When we were going through our list of “criteria” for which children we could take into our home, and which we couldn’t one of the things at the top of our not list was medically fragile children. I would probably change that decision now. I know some parents who have medically fragile children, and still lead very busy and active lives.
My husband has a good basic medical knowledge. He has been a volunteer Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) for a little over ten years. He says the only thing he hasn’t done is deliver a baby, and unfortunately I can’t help him with that and none of our friends are willing to let him do the honors either.
So what would qualify a child to be medically fragile? Well, there are some obvious things, heart defects, brain abnormalities, feeding through tubes, oxygen requirements and other major illnesses.
Just because a child is classified as medically fragile, does not mean they can not live a full and wonderful life. My friend Suz has a beautiful little girl who has some heart defects. She is five years old, and is incredible in every sense of the word. Her parents have to make special accommodations in certain areas, but she attends school, travels, and plays with her big brothers. She knows there is something “wrong” with her, but she lives a full and wonderful life. You can read her story here.
Another friend has a foster baby that is on oxygen and a feeding tube. She thought long and hard before agreeing to take on this baby. One of the reasons she decided to take placement, was that she is being provided with a nurse to help her learn how to care for this baby.
Helping children heal without the proper training and supports in place would certainly lead to disaster.
We have been down the road of medical issues. When Mackenzie was born, she was little, even though she was a full term baby. Her birth weight was under seven pounds, and she spent the first month of her life in preemie clothes. When she was five months old she contracted Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) This caused her oxygen levels to drop into the 80s and her hospitalization for five days. When she was released, we did nebulizer treatments three times a day and had to watch any time her breathing changed.
While this was nearly as life threatening as the issues my friends are dealing with, it has caused me to look at things differently. Knowing these incredible women and children and how great everyone is doing makes adopting a medically fragile child much less scary.
I don’t know if we’re done with adoption yet. God hasn’t let me know what his decision is, but if we do I will be much more open to these special children.
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