No--his passport has not been issued. No--his I-600 has not been filed. No--he's not ready to come home. He's sick. Potentially very sick.
We got Bright's medical report on January 19th, that said he was anemic. I attributed this anemia to his malnutrition and didn't think much of it. Today my kids had doctor's appointments with our beloved Pediatrician and I took Bright's photos and medical for her to take a look at (thinking she might be able to tell me what type of anemia he had). Our doctor was immediately concerned about his labwork and said that he has very serious anemia. She said it's unlikely that this is from nutrition and feels that Bright has some type of chronic anemic disorder (won't know how severe or what type until he is home). If Bright were in America he would be in the hospital right now--getting transfusions and such to help him recover. But he's not in America--and he may not be in America for several more months (I'm hoping no more than 2-3 but it could be 6 according to the Embassy).
I asked our doc if he would be okay for a few more months until he is cleared to immigrate. She said there was no way to tell. He could hold his own for several more months, or he could die very soon. If he dies it will be from heart failure. His little heart is likely pumping WAY more than it should be (to deliver oxygen) and could be enlarged. After a while the lungs fill with fluid and the heart stops. She also feels (by looking at his Christmas picture) that Bright's spleen may be enlarged as well. Bright could be in grave danger.
This child is OUR son. Legally and emotionally and in every other way. I know the orphanage would do everything they can for him, but that isn't much. They can take him to the same hospital that saw his labwork and noted "anemic" on his paperwork but didn't transfuse him (like he definitely needed according to our doc). I don't feel confident that the hospital in Ho is able to meet Bright's needs. The orphanage doesn't have the time or resources to take him to an Accra hospital. This is my son. He is my responsibility. So I'm going to him.
I leave for Ghana on Saturday (10th) at 4:30pm. I arrive on Accra on Sunday (11th) at 7:15pm. I hope to be holding Bright be noon on Monday and have him in a hospital in Accra by nightfall. It's not going to be the leisurely day I had hoped our first day together would be, but it's what needs to happen. Hopefully I will get more time to go back to Ho Hoe before I leave.
I have a tentative return flight for Thursday the 29th of March. It would be great if everything worked out for me to leave earlier, but I know I also may need to stay longer than planned. I am the most inflexible person on earth, but I've got to be flexible.
Our wonderful Ped. has said she is willing to write a letter to the US Embassy in Ghana requesting that Bright's immigration clearance be expedited so that he can get to the US ASAP for medical care. First we have to get his passport, but I am praying that it will work out that he is able to come home with me at the end of March. I'm also trying to prepare myself that he may have to be left behind (please God, not that).
The other part of this is that even if Bright has immigration clearance, I can't put him on a plane until he is stable. Our doctor said absolutely NOT to put him on a plane if he has any sort of cough or is short of breath. This could lead to respiratory failure on the flight home--he might not make it. When she mentions coughing I immediately think of the little cough I heard on his video from Thanksgiving--and the fact that he breathes out of his mouth. =-(
I think this is the most mixed up emotional place I have ever been. I am going to meet my son on Monday. That is reason to celebrate!!!!! There is hope that because of this he will be able to come home earlier than expected. Another reason to celebrate!!!! But it's also conceivable that I won't make it in time...that he will die. And I'm going alone (save for my God). I'm going to miss my children and my husband so badly. I've never been away from them this long. And I know that it's going to be extremely hard on my children emotionally. I usually prepare them weeks in advance for any time I'm going to be away from them.
But I have to believe that God has a purpose in this change of plans. I have to believe that at the very least the Lord will allow Bright to feel a mother's touch for a bit, even if he does leave us soon (his bio mother died during childbirth). If I didn't have faith that there is a purpose in all of this I think I would be crumpled up in the corner sucking my thumb right now.
Prayers are so appreciated during this time. I'm not sure how much I will be able to update once I'm in Ghana, but I will try (through my mom, or sis, or someone) at least a few times. And I'm sure this will be a place for me to gather my thoughts during the next few days as I prepare to leave.
P.S. Taevy made the picture above for me to take to Bright. She told me to hang it on his hospital wall.