At Lifeline, couples seeking to adopt must complete what is called a Desired Child Form (DCF) as part of their application. This form allows the couple to indicate what factors they are seeking in an adoptive child, such as age, race and sex. More than that, though, it helps the couple decide what they are willing to accept, willing to discuss, or will not accept pertaining to the physical and mental health of the child or the birth parent in regard to the social background of the birthparent or extended family. The social workers discuss each of the categories with the applicants and help them to have a realistic understanding of what could be involved. After all, this DCF is used to help us pull profiles for the birth mother to consider. We encourage the couples to educate themselves about different medical conditions and to understand that many of the conditions will not appear in a newborn, but a few may appear later in life. We also remind them that we usually only have half of the health/social history of a child, so there are often unknowns. There are so many differing scenarios to consider that it is a daunting task for couples to work through. The couples always admit that if they were giving birth to the child themselves that they would accept whatever God gave them, but that when faced with unknown situations, they analyze, fret, and pray over what they can realistically accept.
Lifeline has had several “special needs” babies to place domestically in the past two years. And with international adoptions, “special needs children” are always a consideration. The staff at Lifeline is in a unique position, though, to see first hand the miracles and the blessings that God provides our couples as they seek to bring a child home and form a forever family with them. The needs of “special” children vary greatly according to age and circumstances. But one thing is obvious, the love and compassion that the families who adopt them possess are on a level that leaves us in awe and with great admiration. And we celebrate every miracle and milestone with our families as the children thrive in their new homes.
We have also seen the hand of God move mightily this past year in our domestic department as lab results return negative, hearing tests were positive, neurological exams found no problem, and a child with a chromosome abnormality tested normal in mental and developmental growth. When an unborn child was suspected with Downs, but found to be normal, we rejoiced. Over and over and over again, God reminds us that it is HE who is in control, and we must trust Him. When special needs cases arise, it is HE that brings the family that will adopt. We are continually amazed at the attention He gives to every detail and a perfect match is made.
In February, I will be blessed with that addition of a new granddaughter to the Ely family. Through the wonders of ultrasound, we have been alerted that there is a problem with one of her kidneys. We will find out soon if our Father God has decided to heal her in the womb or to wait and heal her at a later time, if at all. I will tell you now that my daughter-in-law is very health conscious. She exercises regularly, (was preparing for a marathon before her pregnancy), checks labels for preservatives and dyes, grows organic vegetables, prepares healthy meals, uses “green” cleaning supplies, etc, etc. But sometimes things like this just happen. Her name has been carefully chosen: Elizabeth Joy. Elizabeth means “Consecrated to God” or dedicated to a sacred purpose. In Hebrew, the word for joy contains the idea for gladness. As a verb, it means to rejoice, especially in the Lord’s goodness. In the womb, Elizabeth Joy has been very actively jumping around and rejoicing!
At Christmas time, we celebrate the birth of our Savior, that most “special baby” of all. John 3:16 states that he is God’s one and only Son, because God so loved the world that whoever believes in him (Jesus) shall not perish but have everlasting life. In Luke 4, Jesus announced the beginning of his ministry with these words: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me, to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners, and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor”.
I am already crazy in love with Elizabeth Joy! We don’t know the outcome of the physical problem, but we are waiting with trust and confidence that He knows what is best for her life, and His purposes will be accomplished. Whatever happens, He will be glorified by it. Whatever happens, we will rejoice because HE IS GOOD. So I ask our couples to also be mindful of this, taste and see that the Lord is good! He loves us unconditionally, and He is in control. Cast your fears upon Him, abandon your will to Him, seek His desires in your adoption walk and be prepared to be amazed!
“When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit……But why am I so favored that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!” Luke 1: 41-45
Domestic Social Worker