Part of our Little One’s Story Story

It appears that it has been 8 months since our last blog post.  A lot has happened since January and Samuel’s first snow.  We have had many firsts as a family of 6 and we enjoyed a very fun summer filled with swimming, first road trip, fun with friends and Samuel’s first trip to the beach.  To say Samuel is growing would be an understatement, he has gained over 10 pounds and grown over 7 inches in the short 16 months he’s been home.  He loves his brother and sisters, trains, watching football on TV and getting to watch Ethan play baseball and Sara Kate and Anna Ruth dance.

It hasn’t been the easiest 16 months, but it is worth the HARD to get to the GOOD. To start to see pieces of the REDEEMED from the BROKEN.  When we set out on the journey in August 2011 we had no idea that Samuel was our child, all we knew was that the Lord was calling our family to step out in faith and carry out James 1:27.  We didn’t know where we would adopt from and began to pray and ask God to clarify the country {US or International} where our child would be born.  After praying we both felt strongly that we were to pursue adoption from China.

We knew with adopting from china we would have to go through what they call “medical needs adoption” which is adopting a child with a medical special need.  There are a lot of misinformation out there about why there are so many orphaned children with special needs in China. The one I hear the most is that “They” don’t want children unless they are “perfect” and a “boy”.  Every time I hear this it infuriates me, because I feel more often than not, that is not the case.  A lot of families who “give” their children up for adoption (and I say “give” because I cannot imagine the pain, loss, grief, hopelessness those parents feel) is because they cannot afford the medical treatment for their children.

In China you have to pay upfront for medical care.  If your child here in the states is born (in a hospital) with a medical condition, most of the time the parents know before hand and are prepared at the time of delivery to get the medical attention their new baby needs.  In China, I would say most often babies are not born in the hospital, most often there is no prenatal care and they are simply doing the best they know how to do.  So, if their child is born with a heart condition, the parents have to pay upfront for their baby to be seen at the hospital and for the surgeries and care they need.  For a lot of these families (only making a few dollars a day as farmers or factory workers) they simply cannot afford the medical care their children need.  So, out of desperation they do the hardest thing imaginable, they lovingly give their children up, in hopes that they will get the medical treatment they need and in hopes that they can get adopted into a family.  This is HARD.  I can’t even begin to imagine how hard it is to choose to loose your child and get them the help they need or choose to loose your child by not getting them the help they need.  DESPERATE. HARD. HEART BREAKING.

Now I realize this isn’t the case for all orphans in China, that there are other reasons, the unwed mother who doesn’t want to disgrace her family and also doesn’t have the equivalent of $30,000 UDS to pay the fee for having a baby out of wedlock.  Some give up for many different reasons, but the sweeping statement of “perfect babies” or “only wanting boys” isn’t always the case and we must be careful about those assumptions.

So, all that to say, we knew we would be adopting a child with a medical need.  Samuel has a medical need but the average person would have NO clue.  All everyone sees is the happy, running, jumping, funny 3 year old boy.  We choose in the beginning to not disclose his medical need because that is part of his story and we wanted people to love Samuel for who he is and not because he has a medical need.  People react funny when they hear about medical needs and we wanted everyone to know Samuel and not label him.

As I said before, if you know Samuel you will probably be shocked to find out that he has Spina Bifida because he can walk, run, jump, etc…. Spina Bifida doesn’t define him.  He is our son, who just happens to have been born with Spina Bifida.  There are varying degrees of SB and for Samuel it doesn’t affect his day to day life.  Minus the scar on his back from surgery (and most people will never even see that) you’d never know he has SB.

One of the complications with SB is called a Tethered Cord.  Which the neurosurgeon explained to me is when the spinal cord doesn’t float freely in the spinal column like it should.  We knew last summer that he had a Tethered Cord and because of the rapid growth he’s had since he has been home he was showing signs that he needs a Tether Release.

It’s been a crazy ride with insurance, trying to see if the surgery would be done here or at Shriners in Greenville, when it would be done, if it will be covered by insurance or if we would end up owing the hospital over $100,000, etc….  After months (and I do mean MONTHS) of back an fourth, piles and piles of paperwork and many many phone calls, Samuel will have this surgery tomorrow and that surgery will be covered by insurance.

While I am excited that the months of craziness is over, I am nervous for tomorrow.  I know he is in wonderful hands with his neurosurgeon and other doctors and nurses, but it is still hard to process.  The fear of the UNKNOWN.  I know that the LORD will be with him tomorrow, that the LORD loves this little boy, that the LORD has fought for him and that the LORD will go before him.  This is something I have never had to walk through before and it is a testing of my faith.  But in these times I can look back in ALL the ways the LORD has been FAITHFUL to me, to our family and to this Spicy Chinese Dragon I call my son.

We appreciate your prayers tomorrow as he has surgery scheduled at 8:30.  It will be about a 4 hour surgery if everything goes as planned.  He will then have to be in the hospital for 3-4 days and then we will come home to finish recovery.  We have some amazing friends who have really stepped up to support us during this time and we are so very THANKFUL for the LOVE they have shown our family!

God is FAITHFUL  and we trust fully in HIM.