“Echogenic bowl, clubbed feet, Trisomy 21, disability, handicap”. These words were thrown around in front of Eric and I for months while we prepared for the arrival of our Son Jack. For Doctors and Nurses it was so matter of fact for them. For us these words changed our entire lives. At first these words scared us, but as we prepared for our Jack All we felt and saw was unconditional love. Clubbed Feet or not… he was ours. We loved him the moment we knew he was in my belly. I still love him and he is still perfect.
“Absent Septum Pellucidum, Hypoplastic Corpus Callosum, Hypomyelination, and a premature-looking Cortical Brain Convolution. The Cerebellum looked small and there is a cyctic dilation of the posterior fossa with a possible vermis hypoplasia, and small volume intraventricular hemorrhage without hydrocephalus. Baby Z’s radiologist noted that the abnormalities in his MRI indicate possible neurological complications, including seizures, learning disabilities, speech delays, and feeding challenges. Eric and I read these words, and again they meant nothing to us. All Eric and I saw was love. All we saw was our Son. Disability or not we were going to go get our son.
The moment I laid eyes on Warren’s story my heart shot through my chest. It was 9:00 on Saturday morning. I was up early getting my workout in and preparing for my day. Scarlett had her first Soccer practice and I was jazzed to see her run around on the field. The first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is check my phone (I know, bad habit! But had I not, I would have missed out. You’ll see why in a minute). I saw this:
“Anita I thought of you the moment I read this. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10101158099506556&set=a.543365863746.2081263.45504810&type=3&theater” This message came from my friend Cate Beard (who just took custody of two children she will be adopting as well!)
I clicked on the link immediately and began to read. I then followed another link to here: http://www.onloanfromheaven.com/2017/06/urgent-baby-z-needs-family.html. With my hands shaking and my heart racing I followed the instructions and I submitted our profile and home study to Lindsay the author of Onloanfromheaven.com (Lindsay is also the Case Manager who worked with Warren’s first mother through her pregnancy. She was even in the delivery room when Warren was born.) I skimmed the post without diving into to much detail. I saw ears, I saw hands, I saw feet and I was IN LOVE. I had not seen his face, but I just knew that no matter what he looked like, I had to pursue this situation right away. Eric was still asleep, so I took a leap of faith and sent our information. I hesitated and thought “Maybe I should talk to Eric first?” I am glad I did not because I was the very first family to submit their information to Lindsay, Warren’s first Mother’s Case Manager. I sat there and I stared at the screen hoping for a response. I kept refreshing and biting my nails.
While I waited I read deeper into Baby Z’s story. I typed Hypoplastic Corpus Callosum into google and began to read. As I began to understand Baby Z’s diagnosis my heart felt at peace. Nothing about what I read turned me away. I knew that there would be challenges ahead of us, and Eric and I knew we could handle it. We knew that we could have all of the diagnosis now, but we won’t know what Baby Z really needs until he begins to grow.
I refreshed my screen again and there it was, the email from Lindsay! We corresponded back and forth. I thumbed through Baby Z’s medical records. I was completely confused! I started to chat with Eric about Baby Z, and he also felt comfortable moving forward.
You see, just 48 hours prior we were approached by another situation. We put our profile in, but something did not feel right. Eric was not 100% sure, I was nervous, we just were not sure we were this babies forever family. He was a baby boy in California who was diagnosed with Prader-Willi Syndrome.
Eric and I discussed in depth about this syndrome and really did some soul searching. We wanted to adopt a baby so bad we ignored what our gut was telling us! Something pulled at us and it just did not feel right. This baby was not ours. The extent of his genetic disorder far exceeded what Eric and I felt confident with. We were open to special needs, but we were not sure how far we could go. We were not sure how severe. Among the disorders that Eric and I have researched and considered, this by far was the most difficult for us to wrap our minds around. The main concern and what really frightened us was the in ability to feel satiated. We would have to monitor every thing our child placed into his mouth for most of his life. To have to tell a child that they cannot eat something like a cup cake, or ice cream at a birthday party really tore my heart up. I was not sure I could handle something like that. But we wanted a baby so bad we were willing to ignore this unsettling feeling. We placed our profile with the family and they showed interest in our family. They began asking questions and it seemed as though they were on track to choosing our family.
I saw Lindsay’s article about Baby Z right before we would have been selected for the Baby in California. When we read about Baby Z our hearts felt like we were headed in the right direction. We felt confident and able to be the best family for Baby Z. I felt terrible for moving on from the situation in California, but looking back now, it would have done everyone a disservice if we were to adopt him. After doing more research it became very clear that this baby needed a family that had experience with this genetic abnormality. I am glad we made the decision that we did, because the family in California decided to parent him!
Eric and I waited patiently for more correspondence from Lindsay while at Scarlett’s soccer practice. We started to discuss name options, and we started to feel excited. I told Eric that I was nervous to get my hopes up but then this came across my email:
“Mama J gave me the honor of picking her baby’s family and I am so drawn to you. I’ll do whatever I can to help as you sort through” – Lindsay
I looked at Eric and said “I think this is our son! I think this might actually happen.” I emailed Lindsay back: “Yes let’s move forward. Please send me what we need. Can you also share what finalization fees usually look like?” and just like that we were matched with Baby Z. This was June 2nd and we were to meet Baby Z on June 5th in North Carolina. He was waiting for us in the NICU! Lindsay and I hopped on the phone together and we chatted about the details of Baby Z’s situation.
We were the 4th family involved in Baby Z’s life. There had been 3 other families who were matched with Baby Z”and after a few day’s with him in the NICU or time spent doing soul searching and research, they changed their minds. At first I thought how terrible, poor Baby Z! but then I thought about the situation from California, and how that could have been Eric and I changing our minds because something did not feel right. These families did the right thing. If you are at all doubting the decision you made in regards to adopting a child, you should always trust your gut! This is a child, this is a human being, this is someones life, and if you are not ready… it is better that you say so right away. I respect these families for making the decision that they did! It takes a family who has an open heart and the lifestyle appropriate for a child with special needs. Not everyone is ready for that. Adopting a child has its own challenges, adopting one with special needs, that changes everything.
Have no fear, Baby Z was not abandoned or left in the NICU alone! He had some really amazing angels in place who visited him in shifts daily! Lindsay and her friends Allison and Dana took turns spending time with Baby Z in the hospital. He was loved on and advocated for. I am so thankful that he had such incredible Women in his life from the get go. Baby Z had always been loved on!
After Lindsay and I made it official, Eric and I sat down to iron out the details and get our family ready to head to North Carolina to be with our boy. But first it was time to give Baby Z his forever name! This special boy deserved a powerful name with a lot of meaning! We loved the name Lindsay had given him (Baby Z had been short for Ezekiel in the Bible), but we were excited to honor Eric’s uncle Warren by naming Baby Z, Warren Michael Miron.
Eric’s uncle Warren was 22 years old when he was killed in a moter-cycle accident. This happened many years ago, but the memory is still painful for those who loved him. Whenever we watched Eric’s Mother talk about Warren we knew that he was special and loved. A little fighter like Baby Z deserved that name with so much history and meaning behind it! So Baby Z became Baby Warren.
We notified our family, got the house ready, packed and by Sunday we were on the road en route to Baby Warren. Baby boy… HERE WE COME!