Becky is a Pacific Northwest transplant who married her Arizona transplant sweetheart and settled in the middle ground of Utah. She is the adoptive mom of one and hoping (and waiting for 5 years) to be the mom of one more. Despite long conversations with Heavenly Father in her teenage years that homemaking skills were uncool, she is a great homemaker and has learned to embrace those talents. She LOVES brownies, flowers, and kissing her cute boy in the kitchen. Someday, probably the next life, she is going to learn to play the banjo.
The long awaited call came on a Tuesday. “Becky, there is a baby girl in Oregon…she has medical issues…Can we send your profile?” The day that I thought would never ever, ever arrive. Our profile was sent and on Friday the call came. The birth-parents chose us and we were going to finally be parents!
“Before you get too excited and before you can say yes, do you remember that she has a lot of medical issues? We have these medical papers that we want you to take to a pediatrician to read and to give you the worst case scenario.”
We did take the papers to a recommended doctor whom we had yet to meet. We knew our answer long before his call came. We knew that, whatever the answer, she was meant to come to our family and we gave an emphatic yes. We packed up our little car with the empty carseat headed out on a familiar highway into unknown territory. The call came just as we were heading into an ominous looking storm on the border of Idaho and Oregon. Darkness settled in around as the doctor spoke the words, “a vegetable with no higher motor skills and a feeding tube.”
“Tevin, can we do this? Does Heavenly Father really want us to take on this mountain?”
Before the words were really uttered we knew the answer. She was supposed to come to our family. We swallowed our fears and inadequacies and drove through that storm and all the way to a suburb of Portland with faith that Heavenly Father knew what he was doing.
We met her on Sunday and on Monday her birth-parents placed her in our arms. She was so small at barely over five pounds. She had dark hair. Her eyes were big and we caught a glimpse of the powerful and valiant soul wrapped in a barely functioning body. We were so in love. She wrapped her tiny fingers around mine and sighed. I think it was her way of saying, “I’m home.” A few days later we got the okay from Oregon and Utah State Governments to take her home. The carseat wasn’t empty anymore.
That is how our lives changed in an instant and how we became the parents of a special needs child. She is a miracle and an angel. Her name means lady or nobility, and in another language, it means light. We called her our lady of light. She has a magic. People have been attracted to her all of her life. She is a beautiful girl but it is her beautiful spirit that is so brilliant. I think we, as Heavenly Father’s children, long for our pre-mortal home and the love that we felt there. She brought it with her.
All of those glowing words are true but life with my daughter is not easy. She is a test to every resolve and bits of knowledge that I have. Like every child she knows how to push my buttons. We have spent countless hours at doctors’ appointments and therapies. At three she started to have seizures. They have become a regular part of our lives. She has a hard time breathing when she is having a big seizure and death has been at our doorstep more than once. At 8 we are still in the potty wars. Language is still a struggle. She can rage and storm when she doesn’t want to do something for longer than you think is possible. We had to wait and work hard for every developmental milestone. There are many that we may never see.
Life with our girl is not easy. It is not what we imagined or what we expected it to be. It is better. I’m not sure that I could have been her mama if I had not had the gospel in my life. The knowledge that she was coming to our home was one of the most powerful and sure revelations I have ever received. There are no words to describe the joy of taking her to the temple and having her sealed to us. We have participated in miracle after miracle. In the eternal minutes of a seizure I have come to understand the loneliness of the atonement when even the Father had to stand back and let His Son pay that awful price of our progression. I had to have great faith in her coming to my family. I have had to have greater faith in the miracles required for her daily life and protection. I cannot say how excited Tevin and I are for Resurrection Day! It is the day that we get to meet our girl with a whole mind and a whole body.
In the adoption world we have to fill out a paper that states our preferences for everything from gender and race to diseases and disabilities we are willing to take on. It was horrible to try to decide and our fears told us that we didn’t want anything to be wrong or out of the ordinary. In the end we tried to be open and to trust in Heavenly Father’s plan for our family. He made a choice that our fears would not have let us make and I cannot imagine any other life. He helped me to do and to be more than I imagined possible. I have been entrusted to be the mother of my valiant spiritual sister. I have never felt more inadequate but through the atonement my capacity has been increased. Every day I watch my girl work hard to learn and grow. She is amazing. Every day I work hard too. I am learning and growing too. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll get to be amazing too.