by Jess, mom to Gabe Xulu from China with congenital glaucoma
While Tim and I were paper-chasing we knew from the get go that we would be adopting SN, so even before we submitted our dossier we filled out our SN checklist. Our agency didn’t want us to submit it though until we submitted our dossier. We had checked all the minor needs and maybe one of the moderate needs. We put in our original home study that we would love to bring another daughter into our family, 1 – 3 yrs. And so we paper chased…
Then something happened, God laid on my heart that our son was in China. After doing some research we found that there were huge numbers of boys waiting for homes and that there were very few families who wanted to adopt boys. DH and I talked and after a few days we both agreed to tell our SW that either gender would be wonderful and raised our age to 4 yrs. Then shortly before we were due to submit our dossier our agency held an event in which they invited families that had already adopted SN children with various SN and from various countries. We went and had a wonderful time talking to families about their children. What a true picture of families with needs that we thought would be too much for us. We looked at each other and said. “wow”. So many needs that we thought we knew, but really didn’t. We could do this. That night changed our lives as we added vision impairments and hepatitis B to our list.
The day I got the call for our son, I was at school and had to wait until 3pm until my husband could get to school and we opened the email together. We took one look at his big beautiful eyes and we knew that this was our son! He was almost 3 and had congenital glaucoma of both eyes. His report was conflicting, but we knew that no matter what his vision, he was ours. With God’s help we knew we were safe in this step of faith. We gave our preliminary yes and then waited for our pediatrician and ophthalmologist to tell us what they thought of his file. They both thought he looked good, but our ophthalmologist saw the same things we did – they referred to him seeing, but also said things like, “but due to his blindness”. So, we went into this knowing that he could be blind.
At 8 months he had had a trabeculectomy to relive his glaucoma (drained the fluid in his eyes which causes the pressure), but he went 8 months with the damage being done. I began research, talked with our ISD professionals and prayed for our son while we waited to bring him home.
On September 14th, 2009 we hugged our son for the first time and watched as he played with the cars we gave him-he could see them!! He had to hold them very close, but he could see! Today our Gabe wears glasses for his near-sightedness and myopia.
We go to the pediatric ophthalmologist 2 times per year and one of those visits is a pressure check under anesthesia. Right now his pressure is normal and we pray that it stays that way for years to come. It amazes me that this need is not one that we think about daily or even weekly. Each morning we put on his glasses and that is all. Occasionally we have to get his glasses adjusted and clean them daily, but most days I think, “What special need?”
I praise God that he opened our hearts and minds to vision impairments otherwise we would not have our rough and tumble, awesome son with the biggest beautiful eyes that completely warm your heart! We have been home for a little over 6 months. Gabe knows his colors, has learned English amazingly well, loves to play in his coupe car outside and he has the best “squeezer hug”. He will wrap his arms around you and hug with all his might and tells me “I lub you sooooooo mucha!”
Feel free to visit our family blog here.