Friday, March 15, 2013

Chapter 2: We have a child for you

Finally, In May of 1993, the call we’d been waiting for came. “We have a child for you” said the director. She was 4 years old, had a gastrostomy and they’d been having a hard time finding a family that could cope with her medical needs. I asked “are they really complex?” “Not for you” was the reply. A few days later the “service coordinator” in charge of this child’s care came out to meet us. My first question of course was “did you bring a picture?” She hadn’t!!!!!!!! But she (Karen) proceeded to tell us about what she knew of Kayda. Kayda had been born to a teenage mom and was diagnosed at birth with a condition called “Hydranencephaly”. (I didn’t hear this term until reading through Kayda’s records). It was said that she only had a brain stem and would die soon. Kayda was given up to be adopted and placed in a pediatric long term care facility. It just happened to be the place where I had worked as a teenager. Kayda had been in an associate family for a couple of years but had been taken out of there suddenly. We never knew fully why. We were told that Kayda had not been treated well by the children in the home. We learned bits and pieces as time went on and we met people who had cared for or met Kayda while she was in that home. Kayda was said to be a very sad little girl. Karen told us though that she was very responsive. Karen had visited Kayda when she was in hospital with her latest pneumonia. She said that Kayda had a book that had buttons that when pushed played music. After showing Kayda what to do a few times she seemed to catch on. She obviously loved the sounds and music. We were told that Kayda had been very ill the last year with many incidents of pneumonia and there had been discussions recently among the social workers and Drs involved in her care about whether or not she should continue to be supported should she get sick again. Her prime problem was respiratory. She was constantly congested, aspirated frequently and the foster mother who was caring for her currently stated that she needed frequent aggressive suctioning. We were also told that Kayda was quite a big girl. Well, all I wanted to do was to meet her. We were told that Kayda’s foster family was going on holidays the following week and that she would be at the Long Term Care facility for respite for 3 weeks. So, arrangements were made to meet her there.

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