Monday, February 24, 2014

Day 24 - Naya

How would I know which child was mine??

I had decided to adopt from China.  As I waited to be matched with my daughter, I wondered how I would know she was my girl when I found her.  Would it be love at first sight?  Would there be something about her that made it glaringly obvious that we were meant for each other?  I asked other adoptive parents, and the answers varied.  Some knew from the first moment.  Others found a child that fell into the categories they were looking for, made their choice based on that, then fell in love along they way to getting her.  So I didn't know how it would happen for me.

I looked at all the waiting children that came across my Facebook and Yahoo groups daily.  Being a single woman I knew my child would have to be Special Focus - basically the harder to place children.  I had filled out my agency's Medical Checklist with a lot of "Maybe" boxes checked.  I was expecting the child I chose might have minor cerebral palsy, or spina bifida, as those were special needs I felt comfortable being able to care for on my own.

As I grew impatient over the months, I decided to re-visit the Medical Checklist I had submitted to my agency.  I had checked "Maybe" next to "Minor Heart Condition".  I had since watched the stories of other adoptive parents whose child needed a heart surgery and afterwards was in great health.  Didn't sound that daunting after all.  So I decided to change that checkbox to a "Yes". 

Two days later I was called with a file to look at.  She was a little girl of almost 4, with a minor heart condition.  When I opened my email to see the face of my daughter smiling back at me, I knew it was her.  Having that recognition was such a relief, it gave me the confidence going forward that I couldn't possibly feel I had made the wrong decision.  I needed that.  

I then had her medical file reviewed before accepting the referral.  I was told that she had a VSD that would need repair, and possibly a valve replacement.  Open heart surgery was scary, but I had good insurance and knew that my company would be flexible if I needed time off for her recovery.  And after that she would lead a normal, healthy life.  I had decided that as long as her condition wasn't life-threatening, I would accept her referral.  So I did!

Fast-forward 5 months, we are home together and at her first cardiology appointment.  She had all the regular evaluations done.  X-rays, EKG, Echo cardiogram.  After the echo, our cardiologist comes in to sit with us.  He then hesitantly gave me the explanation of the test results he had just reviewed, which felt like a ton of bricks crashing down on me.  I learned that while there were options available to help her, there was no "fix" for her heart.


But even that day I found myself thankful for the irony of my daughter's condition being one that I wouldn't have accepted had I known the extent of it.  I could have been mad at China, or the doctors, or whoever had mislead me.  But I have never felt a drop of anger.  Only relief that God knew what I did and did not need to know, in order to be brought to my daughter.

Naya is basically living with a single ventricle heart.  Her diagnosis is mitral atresia with double outlet right ventricle, moderately hypoplastic left ventricle, with multiple ventricular septal defects.  After scouring the country for second opinions from the top surgeons, she will be getting a Fontan surgery on the very day you are reading this, February 24th.  So if you're the praying type, please say one for Naya now!  We will be in the ICU for 2-4 weeks, so it will be a long recovery for a complicated surgery to re-structure her circulation.

The fear behind having a child with a life threatening condition quickly became something that did not own me.  In fact, it has opened my mind to future possibilities for other children.  God has given me peace and hope.  And while I do not know exactly what the future will bring, I can trust I'm right where I am supposed to be, and so is Naya.  That's not to say that fear has not been crippling, particularly at the very beginning, but God has helped me fight it off.  At this point in our journey, I need to let myself go forward with hope and confidence that He will give her a long and healthy life, and that she will be an example of His provision and grace.  I know there will be a lot to learn along the way.

So adoption always comes with the unknowns.  As does the birth of a biological child.  And even though the heart stuff is hard, I've been so fortunate in other ways.  Our personalities are a perfect match.  She has adjusted amazingly.  My family and friends have provided support at every need.  I am thankful.  And while there is hope, there is timidity when I think of the future.  But God has helped me put my fears aside and we love each day of life together.


Drea said...

Beautiful! We had a similar experience with our first CHD child: he came home with a much more serious diagnosis than we thought, and we probably would not have accepted his referral out of fear had we known. But that experience led us to three more CHD children, and we feel like the luckiest people on Earth!

Maka said...

I love being a part of your and Naya's life through your words!! You inspire me, Sarah Barnes! Hugs and prayers!

Jo's Corner said...

Dear Sarah,
I want you to know that I will be praying for Naya, as she recovers from her surgery. And, praying for her Mama, too. Hugs, Jo

LisaE. said...

Praying for Naya, for the surgeons and other medical personnel, and peace for you too.

Sarah said...

Thank you Maka & Jo!! I appreciate those prayers so much.
And Drea yes, it is crazy how we're actually capable of handling so much more than we thought, and growing from it in the best way!

Sarah said...

Thanks Drea! It is crazy to see how God knows what we need more than we do isn't it! :)

Sarah said...

Thanks so much Lisa, the prayers mean a lot!

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