Question: Miss Katie is in a crib at the orphanage? I know NOTHING about attachment issues in neglected growth-delayed orphans… Would sleeping with you or kangarooing be too much stimulation?
Answer: Right now, Katie barely tolerates being touched at all, and prefers to be left alone in a crib. We are expecting it to be a long road to help her get to the place where she will desire and seek out affectionate touch. We are already receiving good advice about how to help her with her severe sensory issues, and are open to more. When I was with her, I did see many hopeful signs that she will get there eventually!
Question: Do you suspect that she’ll go directly from the airport to the hospital for refeeding, or since you’ll have her at the hotel for a bit anyway, will you be able to try caring for her at home?
Answer: There is no maybe about this one! The doctor at the international adoption clinic has said that Katie’s condition has gone beyond malnutrition into starvation. She will be at high risk of re-feeding syndrome, which causes death if it is untreated. The arrangements have already been made for her to be admitted to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia as soon as we can get her there after arriving at the Philadelphia airport.
By the time we fly to her country to get her, we need to have a plan in place with an airline that is willing to work with our situation, so that there is a team of prepared people all along our way back to the United States. There is no room for slip-ups.
The current plan is to obtain a bottle from the orphanage and instructions on where to buy and how to prepare her current food. We need to keep her as close to her usual diet and routine as possible until she is safely under medical supervision, to lessen her risk of re-feeding syndrome. We will be doing all we can to minimize her trauma during the week in her country and during the travel home, so that she doesn’t simply shut down and refuse to eat.
Nobody has any idea how long she will need to be in the hospital. She will need to be medically assessed and nutritionally rehabilitated under close supervision until she is stable and her most urgent needs have been addressed. We fully expect her to receive a feeding tube so that she can get the nutrition she needs while she is learning how to eat. At this point, we are planning for me to be the one to stay in Philadelphia with her.
Question: This must be overwhelming. All those logistics, all the risks, and all those extra expenses. Are you getting nervous yet?
Answer: Our Provider has already begun to provide. For one example, we received this Most Astonishing Email the day I wrote about the huge, impossible obstacle we recently faced. It was written by a Christian sister who has asked not to be identified…
“I am sending a check to you tomorrow for $200.00. Please open an account for Katerina with it, and I will, Lord willing, send a monthly amount, most likely around $50.00 that will be for anything you need for her care, or just to save for her future care. This has been in my heart for awhile, I was going to wait until she was home; am feeling the need to do this now.”
The check did arrive, and another email, this time with an explanation…
“When I read your post about something HUGE and IMPOSSIBLE, I knew I had to ‘cast my vote’ for our All-Loving, All-Knowing, Compassionate, All-Powerful Father God by starting this (account) now and not later. I haven’t even looked at your blog since, so I don’t know what is going on, but I am choosing to keep a steady faith that HE IS ABLE, no matter what, to bring your precious Katie home.
If I can cut corners here and there and come up with this for her care, it is truly the least I can do. You, with your love, have committed to her in a way I never can, but I do believe in doing the little I can, and leaving the rest in His hands. And, I believe He will provide, and what I have is really His, anyway. Also, since you don’t know me, I feel I should add this is completely a love offering for Katerina, and in no way are there any strings attached, or are you indebted to us in any way, whatsoever. Ever. This is simply put, LOVE.”
Is this explainable in human terms? How could we doubt a God like this? How could we fear or worry after He has proven Himself over and over and over again? What more proof could we possibly be waiting for? No, we have no fear.
Lord Jesus, our eyes are fixed on You. We praise You.
Question: Will you have to appear in court in Katie’s country?
Answer: No, we have given Power of Attorney to our attorney and several back-up attorneys. One of them will appear in court in our place. If God so moves the heart of the judge, Katie’s adoption would be finalized at that time. We are praying for a “good” judge, but Joe reminded me that God may give us a “bad” judge just to demonstrate again that nothing is too hard for Him!
Question: When will you be able to go get her?
Answer: The earliest possible time would be the middle of October, and yes, that would take yet another miracle! We are praying that God will allow us to bring her home before the end of October.
Question: How in the world are you finding time to blog?
Answer: Do you know, it recently dawned on me–
If I’d had my way, Verity would have exclusively breastfed with no need for breastfeeding helps. If Verity had exclusively breastfed, I would not have had to pump.
If I had not needed to pump for Verity, I would not have continued blogging, since my quiet, private hours of pumping time are my quiet, private hours of writing time. If I’d stopped blogging, we most likely would not be adopting, since the two have been inextricably linked from the very beginning. God used Verity’s blog to open several hearts to adopting a child with Down syndrome. The life-altering night I came across the Serbia video, and learned the truth about what happens to children born with special needs in Eastern Europe, I was gathering information for one of these friends.
If I had not pumped for Verity, I would not have completely supplied a friend’s baby with milk for over a year, motivating me to keep up my supply. If I had not kept up my milk supply, I would not now have the joy of putting milk in the freezer for Katie-bird.
So…if I’d gotten my way, and Verity had exclusively breastfed, there would probably be no Katie-bird story at all.
[Rhetorical] Question: I emailed you a while ago, and you have not answered. Why not?
[Very apologetic] Answer: For some reason, right now emails are coming in faster than I can answer them as they deserve to be answered. I am experiencing underlying, low-level anxiety at this point, hoping that nobody’s email has suffered the rude fate of falling unanswered through the cracks, never to be seen again. I get the same uneasy feeling when I owe many thank you notes, and worry that I will inadvertently miss someone.
If you have asked me a question that I never answered, and it has been longer than a week, please forgive me? I would be so, so thankful if you would give me another chance and help me out by re-sending it!
Question: How did you know Verity needed glasses? How did the doctor know what Verity’s prescription should be, since she cannot read an eye chart?
Answer: Because of Verity’s Down syndrome, we will keep regular tabs on her vision, hearing, and thyroid. Dr. Strauss, Verity’s doctor at the Clinic for Special Children, noticed some slight anomalies with her vision at her one-year well-child check-up, and suggested we take her to a specialist in pediatric ophthalmology. I was impressed with the specialist who examined her eyes; he really knew his business. I didn’t ask him to explain it to me, therefore I am sorry to say that I cannot explain it to you. I’ll try to do better next time. <grin> He issued a very strong prescription for her very far-sighted eyes. She is keeping her glasses on like a big girl, and noticing details she never saw before.
Question: What would you say to someone who decided not to adopt a child with special needs for the following reasons:
“What would happen to a special-needs adult after the parents are no more? Would I burden my children all their lives with a sibling who is dependent on them? What about their future families? These are valid concerns to me.”
Answer: This is an excellent question! It has some excellent answers that are coming up in the next post!