Is there any worst nightmare for any mom — or any parent — anywhere?
As an adoptive mom of four children with complex heart disease, Andrea knows exactly what this feels like.
“We loved her, played with her, listened as she called me ‘mama’ for the first time, and soaked up every moment,” Andrea wrote of her daughter, Rini, as she and her husband prepared to say goodbye to the little girl they had just brought home from China — a girl who was not yet 2 years old, but whose heart was growing weaker with every passing moment.
As the days passed, Andrea grappled with the knowledge that saving Rini would mean another family would lose their child. She also struggled with thoughts of “if only.”
“If only she had received intervention in China,” she wrote. “If only she hadn’t come home so malnourished. If only this, if only that, she would not be in this position of her life ticking away as we desperately hoped that she would be spared.
And it wasn’t just Rini. It was never, ever just about her.
As each rainy day turned dark, as another day filled with that grueling mixture of anxiety and hope passed, I was haunted by all of those left behind: all of the children with nobody to advocate for them, to hold their hand, to provide a chance at life, or to grieve their death.
We were preparing to lose our sweet baby girl.”
Then, 19 days after Rini’s name appeared on the transplant list, a miracle: “There is a heart for Rini.”
Today, Rini is a beautiful, thriving little girl. But still, Andrea remains haunted.
“Each and every day, we marvel that our daughter is here with us: smiling, talking, dancing and playing. But I remain haunted. Haunted by the precious souls who did not receive their second chance.”
This Mother’s Day, and in honor of the devoted mom in your life, consider giving the gift of a second chance to a seriously ill child. For a mom who has just received the worst news of her life, your compassion might just be the greatest gift she has ever received.
“It took a family donating their child’s heart to save our daughter. But it doesn’t have to come to that for others.”