Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Journey Of Ellie's Heart

The journey of our little Ellie's heart began before we received Ellie's referral and long before we heard the news that our little girl needed open heart surgery a little less than a month ago. 

 I followed a family to China as they brought their little girl, Ivy Joy  home.  This family stepped out in faith to bring home a very sick little girl who needed heart surgery to have a chance at life.  There were no guarantees for this family and they knew their little Ivy was very sick.  In March Ivy Joy underwent her first heart surgery. I followed this little girl daily and prayed for her and her family.  In no time this little girl had found her way into my heart and so did the sick heart babies waiting in China.  I cried often over this little girl and God took a hold of my heart in the process.  I couldn't shake the stirring inside of me so one night I told Eric I might be crazy but I felt like God was telling us we needed to bring home a very sick heart baby from China.  I think his first reaction was "you are crazy!" After his initial shock we continued to talk and he said we needed to pray about it because if this was God's plan for our family he didn't want to stand in the way.  We prayed and committed it to God.  About a month later as we were wrapping up our paper chasing and close to being Dossier to China we revisited our conversation and at this time we felt like God didn't affirm moving forward with a sick heart baby.  I had a total peace and knew God had used this little girl to open my heart I just wasn't sure why. 

Fast forward to May 29 when we got a call from our agency and they had a file of a little girl for us to consider.  My heart skipped a beat when I heard our social worker share that this little girl was just 7 months old and had VSD, a hole in heart.  As we consulted with doctors it seemed as though her hole was fairly small and there would be a good chance that it would close on its own or she would need a noninvasive procedure.  So while we were not bringing home a sick heart baby I felt like God had confirmed my stirring in some way but giving us a referral of little girl with VSD.  He had given us the gift of a heart baby when it could have been a number of other special needs.  

In August we were at a Gala Auction for one of the large medical systems in town.  They began to share their new campaign of raising money and developing a state of the art pediatric heart hospital.  They showed a video of their mission and their heart for meeting the need of families with babies with sick hearts right here at home.  I cried through the video and just wondered if this was part of me meeting Ivy and God's stirring in my heart.  I wondered if there would be some type of opportunity to start some type of ministry to support families that were walking a road just like Ivy. People who were potentially away from family and friends during a difficult time in their life. 

Fast word to November 20 when we were sitting in a room with Ellie's Cardiologist and we found out Ellie's hole was double the size we initially thought.  As we listened we were a bit taken back with the news that our little Ellie would need open heart surgery.  While a surprise to us I knew at that moment that God had used a little girl named Ivy Joy to prepare my heart and mind for the news that day.  God had began to prepare my heart before I even saw little Ellie's face.  I had a crazy sense of peace walking out of our cardiologists office.  Once again we saw God's fingerprints all over our little girl and our journey to her.  

We have been overwhelmed by all the love, support and prayers on our journey.  When we were in China and we asked for people to cover our little Ellie we had no idea those standing in the gap for us.  We were overwhelmed with people we had never met that would email at the wee hours of the morning that were awake and praying for Ellie.  People sending scripture, truths for us to claim when we emotionally were broken and at the end of ourselves. 

We have been overwhelmed how this community has stepped out once again.  When I posted about Ellie needing surgery I think we had most of the main heart hospitals around the US covered.  People emailed offering doctor references, their homes to us, meals and love and prayers.  What an amazing gift it is to be part of such an amazing community that shares Christ's love so openly and selflessly.  Thank you to those of you who have stood in the gap for us and have offered to help as we continue this journey of Ellie's heart. 

We have been given the name of some amazing cardiologists we have been able to consult with.  Tomorrow we head to Mayo in Minnesota to meet with Ellie's potential cardiologist and surgeon.  It will be a big day for our little girl.  She will have a sedated Echo at 12:30pm and then we will meet with the Cardiologist and a Surgeon.  Pray for wisdom and peace tomorrow on this next step of our journey.


Paige said...

Praying for your sweet girl!!! Hopefully you will get to see Diana during your trip:) My kids are already praying for Ellie as they have for Ivy!!

likeschocolate said...

I am surprised they are doing a sedated echo. Our have never been sedated, but each doctor is different. Maybe because it will be a longer echo and they want Ellie comfortable. You will be amazed st how fast she will recover. Our son had surgery on Friday and went home on Tuesday. He had to take a diuretic for a couple of weeks and be warned it does not taste good . He is now 5 and doing great. Given it is winter you will want to keep visitors away. You should also see if she qualifies for the RSv shot . Our son did! You should push for it since you have other children at home who can't help bring home germs. I swear that is what kept our son from getting a cold . They might brush you off since the shot is expensive, but Ellie is a heart baby therefore she qualifies for the shot . Also you really don't know when she was born, so she could be a preemie another qualifier. The surgery will go well. If you have a chance to see the movie something The Lord made it is amazing.

Sophie said...

She is a beauty!! I will have Ellie in my prayers.

Odemaris said...

Prayers going your way!!!

Mary Gene Atwood said...

Prayers for your sweet girl, and a skilled surgeon

Troy and Diane Sturgeon said...

You all are very much in our prayers!

Jen said...

Prayers sent up.

Fannie said...

Your story is beautiful. As my husband and I our searching our hearts to see what God wants for us in our adoption, it is such an amazing witness you bear that he will equip us for the journey. I've been praying for little Ellie everyday since you were ready for the trip and I'll continue my daily prayer for her. She is such a beautiful baby girl and I am excited to see what God has in store for her. :)

Mary Sammons said...

I think it is amazing and totally the hands of God that I had the first second in months to pop on a blog.
I was checking the final count on fill your stockings and saw your update title and here I am!
My heart warrior Ivy Joy, your Ellie, all these precious boys and girls just wrapped up in the warm loving embrace of the One who made them!!!
Most would be scared to death to even think about a sick heart baby after reading Ivys story, but you thought and you prayed and God gave you precious Ellie and she is absolutely perfect!!! She is going to bounce back from that surgery so fast and she will continue to melt the hearts of all who meet her! Praying for her always!
Love Mary

The Allen Family said...

Started reading your blog as you were traveling with my friend Betsy. Praying for you and especially for your sweet Ellie

Tara said...

Eric may or may not remember me, but we were classmates at Northwestern. Tara Simmons, 98. Anyway, I now live in Rochester, MN and it would be my pleasure to help in any way I can. One thing I have done for others at the clinic is to come up for appointments to occupy the baby (often just walking the halls with her or taking her to the waiting room to play) so Mom and Dad can focus on what the doctors have to say. Please let me know if I can help in any way at all. Tara Kluth 507-316-5749

Beth Sandbulte Musil said...

Praying for Ellie and all of you!! I have added you to our prayer list at church. Have a Merry Christmas cousin.

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