Saturday, November 5, 2011

her story - part one

The call for Mrs. Nesbit's referral to us came quite unexpectedly.  I was at the very tail end of putting our dossier together and had left a message at our adoption agency with a question about a specific portion of the paperwork.  When my phone rang with the agency's number on the other end, I was assuming it was just the call back to answer my question.

When I heard the director of the China program greeting me, I had a teeny-tiny suspicion that she wasn't calling to answer my rookie dossier questions.

She calmly informed me that they had a little girl's file that they wanted us to look at and did I want to hear about her?

Um, yes please! (Imagine shaking hands, pounding heart, regretting that my Beloved was away on business, and scrambling for a piece of paper -all in the next few seconds.)

I then reminded myself to cherish this moment, because it would likely be a highlight when we tell Mrs. Nesbit her adoption story.  I grabbed the only paper I could find which happened to be too small for all the things I wanted to jot down.

She was described as 20 months old and living with foster parents.  She was found nestled in a paper box on a doorstep of a home on a cold day in January, 2010 when she was just 11 days old.  Her birth mother was loving and cared about her future as evidenced by the note she left with her.

I have not seen the note yet, but it said something to the effect of, "She was born on {gave her exact birth date}.  I would appreciate if some kind hearted people would adopt her."


People, if that is not evidence that there are trials in this world that we cannot even fathom, I don't know what is.  I think about her birth mother all the time and have so many thoughts about her possible situation and struggles, but that is for another post.

The kind woman on the phone from our agency then described her medical need to me as " a deformed right ear and an asymmetrical mouth."  Hmmm, what might that look like?  Did we want to see her file and photos?

Well, I couldn't make that decision without first talking to my man, who was working hard in Denver and had no idea that this call was coming.  Luckily, he answered his phone the first time and we quickly discussed it.  We had some fear over the vagueness of the description of her medical need, but in the end, we wanted to see her.

I nervously called the agency back and asked them to send her file over.  Then I hit "refresh" on my email box about 764 times, waiting for them to come through.

The bulk of her file was from her 18 month check up.  Her development and milestones exceeded some of my boys' timelines and the description of her personality made us giggle.  "Outgoing," "Likes other children and cats and dogs," "Lovely."

I have never even met her and she is lovely to me.

We had a short amount of time to review her file and have medical professionals advise us regarding her health.  I immediately called my "personal medical professional" - a.k.a. my brother's wife who is a brilliant neurologist at one of the most highly regarded medical facilities in the country.  She is always willing to help us and has been excited for our adoption journey.  Did I mention that she is one of the smartest people I know?

Mrs. Nesbit's health needs are not exactly in my sister in-law's area of specialty, but she was eager and anxious to get the ball rolling for us and dig a little deeper in order to get a thorough medical assessment.  If she wasn't an amazing doctor, I think she would make a great police detective - except her big heart wouldn't be able to handle the tragedy in detective work.

I also called my friend from church who had adopted a son from China with a cleft lip and palate.  She gave me the name and number of her son's craniofacial plastic surgeon AND the name of the office manager, Bonnie, who turned out to be wonderful.

I called the office before they opened and left a message for Bonnie explaining my situation and my time crunch.  Five minutes into business hours, she called me back and offered me an appointment for noon the next day (over the surgeon's lunch hour).  Bonnie was warm and friendly and had a calming effect on me.  After traveling all week, Kenyon just happened to be home the next day AND have a flexible schedule that allowed us to go to the appointment together.

We walked into the office the next day and gave our names at the front desk.  I informed them that Bonnie had booked our consultation and she immediately came out of her office and around the front desk to the waiting area where we were standing.  I extended my hand and started to introduce myself, but Bonnie would have none of that, she wrapped her arms around me so quickly that I wasn't sure what just happened.

What just happened was that just when I needed it most, God sent that warm, reassuring person that I needed to calm my fear and nervousness.

We talked with her a little bit about our family and our adoption journey as she walked us back to an exam room.  She hastily cleaned the room up, as the rest of the staff were all clearly on their lunch hour.

Shortly after she exited, the surgeon came in and shook our hands as we all introduced ourselves.  This man is Asian himself, and has a very calm, soft spoken nature to him.  He reviewed our daughter's file and confidently gave a name to the larger syndrome that he is certain that she has (which of course, was the exact syndrome my sister in-law came back with the night before).

He calmly explained it at a more basic medical level.  The most impressive part was the fact that he sat and let us ask as many questions as we could think of in that moment.  We even repeated and rephrased some of our questions.  He let large moments of silence pass comfortably, never rushing us to get going and let him be done.

Overall, we felt he gave us a generally positive prognosis with the little information we had at hand.  In order to solidify his diagnosis, we left with a plan to request a jaw x-ray and answers to some specific medical and developmental questions about Mrs. Nesbit.

We never asked in advance how much the consultation would cost us.  But, we had discussed it and knew that even if we had to pay $200 out of pocket, it would be money well spent in this process.  When we got back to the front counter, I took out my wallet and asked Bonnie how much we owed.

"Oh, there is no charge."

The wave of emotion immediately flooded me.  I choked back the tears and tried to force the words of gratefulness out of my mouth.  Seven months into this adoption journey, I had not yet met a major component of the process that didn't cost us money.

We walked out in a bit of a daze.  At our favorite sandwich shop, we visited some of the tougher scenarios and things to consider about her future needs.  Our goal was not to go in this blindly, but to face the situation head-on.

I called our agency that evening and expressed the need for a jaw x-ray and then compiled the email of remaining questions to be answered about her.

Then we faced some of the hardest times of waiting yet.


km said...

You know, I love reading about almost anyone's adoption story... but it is so much sweeter when it's a friend and we're going through it at the same time! Love you guys :)


Grandma Jellybean said...

I can't wait for the next installment! Please make it soon.

Love an anxious Grandma in waiting!!

Anderson, Party of Five! said...

Love this!

Kathy said...

Found myself sitting in this Laurie. Seriously just about held my breath until the end. Cannot wait to read the rest.

"I have never even met her and she is lovely to me."

Indeed friend, your daughter is lovely. :o)

Keep the story coming! Continued prayers {and love} from our family to yours.

wendis said...

My niece was also let in a cardboard box - but close enough in proximity to an orphanage that found sister kept the clothes she was wearing that day and recently shared that story with my niece...

wynkoopmom said...

I do hope you're working on a new name for this blog...because soon enough you won't be surrounded by testosterone! Love following this story, Laurie. It's so exciting to see God work!

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