Here’s the quick story-
A while ago, we submitted an inquiry about a waiting child in Nicaragua with Spina Bifida. I had inquired about waiting children a few other times, and they were usually already matched or unavailable.this time though, they said they were having a hard time finding a match for this child because of her disability and the requirement to stay 12 weeks with her in her country – Nicaragua. They asked us to send in our paperwork to see if we could get approval. We did, and didn’t expect to hear back for a long time. We started slowly learning about Spina Bifida and what the possibilities could be. Spina Bifida is when the baby’s backbone and spinal cord doesn’t fully close in utero, and nerves are exposed during the birthing process. This can cause nerve damage from the waist down, including full waist down paralysis. Most babies with spina bifida also have hydrocephalus and have shunts installed- which involves the brain and is also a little scary. Spina Bifida is considered a “snowflake condition,” in which each individual with the condition is affected differently. We had to take all this in, knowing very little specific information about her, and decide whether or not we could handle the full range of possibilities. We decided to go for it.
Here’s how our last week went:
Monday, we heard that our paperwork had been approved and we could be traveling to Nicaragua early in the new year. We started setting up livig arrangements with a host family.
Tuesday night, we heard that they wanted to expedite her process. We needed to be in Nicaragua on Thursday, before their offices closed for Christmas. We booked really expensive tickets and had 24 hours to prepare.
Thursday at 4 AM, we were at the airport, feeling slightly crazy.
Friday at 8 AM, we went to meet the baby.
Saturday (yesterday) was our first full day with her – we have to foster her for 12 weeks before they will finalize our process and give us a court date to come back home.
Her name is Valeria (rhymes with malaria), and we’re calling her Valley, she’s 18 months old, she has motion in her legs and feet, but we probably won’t know fully what kind of nerve damage she has until we see specialists in St. Louis. She is crawling and can stand with assistance. She is also the sweetest and cutest. I’m not allowed to post photos or any identifying information until we get home.
I am going to be working remotely, managing UTST from here, and David will have to return home for work within a few weeks.
I would have posted this sooner but my computer cord broke as soon as I got here.