Sorry for the delay in updates. We have not been sleeping like we once did. Caris finds a reason to wake up almost every night (gas pain, being cold, attachment–i.e. Momma are you still here?). Every waking moment I spend doing something other than updating the blog. We have also had several doctors appointments. Our international adoption clinic has had nothing but positive things to say about Caris’s development and progress. She was in a great orphanage, and it shows. We are thankful for that!
I haven’t disclosed on the blog but many of you know already what Caris’s special need is. It’s not an obvious one. Many of the adoptive families in China asked us if she even had a special need. We told them we felt like we “cheated”. We signed up to bring home a special needs child but after 1 surgery for a congenital heart defect, our little girl is fine. For that reason, I did not want to take her to the cardiologist today. I don’t like driving in the city, getting out in the cold, or navigating parking decks, especially alone. She has had her surgery. She’s fine. We don’t really need a cardiologist, but I will go to appease the doctors.
Last night, for the first time in a long time, Caris slept through the night. I was so relieved when I woke up at 8 to a whimper. I was even more relieved when she went back to sleep. Now, before you think we always sleep until 8, God must have seen fit to show us extra grace today. The big kids are like alarm clocks preset for 7:30. Despite Caris’s restlessness at night, she still wakes up before 7 most mornings.
Time with the Lord has been sparse for me lately. I’ve needed it more than ever and find less and less time for it, myself, or sleep. Adoption is hard. Three kids makes life like a circus. And I need time with the Lord before they wake up. I have nearly had a breakdown a couple of recent mornings because of the constant screaming of “Momma!” It is one of the few words Caris knows and it means “momma”, “more”, “give me that”, and “daddy”. She says it from the time she wakes up until she goes to bed at night. I am so glad she is saying it, but I need a little breathing room. I can’t set an alarm for a quiet time because she would wake up to it before I would. I’m saying all this to let you know how rare a much desired 30 minutes with God, first thing in the morning, has been for me. I have not been pleasant. At. All. So, when I woke up this morning and realized I was the only one in the house awake, I crept to the living room very quietly. I asked God to bless Caris’s cardiology appointment and give us a reason for going. He already knew I felt it to be a waste, so I asked Him to show me something from her past that would help me know more than I did.
From the time we first got pictures of our daughter we’ve known she had a scar on her chest from heart surgery. It is not pretty, but we will take that over the myriad of other things that could be wrong. Today the doctor did an ultrasound and they turned out the lights for it. When his nurse turned the light back on he was wiping the gel off her chest and said, “What’s the scar from?” Now, he didn’t seem like a jovial kind of guy, but I tried to respectfully state the obvious. I was thinking, “For goodness sakes, you’re a heart doctor. That is the whole reason we came!” I replied, “From the PDA surgery she had in China.” He politely shook his head and said, “No it’s not.” My jaw dropped and I said, “You’re kidding!?!” He said, “No”. At this point I had lots of questions for him, “What’s it from then?” “Where’s the scar from her heart surgery?” “What is that ugly scar?!” I have thought the scar looked bad since we first saw it in person, but not knowing what all is involved I haven’t questioned.
The doctor could tell from the x-ray (that I had to hold her down for) that she has in fact had the procedure, but it is performed differently. He has seen several Chinese adoptees with the same condition as Caris and none of them have that scar. He said they do the surgery the same way in China as they do in the states. They go in the artery through the leg and it leaves a tiny circle of a scar in the crease of the leg, if it leaves one at all. He said the one on Caris’s chest didn’t even look like a scalpel cut because it was “irregular”. Well, that’s a nice thing to call it. It’s thick and wider on one end, and about 2 inches long.
After several questions, like “Could it have been exploratory surgery? “Pre-op?” he politely kept answering “no” and told me he had no idea why it was there, what it could be from, or what motivation they would have to perform it that way.
Not what I was expecting today. I left with more questions than answers. But that’s part of adoption. There are baby pictures I will never see, videos that never got taken, “firsts” that I missed, loss. BUT, God reminded me today that there are other scars far deeper for most adoptive families. Maybe we’re whimps, but I knew when we began that a baby was all I could handle. I have so much ahead with this sweet girl. We have watched her cut teeth, learn a ton of sign language, say “momma”, “bubba”, “bye-bye”, “glasses”, and “thank you”. WE got to watch her take her first steps a few weeks ago. She walked like a sleep walker at first, putting her arms straight out for balance. Now she tries to play it cool and but them by her side or on her front pockets. It’s adorable. And I have also watched her forgive me for being angry with her when she doesn’t sleep. Now, she’s not quick to forgive. She refuses to kiss me if I have fussed at her in the last 24 hours. I don’t blame her. She is brilliant. I am amazed at how quickly she has picked up words and mannerisms and cues.
I will probably always be a little upset about that scar that doesn’t have to be there. It’s ugly. But praise God for all the prayers He’s answered and how pale a scar is, to how much blessing we’ve gotten from this little tot!