Friday, November 11, 2011

Surgery day!

Today is the day.

My daughters Mekdes and Tigist are having heart surgery.

In fact, as you read this, at least one of the procedures has already begun.

I'm writing this the night before, though.  (Isn't Blogger and its ability to schedule posts so fancy?  It's like time-travel.  Sort of.  :)  ) 

Right now my mind is swirling and my emotions are all over the place and I just feel so very vulnerable and small.

I'm thinking about how life is fragile and ever so precious.

I'm thinking about how there is so much more to life than meets the eye, than what we see here on earth.  So.much.more.

I'm thinking about redemption and suffering and the big-ness of my daughters' stories.  And about how their stories have collided with mine, and have become mine.  It's kind of funny how God works.  He joins hearts and brings beauty from ashes and shows up in the most unexpected of places and circumstances.

As a child or young adult I never dreamed that TWO of my children would one day be undergoing heart surgery.  Nope, never crossed my mind.  I never imagined I'd be spending a lot of my time at a children's hospital while a surgeon attempted to repair my daughters' congenital heart defects.  Of course, most people probably don't anticipate facing those sorts of decisions and trials.  If it's not part of your life experience, you just don't think about it.  You think life will go as planned.

But then you grow up and you discover that things don't go the way you thought.  Pretty much ever.

And I have to be honest and say that my life has actually far surpassed any of my expectations.  God has done wonderful, beautiful things and no day has been wasted, not one.  And today is the same.  I don't know how things will go, how my daughters will do, if Tigist's defects will be fixed or if Mekdes will be a good candidate for open heart surgery.  But God is in today, just like He was in yesterday.  That I know.  I also know that it is the unseen that matters most of all, and that God is working in ways I don't even understand yet.

Still I'm afraid, and I think that is normal. 

I feel the weight of responsibility, and it's heavy. 

I feel the weight of the procedures, and the risks involved. 

I feel the weight of open heart surgery looming in the distance. 

I feel the weight of meeting my daughters' respective birth mothers, and of my promises to them that I would love their girls and make sure they got the medical assistance that they needed.  I can see their eyes and tears as if it was yesterday.  I want to do right by my daughters, and by the women who gave them life.  It's big stuff.

However things go tomorrow, I have faith in God's provision for my little girls.  Their very lives are a testament to that.  Two children with multiple heart defects (related to the fact that they were born with Down syndrome), born into poverty in a developing country, eventually relinquished by their mothers, spending roughly two years in an orphanage waiting and waiting for a family to come and get them. 

They are survivors.

And God is faithful.

So we begin to write the next chapter of their story today--them and the surgeon in the Cath Lab and me in the waiting room.  I don't know the future or the plans God ultimately has for our family, but He is strong and perfect in our weakness.

Last night, our daughters received the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick in preparation for today.  It was just our family (all nine of us), our friend Troy (the girls' godfather), and Father Daniel (our priest).  What a precious time.  My heart felt so encouraged and I was incredibly blessed by the Sacrament itself and by the prayers and the support shown to our family.  I felt truly strengthened. 

And the crazy thing was, as soon as we finished, Tigist got into the crawling position...for the first time ever.  No joke.  She has never been able to do this, and her therapists were really hoping that eventually she could.  I honestly think God has a pretty great sense of humor...apparently, who needs a physical therapist when you have the Sacraments?  :)

I will do my best to update on Facebook and Twitter throughout the day.  Barring any complications, each procedure should only be 2-3 hours or so.  The same surgeon is performing both.  (And of course it's always possible that the surgeries may need to be rescheduled due to random health issues, but I'm praying that's not the case.)  I'll arrive at the hospital with the girls at 6 am and Kevin will be home with our other kids until lunchtime or so, when he'll probably drop them off with a dear friend and meet me at the hospital.

Today's a big day for Tigist and Mekdes. 

And so I'll close by saying I'm so very grateful for my dear, sweet, brave little girls, for those near and far who are journeying with us, and for the hope we have in Jesus.


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