July 6, 2012

Special Needs Adoption Spotlight: Thalassemia

The following is a testimony from an adoptive family and their daughter Bella. Bella is 4 years old and has been home with her family since April 2012.

We had no idea what Thalassemia was when we first received the call from Nightlight Christian Adoptions asking if we would consider adopting Long Luoyue. After talking with a doctor at the International Adoption Clinic in Birmingham, and consulting with our health insurance provider, we prayed. Our hearts were connected with our new daughter Bella Catherine Long Luoyue Pearson and we immediately began to pursue adopting her.

We continued to read and learn about Thalassemia as we prepared for Bella. For two healthy parents with a healthy teenager, the thought of regular blood transfusions was a bit daunting. However, we’ve had Bella home since April 7, 2012 and after having a few transfusions under our belt, we have now set aside all fears.

Initially diagnosed as beta-Thalassemia major, we prepared for regular, life-sustaining transfusions. Today, her diagnosis has been changed to beta-Thalassemia intermediate which means her body does produce some good blood. Although she is still having regular transfusions at this point, those may decrease over time. Bella is one of only three children in our state with Thalassemia.

Thalassemia is certainly treatable and can be kept in check through blood transfusions. Transfusion days are simply a minor inconvenience in an otherwise normal and healthy child’s life.Bella is full of life. She giggles, plays, sings and dances incessantly. She loves life and no one would ever question if she is healthy by her appearance or energy level. Our friends in the adoption community are amazed that she is even considered a “special needs” child when they first meet her. Our family is beyond blessed because we said “Yes!” to matching with Bella. We pray that through this focus and through Bella’s story, more and more children with Thalassemia will be adopted into forever families.

Nightlight’s affiliate agency A Helping Hand Adoption Agency is launching a new initiative in our In His Image program.  We will be featuring a particular special need every 3 months.  We will be concentrating on education related to that special need and particularly trying to find homes for children who have that disorder.  We will begin with “In His Image:  Spotlight on Thalassemia”.  In addition, families who have adopted a child with the featured need will be available to speak with interested families.

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