Monday, November 21, 2011

"Bee"-ography: Adoption Story

In wrapping up National Adoption Awareness Month, I hope to bring you some stories of adoption... of course, specifically those of some of our little "bees". The following is from Angela Mason, proud adoptive mommy to: Andrew, Katie, Chrissy, Stephen, Emily, and Joshua.

Adoption holds a special place in my heart. Being the adoptive parents of six beautiful children, there is no doubt that our family believes in Adoption!  In celebration of National Adoption month, I wanted to share our story about just one of our special kids.

God Sent to Me an Angel
By Paul Dammon 11/96
God sent to me an angel,
it had a broken wing.
I bent my head and wondered
"How could God do such a thing?"
When I asked the Father
why He sent this child to me,
the answer was forthcoming,
He said "Listen and you'll see."
"My children are all precious,
and none is like the rest.
Each one to me is special,
and the least is as the best.
I send each one from Heaven
and I place it in the care
of those who know my mercy,
those with love to spare.
Sometimes I take them back again.
Sometimes I let them stay.
No matter what may happen
I am never far away.
So if you find an angel
and you don't know what to do,
remember, I am with you,
love is all I ask of you."

Christina Ann was born December 26, 2000. Our family was in Florida on vacation that day. We had no idea such a special spirit was heading for our family. We arrived home from vacation on December 28th and on December 29th we got a phone call from our adoption agency, LDS Family Services, asking us if we would be interested in talking to a doctor in Temple, Texas about a little baby that had been born with a condition called Hydranencephaly. I knew nothing about this condition, but my husband and I agreed we would at least go to talk to the doctor. We were told this little baby girl would likely not live very long. This was a scary thought for us, as our two previous adoptions were healthy newborns. Our son Andrew, was 12 and our daughter, Katie, was 8 at the time we received this phone call. After prayerfully considering the situation we sat Andrew and Katie down and told them about this little baby and how she needed a home, even though she might not be here on this earth a long time. Both our sweet children said “Go get her!” 

My husband and I drove the three hours to Temple the next day. Upon our arrival we were ushered into the on-call neurologist’s office. Being the week between Christmas and New Years, he was the doctor who had been on call when Christina was born and he was still the only neurologist on duty for the week. He was not a pediatric neurologist, but he was the best they had available.  He sat down at his desk, peered over his glasses at us, and the first thing he said was “WHY would you want to adopt THIS baby?”   

He proceeded to tell us what Hydranencephaly was, that she was missing her brain, she was irritable, non-responsive, would likely be a vegetable and would die within weeks, or perhaps not even make the three hour drive home. He acted like we were insane for even showing up to talk to him.  The more he talked, the more convinced I became that I needed to get this baby out of that hospital!  I remember, when I finally got a word in edgewise, saying to him “And why would I NOT want to take THIS baby?” 

In my mind, whatever time she had on this earth, she deserved to be loved and cared for and to have a family!

The neurologist gave it one last shot, when he saw we were not being convinced to turn and run, by saying , “If we had someplace to send it, like an institution, we would have already done so.” That was the last straw for me! I said, “Can we please just see her?” and he shrugged his shoulders, got up and led us down to the NICU.  He turned us over to the head nurse, and walked away. I have never been so happy to see someone leave my sight as I was at that moment!

The nurse was gentle and kind. She had us scrub up and told us that yes, the baby was pretty irritable and had been inconsolable since her birth, but that she was eating well and seemed healthy to look at her.  She said it was such a shame, as she was a beautiful baby.  She led us through the door of the NICU and pointed to a bed in the far corner, saying “she is over there”. She left us to approach the baby on our own.  I walked over to the bed, where this little baby was lying on her tummy. Her head was turned away from me, and she was softly whimpering.  I leaned over the crib, and said quietly, “Hi baby”. 

Imagine my amazement, when this little girl lifted her head ALL the way up to look right at me! I picked her up, and she looked me right in the eyes, almost as if to say, “Well, THERE YOU ARE! Finally!”  The whimpering stopped and she snuggled her little head right into my shoulder, just as content as could be!  I was trying hard not to cry, as I turned around, and then saw that my husband was in tears!!  We both knew right then, in that moment, that Christina was OURS.

It was an agonizing weekend, as it was New Years weekend, and we could not get the paperwork completed until Tuesday the 2nd to have permission to take Chrissy home. I called the hospital several times a day checking on her and was so afraid she would die before we could get her home.  I busied myself by researching the internet, looking for information on Hydranencephaly. There wasn’t much, but I did find the Rays of Sunshine website, and the rest is history as far as support goes!! 

Chrissy came home to our family on Wednesday January 3, 2001. Not only did she make the drive home just fine, she was in surgery getting her shunt placed on Friday, January 5th and she came through that in flying colors also! Chrissy has been the greatest joy our family could ever have imagined. She is not just our middle child, she is the middle of our family – the heart of our home. All our children love her so much, the older and the younger ones. And because of Chrissy and her sweet spirit, our family came to a new understanding of adoption. 

Since we adopted Chrissy, we have adopted three more special needs children. Because of the joy she has brought to our family, we were able to see the possibilities and open our hearts to other children with health needs.  We will forever be grateful for the adoption worker who knew Chrissy needed a loving home, and who called us to see if we would consider her in our family! 

Chrissy will be eleven years old on December 26, 2011. ELEVEN YEARS! Pretty good for a tiny little baby who wasn’t supposed to live through the drive home from the hospital! She is happy, and though of course she has her challenges, she is still a healthy, thriving child. We thank God for her every single day. She has truly taught us to Believe in the Impossible!! 

Adoption is wonderful!! I suggest you all give it a try!!  LOL

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