Beauty in the Unknown

August 4, 2015 Central Nervous System, cerebral palsy, Family Stories 5 Comments

The 30 seconds that it took for the doctor to pull up the images from the MRI seemed to take an eternity. It seemed as though time was at a standstill, which I might have thought was true if it wasn’t for the shrieking and laughing coming from our artificial twins by adoption, who were playing on the chairs against the wall.

It had been three months since we brought our son home to join our family. As the images began to appear, I felt the tears welling up in my eyes. I felt my husband squeeze my shoulder. He could tell I was trying my best to hold back the flood of emotions that was ready to pour out of me. The MRI confirmed what we already had concluded from the very first moment we saw him face to face… cerebral palsy.


I just wasn’t prepared or expecting what that would translate to in terms of the extent of his actual injury. My head was still swirling and the kids were still playing happily when the doctor told us that she was actually surprised by his MRI. She said that she didn’t think that the MRI and our little man “fit together.” She said she would’ve thought he would’ve had much more limited capabilities based upon his scan.

My eyes traveled down to see a beautiful and happy little boy running around the room – such a miracle and so much beauty. Beauty in the resiliency of his brain that has allowed him to learn to walk, run, and climb. That’s the funny thing with the brain and CP – it is so very unpredictable.

On the drive home that day, I did a lot of thinking. I was grateful. Grateful that we hadn’t seen any MRI results or known of a CP diagnosis before bringing him home. His file said right side weakness. I look back now and realize the rose colored glasses of adoption were impairing my vision.I should have known even then that the weakness translated into cerebral palsy, but it wasn’t obvious because in the only video we received with his file he was scooting around in a walker.

As I was lying in bed that night, I became angry with myself. I realized that if that MRI had been placed in my hands before that little boy had been, that we probably would’ve missed out on the privilege of calling the little boy down the hall our son. As much as I try to think that we would have looked past that scan, I doubted myself…. and I hated it.

Seeing what I saw on that MRI, and reading the words of some of the files of some of these littles ones is just downright scary at times – scary because of the unknown. Something else that’s often unknown is our immense capacity to love a little person in spite of what a paper or a scan says.

It’s now going on 8 months that we’ve been home, and I can’t imagine life without him in our family. His eyes sparkle with excitement and adventure each day, and he has the most tender heart. He goes to therapy twice a week for both occupational and physical therapy, and he has made amazing progress! So much so that we are on the verge of reducing his number of OT visits per week!


We still have some unknowns in terms of what level of functionality his right hand will have in the future, but we aren’t concerned. I’m sure some in the adoption world would say that we were silly not to get a second opinion on his file, or have an adoption clinic review it. I suppose for some that would be true, but I’m so glad that we simply just said yes.

His needs can be managed, but our family without him would be unmanageable.

– guest post by Erin



At NHBO, we love Family Stories. And we know our readers love them, too. Beyond being encouraging and informative, Family Stories shared here have actually resulted in children coming home to a forever family. If you’ve adopted a child through China’s special needs program, we hope you’ll consider sharing your family story. It just may be the reason another family considers that very special need.

5 responses to “Beauty in the Unknown”

  1. Shannon Stivers says:

    Our daughter came home to us the end of March. She will be 4 in a few weeks. We found out recently she may have CP as well, significant right side weakness like your son. We knew she had Hydrocephelus (due to Spina Bifida), but we’re not expecting the. CP diagnosis. Agree with every word you said!!!:) So thankful!!

  2. Renee says:

    We have only adopted 1 child. Our agency required a physician to review the child’s file with us. Is this not standard procedure? I am very thankful for this family that it has worked out so well for everyone involved and wish them nothing but the best.

  3. Cheryl Graham says:

    Beautifully written, and so very true. Too many prospective parents are scared off by the what-ifs with a child’s medical condition. Thank you for your honesty. Hopefully, other parents will read this and open their own hearts to a special child.

  4. Joy Kobylka says:

    Thanks for writing this post. We are going to pick up our little girl next week. She has a CP diagnosis. The unknowns can be very frightening to me at times. Posts like this are such an encouragement.

  5. So beautiful! We did get some films about our daughter back in 2004, and I fought such a shameful battle with God about adopting her because of my human fear. I thank God every day for patiently wooing me and for blessing us with her in spite of my selfish fear. You can read a little about her here if you’re interested. She is the light of our lives. Thanks for sharing.

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