My Sweet Hero
A week ago, an ER doctor stuck her head in our room and said, "The neurosurgeon will be in, but he will be heading up the ICU and will have emergency surgery tomorrow. We found the break in his shunt." The past week has been a whirlwind. As far as neurosurgery and ICU stays go, this was pretty routine and all went pretty much as they predicted. But this was our first time. We weren’t with Kai when his shunt was placed or revised or when his diagnosis given.
It’s one thing to know what an emergency like this might look like and another to see the incredible pain and fear and sadness it was causing. His pain could not be fully controlled before surgery, as they needed to be able to assess certain neurological signs that could be impacted by medications. It was a long night. For me, the hardest part is this all was the emotional pain this caused my precious son. This would be intense for any eight year old. Any child having gone through medical trauma that he has — some of which he endured without any family by his side— would find an experience like this triggering and frightening. But this experience exposed deep wounds and raw emotions. He wept and wept for Asher. I realized eventually that it wasn’t just about Asher, but Asher also represented safety, home, and belonging. I’ll not soon forget the depth of his cries.
For 15 hours, I was by his bed, constantly reminding him that we were there, helping him take breaths, modeling breathing and begging God to comfort him. Trying to help him breathe while choking back my own emotions was such a challenge. He has endured so much.
All of this is a reminder that adoption doesn’t erase the trauma and hardship and pain of life before God brought us to Kai. A child that appears well adjusted and attached still carries these broken parts of their hearts. We aren’t here to rescue or erase or ignore. We’re here to walk with them, to hold their hand, help them breathe, tell them a million times they are safe and not alone. It’s a life long journey. It requires me to process my own experience and emotions. It demands humility and patience that don’t come to me so naturally. It requires hard conversations and pressing into tender places. It’s hard. Today, I’m mentally and emotionally exhausted. But it’s so worth it. He is precious and he is worth it.
There are moments when I can see the reality of the Gospel in what is imperfectly being lived out in our home. My very broken, very imperfect love and compassion for Kai is the tiniest glimpse of God’s love for us. But His love is perfect and His love does fully redeem and His love does what ours cannot. Draw near to Him. He really is good.
Kai is home and doing great. He’s stiff and sore and recovering. He’s processing a lot of what this experience was like for him and I couldn’t he prouder. He inspires me.