the emotions have settled a bit and we are embracing what God has for us.  certainly not what we would have chosen but nevertheless what has been chosen for us.  we are forging ahead, focusing on what God has given us in our precious china princess, and determined to believe God is for us and God is good whether or not the outcome is what we would like for it to be.

lots of questions have come our way, so here are a few more details.

sarahjoy has what is called a VSD - ventricular septal defect.  for those of you who want a medical description, you can click on the link.  for the non-brainiacs in the crowd it is a hole in the wall that separates the blue blood from the red blood.  so the heart then has to work super hard to get the blood where it's supposed to be going.  

VSD does not cause sudden death.  she is not going to drop dead from a heart attack (trust me, i asked.)  her body is simply slowly deteriorating.  knowing what we know now, we can see all of the signs of gradual heart failure in sarahjoy.  she is less than 5th percentile in weight and 25th percentile in height - her body simply does not have enough energy to grow.  she has rapid and heavy breathing, like you or i would have while we're running on a treadmill.  she sweats like crazy - again, a sign of how hard her heart is working.  and she is the slowest eater on the planet.  something i just learned was a sign of VSD.  imagine trying to eat a meal while running down the road.  not only are you not really interested in food but it would take a long time to have enough energy to get it all down.  which is why we have resorted to grazing...she eats a snack portion of food just about every 30 minutes all day long.

there has been a lot of speculation of whether china was forthcoming in their description of sarahjoy's special need.  i would answer with a resounding yes.  our baby is exactly how she was described - a child with a VSD.  the reality is that special needs adoption is a big question mark.  is VSD generally a 'minor heart condition' as categorized by china?  yes.  in the realm of heart conditions, VSD is minor.  it is repairable, generally does not need a second repair, and sarahjoy should be able to live a completely full life.  most children never even have to have medical intervention and of those that do, many times it can be corrected with a much more minimally invasive procedure.  our little girl just happens to have the worst case scenario.  i have known many, many families who have adopted children with VSD and no one has needed medical intervention.  obviously, that is not our case.  so did china deceive us?  no.  did we ever imagine we would fall in to the worst case bracket?  no.  please do not place the blame on china.  that would be one of the worst things that could come out of this.

instead, sarahjoy's story is the very reason why adoption is compelling.  there are children around the world who need our help.  they need to be rescued not only from loveless environments but from environments that do not provide essential medical intervention.  had God not brought sarahjoy to us, and had we not heeded his calling on our family, a precious little girl would have slowly deteriorated towards death.  a senseless, wasted life.  adoption brings life - emotionally, spiritually, and physically.

but let me be clear.  no one should adopt to rescue.  is it a wonderful secondary benefit, to know that we have been a part of bringing two little girls to a place where there is a hope and a future for them?  yes, but that is not a good reason to adopt.  trust me, the warm fuzzy feelings of rescue will wear off in no less than a few weeks.  when that precious little person has no interest in thanking you and despite the loads of energy and money you have invested, she still is a sinful selfish little being.  we adopted because that was God's calling on our family.  he made it very clear that our place in the care of orphans was to have two become a part of our family.  there is a responsibility for every person who calls themselves a Christian to care for the orphan.  maybe it is supporting a family who is adopting, as so many of you have done for us.  maybe it is regular monthly support of a compassion child.  maybe it is living below your means to be able to make trips to love on orphans around the world.  or maybe, it is adoption.   and if it is adoption, may i be the first person to encourage you to use sarahjoy's story to see some of the wonderful blessings and hard realities of bringing a child into your family.

and now that i have wandered down an important but nevertheless off the subject rabbit trail........we spoke to the cardiologist today.  we will meet with the heart surgeon next week (there are two different sets of doctors that work on hearts.)  when i spoke with dr. vance today he said that the surgeon was leaning towards performing surgery in the next couple of weeks.  they would like for sarahjoy to finish her antibiotics for bronchitis which will be next wednesday, give her a week to make sure she is infection-free, and then perform surgery.  so that puts us around february 9th.   the thing that i continue to realize is that our little girl is very sick.  it is hard to believe when i look at her precious little face and hear her silly laugh.  but she is.

as i have put the symptoms together, listened to the doctors and now are looking at surgery in two weeks i am continually reminded of the one word God gave to me at the beginning of this journey...faithful.  God has been so incredibly faithful to us in this journey.  and he will continue.  but i feel compelled to add, that God's faithfulness does not equal perfect endings.  i am hoping and praying for the best of outcomes but i am spending as much time praying for a perfect surgery as i am reminding myself that God is faithful, no matter what.  that his plans are not always ours.  and that should our life with sarahjoy be suddenly cut short, God will continue to be good.

we are desperate for your prayers.  please continue.  right now, the biggest prayer need is for sarahjoy to get over her bronchitis and avoid any other illness so that we can get her to surgery.

faithful.  he was, he is, and he will be.


Jill said...

Praying for sweet Sarahjoy...

Anonymous said...

"God is utterly dependable" is the J.B.Phillips translation of "God is faithful". (I Cor. 1:9)
O LORD,.....in perfect faithfulness you have done marvelous things, things planned long ago. (Isaiah 25:1)
Holding you all before the Father as He continues to uphold you.
Any update on your cousin, Rachel and babies?

Anonymous said...

I started reading about your adoption adventures on January 12th, The Amazing Race post. My husband and I are on the verge of going to Thailand to pick our son. This is our second adoption. We are praying for your family, precious SJ and the docs.

'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Hang in there! God loves you and SJ. He is faithful and He will see you through this trial. You will come out on the other side refined by the fire.

God bless you and your family while you get through this trial.

Cristina said...

thank you Ashleigh for all the details. I am and will be praying for SJ. :-)

Claire said...

Just got caught up after a week. Love you guys so much and certainly praying. Please let me know if there's anything I can do... I will be praying absolutely.

Kristie said...

We are praying for you. We know exactly how you feel. Being a mom of a heart baby it's a hard thing to hear you child is very sick, when what you see is smiling and laughing. We will be saying lots of prayers and God will watch over her.

Dana Woods said...

Much love, tight hugs and many prayers...

J or K said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jonathan said...

Praying for all of you!
P.S. You REALLY need to write a book someday.