“I hope to adopt someday."
The sentiment was real, yet my idea of adoption was romanticized and I lacked a real understanding of adoption. I pictured bringing a shy, malnourished, lonely child to my home who would transform into a healthy and happy little person because of the love of our family.
I must confess that when we adopted a child with cerebral palsy I also had unrealistic expectations of the changes we would see in her mobility. I mistakenly thought that she would be taking independent steps as soon as six months after bringing her home due to weekly physical therapy, stretching, and the love of our family. I saw other kids that had been adopted accomplish such things, and surely, our daughter would too.
What I did not understand about adoption, and more specifically, the adoption of a child with special needs, was that we were dealing with more than the emotional aspect of a neglected child, we were also dealing with a disability that we had never lived with before, and the disability was hard. We stepped into a world of wheelchairs, MRIs, therapy, and countless doctor appointments. We thought we were ready, that it would be easy since we had a biological daughter with Down syndrome, yet, we felt challenged and stretched and often times wondered if we had made a mistake.