Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Day 23 - Joshua, Joy & Rebekah Peterson

Joshua adopted 8/2011;  Joy adopted 9/2012;  Rebekah adopted 1/2015

(click on previous years to start from the beginning 20132014, & 2015)

My heart kids.

The kids of my heart.

Simply amazing people who have survived and thrived in spite of their congenital heart defects. 

Because life is meant to be lived. 

This is the truth that our three China heart kids have taught me.

Since Joshua came in 2011, life has been up and down and all around with too many doctors, hospitals, and medical stuff for our three China hearts.

 The past year brought some relative calm and stability for Joshua, Joy and Rebekah.

Joshua, post transplant/December of 2013, keeps getting better and better. His recent two year check up revealed a heart that is functioning at its best level since transplant. 

Not a day goes by that I don't pause for a moment and look at Joshua with total awe in appreciation of the gift of an organ donor that gave him a future beyond what we imagined. My breath catches every time as I realize there is someone else's heart beating inside of him.  Joshua's stroke recovery remains the biggest hurdle as it affects him emotionally and educationally but physically he is might fine and how fun it is to see him fly!

Joshua celebrated his 12th birthday with an "Icing Smiles" dream cake reflecting his intense interest in all things Power Ranger. He is looking forward to being a teenager. 

Joshua's determination will get him where he needs to go. His biggest  accomplishment this year was hitting 50 pounds and getting rid of his g-tube. 

Joy loves that she is Chinese. Joy loves life. Joy loves everyone! 

At a recent cardiology visit, I reflected with the cardiologist that of all my heart kids, Joy has brought us the most worry and concern. Her diagnosis was initially the least concerning, a repairable PDA and resulting mild pulmonary hypertension. The good doctor nodded in agreement. After a little spike in pressures this past year, we switched up her meds a bit and have gotten her health and well being to a better place. Her occupational therapist said that the spark that lives within Joy will more than make up for the delays that make life a bit harder for her. 

At age nine, Joy rides a two wheeler, swims like a fish, and is learning to read. We think she is perfect just the way she is.

Our six littles are doing life together. All are adopted and bring out the best in each other. We are a blended family in the best possible way with a hope for the future that was not imaginable just a short time ago. 

Rebekah came home in January of 2015 and had her VSD closure surgery last April. She has been healed and released from cardiology for a year. Hearing that her right ventricle had shrunk to "normal size" was nothing short of amazing as prior to adoption,  she had been widely advertised and passed over because of her diagnosis of severe pulmonary hypertension. 

Watching Rebekah experience all the firsts makes older child adoption so worth the trepidation that comes with committing to a kid who has established behaviors and patterns. When she ran for the first time post surgery and realized that she could keep on going, the pure joy on her face brought tears to my eyes and filled my own heart with a deep gratitude for adoption and mended hearts. Rebekah swims and bikes and runs like every child deserves. She continues to learn English and we work on the bonding that happens over time with older kids.

I can't explain it, how we manage with twelve kids, how we take care of these medically fragile kids, forge through adoption issues, mental health trauma, never counting on the future, we can only hold on to each day as a gift. 

The crazy and wild world of foster care and adoption has made our family the very best it could be, a blending of hearts and colors and most of all...love.  

No regrets. Only love.



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