When we were investigating China and South Korea, we learned that the wait for 'healthy' children was pretty long for both of them (5-6 years for China), but the timeline for a child with special needs is much shorter. We have an online class to take that outlines everything for the China program, so I'm trying to wait until we finish that before giving you the full run-down. Briefly, right now for China they estimate about 6 months to get all the paperwork to China, and then once you match with a child, it's another 4-6 months before travel. So we're talking a year from start to finish, assuming no major delays.
As part of our dossier, they gave us a long list of special needs (20+) and asked us to circle the ones we're willing to accept in our child. I've heard from other people that this is the hardest part of the dossier, and I understand why now. First, whatever we choose, it's very possible that our child will have either less serious or more serious needs than what is listed in her profile. Malnutrition and neglect can both manifest as a special need or mask a more serious one. And of course, within each condition, there's a spectrum of how seriously it can manifest. Cerebal palsy sounds scary, but it could be mild enough that she can manage it with occupational/physical therapy. Some of the conditions are considered treatable, like eczema or cleft lip/cleft palate, but something like hearing loss...she might be able to have surgery to fix it completely, or it might be so bad that we would all be learning sign language.
Many thoughts run around in my head when I think about this. If we had a biological child with any of these conditions, we'd have to figure it out and how to deal with it. I know that God will give us the strength to handle whatever he chooses for us, and I know he's in control and already knows who our baby is and everything about her. This weekend a few things happened that really drove that home, and I'll share some of them tomorrow. But right now I'm looking at the list and thinking, how do we pick? I've kind of been putting this off, but a) they want the list for our home study, and b) we'll probably be submitting everything by the end of this month anyway. So it's really time to settle down and figure it out.