Mr and Mrs G - Adopting a child with special needs from China

We first started thinking about adoption in 2006, and after attending an information day and the preparation courses run by IAC, we decided to adopt from China. We adopted our first child, a girl, in September 2010. Following her adoption we felt truly blessed to have been able to adopt one child, given the slowdown in Non Special Needs adoptions, and the closure of the old Special Needs adoption process to UK adopters. And so we tried to put to the back of our minds any hopes we had of adopting a sibling for her.

Late in 2010, we were absolutely delighted to hear rumours of Intercountry Adoption Centre showing an interest in becoming the designated UK agency to work with the CCCWA to operate the new Special Needs adoption process and so we started our homestudy for our second child as soon as we could. We passed panel in November 2011 and joined the programme as soon as it opened in September/ October 2012.

We attended IAC’s first China SN information day in October 2012, and felt extremely positive about how the programme was going to operate, and the support we would receive from IAC. Most of the children who have more manageable SNs are added to the shared list on an overnight update once a month. The first updated list that we could be matched from was at the end of November 2012. We spent most of the night awake, wondering if we’d receive an email from IAC overnight, with the file of a potential match. And sure enough at 3am I checked my email and saw photos and medical information for a lovely 2 year old boy. As we only had 72 hours to decide whether we wanted to go ahead, we spent those 3 days googling like mad, and thinking deeply about whether this was the right match for us. Sadly, after receiving further information, it appeared that his medical condition was far greater than we were able to cater for and we had to turn the match down shortly before Christmas. We felt pretty despondent as we’d been so hopeful that it was going to work out. Looking back, this was probably one of the hardest parts of the process – being matched, becoming hopeful and even slightly attached to the photos we had, but then having to turn a match down and deal with the emotions that followed.

IAC told us the next updated list was due to be released a few days before Christmas, and again, we waited up overnight, hoping for another match. This time though, there was none.

On Christmas Eve, we received a phone call out of the blue from IAC, saying that some additional children’s files had been released to the shared list and a couple of children seemed to be a good match. One in particular was of great interest to us, and as soon as we received the file and photos, we both felt that this could be ‘the one’! Our major challenge was to try and come to a decision within the standard 72 hours i.e. over Christmas. We again sought updates and specialist medical advice, and this time things sounded very encouraging.

The following few weeks flew by – the paperwork between IAC, DFE and the CCCWA seemed to take no time at all to be processed, and within 6 weeks of seeing our son’s photo for the first time, we had permission to travel from CCCWA.

We flew out to Beijing at the end of March 2013, and following a 3 week adoption trip, returned home with our son mid April.

Our little boy has completed his initial round of doctor and hospital appointments, and so far, everything in his paperwork seems to be very accurate. His special need means that he will have regular hospital check-ups into adulthood but this is what we expected anyway. He is an extremely active and mischievous little boy, who amazes us daily with his resilience and capacity to learn, and he has brought immense joy to us all.

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