Taking Care of Personal Business

June 15, 2014 incontinence, Jean, spina bifida 6 Comments

In other words this is a poop and potty post!

Many of the children that sit and sit and sit on the waiting child list are there because they are incontinent. Which means they cannot control their bowels and bladder.

We have brought 2 children home that were in “that situation.” One was diagnosed with Anal Atresia (or Imperforate Anus and came home with a colostomy) and the other was diagnosed with Spinal Bifida and came home in diapers.

Each time, when I saw our child on the waiting child list I said, “I can’t do this.” But God encouraged us to step out in faith, so we did. At times we felt like it was too big for us but we knew it wasn’t too big for Him. NOTHING is too big for Him.

Somehow, God always works out all the details. I don’t worry about things as much as I used too because I know it is in HIS hands and HE is in control. There is no one more capable to be in control and worrying gets me nowhere. I used to want to have control but not any more.

As we have brought our children with incontinence home we have learned a lot.
The keyword for us right now is “social continence.” That is the goal for both of our children. Social continence means that the child/adult does not wear diapers and can care for their bowel and bladder needs independently. They are able to be in social settings and able to live a normal active life just like anyone else.

When our children came to us… they smelled. It wasn’t a good smell- it was of urine and poop. They needed love, a bath and a new plan to care for this issue. Both of them are incredible kids. We cannot imagine our lives without them. Within hours of them being ours- they didn’t smell any longer. They were clean, happy and actually a bit appreciative- they knew they were being cared for properly. There is NOTHING more bonding than caring for a child when it involves private issues such as potty and poop. I have seen it happen both times for us. The bond between the child and parent is accelerated.

The nannies do all they can for the children and they try to care for them but they do not have access to the supplies and medical care like we do. One of our sons was using a plastic baggy and a cloth tied over it, for his colostomy. It didn’t take long for this energetic little boy to dislodge the contraption and soil his clothes. The director tried to clean him up for us but she was a bit irritated that this had happened. I just wanted to scoop him up and get him back to the hotel to give him a bath. The very first time I cared for him he looked right into my eyes and said, “thank you Momma” in Mandarin. He had my heart right then and there…

Our second little guy came to us in a very soggy and very small diaper (not his size). His clothes were wet and he wreaked of urine. Although he was adorable it was hard at first to see beyond the smell. This little guy was from one of the best orphanage in the country. When hubby got him back to the hotel he immediately gave him a shower and a diaper that fit. This time my hubby was the recipient of “Thank you Daddy” in Mandarin. When they came home I could see right away that Daddy and son had a special bond.

One of our boys has reached social continence and truthfully it’s wonderful for him and for us! Once home he was able to have surgery to “replumb” his intestines and it was hooked up with his “new rectum.” Then 2 months later they took down the colostomy. We followed the Dr.’s instructions and within 4 months after that he was out of diapers!

Our other son is “in process.” His situation is a bit more complicated as he does not feel the potty and poop due to spinal bifida. Our goal and our doctor’s goal is for him to be out of diapers, also. Some children can be regulated through diet alone but we didn’t feel it could be adequately managed that way. So for him the first step is called an ACE procedure- simply put he has a little tiny opening from his belly button to his large colon and each morning we irrigate his bowels with water so we can get all the poop out. That way he can start fresh every day and doesn’t need to worry about poop. In time he will do all of this himself and he will continue to do this as an adult. It’s just part of his morning routine!

For the urine we are catheterizing him 4 times a day and emptying his bladder. He is on a medication that will allow his bladder to do a better job holding the urine. There are many other options for him and for other children. We will see how this works for us and if it does, great and if not, we will try something else. He just needs to bring his catheterizing supplies with him and he can cath himself in the bathroom where ever he is. If he is at school he goes to the nurses office to do this. If he is at the zoo he goes into the stall in the men’s room. Most likely you know someone that does this BUT you are unaware of it. It’s not something that others need to know and that people readily share unless it’s necessary. He will grow up just like any other little boy and have a normal life. As far as sexual function we know he can have children but his private life will remain between him and his spouse. We know it is our Doctor’s goal to be sure he is working that way too.

If your heart has been moved to adopt one of these special kiddos don’t let potty and poop scare you. It’s nothing to be afraid of and I know that now! Step out of your comfort zone and help a child. If you don’t… then who will?



6 responses to “Taking Care of Personal Business”

  1. Yes. Thank you for sharing this. There are SO many waiting kids with these needs, and I have a little with them as well.

  2. Jenne says:

    Thank you for explaining this. Honestly this is a need that has scared us, but they way you put it, it doesn’t seem scary. Thanks

  3. Tracy says:

    We have a son with imperforate anus and spina bifida, and a daughter with spina bifida too. Both are incontinent. It’s a messy business, but really just a matter of routine. What’s a little poop between friends? I was so scared to undertake this our first time around but once you learn options for social continence, and gain the trust and pride of your child, it’s easy.

  4. Laurellee S says:

    Thank you Jean….we have a son with each of these needs and I appreciate so much how nicely you shared about their needs and the NEED for more families to say yes!!!:) May HE bless u as you care for these precious ones of His!!

  5. Ana Maxwell says:

    Great post. The poop and potty stuff NEEDS to be explained in black and white so that people can make more informed decisions. Thank you.

  6. We have one child with neurogenic bowel and bladder and we’re looking at an Augmentation for his bladder in the winter. We’ll be glad for it to be over. We use the cone enema system for his bowel program and its working very well for us so we have not opted for surgical procedures for his bowels at this time. We are in the process of getting our homestudy done for our last China blessing, also with Spina Bifida and bowel/bladder issues.

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