Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Time to Remember

It has been one year since I first brought my precious boy home. Looking back, I can hardly believe how quickly time has passed and how far God has carried us. It has been a year of deep emotion and so much answered prayer. 

My son was born addicted to methadone, to an incarcerated mother, who abused heroin and other hard drugs throughout her entire pregnancy. 

Infants born addicted to heroin and methadone experience what is known as neonatal opiate abstinence syndrome (NOAS). This syndrome is "characterized by dysfunction of the central nervous system, autonomic nervous system, gastrointestinal tract, and respiratory system" (Kandall, 1999). The specific symptoms of NOAS include: irritability, tremulousness, hypertonia, excessive crying, voracious appetite, exaggerated sucking drive, abnormal coordination between sucking and swallowing, regurgitation, pulmonary aspiration, and abstinence associated seizures typically seen only in infancy. (Kandall, 1999). Additional problems approaching the toddler into adolescents include language and motor delays, learning disabilities and behavior problems. 

As a nurse, I had no confusion about the difficulties my son could face, or how hard raising him might be. However, I also was choosing to believe that with a loving mother, who would fight for him and by the power of a mighty God, he could have a hope and a future.  "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."- Jeremiah 29:11.  After all, God was with Samuel from the beginning.

Psalm 139:13-16 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb, I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful. I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

At seven months old, when I brought Samuel home, he could not hold his head up on his own or roll over, skills typically achieved by 3 months. We began physical and occupational therapy and I prayed for healing every day.
7 months old
Slowly but surely his neck muscles and core strengthened. At 8 months he began rolling over and holding his head up. At 9 months, three months later than the norm, he finally was sitting alone. And the day before he turned 10 months old he began to crawl. The pediatrician was pleased with his progress, but told me not to be disappointed if he did not begin walking until 18-24 months. So, when he began walking three days prior to his 1st birthday, I felt like I had seen a miracle.
12 months old


My second answer to prayer came with the completion of Samuel's adoption in March, when he was 17 months old. I had such a sense of relief and peace, knowing that he was mine forever. Samuel was God's perfect gift  to me, three days after I turned 28. From my birthday until the adoption hearing, felt like the days following good Friday, waiting for Jesus to rise from the dead.  I was waiting for the promise to become a reality. 
18 months old
After having two previous foster children returned to a less than ideal environment back with their birth parents, I knew all to well the heart ache, bitterness, and sheer agony, of watching the ones you love be ripped from your arms. Until the completion of Samuel's adoption, this fear loomed over my head and was prevalent in my dreams, despite my faith in the promise I had already received from God.

Now at 19 months, we embrace yet another hurtle.  Samuel has a questionable sensory processing disorder and will be evaluated by a specialist next week.  Sensory processing (sometimes called "sensory integration" or SI) is a term that refers to the way the nervous system receives messages from the senses and turns them into appropriate motor and behavioral responses. Whether you are biting into a hamburger, riding a bicycle, or reading a book, your successful completion of the activity requires processing sensation or "sensory integration." 

I know whatever the diagnosis my God is able! God is so faithful.

Even though Samuel is growing and changing rapidly, I am grateful that glimpses of the baby I brought home (at 7 months old) can still be seen as we venture into toddler-hood (now 19 months old). The baby fat seems to be melting, but the beautiful smile and huge eyes remain. What an amazing, beautiful journey these last 12 months have been for me. Thank you so much to all of you who have traveled this road beside me.

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