MAA Circle
While we have been honored to celebrate National Down Syndrome Month, and share with you some amazing personal stories, October is proud to bring awareness to many other areas as well! October is also Dwarfism Awareness Month, Visual Impairment Awareness Month, Spina Bifida Awareness Month, and several others! We, of course, did not want to leave anyone out! So today, we are thrilled to share with you an MAA family’s journey to their daughter AND son who just so happen to have Spina Bifida.
Sarah & David's story...

We were deep in the process of adoption from India when I
received an email, advocating for an 8 year old boy, who had the most incredible smile. I committed to pray for a family for this little boy, and I was faithful to do that over the next few months, as we received updated emails and pleas for a family for him. In the meantime, India denied our request to adopt due to our family size (we had five children at the time). Though our hearts grieved for the little girl from India whom we had hoped to adopt, we also felt confident that my prayers had been answered for the precious little boy from China. God had found him a family…ours!

We scrambled to update our paperwork for China, and also to learn more about this child’s special need, spina bifida, or myleomeningocele. We learned that it was a complex special need, requiring care from various specialists, but we were so certain that this child was our son, that we did not hesitate to move forward.

After Stephen Yuankai came home, we were on a steep learning curve. We waded through the many appointments and specialists and it wasn’t always with grace. But, our new son’s beautiful smile and wonderful disposition kept us fighting to learn more about how we could care for his needs.
Fast forward five years and we felt that God was leading us to put our knowledge of spina bifida to use again. We contacted friends, who were advocating for children, and asked them to let us know about any children that they knew who had spina bifida. When we saw 6 year old “Laurel’s” video on MAA’s special needs registry, we felt sure that we had found our daughter! She seemed to have a great deal of determination and spunk, and we were absolutely smitten. There were a few roadblocks to overcome before we could give our absolute “yes!”, but God used the time to strengthen our resolve.

On July 2, 2018 we finally met our beautiful daughter, Ruby Xiaohong, in Taiyuan, China. The spunk and determination that we saw in that first video were immediately evident. It was also evident that this little girl was one smart cookie! What she lacked in mobility (Ruby Xiaohong does not walk, but Stephen Yuankai does), she made up for in strength of character and will!

At just three months home, she has stolen the hearts of her siblings and parents. She is quite the dynamo! She chops vegetables with the best of them, plays wheelchair basketball with her brother, sings songs all day long, and knows almost all of the consonant sounds.
Ruby Xiaohong has had many doctor’s appointments over these past three months, but we can honestly say that it is much, much easier the second time around! One issue that is not uncommon for children with spina bifida is that they can have significant kidney issues without certain types of treatment. Ruby Xiaohong has grade 5 reflux in her left kidney that most likely would have caused her serious problems if she had remained in China. For that reason alone, we are incredibly grateful that she is here with us! It is a joy to attend to her medical needs, knowing that we are significantly improving her future quality of life.
Our family has eight children now, seven of whom are adopted. While it’s true that medically speaking, spina bifida is the most complicated special need of all of our children, we can honestly say that it is just a small part of who our son and daughter are, as people. Stephen Yuankai and Ruby Xiaohong are both bright, courageous, strong children who are absolute blessings to our family. We thank God for the privilege of raising these two precious children!
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Thank you, Sarah and David, for sharing your family with us! If you are interested in learning more about adoption, there are so many children available, just like Stephen and Ruby!
FEATURED WAITING CHILD

Simone is an amazing and beautiful girl, born in January of 2007, who is described by her caretakers as gentle, cute, diligent, and honest. Simone attends school and is said to recognize and understand things quickly and have a quick response. She listens carefully and follows the teachers' directions. Simone takes part in group activities and gets along well with the other kids. She is a bit more reserved when it comes to working or interacting with adults or children she does not know, though she would not refuse to work with them. Despite being quiet, she is said to have rich inner emotions. Simone has a strong self-esteem and is willing to admit her mistakes and make corrections. She likes to share with others when she has received praise from her teachers. She is obedient and is willing to help others. Simone is independent in her care. She can feed herself, put on and take off her own clothes and shoes, comb her hair, wash her face, brush her teeth, take a bath, and go to the toilet on her own. Simone is diagnosed with post-op spina bifida. Though her spina bifida does not affect her gross motor skills, she is incontinent. This may be the very thing that has caused her to wait all these years, but it should not be. Simone is an all-around awesome young lady with so much to offer the world! Her forever family has been missing out, but we know they are out there! If you think it could be you, Sarah Hansen is waiting for your email.