Find My Family: Macy

June 20, 2014 by nohandsbutours 5 Comments

Macy is a precious nine year old girl who has waited for her family to find her for a very long time. Her file has bounced from one agency to another, without ever being chosen. She is currently listed with Heartsent Adoptions.

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Macy has been diagnosed with CHD (VSD after repair) and PH. She has also shown slightly lower growth indexes. At present, Macy has good general health status and shows no signs of tachypnea or purple lips nor does she need to take any medication. As her heart condition was complicated her development has been delayed.

Sage+(girl)+born+Oct+2005+post+op+CHD,+Delay,+self-corrected+hernia+this+photo+is+from+a+February+2012+update+(2)

Her caregivers note that she has made big improvements after her CHD operation. She is active and lovely girl who always has a ready smile. She is very outgoing and gets along well with the other children. She shows good manners and greets the caretakers every morning. Her greatest wish is for a family of her own.

susy

For more information on Macy, contact her current agency, Heartsent. For more information on beginning the adoption journey, contact the Advocacy Team.

special need highlight: adopting congenital heart disease

May 25, 2014 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments

Four years ago, I could not describe the structure or mechanism of the human heart. Now, that magical and miraculous pump that provides the essence of life is something I think about every day. What an amazing odyssey it has been!

This post is not enough to do justice to the complexity of the topic of congenital heart disease (CHD). Every child’s anatomy, even within the same family of defects, will be uniquely their own. There is a wide range of severity within this particular medical need. From routine defects that self heal and those that, once repaired, will never be an issue again, to highly complex clusters of defects that cannot be repaired but may be palliated. Then there are the situations when a child’s CHD has become inoperable, necessitating cardiac transplant. And in some cases, even transplant may not be an option.

In 2010, my husband and I decided to adopt through China’s medical needs program and we added a son to our family of two daughters, one of whom we had adopted from China three years prior and another who came to us through birth. Having been inspired by my two friends who were born with Cystic Fibrosis, my husband and I felt a pull towards the special needs program. We were drawn to congenital heart disease after having gotten to know a little girl, adopted from China at the age of 8 with complex single ventricle CHD, who had lived with the same foster family as our daughter. We had watched as her family loved her and advocated for her through multiple difficult surgeries and recoveries.

With our first CHD adoption, we tentatively tested the waters and accepted the referral of our son who was born with a large ventricular septal defect (VSD) and moderate atrial septal defect (ASD). Although we felt prepared to support a child through an open heart surgery, the idea of complex heart disease, of an ongoing medical need, or one that might shorten his life, was more than we felt ready to take on. Shortly after, we learned that he had already undergone his full repair. However, upon arrival home, he was diagnosed with secondary pulmonary hypertension (PH), a disease of the pulmonary vasculature that is caused when certain types of cardiac defects go unrepaired for too long.

That is when our world was rocked to its core, and we faced some of the scenarios that we had feared.
Ventricular Septal Defect
Atrial Septal Defect
Pulmonary Hypertension

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Fortunately, Tristan has responded very well to treatment and the child that we were told might live to be nine or ten years old is growing, thriving, and living life with his disease well managed. There is something quite empowering when forced to face our fears, and once the eye of the storm had passed, we felt stronger and our awakening continued. We had learned how to navigate our medical insurance, we had overcome financial obstacles, and most of all, we had realized that when push comes to shove, situations that seemed insurmountable when looking at an agency’s Medical Conditions Checklist were anything but. It was our privilege to do whatever was needed for our child! Had we known his diagnosis prior to his adoption, I fear that we would have been too timid to proceed. How grateful we are that were ignorant to it, for otherwise we may have missed out on our precious boy!

One year later, we adopted another son. Braver, we asked our agency to match us with a waiting child with unrepaired, complex CHD. We proceeded with this adoption with a different set of eyes. We were no longer looking for a child that was right for our family, a child that would fit into our lifestyle, our emotional boundaries. Instead, we knew that we were capable of changing, of being challenged and stretched, and it was our desire to become the right family for a child that had been waiting for one.

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Bryce’s CHD was far trickier than Tristan’s and consisted of Double Outlet Right Ventricle, Transposition of the Great Arteries, and Pulmonary Stenosis. He was our first experience with a cyanotic child, which means that his particular cardiac defects caused his blood to be undersaturated with oxygen. A healthy person’s blood oxygen saturation is usually between 97-100%, but Bryce’s was in the mid-60’s.

We had no idea whether he would be operable or not, as he had been diagnosed with Pulmonary Hypertension in China.
Double Outlet Right Ventricule
Transposition of the Great Arteries
Pulmonary Stenosis

We learned to manage Bryce’s enteral feedings and began his cardiac testing which consisted of echocardiograms, a cardiac MRI, and heart catheterization. Bryce, like many children with complex CHD, had difficulty feeding and he came home too malnourished for surgery. He was fed via nasal-gastric tube and then gastronomy tube for four months in order to gain enough weight for surgery. During this time, we also worked with our hospital’s feeding clinic to help him learn to chew and swallow properly.

Fortunately, the heart catheterization showed that Bryce did not have PH, and our cardiology team conferenced and came up with a surgical plan for him. Actually, they came up with two plans: a repair that, while technically easier and less risky, had a poorer long-term prognosis; and a newer, highly complex procedure that would give Bryce a near-normal cardiac anatomy. After much research and prayer, we opted for the more difficult surgery and our surgeon set out to either find a surgeon experienced in the procedure to come to us, or we would be sent to him/her. It was during this time that we learned how specialized surgeons can be within an already specialized field, and how imperative it is to seek out multiple opinions and to build a trusting relationship with your child’s team.

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Sending our child into open heart surgery was a frightening experience and we once again found ourselves in unfamiliar territory, climbing another mountain without knowing what we would see once reaching the summit. Along with the trepidation came an incredible peace. It felt so odd to be experiencing both concurrently. It is the peace that comes with letting go and embracing the time we have been given with our child without any expectation of a tomorrow.

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The following year, we fell in love with a little girl on an agency’s waiting child photo listing. She had been there for many months and although we hadn’t planned on adding to our family again so soon, we just couldn’t let her go. We named her Scarlett, and she would be our first experience with the world of palliative CHD. Her diagnosis, which wasn’t fully known until her arrival home and subsequent imaging (although we did know her CHD was in the realm of single ventricle anatomy) was very complex and severe: Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, Transposition of the Great Arteries, Severe Pulmonary Stenosis, Total Anomolous Pulmonary Venous Return, and multiple other cardiac defects.

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Scarlett was so cyanotic, so blue, with 02 saturation readings ranging from the mid-20s to mid-50s. She was also incredibly tiny. At 26 months of age, she weighed 11.5 pounds and resembled a six to eight month old infant. Were it not for her mouthful of teeth and two year molars breaking through, we would never have believed that she was over two years old.

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Upon arrival home and after her cardiac work-up, Scarlett underwent the first of her two stage single ventricle palliation: the Bi-Directional Glenn. Single ventricle heart disease cannot be repaired, only palliated. Although there are a few institutions that still use the term “repair” when speaking of the Glenn and its follow-up surgery, the Fontan, it is falling out of favor since it gives parents a false impression of the child’s anatomy and prognosis.

Even though we knew going into her adoption that children with single ventricle CHD can be very medically fragile, that many will have a significantly shortened lifespan and we had accepted that risk, we grieved as we came to know and love her more and more. And yet again, it became an exercise in handing it over to God and doing our best to relish and treasure every blessed day.

Scarlett is significantly delayed, and at her current age of almost 48 months, she is assessed at the developmental level of an 18-24 month old. All of her genetic testing has come back normal, and her physicians’ best guesses are that she suffered from hypoxia induced neurological damage. To us, she is perfect. She is our daughter, our “Nugget,” and she lights up our world and brings joy to everyone she meets!

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And then came Rini. Assigned to me by my agency as an advocacy child, I became intensely attached to her over the four months that I worked on her behalf. My husband and I decided to adopt her after her health began a rapid decline and despite over four dozen inquiries, no other family had chosen to pursue her adoption.

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Born with complex single ventricle CHD consisting of Double Inlet Left Ventricle, Transposition of the Great Arteries, and severe Pulmonary Stenosis, Rini also had very severe av valve dysfunction.

From application to travel took us 3.5 months with medical expedites, and just two weeks before departing from China we learned that she had spent nearly two months hospitalized in severe heart failure. Our agency had to fight for the adoption to be permitted to take place and we were cleared to depart for China when she was discharged. But once there, we learned that she was back in the hospital. We were taken to meet her, and given many opportunities to back out of the adoption.

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That simply was not an option for us. She was our daughter, come what may. If she died, it would be as a beloved daughter, sister, granddaughter, and niece. But that evening, we learned that her adoption had been blocked once again. Our devoted agency moved mountains over the next few days, and we were finally permitted to welcome her into our family.

A week and a half later, we arrived in the U.S. and Rini was admitted directly into the hospital from the airport.

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There is so much I could write about all that transpired over the next six months. We learned she was inoperable and at end stage cardiac disease. We prayed, met with Hospice, talked to endlessly to doctor after doctor, and sought out the counsel of families that had walked this path before us. Her ventricular function was so poor that at times, her peripheral pulses could not be detected. She was denied transplant evaluation by several centers because of her severe malnutrition until the heart failure and transplant teams at Seattle Children’s Hospital took a chance on her. We were transported via Life Flight in mid-October. One week later after the evaluation was complete, she was accepted as a high risk candidate for transplant and listed. On that same day, she had gone into respiratory failure and was intubated. Ten days later, she suffered her first cardiac arrest. Two days later, her second. Less than thirty minutes later, she was on ECMO life support. Given that the national average wait for a donor heart was 3-5 months for children like her who were listed at the most critical status, we struggled to hold onto hope all the while trying to come to terms with letting her go.

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I could never properly articulate the experience of sitting at the bedside of my dying child, wondering if she would be granted a second chance at life, and all the while knowing that her second chance would only come because someone else’s child had died. But through it all…through the sobs that came from a place inside of myself that I never knew existed, through the intense anxiety, through the stress of family separation, through the experience of telling our other children that their baby sister didn’t have much longer to live…we never, ever regretted our decision to bring her into our family. Not once.

After 19 days on the transplant list, Rini did receive the heart of a very special angel. And Rini’s birth heart, which had weakly and erratically kept beating, finally stopped at some point in the operating room as they transitioned her from ECMO to cardio-pulmonary by-pass. It made it all the way. The nurses later told me it gave them chills to see her little heart so still, as though it knew when it was time to let go.

Three and a half months later, she finally came home. Although a heart transplant is not a cure, we can expect that she will enjoy another 10-14 years of life if she has an uneventful post-transplant course. Some children live longer, while others have a shorter life. But the success and the miracle cannot be measured by the number of days given. They are measured by the amount of love given, the lessons learned, and the lives impacted. She has changed our lives in indescribable ways. What a gift we were given! Liberation from the mundane and senseless worries of daily life, gratitude for every sunrise, music whenever we hear our children laugh. Priceless treasures!

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Four years ago, I could not describe the structure or mechanism of the human heart. Now, that magical and miraculous pump that provides the essence of life is something I think about every day. What an amazing odyssey it has been!

This post is not enough to do justice to the complexity of the topic of congenital heart disease. Every child’s anatomy, even within the same family of defects, will be uniquely their own. There is a wide range of severity within this particular medical need. From routine defects that self heal and those that, once repaired, will never be an issue again, to highly complex clusters of defects that cannot be repaired but may be palliated. Then there are the situations when a child’s CHD has become inoperable, necessitating cardiac transplant. And in some cases, even transplant may not be an option.

~Guest post by Andrea

Waiting Children

Franco was born January of 2011 and has highly complex congenital heart disease, consisting of Single Ventricle, Single Atrium, Dextrocardia, Complete Antrioventricular Septal Defect, Double Outlet Right Ventricle, and Pulmonary Artery Stenosis. At the age of five months, Franco underwent surgery to have a pulmonary shunt placed in order to provide better oxygenation of his blood. Franco will need multiple surgeries (Glenn and Fontan procedures) which are palliative in nature. Franco’s file was reviewed by a doctor in the US. The doctor’s feedback is that if Franco’s AV valve regurgitation is greater than moderate and unable to be repaired, transplantation might be necessary. Franco is a fun-loving and strong-willed little boy. Franco especially enjoys going to the activity room in the orphanage to play with the swings and the balls. He laughs happily when he plays and has a contagious smile. He is listed with Andrea’s agency, Holt International.

Franco

Philip was born September of 2010 with complex congenital heart disease consisting of Single Ventricle, severe Pulmonary Stenosis, Atrial Septal Defect, and Patent Ductus Arteriosis. At the age of 22 months, he underwent surgery which ligated the PDA. Also performed was the cavopulmonary anastomosis, also known as the Bi-Directional Glenn. Philip still needs the second phase of his single ventricle palliation, the Fontan Procedure. Philip lives in the orphanage, has a normal diet for his age group and sleeps in his own bed. He is described as introverted, quiet, and enjoys being close, playing and cuddling with his caregivers. He is liked by adults and other children alike. Philip enjoys watching TV. He also likes outdoor activities such as sliding on the playground slide and waves “hello” when he is happy. His language development is normal, but his pronunciation is sometimes unclear. He understands and can follow instructions. Philip has already started early education, can focus on his studies and can finish assignments his teachers give him. Philip is physically active and on target with his motor skills. Philip is also listed with Holt.

Philip 2

For more information on embarking upon the adoption journey, contact the Advocacy Team.

Find My Family: Grace with WACAP

May 13, 2014 by nohandsbutours 3 Comments

Update: My family has found me!

This sweet little face belongs to Grace. Although her nannies describe her as timid and shy, she gets along well with others and is said to be energetic. She is six years old. She loves to listen to music, read books, and play with toys,. Dolls happen to be her favorite and she likes to play hide and seek. Grace has been diagnosed with CHD, specifically VSD and pulmonary hypertension. Her height, weight, and physical development are consistent with most other kids with a similar diagnosis. Test results and images are available for her family to see, as well as a video. On paper, her condition can seem bleak. The reality is that she needs a family soon. A family that is willing to love in spite of the risk. A family that knows this child is more than medical test results and papers in a file, but she is their very own beloved daughter.

Photo 1

Grace’s file is currently with WACAP and she has a $4,000 grant for qualified families. Please email WACAP for more information.

Photo 3

Plenty of resources and encouragement from families of other heart children are available. The following sites are great places to learn more about CHD:
Johns Hopkins Children’s Hospital
Little Hearts
Kids With Heart
Congenital Heart Information Network Resources
China Heart Children Yahoo Group

To learn more about parenting a child with severe CHD, you can check out these family blogs:
His Hands, His Feet
Lori McCary

For more information on beginning the adoption journey, contact the Advocacy Team.

Who Are You Waiting For?

December 6, 2011 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments

Are you waiting for a referral?

Are you waiting in the Waiting Child (SN) program or the traditional (NSN) program?

Are you waiting for what seems like years? Or perhaps you have been waiting for years?

Do you know who you are waiting for?

A daughter younger than two years old perhaps?

Or maybe she could be three or … possibly … four … maybe?

How about a son … or not?

These are questions all parents have probably at the very least mulled over, maybe even revisited again and again if waiting for years for a referral from China.

And these are all questions that at times honestly perplex me.

The biggest question I would love to ask everyone who is waiting for years for a referral is this: Who Are You Waiting For?

Let me assure you that I have never asked a waiting parent this question. I suppose in a roundabout way I am asking anyone reading to consider it now. Obviously in a blog, no one has to answer or even feel the need to answer. On the other hand, comments are always open and welcome here so a discussion could always come about … and that is most often a good thing.

Let me throw out some hypothetical assumptions here. I am basing these on conversations I have had over the years with other APs, many of whom are astounded when they actually meet our “special needs” children and learn that all three of them fell into the “hard to place” category.

Hypothetical #1: You are one of a majority of families who are NOT open to a child with multiple needs. A child who was born with complex heart disease and cleft lip and palate.

That would be entirely too much. Now, let me stop here and say let’s assume insurance is not a deciding factor and also that you qualify in every way for these hard to place children. But assuming you have excellent medical coverage and all requirements are met, you are just not open to a child with those “severe” needs.

Let me introduce you to our child who was born with complex heart disease and cleft lip and palate. I am going to show a VERY RARE glimpse of our Li’l Miss on video. She is singing a song she penned herself, and she sings it often to Jesus. In one line, she sings:

Lift up Jesus Christ, He loves you sooooo much.
Lift up Jesus Christ, He made you so wonderful.

Does it get any better than that? Wow. I admit to just about losing it when she sang it for me the first time. I already mentioned she made this song up herself. Did I mention she has complex, single-single ventricle heart disease? Yes she does. And no, we don’t know what her life expectancy will be, and honestly we don’t dwell on that and didn’t even consider the question when deciding to move forward with our second daughter, also born with single-ventricle heart disease.

Why? In short, they all deserve a home and a family. And if you met her, I can almost assure you that you would never ask the question again, “What about life expectancy?” which is the #1 question asked of me by parents wondering about bringing home a child with complex heart disease.

Now let me be clear in saying PLEASE ASK QUESTIONS. I love to answer, and though my answer may not give you any peace or reassurance, it is honestly how the Prez and I feel. It DOES NOT MATTER what their life expectancy will be. We adopted her and will adopt her little sister not because of how long they might live, but because they ARE living and they need a family … and I think we need them just as much or maybe more.

Our daughter is 6 years old. She has been home for 3 years. She has SEVERE language delay in the area especially of articulation, but did you hear her singing? I might be just a wee bit proud of her. She WORKS SO HARD. She had significant hearing loss for more than 4 years until tubes were finally placed and her hearing is now excellent. She has endured 8 surgeries since she came home, and does so with bravery and courage that most of us will never know.

She is AMAZING. If you met her, you would not believe she has faced so many needs and endured so much. She is our daughter. Why do I share so vulnerably here?

On the shared list today, multiple children with needs EXACTLY like our Li’l Miss wait and wait and wait. Maybe you haven’t ever felt like you are waiting on a child like that. Maybe though you are missing out by not pursuing one of those children.

Hypothetical #2: You would never consider bringing home an older son because there are too many risks and older children can never bond anyway, and if you did go there you would definitely only consider a girl anyway.

Enter this charming young man.

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I know he is charming, because he is my son. My 3rd son … well really 2nd … except he came to me 3rd … but he is our 2nd oldest. I know it confuses my brain sometimes too. I know how you feel because I was definitely not open to an older child … and definitely not open to an older son … and definitely not open to bringing an older boy into our home with younger children. No way. That is what other families do. Not us. Besides, that is irresponsible and just asking for trouble.

Except he hasn’t brought us trouble or made us irresponsible parents. In fact, he has brought more joy and love and grace into our home and our parenting. Not only that, we are immeasurably more blessed for having stepped way out of our comfort zone and done the thing many think is taking it way too far.

He is the most loving and compassionate guy you’ll ever meet. He loves with his whole heart, which I should add is not perfectly formed. He was also born with heart disease, and though a PDA seems minor enough, his was not repaired until he was 10 years old in China and while we awaited our LOA for his adoption.

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o, I know you may fall in that majority who says, *IF* I was going to adopt an older son, he would have to be healthy. But let me tell you, our son is HEALTHY as an ox. He does anything he wants to do sports-wise and he is smart and funny and just adds another layer of love to my heart!

So, my advice: don’t assume you couldn’t adopt an older son. Maybe an older son is just who you have been waiting for all of this time. Many of them wait on the shared list right now. Today. And a LOT of those boys are healthy, and some others have “needs” like our son did, but don’t let those needs define the child. Look past them and do your research and talk to experienced parents. And then decide. But at least consider an older, waiting son.

Hypothetical #3: You do not need a son. You want a daughter. You are not going to change your mind because this is your dream and that is that.

This is a tough one.

I know this may not go over well AT ALL. I am well aware of that fact.

But sometimes the tough stuff needs to be said. And sometimes we just gotta say it.

I have been blessed with four amazing sons, 2 by birth and 2 by adoption. When we had our 2 birth sons 4 years apart, I remember being thrilled both times to hear the ultrasound tech say, “It’s a boy!” I mean, absolutely thrilled. There was no disappointment in me or my husband whatsoever. Why would there be? Both boys appeared to be healthy, growing as they should, and due right on schedule.

That was enough. A son. And then another son. Icing on the cake!

And then came China. And our 2nd adoption, 4th child. A son? Really God? Are you sure?

But I knew. Without a doubt. He was calling us to THIS CHILD, the one I just spoke of above. The older boy. Who happened to be on our agency’s designated list at the time.

And so we moved forward, and once we did I never looked back. What I would have missed? I can’t even fathom now.

Enter son #4. REALLY GOD??? ARE YOU SURE???

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Oh how winding our path was to this Li’l Dude you see pictured above (and whose upper lip finally seems to have expelled those last remaining “dissolvable” stitches). I can only imagine the Lord knew how much He needed to grow my love for this little guy BEFORE we met him … and grow it the Lord did!

When we met, I quickly realized his immediate needs were great. Far greater even than I imagined. And I imagined fairly realistically. And yet, less than a year and a half home, he IS rocking it out! I tell you he stood up on the stage at church Sunday night in the preschool program and acted the part of a CAMEL. Now he didn’t have all the right moves precisely down like his sister and the third camel, but he stood there and he didn’t run away or act disruptive … and he definitely was one of the two cutest camels on that stage!

He is now reading some too. AMAZING. Did I mention he was born with heart disease (TOF), cleft lip and palate, is deaf in one ear … oh and he lived in an orphanage in China for 5 years?

Yeah. He was waiting for YEARS for a family too. Did I mention that? Why?

I think probably because he is a BOY, he was older (4 at referral; that is OLD for a little boy waiting), he has multiple needs, and … uh, oh … and undisclosed need. That is way too much.

And yet, when I look at the above photo, I just see my little surprise. That is what I call him: my little surprise! He grins that big grin and says, “I LUBBBB you, Mommy” and my heart melts all over again.
Who Are You Waiting For?

If you are waiting, perhaps even years for a NSN referral of an AYAP girl, maybe it is valid question. Maybe it is not. Only you can decide that for your family. I will tell you this though.

Our first LID was December 14, 2007.

12/14/2007.

We are still YEARS … yes, YEARS … away from a referral with that log-in date. Since that date, we have brought home our … three waiting children … all hard to place … all NOT fought over … all NOT part of the “new shared list” each month … and yet all equally amazing and a blessing to everyone they meet … and most importantly, treasures uniquely created by our Father God.

Our Li’l Miss …

Our “Larry” (one of our 3 stooges ;)

Our Li’l Dude …

And our Li’l Bit … waiting for us in China …

… and born with a single ventricle heart … and EQUALLY deserving of a family … and we feel completely overwhelmed in a good way that God is entrusting us yet again with one of these special babies!

Who Are You Waiting For?

Feel free to check out our adventures in life as a family of seven … soon to be eight … at my family blog, Room for at Least One More.



Matters of the Heart

February 27, 2010 by nohandsbutours 7 Comments


It is no secret that I advocate for children waiting in China, for children waiting who have unrepaired and complex congenital heart defects.

I do not advocate to ever pressure anyone into considering the adoption of a child out of guilt. I advocate for the child. Period.
I have recently had my heart broken nearly in two as I stepped out to advocate for a child waiting and fell in love with the child in the process. I did not intend for that to happen. I have advocated for many of these children and have felt love for them and an urgency to advocate and pray. I guess it is a chance one takes, but I’m not entirely sure I am willing to take that chance again.
At times, if I am being completely honest, I would like to rewind my life to the place where my eyes where shielded and my heart was guarded. But if I could even truly do that, then I would surely not be the Mommy of an amazing little girl, a little girl who is as typical as the next and happens to have complex congenital heart defects. And I would not be waiting to bring home our son, who also had unrepaired heart disease when we asked Ch*na if we could be his forever family.
Right now, I do feel beaten down and at times beaten up. I wonder why I bother to advocate when it seems so many people who’ve never known what it is like to parent a child with complex CHD want to tell me what it is like. I wonder why I stick my heart on the line as I see the files of these children and try to read between the lines and see that glimmer of courage and God-given strength that most of us don’t have … and then I am reminded why.
I KNOW the blessing of bringing home one of the children who is labeled as unadoptable, too risky, severe special needs … I KNOW because she is my daughter.
I so wish … one of my greatest wishes … is that these children who wait could be seen through the eyes of God … through His lens … by more families. While I often hear the many risks associated with these children … open-heart surgery, shortened life expectancy, undisclosed needs, learning disabilities, too time-consuming, burdensome, syndromes … I wish I heard more of the unique blessings they are … so near to the heart of God, courageous, strong, miraculous, SURVIVORS, and … simply a CHILD who needs to know the love of a family as much as the next child.
We can always come up with many reasons not to take a chance on a child whose condition is serious and severe, but we’ll never know what might be if we don’t take that step. And if we do take that step, we might just come so close to the very heart of God that we will be forever changed.
I don’t know if I’ll continue to advocate for these children. I don’t even know what to do next most days right now. I have known firsthand the unknowns of stepping out: coming to Ch*na and finding our daughter clinging to life in a hospital, finding out that our waiting son had emergency open-heart surgery in December and still feeling like we’ll never get to Ch*na to bring him home, and even allowing myself to dream that just maybe I might be blessed with an unexpected blessing in the process. I don’t know what I’ll do next, but I know that as long as these children wait I will dream and wish and pray and hope. And repeat again and again.