Sunday, February 2, 2014

Beautiful: An update on Ayla

Since that hot day in August, when Ayla reached out for Joel, she has been a part of our family. She just fit right in.  She has been incredibly happy, joyful and all sorts of amazing.

Ayla is a true delight.

She loves to be loved and loves to give love. She adores her siblings. She talks like crazy. She always says "please" "thank you" and "bless you". She is the first to say "good morning", and greets everyone with a hug. She is sweet, and yet fierce. She has such a quiet gentle strength.
She has come a really long way. She has gained some weight and grown taller. She wears glasses now, when we can keep them on that is. She is healthier and stronger. She has a sparkle in her eyes. We still have some developmental things we are working on but she is walking now. She struggles with muscle weakness, and has some balance issues. That, along with her weight gain and growth, is what we are focusing on now. She has the will and desire to learn and do. She will try and try and try until she just can't anymore. She is determined.

Medically speaking she is doing well right now. She is getting blood transfusions every 21 days, and she seems to be "holding well" there. She is taking a daily medication to remove the extra iron in her body since she is iron overloaded. She is such a trooper and takes her medication without issue. She makes herself right at home at the "clinic" where she gets her transfusions and testing done. She loves to help the nurses. She never complains and very rarely cries. Doctors and nurses, and pokes, and MRIs, and lab work, and weigh-ins, are all a part of her life now. It is incredible to watch her be so strong. It makes me so proud, yet breaks my heart at the same time. She has every reason to be angry at this world, but she is not. She has joy.
God has taught me so much through this beautiful child. I know I have said that before about my other children too, and it is all true. Each one of them has taught me something. But Ayla, she has taught me the most about faith, determination, and acceptance.

Many have said that we are amazing for adopting Ayla. Let me tell you, NOTHING is further from the truth. We are not amazing. We did not rescue her or save her. That is not our job and it never will be. And if it was, we would have failed...miserably.

Ayla is the amazing one.
I struggle everyday with the emotions of having a child that is chronically ill. I struggle everyday with the fact that there is no cure. I struggle everyday with the fact that the treatment she receives causes more harmful complications, and the treatment for that causes more complications. I struggle with the fact that our other children have to deal with this too, in some way shape or form. I struggle with doctors and insurance companies. I struggle  with the fact that my sweet Ayla has to deal with this for the rest of her life, and it all just breaks my heart.  There are times when I do not want to deal. Times when I wish it could all just go away. I get selfish. I know that we asked to parent Ayla. I know that we willingly adopted her. We knew what all that would mean. We desperately prayed for her and begged God to protect her. There was nothing we desired more than for her to be home with us. And all of that is still true. Every bit of it.  And I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. But that being said, it does not make the emotional side any easier. It is NEVER easy to parent a child that is "sick". Never. All of us parents, whether our children are biological or adopted, chose to be parents. Our heartache is just the same.

But, because of my heartache, I have grown and changed. God has not wasted my heartache.

Ayla has taught me more about the love of my Heavenly Father than I could ever read or imagine. She has taught me that faith can move mountains. She has taught me how to see the beauty in things that are not of this world. She has taught me how to smile, love, and forgive when every ounce of me wants to be angry, bitter, and unforgiving. She has taught me what it means to be strong when life is not fair. She has taught me to never ever give up. And so much more. She has taught me far more than I will ever teach her.

My darling Ayla, you are beautiful inside and out.

"Fear not for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you... For I am the Lord your God..
~Isiah 43:1-3