By Amy, mother to Mina from China with sacroccogyeal teratoma
In the fall of 2007 my husband and I started discussing international adoption. I remember us going back and forth as we contemplated being “done” having more children. As I started to look into the adoption process I was immediately convinced that this was the next step for our family. My first instinct was NSN China adoption; I called an area Social Worker and asked to start the home study process. In talking to her she suggested that we look into the China Special Needs program, so I did some research. I was amazed at what was considered as Special Needs. I started checking several agencies list and asking questions to anyone who would answer. I was a little dismayed at the process as it felt a little like a competition the way some agencies handled it at the time. I called an agency asking about a different county program and they asked me again if I would consider China SN, that she had just received a new “list”. She asked if I would like to view it and I said, “Of course”. Within moments she emailed me a list of over 20 children and one was MY BABY! The second I saw her photo I started shaking and my heart started racing. I called the agency back immediately and got no answer. I proceeded to call a hundred more times that afternoon and they were gone for the day. I stared at this little girls photo all evening and showed my husband the second he walked through the door. Could this be our daughter? I did some research on her SN, Sacroccogyeal Teratoma, from my bit of “web” research it seemed pretty rare, but it surely didn’t scare us away. I stayed awake praying all night for God’s will for this child. I started calling the agency that next morning at 6:00am. I called every 5 minutes for the next 3 hours. When I finally reached them, I was told that there was a waiting list of NINE families waiting to view her file. I was crushed and deflated. I stopped looking at China SN, as my heart couldn’t bear it. I was about to change my home study and sign with an agency for their Vietnam program. Three weeks later, I received an email that the little girls file was available for me to view. I was shocked! I thought it must be an error. I called immediately and they sent her file to me. I called my husband at work and we opened it at the same time. We were shaking with excitement; we just knew this was our daughter. I sent out her medical file to be reviewed by doctors. There are a few risks that come with her SN, but the doctors were more concerned that her head circumference was not even on the American charts. Our IA doctor gave us a laundry list of complications that could come with Microcephaly, even though all her medicals showed that she was developmentally on target. Thank goodness my husband felt that she was our daughter and we were going to choose not to worry about this, we would face whatever came with it. Now I can’t say that I didn’t stress it, I did. A week or two later we also received a photo of the scar left by the surgery for the removal of the Teratoma. To be honest, I was taken back by how large and deep the scar was.
Finally in March of 2008 we boarded a plane headed for China, on the 24th we walked in to the adoption affairs building, and standing in the waiting room was our daughter. My heart broke into little pieces at that very moment, and I will never be the same. God has blessed us beyond measure with this little girl. She is pure joy. When we got home we took her to a pediatric surgeon who said the surgery that she received in China to remove her Teratoma and her coccyx bone (tailbone) was done just as he would have done it. Which has healed much better than the photo that I received while we were waiting. His recommendation is to have her checked every 6 months for the first year and then every year after that to make sure that the Teratoma does not grow back. She has also had MRI’s, CT scans and just about every blood test possible to rule out any cause for her small head circumference. Her pediatric neurosurgeon cannot find one reason, as she is extremely bright and well beyond her milestones. We love her to pieces and I cannot imagine any hurdle that I wouldn’t jump through or any fear too great that I wouldn’t confront to be her Mommy.
We have decided to adopt again and we are awaiting our LOA for another daughter who was also born with Sacrcoccogyeal Teratoma. My heart aches to hold her and care for her. We are so excited to have her join our family,we will hopefully travel this Spring.