Sunday, February 2, 2014

Day 2 - Lucy Haun

Our "Sweetheart" Lucy Story

"Such a BIG miracle in such a little girl"

The Bible says in Psalm 68: 5-6,
"Father to the fatherless, defender of widows— this is God, whose dwelling is holy. God places the lonely in families; he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy..."

My husband, Chad, and I, Lauren, have always felt a calling on our lives to go and do whatever God has set in our hearts to do. We both felt God laid adoption on our hearts early in our marriage. We had been blessed with 3 beautiful and amazing biological children, Carter, Cannon, and Emmalyn, and now all we needed was a sister/best friend for Emmalyn.

Our “paper pregnancy” started in June 2012 when we applied with Lifeline Children Services to start our process. Emmalyn was only 8 months old, but we knew that the process could take awhile and knew that we wanted the girls to be close in age. We were accepted into the China program and started our home study at the beginning of July. I had always felt a pulling on her heart toward Asia, and specifically China. As we started the process, we were told about the Waiting Child List on our agency's website. I did not realize there was a list of orphans that you could look and more or less "choose your child" from it. I had only ever thought that you were matched with a child... So this was amazing news to me... So, as in true "Lauren" fashion... The waiting child list becomes my nightly obsession every night before I would close my eyes to go to sleep. Chad did not like me looking at the list because in his mind it would be months and months before we were even ready to be matched with a child... 

But low and behold about two weeks into our home study... I am drawn in to this sweet baby girl's face on the list. She truly captured my interest because she was only 7 months old and we wanted to keep birth order. I knew that it might be too early to find our baby girl, but maybe just maybe she was supposed to our daughter. I showed her picture to Chad and he said, "Lauren, it's just too soon." I tried a few more times to talk to Chad about her, but he simply said we would pray about it but he thought it was too soon. 

In early August I could not get this sweet baby Chinese girl off my mind. She consumed my thoughts and my prayers. I broke down and emailed my social worker just to ask about her. The next thing I knew, I had this sweet baby's file in my inbox. I was about to burst at the seams. I remember that day that I couldn't wait for my 3 bio's nap time so that I could sit down and read her file.

This baby girl's file said she had an ASD, VSD, and PDA flap that was still open. (Basically her heart had two holes and a flap that would require open heart surgery.) Her file was very vague and old and that was the only information it gave about her medical needs. Her file contained pictures that appeared to look like a droopy eye lid and a picture that revealed an extra right thumb. I started my google research to find out all I could about these medical needs and after finding out as much internet info as I could find, I decided I could most defiantly handle a child that required open heart surgery and possibly a couple small surgeries for other issues. Now all that was left was to show Chad this file and pray with all my heart that God would show him that this was our daughter! It took all of 3 days for Chad to know that this was indeed our baby girl! My heart was so full and I was so excited... I could not WAIT to submit our LOI!! (Letter of intent)

On August 26, 2012 we submitted our LOI for her and two days later we were rejected and denied Pre-approval.

“Chad had just turned 30. For the China program, you have to be 30,” Lauren said. “I was 29 and a half; I would be turning 30 in February.”

Our agency had told us about other families in the same position who were approved if the mother would be turning 30 by the time they traveled. They submitted an amendment asking them to take into consideration that Lauren would be 30 by the time they would leave to go to China. 

China still said no. They said I had to be 30 to submit an LOI.

I lost it. 

Our agency would only have our sweet girl's file for two more months and then it would be sent back to the general shared list. There was no way to know where our baby girl's file would go. 

About a week after we found out the answer was no, I had a dream that our baby girl from China was named Lucy. I woke up thinking how amazingly perfect the name Lucy was and that was her name. Chad loved it and we found out that Lucy means "light". It was more than perfect! 

Twice a day I checked to make sure Lucy’s picture was still on the agency’s website. If it was still there, she was still on the waiting list and had not been matched. Nov. 30 was Lucy’s 6-month mark on the waiting list. On Dec. 1, she was gone. 

All I could do at that point was pray this, “OK Lord, maybe she wasn’t supposed to be our child and I have to give her back to You. She is your daughter and I have to trust you." All  we could do was wait...

Around Jan. 22, roughly a month before I turned 30, our social worker called with unbelievable news. Lucy’s file had been moved to the agency’s special focus list meaning they would have her file for 30 more days. Our social worker said that two weeks before my birthday, we could put Lucy's file on hold for 2 weeks and, of course, we did. 

As soon as my birthday arrived, we resubmitted our LOI and received preapproval for her four days later!! IT WAS THE BEST BIRTHDAY PRESENT EVER!! Our special and amazing heart baby was going to be our daughter and was coming home!!! We were logged in on March 20, received our LOA (letter of approval) on April 22, had I-800 approval by mid May, article 5 drop off and pickup expedited at the end of May, and began our Travel Approval wait by the beginning of June. It was at that point when our adoption took a turn for the worse...

Our agency called with some updated info on Lucy. She was in the hospital with pneumonia and had already been there for a week. The orphanages do not legally have to give any information until a child is officially adopted, so the info was very vague. We asked for more info and asked as many questions as we could think of... It was incredibly hard to hear that our daughter was in the hospital fighting pneumonia and we weren't there to care for her and help make her well again... But the news from China got even worse...

Next we found out that Lucy had a new CT scan done. We had never been told that she had ever had a CT scan before. They requested information on why she was having the CT scans done, and for the results. It was nerve rattling to find out this information when we were awaiting travel approval. We knew Lucy was behind and delayed. We could tell she was severely malnourished and neglected. We had reviewed pictures of Lucy at the beginning of May that was very, very unsettling. She looked sick and she looked like she was not doing well at all. Even after those hard pictures we were full force into getting to china as soon as they would allow us to go.

We received results of all of Lucy's CT scans and found out that Lucy had a subdural hematoma, which is a collection of blood on the brain, usually from a traumatic head injury. She. Had. Been. Physically. Abused. 

It was no doubt that at some point, someone had hurt our baby girl. That kind of news sucks the breath from your lungs and makes a parent want to lose all control... And then the hard questions started coming from a liaison from China, who works with our agency. The hardest question they asked us several different times was: are you sure you want this child? They said she was mentally damaged, had mental problems, wouldn't make it, would never be normal... We would say, YES, this is our daughter you are talking about they would ask again... Are you sure you want to adopt this child??

It was confusing, heart breaking, and just plain HARD to think about all that this precious child had endured and all the "baggage" that came with her if we brought her in as our daughter into our family. After several days and nights of awful sleep, praying endlessly, talking to our agency twice a day on the phone, taking with our parents, good friends, and finally talking several hours to an International Adoption Clinic doctor... It came down to a simple thought my husband had... Chad said, "if Jesus was sitting across the table from me and I asked Him, Jesus, do we go get this child and bring her into our family?" Chad said Jesus would never say, "Don't go get my child!" And there was our answer... Lucy was indeed OUR DAUGHTER!!! It was a good thing that Chad made this amazing decision for our family because we had received travel approval. That was a Monday, Tuesday we received our consulate appointment, Wednesday booked our flights, and Thursday we left for China to bring our baby girl home!!! 

It was an awesome trip to China and we brought home our baby girl and she became a US citizen on July 4, 2013.

We had made it over some major hurdles, our faith was tested like crazy and we trusted God more than we have in our lives!

Our Lucy was so sick when we got her. She was so beautiful and so sweet and I was in love with this precious China babe, my 4th child. :) She was like a 3 month old in an 18 month old's body. She weighed a mere 14 lbs. She needed a momma and a daddy and a family to love her. She also needed doctors and that's indeed what happened next after we got home from China. Lucy started her journey to wellness and to making her little frail body whole and healthy again.

Lucy's team consisted of a pediatric cardiologist, optometrist, orthopedic, radiologist, and our pediatrician.

We found out her subdural hematoma was from where she had been shaken at some point as a baby. She needed glasses, eye surgery, hand surgery, and most importantly open heart surgery. Her little precious heart was being overworked and it was causing her body to burn too many calories and she was very tiny because of it. She also needed good nutrition and some good momma/daddy loving!!

 Lucy had open heart surgery at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital in Nashville on August 29. Her ASD had closed on it's own, but they had to patch the VSD and close the PDA flap. She came through the surgery beautifully! We were there for almost a week and then we got to go home. Going through that was hard. I hated to see her in pain! I hated that we had only been home for almost two months and then she had to go through major surgery. I also knew she needed that life saving surgery. Lucy started gaining weight and growing rapidly after heart surgery. It's amazing how when the heart works properly, the rest of the body follows suit. 

It's so much like how God works in our hearts. Once He has our hearts and we have given it freely back to Him, to fix and make whole and pure again, our life follows suit and sees just how much we truly need Him. 

Recovery from heart surgery was hard but for Lucy, our fighter, was back to her fun loving self in just a few weeks.

Lucy had to have tubes put in her ears in November, she received a prescription for glasses, and we received amazing news at the beginning of November... Lucy's Subdural hematoma was completely gone from her brain!!! The radiologists were shocked at how fast it subsided. She had eye surgery to correct her droopy lid (congenial Ptosis) on January 9. She now sees so much better. She still needs thumb surgery to remove her extra thumb. 

Lucy is truly our miracle girl!! She is a fighter and just so completely amazing. Within 6 months of being home, Lucy has grown 3 inches and has gained 7 lbs. She has gone from barley holding her head up to sitting up, crawling on Christmas Day and now trying to pull up on everything. She went from only ever drinking formula from a bottle to eating anything and everything you give her and drinks from a sippy cup. She is so completely amazing and she loves her family so much and we love her more than anything.

It's so amazing what love can do. It's amazing what love has done in Chad and my heart! Jesus took this precious baby girl from China that needed a family and put her in our family... And we needed her just as much as she needed us! Lucy's siblings love her so much and I love to see them interact and play together. Our miracle girl still had quite the road ahead of her, but we will be here to go through every single step with her.

We found out Lucy has to have reconstructive hip surgery and although it completely broke my heart to know Lucy will have to have another major surgery... I know that this news was not news to our great God!! He will hold Lucy through this and will heal her hip dysplasia. 

Adoption is a calling. Not everyone is called, but we were. We were given such a precious gift and we are so incredibly blessed by our amazing Lucy Catherine Ping Haun. Many orphans don't have to endure as many surgeries and therapies as Lucy has and will go through, but I'm so glad God chose us to be her family. It's hard, but we do hard. It's taxing, tiring, and exhausting... But don't you think Jesus felt these same things as He endured the cross for us? It's also the most love I've ever felt in my heart. My heart is full and I'm so thankful for our "sweetheart" Chinese baby girl that was given to us this past year! 

I pray that one day in the near future, in God's perfect timing, that we will bring home another child; so that there will be one more LESS orphan!!

Romans 8:38-39


Drea said...

What a glorious story of faith and the redemptive power of love. Thank you for sharing!

Sarah said...

Your family has a beautiful and courageous story, thank you for sharing!

Jo's Corner said...

I Love Lucy!! (Had to say that!) What a sweet, sweet girl and a precious family to love her to Health. I'll add Lucy to my prayer list. Makes me so happy to read that you Knew she was your Daughter!

Tamberly Ahart said...

What a powerful story! Thank you so much for sharing. It's so encouraging to read testimonies like this while we are also going through the same process (but earlier in it).

Mary Sammons said...

Thank you for sharing with such transparency. Life is so much richer when we allow Gods requests to get dirty and uncomfortable! Lucy is amazing!!

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