The joys – and challenges – of adoption: Here’s my story

2013-05-15 09:22:21 by Sarah Sanford, Patient Family, as posted on the blog.

Meet Jane.  Meet Jude.  And meet me, Sarah. I am lucky enough to be their mom. We came together, as a family, when infertility led my husband and I  to adoption.  After a good bit of fertility treatments (nothing "stuck!") and then soul searching, my husband determined that adoption was OK by him.  I always knew it was OK by me.

We did a little research, saved A LOT of cash and picked ourselves an agency.  We spit shined ourselves, prepped the house (do you know how pricey a commercial grade fire extinguisher is?) and were approved for our first home study in March 2007.  Jane came home in April of the same year. Life hasn't been the same since.

Fast forward to December 2009.  We had "re-upped" our home study - I wanted to adopt again.  My husband was "complete" (or so he thought!).  We hemmed, we hawed and told the agency to put us on hold.

Until Dec. 23, 2009, when my cell rang while I was at work. In one very brief conversation with our social worker, I became a mother for the second time. Jane's brother, Jude, was born. And their birthparents asked if we would take him home. We were not AT ALL prepared. But we got ready in a flash.

After three AGONIZING months of waiting, lengthy court battles, foster care visits and sleepless nights, their birthmother finally appeared to sign her final surrender. I can't even remember how, but at some point in those months, I gave up on the worry. I stepped out on faith and decided that it was time to "man up." I decided to be grateful, prayerful and hopeful, regardless of the outcome.

And I have not looked back - which, if you keep reading, you will see is a good thing because the fun with Baby Jude has only just begun.

The day Jude came home, permanently, I knew something was off. Their birthmother admitted to lack of prenatal care and excessive alcohol exposure (she had with Jane, too, and Jane is a rock star so...). It was pretty clear that Jude might be a different story, if not helped. I was determined to bring him home and sort it all out. It's nothing I can't "fix right up," or so I thought.

Quickly, I realized that Baby Jude, as we call him, had a tougher road ahead of him than I anticipated.

Fast forward to May/June 2010 - Baby Jude was introduced to Akron Children's Hospital - thankfully.

We started out in physical therapy, and moved on quickly to craniofacial plastics, the NeuroDevelopmental Science Center, occupational therapy, speech, Help Me Grow, nutrition and more.

Turns out Baby Jude suffered a stroke In Utero, resulting in cerebral palsy, hemiparesis (weakness on one side of his body), considerable developmental delays, visual and hearing impairments, and the list keeps on coming as do the diagnoses. He wore a helmet for close to a year to reshape his skull. (We painted it like OSU Buckeyes and he earns stars when he meets milestones.) He had severe plagiocephaly (flattened head) and torticollis (a twisted and tilted neck).

If I tried to list all of the complications - and potential and confirmed diagnoses - it'd make your vision blurry.

All that being said, Baby Jude has made tremendous progress. We are regulars at the hospital - going there a couple times a week for outpatient therapies, many specialist appointments. From time to time, my car just shows up in the Locust Street parking deck - on auto-pilot, I suspect.

If you'd like to get to know me and these crazy kids, feel free to keep reading. This is just the nuts and bolts of our story. We have tons to share.

At the end of the day - which is sure to have been a fairly crazy day - Jane, Baby Jude and I  are content to be grateful, prayerful and hopeful.

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