Posted by: eacadoption | 12/11/2010

A Story on an Adoption of a Special Needs Child

From the time he was about five, our middle son, Drew, told us that his sister was waiting in China. Talon and I would laugh, and tell him that he already had two brothers; there were not going to be any sisters in our family. Little did we know, around the time he started telling us his sister was waiting, a baby girl was born in China.

In February of 2006 after attending an EAC seminar, I called and asked to speak with somebody with the China program. I asked about adopting a daughter with special needs, specifically clubfoot. Chris told me that although EAC had not completed many special needs adoptions, they would be happy to help us find our daughter and bring her home.

About a month and a half after my initial phone call, EAC received the file of a beautiful little girl who was 15 months old, and she had bilateral clubfoot.

We took the evening to think and pray. The next morning we agreed, our daughter’s file was sitting on Chris’ desk. I called Chris and asked her to FedEx our daughter’s ‘a lot of work 6s file’. On March 23, 2006, our daughter, Caitrin YuYing was born in our hearts.

We were fortunate to receive two medical updates as we impatiently waited for our dossier to be processed and travel approval granted.

All we could do was pray. After nine long months of looking at our daughter’s photographs and driving the China staff crazy with our phone calls, Talon and I left for China on September 21, 2006, leaving our sons, Craig, Drew, and Paul at home with my parents. Our trip would be lightning fast, ten days from the moment we left until we were home. We spent a brief time in Beijing enjoying the culture, and realizing just how special “Uncle Zhou” really was. On September 25, 2006, we met Caitrin for the first time. She was leery of us when she first came into the room, and we were afraid to approach her; she looked so confused and scared. At 21 months old, she knew something was going on…and she was not sure she liked it. Finally, the Assistant Director handed her to me; I lost my heart all over again.
On the way from the Adoption Offices to the Civil Affair’s Office to obtain her passport, she snuggled into my arms, and fall asleep. We finally had our daughter, and the boys had their little sister. It was an amazing day; it was just as special as the days on which I had given birth to our sons.

We knew from the medical updates, that Caitrin had undergone surgery; however, we could tell from simply looking her feet that her surgery had not achieved the correction for which we had prayed.

After we brought Caitrin home, we took two months to isolate and bond as a family. Her brothers were completely in love with this little fireball in pink.

From our experience with Drew, we knew Caitrin’s feet were going to be a surgical challenge. Because of these challenges, we chose to take her to see leading pediatric orthopedic surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic. The doctor had the skills necessary for a successful surgery.

Due to the scaring from her surgeries in China, the process would be much more complicated than we expected. She would need plastic surgery to close the surgical site.

The day of surgery arrived we were notified that the surgery would last for six to eight hours. Thirteen hours later, they brought Caitrin into the recovery area. She was in casts to her thighs, and her feet still were not flat. The doctor explained that when he stretched her feet into “optimal position” he lost pulse in not just one but both feet, and we needed to take a wait and see approach.

The second surgery lasted hour and a half. The surgeon came out, and explained that discovered that there was another complication; the incisions were not healing, the plastic surgery portion of the surgery had failed on both feet. During the next month, we returned to Cleveland for surgery weekly. The wounds still were not healed; she was sent home, without casts to begin wound care protocol on both feet. We were terrified.  Soon wound care three times a day became second nature.

I noticed a small red area on Caitrin’s foot. It was warm to the touch, a sign of infection. Our doctor wanted to see Caitrin that day; my heart dropped. We opted for admission and IV antibiotics. It was not the large, open wounds that became infected, but one tiny suture that failed to dissolve properly. She was in the hospital for three days.

After the hospitalization, Caitrin turned the corner. Her wounds began to heal, and we had no more infections. Our weekly trips to Cleveland, dropped to bi-weekly and then to monthly. Although she has extensive scars, she is doing better than we ever could have dreamed. She wears ankle foot orthotics 23 hours a day to help hold her feet in correction, but they have not slowed her down.

We continue to stretch her feet to help increase the range of motion and to encourage her feet to stay in their beautiful new positions. She will need to wear her orthotics for another year or maybe more, but honestly, that is not an issue for us. Six months after her initial surgery, she started taking Chinese Dance Lessons! She is able to walk, run, climb, jump, and do all the things a typical two-year-old can do. Through the entire experience, she maintained her wonderful personality, and in the midst of her pain, she would hug us and say, “I love you”.

Even though their lives were turned upside down, the boys love having a little sister. Caitrin is everything we ever imagined and more. When people see Caitrin, nobody comments on her orthotics or scars…everybody sees her ornery little grin and that is exactly how it should be. We are blessed beyond words to have this amazing little girl as a part of our family.

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