Sunday, October 28, 2012

Each one matters

It appears to be a trend nowadays to focus more on the group than on each individual. That is how today's society quite often loses sight of the real dimension of the problem. Big labs may be testing a new drug that has the potential of saving many lives in the future--but in the meantime they seem not to care about those whose lives could be saved in the here and now . . . but the drug is not sufficiently tested yet. It may be those patients' only hope--but due to potential liability issues it appears all right to the general opinion to let some people die today thinking that after all many others will be saved tomorrow. What about those people? What about their families? What about those unfinished tasks, those unfulfilled dreams, those empty spaces at some families' tables?

Quite often non-profit organizations are not an exception to this dehumanized way of looking at things. Food banks and many other institutions that collect edibles, medical equipment, clothing items, or toys for the poor may have piles or truck loads of supplies ready to be distributed at a certain event or shipped out to a pre-set location--but sometimes wouldn't spare one single item to give to someone showing up at the door with an immediate need.

Besides how unfair it is to neglect any one human being or any one human being's needs, we shouldn't forget the beneficial effect that one story with a happy ending has upon the general public and, in turn, among many others with similar or comparable needs. The successful story of one individual who won the battle against an given disease has the potential of inspiring and giving hope to many others with the same or even similar condition.

By the same token, any single successful adoption story is a call to action among a wide circle of relatives, fellow parishioners or members of the same faith community, co-workers, friends, neighbors, medical providers--and even occasional acquaintances who due to one reason or another become in contact with the adoptive family and adopted child. How many people decide to save a child after someone else in the same social circles did it? How many people lose their fear of adopting an older child after seeing a well-adjusted teenager adopted by someone else? How many people realize what a blessing a special needs child can be after a family gathering or social event where someone else's experience becomes the eye-opener they needed?

Most importantly, the adoption of children with severe developmental and physical disabilities is a strong, eloquent, powerful testimony about the infinite dignity and infinite value of human life. It is a testimony that shouts out against the fallacy of the "unwanted child" myth to which pro-choice propagandists resort in order to support the murder of babies in the womb. If more women knew that no matter what their ultrasound report may have been, their babies will be loved, cherished, nurtured, cared for, and treasured by adoptive families, there is no doubt that the number of abortions would decrease. There is no doubt that more babies would have their chance at life. There is no doubt that more precious little human lives would be saved.

We all know the famous story of the boy throwing the starfish back into the water. The boy's answer to the man who had questioned the purpose of saving one if not all could be saved was that yes, it did matter--because "it matters to this one." Everyone agrees. Then more of a reason we need to agree when instead of starfish we are talking about humans. Moreover, unlike starfish, humans nowadays have the priceless instrument of social media to share their experiences and have their voices heard. One successful story has the potential of sending out waves all across the globe for others to imitate. In plain language, and paraphrasing to some extent the Three Musketeers' motto, the successful story of one has the potential of becoming the successful story of all. And-we're not talking about three men, or three cities, or three countries--but absolutely everyone on the face of earth, over the mountains and across the seas.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Thanks Be to God!!! And--thank you, Mom!!! - Part One

Hello, everyone,

 I will admit to holding the big news for Part Two in order to make people read Part One. I needed to. I'm totally honest in every post, without the slightest embellishment, and must admit to that compelling need to let people know of every miracle I owe to the extraordinary family I was given. 

No, I'm not trying to make a case for canonization. I have no doubts that my Mom was already canonized directly by God in His glory. But I cannot remain silent about some things that I witnessed, some things I can swear to with my hand on the Holy Bible. Only a few days before falling into a semi-comma, my Mom was suffering from excruciating pain and unbearable thirst as liquids had been banned by doctor's orders in order to prevent fluids from clogging her airways. Yet, amidst her terrible suffering she did pray for four children whose lives were at stake--four children she didn't know, and yet four children she was deeply concerned about just because they were kids trying to hold on to life. 

For all those of you who may have guessed who I'm referring to, yes, you're right. I'm talking about Selah, Nikita, Cheyenne, and Chloe. For all those who don't have the least idea, I'm only giving out first names and some very basic non-identifying information. I myself don't even know any more. Selah is a precious girl with special needs who had been in a near-drowning accident, and was in a comma for a long time with no response at all. Nikita is the son of an adoption facilitator in Eastern Europe. He had suffered very severe head trauma and it looked like he would never recover. Little Cheyenne had been the victim of child abuse and per the words of someone who knows the family very well she was "almost gone," and it seemed it was "only a matter of when." Chloe was, and is, battling leukemia. I clearly remember my Mom's words, "I'll pray for the four of them. It is my time now--but it is not their time. Those little ones need to live." 

Nikita was the first one to surprise everyone by being able to talk and walk again. It was a true miracle as he had been operated on in an under-staffed and under-equipped hospital. Cheyenne was the second miracle. After it looked like there was nothing else to be done, currently it's a matter of working towards full recovery. Selah took longer to respond. The very same day when my Mom passed to Eternity I don't know how I found myself thinking about Selah. It was perhaps a defense mechanism in order to try to cope with my own terrible, extreme, unberable grief. I was standing in our kitchen. I looked out of our window far into the woods--and saw my Mom smiling with that tender, loving, caring, compassionate smile of hers. Will you judge me wrong if I admit to having prayed for Selah at that moment--but mostly thinking that I wanted to prove the power of my Mom's intercession for her? Perhaps I should keep that to myself and not tell it to anyone--but I want to be totally honest so that all of you can totally believe me. When a couple of weeks after Selah's mother posted about the little girls' limbs getting stiffer I felt really discouraged. I guess my faith was not that strong as it should have been. I understood those symptoms as an indication that there was nothing else to expect. But I was wrong!!! Selah started improving and having very promisory reactions that now allow doctors to change their death perspective into a recovery one. From what I know about Chloe, she's doing well and is back to dancing. 

On October 1 at 7:30 a.m., exactly one month after my Mom's passing to Eternity, amidst the morning rush to get Thomas, Nicholas, and Stephen ready for the school buses, I felt I had to check my e-mail--and I did find what I was looking for: a message from the Toni Vladimirova, the Bulgarian attorney who is processing the adoptions of Maximilian and Philip (most of you who read my posts know her very well already) stating that the judge who had been assigned to hear our case was a very kind, adoption-friendly one, who had not asked for any additional paperwork.

Part Two 

Introducing Maximilian Joseph GODONE-MARESCA and Philip Daniel GODONE-MARESCA

Please don't laugh if I say that I had asked Toni to only give us a rough idea as to the date of the court hearing without giving us the exact date.  The anxiety would be a little more bearable that way.

Well, let's shout it out once and for all: As of October 23, 2012, Maximilian and Philip officially became Godone-Maresca's in the full sense of the word. They are my parents' grandsons, my children's brothers, and my sons!!! 

Because Maximilian had turned 10 last August already, the judge had requested his presence in the courtroom. Toni told me that he did amazingly well. He told the judge in full both his current and his new names, said that Philip and he would be going to U.S., and also said that he loves his family very much.

After court, Toni would tell him that she was going to e-mail me and asked him whether there was anything he might want to tell me. Maximilian replied, "Please tell mom that I love her."  

Christmas 2009

December 2011 with Thomas and Nicholas

Christmas 2011. We cannot imagine Christmas 2012 without her being physically with us.

Smiling at Nicholas only a few days before her hospitalization last March. Can you see the love in her eyes and her smile?

Kissing Maximilian and Philip's pictures after coming back from hospital with the congestive heart failure diagnosis


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