I am warning you, I am in a melancholy mood, I read a blog that brought me to tears and my heart is breaking for this family. In addition to this, I spent 20 minutes going through pictures of children on the Reece’s Rainbow website with A, the girl’s speech therapist. She had never seen it and as she read through some of the children’s stories, I saw on her face the same sorrow and shock I felt the first time I saw RR, (I see more hope now than I did then, after so many of these children now have forever families) how I sat and cried in the wee hours of the morning, everyone asleep but me. I was exhausted when I woke the next day, but the first thing I did was go right back and visit RR again. I went back day after day, sometimes several times a day, and the tears came every time. Hundreds of unwanted children, abandoned because they were born a little different. I visited for weeks and the weeks became months and then I finally realized that crying would not help them, praying yes, but what they needed was a mommy and daddy.
It took me a long time to come to terms with what my heart was telling me; that we should adopt one of these precious children, and after going through the requirements of each country and crossing them off because we were too old or had too many children, I settled in on Ukraine. To be honest, it was also because it had the least expensive adoption program. Mind you, I never mentioned adoption to Tom, he had no idea what I was thinking, I was afraid to say anything out loud for fear someone would shoot down the dream. And then I emailed Andrea, and one of the first things I told her was that I was a cancer survivor, and would someone let me adopt.
Before we could even consider adoption, I had to talk to my oncologist, I never asked about my survival chances, I never wanted to know from them, because I watched my mother die exactly when the doctors said she would, and I did not want a self-fulfilling prophecy handed down on me. ( oncologists rarely share this with aptients any longer, that was 33 years ago) So I got up the courage to ask him if he thought I had a long life ahead of me. He said “You are in complete remission”. Now if you have ever had cancer or had a loved one who has, you know those are the 5 words you hope and dream for. With his blessing, we went ahead and committed to a girl with sparkling blue eyes and an impish grin.
I was scared though, I had this very private fear that adopting another little girl with Down syndrome may put Meghan in danger, that in essence it was telling God that his tremendous gift to us, our Meghan, was not enough and we needed MORE children like her, I actually felt like I was being greedy. I was very scared that we would bring home Sanna (our first commitment) and Meghan would fall ill. So I prayed a lot, HF and I had many conversations about how much we cherished Meghan, but we wanted another child to have a chance to live in a family and know what it was to have the love of parents. My fear of losing Meghan was one reason she came to Ukraine with us, I wanted her with me constantly, thinking if she were within my sight and no harm could come to her. Irrational, yes, but I suffered enough loss in my life to know that terrible things can and do happen to ordinary people, that life can be ironic, and that the universe is sometimes very cruel.
It wasn’t just our adoption, I always felt like looking over my shoulder, not certain the threat of cancer was gone in my life, we call it; “Waiting for the other shoe to drop”…I spent 3 years post cancer waiting for more bad news, I had lost three dear friends diagnosed the same time I was during those 3 years, their loss was devastating for me and for many in the on-line breast cancer support group I moderate. All three women had minor children, one had very young children, she was a young mom. They were gone so fast and it scared the rest of us, because you know, “There but for the grace of God go I”. I can almost feel a synergy with battle veterans, all those soldiers who fell while you lived, and the guilt is tremendous, why did you live when these very special people did not? This is why people who live after cancer are called survivors; because we lived through the ultimate battle, one for their very lives. It also gives us a sense of just how short life is and what a tremendous gift each second we live is. I live in gratitude for every day I am living and breathing, so thankful that I did not fall and that I was allowed the gift of adopting two very special children, two little girls who just had teeth brushed and are getting ready for bed, here in my home. I have not lost the wonder of it, of our adopting them, it seems unbelievable and yet here they are. I feel so wonderfully lucky, and honored that we can parent both of them.
So yesterday was difficult, not because of what we heard, the neurologist was very positive, but because of what I imagined, those terrible mommy moments where your mind goes to the dark places, the “what if’s’ where your children are concerned. What if Amanda has epilepsy? Well certainly it won’t change who she is now, because she would have had it already, but maybe she has a brain tumor, too many women I loved have suffered through brain tumors from breast cancer mets, my mother was one of them, how did they find out? They had a seizure that told them cancer had spread to their brains; and children get cancer all the time. After I while I told my mind to stop, quit thinking the worse, surely nothing like that can happen to one of my children, but yes, bad things do happen to children all the time. We will have to wait to know about Amanda’s epilepsy or lack of, I honestly feel like she is fine, it was just that morbid mind going crazy.
I am going to ask again for prayers, first for a sweet little girl who is in Eastern Europe and desperately needs a family, her name is Paula, and we are her Christmas Warriors, and we are asking you to send a donation for her grant fund, maybe having money to help them will enable a family to commit to her? Click on her picture to donate.
I added a button to our blog for Polly too, her parents learned she has a rare condition called Moyamoya, it came on suddenly and I know that your prayers will comfort Polly and her family. Yes, Polly also has Down syndrome and she also has a new sister with Down syndrome adopted from Ukraine. They are an inspirational family with strong faith. They need love and support right now.
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