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"Surgery for Hannah..." - Mar 5, 2012

After a busy month of taking Hannah all over the state for medical appointments, she will finally have her first surgery this coming Thursday. Her doctors are going to snip her achilles tendon on her left leg to increase the range of motion in her ankle, and they will also work to open up the webbing on her thumb so she can pick thinks up with her left hand. Since we don’t know anything about Hannah’s medical history, the thought of her going under for surgery is a bit scary, but at the same time, we are completely amazed at how God has blessed our little girl with the absolute best doctors and hospitals, despite our meager “economy” health plan. Plus, we have also been surprised to see how He has been preparing this plan for quite some time.

Four years ago, our life was somewhat different. We lived in the city of Sacramento and had a stable life with reliable jobs, a good church, a nice home, etc. Despite the fact that things in our life seemed stable, we clearly heard God calling us to quit our jobs, sell our home and move because he had a plan for our family. The housing market was starting to slow, and so was the teaching field, but we knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that He had something in mind... we just didn’t know when, or if, we would fully understand what that was.

During that last year in Sacramento, we thought and prayed a lot about where God might be leading us. We contemplated moving out of California to find a state with a more affordable cost of living, just like many of our friends and family were doing. We also thought about moving overseas and strongly considered whether or not God was calling us to missions. All the while, God kept reminding us that we were trying to make plans on our own instead of quietly waiting on Him. Finally, after having our home on the market for quite a while, we began to wonder if moving really was God’s plan for us. The school year was ending, and so was our employment, but then, after months and months without a single bite on our house, we got a buyer on the first day of Summer break. At that moment, we knew for certain that God was up to something.

Towards the end of the school year, we had been feeling God telling us that he wanted us to stay in California. He also began showing us that our family had more children in the near future, and that one of the many things we could give our adopted kids was an opportunity to experience the love and affection of grandparents (two things which were going to be greatly impacted if we moved away). With that revelation, and a number of other miraculous events, God led us to the town where we now live. Our cost of living became so much less that Sarah was able to be a full-time mom, and although we didn’t know the importance of it at the time, we happened to now be living within miles of the exact geographic center of California.

We thought living in the “center of California” was just a cool trivia fact, but after bringing Hannah home at Christmas, we’ve been humbled to see how God had been planning this all along. When we first came home, we immediately had an appointment with our Geneticist, an incredible older doctor who commutes to our area once a month from San Francisco. (Only recently did we find out that he is largely responsible for building the department of genetic research for Northern California’s leading health care system!) Based on his expertise in the field and his experience with other leading experts from the Bay Area, we got a personal referral to a special cranio-facial clinic in Oakland. After driving only three hours, we were able to see over 25 leading surgeons, doctors and specialized therapists who evaluated multiple aspects of Hannah’s rare condition and collectively formed a treatment plan for her. As a result, many of those experts are now taking a personal interest in Hannah’s care and have scheduled us for additional evaluations, follow-ups and treatments all around the bay.

Aside from being a three hour drive from the broad medical community in the Bay Area, we have also been making weekly trips to Shriner’s Children’s Hospital in Sacramento, which is also exactly three hours from our house. (Do you see the theme here?) At Shriner’s, Hannah is being seen by two expert surgeons in the orthopedic field; one is a leading specialist for children’s hand issues, and the other is one of the only Ponseti-trained doctors in California (an advanced method for treating club feet). Every week, Hannah has been getting top-notch care from all of the Shriner’s doctors, nurses and staff. In fact, during the pre-op consultation for Hannah’s upcoming surgery, we got to meet the Chief Anesthesiologist at Shriner’s; he was so taken with her that he decided to personally care for Hannah during her surgery, plus he scheduled three of his other anesthesiologists to help, just to be on the safe side.

The more we get involved in treatment for Hannah’s rare condition, the more we realize just how much God has been planning our family’s life all along. He planted us exactly where he saw fit, and now we know just how much of a difference that has made for Hannah’s quality of care. She never would have received quality medical care in China like this, but to make it even better, many of the leading experts are right here in California... just a day’s drive from our home.

We’ll continue to update our blog with more information about how Hannah’s various treatments and evaluations go, including her surgery this Thursday, but for now, we thank you in advance for your thoughts and prayers!

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