Last week was a big deal at the Shull house! We had two very big days in a row and I’m extremely thankful for both.
On Wednesday, March 18, we went to court as a family and completed the very last step of the adoption process. We officially adopted Ashby back in China on January 13 and she became a US citizen upon entry into the US on January 15, but the final step is called re-adoption and that’s when the US courts recognize her as adopted and her name officially gets changed (she’ll get a new birth certificate now and we can apply for her passport).
It was an early morning. We had to be in south Dallas by 8:00 AM and with traffic, that took us almost two hours (it only took us 30 minutes to get home without traffic..). My sweet parents met us there so that they could be a part of our little one minute moment with the judge.
Here we are waiting to go into the court room. We let Kensington skip school on this day so that she could be a part of the moment. Love my little family.
Last minute talk with our adoption attorney before going in. Notice Smith touching Kensington…those two are ALWAYS TOUCHING EACH OTHER. I probably say “keep your hands to yourself” at least 4,000 times a day :).
And here we are…a family of five. Andrew and I were both sworn in, we pledged to love and care for this child and raise her like our own. She is our own…forever and always.
Then the next day, we had our big appointment with Texas Scottish Rite Hospital.
Many, many, many of you have asked what’s wrong with Ashby’s right hand…but I didn’t want to say much until we had met with her new doctor. So, here you go…Ashby has a Vascular Malformation…so the problem isn’t her hand, it’s actually a birth defect that caused her heart to create too many veins on one side of her body (it’s just pooling in her hand, so that makes her hand appear large).
If you were to see Ashby without a shirt on, you would see blue all the way from the center of her chest (her heart) up to her neck and shoulder, down her right arm and into her hand. Her right arm is puffy (due to the increase in blood) and her right hand is extremely puffy and blue from where the blood is pooling. Thankfully, she is in no pain.
When we were shown Ashby’s information last summer, we were aware of this disorder and had a specialist in Washington DC look over her file. We were explained the health concerns and the cosmetic concerns and decided this was something we were willing to proceed with. We were given the name of a surgeon at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas who we thought would be caring for Ashby.
Fast-forward to China and when we saw Ashby for the first time, her condition seemed to be more severe than we had anticipated. The doctor at Children’s was wonderful and kindly suggested that her particular case would be better handled by a specialist at Scottish Rite. Well, you have to apply to get into Scottish Rite and after we applied, it took several weeks to be notified that she was accepted and then almost a month to get an actual appointment. Needless to say, we were anxious to meet our new doctor and hear what he had to say.
Andrew and I dropped the big kids off at school and took Ashby to her first appointment. She is just always such a sweet girl :).
We love, love, love our new doctor! He was so kind and thoughtful…he really took his time and answered all of our questions…he is just a really sweet man and I completely understand why he’s in pediatrics.
The bottom line from our first appointment is this…this Vascular Malformation will not ever be going away. Ashby is going to have to learn to live and adapt to it. His main concern for her are blood clots, so we’re going to do an MRI in the next few weeks to see what’s going on in there and then always be cautious of pain that could be leading to clotting. She is also going to start wearing compression garments to fend off clotting. Cosmetically, Ashby is always going to have the side effects of this condition…her right side of the torso, right arm and hand will always look different. This condition is just something we will always be managing.
We think this girl is absolutely perfect. We cannot even imagine her improved in any way. We just want her healthy. We want to make sure she stays healthy. And we always want her to feel confident in the love of her family.
After spending the day at this children’s hospital, I walked away feeling extremely blessed and grateful. There are so many families out there who deal with such extreme health problems, so little hope and so much pain. My heart is with them.
Right after I wrote this post, I opened my Bible and worked on my current Bible study. I was flipping through looking for a specific scripture when I passed by this page…
…the verse that I have marked there is 2 Corinthians 4:17…
For our present troubles are quite small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever.
The date I have next to that scripture is November 14, 2007 (whenever I read something that really speaks to me, I write the date next to it and perhaps a note). On that particular date, I remember my doctor had called to tell me that my 5th IUI had not worked and I was still not pregnant. Little did I know when I clung to that verse on that date the blessings that were in my future…
At the bottom, I also wrote the date 05-21-09 next to the commentary for that verse because that was the day that I decided to move forward and begin myofunctional therapy (which was a big undertaking for three years). I remember being really depressed that day…but little did I know that only two weeks later, I would find out that I was 8 weeks pregnant :). There was a blessing just around the corner.
I showed you guys this because I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I write about a children’s hospital and then God lead me back to that verse. I know there are some of you out there right who are going through a really hard time…so, I hope you can find comfort in this verse too.
For our present troubles are quite small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever. 2 Corinthians 4:17.