(No, not Autism Spectrum Disorder... the other ASD: Atrial Septal Defect. And PVL? That's periventricular leukomalacia. Mad props to me for being able to spell that without help this time!)
So what does that mean? Well, in simplest terms, she has small hole-like areas of damage in her brain and a hole in her heart, if her medical records from Taiwan are accurate (and we have no reason to question them at this point). Neither seem to be causing any immediate medical problems, but we may be looking at therapies and surgeries and more specialist appointments to give her the best outcomes possible, and we'll keep y'all posted as we walk that path.
A sweet woman at church on Sunday - a woman who I had seen before but never spoken to in length - oohed and aahed over Zoe. She asked her name, and her county, and the number of days we had been home. Every question was genuine and well-intentioned, if not always tactful.
And then the big question came: And she's healthy?
We've had Zoe for less than a week, but it's been long enough for me to catch on that this sweet woman thought she knew the answer. Zoe is breathtakingly beautiful and loves watching the world around her. People have actually said, "Are you sure she has special needs? She looks too pretty," as if disability and beauty can't coexist. I could have just said, "yes, she's healthy," like she expected, and that answer would have been partially honest, because she is so much healthier now than she was when we met her in the cramped Taiwanese hospital prayer room exact one week ago.
I forced the full truth, as we know it, out instead: "Well, she was a preemie, and MRIs shows areas of brain injury, and her heart might have a defect. We're sorting through all of that."
She kept saying, "WOW," over and over, and then added, "and you took all that on?"
I didn't know what to say, so I just nodded.
To us, we're getting Zoe. I guess that means we're taking all that - ASD and PVL and any other alphabet soup that comes our way - on. We do, after all, have a cardiology appointment on the books (August 2) and a neurology one a'coming (update: it's August 2 as well), but that's just the reality of getting to parent our precious baby girl.
Getting to. It's a privilege.
We're not superheroes or martyrs or saviors in doing this. We may have been obedient in responding to God's call for us to adopt, but we are disobedient in a hundred different ways each day. The rough day we had a couple days ago was more the result of our sin than the challenges of transition. Yesterday, I ate the remnants of a bag of Doritos for breakfast and washed it down with a Diet Coke. I've been opting to watch Dawson's Creek on Netflix instead of unpacking, so most of our bags are still piled on the floor of our bedroom. We returned home last Thursday morning, and I've only had two showers - maybe three? - since then. (It's even grosser when you consider that our big kids have had a stomach bug this week, so try not to think about that.) Earlier today, I considered going to Wal-Mart to buy more underwear so that I could put off the laundry for another day. Later today, as I rest in bed with my turn with the stomach bug, I'll be catching up on my trashy TV by watching The Bachelorette: The Men Tell All on Hulu (and still not unpacking).
In other words, we're not perfect.
We're just riding this wild ride God set us on in parenting our two homegrown kiddos and our one Taiwanese treasure. Thanks for continuing to pray for us.