Healing Beneath the Surface

chinese adoption CHD
18 months home. Check-up day.

This morning, I raced to get the kids off to their schools and then get on over to CHOP’s cardiologist for Lydia’s appointment. I wasn’t worried about the appointment. A check up every 6 months. Just gotta do it.

A VSD put her in the special needs program. We were prepared for heart surgery. We were relieved to learn the week we got home that surgery would likely never be needed. Our cardiologist explained that it would only be necessary if the valve started to pull into the little hole between the walls of the bottom two chambers of her heart.

“Show him your heart, Lydia.” She pointed to her chest and said, all drawn out as she does, “Right here.” He listened. He listened some more. She got the EKG with stickers that tickled. Then, we went into the little room fitted with a big ole bed for her echo.

The tech pulled up her echo from 18 months ago. I could watch it on the computer screen and hear it–her heart sounded like a little bird to me, racing.

“Was she really upset when we did this before?” she asked.

“What do you mean?”

“It’s just that her heart was a bit crazy there. Looks like she was really worked up.”

She wasn’t.

18 months ago, we were in that same room with the same technician even. It was just me and Lydia, newly home, still getting to know each other. I sat there with her and rubbed her legs during that echo all while she lay perfectly still, just looking at me, not making a peep. I remember at one point, I even got her to fall asleep.

chinese special needs adoption

But, she wasn’t at peace. For a year, she never left one building. One day, one of the nannies there dressed her up nicely in new clothes, put her in a car for perhaps the 2nd time in her life, drove 2 1/2 hours, brought her into an office building and handed her to a white lady with a big nose who was crying and laughing at the same time who then passed her back and forth to a big white guy with red hair. We took her to our hotel room, then an airplane, then another hotel room, all while going to restaurants and walking around crowded streets. Then, after a very long plane ride, we arrived somewhere entirely new–new sounds, new smells, new people, new children wanting to touch her and hug her.

As calm as she seemed during that echo 18 months ago, the poor baby was upset. And, we’ve got a video record of her heart to prove it.

But, today, was different. She happily laid on the bed and talked to me about Dora who they had playing on a screen for her to pass the time. I watched the screen and the images of her heart, amazed at the clarity of the picture and how we were able to painlessly look right into our little one’s chest. Amazing.

And, then, she said it. The tech smiled at me and said it.

“Have you been praying?”

Her heart is healed. The hole is gone. Her heart is whole. Totally whole.

The cardiologist, an adoptive dad of two himself, smiled and told us he doesn’t want to see us ever again.


All 23 lbs of her.


Kelly Raudenbush

Forever changed by our experience of being adopted and adopting, Kelly is a stay-at-home mom/manager to 4 children–the youngest of whom is from Baoji, Shaanxi, China–who is a professional juggler, juggling her calling as wife and mother with a small online store (Jiayin Designs), editing, administrating this site, and serving adoptive families through The Sparrow Fund. You can learn more about their adoption story, how they’ve been changed, and what life for them looks like on their personal blog where she’s currently featuring some great ways you can shop with purpose this season (which includes over 25 giveaways!).

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