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10 Years ago today!

Ten years ago today, in the evening, we received the call from Lifetime Adoption that Daniel had been born. Although we had been matched with his birthmom the week before Christmas & had met with her a couple times, one of which was to go with her for her doctor’s appointment & ultrasound, Daniel was not due to be born until early May. He had been delivered around lunchtime by emergency C-section – 1lb 14ozs & 13 inches long.

Why am I sharing this story? As I look back over the blog I realize that I was not blogging for either Daniel or Hannah’s births so many of you do not know their stories.  (I will share Hannah’s at a later date.) Daniel was truly a miracle baby. He was our first adoption & boy, were we green! We had had two premature children ourselves with Michelle being born 3 weeks early & Michael being born 8 weeks early. We had this crazy notion that we would be handed this rosy cheeked 8lb baby this time round! Hah!

Richard’s party trick is taking off his wedding ring & telling everyone that he could slide it all the way up Daniel’s arm. Yes, Daniel was that small! BUT back to the call …. My Dad was alive at the time & was heading back to England the very next morning. We were living in West Virginia at the time & the airport was 100 miles north in Pittsburgh, PA. SO next morning, we all loaded up, took Dad to the airport & then drove onto St. John’s hospital in Springfield, IL where Daniel was in the NICU – 550 miles from home. We made it to the hospital Friday morning, can’t remember where we stayed on the way out there. Here is what we saw:

Daniel Day 2 2

Can you see the size of the pacifier compared to Daniel?! Here is a picture of the nurse turning him over:

Daniel Day 2

We often get asked if it is easy to bond with someone else’s child & with this our first adoption, we had asked ourselves that same question. We can honestly tell you that as soon as we received the call from Lifetime, we were ready to “fight” for our son! There was absolutely no doubt in our minds that he was ours. Daniel’s situation was a little complicated. Not only had he been born so premature but he was also born with cocaine & marijuana in his blood so was having to go through drug withdrawals cold turkey. Yes that little guy got the shakes 🙁 Lifetime & the hospital were able to keep DFS out of the situation as an adoption plan had been made but it was imperative that the birthmom give us Power of Attorney so that we could make all the medical decisions needed. Due to state law it was too early for her to terminate her rights. The birthmom did so willingly as soon as we made it to the hospital.

Most babies at 28 weeks do not have fully developed lungs – they need a ventilator to breathe. The doctors told us that Daniel must have fought for every breath in the womb as his lungs were fully developed & he never needed a ventilator, just some oxygen once in a while. He was truly a miracle albeit a very tiny one. We were not able to hold him for a week, all we could do was put our hands in the incubator & touch him. Richard & I made him a tape recording of us singing & reading to him so that he could learn our voices. We were in Illinois for about 8 days & then we had to return to the farm in WV. That was hard! However I believe God had prepared us for that with the prematurity of Michelle & Michael. We knew how the NICU worked, what was involved. Richard & I have often said & we do not mean it boastfully but brand new parents would either not have coped or would have found it even harder than we did. This following picture is of Daniel at 8 days old & Michael’s hand who was 12 at the time.

Daniel Day 8

Our first cuddle:

Liz Daniel

Once back in WV we traveled to Illinois each weekend & obviously called the hospital each day to get a progress report. Gradually Daniel put on weight & grew stronger. He was in the hospital for 7 weeks before we were allowed to bring him home at just over 4lbs.

Daniel Leaving the Hospital

He had sleep apnea so was on a monitor at night plus he choked very easily on his milk & would often stop breathing when this happened. Of course we were in the hospital when it first occurred – scared Richard to death! The nurse just told us to flick his feet & make him scream. I can remember it happening the first time in public & folks around just looked at us in horror/amazement! Daniel will still choke once in a while. It is happening less & less as he matures but happened regularly those first few years.

We are SO blessed to have Daniel in our lives. He is so full of enthusiasm & the joys of life. For some reason this birthday has him more excited than any other. Last night when I was saying that 10 years ago we had no idea that he was about to be born he started asking more questions. We have always been open about all our adoptions. Daniel receives letters & photos from his birthmom & of course we send some to her too but she did not want visits as she did not want to interfere with his life. Daniel asked me last night if she had ever seen him after he was born & I told him the truth – that once she was discharged she did not come back to see him – it was just too hard for her. Then I told him about the drugs & he asked me why the doctors had pumped him full of bad drugs so I had to explain that was not the case. I am sure we will get more questions as he thinks about it & that is OK. He needs to know. He needs to know what an incredible story he has. When we were in the hospital there was another baby boy born at the same age with other problems. That baby was SO sick & it was heartbreaking when he didn’t make it. Daniel made it & one day I am sure he will meet his birthmom & half sisters but our prayer is that he will use his story for God’s glory. God saved his life for a reason.

Here he is today – still with that very thick head of hair which many folks comment on.

Daniel now

Take care,

Liz

 

3 Responses to “10 Years ago today!”

  1. Donna Cureton says:

    Happy Birthday Daniel!!!!
    God had a special plan for you and made you so strong. So glad you have brightened all our lives.

  2. Janet Sisk says:

    Happy birthday, Daniel! I loved reading about his incredible story. I can’t wait to hear about Hannah’s, too. Take care-

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