After surgery, and being in the hospital for 9 days, we are still getting Mackenzie (and us) back on schedule, and it is overwhelming to think that we just did that. We just spent 9 days in the hospital with a little girl who had MAJOR surgery. After being home for a few days, and thinking back on our time there, here are my thoughts:

*Hospitals are not clean. (And you smell funny after being there for a day)
*We are much more capable of doing hard things than we ever believed.
*It is physically painful to watch your child get stuck with needles repeatedly.
*Refusing to let lab people take any more blood from your child can give an amazing sense of power. One I might like to repeat.
*There should be better ways to take blood.
*I have never felt so helpless as I did when our language barrier made it impossible to reassure my daughter that she was coming home with me.
*It is heartbreaking to watch your child have tubes pulled out of their chest, while they are breathless from the pain, and then to watch them tell the doctors “thank you”, and clap for themselves (there was not a dry eye in the room)
*It is possible to feel such an amazing sense of pride in a child who undergoes trauma and pain, but still smiles, laughs, and waves at people who just hurt her, and will probably hurt her again soon.
*A children’s hospital should have thermometers that go in the baby’s ears, and not under their tongue.
*ALL medications are hard on a two year old’s system.
*Two year olds should NOT be on diuretics. It is not pretty.
*I hope we never see blue lips and fingers ever again. Pink is my favorite color.

*A two year old with a heart problem cannot cry for very long, but a two year old with a repaired heart can go on and on and on.
*An asian child with two white parents draws a LOT. of. attention.
*Most nurses could not believe we would adopt this child KNOWING that she had this heart condition. They said she was so lucky. We got talked about and praised. A lot.
*Being constantly put on a pedestal and praised can make you want to polish up your halo, and step up to the pedestal, but one look into my daughter’s eyes, her little hand on my cheek, reminds me that I, not her, am the lucky one.
*We did not adopt our daughter because we are good people, we adopted her because we wanted a daughter, we wanted to be parents.
*I wonder what my two year old will be when she grows up. I am glad she will grow up.


  1. Musings from Kim K. on October 16, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    You need a tissue alert at the top of this post. Beautifully written. I would agree 100% of everything you posted. Reading through this post brings back lots of memories. Hugs!!

  2. Proud Mama and Papa on October 16, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    I'm in tears over here. You are an amazing mom and have one strong little girl who happens to have a smile that melts my heart. We, the parents, are the lucky ones – no doubt. Children are an unbelievable gift. I am so glad that you are finally back home.

  3. michelle on October 16, 2010 at 10:27 pm

    Agree w/ tissue alert, written beautifully, brings back memories for a different surgery (four times) but many of your statements apply. Writing about it is so helpful to process the experience and to build confidence. Being your daughters advocate, mother bear, all are empowering and she needs this and you. Well, well done. Hope recovery cont on a steady course. Thinking of you all-mlynne

  4. Grace on October 17, 2010 at 12:08 am

    such a beautiful post, joanna…just beautiful.glad mackenzie is doing better!

  5. Anonymous on October 17, 2010 at 12:52 am

    This post is so incredibly beautiful and your daughter is just an amazing individual – makes you guys a good match :)Now pass the tissues!

  6. Unknown on October 17, 2010 at 1:26 am

    What an amazing post–such truthful and honest observations about this season of life for your family. Amazing. Can I repost this on I think the readers there would really identify and be touched by your words. I know things are crazy for you–so just email me when you can.

  7. michelle on October 17, 2010 at 6:45 am

    Definitely made me teary, but everything you said is so true! I'm in awe by your amazing strength and what am amazing little girl Mackenzie is. When we brought Lexie home, everyone told me that she is so lucky, but you are right, we are the lucky ones because all we've ever wanted was to be a mommy.

  8. stacycakes on October 17, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    God bless you all….she is so beautiful, and i am sorry she has had to endure so much pain, but she will grow up to be a fighter,and nothing will be to big for her!…and i too have adopted a child,and everyone said the same thing to me, he is sooo lucky, when all along it was me who was the lucky one, for more reasons than i can write in this little comment space….you are a beautiful family, and i would say you are all lucky, very lucky!

  9. Me on October 17, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    I am crying after reading this. Wow.

  10. lorabelle on October 17, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    Thinking about little \”M\” this weekend and sending hugs and get wishess your way! Happy to hear that you are home and doing well…Beautiful post \”J\”. You are an amazing mommy to an amazing little angel!

  11. Tami and Bobby Sisemore Family on October 18, 2010 at 9:04 pm

    ok, reading and seeing this today has me blubbering again for you and for our own journe through pediatric intensive care with Jeremiah in June. I FEEL a bond and conncetion with you just from this one post. Somehow I feel you would know how I feel and would get it. I PRAY your daughter has an amazing prognosis now! God bless you all,TamiPRAYING 4 a MIRACLE 4 Jeremiah!

  12. Beth on October 19, 2010 at 1:46 am

    tears here too. Loved this post! And I agree, WE are the lucky ones! 🙂

  13. Annie on October 19, 2010 at 2:10 am

    Thank you. This is an amazing list of observations and it brought tears to my eyes. Really amazing little girl.

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