Full of Surprises

May 17, 2017 Central Nervous System, Chiari 1 malformation, clubfoot, Family Stories, hydrocephalus, hydronephrosis, neurogenic bowel and bladder, spina bifida 2 Comments

When we started our adoption process we wanted a healthy child. That’s what everyone wants – adopted or biological – right?

Our hearts changed when we had the privilege of working with special needs kids, and we saw so much life and strength in them that we changed our adoption papers to special needs. When we first saw the medical report on MaKayla, the words hydrocephalus, Chiari malformation, and clubfoot popped off of the page. The pictures showed her feet so crooked. Doctors told us she probably wouldn’t walk on her own.

We were scared, but we had already fallen in love with her face. So we said yes… and have never regretted it.

When we met MaKayla, her feet were very crooked, and we knew this was the first problem that would have to be corrected. We found a doctor who was trained in the Ponseti method. She had several sessions of castings done, and then we started using the braces that she had to wear almost 24 hours a day. This wasn’t easy, but after awhile MaKayla got used to them. I remember when she was able to stop wearing them at night, she couldn’t sleep because she missed them.



The next thing we faced was similar to most spina bifida patients. MaKayla had a neurogenic bladder which meant she had to use catheter every four hours. To be honest, this stressed me out more then anything. I was so afraid this was going to be hard to do, or just inconvenient. I found out it was quite easy, and I could plan my scheduling around her cathing times. To me this was easier than having a kid yell they had to pee every hour when you’re out and about.

The first major surgery MaKayla faced was surgery to correct the reflux to her kidneys. Thankfully, there was no scarring on the kidneys and the operation went great.

MaKayla’s second major surgery was a shunt replacement. This usually can happen in patients every two to four years, but thankfully MaKayla’s had lasted nine years. It looks like this one could last longer before she has to have another revision.

MaKayla, at this time, is wearing braces called GRAFOs. The doctors are saying she should only have to wear these for a little while to strengthen up her knees, but soon will be able to go without them.



A lot of things have happened or are happening in MaKayla’s life, but please don’t think that MaKayla is in any way sickly. This girl is totally the opposite of sick – and has so much energy and spunk.

MaKayla has faced a lot of obstacles in her life.

Doctors and therapist are amazed how far MaKayla has come. When doctors said she can’t do something she says, “I can.” She’s faced everything with such determination. She has taught our family to believe in miracles and see that nothing is impossible.

This girl will climb rock walls, run with the other kids, and meet any challenge head on. She is so full of energy and life, and can make a friend in minutes. She is very smart, and loves to learn new things, especially in science. She is always talking about doing something in the medical field because she wants to help other kids like herself.



Our family has been so blessed by this girl.

She has showed us what life is, and how to live it. MaKayla knows all about her special needs, and loves to explain to others to help them understand her more. Having MaKayla has opened our eyes and hearts to other special needs kids. Two years after adopting her, we adopted another child with special needs.



If you’re trying to decide whether this is the path for you to take, I encourage you to take it. We have all grown so much and our home is now filled with so much love.

– guest post by Melissa



2 responses to “Full of Surprises”

  1. Jane says:

    Love this! Thank you for sharing your story.

  2. Tim says:

    This little girl is no doubt a blessing to this family. And she could have not had fallen into better hands. Truly a loving family such a blessing for all. Praying for every one of you

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