Joel: When Something Is Just Right
Several years ago, I had learned about a darling little boy who had been born with an extremely complex heart defect. He was living at LWB’s Heartbridge Healing Home, and on a visit to China I actually got to hold him in my arms. I never could have imagined then that one day I would be his forever mama.
But my ten-year-old son knew, and he just had to make my heart know as well. And when my heart realized Joel was my son, there was no stopping me. No news on his health challenges could deter me from bringing my son home. There were many things and even people who tried to stop me, but I could not be stopped.
My wonderful adoption agency really wanted me to understand Joel’s complicated medical history and really wanted to make sure I knew what I was getting my family into. I just said “yes” followed by, “How fast can I get him home?” When I heard the lengthy timeline, I just couldn’t accept it. I told my agency I would work as hard as I could. They just needed to promise me that they would keep up and work hard for me and my family. They did not disappoint. They became my family.
Over the next few weeks I started to hear things that should have scared me to death but they didn’t. Why? Because it was just…right. Everything I heard about Joel’s prognosis just motivated me to work harder. Things like, “Your son is inoperable in China, single ventricle, open heart surgery, heart transplant, organs on opposite side of body, no spleen.”
I had no fear because I knew my son was waiting for me.
During several steps, my adoption agency said, “Wow, it’s going so fast.” My doctor in the States who was recommended to me was perfect. He never asked me WHY I was doing what I was doing; he just helped me and answered all my questions.
At times, people would mention the struggles we may go through. I instead chose to celebrate the things we would do. Again, you may ask how I was able to do this? Well, my ten-year-old son kept reminding me that Joel having a family was the most important thing of all, and my heart knew he was right.
Four months after starting Joel’s adoption paperwork, I boarded a plane to bring my son home. I know Joel had a huge fan club of LWB supporters, and maybe that’s why we couldn’t think of a better name for our son. We felt your love and support. We felt your prayers, and we thank you.
After having Joel home for a year, we are thrilled to report that he is doing great. I think he may miss ruling the roost like he did at Heartbridge as he continues to fight mom and dad daily for the job of running the house, but he is happy and healthy.
Joel had a heart cath to fix some heart problems, but now he is pink and his oxygen levels are much higher…not perfect, but better. He attends preschool two days a week, and his teacher tells me he is brilliant and so creative. He can’t keep up with his sister who is nine months his senior, but he tries. And he tries with a smile on his face and a laugh on his lips.
And when he tires, his mama spoils him a bit and picks him up and climbs the ladder for him while letting him enjoy the ride down the slide, not thinking for one moment about what he can’t do but celebrating what he can….because his big brother knew having a family would be the most important thing of all.
AND IT IS!!
~Brittani Lots is the Assistant Coordinator of LWB’s Unity Initiative.