I knew the baby I would adopt was in China. I couldn’t explain it more than that. People asked me, “Why China? Why not here?” I always answered, “Because our baby is Chinese.”
In our late 30s, Eric and I were busy with two biological kids; intense, intelligent, great kids, with fairly demanding needs for attention and support. However, we both felt our family seemed incomplete and we had a strong desire to share our many resources and advantages with another child. However, I was ambivalent about another pregnancy, and finally I gave away all of my maternity and infant things and assumed that we were not meant to have another child.
I was very surprised several weeks later, when I woke up one morning with the idea of adoption stuck in my head. I had not considered this consciously before; maybe it was something that was always there, deeply buried in a sea of everyday activity and it was only when I let go of my preconceived ideas that I was able to hear my inner thoughts. When I shared my thoughts with Eric, he was open to it right away. I immediately read five books in four days about adoption. Within a week I “knew” that our baby was in China. We applied to adopt right away in April 2006. The process of gathering our documents went smoothly and we logged in with China in August 2006. The wait at that time for a baby was about six to 12 months, but it quickly grew to become 18 months.
During this time, Eric and I longed for our child, to know who she was and where she was. We were on the non-special needs track, and waiting for an infant. As the wait became 12 months and more, I began to feel that our child was not an infant, but rather an older child and possibly one with special needs. This was confusing to me because every time I looked at the listing of waiting children, I felt tremendous anxiety and so just gave up looking at them. But I could hear someone calling me.
During the summer of 2007 we decided to attend an adoption conference in Tampa. I felt it was important that our family go to it. I guess I needed to be connected in some tangible way. My mother joined us as she lives nearby in Florida. We had a wonderful time and learned so much. Plus we met a family who had just been matched with their 5-year-old daughter, who was diagnosed with a special medical need. I was struck with their description and photos of her; especially the fact that she was thrilled that she was being adopted and could not wait to meet her family. She was absolutely stunning and displayed a smile so full of life.
After that, my mind was open in a way it wasn’t before. Still at the conference, I went to a session on “waiting children” and I was struck again that the speakers both agreed that the most difficult part of dealing with their adoptive children wasn’t their special need, but their adjustment because they were older. As an experienced school psychologist, I knew that I would easily and intuitively be able to work through any attachment, behavior and learning issues that may come up.
Shortly after that, we had to renew our paperwork because it was coming up on 18 months. I felt a strong compulsion to raise our requested age to 6 years old. That was in early January 2008. Less than three weeks later, I found 3½ year old Megan Ling on the next Waiting Child list. I knew she was meant for me when I saw her. She was looking right at me.
I immediately called Eric and told him about her and we requested to adopt her right away. Less than five months later, in May 2008, we met her in China and all my dreams about her were absolutely true. She was compassionate, loving and melted into my arms. Although we were expecting and prepared to deal with a specific medical special need, amazingly, upon arriving home, she was examined by a pediatric neurologist and was found not to have it. This was an incredible blessing.
I heard her calling loud and clear. I could not have resisted it if I tried. I just knew our baby was Chinese. I heard the call again, two years later, in May 2010. This time, it was easy to follow and I found our second Chinese daughter, completed all the paperwork, flew with my family to China and had her home in seven months. Shanna is six weeks older than Megan and they are best friends. What an amazing privilege it is to adopt these special girls.