What is holding you back?

April 11th, 2012

Stay tuned for a series of blog posts on special needs adoption, titled “Straight Talk.”

First up will be “Straight Talk I:  Crazy?”

If you have unanswered questions about special needs adoption, we welcome you to join the conversation by leaving your questions in the comment section!


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19 Responses to “What is holding you back?”

  1. Karrie says:

    We would start TODAY on a special needs adoption on a toddler boy from China. But we can’t figure out how to pay for it. I am working AGGRESSIVELY to pay off all debt and saving what I can. I am ready to step out in faith… husband is not there yet. HOW DO YOU PAY FOR EVERYTHING??? My heart hurts from waging war with my brain on this subject.

  2. Sandryte says:

    Do you know any family personally that were “unsuccessful” with their adoption: it was too difficult for them, there was no bond with the child etc.? That all those adoption fears became true.

  3. Jennifer says:

    I don’t think I have any unanswered questions since we are pursuing a special needs adoption! But I hope you will address some of the concerns raised.  One point I want to make as it relates to special needs adoption is a lesson I learned raising my own daughter with special needs.  If you look to a child to ‘fulfill a need’; if you simply must have a child who adores you and cannot function without that, this is not the path you can take.  It’s important to know that sometimes either in adoption or with biological children, there are needs that present themselves that prevent that awesome feeling of perfect attachment or that feeling that this child loves you.  I deal with this often.  But I feel strong and convicted in my role as mother, and i do not require my daughter to validate me.  There are times, because of autism, that she rejects me, ignores me, or rebels.  I must be strong in my conviction, strong with my faith in God, to push past these moments.  If my only joy was in my daughter’s accomplishments, I would not be a very joyful person.  Because sometimes her accomplishments are small – unnoticed by anyone but me.  I do not need her to be the smartest, cutest (okay, she IS the cutest :) ) or anything else.  I need Chelsea to be the best Chelsea she can be.  My relationship is defined by what the word of God says I should do and my personal embracing of that role.  It is thankless work and it gets tiring; that is the truth.  But for those who can see beyond that, for those who define themselves not through their children but through Christ, it is not a thankless task to take care of a child who doesn’t connect with you in the way you expect or who presents serious challenges.  I hope that makes sense, and I hope you will be able to express the ministry you are doing with Katie, for her of course but also as a service to God.  When you view the ministry of orphan adoption (special needs) through His eyes and not the world’s eyes, the fear of not connecting well or other fears diminish.  At least, that’s what I think.

  4. Annie says:

    I have been reading you and other adoption blogs and wonder why we find it easier to open our wallet than actually take the hard step of adopting and why is my faith not as strong . Though my family and I are Christians, our choices are very different. One thing that is loud and clear to someone like me is the heart of the women and men who adopt special needs children and the level of faith and trust they have in God. Even if I am confident in a small way I can cultivate that heart, the question of what will happen to the special needs children after my husband and I is something that holds us back.

    Many blogs have attempted to answer that. But in most cases it is their faith in God and they quote Jeremiah 29:11 ‘plans to prosper you” verse. For someone whose faith is not that strong, who cannot see with ‘love glasses’, is intimidated by the sheer work, it is very scary when there is no answer but God will take care. Perhaps this is not the right attitude, but it would help if someone talked about actual steps they are taking if any to secure the future of these children when the parents are not around.

    If they are depending on siblings to be care givers of special needs children, it adds another layer of guilt to the person considering adoption.

    Please read the question marked ‘Too many siblings’


    This girl sounds like someone I would proud to have as a daughter. But her question tore my heart because on one hand she wants to lead her own life and the other wants to help her parents.  That in a nutshell is my worst nightmare and question about what will happen if we adopt special needs children who may never lead an independent life.

    Please know you are someone I highly respect and admire. My heart is broken for Katie and others like her. Their lives are worth it. But to answer your question of ‘what is holding you back’, those are my reasons.

  5. Ann says:

    I Just have to Smile!  “What is Holding You Back?” NOTHING!!!  I am VERY Proud to Say Nothing!!!
    We are in the process of Bringing A Beautiful Son and Daughter Home from Bulgaria!
    We have, 7 children at home, and 3 grown and on their own… We have internationally adopted 9 of our soon to be 12 children.  

    If someone would have told me this would have been my life 15 or 20 years ago I would have laughed in their face! If someone would have told me I would have to come up with MEGA THOUSANDS of Dollars to get my children home I would have called you crazy!
    How in the world could a Husband and Wife who lead a normal life with healthy kids, and money to be comfortable (not wealthy) do it… Come on over and visit our House!  We found a way, I still drive my 2005 mini van, I’ve never been to Paris, I don’t go to spa’s, and I could use a new set of sheets (hehehe) It has been the Hardest thing we have EVER done, we almost gave up, we questioned why we were doing this, we have questioned why God asked us to do this, We will NEVER retire Rich, but we will NEVER grow old alone!  If it’s in your heart you will find a way! 
    The Brutal Honest of this whole topic is that this path is NOT for everyone, I respect people who know they are not able to parent these children I also respect the honest of people who know they can’t parent biological children…..  But as human beings we all have the responsibility to not turn a blind eye to children who are in desperate need of basic life necessities. If you are not able or willing to adopt a child, help someone else, a $20 donation to Reece’s Rainbows, a $10 pledge on a adoption fund raising site, a donation of tooth brushes for an orphanage, make a casserole for a family that has just arrived home. 
    DO ANYTHING, DO SOMETHING!  Let the spirit of Adoption into your Heart!
    You Will Be Amazed at How Much Brighter The World Looks When You Help!

  6. Jill says:

    Susanna-  What if you feel that God has called for you to adopt but your spouse does not? I have always wanted to adopt and felt I would know when the time is right. We are done having biological children (we have 3) and I know we have the room, money, and heart for one more. I know that without a doubt this is what God wants for our family. But obviously my husband has to be on board. I have been praying that God will work in his heart as well.  But in answer to your question, this is what holds us back.  Any suggestions?

  7. Leean says:

    What’s holding me back? My husband.  I am ready and have been for several years.  I have recently fell in love with a child on Resse’s Rainbow. I have ordered birth certificates and marriage certificates for the home study, I pray for her several times a day, the only thing I am waiting on is him.  So far the answer is “no”.  He is a Christian man but we are living the American Dream-  Two healthy kids, two dogs, we built a nice house in a safe town, good job, etc. Unfortunately the American dream isn’t God’s dream.  How does God move one heart in a marriage toward adoption but not the other?  It’s tough.  I’ll keep praying because I can’t do it myself.  I want him to want her just as much as I do.  I also want to see the Church moved by radical love.  If your family would share Katie’s story at our Church with before and after pictures, I believe they would move mountains to help other children like her. Yet I also know there would be men squirming in their seats hoping their wives don’t want to do what you did.  Is it a fear of not being in control?  Out of our close friends I know several wives that want to adopt but their husbands aren’t interested.  Was it your idea or your husbands to adopt Katie?  How did the conversation go between you?  Just curious.  
    I love following your story, your family is an inspiration.  A family that is following God’s call.  God Bless!


  8. Lauren says:

    For me it’s hard to distinguish between God using people to bring up cautions and Satan using people to stop what God has called all of us to do.
    My parents have said that they will not support us in any way should we choose adoption. My mom said “If you make your bed of debt, you’re going to have to lie in it and reap the consequences.” We aren’t wealthy as I am a stay-at-home, home schooling mom and we save every penny we can just to feed our own family and pay for monthly prescriptions. I have had a heart for special needs my entire life and have always wanted to adopt. I have asthma, allergies and scoliosis which cause me to have to frequent our pharmacy for monthly medications. So far the two birth (and only) children that we have both share in the allergy/asthma of my gene pool. My parents are therefore not for the idea of me having any more children, period. I found out earlier this month that I was miraculously pregnant (my doctor had told me my body wasn’t functioning properly to be able to get pregnant and yet here I was) and when I told my mom that Rich and I hadn’t expected this and hadn’t “caused” the pregnancy she said, “I would be very angry with you if I thought you had anything to do with this pregnancy, but clearly God is the one who made this happen, and I trust His reasons.” The pregnancy ended up being ectopic and it ruptured my fallopian tube. It’s hard to grieve over something when everyone else seems to take such joy in the fact that you are personally safe and alive at the expense of your babies death.
    Anyway, my struggle with adoption in general and especially special needs adoption is the “support.” None of my friends support the idea of adoption. They believe God blesses you with children through your womb and not with adoption. My parents think I’m too “unhealthy” to adopt and that somehow adopting is going to kill me. (we had a private home study done last year for an infant adoption and I past the health inspection! We didn’t get the baby however.) I’ve tried to explain that if God wanted me dead he would have done that on March 26th when my fallopian tube ruptured, but instead He spared me for something more. An acquaintance of our family had a 26 year old mother of 2 die a couple days after my surgery in her sleep and there doesn’t seem to be a reason for it other than it was God’s time for her. I’ve also brought up William Wilberforce and what would have happened had he said he was “too sick” to care for others. I guess the struggle I’m trying to convey is if the doors keep closing, money isn’t available, support is no where to be found HOW do you continue on? What avenue would we go to for support emotionally, spiritually and financially? My family is waiting to say “I told you so” if this were to be harder than I already assume it will be. Would it still be worth it? Absolutely! My husband’s family is pretty non-existent so we don’t have anyone if we lose my family. My family won’t even watch our kids so we could go overseas to pick up an adopted child. Our 6 and 4 year old would need to take every trip with us. So is this God telling us that this isn’t the time for our family to adopt or is this Satan trying to thwart what God is trying to miraculously accomplish? It’s hard for me to figure out because the burden is getting more intense (as is the opposition) and I don’t know if it’s from God or from Satan. My 6 year old daughter watched the Pleven video with me and asked why we can’t just move to Bulgaria so we can become Bubbas for the orphanage and visit the kids every day. Are kids even allowed to visit the orphanage? I thought I read somewhere that wasn’t allowed due to kids carrying germs and all.

  9. Jessica says:

    I want to adopt one of these children so badly.  What is holding me back?  At first, my husband was against the idea of adoption.  We have three perfect kids already, why would you want any more?  After working on him for awhile, now he agrees we can probably adopt another child, but he wants a ‘healthy’ child (I’m working on that too, and I can see him relenting already- I know him better than he knows himself).  We have more than enough room in our home, and we meet the income requirements, but our jobs do not provide affordable insurance.  Hmmm…just last week my husband was laid off and he has been offered not 1, but 3 amazing opportunities (this hasn’t happened for him in 7 years at working his dead-end job, AND this after me praying to help find a way to do this).  We will see what happens.  Second reason: The cost.  We do not make a lot of money, but enough to care for another child.  I’m not sure how I can make that happen…but I’m pretty stubborn when I need to be.  I’ve researched some of the grants.  I don’t know if I could fund raise enough money in time, so I’m nervous about that.  Third reason:  My husband has some health issues.  Nothing too major, but I don’t know what exactly would limit us from adopting.  I guess we will see.  Finally the last reason.  I’m scared at what I will see.  My heart has already broken just learning about this through your blog.  I tell myself if those little orphans can somehow survive such a thing, then so can I.  It will be horrible to leave the others behind.  
    But I cannot stop thinking about them…  I will make sure to do everything in my power to try to make it happen.  I tell others about it, because I did not even know until recently about the situation orphans are living in.  Funny thing- I even joined a church for the first time in my life.  I don’t know if that will help me.  I figured maybe it would encourage me through this.   It’s funny the way things come about.

    Thank you-  Jessica.

  10. lisa matthews says:

    Susanna….. I’m so excited about this series.  I can’t wait!

  11. r. says:

    Like many others, I’ve had concerns about issues related to health coverage. The “Guidelines” page on the Samaritan Ministries website says they don’t cover any conditions already known to exist when the parents adopted the child. So I would think this would rule out most special needs adoption by SM families. But you say they’ve helped you with your daughter’s medical expenses. Did they make an exception for you?

  12. Sarah "Chickadee" says:

    My heart just breaks for these little ones. The only thing holding us back is money. Right now we are significantly below the poverty line. I’m not afraid of raising the money for the adoption. I’m not afraid of paperwork. I’m not afraid of the hardships of limiting our pleasures and free time. I’m a homeschooling Mom of six children right now, so I don’t have a lot of free time anyway. J I’m not afraid of hospitals anymore, thanks be to my heavenly Father! I believe God has been preparing us for this for a long time. Ever since I was a teen I’ve wanted to work with people with special needs. I have recently had a lot of experience with physical therapy and I’ve learned a lot about brain development. It is a long story, but last year I had a stroke. I’m doing fine now and my doctor has no worries for my future. Above all, I learned about God’s faithfulness and how He works through other Christians. We were so blessed by the people from our church and many other new friends!
    My husband is a wonderful dad and is so steadfast and Godly. He was a missionary before we were married, and has travelled extensively. He is very practical, so he doesn’t really consider new things (such as adoption) unless they are a real possibility. He helps me keep my feet on the ground and reminds me of God’s timing. He is my rock! J
    I was just wondering if there is anything else we can do to prepare. I know God can provide my husband with a better job. He has a perfect plan for us, and we don’t have to worry!

  13. Susanna says:

    R, I have answered your question by private email, as I will do to any others who ask us this question. Thanks for asking! :)

  14. Lauren says:

    I currently take a small daily dose of Zoloft for mild depression. Would that prevent me from being able to adopt?

  15. Leean says:

    An update!  God has completely transformed my Husband’s heart!  He just told me last night that he would love to adopt a child and if God calls us to adopt a child with special needs  then we will.  This has been a 6 year wait for me to hear those words!  I have definately learned patience and to wait on God’s timing.  I feel like this is a pregnancy announcement!!!! Yeah!!

    Tanna Leean 

  16. Susanna says:

    Leean, that made me burst into tears! Oh, the rejoicing!!!!

  17. Julie says:

    My husband and I are interested in adopting a special needs child, but I have health insurance concerns. We are homestudy approved.  My husband pastors a small church and has no salary and no health insurance.   The policy my employer offers would cost more than our mortgage!  It is extremely expensive.  Right now, my biological kids are covered under a Care Source Buy-In option.  Please private email me (as you did R.) the health insurance info that you have.

    Also, I need to know about the “mental illness” restrictions.  I was treated for a short period of time for depression (while caring for my father on hospice).  Other than that, my husband and I have no personal history of mental illness.  However, my mother in law has bipolar disorder and lives with us so that we can take care of her.  Do you know what the restrictions and exceptions are??

    Thank you so much for any help in advance!

    Your blog is a blessing to me and you are an inspiration. 

  18. Cheryl says:

    I have seen some comments here about Samaritans Ministry covering/not covering special needs. Could you me mail me what you know about this? We are looking to join but they say they don’t cover pre- existing? 

  19. Susanna says:

    Will email you when I can, Cheryl!

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