My wife Cheryl and I adopted our sons, Alexander and Benjamin, from South Korea, and in 2006 we decided to adopt through Holt International’s China program.
Cheryl had wanted to adopt a daughter from China since at least 2004, and she had an ally in our daughter, Leah, who had been praying for a little sister for quite some time. They finally got me onboard, and we got started on the long road of adoption again. When we received and scanned over the big red book that explained Holt’s China adoption process we were a little overwhelmed. Adopting from China looked a lot more difficult than adopting from Korea.
We started in the standard China program but also decided to be in the Waiting Child program simultaneously. It proved to be a good choice. If we had only been in the standard program, we would still be waiting (possibly years) longer for just a child referral. So our road wasn’t as long as it might have been.
We traveled to China to receive Jenna in 2007 when she was 3 years old. Born with a cleft palate and large birthmark on the right side of her face and neck, Jenna had been abandoned in Shennong Park when she was 1 month old. The cleft palate had already been surgically repaired in China before we received her.
Soon after we brought Jenna home we took her to see several specialists at the University of Iowa Otolaryngology department where they checked her repaired cleft palate, speech and hearing. They determined that she had ear infections and that her hearing was damaged possibly from the frequency of these infections throughout her young life. They recommended at least a couple of hours a week of speech therapy with a specialist.
In the time since, Jenna has had 1 – 2 hours each week of speech therapy. Jenna is on her 3rd set of ear tubes, which have eliminated her ear infections and helped somewhat with her speech. Her speech therapist once demonstrated to me how Jenna’s soft palate doesn’t have the normal range of motion that a normal one has. As a result it takes Jenna more effort to make certain sounds and she tends to speak nasally due to air leakage out of her nostrils. Jenna may require more palate surgery soon, but in the meantime we are continuing with her speech therapy.
Cheryl and I absolutely adore Jenna. She is so full of joy and love. Jenna is very sweet and generous. She loves to play, have fun and laugh and we just know that she loves to be a part of our family. We thank God each day that we get the privilege of being her parents.
Each child that we have adopted from Holt’s Waiting Child program has enriched our family beyond measure. I would highly recommend adopting a child through Holt’s Child of Promise program or Waiting Child program. The Holt China program helped match us with the child who was right for our family, and they helped us through the whole process every step of the way – through all the paperwork, with our dossier, throughout our wonderful experience of traveling to China to receive our daughter, and with our post-placement obligations.
Going through such an adoption process seemed overwhelming at the start, but we just did it step by step. No one step was too difficult. Eventually all of the steps are complete and looking back it doesn’t seem so hard after all. The reward is a precious, beautiful gift from God who loves us as much as we love her.
By Brett Foley