I'll just be totally honest.
When we made the decision to adopt again, our first instinct was to run to what we knew.
Superman has a set of medical needs that, although they require daily care and weekly therapy, after 14 casts and multiple surgeries, are now familiar to us.
A now-normal part of our everyday life.
And so when we first began praying about where God would use us as we moved forward with Chinese child adoption, our first instinct was to run to the children with the same needs as Superman.
Because managing two children with the same set of needs and surgeries and required therapies seemed like a smart and logical thing to do.
But after falling in love with Joy and J.J., it wasn't what GOD called us to do.
We inquired about one child with the same diagnosis as Superman ... and were quickly informed by our agency that that child, who had had several families interested in her, was now matched.
And that's when it hit us.
We didn't want to adopt the children who had multiple families running to them.
That’s why God led us to host and fight for these special superheroes in the first place.
We wanted to adopt the children who, like the host children we fell in love with, WAITED. Sometimes for months, sometimes for years. Because their diagnoses and prognoses on paper painted a life and a future that sometimes sounded scary.
And, in His goodness, God had let us in on HIS little secret — that these "special" needs were really "super" needs in disguise.
When you KNOW that — when YOU'VE SEEN that — when you've looked into the eyes of these kiddos who are the scariest on paper but in real life are the most super of all — there's a certain weight that carries. Because you can no longer HIDE behind the fact that providing a home for one of these children may require work.
When you know these HEARTS, there is no amount of work you wouldn't be willing to do to get the honor and privilege of loving an angel like Joy your whole life long.
And so we returned to our agency — this time, with a different question.
Which superheroes are the hardest to place?
And without flinching, our matching specialist at the agency we love wrote back.
The children with Down syndrome and the ones with mobility issues.
The ones with sparkly chromosomes and the ones who need walkers and wheelchairs.
The ones who model how to love with abandon and the ones who can’t walk long distances or even at all — but whose smiles walk their way straight into your heart.
Friends, the superheroes who are the hardest to place are the Joys and the J.J.s of the world.
THOSE superheroes. The ones who, for 30 days in our town, captured our hearts. Blessed our SOULS. Taught our children more in ONE MONTH than they’ve learned about love and compassion in a lifetime.
THOSE superheroes are the ones most overlooked. Most passed by. Most left behind.
Immediately, Super-Spouse and I agreed that THESE children — the children we know from firsthand experience are the biggest blessings of all! — they were the ones we wanted to run to.
We asked our agency to send us the files of superheroes in these two categories — with sparkly extra chromosomes and with mobility issues — who were under the age of our Superman. (Our homestudy restricts us to an in-birth order adoption, which means that any child we bring into our home must be younger than Superman. This is why adopting Joy and J.J. were not options. And what motivated us to fight with everything we had to find our girl a HOME.)
ALL of these children were deserving. All of these superheroes were precious. And momentarily, we felt paralyzed by the choice before us and didn’t know how we could possibly move forward with ONE child when ALL OF THEM so desperately needed a home, even a chaos-filled and imperfect one like ours.
So we put the decision in God’s hands.
In the end, He made it clear that Superhero 4 was the child we could serve best given the resources God had already provided. The child Super-Spouse could be the most useful to as a Physician Assistant with experience with those who need walking aids. A child who would benefit most from our free-to-us military healthcare that will allow him to receive as much therapy and as many surgeries, orthotics and walking aids as needed.
A child who, because he is simply a boy, is automatically harder to place. (Contrary to popular belief, a majority of the children now sitting in China’s orphanages are BOYS, not girls, 90 to 98 percent of them with special needs.)
A child who, in God’s good humor, even sported a “C” on his profile picture sweater.
So last week, we submitted our Letter of Intent for one of these special superheroes — a 3-year-old boy whose superpower of cerebral palsy is sure to make him shine.
He can’t walk independently.
He has cognitive delays.
And after falling in love with Joy, who was “cognitively delayed" but was the most emotionally intuitive young lady I have ever met, and J.J., whose cerebral palsy didn’t stop him for one second from walking his way straight into the HEARTS of the people in his home and in his life — we know that THESE superpowers are going to bless US FAR MORE than anything we could offer this sweet angel ever will.
So today, as we don our armor and head to the battlefield for this child our hearts already ACHE to bring home, we challenge you.
You who have MET these precious angels who turned our worlds upside down.
You who have spent time with them every morning as you have read their stories and clicked on their pictures in your newsfeed.
You whose eyes are now opened to UP SYNDROME and special superheroes with these mobility superpowers.
More than 600,000 of these beautiful, precious, deserving special superheroes still wait. And the ones most left behind are the Joys and the J.J.s of the world.
Let's not just consider them. Let's not just think about them.
Let's PRAY for them.
Let's FIGHT for them.
Let's RUN to them.
And as one loud and raucous orphan army, let's send the message that THESE angels are the most SUPER OF ALL.
If not us, who?
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?"
And I said, "Here am I. Send me!" ~ Isaiah 6:8