MacKenzi is here with her new family!
My Husband and I have 3 biological sons, but felt that our family
was not complete. Since my husband and I both have adopted siblings,
adoption was always something we considered. In 1998 we decided
to begin the process of adopting. After a lot of research and consideration
we decided to adopt our daughter from China. After a 9-month “paper
chase”, we traveled to China in August of 1999 to bring our
daughter home. We knew from the beginning that she was meant to
be part of our family.
our first adoption experience, we talked about adopting again; this
thought was always in the back of our minds. In May of 2004 I had
an overwhelming feeling, that I can't explain, to go to a website
that I had visited many other times. This website lists international
"waiting children." When I opened the website I saw a
small picture of a little girl, so I enlarged the picture so I could
really see her. When I saw her eyes, I felt an instant connection
to her and felt that she was my daughter. She had a hemangioma on
the bridge of her nose and over one eye. I called my husband and
asked him to look at the picture and he said, "she's a cutie",
and he also knew that this was his daughter. About a week later
I said to my husband "should I call the agency and see about
the little girl?" His response was an overwhelming "yes"(he
always wanted to adopt again). I called the agency but found out
that some other families were considering adopting the little girl.
Even so, my husband and I began researching hemangiomas to find
out all we could about them. Neither of us had any previous knowledge
about them, but we quickly educated ourselves. While researching
hemangiomas, I ran across a website about a foundation that Linda
Shannon started called the Vascular Birthmark Foundation. About
a week later I called back to the agency to see if anyone had made
a decision about the little girl. The lady at the agency told me
that she thought this child would be easy to adopt. However, all
the other families had turned her down. The prospective families
had received a wide variety of medical opinions from possible brain
damage to vision problems to her requiring major cosmetic surgery.
The adoption agency said that they were going to have to send her
back through the system, but offered to let me consider another
child. I explained that my husband and I were not actively seeking
an adoption at this time. Although, we felt a connection to THIS
little girl and knew that God had presented this to us. We knew
that if it were meant to be she would be our daughter. The lady
at the agency didn't want to send me the video because she said
"I know you are going to call me in a couple of days and say
no." After some pleading and begging she agreed to overnight
the video and pictures to me. In the meantime, I started calling
for appointments to get some medical advice. Several doctors turned
me down in my area. They didn't want to try and make a judgment
based on a video or picture. Then I remembered Linda Shannon's website
and found a link to doctors on this site. One of the doctors on
her list who specializes in vascular birthmarks had an office about
5 miles from our house. I called and they were happy to see us.
When the video came the next day I was about to show it to a friend
when my phone rang. On the phone was the lady from the agency. She
said she had received a call from Linda Shannon who had been contacted
by a family with the picture of the little girl (they wanted to
be assured that the girl was being adopted). Linda then showed the
picture to the top doctor in the US who specializes in this area,
Dr. Milton Waner. His comment, she told me was that this little
girl was going to fine. He thought she would probably need a couple
of laser treatments to help fade the birthmark. The lady at the
agency was so excited to give me this news.
The next week we visited with two doctors. One of the doctors was
Dr. Buckingham; we discovered that he had worked with Dr. Waner
in regards to vascular birthmarks. He totally agreed with Dr. Waner
as did the other doctor we visited with, that she would probably
need 2-3 laser treatments. We then called the agency and told them
we wanted to move forward with the adoption. In the midst of all
of this I was put in contact with Linda Shannon. We became instant
friends and began communicating by e-mail. One night she asked me
to call her, she was very excited. She had decided that she wanted
to start a foundation to help children with birthmarks find families.
I was thrilled about the prospects of this. I wanted to help her
in anyway that I could. My heart aches for every child that needs
a family. Now, I am working with Linda as part of Orphans with Birthmarks.
We hope through this to help every child with a birthmark find a
family is hoping to travel at the beginning of December 2004 to
bring our daughter home. Her new name will be MacKenzi XiaFang.
In China there is an Ancient Chinese belief that "An invisible
red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of
time, place or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but
never break." We believe as a family that God had a plan for
our lives and part of his plan was for us to adopt our two daughters.
They were meant to be part of our family from the beginning. We
have a "red thread" connection with both of our daughters,
even before we knew who they were.
Rhonda & John Steczkowski