Monthly archives for November, 2018

Giving Tuesday – The time is NOW

Giving Tuesday – The time is NOW

We’ve given you a glimpse into the day-to-day lives of our Angels in Adoption.  And while each and every one of them would say, “No way….we are not the brave ones….it is our children who are,” to that we say, you ALL are.  Brave, courageous, faithful.  These four families (meet them here, here, here, and here) sacrifice day in and day out for these four precious children.  They pour their all into them, so it is our hope to pour even just a little back. 

THE TIME IS HERE.

THE TIME IS NOW.

It is Giving Tuesday. 

Time to GIVE.

We ask that you do what you can in joining us in showering these four families with love and support.  Our hope is that our gift will give these families the opportunity to just take a bit of a breath.  A couple date nights, help with the holidays, slight relief from the never-ending medical and travel bills.  Whatever they decide, you can rest assured they will do so with a smile on their faces, thanks to you.  And because we believe in this cause with all of our hearts, we are happy to match each and every donation*!

Thank you for your generosity!

And thank you to the Sims, Johnson, Pitts, and Taylor families for not only sharing your journeys with us all, but more so for that one, little, big, significant YES you said to your children.


You can donate directly on our website, or send a check to:

Madison Adoption Associates

1102 Society Drive

Claymont, DE 19703

100% of donations will go towards the four Angels in Adoption.  Please specify on your donation that it is for Giving Tuesday.

*MAA will match donations up to $4,000

THANK YOU!!!




 

Angels in Adoption – The Taylor Family {Giving Tuesday}

Angels in Adoption – The Taylor Family {Giving Tuesday}

Your bellies are full, and your hearts are thankful.  Ours are too –  thankful for you all, for all of our families, and especially for the four Angels in Adoption that we have introduced you to over the past month.  In case you missed it, we are so excited to be raising money for these four special families on Giving Tuesday.

Four MAA Families who have endured the unthinkable.  Four MAA Families who knew the risks, and said Yes regardless, because it meant a Yes for their child.  These four families have been to the brink, and are all still working their way back.  Their days are filled with medical appointments, surgeries, unknowns, heartache, worry, but ultimately, joy.  So.much.joy despite the hard.  Despite being in the trenches.  So, it is for these Four MAA Angels in Adoption that we are reaching out to you.  Our dream is to shower them with love, and gratitude, and support.  They have poured out their hearts and souls into their children, and it’s time to pour into them.  Their lives have been turned completely upside-down due to the intense medical needs of their children.  So, we want to just do a little something to say, “We see you.  We notice you.  We love you.”  Whether it’s a Target gift card to help with the holidays, or a much needed night out for Mom and Dad, our goal is simple – to give just a little something to four MAA Angels in Adoption who continue to give their everything, day in and day out.

As we introduce you to our final Angel in Adoption, we thank you for ‘meeting’ these four special families – for reading their stories, and holding them in your hearts.  As we have shared about them with you, our hope is that you will share what you can with them.  And because we are so dedicated to this, we, too, are going to share.  We will match your donations for each family.*

Last week you met the Pitts family, and their daughter Clara.

Our final Angel in Adoption who we want to shower with love on Giving Tuesday is the Taylor family…

Our journey to Everly took 613 days, but God had a hand in it all.  Back in 2015, a friend, who worked at New Hope Foster Home outside of Beijing, told us there was a spunky little girl who needed a home.  So after years of praying about it, we started the adoption process.  The paperwork, the files, the logistics, all of it seemed endless, but God had such a plan for our family.  In November of 2017, we traveled to China, with our older daughter, Lorelai, to get Everly.  We fell in love with her instantly and our whirlwind trip went relatively smoothly.  We brought her home on December 1st, and the entire family was smitten with our sweet little girl.

6:30am wake up for chemo day

Upon settling into family life and getting a grasp on her health condition, we found out she had a large brain tumor which we were completely blindsided by.  We knew she had Epilepsy when we adopted her, but we were shocked to hear she was likely born with a brain tumor that had gone undetected for 4.5 years.  Living close to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), we knew we were surrounded by world-class doctors.  In May of 2018 she underwent a partial tumor resection of her brain.  She is the strongest little girl we have ever met, and she recovered from her surgery like a champ.  Since some of her tumor is inoperable, Everly is currently undergoing a year of weekly chemotherapy treatments in hopes of stunting the growth of the remaining tumor.  She has her CHOP nurses and doctors amazed at her strength and resiliency, and we are amazed at the growth and development she has made this past year.  She’s currently in part-day preschool and is learning so much, despite being in weekly treatments which cause her some nausea and fatigue a few days a week.

Everly’s brothers and sister love her to pieces and we are so thankful for our amazing community of friends and family who pray for her and root for her constantly.  We know God had a plan for this little girl when He brought her home to us, and He used her to put a smile on so many people’s faces.  We are so thankful to Madison Adoption Associates for helping us bring her home.

Thank you, Melanie and Joe, for sharing your family’s journey with us.  You are in our thoughts and prayers!

 


While our goal is to raise funds on Giving Tuesday (November 27), we welcome you to make your donation whenever you feel so moved between now and then.  You can donate directly on our website, or send a check to:

Madison Adoption Associates

1102 Society Drive

Claymont, DE 19703

100% of donations will go towards the Taylor Family, and our other three Angels in Adoption.  Please specify on your donation that it is for Giving Tuesday.

*MAA will match donations up to $4,000

THANK YOU!!!

Angels in Adoption – The Pitts {Giving Tuesday}

Angels in Adoption – The Pitts {Giving Tuesday}

We are excited to continue our Giving Tuesday Angels in Adoption Campaign!  In case you missed the announcement, this year we are so excited to raise money for four very special families!  

Four MAA Families who have endured the unthinkable.  Four MAA Families who knew the risks, and said Yes regardless, because it meant a Yes for their child.  These four families have been to the brink, and are all still working their way back.  Their days are filled with medical appointments, surgeries, unknowns, heartache, worry, but ultimately, joy.  So.much.joy despite the hard.  Despite being in the trenches.  So, it is for these Four MAA Angels in Adoption that we are reaching out to you.  Our dream is to shower them with love, and gratitude, and support.  They have poured out their hearts and souls into their children, and it’s time to pour into them.  Their lives have been turned completely upside-down due to the intense medical needs of their children.  So, we want to just do a little something to say, “We see you.  We notice you.  We love you.”  Whether it’s a Target gift card to help with the holidays, or a much needed night out for Mom and Dad, our goal is simple – to give just a little something to four MAA Angels in Adoption who continue to give their everything, day in and day out.

Over the course of the next week, we are going to continue to introduce you to these families.  We are going to share with you what they are going through, in hopes that you will share what you can with them.  And because we are so dedicated to this, we, too, are going to share.  We will match your donations for each family.*

Last week you met the Johnson family, and their son Noah.

Our next Angels in Adoption who we want to shower with love on Giving Tuesday is the Pitts family…

We met our beloved daughter, Clara Jane Rou, on July 24, 2017 in Ningxia, China. She was so beautiful and so perfect and so loved by us already, but she was so malnourished and sick. We knew her medical needs were potentially more severe than her file outlined, and we were correct. Her file listed repaired tetralogy of fallot, microtia/atresia of the left ear, hearing loss in both ears, asymmetric crying facies syndrome, global developmental delays, and cognitive delays. We instantly knew there were likely some more needs that were undiagnosed/undisclosed, but we said yes to her knowing how complex her medical needs were; there was nothing that would keep us from our daughter!

Once home, we were met with a whirlwind of medical appointments and testing. During her first year home, Clara saw 12 specialists over a period of 56 appointments and had 12 procedures and 8 rounds of blood work done. It was a crazy year! But oh my—we saw Clara transform from a terrified and broken shell of a child to a little girl with a smile and personality that lit up the room. She went from laying on the floor while unresponsive to learning to walk, run, climb, and explore with abandon. She went from completely non-verbal to beginning to learn basic signs (using ASL) and communicating her needs.  She also grew a substantial amount; she went from size 6 month clothing and newborn size diapers (at 30 months old) to size 2T and size 4 diapers.  One of our favorite changes was watching her develop an adoration for her older siblings and start following them around the house and mimicking them. By summer of 2018, Clara had developed into a sassy, spunky, vivacious little girl who truly loved life and loved her family.

While she had been blossoming emotionally, she was also making big gains medically. By summer 2018, her medical needs were all under control and well managed. She was considered in maintenance at that point so we only needed to her all of the specialists once a year. It felt so good to have reached that point after such a long year. Our family was finally feeling settled in a good place and was enjoying life to the fullest.

Then in July 2018, Clara’s personality started to change. She started becoming more clingy and less playful. She then became really constipated  and nothing we nor her pediatrician could suggest worked so we had to have her admitted to the local Children’s Hospital for a full GI clean out. She was there for three days. Two days after discharge, she started throwing up. She threw up fifteen times that first day. The ER said she likely caught a virus during her GI clean out and prescribed Zofran and sent us home. Over the next four days, she continued to vomit in excess. We took her to GI, her pediatrician, and then back to the ER before they finally admitted her. She was there for eight days while they completed every test they could think of. During that time, Clara continued to lose weight. She lost 25% of her body weight before they placed a ng tube. She also started losing some of her milestones, which the doctors attributed to her nutritional status. She was discharged with the ng tube and more Zofran on Friday, August 10th. That weekend, Clara started reacting to her ng tube due to her severe oral aversion; she kept gagging and chewing on her tongue and was just miserable. I called the hospital and spoke to the GI attending multiple times about my concerns. I begged and pleaded with them to give Clara a g-tube, which the attending eventually agreed to do. We were told to come to the hospital on Monday to be directly admitted for the surgery.

We arrived on Monday and were seen by the nurse, the resident, the attending, and the surgical resident within an hour of arriving. Everyone said she looked good, and we could move forward with the surgery the next day. The nurse gave Clara some intranasal versed to calm her down before placing her IV—standard procedure for Clara given her very severe medical trauma. Within minutes, Clara crashed in my arms, and I went running for help. They tried placing an IV to pump her full of fluids, but they couldn’t find a vein so they called for an ICU team to assist. The two ICU nurses arrived and started working on her while the ICU charge nurse watched the monitor and chatted with me about how they do this often, and it’s not anything to worry about. Suddenly, she jumped up and started yelling asking if her BP was really dropping that fast. She ran it again and immediately called a Code Blue. The room swarmed with about 30 people while I was pulled into the corned by the floor resident doctor and a chaplain. I watched as six ICU doctors worked tirelessly to find a vein to place an IV while also bagging her to keep her alive. When her blood pressure reached 30/22, they called for the drill and drilled directly into her bone to place the IV line. It was terrifying, but she was stable. I was assured that all was well now. She would spend the night in the Pediatric ICU, receive her g-tube the next day, and be back on the floor by the next night. My husband arrived at the hospital shortly after that to stay the night with us in the PICU. We were both so shaken up but grateful that the scare was over, and our daughter was okay.

At 4;45 AM the next morning, the lights in Clara’s PICU room were flipped on, and the room filled with doctors and nurses. After a calm night, Clara had suddenly become very tachycardic, and no one knew why. From there, everything started to fall apart. They attempted to place a central line for better access, and she crashed again. It took them an hour to stabilize her, during which they had to place a breathing tube. She went on to have two echocardiograms and two EKGs that all showed her heart was fine. The team started exploring other options and ran many other tests, all of which brought no new information, all while Clara continued to decline rapidly. By Thursday, they told us the only option that made sense (since everything else had been ruled out, and her heart was still acting up) was her heart, but since the two echos and EKGs had shown everything was fine, they needed to do an emergency heart catheterization to see if they could gain any new information. They made it very clear to us that this was a last resort because she was dying, and they didn’t know why. They also made it clear that there was a high probability that she would die on the table, but there was nothing else they could to save her at that point without any new information. It was horrific. We said good-bye to our precious, beloved baby girl as did all of the doctors and nurses who had worked with her up to that point. The attending from the night shift showed up, and both her and the daytime attending had tears in their eyes as she was wheeled away to the cath lab. Everyone was there to say their last good-bye to our daughter, which was both touching and heartbreaking. By the grace of God and the skilled hands of the best anesthesiologist around, our daughter LIVED through the heart cath. Our sheer joy turned to terror as we soon learned our daughter was in full heart failure—biventricular diastolic dysfunction to be exact. She was moved to the Cardiac ICU where we met an incredible doctor who went on to save our daughter’s heart. It took weeks of meds and waiting and many, many scary moments of almost losing her, but she and her heart were saved!

Throughout her recovery, Clara remained comatose on light sedatives with a breathing tube. She never woke up and very rarely initiated a breath on her own. The machines were keeping her alive. The doctors started to talk to us about a tracheostomy for our daughter, but we wanted to give it time, thinking it might not be necessary as we weaned her sedatives, and she started waking up. She had never had any respiratory issues so we (nor her ENT who came to speak to us) had no reason to believe she would need a trach for breathing support. Unfortunately, as they started weaning her sedatives, she wasn’t becoming more responsive. The team called for an MRI, and from that, we learned our daughter had suffered a hypoxic brain injury due to poor profusion from her failing heart. One of the areas affected was the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that impacts consciousness and sleep. They again prepared us for her death. They did not think she would wake up. It was devastating. After all, our daughter had lived through heart failure! Now this? It was too much.

My husband and I decided that if our daughter was going to die, we wanted to spend our last few days holding her. That was not an option with her breathing tube so we asked for the tracheotomy. The team agreed, understanding our reason for that choice. Then miraculously, our daughter woke up! SHE WOKE UP! Our baby girl was ALIVE! Thank you, Jesus!

Clara’s tracheotomy was scheduled for the following Wednesday, but when she woke up, she was just struggling so much with the breathing tube due to her severe oral aversion. She kept chewing on her tongue and gagging so much that the surgery was moved up to Sunday (on a holiday weekend!). After the tube came out, Clara’s tongue would not fit in her mouth. In fact, it was white—yes….WHITE. Clara had developed a very rare complication from the breathing tube called ischemic necrosis of the tongue. The ICU was worried she would lose her tongue. In an effort to save it, she was sedated and medically paralyzed so that a bite block could be placed in her mouth in an attempt to restore blood flow to her tongue. No one knew if it would work, but it was the only option they had. Thankfully, it worked, and Clara did not lose her tongue.

The next six weeks were spent in patient with many highs and lows. Clara moved out of the Cardiac ICU to the Cardiac Transitional Care Unit, and then from there she moved to the pulmonary floor to start weaning her vent settings. During this time, the team weaned down her ventilatory support in the hopes that she would be able to leave the hospital with only the trach—no vent support needed. Unfortunately, she developed a viral infection and then a bacterial infection that left her already weak lungs even weaker. She went from minimal support for a few hours a day to needing much more invasive support during all sleeping hours. Despite that, she continued to have periods of rapid decline that led to her being moved to the PICU two separate more times. It was eventually determined that Clara also needed oxygen support 24/7.

Clara was released from the hospital on October 30 and is now home right where she belongs. Our precious girl has a lot of added “accessories”—trach, g-button, oxygen—that we have had to learn how to operate and care for, but even with the extra work, we have happily embraced it all; we are just so thankful she is still alive. We have a long road ahead of us as we work to see if Clara will ever be able to gain her strength back again. At this time, she is no longer able to climb, run, walk, or even stand up at all. Even just sitting up in a chair with invasive support is challenging for her. We are hopeful that one day she might walk again, but for now, we start with the basics and work up from there. Clara’s shining personality has returned, and she is just as sweet and sassy as she was before everything. As a family, we are all working through the emotional trauma we sustained and will likely continue to need to do so for a very long time, but we also rejoice in the fact that our family of six is all together again under one roof. We take each day one at a time, relishing in the gift of all being together once again.

Thank you, Ashley and David, for sharing your family’s journey with us.  You are in our thoughts and prayers!


While our goal is to raise funds on Giving Tuesday (November 27), we welcome you to make your donation whenever you feel so moved between now and then.  You can donate directly on our website, or send a check to:

Madison Adoption Associates

1102 Society Drive

Claymont, DE 19703

100% of donations will go towards the Pitts Family, and our other three Angels in Adoption.  Please specify on your donation that it is for Giving Tuesday.

*MAA will match donations up to $4,000

THANK YOU!!!

SHOUTING FROM THE ROOF TOPS!

SHOUTING FROM THE ROOF TOPS!

Dear Max,

I have started this letter so many times.  I started it the day your family said Yes.  Then again when they were racing against time to gather paperwork.  And again at DTC.  Then LOA.  Then I-800.  But each time, I was burdened with the gargantuan What-If in the back of my mind.  What-if they don’t make it in time before you turn 14.  And then I would hit delete.  ‘I’ll do it at the next step’ I’d tell myself…. ‘just to be sure.’  While I have been rejoicing since June that you have a family, I haven’t quite been ready to shout it from the roof tops….just in case.

But now Max….NOW I AM SHOUTING IT!!  As, your family just received that last piece of paper that says, “GO GET YOUR SON!”  So now I scream and shout from the top of my lungs…. I’m jumping roof top to roof top…. WE DID IT MAX!!!  WE DID IT!  THEY ARE COMING FOR YOU!!!  And boy are they perfect.  They are perfect for you, and you for them.

I won’t lie Max.  While all my letters to you were filled with hope (here, here, here, and here), doubts definitely tried to worm their way in.  With each passing month, each month you grew older, those doubts got heavier and heavier to carry.  I would do all I could to use them to fuel my desire to try for you even harder.  And when your family said Yes….EUREKA!  But that didn’t immediately erase the doubts.  There was still much to do!!  Over the past several months I have sprinted alongside your family as they race to you.  And what a privilege it has been!  To be the one to hold their hand, as they prepare to hold yours forever.

In this season of Thanks, I give thanks for you Max, and for your amazing family.  I give thanks for your patience, for your bravery, and your resolve.  And I give thanks for your family’s dedication to you, and for their faith in knowing you are meant to be with them.  I hope one day to meet you and give you a huge hug!  In the meantime, I’ll sleep well, knowing that we made it in time.  Happy Forever Max!

Your Friend,

Sarah


There are so many older children waiting for a family, just like Max.  These children risk ‘aging out’ if not adopted in time, losing their chance of a family.  To learn more about adoption, and the children who wait, please visit our website, or email Sarah@madisonadoption.org. 

Angels in Adoption – The Johnson’s {Giving Tuesday}

Angels in Adoption – The Johnson’s {Giving Tuesday}

We are excited to continue our Giving Tuesday Angels in Adoption Campaign!  In case you missed it last week, this year, we are so excited to raise money for four very special families!  

Four MAA Families who have endured the unthinkable.  Four MAA Families who knew the risks, and said Yes regardless, because it meant a Yes for their child.  These four families have been to the brink, and are all still working their way back.  Their days are filled with medical appointments, surgeries, unknowns, heartache, worry, but ultimately, joy.  So.much.joy despite the hard.  Despite being in the trenches.  So, it is for these Four MAA Angels in Adoption that we are reaching out to you.  Our dream is to shower them with love, and gratitude, and support.  They have poured out their hearts and souls into their children, and it’s time to pour into them.  Their lives have been turned completely upside-down due to the intense medical needs of their children.  So, we want to just do a little something to say, “We see you.  We notice you.  We love you.”  Whether it’s a Target gift card to help with the holidays, or a much needed night out for Mom and Dad, our goal is simple – to give just a little something to four MAA Angels in Adoption who continue to give their everything, day in and day out.

Over the course of the next two weeks, we are going to continue to introduce you to these families.  We are going to share with you what they are going through, in hopes that you will share what you can with them.  And because we are so dedicated to this, we, too, are going to share.  We will match your donations for each family.*

Last week you met the Sims, and their son Max. 

Our next Angels in Adoption who we want to shower with love on Giving Tuesday is the Johnson family…

We caught up with Mia and Jeremy Johnson from Illinois, and their eight kiddos – Josiah (15), Matea (14), Malia (11), Noah (10), Elia (9), Micah (9), Asa (6), and Pippa (4).  We’re sure they aren’t busy or anything 😊.

When and where did you adopt Noah from?  Noah came home in 2012 from China.

Can you give a quick summary of some of his surgeries and care?  In summary, the goal has been to stabilize both hips, knees, and ankles.  Also, to perform limb lengthening on his right leg, which is shorter than the left.

Do you have a local orthopedic surgeon in Chicago that can help Noah?  The first surgeon we met with who specializes in cases like Noah met with us for 4 hours.  He informed us that Noah’s case was the most complicated case he has ever seen.  (We still stay in touch with him to keep him updated on Noah).

What about other doctors in Chicago?  Noah’s case was presented to the other orthopedic surgeons in the Chicago area.  Unfortunately, there was no one who was able to provide a medical plan for Noah.  We were suggested to contact the Paley Limb Lengthening and Spine Institute in West Palm Beach, Florida.

When did Noah start going to the Paley Institute?  Noah began his care plan in February of 2013.  Since then I believe the longest stretch we have had not travelling to Florida was three months.   Sometimes we travel as frequently as every four weeks.

Have these surgeries helped Noah? Yes. When we first adopted Noah, he would ask Mia to rub his hips all the time because they hurt. The first goal is to deal with pain, and then improve the ability to walk.  When we first adopted Noah, he would crawl on all fours.  He could maybe take five steps.  After the corrective surgeries our physical therapist stopped counting at 500 steps.

Does insurance pay for your travel?  No.  Though, we are fortunate that through Jeremy’s work, much of the medical expenses are covered, including surgeries and therapy sessions.

How expensive is the travel and what are some examples of expenses?  It depends on the length of the trip.  A 2-3 day visit to get the medical appointments and x-rays done will cost around $1,000 to cover the plane ticket, food, lodging (Quantum House or a hotel), car rental, food, etc.  If we know we have an extended stay for a planned surgery, we will drive down.  Driving one way from Illinois to Florida with gas, food, and lodging is about $400.  If we stay one month at the Quantum House we pay $1,200.  For extended stays, Jeremy will purchase plane tickets so he can visit.  We have been doing this since 2013.

Can you give some more detail about the surgeries?   The goal has been to stabilize both hips because he does not have femur heads on either femur. He also had corrective knee surgery for his knees which were lacking PCL and MCL ligaments.  Both femurs are shorter than what would be typical.  In addition to both femurs being short, his right femur and right tibia is shorter than the left femur and left tibia.  There are more surgeries, but this gives a good idea.

Has limb lengthening worked?  Yes!   Our goal has been to perform limb lengthening to get his legs even.  In total, with two limb lengthening procedures, Noah has gained 14.1 centimeters (i.e. 5.5 inches) of length in his right leg.

How often do you have to go to Florida? Often!  It goes up and down however, but at times it has been as frequent as every four weeks.  In 2017, Noah, Mia, and our other kids were in Florida for six months.  Jeremy’s job is in Chicago, so when we have extended stays (one to four months long) he will fly and visit every three to four weeks for a weekend.

Where do you stay when you are in Florida?   We stay at the Quantum House, which is on the campus of St. Mary’s Hospital where the Paley Institute is located.  There are 30 rooms here with patients that come for orthopedic surgeries from all over the world including England, Germany, China, Israel, Zimbabwe, Australia, and many more.

What is it like meeting people from all over the world to receive medical care? It has been rewarding in so many ways. It also helps to have others nearby who are going through a similar experience.  We are thankful for the friends we have in Florida that are now like family.

Where are your other kids during this surgery?  Thankfully, Mia is able to homeschool the kids, so their education is not compromised.  Also, this allows us to be all together for  treatment while in Florida.

Is there a local doctor that can help with day to day care to avoid appointments in Florida?  Unfortunately, no. Because the medical care is so precise we have found it most helpful that we see the doctor who performed the surgery.   We have tried things like being on the phone with the medical team in Florida while in a clinic in Illinois.  In short, it has not worked well.

What is planned for Noah right now?  Noah had a hip surgery on October 17th.  We have a six week follow up.  The goal has been to position his femur properly.  We anticipate that slight modifications of the hip, knee, or ankle may be required in the next one to two months.

Thank you, Mia and Jeremy, for sharing Noah’s story with us!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A message from Jeremy and Mia:

We are honored, and feel extremely blessed to have Madison Adoption Associates feature our family  for Giving  Tuesday.   We appreciate your prayers and support.  The adoption community is a close community of strong families uniting together and lifting  each other up.  We are so thankful for you all!


While our goal is to raise funds on Giving Tuesday (November 27), we welcome you to make your donation whenever you feel so moved between now and then.  You can donate directly on our website, or send a check to:

Madison Adoption Associates

1102 Society Drive

Claymont, DE 19703

100% of donations will go towards the Johnson Family, and our other three Angels in Adoption.  Please specify on your donation that it is for Giving Tuesday.

*MAA will match donations up to $4,000

THANK YOU!!!

 

 

 

Rest In Peace Benjamin

Rest In Peace Benjamin

Dear Benjamin,

Forgive me, as this is going to be jumbled.  I can’t quite figure out the words that I want to say.  No, scratch that.  There are so many words that I want to say.  But none of them will bring you back.  None of them will truly portray the hurt so many of us are feeling right now.  Several days ago, we had a family asking about you!  When we couldn’t find your file on the shared list, my immediate thought was, “He’s matched!!”  We checked in to locate your file, in case you weren’t matched, and we’d be able to talk with this interested family more about you.  We’d be able to share with them how incredibly remarkable you are!  Then we got the news.  “His file is gone because he passed away.”  No.  NO.  This can’t be.  Just… No.

There’s so much I could say to you Benjamin.  The I’m Sorrys.  The We Failed Yous.  The I Wish I Could Turn Back Times.  But none of these words seem to suffice.  None of them do justice to you.

So, instead of a tirade on how unfair this is.  On how we wanted so much for you.  On how hopeful we were that your family would be found in time.  Instead, today, I just leave you with a smile.  On this #WorldAdoptionDay, the smile on my hand is for you Benjamin.  And for all the orphans in the world who never got to know the love of a family.  Because when I think of you, Benjamin, I will choose to smile.  May you rest in peace sweet boy, and please know you will never be forgotten.

Love,

Sarah, and your friends at Madison Adoption Associates

 

Angels in Adoption – The Sims {Giving Tuesday}

Angels in Adoption – The Sims {Giving Tuesday}

Giving Tuesday.  Yes, we know it’s still 20 days away.  But, we can’t wait to share with you what we are requesting donations for.  It is just too exciting!  So, without further ado, we are happy to introduce you to our Angels in Adoption.  Four MAA Families who have endured the unthinkable.  Four MAA Families who knew the risks, and said Yes regardless, because it meant a Yes for their child.  These four families  have been to the brink, and are all still working their way back.  Their days are filled with medical appointments, surgeries, unknowns, heartache, worry, but ultimately, joy.  So.much.joy despite the hard.  Despite being in the trenches.  So, it is for these Four MAA Angels in Adoption that we are reaching out to you.  Our dream is to shower them with love, and gratitude, and support.  They have poured out their hearts and souls into their children, and it’s time to pour into them.  Their lives have been turned completely upside-down due to the intense medical needs of their children.  So, we want to just do a little something to say, “We see you.  We notice you.  We love you.”  Whether it’s a Target gift card to help with the holidays, or a much needed night out for Mom and Dad, our goal is simple – to give just a little something to four MAA Angels in Adoption who continue to give their everything, day in and day out.

Over the course of the next 20 days, we are going to introduce you to these families.  We are going to share with you what they are going through, in hopes that you will share what you can with them.  And because we are so dedicated to this, we, too, are going to share.  We will match your donations for each family.*

First, meet the Sims, and their son Max….

The morning of March 19th, 2018 we had the amazing blessing of becoming the forever family of Max Xiaonan, who had fought, at his short age of 4 years old a battle of cancer (bilateral retinoblastoma).  He had won the battle but had lost one eye, his left eye.  He received numerous treatments, including systemic chemotherapy, and doctors in China were able to save his right eye, though it was left with poor vision.

Our precious Max came home with us on March 30, 2018, and we started the journey of becoming his new family, his new life. He is always smiling and happy! Asking all kinds of questions and wanting to touch and smell everything! Haha!

After getting adjusted for a bit, we took Max to his first eye doctor appointment, which went well.  The doctor said he could see there was something, but couldn’t tell if it was scaring or something else.  The determination was that Max needed to see a specialist and be checked under anesthesia.

The day was finally here…his first EUA (Examination Under Anesthesia)…as a side note when he was asked what kind of smell he wanted for his mask (they have different smells for the kids: bubble gum, strawberry, cotton candy, etc.) he said chicken!! I want chicken smell..LOL.

Anyway, the EUA was supposed to take 30 to 45 minutes, but instead took 1 hour and 15 minutes.  When the doctor came into the room he had two more people with him, and their faces said it all…Max had 4 active tumors! FOUR!  And they were big ones!

Wait..what???  Our son??  The little one we just brought home??!  The one who barely understands English and is just learning to love his family?! The one who asks why daddy’s face is dirty because he doesn’t understand that man can grow a beard?!  The one learning to eat cake? The one who can’t eat ice cream because it is too cold?! Noooo! This CAN’T BE!!  He can’t start fighting cancer again….not again!! He is only 29 lbs!  4 years old and 29 lbs! He can’t fight cancer when he is so tiny!  When we have so much loving yet to do!

Well…deep breath…..here we go…July 30th we traveled to St. Jude in Memphis, TN.  August 1st we got his second EUA.  Doctors couldn’t understand how he could even see because his eye was so damaged, but they said they were going to do their best to save it as it was his only eye. They started treatment right away.  They also ran tests looking to see if the cancer had metastasized, which it hadn’t, thank God!.

Every ten to fourteen days, we went back to St. Jude in Memphis for treatment or to the Big House as Max calls it…because to him it just looks like a big house and it has toys everywhere.  The nurses and staff love Max…he always has a smile or something funny to say!  And he is always hungry!  Wanting to eat chicken, and was quick to discover St. Jude’s cafeteria tater tots! Ha! His favorite! The volunteer from the EUA playroom said she has never seen a kid as full of joy as Max, even when his eye sight was getting worse and worse he was still so happy and didn’t mind playing and just living his life to the best!

Unfortunately, September 19th, yes, six months from Gotcha Day! We got some devastating news – Max had some new tumors.  These were looking really bad, and the doctor was really concerned that the cancer could spread to the brain if we didn’t enucleate his remaining eye soon enough. Although the decision was really hard, we didn’t want to take the risk of metastasis so we scheduled the surgery for October 10th, 2018.

We went back home and for the next two and half weeks decided we were going to help Max experience everything we could, and give him all the fun visual memories possible so that he could remember all that before going blind. With the help of family and friends he got to see a police car, fire station, fire trucks, went to Branson, MO and the amusement park, got on a monster truck, he saw a Christmas tree, we painted pumpkins, we celebrated his birthday (early) so he got to see his cake and blow his candles. He had so many good memories! We pray he will never forget them!

On October 10th Max had enucleation of his remaining eye, which left him completely blind.  He has reacted amazingly well!  He is as joyful and perky as he has always been! Nothing stops him! Not even a week after surgery he was bouncing and jumping around singing and praising God, singing one of his favorite worship songs.

Although he has a few bad days, where he feels a little overwhelmed, the majority of the days are excellent.  Our child is teaching us that no matter the circumstances, we have the choice to be happy and play, or to stay in a corner and cry.  And even though doctors and experts have told us that we saved his life by adopting him, we believe that God brought Max here in the right time, and for a reason.   Our son will show the world, living his life as a testimony.


While our goal is to raise funds on Giving Tuesday (November 27), we welcome you to make your donation whenever you feel so moved between now and then.  You can donate directly on our website, or send a check to:

Madison Adoption Associates

1102 Society Drive

Claymont, DE 19703

100% of donations will go towards the Sims Family, and our other three Angels in Adoption.  Please specify on your donation that it is for Giving Tuesday.

*MAA will match donations up to $4,000

THANK YOU!!!