As we were beginning the process of our third adoption in 2011, we pondered what special needs were “off the table,” so to speak. These would be “needs” we were convinced we couldn’t handle in a child.
Tops on the list: congenital heart disease.
Years earlier, we traveled in China to bring home our son, James, who was born with a cleft lip and palate. At that time in 2008 that was more than we thought we could (or really wanted) to handle. But truth be told, it was imminently doable (in God’s strength). Yet given that, we believed we had stretched as far as we were willing or able to stretch. And we were firmly convinced of that until we saw Hudson’s picture and heard his story in 2011.
Then in a way that we cannot explain everything changed. It had to be God.
Hudson came home in May 2012.
Unless you saw Hudson at our neighborhood pool and saw the uneven scar running the length of his chest or you were around when he gets winded and noticed a blueness under his finger nails, you wouldn’t have a clue that he was born with only one ventricle and already had two heart surgeries while waiting for us in China.
Since he came home, Hudson has had a battery of medical tests, including a heart catheterization, at our local children’s hospital. Doctors have given him the green light for his third heart surgery, the Fontan procedure, in April.
We’re not looking forward to it, in the way one would anticipate a beach vacation, but we are eager for Hudson’s health to get this next surgery complete. Our pediatrician told us Hudson will be a “new boy” after this surgery. We can hardly imagine that; he is already a little dynamo unto himself!
It’s all much bigger than us. If we focus too much on Hudson’s medical condition, we are easily overwhelmed. But then, all of our children–bio and adopted–have issues that they must contend with that can be overwhelming if you spend all your time focusing on them.
God has used each of our children to teach us it is wise to take one day at a time, although our nature is to lie awake at night and fret over things that are not in our control (Matthew 6:34). It really all comes down to trust.
For us now it is simply doing what comes next. For each test or surgery that Hudson has, there is a different (specialized) cardiologist. They are working together to give him the best care available. We know this and are confident he would not be on track for this level of care if he were still in an orphanage.
In the same way that not every one is called to adopt (but God expects us all to be involved), it’s unreasonable to expect every family to choose to grow by adopting a CHD child. Yet on this side of Hudson’s adoption, we couldn’t imagine it any other way. It is an option well worth considering.
Hudson is an intelligent, brave little boy. I can’t imagine any other child as my youngest son. His physical heart might not be whole but his heart for life is as full as it can be. Through Hudson, we know the fullness of God’s love for us just a little bit more. We are blessed.
-Dwayne and Marla Hastings
You can help a child like Hudson receive life-saving surgeries and medical care. Click here to help fund a heart surgery!
Have you adopted a child with CHD? Leave us a comment with your best advice for other families considering bringing home a child with CHD.