Tuesday, August 25, 2009

a girl called janie

i don't know why i have decided to share this story with you, but i kept feeling like i am suppose to today. i usually try to write about something in my day or something in my day that ties in with a story in the past--but here goes

years ago when my husband and i had our two oldest sons and our first daughter, who was also our first handicapped child--we decided we probably wouldn't have anymore children, but would adopt a older "hard to place" child--we went to all the classes - where we were warned of all the problems one could encounter with some of these " damaged " children --it didn't scare us --for after all if we were doing okay with a severely handicapped child- how hard could it be--the only thing i was sure i couldn't handle was another handicapped child--they had them in fact they had a book just full of kids with special needs. the-caseworker also said that parents were needed for children that were now in institutions--they would continue to stay there but you could visit them and make medical decisions for them. i knew that was definitely not for me - i could never go to an institution let alone leave them there!

well after the adoption classes were over ,the case worker had a child in mind for us- an older girl--it didn't work out,as she very much wanted to stay in the foster home she had been in for 5 years--she was hoping they would adopt her - i don't know if they ever did.

time went by an i found out i was pregnant again . we were very happy about it , but scared that this child might be handicapped ,too. one day we were out picking up meds for our daughter from the county medical center--where we had taken our adoption classes ( our daughter had been dropped from our insurance)--- my husband goes into get the meds and returns with a large book -- the book of hard to place children-- seems he had run into the case worker we had had before. i was so mad at him--how could he have brought this book out , me being pregnant and all--he said we could keep the book for a week-- i vowed i would not even open it!

a few days later, the book seemed to be calling to me--i looked through it--there were so many --it was just too sad- i started to close the book, when i saw this little girl in a wheelchair- her head was deformed--it read about her--no one had visited her in her 11 years-- i cried -

when my husband came home from work that evening i was holding the book --i told him i had seen the child we had to adopt--he said wait , let me show you first the one i have picked-- he opened the book and handed it to me - it was the same little girl--we couldn't believe it--

we made a call the next day to our case worker in our county--we waited and waited--they never did anything to help us get in contact with the institution where the little girl lived--we couldn't get this child out of our minds and hearts--one day a friend of mine suggested we contact another non profit agency she had dealt with, as she had adopted children----
the next day i called - i told the woman about the book - which all the agencies had --she looked up the little girl--i almost dropped the phone when she said--oh yes , janie- i'm visiting her--in my heart i said thank you Lord--for truth be told, yes i felt so sorry for her , but if God had someone else that was willing to take her ,than i was off the hook--she told me no no that she was only visiting as a social worker--we decided to meet--

as i was due with my baby in a couple of weeks , we decided to wait until after the baby-so we wouldn't have to stop the visits for a time--i had my baby--another girl--she spent the first month in the nicu--it looked like she had the same handicap as my older daughter--we were crushed--but she came home - we loved her to death--and life went on-

in july that year we made our first visit to janie--she was so sweet--but i was very worried about taking care of 3 handicapped children --i knew i didn't want to be a parent to her and leave her there--of course for her , but also because it was so sad to come every week to this institution--i had never seen so many helpless pitiful people--i felt sick every time we went--eventually we became more and more used to it--the visits and the plans to adopt her and bring her home continued-

it seems the case worker (not the one that brought us to her ) from her county of birth was the birth mother's best friend--when we met with her she told me how the family had never come to see janie and how she had tried her best to convince them to visit--she was sure they never would--during that time i had strongly felt the Lord telling me to go ahead with the plan to adopt her, but that her birth family was going to come to see her--i asked janie's case worker to try one more time with the birth family--before we got any deeper into the adoption process-- she assured me that she knew them and it was no use-they did not ever want to see her-

then one day as i was fixing dinner the case worker that had introduced us to janie, called--she said janie's caseworker had called and she said are you sitting down-- her birth family is begging you not to adopt her--they want to meet with you--i was not surprised-i knew i had heard right

we were very torn--janie had many many medical problems and many services they would not provide in our home--she would have to be transported alot--i knew in my heart that if my children had her problems i would still keep them at home--but i also knew if we brought her home her birth parents would most certainly not be in her life- and i really felt janie would want them in her life

after we met with them - we felt some what different about them-- i still could not see how they could have never come to see her--but i also understood that stupid doctors had told them to put her away and forget about her--that they weren't capable of taking care of her--and really that was and is part of the system's problem --they made too much money to get any help with her at home but not enough for some of her needs--it's so messed up

after several visits with janie and her birth parents - we decided that we would not adopt janie- but there were two conditions- they had to agree to visit her every week and we would still be able to visit weekly-- they agreed --and until janie's death at 17 that's what we did -- her birth family came every saturday and us every sunday

i think of janie so often and wonder if we made the right decision --but mostly i believe we were just asked to be willing to adopt her-- God always knew the healing janie needed from her birth family and the healing her birth family so needed-- i can still see her smiling face and hear her infectious laugh-- she made a huge difference in our lives and will forever live in our hearts.

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