Thursday, February 16, 2017

Day 16 - Morrissey Ri

Matt and I have always known that we wanted to adopt, specifically internationally.  You can check out my blog post here about why we ended up choosing this route.  But quite simply, this is where God led us.  When we next were led to China, we were a little overwhelmed with the Medical Needs Check List.  This was a list that we provide our agency that highlights different medical needs that we were comfortable with.  We met with a team at our local Children's Hospital, consulted medical friends, and since I had spent 7 years in pediatric cardiology as a pharmacist, I had a good idea of what most of the conditions were.  But, I can say, I didn't know exactly what that would look like for our family.  You try to envision each outcome, each scenario, but ultimately, no matter how much you prepare, the possibility of unknowns and unexpected circumstances are almost a guarantee with international adoption.  But you take the next faith. 

In June 2016, we got the call.  "Ashley, I want to talk to you about a little girl...".  I heard bits and pieces and was honestly overwhelmed that we had received this call so quickly.  Our dossier had only been in China about 11 weeks, and we were told to expect a 6-9 month wait. 

Complex congenital heart disease...yes, that is what her file said.  But she is so much more then that.  Morrissey has Tetralogy of Fallot with a PFO that were both fully repaired through open heart surgery when she was about 5 months of age.  We knew that when she was found, she was satting around 65% and the local hospital in her city could not do the repair needed to save her.  For reasons still unknown to me, she was one of the lucky ones that got transferred to Beijing and lived in the Little Flowers Home.  Soon upon arriving in Beijing, she was transferred to their hospital where we think she spent about 2 months.  We don't know any details from this stay, we just have a post-op ECHO that described her repair.

I am beyond blessed to say that my daughter was fully repaired so young, that she must have had an amazing team of physicians that took care of her.  My cardiologist's words when he saw her first ECHO done here in the states was..."Wow, for a second I forgot that I was looking at a heart repaired in China."  Thank you God for the surgeons there that saved her life. 

But I will be honest, sometimes I think about all that did and could have happened during her first 2 years of life, and specifically those 2 months in the hospital and I wish I were there. I wish I could have held my baby girl as they were taking her back for surgery. I wish I could have received updates throughout her surgery on her status. I wish I could have been there looking at her as she first opened her eyes from surgery. I wish I could have been there and fought with her.  Who was by her side?  Who told her not to be scared and that it was going to be ok? Who sang her soft songs and prayed over her as she fought. 

That is one of the many unknowns that I will never know.  But, I do know one thing.  Though I wasn't there, our God in heaven, who created her every cell, was there and never left her side.  He fought for her and will continue to fight for her.

So where are we now?  We are in a watch and wait period...hopefully for a long time!! Her right ventricle is enlarged, and she has mild pulmonary regurgitation. Both of these are typical for post-op TOF.  And her left PA pressures are slightly elevated.  So, we watch all these things and once it starts affecting her heart function, then we will intervene.  That could possibly be a cath/stent in her left PA and most certainly a new pulmonary valve at some point.  But, her heart looks amazing right now, so we pray for at least another 10 years before she will have to need intervention. And this time baby girl...mommy will be there! Other than that, we are investigating some issues with her immune system and eating/feeding.

If you are reading this, I would really challenge you to pray about what adoption could look like for your family.  Don't be afraid to just take that first step.  And if you are looking into adoption, please don't let the term "special needs" scare you away. The way I view it, we all are special and uniquely created.  We all, no matter what our health looks like on the outside, really don't know what lies down the road for us.  We just walk in obedience and faith, knowing that there is more then our weary eyes can see. 

And finally, if you are sitting there looking at a medical needs checklist, please don't let Congenital Heart Disease scare you either.  Or if it does, which is totally ok too, don't just stop with the first sign of fear. Educate yourself on the various conditions and consider the possibility that maybe this is where you are being led.  If I've learned anything from all these tiny heart warriors over the past year, they are brave, fierce and each of their perfectly unique hearts has an amazing purpose in this world.

Go light the world little one...


Andrea Olson said...

Thank you for sharing, Ashley!

LisaE. said...

Beautiful story! Thanks for sharing! My little heart warrior loves her "Be Brave" shirt too!

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