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 Why Adopt Such A Child?

     I've been asked by so many, why anyone would bother to adopt a profoundly retarded child. When I began adopting, children like this weren't even listed. They were presumed to be "unadoptable". I remember the first such child that I ever saw in the books, waiting for adoption in the '70s. The little girl was lying on a couch. Her name was Joanna. She could not sit up, eat by mouth, or see. She was like a three month old baby, and she was nine years old. I remember thinking "wow, that caseworker is an optimist!" Even then, she appealed to my heart though, and I was glad that someone cared enough to try to find her a home. I never forgot her name. However, little did I know, that a mere ten years later, I would be hunting for children like her, adopting them myself, and bringing them home!

* The LORD protects the simplehearted. Psalm 116:6

     Through the first years, I was sharply criticized by folks who thought it would "ruin" my other children to have a sibling like that. I have been asked: "A child like that doesn't know anything, and it won't make any difference to him or her. Why don't you spend your time and love on a child who can appreciate it?"

* Comfort the feebleminded, support the weak. 1 Thessalonians 5:14

     While it is true that the child does not "know" much, in terms of how average people think, it's not true that they don't know "anything". They are frequently aware of much more than they are able to let you know.

* I will protect them. Psalm 12:5

     I looked up "charity" tonight. It is a word that reminds me of poor people getting medical care, or funds given to a family whose house has burned down. Jesus was often found, helping the poor, needy, disabled and sick. One of the meanings in the dictionary is simply: Benevolence or generosity toward others or toward humanity.

     The Bible speaks very specifically about it: And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. 1 Corinthians 13:13

     I think this makes it very clear that God expects us to act with charity. With kindness to others.

* Love ... always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:6,7

     A profoundly retarded child is very much aware of fear, pain, love, and comfort. They are often not able to adjust quickly to much change, because a new person taking care of them a little differently, means a new way to remember. These children cannot remember a long series of people, and their styles of care. Most of mine had specific individual needs, having to do with being approached, lifted, fed, suctioned, turned, diapered, etc. A new person helping me would be sometimes be greeted by my profoundly retarded children with agitation and discomfort.

     A profoundly retarded child won't know their last name, true. But think how enormous their every experience is to them, when there are but a few! They certainly know the tender arms that hold them the same way every time. They know the kind voice that sounds the same. They know the exact way their body is being played with, or lifted to change a diaper or clothing. When they are moved a different way, by different arms, they have no clue what is going on, and will often cry. They know security. Why adopt a child who has so little in the world, that they can only know security?

     For the pleasure and privilege of giving love, and protecting someone who needs you. Also of pleasing God, that child's creator. God, Who loves that child as much as He loves you. For the satisfaction of knowing that one child, who never would have known security, now has known it. And a wonderful blessing added on, is the splendor of watching the "other" children love and care about their weaker siblings, developing compassion. God also watches over the people who do "comfort the feebleminded". A wonderful promise of security. Yes, the rest of us need security too!

* The Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you. 2 Thessalonians 3:3

2004 Rosemary Gwaltney