Meet my family.
This is Mark...the most amazing, compassionate, hard working person I know. Really. His selfless example inspires me every day. I have been blessed to call him my husband for 20 years now.
Then there is Tyler. He is 20 years old and lives in Nairobi, Kenya. He is helping to care for the orphans and widows on Mfangano Island in Lake Victoria when he is not attending Daystar University there. He is eclectic mix of personality...but underneath it all..he is an amazingly compassionate servant of Christ. Tyler is our first child born to us...
Aaron is also 19 years old and he lights a room with his smile. Aaron was born at 27 weeks gestation and contracted meningitis at 5 months of age. He lost his hearing, most of his vision, his ability to walk and talk...but he did not lost the joy that shines from him. We adopted Aaron through the waiting children program in Minnesota when he was 3 years old. He made adoption looked easy...he still does.
His diagnoses include: VP shunt, 4th ventricle shunt (post decompression), hydrocephalus, microcephaly, triplegic Cerebral Palsy, G Tube fed, severely latex allergic, profound cognitive disability, deafblind, severe sleep apnea (both obstructive and central),
*Note* I do not list his my children's diagnoses because I believe that their disability defines who they are, but for other parents who may be looking for information regarding a particular diagnosis...that they may be able to find support and information regarding a particular condition.
McKenna is 18 years old. Her birth and the challenges she faced from the very beginning, gave us a heart for those who are dealing with disability in ways we may never have experienced without her. She was born with a large posterior occipital encephalocele (an opening in the skull where the lining of the brain pushed out and created a large sack filled with both brain fluid and tissue.) Since then, she has developed hydrocephalus, vision issues, chronic vomiting syndrome, debilitating migraines, an anxiety disorder, PDD-NOS, as well as a moderate cognitive disability. She is an intense, compassionate, and loving daughter...full of spunk and sure to ignite laughter with her funny sense of humor.
Hope. It's the perfect name for our daughter..and I thank her birthmom for that. Hope is 16 years old and loves to sing, act and play rugby. She has a heart for missions and loves to participate in praise and worship. Her compassion for the underdog is fierce. Hope has ADHD.
This is Jordan. He is 14 years old and became a Martindale when he was 6 years old. He is an natural athlete and has recently became a vikings fan. Jordan has a very kind heart and has a special relationship with his younger siblings. Jordan has taught us so much as his parents through his struggles with ADHD, FAS and some residual PTSD and RAD.
This is Brennan and he is 12 years old. Brennan was born in Alabama and we adopted him through a private Christian Agency there. He loves to skateboard, play video games and play video games. Did I mention that Brennan loves to play video games? Brennan has a very tender heart and a great sense of humor. Recently diagnosed with pFAS.
Kaden marks the start of what feels like the second set of our children...after a 6 year gap between Brennan and Kaden. He is an incredible 6 year old with a curious and compassionate heart. He and Isaac are especially close. Born addicted to many drugs including heroin, cocaine and alcohol and abandoned by his birthparents, Kaden has overcome many challenges and continues to face others (ADHD, anxiety disorder, pFAS, sensory integration dysfunction.) He is a beautiful child with a heart open to the gospel.
This is our baby Evan. Kaden's full sibling. Born June 21, 2005 and born into heaven on July 13th, 2006. A precious gift to us in life and in death. He was a happy, precious little guy. On this earth, he was trach and ventilator dependent with many complications from his inutero exposure to drugs. In heaven, he has left all of that behind...he is whole and in perfect presence of God...and we miss him beyond words.
Elijah is 5 years old and came to us shortly after we lost baby Evan. He was born with several genetic conditions that effect his life dramatically. He was born with Schwachman Diamond Syndrome (SDS) as well as XYY syndrome. The SDS is a rare genetic condition that involves multiple systems in the body. He is severely effected in many areas. He has pancreatic insufficiency which interferes with his bodies ability to process fats and use the nutrients his body needs. He is g-tube fed and must take enzymes with each feeding. He also has skeletal abnormalities including to small rib cage which has restricted his lung size and created breathing issues for him. Also he has a depressed immune system and gets sick very easily. But, as if that were not enough, SDS is a blood disorder that will, for Elijah, require a bone marrow transplant in the future. SDS is a life threatening illness. Currently, Elijah gets GCSF injections every other day to help his body produce the neutrophils it needs to fight off infection. Elijah is incredibly intelligent despite the autism that effects him as well. He is such a sweetheart...
Elijah will be getting a bone marrow transplant this summer (2011) because of hematologic changes in his marrow. This will give him the best chance of survival...we are trusting that God will see him through this and will continue to take care of all of our needs. He has always been faithful to us, and we will not stop trusting him now.
We had no idea when we chose the name Maisy Grace for our little girl, that it would be such a perfect name for her. She is truly a picture of amazing grace in our lives...an undeserved blessing for sure. Maisy is 3 years old and is so filled with joy, it is contagious...a pandemic of joy is spread when she is around. Born with an incredibly complex medical history, God has brought Maisy through so much.
Her diagnoses include Imperforate anus, pacemaker, ASD, VSD, Coarc of the Aorta, g-tube, laryngeal malacia requiring tracheostomy, ventilator dependent until 2 years of age, craniosynostosis..and that just the big stuff...and she went through so much of this with out a family able to care for her needs. And through it all, her carefree spirit has remained strong.
Isaac is our youngest son. Just 2 years old, Isaac has also faced many challenges in life. Born healthy, Isaac went home with another adoptive family. Just 10 days later, Isaac had sustained massive brain damage from an infection to his brain. Neuroirritability was the result along with seizures, quadrapligic cerebral palsy, profound cognitive disability as well as severe gastrointestinal neurogenic issues requiring J-tube feedings. He is a happy, content little guy with so much love to share with the world. If you are having a rough day, just hold this little one for a little while...and he will look into your eyes with such a warm and precious look...you will forget all of your worries!