Sunday, February 6, 2011

Selah's Story, Part 1

Selah is the only baby we've ever adopted.  Not because we never wanted to adopt a baby, but because God had never asked us to.  Until November 23, 2010.  God had a HUGE SURPRISE in store for us!  He delivered a baby and her 5-year-old biological sister to us just two days before Thanksgiving.  It's a good thing I love surprises, and it's quite a miracle that God has stretched me like a rubberband, making me much more flexible than I ever imagined.  Now that Baby Selah has been in our family for two months, I feel so unworthy of receiving such a cherished gift from God.  But, I didn't always feel this way because fear held me back from experiencing the pure joy He had packaged in this tiny little gift.

When God sent Selah (and her bio sister, Ella, from Texas) to us just 2 days before Thanksgiving (click HERE to read the story), we were all completely shocked by God's plan.  *We* were not even THINKING about adopting more kiddos at that time.  (Although we hoped God would send us more children in the future, just not any more in 2010!  God added FIVE children to our family in 2010!!!) 

Anyway, back to Selah.  We only had a matter of hours to prayerfully consider adding two new members to our family, and prepare for the arrival of Baby Selah and her big sister Ella.  Baby Selah was just 7 weeks old, and we had NOTHING (not one thing!) left in our home for a baby!!!  And by the time we decided we would be adding both girls to our family, it was after 9PM!  We got home with the girls just before midnight on November 23, 2010, and the only things we had for the baby were the clothes on her body, the car seat she came with, some bottles and formula that we purchased at the grocery store, and an empty diaper bag that also came with her!  We undressed baby dolls and tried outfits on this little bundle of joy, trying to find something for Selah to sleep in that night, until I could get to the local resale shop the next day to find some things to fit her!
Selah's First Bath, November 24, 2010

Stocking the house for the needs of a baby was really the least of my concerns.  The scariest thing for me was that Baby Selah had hydrocephalus and possible epilepsy, amongst a huge list of other possible health and developmental issues. I knew NOTHING about hydrocephalus and the risks, much less how to care for a newborn baby with hydrocephalus.  I knew nothing about shunt care (Selah had (and will most likely always have) a shunt to drain the fluid from her brain into her belly).  I literally knew nothing.  I felt very scared and totally inept.  I mean, I knew how to care for a baby, but this was not an ordinary baby, and I had no time to educate myself on her condition and her needs.  I had no time to get to know her, and I didn't even have that baby's medical records.  As I held this tiny baby in my arms and fed her a bottle, she peacefully drifted off to sleep.  I, on the other hand, never drifted into deep sleep.   Oh, believe me, I was exhausted and would have loved to get a full night's rest on the first night of bringing two new children into our family, but I kept looking at this sweet baby, peacefully sleeping, wondering if she would die in the night because I had no idea what I needed to watch for.  Selah slept so soundly, for NINE hours straight, as I shined my cell phone light on her atleast 100 times throughout the night, just to make sure she was still breathing!  (None of my babies EVER slept for NINE hours straight!!!)
Thanksgiving Day, Mommy and Selah

After a restless night for me filled with many what-if's, I finally gave up on sleep and decided I should just educate myself on hydrocephalus.  Naturally, I began by googling "hydrocephalus".  I don't recommend this for anyone who overnight becomes the caretaker of a baby with hydrocephalus!  The results were terrifying!  Instead of feeling informed and more prepared to parent this baby, I felt absolutely terrified and my heart felt so jeopardized.  We simply could NOT place OURSELVES in such a high risk situation again.  What if Selah died, which was a possibility with a hydrocephalus baby?!?  What if this baby died in my care because I didn't know what to do in an emergency?  What if Selah had a seizure and I couldn't help her and she just died in my arms?  How would I (and my entire family) be able to handle losing another precious loved one?  The fear of facing the unknown with this sweet little baby told me that we couldn't do it. 
Plenty of love surrounded Baby Selah on Thanksgiving Day (and every day!).

So, I told God no.  I told Him I couldn't handle it.  I told the adoption agency to find another family.  I actively sought another family to take the two girls.  Surely there was another family out there who was ready and willing to take this risk, but it absolutely could not be MY family.  Since it was the day before Thanksgiving and we had not located another family, I told the agency we'd keep the girls until they located another family (so we could keep the girls safe and give them a wonderful Thanksgiving), but that was all I could handle.
Just two days after being in our family, there was never a moment that someone didn't want to wrap their arms around this sweet baby girl!

Well, God has a way of having His will be done.  After a couple of days of having the girls, my heart was literally swelling with love for these two new girls.  I felt so confused, as I wanted to badly to protect us from having our hearts shattered again.  How could it be that there was room in my heart to feel this overflowing love for two girls I had just met, with one of the girls being so high-risk?  I was literally terrified of losing the baby.  I couldn't possibly allow my heart to love another child who might not live very long, yet God was working a miracle in me to open my heart again to wholeheartedly embrace His plan, regardless of the outcome.  And He was doing the exact same thing with each member of our family, yet I still felt I needed to do research and figure out how to guard our hearts in this situation.
What a sweet blessing!

My husband kept telling me that the girls were "keepers".  (That's my country boy for you!)  Matt's words were shocking to me because Matt has the most sensitive heart of anyone in our family, and he still struggles more than the rest of us when it comes to what happened with Chrissie.  I really couldn't believe that Matt was trying to talk me into keeping these girls!!!  When the agency (and I!) had no luck in finding another family for the girls, and every member of my family was begging me to say they'd stay forever, I knew I needed to let go of my plans and embrace God's plan. be continued....

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