Hoping to someday find M's brother adopted in the U.S. -
Myckola Oleksandrovych Markov - 8/26/2003

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The CP Connection

Hi! Welcome CP Connection Bloggers!

We were introduced to the world of Cerebral Palsy on November 24th when we met our daughter in a Ukrainian orphanage for the first time.

Mariah was 4 years old when we met her and and had a diagnosis of premature birth, heart problems, crossed eyes, and many other things!  Here she is at one of our visits, hardly able to sit up on the couch.

I was nervous about adopting a child with CP because I knew NOTHING about it!  But, I knew that she was still just a child in obvious need of a family so we said "YES!" and brought her home :)  (Ok it wasn't that easy, just take a look at my sidebar timeline!)  We became her parents on December 9, 2010 in a Ukrainian Court room.

Since Mariah has been home, she has received an official diagnosis of spastic diplegia with minimal right arm involvement.  She was classified at a stage 3 but has since been moved down to a stage 2 due to her remarkable improvement over the 11 months she's been home.

Mariah wears Spring Leaf AFOs and will be receiving hot pink forearm crutches very soon!  She has had one round of botox in her hamstrings and calves and WOW!  That stuff is amazing!  We now have flat feet and she started independently walking, not just for short distances but for everything!

Mariah has also had an MRI that indicated minimal white matter damage consistent with a premature birth.  She's also seen an ophthalmologist for her strabismus and amblyopia but surprisingly enough all that has been required to correct and maintain so far is patching one eye an hour a day.  She has 20/20 vision!   

Our initial adjustment once coming home from Ukraine was horrible.  I won't lie.  It was awful.  I felt awful, alone, unattached to my child and did I mention completely and utterly ALONE?  That's what drove me to find other mom's who had kids with CP, particularly moms who had adopted kids with CP.

My adoptive mama friends rock.  They comforted me, told me I was normal (I doubted this), gave me advice, and understood where I was coming from.  I wish I lived closer to some of them but alas we are spread across the United States! 

Mariah will have been home 1 year on December 29, 2011 and while it has been probably the most challanging year of my life, it has been the most rewarding.  I love my girl and she is an amazing person who despite everything she has gone through in her short life, usually has a big ol' grin on her face.  She has taught me more about love and life than anyone else ever has. 

I hope to meet some new friends and have some new blogs to link up to!  Thanks for stopping by and PLEASE leave me a comment!  I am just needy like that; I want to know you liked my blog :)

Here's Mariah NOW!

Adoption changed our lives.
God chose us to be her parents and its something that I try every day to live up to.  

Stumbo Family Story

In case anyone is interested, the ChipIn Widget at the top right of my blog is a raffle rundraiser we're doing to raise money for Mariah's orphanage.  A $5 entry gets you a chance to win a complete Wii System!  The deadline for entering is December 9th.


Ellen Stumbo said...

A year already! We had had Nina for a year when I realized that I loved her, and it was then that I began to grieve for her diagnosis, and the fact that she would need a wheelchair. That was when she became mine. And I know you know what I mean by that :)
And M's progress in a year is outstanding! Incredible!
(I wonder if Nina will get the same type of braces M has, we go next week!)

Cary said...

All these blog posts (especially the adoption ones) are making me cry! Love your post! Your girl is adorable and WOW has she ever come far in a year!

ErinL said...

For those of you who are visiting this blog for the first time I want you to know that Erin is one of my heroes! Unlike many of us, Erin did not go into this thinking she would adopt a child with a disability. She knew nothing about Mariah or CP and by faith she brought this child into her home. I think she's pretty amazing!

AZ Chapman said...

I love her costume soo cute I am a college student with CP

Becky said...

Love that costume, so cute!
Mariah has come so far and is doing amazing!

Mama of 3 said...

Yes almost a year! Those Spring Leaf AFOs are great! Make sure to ask about them :)

Erin - I don't know if we would have committed to Mariah if we'd seen her on the RR site... so I don't know if that makes me a hero or not! God really just picked us for her and set us on the path there!

Her costume is American Dream Girl. I thought it fitting for her first Halloween and the pic was taken as we were leaving for school :)

Cheryl said...

It's so great to read other stories! I'm always totally touched by people who adopt kids with CP. I didn't really get a say in the matter, but I wouldn't change it for the world!! Happy almost 1 year being home, sweetie, you're a doll!

We witness a miracle every time a child enters into life; but those who make their journey home across time and miles, growing within the hearts of those who wait to love them,are carried on the wings of destiny; and placed among us by God's very own hands. --Kristi Larson