How it began

4/3/2015

Hey, Jordan here. I figure its fitting to tell the story of where this began from my perspective since it was all so sudden to me. I had known about Mikah and the other kids in his specific situation for a while now, but it was on more of a, "Ok Beth we can donate some money, but I don't want to think about that kinda thing because it'll make me depressed." Then on valentines day 2015 Beth and I were out on a dinner date and she popped the question to me that she wanted us to consider adopting a 40lb teenager with a questionable background that also had cerebal palsy, and hydrocephalus (way to get into the mood hon!).

My first reaction was wat.

wat

My second reaction was to ask if that second thing was even a real medical condition/english word, to which I was informed that it meant that he had too much fluid around his brain and probably had a big head. From there it went mostly down hill. Beth was serious about this so I owed it to her to give this a lot of consideration before saying no way not in a million years can I go hide under the table now or would that be frowned on by the TGIF staff. I managed to hold it together for the rest of the night, and I had a lot to think about over that night and for the next couple weeks.

The story for me seems to be part 2 of a story that I hoped had it's grand finale on Valentines day two years ago. Understanding why I eventually said yes requires knowing my little spit-fire of a daughter Katherine. Her story and what we went through deserves it's own book, but I'll try to summarize in a paragraph. Katherine stopped breathing a few hours after birth and needed to be ventilated. The doctors couldn't find anything wrong with her other than (the obvious) she just stops breathing. We went through a ton of restless nights and number of close calls and frantic ambulance rides to the hospital to bring her back to us. During all this I was having another problem of the heart; I loved this girl with everything I had and I was almost certain that one of these times would be time she died and couldn't be brought back. I knew how much this would hurt me, and entered a depressive spiral of pushing her away followed by "You monster she's your daughter and she needs you."

katherine

What finally got me out of this depressive spiral was prayer. I prayed a lot, and God answered me with this bizarre analogy, "You can hate pushups because they hurt, but they will make your arms stronger. You can hate circumstances in your life because they hurt, but they will make your heart and soul stronger." I needed the strength in my heart to love a daughter with everything I had, even when I knew that the more I loved her the more deeply it would hurt when she died. This isn't nearly as inspirational as it may read when you are in the situation. I suspect no motivational catch-phrase really makes getting punched in the mouth feel better and my direct counter thought was, "But I don't want to be stronger. God doesn't give talents to be buried in the ground and I just want to live a mundane life." To make an already long story short I got over myself and my heart grew 2 sizes that day. Soon after we took a trip out to Mayo Clinic and Katherine got diagnosed with Congenital Myasthenia (a very rare genetic condition). A few months after that on Valentines day was the last time Katherine had to be resuscitated at the hospital (still wasn't easy but I could emotionally accept it). We have had 2 full years of respite from that storm.

katherine

On the ride home from our date and over the next week I kept coming back to Katherine. My emotional mind kept saying, "nopenopenope notgonnahappen nonono...". The more logical side kept reminding me that I had spent almost a year of my life agonizing about not wanting to be strong enough to handle something like this. I knew that God had developed a talent in me, and that we had the heart to handle this. We also had gained the proper experience in the medical world to be able to handle a special needs child. I saw the need in this small child who was so old, that we could fill. I especially remembered that I had a Father in heaven, and a father on earth that had both adopted me. Everything pointed to yes even when I desperately, selfishly, wanted to cling to what normalcy my life had left. It got to the point where I felt a real connection to Jonah, so would someone please take me out to sea and throw me off a boat in the middle of a storm and let a big fish eat me? Hopefully sharks this time instead of the kind that would vomit me up in eastern Europe.

It took me about a week before I could tell Bethany to get started on the paperwork because I knew that this was something that I was being called to do, even if I didn't feel ready for it. About 2 weeks after that I was finally able to calm down enough to accept it. I still don't know that I'll stop being anxious about this until we have Mikah home for a while; it's hard to love someone before you know them. But this is the start of my journey and hopefully this story will have a good ending.