3/5/08- we received the referral for oldest daughter with very minimal information and 2 photos and after sharing with UAB IAC (so we’d have an idea of what to expect), we said “yes”
4/22/08- it was our court date in Krasnoyarsk, Russia and we were told we’d been given all of her medical records. Then we were asked about our plans for her “prolapsed tricuspid valve with regurgitation.” What? We didn’t know about this. “Yes, we want her. We’ll take her to a Pediatric Cardiologist.”
In Moscow after her physical to get her visa to come to the USA, the doctor says, “Spastic Tetraparesis.” What is that? “Yes, we still want her!”
It’s been test after test, behavior after behavior, decision after decision, diagnosis after diagnosis, 10+ educational placements, 2 moves, 11 psychiatric hospitalizations, therapeutic respite, 3 residential treatment centers- always with what’s best for her in mind.
Question. If (Heaven Forbid!!) your child was diagnosed with diabetes, cancer, heart disease- you’d say yes to getting help, right? I hope so!! This is no different. She needs help. We’re her parents. It’s part of what we do as parents. Get the best help we can for our child.
I was recently asked if she’s still our daughter? What?!?! Of course she is!
A relative recently said, “its hard for me.” I know! It’s hard for us!! Bryan and I agreed on what we would and would not share publicly. After seriously hurting another child (yes, they were being supervised) almost two years ago, we had no choice but to do something to keep everyone safe. We could 1) take her to the hospital or 2) dissolve her adoption. Staying home when she wasn’t safe to herself or anyone else was not an option at all. We chose to try hospitalization again. And again. And again. There was a clear consensus that she needed long term residential treatment specializing in children who have suffered early trauma and have FAS and RAD. Our private insurance company knew my voice. They called all over the country. She was considered too acute for all programs in network except one RTC in SC who was willing to try. It was a 12 round trip drive but we said “yes” again.
Fortunately I was nominated and then selected as a constituent of GA Senator Perdue as one of CCAI’s Angels in Adoption in 2015 because of my creation of and volunteer work with Adoptive Parents Persevering. We traveled to Washington, D.C. and met with Senators and Representatives about our daughter (and on behalf of other Adoptive parents facing similar situations). After talking to many local offices and none being able to help, we reached out to Senator Perdue and Governor Deal.
By July 2016, Anna was still in SC and not making progress. Her behaviors were becoming more serious and dangerous. After 3 years I still had not been able to find a place that could really help her. I fell to my knees in despair and prayed for God to please, please help us help our daughter. I prayed like I’d never prayed before. With Him, she was accepted and had an admission date to Jasper Mountain within two weeks of my prayer! This time we said “Yes” and God said, “yes.” I don’t know what the future holds but I know that He has a plan for her and us. She’s been at JM since August, we talk to and skype with her several times each week, and we visit quarterly. For safety reasons, she and her sisters haven’t seen each other in a year and a half. They’re going with us for our next visit, though.
We’re thankful that God continues to allow us to say “yes!”
Amanda Alexander, M.B.A.
Founder and Special Needs Advocate
Adoptive Parents Persevering (APPS)