I know that there are many of you reading these posts that do not know us and are unfamiliar with the story of how we came to adopt. Recently another adopting mother emailed me, after reading something here, and shared that she had a friend who was going through some experiences similar to what we've experienced with our biological children. I wrote back to explain to her what happened and how we came to adoption. I am going to post that information here as well, for those of you who don't know our story.
Briefly, (okay maybe I can't make it brief!) here's what happened. My older brother and I were both born with "supra-valvular aortic stenosis". He had OH (open heart) surgery at 8-1/2 years of age and is now 41 and doing fine. I never had any surgery as my case was mild, I am now 37. Neither of our parents have this condition and no one we know of back in the family history. We were told as teenagers it was a "fluke" in the way my parent's genes had mixed and would not pass to our children. Obviously, they were mistaken.
Our first child was born in February, 1994. She had the same thing my brother and I have and also had "left and right peripheral pulmonary branch stenosis". Her problem was way out into the lungs and all of her vessels were to narrow. She had angioplasty done first at Children's Hospital in Boston in February of 1995, and we returned home just 2 days before her first birthday. What a celebration that was! We went back to Boston in April, '95, for her OH surgery, and she never woke up from that. She was unable to come off of the bypass equipment at the end of her surgery because her heart wouldn't start. So they put her on a bi-ventricular assist, that did the work of her ventricles, for four days (life support). They removed everything 4 days later. She was never awake again after she went to sleep for the surgery. I have precious memories of the day of her surgery. They gave her some meds to relax her, and allowed me to rock her to sleep before they took her to the OR. She fell asleep in her momma's arms while I sang Jesus Loves Me to her. It was the last thing she knew. Praise God for His infinite mercy!
I found out I was pregnant with our second child the Thursday before Mother's Day. What a gift! I had prayed repeatedly that the Lord would not allow us to have another child if it was going to die. I was willing for Him to completely close my womb (I was 26 years old at this point), and at that time we had already discussed adopting as an option. We discussed it alot during the few days Kathryn was on life support. I felt I could not survive her death if I thought I would never be a mother again. I know now that the Lord would have given us the grace, but praise Him, He had better plans.
Our second child was born in January of 1997, just 1 year and 9 months after our first child's death. She came here with the same problem, and of course, we were terrified. But, we had learned much about our God by this point, and new that He would sustain us whatever was to come. She was followed very closely for the first year and a half of her life, and had surgery when she was 18 months old, same surgeon same hospital as the first child. She has done beautifully! We are now on an every other year schedule with visits to her cardiologist. Even all these years later, I still get physically ill when I have to take her for her appointment. My brother's little girl was born with the same condition and has had no surgery yet. We continue to pray that she has "dodged the bullet" as I did and will not need surgery as she grows.
For the most part, we were always "open" to the possibility of adopting, but didn't feel comfortable going to heroic financial measures to do so. We just prayed and said, "Lord, whatever you tell us to do and whenever you tell us to do it, that's what we'll do. You provide the means and we'll do it." Fast forward to 2004, and the entrance of McGuire Plumbing Co., Inc. into the picture. God blessed our first two years in business in an amazing way, and all the while continued to tender my heart towards loving a child not born of my flesh. And, here we are! The Lord provided the means, we're providing the hearts and home and can't wait to love another little one as our own.
God's blessing on you and your families,