Monday, May 25, 2009
Proof Of Miracles
I love this photo of Anna, Josiah and Maggie. I offer it to you as a gift from our past. This photo is taken in Johannesburg, South Africa in our hotel room in June 2002.
Anna is just 2 years old and had only been home from China 6 months. The wait for her was super painful for me. She was our first adoption and I thought I would go insane waiting for her. We were delayed a bit with 9/11 but finally united with her at Christmas time 2001. We had known from the start of our adoption we wanted to adopt another little girl someday. We thought Anna should have a sibling closer to her age as there was just Michael age 11 at home then. We had sent a dossier to Cambodia the previous fall but adoptions from Cambodia closed down the week we were in China. Our agency at the time also had an adoption program in SA (South Africa). We switched programs and sent our dossier there. SA allowed the adoption of two unrelated children. I too this day can not believe Mike said "okay" when I asked if we could ask for TWO babies. We started the wait for two infants under 12 months of age, healthy or mild special needs. Our dossier had only been in SA a week when our facilitator called and asked us about two babies. There was a 9 mos old girl with a VP shunt for hydrocephalus and a 11 mos old boy with cerebral palsy. We were emailed their medical records and looked them over. It was just too much for us and we said "no" without ever seeing their photo. It felt like their medical issues were too extreem for us to deal with. A month went by before Mike and I came to each other and confessed that we had been wrong to say no. Even though we were scared to death of it all...we knew that God wanted us to say "yes" to these two babies in South Africa. So that is how we found ourselves in that hotel room. Still scared to death about what was ahead..but madly in love with these babies. We knew what a miracle they were and how much God had done to being them to us.
Josiah was left for dead as a newborn weighing just under 2 lbs. In the orphanage they kept waiting for him to die and didn't expend too much time on him till he was about 8 mos old. The Sister told me they then felt like he had a chance and he started to eat more and gain a bit of weight. He didn't move his legs and his feet were not developed. When we brought him home at 13 mos old he weighed 11 lbs. It was a miracle Josiah was ever found and brought to orphanage. It was a miracle he survived all those months on the weak formula he was fed by dripping the milk from teaspoon down his throat. When he came home he could barely sit up, couldn't crawl, use his legs or eat anything by mouth except fluid from a bottle.
Maggie was born to a very young mom dieing of AIDS. Maggie was born healthy but was HIV+. At one week of age she stopped breathing and "coded" and they resuscitated her. At one month they discovered she was had hydrocephalus (fluid on her brain) and she had surgery to place a VP shunt. The fluid on her brain was due to when she coded and had a brain bleed. The VP shunt was a miracle. They just don't do that for orphaned HIV tribal babies there. Sister Glorina loved Maggie and prayed over her daily. Usually at that time babies were not retested for HIV until they were over 18 mos old. If the babies were a false HIV+ then it would show them HIV- by 18 mos. Often babies died before reaching that age from virus' and diarrhea that swept through the orphanage. Sister Glorina wanted so much for Maggie to have a chance she had her retested for HIV at 8 mos of age. She was HIV-! There are more accurate ways of testing at this time but in 2001 it was not known if a baby was truly HIV+ or just testing that way due to bio mom's antibodies for HIV. At that time the adoption of foreign born HIV+ children was not allowed by the U.S. Since Maggie was now HIV- she could be adopted. When the time came to travel to SA for Maggie and Josiah we found out that the doctors and court decided Maggie was too ill and brain damaged to be adopted. I flew ahead of time to Johannesburg to address the court and the doctors to convince them that Maggie was worth adopting! So many miracles happened to Maggie before we ever even met her. When she came to us at 11 mos of age age she weighed almost 8 lbs. Once home the doctors here felt she would have only lasted another few weeks if she had not been taken from the orphanage and received aggressive medical care. Her body was in starvation mode and it took months to turn her health around. We could tell she had cerebral palsy but it was impossible to tell how affected she would be.
Adopting Anna was a scary thing for us. We had 7 bio kids that were about all grown. We had never much thought about adoption. We had NO IDEA the miracle it was to be given a child from God through adoption. If adopting the first time was scary, then adopting Maggie and Josiah was petrifying! All our fears came true. They were very very sick kids. Josiah did wind up learning to use his legs just fine. His first few years were fraught with lots of medical issues but he is now an average 8 year old. Maggie wound up being more affected than we imagined. I was so afraid of having a child that couldn't walk and had cerebral palsy. I wasn't even aware of the rest of the stuff to be afraid of! G-tubes and seizures. Getting up several times a night for the rest of my life turning her body as she can not mover herself. Near death VP shunt failures. Fighting insurance for medical equipment and supplies. The hardest thing of all.....looking into those eyes of hers that understand so much and seeing her frustrations with her own body. Never hearing her speak. Loving her so much and knowing she just wants what every little princess wants but she can not have. Knowing we can easily lose her at any time.
When we stepped out in faith and obeyed God to adopt Maggie and Josiah we were clueless. We had fears that seem so meaningless now. Stuff can actually be way worse at times than we ever imagined. Mostly we were clueless about what God was gifting us with. Josiah and Maggie are wonderful blessings from God just like any child. Maggie is so affected physically and so powerless in her surroundings. She is at the mercy of others for every single thing. She is a lot of work. But she is by far the VERY BEST thing that has ever happened to us except for Jesus dieing on the cross. All those fears we had...but no idea what incredible wonders and pure joy he was bringing to us in Maggie.
When I look at this picture taken in that South African hotel room, I can remember how afraid I had been. I remember my worries for the future. But mostly I remember how it began to sink in how many miracles God had worked to save these precious babies. My babies! How when things looked hopeless to those around them their first months, God saved them. When all doubted they would live long He brought them just in time to a family and U.S. medical care. He has a plan for them. And a wonderful part of the plan He had for mine and Mike's lives was to bring these amazing children into our world. God's blessings unfold and are revealed daily like an amazing masterpiece being created. How can I doubt His best and perfect choices when He has proven over and over again HE is the God of miracles? How can I doubt that Assefa and Gezehegn are not being held safely in His hands? I can't. How can I doubt that everything will be okay? I can't