And Our Family Tree Grew

November 1, 2015 bowel management, cloaca, Family Stories, imperforate anus, November 2015 Feature - Urogenital, Urogenital System 2 Comments

Once upon a time God planted a tiny seed in my heart. A seed for adoption. That fact that it grew at all is truly miraculous. You see, my son had just been born and was in the NICU where he was recovering from his first 2 of now 13 surgeries. He has Spina Bifida. A nurse that was caring for him told us the story of how she adopted her daughter after caring for her in the NICU. I was so touched by her story. Later that evening, over dinner, my husband and I casually mentioned how “cool” it would be to adopt a child like hers someday. And so the seed settled.

Over the next few years I would occasionally think of adoption. But never having really surrendered my life to Christ, the what ifs and excuses keep the seed from growing. Eventually God placed the right people and circumstances in my life so that all my heart wanted was to adopt a child. My husband was on board and we began the search for our child. And so the seed grew roots.

We started down many avenues for adoption: first foster care, then domestic, and then international. Eventually we learned, that because of my MS, China was the only country that would allow us to adopt. I have come to understand that this was the only door open to us because China was where my daughter was. The seed had sprouted.

We had checked all the forms and submitted all the paperwork. We were waiting to be matched. Then there was an email. It was like many others I had seen. Pictures of kiddos who hadn’t been matched with one paragraph biographies. I was in a fast food drive through on the way home from a day of Dr.’s appointment for my son, when I got a text. “Have you seen the new email?” it said. No. I opened it. The pictures wouldn’t load so I quickly read the bios. I was struck. Panicked nearly. There were two girls whose files I HAD to look at. I started sending emails and making phone calls to every contact I had at our agency.


I hadn’t even seen their pictures and I could not do enough to find out about these girls. I got home and immediately opened the email on my laptop. My husband was there and as I pulled up the pictures he said “now that’s a cute kid”… she was. (As God would have it the others child’s file was already on hold by her forever family.) She was beautiful and I was in love. We put her file on hold and I combed through it. Imperforate Anus. I’m a nurse, emergency care though, I had barely heard of it. My first reaction… this is going to be an awkward when I tell people (after a time or two, it just is what it is). I started researching. Much of her potential needs were needs we were familiar with because of my son’s condition. I read the file to my husband. We agreed, it was time for our girl to come home.

And our family tree grew.


Eventually after getting home, testing, and 5 surgeries (2 major, 3 minor) it was determined that our girl has a complex cloaca. Her cloaca is high and further complicated by an unusual cavity next to the bladder that had attached and perforated the bladder neck. She also has one functioning kidney. She was thought to have a heart defect, but this had righted itself by the time she got home. She also had a tethered spinal cord upon arrival that was released in surgery.

Bowel and bladder management will be a part of her life always. But these things can be managed and with surgery scheduled for the first of next year, she will be “clean and dry” according to the urologist.

She is so beautiful. She loves all things girly: shoes, makeup, painting her toes, jewelry, and did I mention shoes! She has this super witty sense of humor that I cannot get over. She is, as the nannies said, “strong willed”. Boy, did they ever hit that nail on the head. She is our girl.


Imperforate Anus will not rule her life. It is but a part. She does not suffer because of it, she lives with it. But, make no mistake; had she stayed in the orphanage, she likely would have died. It is the truth. God is so merciful and I am so humbled that he let us go to her.

– guest post by Ginna

2 responses to “And Our Family Tree Grew”

  1. Tara says:

    Amazing, Ginna. Amazing. Love you all.

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