This is baby Alexis. She was born in August and is waiting to be placed with an adoptive family by Spence-Chapin in New York. Isn't she just the cutest pudgiest thing?
Alexis is a special needs baby. She has been diagnosed with a genetic disorder called Neurofibromatosis I (NF1). NF1 is caused by a shortage of a certain protein. Non-cancerous tumors can form anywhere on the body--from only 1 single tumor, to thousands. You never know how the disease might progress in a single person. The first sign of the disease is normally the presence of several Cafe-au-Lait spots (those off color birthmarks that lots of us have).
Why am I writing about this baby girl? Because Eric and I have "put our hat into the ring" to adopt her. There are probably dozens of other families who have applied to be considered for her and the liklihood of us being chosen is very small. But it's one of those things where IF we are chosen for her then she most definitely must be a child we are supposed to parent. There are so many ways for God to slam this door shut (or rather never open it) if we aren't meant to be her family.
We've known about Alexis since last week and sent in our information for her on Friday. I wasn't going to say anything because the chances are so small that we will be chosen. But today when I spoke to the agency it seemed like they may actually be considering us (of course I could be imaginging things). That little phone call with the agency caused me to blab my mouth to my mom. She's my best friend and I always want her to share in any little excitement I have.
Problem is...my mom is anything but excited about us adding a special needs child to our house. She almost seemed angry with me. She thinks that we are crazy to consider a child with NF1 with all of the other things going on (Eric's low vision and diabetes and eventual kidney transplant; the possibility that Bright won't be special needs free when he comes home, etc.). She thinks that I am so desperate for a baby that I will "take anything." She's scared to death that I'm going to get in over my head.
What she doesn't get is that I don't go into ANYTHING blindly! I am NOT desperate for a child. I have looked at the worst-case scenarios (and they are scary) and still feel like I could help this baby girl meet her fullest potential. Attachement stuff...autism spectrum stuff...THAT is scary to me. But g-tubes and surgeries and chronic pain and looking different don't scare me. We've already been there, done that with Samren and I know I could do it again.
My mom's question is why would I want to do it again? I don't know the answer to that except to say that to me this baby girl with NF1 is just as "desirable" as a perfectly healthy baby girl. We can't live our lives being scared that Eric is going to die early. We just can't. And we can't choose our children based solely on what special needs they may or may not have. The chances were nearly 100% that Taevy (who came home at 6 months old) would have no attachment issues--but she did. The chances were 99.99999999999% chance that Samren would come home free of Autoimmune Enteropathy--but he didn't. The chances are 60% that Alexis will only have minor issues with her NF1 and 20% that she could have more severe complications--but who is to say which side of the stats she will be on? What I know is that if I were chosen to be her mommy I COULD help her through even the most severe stuff. It would be HARD and FRUSTRATING and TIRING...but I COULD do it and would adore her the whole time.
This whole Alexis thing will probably fade away without nary a word from the agency. But the thing with my mom isn't. I love her so much, and I know that it's her feirce love for me that causes her to be so fearful of us adopting a child with known special needs. Nobody else I know seems to question that Eric and I could be good parents to Alexis. I wish my mom had the same faith in me that others do. It just hurts.