have a closeness with him that is different from what I have with my other children.

And yes, i agree with you, the not knowing is hard.

autumnesf said...

I'm sorry but that is just stupid. Did they also want to know if you were going to exchange the broken one for a new one?

LucisMomma said...

All children are full of surprises--bio children, adopted children, all of them.

We are starting to see that DD (adopted from China, non-special needs program) has some sort of learning disability. She is the best thing that has happened to us. We totally needed her here. And she is just as much as a blessing and full of surprises as her two brothers (who are our bio children). No way would I wish that any of our children were different (nicer to each other, yes, but so thankful they are WHO they are!).