Adopting a Child with Spina Bifida

Adopting a special needs child can bring challenges to a family but also plenty of joy. One mother describes the emotional journey of adopting her daughter with Spina Bifida from China.


-I'm Cindy Clayjay MacLachlan and my husband and I have a little 6-year-old daughter. Her name is Norman Shiyan MacLachlan and she is born with spina bifida. My husband and I were doing a volunteer assignment in Shiyan, China. And I was assigned to a foster home that rescues children with disabilities and/or medically challenged. Shishi was abandoned at birth and she had a very large encephalocele on the back of her skull as well as spina bifida and hydrocephalus. We met her when she was 6 weeks old and felt completely in love with her and we both said, look, you know, what can we do to help this child? And the woman who ran the foster home said you need to get her operated on or, you know, she's going to pass away. So, we were able to take her to Shanghai. After the operation, we said, look, we really want this child and we feel like she is our daughter. We worked for about 14 months and we were finally granted her adoption and so we picked her up and [unk] ever since. Children with disabilities or anybody with disabilities, it's very difficult, but they are so resilient. Shishi couldn't walk until she was about 4 years old. She worked so hard. She was just a little soldier that kept moving forward with-- You know, she really wanted to walk and be like the rest of the kids that she saw. Both Pat and I are so excited to be part of her life and to see where she goes because she came from such a horrible beginning and has been-- and has done so well for herself in terms of just having that spirit to keep moving forward.

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