By Nicole, mother to Katelyn from China with Spina Bifida ~ myelomeningocele
Our Roller Coaster Ride to Our Daughter
In October 2005, we found out we were pregnant with our third child. A month later I had a miscarriage. I have never experienced such loss and emptiness, but I knew God must have a plan in all this. A year later we were sitting at a meeting for parents interested in adopting from China. That next Thanksgiving, a year after our miscarriage, we were accepted into our agency’s program and began our adoption journey. God’s plan is starting to make sense now!
Shortly into the adoption process, the timeline for waiting for a match started to increase dramatically (from 18 months to potentially 3-5 years). From early on I just felt like we would have our daughter in the summer of 2008. So now what was I to think? Once again, I knew the Lord had to have a reason for all of this.
Within a couple of months I began to feel like I was missing something… I just knew our daughter had already been born, and that we’d be traveling to get her in the summer of 2008, but how could that be? I also started to read more information about our agency’s Waiting Child Program, which finds homes for children with special needs. At first, this program intimidated me… but then, after doing more research, I realized that this was something I felt drawn toward.
After much prayer and more paperwork, we were accepted into the Waiting Child Program on June 19, 2007. Once again it was time to sit back and wait while they tried to match us with a child. The next 8 months were full of twists and turns as we waited to see who would be our daughter.
Then, on February 18, 2008, I saw her… Ji Jiang Zhou, a sweet two year old girl with plump cheeks and sad eyes. A child whose special needs did not match with any family’s file that was currently waiting. This child was diagnosed with myelomeningocele and received surgery at nine months old. We had never even discussed the possibility of adopting a child with Spina Bifida… why was I so drawn to her? It was already after office hours, so I emailed our agency and left voice mails asking to review this child’s file. Then I went to bed and prayed…
When I checked my email the next morning, the reply said that the child’s file was not completely translated (from Chinese to English), but that we would be added to the list of families waiting to review her file. It would probably be at least a week till we heard anything, if we heard anything at all. Much to my surprise, I got a call later that afternoon asking if we were still interested in reviewing the file. Of course we were!!!! The file had just been translated and we were the first family to review it.
We looked over the file that night, and as I poured over all the pictures that were sent to us, I began to fall in love with this child. Could we really be her parents? Could we handle her needs and provide the best possible care for her? I tried to prepare myself for bad news from the specialists we contacted, but instead heard nothing but positive things. We also found out that the local children’s hospital has a special program for children with Spina Bifida. God gave us a clear answer. Yes, this is our daughter.
On June 10, 2008, in Nanchang, China, we met our daughter for the first time. Since returning home we have met with many specialists at the local Spina Bifida Clinic. Katelyn was diagnosed here as having Lipomyelomeningocele. Although she is walking quite well, Katelyn is currently in physical therapy to strengthen the muscles in her lower legs. Her feet turn in quite a bit and she does not have the muscle control to stand up on tip toes, but she has found ways around her limitations. She does have a neurogenic bladder, but they have not suggested cathing her yet. No one would guess (from watching her) that this amazing child has Spina Bifida. She climbs on everything and does her best to keep up with her big brothers. We know that our journey is just beginning with our daughter, but we also know that God has chosen us to be her family, and through all the ups and downs and twists and turns, He will be with us and guide us.