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9 Sep 2010
I’m always amazed at how a simple decision can lead to a series of events that will change your life forever. For example, my first summer after graduating from high school, I was offered and accepted a job at a camp. This led me to make some really neat friends who invited me to be their college roommate. This led me to meet a handsome student who lived in a nearby apartment named David Schwartz. See where this is going?
In time David and I fell in love and married. About 10 years after we were married, my sweet mother-in-law decided to do something about finding a cure or effective treatment for PC – something that would bless the lives of not only me but two of my children who have PC.
As a result of Mary’s compassion and ability, PC Project was founded. Mary’s decision has affected the lives of so many people and in so many ways. Just like me working at a summer camp set off a series of events that lead to my marriage to Dave, my marriage to Dave (and into his family) eventually set off the creation of PC Project which has since set off a whole other series of events. It kind of astounds me when I think about it all.
One of those “shoot off” series of events was in 2006, when a person from the UK, who helps orphans in China, contacted PC Project about getting help for a little orphan girl with PC. PC Project wrote a number of emails, sent literature and as much information as possible to this person, who in turn, passed it onto this child’s caretakers in China. But as is sometimes the case with people who initially contact PC Project, because there is no cure, the contact died off.
In what I would call a miracle, there was an email blip that put us back in touch with this volunteer – just in time for the 2008 IPCC meeting in China, where other PCers in China were invited to attend a Patient Support portion of the meeting. It was arranged for this little orphan child to come to these meetings and meet the best doctors and scientists in the world to help her and her caretakers care for her PC.
At this point in her life, this child wasn’t considered adoptable because of her PC. We were able to convince her caretakers to submit her adoption paperwork. We insisted she was indeed “worthy” to be adopted. Her orphanage did submit her paperwork and she was adopted in 2009. I’m summing up quite simply a year’s worth of events from 2008-2009 that changed our lives forever.
I must thank this little girl from China who stole our hearts. Because even though it wasn’t meant to be for her to be our child, she turned Dave’s heart and my heart to other older children in China who needed to be adopted – something I doubt we would have ever done had we not known about this child with PC in China.
We found the child who was to be in our daughter earlier this year. This past June, Dave and I went to China to adopt and to bring home our almost 8 year old daughter, Rebecca Meiping Schwartz. Rebecca has brought an extra abundance of joy into our lives. She is a delight! Rebecca has such a fun personality and a strong personality too. She is a survivor and she is brave. I love viewing life through her eyes as she experiences so many new things. She teaches me something new every day. I cannot imagine my life without her.
And because I know you’ll want to know - no, Rebecca does not have PC. But she sure doesn’t seem to mind that she has a mom and two brothers who do have PC. Like all of you know, you don’t need good feet to freely love another person. Our little girl is certainly loved by us. And we think she loves us right back.
Tonight, as I tucked her in bed, Rebecca sang with me a sweet song that she loves about families. (In fact, she likes to sing it with me or the family several times each day.) She especially loves to sing loudly and emphatically the part at the end that says, “A family is forever!” It warms my heart every time I hear her sing it. After the song, I kissed her forehead and told her goodnight. And as I crawled away from her bed, she told me, in Chinese, “I love you.” And of course, I told her “I love you” right back, just like I do many times every single day.
So if you’ve wondered where I’ve been all summer – well, I’ve been on “maternity leave”. My life in the past three months has been completely focused on bonding with this sweet child and helping her adjust and feel comfortable and loved in her new family and in her new life. That focus has also included the new dynamics of three older brothers who love, tease and adore her – and whom she loves, teases and adores right back.
This is a PC story because who would have ever dreamed that it was Mary’s creation of PC Project that would lead us to adopt a beautiful 7 year old from China? Oh how I love my little girl. I’m so glad I took that summer job nearly 25 years ago that would lead me to Dave!