family picture

family picture
We "want our very serve as HIS signature to all mankind so that all may know His work," Job 37:7

Friday, August 3, 2012

I love Him with my Whole Heart!

Today was a big day for our family.  It has been 10 months since we first set our eyes on Joel.  Ten months ago that we looked at a little boy who after consultation with a cardiologist was given a "High Risk" label and "very guarded" prognosis.  We had committed to adopting a child with special needs but when you receive a referral it takes the decision to the "next level". It was at this time that Ethan and I had to hold hands and jump into this journey with both feet.  We knew that this was going to be a step of faith and that this was what God wanted for us. It goes against the things of this world.  We were running our family under what we could control and what we could manage and what felt safe to us. Yet, we had been praying for a life yielded to God, one that He would lead and have full control of.  We wanted to be the hands and feet of Jesus but our feet were having problems leaving this ground.  I will never forget those 12 hours after receiving our medical review from the International Adoption Clinic and the consult with a cardiologist.  E had called a trusted friend looking for counsel and that friend gave E verse James 1:5, " If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach and it will be given to him." 
But here is the clencher, the game changer; our friend also told him to not forget to read the next couple of verses. 
"But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.  For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double minded man, unstable in all his ways." James 1:6-8
Wasn't that what we were doing.  On one front we were writing blank checks to God and saying, "Cash it", "We want to do your will." "We want to help the fatherless." "Break our hearts for what breaks Yours." and then when faced with it we stalled.  I'm so thankful that God uses our brothers and sisters in the faith to speak truth to us.  I am so thankful that the Lord spoke through him and reminded us what we had told him we would do.  So as you well know we jumped not knowing the out come, being told that our sons heart condition would shorten his lifespan and we needed to be prepared to be his parents for as long or as short as God had intended for us. We trusted God, we wanted to have Mary's attitude in Luke 1:38. No matter the prognosis we would be willing and we would give our Lord and Savior the glory. Easier said than done...right?
So we fell in love, head over heels in love with this precious angel and we fought to bring him home.
Today was the cardiology visit.  This was the day where we finally got an actual diagnosis (state side), the day that we made a plan and a day were we would for the first time be told what to expect.. The way we felt driving into the doctor visit this morning could best be summed up by the ever quotable Donald  Rumsfield

"There are known knowns; there are things we know that we know.
There are known unknowns; that is to say there are things that, we now know we don't know.
But there are also unknown unknowns – there are things we do not know, we don't know."

Our appointment today started off with an EKG, which he did wonderful in.  I on the other hand was a nervous wreck.  I was so worried that he was gonna freak out and this was going to be stressful for him.  Well let me tell you.  These guys are professionals and this isn't there first rodeo.  Joel did FABULOUS!!
Then we went to get an x-ray.  He didn't like this very much but the nurse told me none of them like this.  Then they put us in a room to wait.  We waited and waited not super long but a little bit longer than I thought we would.  A sweet nurse did come in and tell us how close we were to seeing our physician.  Then the moment came.  They pulled us out of one room and took us to a room with a large ultrasound machine and a EMR set up for the nurse to make notes and print things while the Doctor was there.  She checked his oxygen saturation and then our physician entered and the talk began.  What we knew,  the x-rays the orphanage gave us, looking through the medical records from his last two surgeries and picking out the English we could find.  Then the ultra sound.  Again me nervous and the staff pros.  I sat on the table and layed Joel back on my belly and they gave him his first sucker.  I had the sweetest moment because I got to have an ultrasound of my baby on my belly and see their heart beat on large screens just like my other kids except this time the baby was outside and not inside my belly. I got weepy. Our physician took tons of pictures and talked to himself alot during the ultrasound and I wanted to ask a hundred questions but he politely asked if I would just wait until he looked at everything.  After the ultrasound he sat down and basically said that what he would like to do is tell us everything and then open the floor up for questions at the end.  
This is what he said in cliff note form:
  • He takes his "guarded" prognosis throws it in the trash and puts "positively optimistic" there instead.
  • His diagnosis is Double Inlet Left Ventricle with Aortic Hypoplasia (small aortia).
  • Similar treatment to the 3 stage surgery treatment as the Hypoplastic Left heart Syndrome (what we were originally thought).
  • Joel has what is considered a single pump heart.
  • This is a better prognosis due to the strength of the Left Ventricle and how God designed it.  
  • Joel seems to have a good pump.
  • None of his valves seem to be leaking.
  • He doesn't expect Joel to go to the Olympics unless he goes as a ping pong player.
  • His friends won't notice that he has a heart defect.
  • He can play some intramural sports.
  • We should start a college fund for him.
  • We will have to do a heart cath for accuracy in the next 6 weeks.
  • His next surgery will probably be in the next 6 to 12 months depending on his weight gain.
  • His next surgery has a 2% mortality rate.
  • He will always have to be under a cardiologists care but he doesn't foresee him being to hindered by it.
 We were excited.  No, elated, blessed, overwhelmed, head spinning, grinning, goofy, excited, overjoyed, amazed, celebrating, high fiveing, joy filled, parents.  We asked our questions and spent a few more minutes with the doctor and then we headed out.  

So we prayed for the best and prepared for the worst.  We got an awesome report for our little guy and given amazing news for the quality and quantity of life he could have.  God provided a physician for us that not only took time with us explaining and drawing pictures for us but also we feel like our personalities work together.  That I think is so important when you are building a team to care for your little one.  We hired him on the spot. 

A friend called us as we were walking out of the office.  In fact the same friend that shared the James 1:5-8 verse.  We were a little giddy as we walked and talked back to the car.  I left the parking lot crying and putting on one of my favorite songs that I have in my adoption play list (though I think I am going to change it to my, it's-hard-to-be-a-mommy-and-christian-this-life-is-a-battle-and-I-am-a-warrior play list)

I was singing at the top of my lungs, dancing and my sweet, calm husband sat in deep thought.  I turned the music down and asked him if he could believe the morning we had. All he could say is, "I'm so glad we didn't say no."

Let me stop and say though we were given a better prognosis for our child no matter what we heard we would have given God All the Glory and praised His holy name.  That is our goal in our daily lives.  We accepted something else but God revealed to us another plan for Joel's life.  We are excited and thankful that our child was given a good report today and we are so happy for him.  Because this little guy brings joy to my heart.  I love his little personality, I love his dark eyes, I love his silky hair, I love his laugh, raspy voice, little teeth.  I love how he points me back to our Heavenly Father every single day.


  1. Praising God alongside your family for your precious Joel! What an incredible testimony of His faithfulness!

  2. YAY, GOD!!!! So happy for the good news!