Passing The Test

You must read this story.

Unable to conceive naturally, Elizabeth and Matt decided to adopt a baby from China. Within hours of seeing the 1-year-old girl for the first time, they noticed problems. Big problems: a tumor, spina bifida, brain damage, paraplegia.

We have a solution, said the Chinese orphanage officials: just pick out a different baby.

Months before, we had been presented with forms asking which disabilities would be acceptable in a prospective adoptee — what, in other words, did we think we could handle: H.I.V., hepatitis, blindness? We checked off a few mild problems that we knew could be swiftly corrected with proper medical care. As Matt had written on our application: “This will be our first child, and we feel we would need more experience to handle anything more serious.”

Now we faced surgeries, wheelchairs, colostomy bags. I envisioned our home in San Diego with ramps leading to the doors. I saw our lives as being utterly devoted to her care. How would we ever manage?

Yet how could we leave her? Had I given birth to a child with these conditions, I wouldn’t have left her in the hospital. Though a friend would later say, “Well, that’s different,” it wasn’t to me.

I pictured myself boarding the plane with some faceless replacement child and then explaining to friends and family that she wasn’t Natalie, that we had left Natalie in China because she was too damaged, that the deal had been a healthy baby and she wasn’t.

How would I face myself? How would I ever forget? I would always wonder what happened to Natalie.

I knew this was my test, my life’s worth distilled into a moment. I was shaking my head “No” before they finished explaining. We didn’t want another baby, I told them. We wanted our baby, the one sleeping right over there. “She’s our daughter,” I said. “We love her.”

"She's our daughter." What amazing love. There's more to the story; read it here.

Now, compare this to the parents who, based on nothing more than grainy ultrasound images, decide that their unborn child is not worthy of life and must be killed. Such so-called parents delude themselves into thinking that "it's for the best." No, it's not for the best. Yet people who would never be so rude as to reject a friend's gift are quick to reject the greatest gift of all: life itself.

Elizabeth and Matt passed their test. Will we pass ours?

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