Monday, May 13, 2013

Jacob My Little Miracle Brother (6)

While I was struggling with the changes going on with me physically and dealing with confusion, changes with our family were changing yet again.
Because our family had been known in our church for having adopted children, the adopted parents got a call one day that there was a baby, who was born prematurely at a hospital downtown Houston. His parents, who already had multiple children under the age of 7, didn't want him and abandoned him at the hospital.  Why did they abandon him? Well, Jacob as he was named, had been born 4 months early due to the car accident that his birth-mother was in. He had to be delivered or he wouldn't make it. It was kind of a bet though, they would have to deliver him 4 months early and risk him dying and not making it or he would die in his mother’s womb anyways. They delivered him, via C-section, he weighed in at 1 lb and 12 oz. He weighed the weight of a bag of potato chips. Because of his much early birth, he was instantly placed in an incubator where the oxygen levels needed to keep him breathing and alive were set so high, they damaged his still developing eyes.  He was blind, but only partially. He definitely lost the sight in his left eye but there was some hope for his right eye but we would never know what he could see out of that good eye. Jacob had other issues, respiratory problems, speech problems due to mental problems. He was so small at birth; it was told that my adopted dad could take his wedding ring off and slide it on to his arm. 
Back to the phone call my parents got, they took the call, when they did; Jacob was already almost 4 months old. He was born in July and it was November when we learned about him. He was still in the hospital due to needing to be seen for the medical problems he was having. My adopted parents were told up front by the lady who called us that Jacob would probably be a vegetable his whole life, if he lived long enough to have a life. He would be completely blind, retarded and would always need help medically. What they were being told was that there was a huge risk at adopting him but the idea that he was stuck in a hospital nursery because he also had nowhere to go wasn't helping either. We had a family meeting about Jacob and it was agreed that we wanted him to be a part of our family. I was curious to see how this was going to work out, first, Matthew wasn't going to be the baby of the family anymore and there were going to be new things to learn in order to adapt and deal with Jacob’s handicaps.
We brought Jacob home right in time for Thanksgiving. I was almost 11-12 years old and I was now the oldest of 4 siblings. Even though Jacob was home from the hospital, he still needed to go back and see doctors and surgeons. When he came home, he came home with a heart monitor and any time his heart would act up, the monitor alarms went off. It was kind of scary, I thought he might die, it was a possibility. I fell in love with this tiny baby. We had an emergency baby shower for him and as grateful as we were for all the cute clothes, half of them we wouldn't be able to use for another year and a half. We had to shop in the ‘preemie’ section for clothes and diapers. The diapers were so cute! They would fit a baby doll, that’s how small Jacob was. I was told that I was going to be needed to help take care of him, I would do everything with and for him but change his diapers that was a taboo thing too cause he was a boy. Oh heavens.

I would spend a lot of time with my adopted mom as I would always go along with her and Jacob to the hospital for his appointments. I got to carry his diaper bag and the heart monitor he was connected to. I got to carry the car seat when it was empty. I felt good, knowing I was needed to help, at least I thought I was ‘needed’ for the right reasons.  I would learn how to make Jacob’s bottles and run them up the stairs to my adopted mom, run and fetch the diapers and wipes, do this and do that. It was a lot of work, but I loved it. I would find myself sneaking into his room and watching him sleep, he was so precious. Occasionally when the adopted mother was in a good mood, I got to hold Jacob, by myself and that was priceless. I got to hold my baby brother, who was a miracle baby.  Today as I write this, I still remember exactly how it felt to hold him, so small, light and it felt so natural to hold him. I can still smell him and see his eyes as he would try to look around and then at me. I used to wonder what he could see. Could he see his big sister? Did he know how much I loved him?

Jacob was acting relatively normal in spite of the few medical issues he was dealing with. Jacob would have a few surgeries on his ‘good’ eye, what the doctors were doing I never knew, I guess they were trying to salvage what was left of his eye that was good. As hard as they tried though, they would never know for sure what he could see. As he got older, we knew he could see light and colors, shapes but if he saw anything specific, we couldn't tell. Jacob as he got older was able to start communicating with us, he couldn't speak and say words but he grunted and shook his head when he talked to us. He was acting just like any other baby growing up; he was just a little bit behind. The older he got, the more my responsibilities grew with him. I was the one that watched him as he would lay on the floor and play with his toys that made noises and light up with bright lights and colors. I had to watch him even more when he learned how to crawl and roll over. He couldn't see, so I had to be his eyes for him and make sure he was always safe. It was quite the responsibility but I loved it. As he got older and more mobile, the more I was watching him and entertaining him and the adopted mother would be ‘busy’ again, doing things. She was there to cuddle him and rock him to sleep and all, but I go to watch him and play with him and eventually, I would be the one to teach him things that nobody knew about, good things that helped him grow and learn. 
Until next time, Be Blessed and Inspire to Make A Difference!
~The Adopted Child

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