Thursday, December 10, 2009

Our Christmas (medical) Miracle

Beautiful Girl (Photo by Kurt Keller Photography)
Bed Head!
The Festival of Trees
Helping do the dishes
Merry Christmas!
Go Minnesota Gophers! (Thanks Aunt Sunde and Uncle Shawn)
A Halloween Pumpkin
Visiting Cousin Connor at College

Last year at this time we were finalizing our travel plans to Taiwan to pick up our beautiful daughter. I will ALWAYS remember this time with such a special fondness, it was one of the BEST trips of our lives. We loved Taiwan! Holding our daughter for the first time and having the opportunity to spend a week in her birth country was simply...beyond. We had a magical blissed out 6 months at home with her before reality set in and we found out that she has some serious brain damage which includes, among other things, microcephaly and seizures. This last 6 months has been a sometimes depressing, sometimes frustrating and confusing time but December 18th will mark the day we met our little sweetie and I will always cherish the Christmas season as a reminder. Kate is doing remarkably well despite her condition. We have been told by more than one specialist that she could just as easily be in a vegetative state, which she is decidedly not. She has always been a bit behind: She crawled at 10 months, walked at 14 months and at 18 months only says a single word, but fortunately for me the word is "mama!" We do speech and occupational therapy since her fine motor skills are delayed. If she grows up to have no learning challenges or even just some serious learning disabilites we will consider ourselves very lucky. She certainly has beat the odds so far.

Of course, her learning differences are just a part of who Kate is but let me tell you another part of who Kate Pei Jung is: Kate is one of the sweetest people I have ever met. She is happy and sunny with a charming easy going nature and she truly radiates a warmth and gentleness that makes her so very easy to love. She is incredibly social and likes nothing more than to cuddle and play. She loves to be entertained and has an infectious laugh. She is by far the easiest baby we have ever had. She stays on a schedule, sleeping from 8 pm to 6 am and napping for 2 to 3 hours each afternoon. She loves to eat and has an amazingly broad palate. She does not shy away from extreme flavors; spicy, sour, salty, cold, hot, you name it and she will eat it (or at least give it a good try) and enjoy it with gusto! She is very curious gets into everything and doesn't miss anything going on around her. She is incredibly strong, literally doing chin ups on the dining room table. She is tough and rarely cries out in pain unless she really smacks her head.

No one wants to hear that their child is not developing normally. It is a very painful pill to swallow, but so far we have been lucky. It's Christmas time again and time to remember what we are thankful for. I am thankful for so many things: a wonderful husband, a beautiful home, our health, a relative sense of financial security, living in a special place with wonderful friends and family. Of course, most of all we are so thankful for our children...all three of our fabulous unique babies with their individual strengths and challenges all rolled into beautiful little package of DNA. We don't know where you are going in life but we are watching with great hope and anticipation. For our Kate, our sweet little daughter/sister, you will forever be our Christmas miracle and for that, we will always be exceedingly thankful. Happy Holiday season!