Many of you who read this blog are likely aware of the passing of "Miracle Ryker." The story of his courageous battle with heterotaxy has touched so many people. Ryker is the most adorable little guy on the planet with the biggest, most handsome eyes you've ever seen. I don't know him personally, but having connections to his family somehow makes it all more personal. Ryker's brothers, Trett and Jad, have played baseball with Parker for many years. They are such good boys and my heart is breaking for them. Also, Ryker's aunt Missy is a good friend of mine and has been Elli's teacher in primary. I love her. In addition, the charity that is working with us on our home, Children and the Earth, has also been helping Ryker. I can tell you from many meetings we have had with them that Ryker holds an especially tender place in their hearts. These small connections make Ryker's story more real to me even though I have never met him, and he has been in my thoughts a lot lately.
Yesterday especially, Ryker was really on my mind. Being in the hospital with our own little heart patient who is currently doing so well was a reminder of all of the blessings and miracles I have been part of. As I thought on him and his story and read through the many comments made on facebook, there was one common thread: that he had an AMAZING family. It's true-- the absolute ADORATION and perfect, selfless love that this family has for their children is easily sensed as you watch his videos and read his story. If there was one bright thought that I had as I pondered his death, it was that he was and will forever be completely cherished by a family. He was never alone.
As we were getting ready to have Graci discharged yesterday, a sweet lady showed up at our door. Her name is Deanne and she is the mother of 17. Jeremy and I had met Deanne and her husband Doug for dinner before, but we had yet to meet their beautiful children. They just returned a couple of weeks ago from China, where they adopted the most adorable boy, Gideon. He underwent open heart surgery Thursday morning and he had just been moved to a room a few doors down from Graci's. As I went to meet Gideon and his new siblings, I was overcome at the amount of love in that room. Gideon looked fantastic-- he had energy and was moving about and just doing so great. He has been astounding the doctors with his quick recovery. They had anticipated spending 3 weeks in the hospital with this surgery, and instead it looks like it might be less than one. As we were talking, I asked what his specific heart condition was. Deanne said, "You've probably never heard of it-- it's really rare. It's called heterotaxy."
Of course, my heart instantly went to Ryker. As it so happens, heterotaxy is so rare that from what I understand, it affects only 1 in 1,000,000 children. And yet here I was being touched by two little boys with the same condition on the same day. I pondered on it the whole drive home. The prevailing thought I had was how both of these sweet, beautiful boys were part of such amazing, loving families. As I said, nearly every comment on Ryker's facebook page talked about what a loving family he had. Sweet little Gideon has now been blessed with that same kind of family.
I think with all of the times I have jumped on my adoption soapbox, you know where this is going... (:
What would have happened to Gideon had Deanne and Doug not taken that leap of faith to bring him home? I know they had many fears and many reasons (16 of them come to mind!) that they could have used to justify leaving him there in China to die. A doctor, in fact, gave them that advice. But they went forward with faith knowing that they might only have him a very short time and now-- regardless of what heterotaxy does to him, Gideon has an eternal family like Ryker's. A family who loves and cherishes and sacrifices for him.
Reading their thoughts as they have been on this journey gives me no doubt that despite their grief and shattered hearts, Ryker's family would not give up ONE SINGLE DAY that they had with him. That if they had to do it all over again, they would still choose life. I also know that despite whatever challenges come their way, Gideon's family is firm in their decision to love him and give him a family. I know that both families will be forever blessed to have these little boys in their lives.
With that in mind...
What if just ONE of the wonderful people who have been touched by Ryker's courage and beautiful spirit considered bringing home one of the millions of children who are facing their own battles ALONE. What if they loved and adored and cherished that child just as Ryker's famiy cherishes him. Can you think of a more beautiful tribute to this brave little guy?
I used to be less bold when I talked about adoption. I had a friend tell me one time several years ago that because of how much I talked about adoption and my desire for more people to adopt, she felt judged. It broke my heart. That is so opposite of what I want to do. I don't want people to think I look at them and think that they are in any way "less" because they haven't adopted. I also really don't want people to think that I hold myself higher in any way because we have. I truly do not. Most of the people I admire and look up to the most and totally want to emulate haven't adopted, so believe me, it is not important to me in how I look at someone. Adoption is such a personal decision and I know full well that it is not for every family. I also know that many families have the desire to but cannot. That is heartbreaking.
But I wouldn't be being true to myself and the thoughts that the Spirit places on my heart if I didn't share that I think adoption is BEAUTIFUL and NEEDED. It would be crazy to have discovered chocolate and not share it with the world, right?!! (: Likewise, we have discovered something amazing and life changing and beautiful. When I see the Christlike, perfect love Ryker's family holds for him I just ache for others who are left alone. So I HAVE to share! (: I would shout it from the rooftops if I could. Gideon has a family now!!! It's a beautiful thing!!! And if my being bold can fan a spark in someone else to do the same thing, well, then I guess I will be bold. (: Please know that it comes from love for these children and a desire for others to experience something sweeter than chocolate! It does not and never will come from a place of judgement.
Just consider it. That's all.
By the way-- Graci is doing so well. I am so thankful for the miracles of our Heavenly Father and of modern medicine, which in my opinion, go hand in hand. Thank you so very much for your prayers.