Our adoption story began in May of 2011, we had been reading several books as part of our church home study group. While reading Max Lucado’s Outlive Your Life it talked about the amount of poverty and preventable disease in the world and how we (as American’s) have so much wealth and only 2% of the world’s grain harvest (if shared) would erase world hunger. He also called out that there are 145 million orphans in the world and an estimated 236 million people in the US that call themselves Christians. While it acknowledges that not everyone is called or able to take in orphans, we have the resources to take care of these children. I left that chapter with the challenge of “What is God calling you to do?” I really fought with it for a while and then talked with my husband about adoption. Our children were 12 & 8 at the time, and my husband said “you are crazy”! Through much prayer over the next month God confirmed the call in his life as well, we knew NOTHING about adoption. We started looking at agencies, then found out that we had to pick a country. We both felt like God was calling us to China. Through the whole process we always said very minor special needs. When we got to the part of the home study where you had to select what you were willing to take. We met with a pediatrician and selected the items we felt would fit with our family dynamitic. At the end of the conversation she said – there is so much that can be done with the heart today. We submitted our paperwork and put TOF as a possible option (along with a couple others).
Our dossier was logged in China on 12/20/11, we received a call on January 19th. It was a shock to us because we did not expect a call the first month after being logged in and it was shortly after the shared list calls were made. The agency said they had a little girl diagnosed with TOF, however she had come back on the shared list and it may be a little more severe than just TOF. I fell in love with her at first sight and knew that she would be our daughter!
It was a Thursday evening when we received the referral call and we had to get a Dr. to review the file that Friday. God worked everything out (as he always does) and we got an INCREDIBLE cardiologist that said, while it looks like it could be TOF, there is mention of single ventricle. You need to be prepared for either. This was lot more than what we thought we could do, but was going to leave it in God’s hands. We accepted the referral. We requested some additional information and found out that her oxygen saturation rates were upper 50’s / lower 60’s. We went from knowing nothing about adoption or heart defects – to requesting an expedite on this sweet heart baby that really needed surgery. They called and said they could do the surgery in China (through Love Without Boundaries) or we could wait (based on the fact that we were able to expedite) until she got to the US. We decided to wait and do the surgery here in the US. We got Sarah on May 7th, 2012. Her lips, fingers and toes were blue, she had clubbing on her fingers and toes, but she was AWESOME! She is our sweet baby!
We returned to the US on May 16th and Sarah had a cardiologist appointment that Friday (18th). We found out that it was more severe and she was a single ventricle, DORV. They were going to send her to the cath lab right away to check pressures and ensure they could do surgery. While this was a blow, I have to say I was never really “freaked out”, I always knew that God had this precious child in His hands and no matter what He was going to take care of her.
The lungs were great and she was a good candidate for the Glenn procedure. Sarah had open heart surgery on June 6th and did amazingly well. She was up walking the floors on day 4 and was released on day 5.
Sarah has done so good recovering and will have her second surgery late spring, early summer (Fontan). She has no limitations and the only medicine she takes is ½ a baby aspirin. I find myself thinking back to the day when we got the referral and thinking there is no way we can take a child with a serious heart condition and needing open heart surgery – then I look at this little girl running around, taking over the house and I can’t imagine our family without her! It really hit home at one of her cardiologist follow up appointments when the doctor said,” if she was still in China with no surgery she would not be alive”. That breaks my heart – not so much for her, as she is home, but for all the other children there that just need a chance.
When we received the call that Love Without Boundaries could do the surgery in China and we decided to wait until she arrived in the US, they were gracious enough to share with me the little boy, Braxton, who received her funds and had lifesaving surgery. I have recently followed up to see how Braxton is doing and he is currently not available for adoption – however we are working very hard to see if we can get him ready and if it’s God’s will that he will also be part of our family one day very soon!