In my book, Called to War, I tell the story of the long fight to bring Rebekah home to her forever family. In Chapter 17 you can read about a trip I made to Guatemala while she was 9 months old for the sole purpose of walking a piece of paper across the street. After that seemingly simple task was completed, one that my attorneys were not able to accomplish for over 6 weeks, I had a chance to visit with Rebekah whom I had not seen since she was 3 months old.
When I saw how tiny my daughter was on that visit, I arranged for her to be examined by a doctor immediately. Upon evaluation, the MD was concerned enough about her size and measurements to send us for an emergency MRI. I will never forget how this little girl of mine, who didn’t even know me, surrendered without a fight to an open MRI machine fully awake. I had yet to comprehend or understand the far-reaching effects of trauma; armed with today’s knowledge and experience, her response wouldn’t have surprised me so much. Thankfully, we learned not long after the test from a pediatric neurologist that Rebekah’s results were completely normal. She was a tiny thing for sure, seriously lacking the necessary nutrition to grow and thrive, but she was 100% fine.
We can’t anticipate what tomorrow looks like based on the information we have today. The day I told you about in 2008, my baby’s future looked scary as we faced the report of a small head circumference and inadequate brain development. After arriving in the US when she was 15 months old, Rebekah struggled for years with her language, vision, health, and size. As she progressed through 3rd grade though, not only did she catch up with her peers, but she also started to lead the way. We discovered that her brain is not only normal and the perfect size but is also incredibly smart.
Over the past few years, she’s shown an interest in marine, space, and medical science. Currently, Rebekah is thinking maybe she’d like to study forensic science because she is obsessed with NCIS. While the exact focus has changed some, the consistent theme has remained science. This summer she stepped way outside of her comfort zone and volunteered nearly 50 hours at Sarasota’s Fab Lab, pursuing her passion, and earning the hours she needs in high school to qualify for Florida’s Bright Futures Scholarship.
Before she even knew who I was or any of the words I was saying to her, fear tried to rob her future. I don’t know for sure what her tomorrow looks like, any more than I did when I stood by her side when the MRI test was conducted. But I’ve watched her do the hard thing time and time again to show up for her story. The negative reports and fears of past days have no impact on who she is going to be in the future – not then and not now. This little bit of mine, the one who has overcome so much adversity and trauma just to begin life, is proving that not every report you receive is true.