Friday, February 12, 2016

Day 12 - Willow & Jonas

Every day I am in awe of this adventure my husband and I have had the privilege of going on together.

We decided to adopt a child a few years ago when we had trouble conceiving.  At first, we decided we could only adopt a healthy infant.  As we began to pray and explore all of the different ways to adopt, we were drawn to the China program at the agency we had decided upon.  As we discussed special needs we would consider, Kyle was pretty open to congenital heart defects.  I was a little bit hesitant, as they scared me.  The heart is a pretty important part of keeping a person alive.  I just couldn’t imagine what our lives would look like with a child with this need.

We received the referral call about our daughter on an icy, quiet day.  It was absolutely amazing.  We received our referral call about our son nearly two years later when we were at our favorite breakfast spot and our daughter was off enjoying preschool.  Bliss!  Both times we received those calls, the excitement and joy was profound.  Both times we received those calls, the complexity of the heart condition was a little more than what we had anticipated.  Our children are the biggest blessings from a loving God, a God who never makes mistakes when He creates life and a God who redeems hard things for good.  The story He has written for our little family has both shocked and delighted us. 

Our daughter has L-TGA (along with other defects that kept her alive); she has recently had a complicated surgery called a hemi-mustard rastelli.  She now has two ventricles (or as one doctor described it, a ventricle and a half) which we did not know would be possible.  Our son (who is not yet home) has D-TGA and had an arterial switch at three months old in Nanjing.  As I reflected on what to write about today, I read my last two entries for this blog.  It’s incredible how much can change in two years.  I don’t even really want to remember a time that Willow was not a part of our lives!  Next year I know I will feel the same way about our precious son.  Jonas, not only is a medical team ready to go for you, but your loving family is desperate to be near you, to know you, and to forever care for you, allowing at the same time for you to pace our relationship.  Because we’ve been entrusted with them, we will do everything in our power to guide our children well in this life.

Last year, we were anticipating Willow’s surgery and all of the unknowns that went along with it.  Well, we did it!  The surgery was extremely difficult.  We were in the hospital for twelve days, eleven of those in the ICU.  I cannot imagine how hard longer stays would be, but I know many who write for this blog have done them.  Self care for the parents of sick children is critical but nearly impossible.  My husband and I couldn’t bring ourselves to leave her side, so we slept on a couch head to toe and toe to head.  We didn’t sleep very much, as I know my fellow heart parents understand.  There was so much instability in that ICU as our daughter fought for her life.  She is so brave and strong.  We discovered other children next door passed away.  We heard the crying and wailing and saw families weeping.  Terrifying.  What an incredible honor to get to sit beside our warrior daughter and repeatedly whisper, “Mama and Daddy are right by you.”  We did not get to be a part of her first heart repair, as she had a Glenn operation at nine months in Shanghai.  We wanted her to know every single second that we were there. 

It was a bit traumatizing for us all.  We knew to expect it would be hard.  When she aspirated into her lungs, fighting for her life, and they had to reintubate her, we clung to our parents and siblings for strength.  It was the most disturbing feeling I have ever had in my life.  Our warrior girl glazed over and withdrew emotionally, which was one of our biggest fears as we had worked hard to develop the attachment that we had.  It was not permanent withdrawal, but at the time we didn’t have that reassurance.  My husband, my daughter, and I are all still processing what happened in that hospital this past summer.  We have some effects of the trauma we still face on occasion, and I do not think those will ever go away, but they will become more integrated into our lives.  When those terrifying feelings pop up, one beautiful thing is that we have experienced the most complete gratitude.

I am so thankful.  I could care less if my house is presentable or if I’m wearing the latest trends.  My healthy CHILD just ran through the sprinkler.  The simple things are the most beautiful.  It is incredible to step away from a traumatizing event such as life threatening surgery, to begin to heal and just take in the present moment.  Redemption.  (Oh, I knew writing for this blog would make me cry.)

Both of my children faced open heart surgery before having the luxury of a family.  After experiencing my daughter’s second surgery ‘right by her’, this is a sickening realization.  Oh, they had the loving care of nannies.  God, thank You for that grace.  But they did not have us, and that hurts.

There are babies out there right now in need of families who haven’t had the privilege of receiving life giving surgery yet.  Many of these surgeries would be routine in the states.  These are surgeries that medical technology, educated physicians, and medical insurances have enabled, by the grace of God.  Modern medicine is divine, and so many in need do not have access to it.

When we overcame our fear, when we let go of control and allowed God to create our family in the way He was leading, we walked into this life of light.  God opened every doorway as we simply kept walking through.  Not for a moment would I change the fact that we miscarried to push us into this direction, even though that was awful.  How devastating to think about the possibility of our saying no to our two most precious CHD children out of fear.  Our plans were not His plans, and I’m just so glad.

“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”
Proverbs 16:9

The following scripture makes me think of my babies.  Their strength is incredible and God given.  Even when they’re weak in body, they’re strong in spirit and have such fight.  They inspire all who know them and even those who do not know them.

“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”
Isaiah 40:31

To whoever is reading this, may our loving God renew your strength, keeping you from weariness today and all of the days of your life.  In this adventure of a life, let’s wait and see what He will do.

2 comments: said...

I love, love, love that you are adopting again!! What a beautiful story!

Andrea O. said...


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