"Adventures, I used to call them. I used to think that they were things the wonderful folk of the stories went out and looked for, because they wanted them, because they were exciting and life was a bit dull...But that's not the way of it with the tales that really mattered, or the ones that stay in the mind. Folk seem to have just landed in them, usually...I expect they had a lot of chances, like us, of turning back, only they didn't. And if they had, we shouldn't know, because they'd have been forgotten."

-Samwise Gamgee, The Lord of the Rings

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The CP Connection

My friend, Ellie had a great idea to get a circle of CP blogs linked up. So today is the first installment of...
(click to Ellie's blog to read more about the blog link)

The CP Connection

Stumbo Family Story

If someone had told us two years ago that we would be adopting a child with Cerebral Palsy, we would have probably laughed it off and went about our business. Then, in May 2010, I seen this...


.... and everything changed. That little face, those goofy pigtails and choppy hair, the big blue eyes and adorable little grin changed everything. Without really realizing it at the time, I was looking at my daughter. There was just something about her, and as I read the tiny little blurb about her, I kept reading past the Cerebral Palsy diagnosis. But a few days later (and after looking at her picture a few more times) I finally googled Cerebral Palsy. I found the Gillette website for their CP Center (where she is now seen) and read until I thought my brain would burst. So.much.information. when we had so little to go on for her. So, I did what any crazy person would do, I started blind emailing people for information. I asked on adoption boards for CP parents to contact me, I emailed doctors, called offices, asked anyone who would listen for information. I found a couple really great moms to bounce information off of and to ask questions (like you, L!) and every single person was uplifting and encouraging.

So, we stepped off the cliff, a leap of faith. We submitted paperwork, updated our homestudy and information. We went for new fingerprints, put together a new dossier (remember we had started our adoption in Kyrgyzstan almost 2 years earlier, then it shut down.)

We did all of this with many unknowns. How affected would she be? Is she speaking? Walking? Is she in any therapies? School? Was she well cared for? Could we really do this?

But it all seemed right, paperwork went easily, everything fell into place in a timeline that was perfect. Our time in country was wonderful, and we really enjoyed ourselves. And of course, we came home with a perfect little treasure that is the amazing 4yr old we all know and love today.

But still, its hard sometimes with all the unknowns. We had and still have lots of questions, and as we were able to meet more parents, get to know more who had adopted and who had children with CP, and as our circle grew, we became more confident and everything got easier. And I'm so thankful for those parents who encouraged us, the moms who answered all my emails and questions and didn't tell me I was crazy (though I'm sure at least one was wondering what I was on... lol!)

We cannot imagine our life today without Alina. She is perfect in every way. Yes, she has Cerebral Palsy, and yes, she struggles with some things, and so do we. But if we ever have a bad day, we just have to remember that little picture above, and where she came from, and how far she has come in the last year. She is amazing and she will always be amazing.

And we are blessed to know all these families, these new connections and ones we've known for a year or better. Families who have kids living with CP and being able to share with each other. That is amazing.

8 comments:

Kim said...

Alina is just beautiful! Thanks for sharing your story. I can't help but fall in love with her smile....
She is blessed to become a part of your sweet family.

Ellen Stumbo said...

Alina is darling! You know, there were only a few kids with CP on RR at the time, Alina and my Nina being a few of those girls!
The changes in Alina from that first picture you saw to now are just incredible, aren't they?

Cary said...

WOWs ! I'm just stopping by as part of CP Connection. What a gorgeous girl! And your story brought tears to my eyes...

ErinL said...

As you know, Alina will always hold a special place in my heart! I'm so thankful that you found her :).

AZ Chapman said...

Great story I have been reading on your blog but not commented I am 20 and have CP

Stacie said...

You're family is inspirational. Thank you for sharing. So glad to have discovered you on the CP Connection.

Cheryl said...

It warms my heart when someone adopts another child with cerebral palsy. After being "born" into this condition (my 3 year old daughter) I get SO happy when people adopt kids with CP. :) Thanks for your story!

Liesl said...

Yes, she is YOURS and He planned it that way! I see how much she has improved and KNOW that WITHOUT A DOUBT this child was planned for you - and thank heaven you responded. Isn't God incredible when we let Him run the whole thing? I hate to think what you and I would have missed out on if we had not listened and stepped out in faith toward our CP girls.........you are blessed beyond measure (and definitely not crazy!!!)

Liesl