brain bleeds, cerebral palsy, special needs

Holding On (for dear life)

As Mark and I looked into adoption, we were drawn to children with disabilities. We felt we were strong enough and well-equipped to meet the needs of a child who might be passed over by others. Although we filled out our check list for a variety of special needs, I felt especially drawn to downs syndrome and cerebral palsy. I guess it was my pride that made me so sure I could handle these things…

Once again, God had plans…

I haven’t detailed all of the things we have been through with our 4 month old, Ellianna. In short, after bleeding in her brain due to premature delivery, she has had 3 brain surgeries and now has a permanent shunt from brain to belly to help her regulate the pressure inside her head. As these complications arose, we were told she was at high risk for disabilities, especially cerebral palsy. We were told we needed to get her into therapy as soon as possible to improve her outcome.

I have a confession…

When I first tried to accept that our daughter could be disabled I was very angry. I thought how dare we be given this burden when we had already said we were willing to accept and love a child that had been abandoned because of this. I felt extremely guilty. It was one thing to adopt a child that has challenges, but to give birth to my own that was this way made me feel responsible….like I had caused this harsh imperfection. Trying to grasp all of this and turn it into something good seemed impossible and I felt like I was sinking. That is probably very shocking for some of you to hear, but there it is, the sin in my heart.

Since her most recent surgery, we were told our sweet little Ellianna has many signs of cerebral palsy. So, ok. Here we go. I still have some unsettling thoughts about it, but I am trying to embrace this new chapter. God is showing us the trials of OUR OWN little baby having special needs… teaching us perhaps how much harder it is to love and care for one chosen by adoption? I don’t know, but I do know we are right where He wants us, so I am trying my best to be ready for whatever He has to show us. Life over the past many weeks has been a whirlwind that has left me little time to contemplate. We hope we are at the tail end of surgeries for awhile and will have as long a break as possible until the next time she sees the inside of an operating room. Our days are filled with trips to physical therapy, occupational therapy, neurosurgeon, pediatrician, and now weight checks and food therapy. I feel like I have to hang on or be thrown off. I have to remind myself to be still and to take the time to enjoy the small moments.

Here we are; at this bend in the road. Wondering what’s around the next corner. A little hopeful, a lot fearful, but clinging to faith. There are still days I’m frustrated and days I question my strength. There are days I pass the section of little girls shoes and burst into a storm of sadness and tears wondering if I will ever get to pick out sweet little shoes for Ellie, or if she will even walk. I keep repeating the verse a special friend gave me: “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6) This continually reminds me that this little angel was brought into our lives for a higher purpose.

Please stay with us as we embark on this journey. Celebrate the victories with us, and hold us up in the battles. We would be nothing without our army behind us.
Her most recent surgery, still healing.

All girled up—4 months old

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adoption, special needs

Baby Steps

The first of our adoption documents have started trickling in. I am giddy with excitement! The growing packet of papers is a tangible reminder that bit by bit, we are getting there.

We have been watching the list of waiting children that our adoption agency posts, and are awestruck as we gaze at each hopeful expression that longs for a family. It’s both exciting as well as intimidating that one day, we will welcome one of those tiny faces into our home. It also makes me feel small and helpless to see how many there are, just waiting… longing…wondering if someone will make them their own. It’s my prayer that one by one these precious lives with by united with families that will fill their lonely hearts with love and acceptance. It begins with one…

We have been reading through the descriptions of the special needs that many of these boys are burdened with. We talk about what kinds of needs we feel we are capable of handling. While we are blessed with the motivation and resources to provide for even the most serious disabilities, we also believe it’s important to always consider how each challenge or health risk would affect our other four. We want to put the safety and comfort of all our children at the forefront of our decisions.

Another exciting development is God’s provision of a bigger vehicle for us. We were able to trade in my sardine can of a car for a spacious Honda minivan, which in spite of being, well, a minivan (which I swore I could never be persuaded to drive) is so roomy and comfortable, the kids are convinced we bought them a limo! It’s a relief to have them all able to sit without touching each other, as well as have a safe place for a new baby, in addition to still being able to save room for more. God is so good to us. He provides in ways we never imagined.

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