One family’s journey adopting a child with Scoliosis
Since June is scoliosis awareness month, it seems only fitting to introduce you to Madison. Not because she has scoliosis, but because she is a person whose spirit shines despite scoliosis. Madison was adopted from China about 4 years ago. Her story is like so many others who have been fortunate enough to have Madison Adoption Associates involved in their adoption journeys.
Madison had been on the shared list as a young girl, but was taken off that list because she was seen as “unadoptable”. Not only was Madison’s scoliosis severe, but it was complicated by a muscular dystrophy that left her in a state where any mobility at all was severely limited. Fast forward many years and Madison Adoption arrives to advocate for hard to place children. Our Madison was not on the list of kids to be interviewed, but the team saw her in the periphery, were drawn to her smile, and inquired about her. They took a personal interest in her and convinced the staff that she was indeed adoptable and they would find her a family.
Madison came home to us and her 16 siblings not long after that. She is a sassy, loving, considerate and strong individual. Her scoliosis was of utmost concern as it was so severe it had already caused most of her left lung to collapse. Her scoliosis put her in a position where any activities of daily living were impossible, and it left her at a level where she could not engage in life on the same level as others.
Surgery for scoliosis was not taken lightly. There were many unknowns and many factors to consider. Foremost in our minds was quality of life for Madison – that included physical quality of life as well as emotional and social quality of life. It was 2 years before we were able to get Madison to a place where she was physically strong enough to handle the major surgery.
Madison’s curve was the largest surgical correction of its type that her surgeon had ever performed. Her plan of care was altered from the norm in order to give her the best chance for the fullest amount of correction. She entered the hospital and was placed in halo traction for 3 weeks. She underwent another surgery to release the muscles in her back and continued on traction for another 3 weeks. She then underwent rod and hardware placement to stabilize her back. She never lost her smile during all that time. We were looking forward to going home and getting our family back together, Madison missed her siblings more than anything.
However, there were complications. Madison had to be taken to emergency surgery for removal of the rods due to nerve damage. A few other complications occurred and Madison was starting to lose her smile for the first time ever. We consulted with doctors and determined a short reprieve at home with halo in place was what she needed. Family had become so important to her and she was missing that security so much. After 10 days at home we returned to the hospital once again to start the process over again. Since her back muscles had been released, she needed to have stabilizing hardware put in. We could not just stop at this point in the journey. Madison was the smiling champion we knew her to be and sailed through the remaining time in the hospital. After almost 4 months in the hospital we came home with a much taller Madison who was able to engage in life like never before. She continues to thrive and build strength. Her smile only gets brighter.
We share our journey because we want to provide encouragement if you are considering adopting a child with scoliosis. Every case is different, but there is a person held up by that bent back that makes the journey so rewarding. One of the greatest rewards of adoption is having the privilege to watch your child grow and become the person they were created to be, and sometimes that happens through the challenges they face. It was so apparent that having a family to support her through the most difficult parts was what gave Madison the strength and motivation to endure. She fills our life with such joy and inspires each of us to live better lives as we watch her live a life full of joy despite her physical challenges.
Thank you to Madison and the Bernadsky family for sharing their journey! In honor of June being Scoliosis Awareness Month, Madison Adoption Associates is pleased to offer a $1,000 grant to any qualified family who commits to adopt a child with Scoliosis during the month of June. Please complete our Prospective Adoptive Parent form today to learn more about our adoption programs and the children who wait, like Quaid and Legend below!