DEFORMED OR MISSING LIMBS
As a baby develops inside the uterus, she is contained within the amniotic sac. This sac is made up of strong fibers that are usually hard to break. Sometimes however, this sac will tear open, and the sticky strands can wrap around parts of the developing baby. When this happens, amniotic banding can occur.
- The most common effect of amniotic banding is seen when the fibers wrap around the arms, legs, fingers or toes. The fibers cause a deep groove which looks like the baby has a tight rubber band on them. If the banding during development is severe, it may even cause the complete amputation of the limb.
- Amniotic Band Syndrome is a common birth defect. Children with amniotic banding can have conditions such as missing limbs, fused fingers and toes, hemangiomas, club feet and cleft palate.
- This is a randomly occurring defect; it is not genetic. It is not inherited from the parents nor passed down to future children.
- Sometimes tight banding can impair circulation, causing areas below the band to be inflamed or swollen.
- There is no effect on intellect. Children with ABS are normal in every other way.
- If a child has constriction bands on his/her body or extremities, please consult a physician. Impaired circulation can often be improved with surgery to release the bands. In rare cases, amputation of a digit/limb may be the only option.
CHOCOLATE: One may wonder what this word and adoption have in common. For our family, it is a word that binds us together and defines us as a family. Our favorite motto is “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get.” Is that ever true!!
Our adoption story began even before my husband Ron and I met. I was working as an RN on the Labor/Delivery/Nursery floor and taking care of many newborns, some of whom were being given the wonderful gift of adoption. I knew deep in my heart God wanted me to adopt children; my course in life was not to bear my own. I was beginning to look into the process of adopting as a single parent. Thirty five miles north was a single father raising three teenage sons! God brought the two of us together on New Year’s Eve 2003. From the beginning, we knew we were adopting; we just did not know when.
God does move in mysterious ways and sends very strong messages to those who listen. I was working at a local army hospital as a maternal child case manager and had two “angels” come to me. One was in the form of a young girl who was delivering in about one week and wanted me to take her child and the other was in the form of a tiny newborn brought to this country from Africa and awaiting her forever family. In both cases, I was not the answer to these individuals but rather they were sent to us to provide the answer to our question – WHEN. Now was the time to begin our adoption process!
It was a snowy Sunday afternoon in January 2006, when Ron and I were searching the internet for adoption agencies. We came across All God’s Children and saw pictures of the waiting children. There in front of us was a picture of a 14-month-old little girl. You could tell she was screaming in the picture from her facial expressions. Immediately, we knew she was our daughter. Her biography stated that she was special needs. What exactly are special needs? Well, the special need criteria in China is much different from our perceptions here in the United States. Her need was that she was missing her lower right arm. The radial and ulnar bones of the lower arm did not develop separately but rather fused together after the elbow.
We flew to China on New Year’s Eve 2006 to become a forever family. (This is a special night for us as it was the night Ron and I met and the night we left for our daughter!) Many people questioned us as to why we wanted a child with a physical deformity. We simply answered, “Why Not?” When you meet Emilie, you wonder why she was labeled as a special needs child in the first place.
This is a child who was tying her shoes with one hand before others her age could do it with two! She takes dance and acro tumbling classes- performing one handed cartwheels, again when others are just learning two handed. Emilie was seen at Shriner’s hospitals (my husband is a local Shriner) and fit for a prosthetic arm/hand. We call it “Mr. Handy” and she will wear it occasionally. She mostly wears the attachment that mimics the palm of a hand when she wants to do handstands or other tumbling maneuvers. Emilie actually prefers to perform all her daily tasks without it. We don’t even realize she is missing an arm. I can say without a doubt that there is nothing this child cannot do. Often, children will come and ask why here arm is broken. We simply explain that God makes all of us different and that is how he made her. Most are satisfied with that answer and then amazed at how well she plays or does other activities.
You are probably wondering about now, why I mentioned Chocolate as my opening word. Well, our family is made up of cooks; it is our number one hobby. We all enter cooking contests at the state fair, make wedding cakes and special occasion cakes for people, and generally bond in the kitchen and over the dinner table. From her first days at home, Emilie was an active participant in the kitchen. This past summer, she entered the Colorado State Fair and took first place in the junior pantry for her trail mix. All by herself (at age 5), she measured out the ingredients, mixed them into the bowl, and wrote out her recipe. For Thanksgiving, she made the entire pumpkin pie by herself, cracking the eggs into the bowl without a piece of shell in sight! The only thing I did was pour the mixture into the pie plate and operate the oven! Emilie also enjoys making and decorating everyone’s birthday cakes.
Currently, we are in the process of adopting our second special needs child from China. Hopefully, we will travel sometime this spring. I urge everyone to consider adopting from the special needs and waiting children list. It is a box of chocolates; you don’t know what you will get, but each one is unique and sweet in his or her own way! God Bless!