• Kennedy Family

Our fate changed with the check of a box

Updated: Sep 20, 2019

We struggled with the decision to write about this. Hope and Kisses is a website for Mia. I don’t have pictures of her growing in my belly. Instead, I have blog posts, video entries, letters and text messages all timestamped and prepared to show her someday. I want this blog to be a place she can visit, and be reminded of how much we love her, and prepared for her arrival. But part of Mia's story is represented through a simple, and important check box.

Hundreds of forms have been completed throughout this process. We have stacks, and copies of documents stored neatly in our adoption files, all important, and all necessary to complete this lengthy process. And while each of these serve a specific purpose in the process - there is none more essential than the Medical Conditions Questionnaire. This rather simple, but also complicated form, serves a unique purpose for every prospective adopting family. This form requires that all families specify the medical and health conditions they are open to in the adoption process, and list several known, but also many unknown mild, moderate and severe conditions. I won’t lie - this was the worst part of the process. I kept thinking to myself ‘there is a child who might never find a forever home because I didn’t check this box.’ Aren’t all children worthy of love?

Jason and I first completed this checklist when we initiated the process in July 2018, and at that time were apprehensive in checking too many boxes. We both firmly believe that God weaves families together (biological or adopted) in unique and purposeful ways, and we will love and care for whatever needs our child has. But faced with this decision in advance forced us to be logical as well. While we have a heart for children in general, and are open to a wide range of needs, we also have to be realistic in what we are equipped to handle. As a result, we skipped over several conditions where we felt we may not be equipped.

In January 2019, we learned that the wait times were increasing for families due to regulation changes. Alarmed by this news - we decided to increase the number of conditions we were open to even more. In May, we both were reviewing our paperwork and realized that there were a few conditions we had not checked off. Truth be told there were some conditions on the list that terrified us! Many of these medical conditions can result in several surgeries, decreased lifespan, decreased quality of life, and more. But we discovered there was one box that we never checked back in July or January. Heart Conditions. Little did we realize that this checkbox would ultimate change our fate - and match us with the sweetest little girl we’ve ever set eyes on. Read more about that story here.

Mia has complex cardiovascular heart disease (CHD). The specific condition that she has is serious, can be corrected, but will require open heart surgery. There are also many unknowns that we try not to think about. We don’t know how serious the condition is or what the quality of the tests were when completed. We don’t know if we have received all of the facts or details about her condition. We are relying upon translated documents, passed through many hands and interpreted by physicians we’ve never actually met. We haven’t had an update on her condition since July, and just continue to pray that she is receiving the care, love and support she needs. What else can we do?

Children who are born with Mia’s condition often receive surgery as infants. Mia will be 22 months when we bring her home, and will require surgery soon after. While there is so much excitement throughout this process, there is also this element of uncertainty, fear and anxiety that our daughter will experience more trauma not long after settling into her forever home. We could let the fear, doubt and anxiety sink in – but there is so much more to be hopeful for.

Amazing healthcare professionals

When you are matched with a child, you are required to review the adoption file with a medical physician through a phone consultation. Can I just give a shout out to Children’s Hospital and UW Medicine? Seriously amazing! They have a whole team dedicated to international adoption care, and not long after we received Mia’s file we were able to review it with some of the best physicians in the world. Mia’s file was translated, interpreted, and then reviewed by the head of cardiology at Children’s Hospital, and some pretty amazing doctors at UW. All of them can't wait to meet her. I am hopeful for the experience, knowledge, compassion and dedication that this team will bring through their care for our daughter.

Friends, families and coworkers

We have such an amazing family, who have been incredibly supportive and encouraging. We also have great resources within our family, including one of Jason's sisters, who has immense expertise in cardiology heart issues. As I have opened up about Mia’s condition, I have heard from coworkers and friends about how heart conditions have touched their lives, or they have provided resources and other helpful information. Many of these coworkers we have come to know better because of this process. I feel more connected to many of the people I work with now because of this experience.

Faith in Christ

Seriously- we couldn’t make it through this process without our faith in Jesus. The words of encouragement through His word, the people who have been brought into our lives, the sense of peace even in the midst of storms has allowed us to press forward boldly.

We will continue to post updates on this blog as we go through this journey. At the time of writing this post, we are 71 days from picking our daughter up and bringing her home. We hope that you follow along, and also know how much we appreciate your support, encouragement & love.

Jason and Bethany

Jason and I are raising money for waiting children in Mia's orphanage to help cover costs for medical treatments, operational expenses, toys and furniture. Learn more about the importance of this gift by visiting our Gift For Waiting Children post. Any and all dollar amounts are appreciated.