I never considered the idea of adopting a baby. I always just assumed I would have and rear my own children. There's probably a genetic imperative there, but I also understand that having a baby can be an expression of love between two people, as well as a grasp at immortality. But maybe it's not for me. If I ever have a child, I'm seriously considering adopting from a foreign country, as my friends Emily and Jason did.
Emily and Jason and I went to high school together in a small town in northern Connecticut. They were both bright, attractive and popular -- our school's golden couple. They were so perfectly compatible with each other, that no-one was surprised when they married right after college. At that time, adopting from China or any other country was not on their minds; they spoke all the time about the beautiful babies they were going to make together.
But things didn't turn out as Emily and Jason, or any of us expected. Though they tried and tried, they couldn't get pregnant. Normally, you might expect frustration, angst, depression -- but not these two. Within a year of getting married, they were investigating how to adopt. At that time, they focused on the idea of adopting from within the United States.
Unfortunately, adopting from the U.S. wasn't as easy as they hoped. They could get on a waiting list, but they might not welcome home their baby for many years. This simply would not do. So Emily and Jason began to consider adopting from outside the United States.
After much study and investigation, they settled upon China. Orphanages in China, they learned, were teeming with children in need of loving homes. Yet even so, they would still have to be put on a waiting list. This adoption was not going to happen any time soon.
And here's the amazing part. My friends, undaunted, discovered a quicker, though certainly not easier, path to growing their new family. They found that couples willing to adopt a baby with a disability could be matched up with a child right away. Emily and Jason didn't have to mull it over for a moment. They put their names down for a baby with a disability, and within weeks were matched up with a precious 16-month-old girl, whom they named Sarah Wei.
The whole process of adopting Sarah Wei took months, but in the end it was much quicker than adopting a non-disabled baby would have been. They flew to China, brought back their adorable daughter, and made her part of the family.
I have to admit, I'm in awe of Emily and Jason. They didn't waste time and money on expensive fertility treatments. They didn't get hung up on adopting a child who looked like them. They didn't even insist on adopting from within their own country. But most of all, they never balked, not once, at the idea of taking in a little girl with special needs. And now they are happier than I've ever seen them, and talking about adopting a little brother and sister for their adorable Sarah Wei.
My two friends are an inspiration to me.