Making Mishell part of our family
I still remember the day Mishell came into our lives like it was yesterday. It was 10 years ago this month. I was working at the front gate when a social worker brought her in. Mishell was 3 months old and weighed under 5lbs. She had many health issues. She was so small that she fit in my hand but she had the most beautiful eyes.
The doctors at the city hospital didn't think she would live more than a few weeks. We said our goodbyes, expecting to not see her again until we got to heaven. But God had other plans. And she was a fighter! About a month later the hospital called and asked if we were going to pick her up. We couldn’t believe it! Our hearts leapt for joy. She needed special care, and Patty and I received permission to move her into our house. Patty was pregnant with Michael at the time and I knew it would be hard work looking after Mishell, but she was so excited.
Patty was blessed by God with the spiritual gift of healing. Some of the children she worked with at Casa before Mishell were: Mynor, Tony, and Santos. Mishell's biggest health issue was that her lungs were full of fluid. We had to use a nebulizer 6 times a day to get the fluid out. Once the fluid was gone, Mishell started to breathe better and her color returned to normal. Another health issue was that Mishell was very low on weight. Patty worked very hard to increase it and in a few months she was able to double Mishell’s weight to about 10 lbs.
Because of the malnourishment, Mishell could not sit up by herself for the first year of her life. This picture was when Mishell was 10 months old. As you can see, she still had to have help sitting up. Patty was 8 months pregnant with Michael in this picture. It still amazes me how Patty took care of Mishell through an entire pregnancy.
Michael was born on Father's day around 3am. When we brought Michael home Mishell was immediately in love with him. From this moment on, they were inseparable. This first picture we posted was probably the last time that Mishell was bigger than Michael. In October of that year we went to two different court hearings. Patty and I met her mother and father, they were both very short and petite and had some serious substance abuse issues.
After the second court hearing Mishell's father gave Patty his business card and asked her to call him. We contacted him and he said he would give us the rights to Mishell because he didn't want his wife to find out that he had a child with another women. Patty was so mad at him because he didn't even try to meet Mishell or offer to take care of her. He only wanted to give her away to cover his back-side. But he knew we wanted her and would do anything to have her. He said that he could tell in court by the way that Patty was holding Mishell and the fact that Mishell didn't want anything to do with them. This was the day that Patty and I decided to do whatever we could to take care of Mishell and to have her became part of our family. Many people including judges and Mishell's parents offered to give Mishell to us illegally but Patty and I knew that we would wait as long as it took to do it legally. That would also be the last time we saw Mishell’s parents.
In the next year we saw Michael grow like a weed as Mishell grew slowly. Looking back I can see that this was all part of God's plan. The more that Michael did, Mishell was determined to do the same. Michael stated to walk around 9 months but Mishell could not. But because Mishell was so determined to keep up with Michael, she started to walk days after him. The second picture is the two walking together for the first time. They are 11 months apart but they looked like twins for the first years of their lives.
For the the first few years that we took care of Mishell, we had many Pediatricians take a look at her case. Every Pediatrician said that she would not live past 5 years old. Patty and I didn't want to believe that and worked harder to put weight on her. Once she was 5 years old, Patty and I where very nervous but Mishell seemed to improve a little bit everyday. We took Mishell to a Neurologist when she was 5 to check her growth plates. Many Doctors had told us that she had Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. The MRI showed that Mishell had normal spacing between her growth plates, she did not have Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. But there was significant damage to Mishell's brain form the mother’s alcohol and drug use.
Michael was a huge help for Mishell's progress. Even though Michael was 11 months younger than Mishell, Michael walked and talked before Mishell. Mishell was driven to keep up with Michael which in return helped her to achieve goals that most doctors said she never would be able to reach. They were twins that were 11 months apart.
Patty and I had some extra money and decided to do an investigation to see what the possibilities were for adoption. We hired a company that did a home study, psychological tests, and a family background check. To our surprise, we found out that both of Mishell's parents were dead. The mother was hit by a city bus and killed instantly on August 22, 2009. She had drugs in her system. Mishell’s father died of AIDS on May 28, 2011.
This was the first time that Patty and I realized that adopting Mishell could be a possibility. We decided to take the next step and meet with CNA, a government entity that processes all adoptions. It was a great meeting but we had two road blocks. One was that no adopting couple could live or work at any children's home and the second was that no adopting couple could know the child they are adopting.
4 years after we started the investigation, Patty and I were playing the odds. We knew that CNA could come at any time to take Mishell but we didn't want to leave Casa without Mishell. We prayed and talked for weeks but in the end we made the decision to wait. 9 years after the last court hearing, we get a call from the court. The lady on the phone told us that Mishell had a new court hearing set for September 28th.
The hearing was scheduled for 8am but didn't start until after 9am. Shortly after the court hearing started, I get a call from the court asking me to come so the judge could speak to both me and Patty. Of course I was scared to death thinking, what did I do now? The judge asked us to tell the story from the first time we met Mishell. She was amazed that we would take a sick baby into our house and take care of her for 10 years. Improve her health and make her a part of our family. The judge wanted to give Mishell to us and close the case but the attorney from PGN said no. Because I am an American the Hague Convention stopped the process.
PNG ordered a full investigation into Mishell's family, plus psychological exams, medical exams, and home study on Mishell, Patty , and me. The judge told us that this process could take more than a year to finalize this process. Then if everything came up positive, we could actually start the adoption. On a side note, after the attorney from PGN left the court room the judge displayed her frustration. She wanted to sign all the papers to finalize the process and give us permissions to do a name change. We asked her why she didn't and she said because of the attorney from PGN but she would find a way.
We have had 3 court hearings since September. Each court hearing was a step in the direction to the adoption agency. On January 25th we were finally giving permanent custody and Michell was declared adoptable. We start our process with the adoption agency this week. With your help, we can make Mishell's adoption a reality.
Thank you for you interest and support.
Tim and Patty Ruth
Praise the Lord it seems to be going in the right direction!!! Praying she is your "forever daughter" soon and Very soon! I know this wait has been long and exhausting, but will be so well worth it!Love and miss you guys!