It is hard to believe Ellie has now been a part of our family for over a year! The time has flown by and she is doing really, really well. Her adjustment to her new life and family has been amazing. She did so with one giant leap. The love she received at Starfish enabled her to adjust amazingly. The love of you, the nannies, staff, and volunteers will always be a part of her and has been the bridge which allow her to move on to new things without missing a step.
Physically she is doing really well and has had a very long haul. She has had two surgeries, will have two more this year, and has had more medical and therapy appointments than I can recount. She has been a trooper and is doing very well! Her MRI revealed that she had myelocystocele, a form of spina bifida from which a cyst developed on the lining of her spinal cord. The exceptional surgery she received through Starfish has truly been a saving grace in her life. The results of hydrocephalus will likely be one of the main conditions she will work through in the future. The extent of her condition may not be known for some time and we are still in the phase of discovering her potential. She has been a trooper and continues to work hard to improve and grow in her abilities. The spina bifida for which we researched and prepared for has not been the extent to which we anticipated. The unknowns of other issues have been more than we could have predicted. Her story is a picture that adoption is most always a chance of unknowns; and always, I believe, worthy of the extent it may require. To be a part of changing a life, not only the child adopted, is an amazing process. Not an event, but an experience. One in which only the future will reveal to end of the story.
Her story is one that, while we are happy to be able to bring her home, saddens me. Like so many waiting children with multiple or severe special needs, she was available for adoption a long, long time before we were able to be her family. I hope that her story will be an encouragement to other families to take a chance and open their hearts to a child they may not have initially considered. Research, research, research (and prepare for the “worst”); but be aware that all the research in the end may not prepare you for the child you bring home. I believe, in the end, it can be for “the best.” The process has not been easy by any means. And we have a long road ahead with Ellie. But, I do believe the future will reveal that the end of the story was worth the effort. Secondly, I hope Ellie’s example will encourage your followers to generously support organizations like Starfish who loving care for and provide exceptional surgeries for those who wait and organizations which provide therapy and rehabilitation for those waiting or left behind. It is amazing what love and care gives a child! Thank you for loving Ellie until we could. It made the difference in her life.
While we offered to continue identifying Ellie as “Heather” (her Starfish name), she would have no part of it. She whole heartedly jumped into her new life as Ellie. Or, as she prefers, her full name of Eliana Gabrielle Qing. “Qing Qing I am,” she has recently been declaring. “I was a baby in China,” she recounts, “Lui Ma take care of my ouchy back, Ying Ying take care of me, and Ye Ye play ball with me. Amanda is nice.” Her memories of Starfish are precious. We are so grateful they will always be a part of her. After her most recent surgery, the nurse was coaxing her alertness following anesthesia, “Is pink your favorite color?” she asked. “No,” Ellie quickly replied, “Purple!” Yes, she has independently claimed purple as her favorite. Even if not by name, “heather” will always be a part of who she is. The nurse offered her a drink, a cracker? “No,” Ellie more insistently demanded, “Go home!” The nurse asked who was at home. “Everybody,” she replied. We are grateful that Ellie now belongs to her forever family. It may take a while to get where she is headed, and the road may be rough, but we are thankful she is home.
To Starfish and all its supporters, we sincerely thank you for caring for Ellie!
Lynda, Ellie’s mom
Life, love and laughter,
At Starfish, we have taken care of 131 children to date, arranged more than 130 surgeries and had 55 international adoptions, so our little starfishes live all over the globe: the US, Netherlands, Norway, France, Spain, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Canada and in China. Our latest adoption, our third baby to Sweden was the first of March. We currently have 46 babies under the age of 3.
Starfish Children's Services
US Tax Number: 20-4682916