This is not how I had hoped this post would go. I had hoped that when I finally posted Genesis, I would be saying she was going to be my daughter. But now I have to say that she isn't.
Genesis is a beautiful, sweet girl who needs a very special family. She is deafblind. We knew when we started working toward adopting her that she was blind. She has some hearing, she may even have some vision. She may be a candidate for a cochlear implant, which would restore some of her hearing. She is considered severely retarded. This could mean exactly what it says--or this could mean absolutely nothing, and she might have this diagnosis simply because she is deafblind, and it's hard for her to perceive the world around her, and the world must be brought to her fingers so that she can engage with that. She could have that diagnosis even if there's no cognitive involvement. At least one person who met her felt that she was very high-functioning. At this point she does not speak or walk. But how would a deafblind child living in an orphanage know that speaking and walking are things people do? How would she get the input to show her that one should move around on two legs when falls are much more likely? She can pull up to standing, and ride on a rocking horse, so if she does have a little bit of complicating cerebral palsy, it is not severe. She is almost certainly capable of walking--she just needs to be taught. It's even possible that she was not walking due to regression after being institutionalized, and she used to be able to walk.
Genesis is in a mental institution. She will turn 5 in December. She does not deserve to be where she is--there shouldn't be any little girls or boys there. She is blessed now to have a one-on-one caregiver, paid for by her prayer warrior in the US. (This program, through Life 2 Orphans, provides one-on-one caregivers to children at her orphanage. This can be a difference between life or death, or between surviving and thriving, and I would encourage anyone to support it.) It is through this program we received the update on her--but the update is from when the caregiver had just started working with her. So what we know about is really her low point, not her full capabilities.
She had lost weight. She had been taken away from everything she knew. If she had a strong bond with a caregiver, if she had a very special friend, she had just lost that. But even at her low point, I could see some hope. She smiled and laughed and showed affection. She had a short attention span--which means that, at least for short times, she could be engaged. Somehow, this caregiver had started getting through to her.
Genesis is not hopeless. She is God's daughter if not mine. She has so much potential. But she will also need a lot of one-on-one attention. She probably needs a mommy and daddy without 2 or 3 younger kids. She needs a family that can spend a lot of one-on-one time helping her learn about her world. And even as I write this, I am wishing so much it was us. I wish that I could help her explore the world, put pretty bows on her poor shaved head, cuddle her when she needed comfort. I wanted to be her mommy. Maybe I still do. If I thought I could make it work....
I don't know what her capabilities are. It may not be possible to know that until her mommy and daddy meet her. It may not really be known until she's been home for years. Even with no cognitive involvement, you couldn't just throw a deafblind child into a family and expect that she'd go with the flow. I don't know if she can even communicate at all. I don't know if she will learn. If I knew for sure that she had no cognitive involvement, or if we knew for sure she could hear and see a little, maybe we could go for it and there'd be reason enough to expect she would become somewhat independent. I'm not looking for a daughter who will become a Nobel prize winner, solve world hunger, or even necessarily live independently or go to college. But I have a 22-month old now, and I don't know if I can commit to a child who would function at a toddler level all of her life. And Genesis' parents need to be ready to be her mommy and daddy no matter what life brings. They need to be ready for a little girl who may never eat her own food, be potty trained, or walk. They need to be ready to provide a lifetime of care to a daughter who will never say thank you. They may end up with a daughter who is very bright, who can live independently, who can hear and speak and read Braille and sign. But they need to be able to commit to this little girl for her whole life, no matter where on that spectrum she is.
If I could know for sure that Genesis were my daughter, none of that would stop me. If God supernaturally told me I were her mom, or if she had been born to me, I would stop at nothing to give her everything she needed. I would find a way. But God has not told me I'm her mommy. It seems God has been very gently telling us that we are not her family. But I do believe she has a family!
How sad is it that if you travel backwards through Genesis's life, she becomes higher functioning?
She so needs to come home to a family.
Please, if you are reading this and think you might be her family--if you are thinking "I would adopt her, but..."--let me know and maybe I can help. I've done a lot of research now on educating and communicating with deafblind children. There is actually a school for the blind with a program for deafblind children only an hour from my house; I know of another in Alabama. This girl is so precious, and it is so important that she gets a family. Please pray for Genesis.
Dear Father in Heaven,
We pray for your sweet daughter Genesis. We don't know for sure what her needs or capabilities are. We don't know for sure what being her family will entail. We do know she is a precious little girl made in Your image. We know that Your Son Jesus loved her so much He died for her. We know that Genesis deserves every good thing, and we pray in faith that You would bring forward her family. Please, Lord, give her a mommy and daddy who can show her Your love and help her reach her full potential, be everything she can be, even while being willing to parent her if she is what the world would call the least of us. Please, Father, we pray in Jesus' name--show Genesis's mom and dad who they are. Teach them how to love her as you love us--not saying that our needs are too great, our potential too little, the cost to rescue us too much, but simply saying, my daughter, I love you.