Friday, February 14, 2014

Day 14 - Harper Lily Youngerman

“Now to Him that can do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine”.  Last year when I wrote Harper’s story in the link below, we were preparing for Harper’s open heart surgery at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. We were relying on God in a big way to carry out His plan which we hoped and prayed was in line with what we wanted for our daughter….a very long lifespan! You can view last year’s post here.

I am overjoyed to report that every prayer was answered by our faithful Father.

A total of only 48 hours in the hospital. Discharged from the CICU.  Full Atrial Septal Defect closure.  Less than a 10 percent change of another heart surgery on her pulmonary valve.  A mere 22 minutes on the bypass machine.  She was sitting up less than 2 hours after surgery.  She was laughing 4 hours afterwards. She was walking 24 hours later. No complications.
Praise God for guiding the hands of Dr. Spray and his team!

For me the hardest part of the surgery was when they took Harper from our arms and told us she would be in good hands. We trusted our God but we also always said He loved her before us, so to be faithful we would have to give up our control. We had to fix our eyes on Him and His timing. I wanted to keep her in our arms and protect her but what a false sense of protection it would be. She needed the surgery. We hit a point last year where Harper was so fatigued she could not even color a page in preschool. She was taking 3-½ hour naps and spent the rest of her days on the couch. Our little peanut had waited long enough to have her heart fixed and we needed to just get it over with. They moved up our expected summer 2013 date to the spring of 2013. The week we were supposed to be in Disney World enjoying our first family vacation would now be replaced with a hospital stay. Interestingly enough, we rebooked our trip for this spring and the only dates left for my parents timeshare was the anniversary of Harper’s open heart surgery. You better believe this sweet girl and her sissy will be living out their princess dreams this year on April 11th! It is well deserved!

We are so grateful to our friends, family and acquaintances that were around the clock prayer warriors for Harper last year. You stormed the gates of heaven and the Lord fulfilled His promise that He made when we realized the severity of Harper’s complex medical needs. As first time parents His words brought so much light to our dark world  “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Never doubt for a minute that the creator of the heavens and the earth doesn’t know your need and greatest fear. He knows what keeps you up at night. He knows what will bring you to your knees so that you rely on Him, and only Him. It may not be the way you envisioned your life but it will be what draws you closer to Him. He will do what brings Him glory and will teach you how to look up during the worst storms that surround you.

He also restores the orphan…

Puts the lonely in families and redeems lost couples…

And He heals the brokenhearted so they can blow out their candles on their 5th birthday…

I remember scanning the waiting room at CHOP.  So many parent's faces were filled with worry and pain, fears of the unknown, heartache and grief.  I also saw the mothers who like me were rejoicing in this season of Thanksgiving.  Our lives may not always look this.  I know that I cannot take one day for granted with my Harper bug.  She is a medically complex child.  However, I have learned that God walks on waters and waits for me during the storm to go to Him.  He does not meet me on my boat but rather makes me walk out to Him first.  He then calms the storm.  He then restores my soul and those that are sitting on the lakeside are watching it all unfold.  

To be honest what really has touched me the most about Harper’s medical conditions is how God uses our pain and our story to transform others. As you might imagine we received a lot of emails and messages during Harper’s surgery last year. I heard from complete strangers in other countries how Harper’s journey had brought them closer to Christ. I also heard from some of the closest people in my life how they now believe in Jesus.  Do we really have to ask ourselves why He makes us walk? Or to ask the question, “Why my child”? Now I know why He created my girls with broken hearts and I am on my knees in love with the only person that can restore my soul.

I thought when we chose to say “yes” to her file that we were just going to change the course of her life. Instead, she drastically changed the course of our lives as well as another little girl that was waiting in China named Hua Xiuke (Talia Mei). Her story also led many adoptive parents to change their hearts and open themselves up to children with heart conditions. She is one amazing little girl!

I look at the battles all of these precious children with congenital heart disease face. The endless doctors’ appointments, the 2nd, 3rd and 4th opinions -- along with all the surgeries and tests. Their mamas are so tough and strong. Most of them have other children and a calendar packed with normal everyday life events. Yet their heart child takes precedence over everything and everyone because they need them most.  I know many mothers whose children have not survived the year and if you ask them if they would adopt another child with a heart condition…there is no hesitation to respond with “Yes, of course.”  Goodness, some children have not even made it to their mommy and daddy’s arms but no one has ever regretted leaping out and saying “Yes”. So if you are one of those adoptive families that are considering a child with a heart condition please know with a 100 % guarantee you will never look back and regret the decision. He will carry you through the medical bills, the pain and anxiety and give you the stamina to parent such a child. “But He knows the way I take; when He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” Job 23:10

Tonight as I prepared this post I looked back on the long prayer list I drew up before Harper’s surgery. This was my final request and now our only prayer.

-We pray Lord for Harper to know you and love you and sing your praises all the days of her life.  Let her story be a testament always of your faithfulness and let it draw others closer to you.  Lord we ask you to do immeasurably more with Harper’s life then we can imagine. We pray you continue to use her for your purpose.

I attended one of my favorite events of the year this past weekend. The Created For Care retreat in Atlanta that is specifically for adoptive mamas. It was there last year where I prayed for God’s mercy and strength to carry us through the storm. I remember breaking down into a puddle of tears writing out my prayer request. It was the first time I let myself feel the intense pain of wondering what if the surgery does not go as planned. This year I was able to proclaim His faithfulness on the praise board. I was also able to spend some quiet time reflecting on how He healed her heart and what her story and life would look like in the future. I am not much of an artist. I like to think of myself more of a visionary and then give someone the ideas that has talent to carry it out…ha! I painted a little sheet with two hearts and wrote the words, “He heals”. When I returned from my trip on Sunday I posted it on our refrigerator as a reminder of God’s promises. Today during the first day of our southern blizzard Harper asked to paint. She never asks to paint. I took out some paper and old finger paints and she recreated in her own perfect way my painting. The difference was she drew a line down the center of one heart to show how her heart was repaired by God!  You see Harper is just like any other child. She wants to feel loved. She wants to fit in. She wants to think her body is just like her friends at preschool. She wants to run and jump and skip without being tired. She wants to rejoice in this moment and thank her creator for healing her. And for this moment we will do just that.

If you would like to read an in depth version of Harper's Happy Heart day you can view it here:


Owlhaven said...

Thank you for sharing your story!

Mary, momma to many

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