We spent yesterday at Seattle Children's Hospital and the University of Washington Medical Center. It was a day we knew was coming a year ago when we started the adoption process through the China special needs program of Holt International. In May of 2012 we sat at our table with a medical checklist before us, prepared to tick the boxes that would open and close doors to unknown children. It was one of the most difficult and painful pieces of the adoption process. Cleft lip, cerebral palsy, thalassemia, fetal alcohol syndrome, epilepsy...we ached as read the labels, wondered at our abilities to parent, questioned our limitations and searched our motivations, our hearts. We ticked boxes and then...waited.
Well, not sit-on-your-hands waiting. Rather, we went about assembling the massive mountain of adoption paperwork known as a dossier, meanwhile teaching fractions and phonics, keeping dental appointments, rereading the Little House books and attempting to keep milk in the fridge and clean laundry in drawers. Spring bloomed into summer, then the leaves began to fall, and at the end of September, our phone rang, and it was our social worker with a referral. There was a little girl with a set of medical symptoms that wasn't easy to classify, were we interested? Her file was in our inbox within minutes, and we were soon staring at her solemn face and shorn head. We knew that whatever her file contained, this was our daughter. Yet, we also knew that we needed to understand her medical needs before officially accepting the referral. We did internet searches, called a doctor friend, and made connections with our pediatrician.
It was then that we heard the words muscular dystrophy. That was not a box ticked on our checklist. The fear stripped me bare, and I wept, even as I knew that she was ours, regardless of this possibility. We officially accepted the referral, and her photo sat on our window sill, her round face becoming familiar, and her name, chosen long before, now spoken throughout the day by her soon-to-be siblings. Mercy.
In November we received more test results, and although there were still unknowns, there was a different possible diagnosis discussed, and we hoped, prayed, that this could be so...and we waited.
No, not sit-on-your-hands waiting. There was still adoption paperwork to gather, meanwhile assembling costumes for the Christmas pageant, teaching algebra, peering over shoulders during piano practice, cheering at basketball games and still working on the elusive art of keeping-milk-in-the-fridge and laundry done.
I have attempted to capture the rest of our journey to Mercy in this space, but yesterday...yesterday was a gift that leaves me hunting for words. After ultrasounds, x-ray, and consults with a geneticist, an orthopedist, and pediatrician...our family learned that indeed there are some medical unknowns, but our Mercy is healthy, her body is strong, and she does not have a progressive or debilitating disease.
God is good, always, regardless of what news we had received. But yesterday, we tasted His mercy. And we are thankful.