Cia is Judah’s older brother. Cai likes playing video games.
Thank you SO very much for adopting our family this Christmas!!! We have just celebrated 1 year post- bone marrow transplant and had some nerve wracking biopsies/tests done that, Praise God, are CANCER FREE! It’s been quite a year as we readjust back to life after cancer and transplant, and it feels like such a relief to have special people like you, we do not even know, choosing to love on us and make our sons’ Christmas so very special!!!
My husband and I met in college at USC in Columbia, SC. We attended a Bible study on campus and fell in love! After Hart graduated, he proposed to me, Vanessa, with 1 semester left of college, and we were married in December of 2008! This December 20th will be our 8th wedding anniversary! Vanessa’s birthday is the 21st, and then Christmas is 4 days later! We like to call this week “Annibirthmas” in our house, because it’s full of lots of special days to celebrate! We had Cai in our 2nd year of marriage!
Micaiah, or Cai, as we call him is our firstborn, healthiest son! He is a loving, sweet 7 year old boy that loves his younger brother Judah, very much! Cai is kind and considerate, but is shy until you get to know him. He is a natural leader that likes to be in charge! (When I read him this bio… he said, “I DO like to be in CHARGE!” haha!) He enjoys routine and order and can be flat out silly when he wants to be! He is crazy about playing all kinds of video games and building Legos! He loves Pokemon and Minecraft!
Then came Judah! Judah is 3.5 years old and full of a zeal for life that is contagious! There’s not much that can get this little guy down! You can always count on him to make you laugh and you never have to guess what he wants, because he’s been speaking in full sentences since he was 2! You would fall in love with this golden blonde blue eyed feisty, little boy! Judah loves building train tracks, Paw Patrol, legos, and playing with his older brother!
Judah was born a beautiful, healthy baby! However, a couple weeks after we took our bundle of joy home, he started having infection after infection! We soon learned he was born with a congenital blood disorder called Severe Congenital Neutropenia making fighting infections nearly impossible on his own. Suddenly, we were thrown into the world of Children’s cancer and Judah had countless blood draws, bone marrow biopsies, hospitalizations, and was given a daily shot of Neupogen each evening at home to boost his ability to fight infection. In May of 2016, I felt like a cruel mom for taking him in for his annual bone marrow biopsy. It had felt as if life had sort of leveled out, finally! Judah’s counts were stabilized, we had not had any hospitalizations in about a year, and while he had gotten sick at times, it was not more than any other child his age. The results of his bone marrow biopsy were devastating. Judah had been diagnosed with pre-acute myeloid leukemia and he needed a bone marrow transplant as soon as possible. We were referred to Dr. Hudspeth at MUSC. At the end of July, our family packed up and headed to Charleston after securing an unrelated donor for Judah’s pre-transplant work up. He went through another bone marrow biopsy that revealed startling results to which everyone was shocked. Judah had developed a second form of Leukemia, acute lymphoid leukemia! This is extremely rare to have 2 forms of leukemia and then to develop ALL is even rarer with his congenital disorder. Dr. Hudspeth has given us the tag line that Judah is “one in a zillion!” We were immediately sent back to Columbia to undergo a round of Induction chemotherapy. At the end of 43 days inpatient, we finally got some amazing news! There was not a single blast cell in his body! Judah was in REMISSION! Praise God from whom all blessings flow!!! This allowed us to pack up once again and head to Charleston for transplant! Judah underwent radiation and higher doses of chemotherapy and finally on October 13th 2016, Judah was given the gift of life for the 2nd time!!! He went through a severe complication post transplant that landed us in the PICU for 10 days. We almost lost him during this time, but God was rich in mercy and healed our little boy. He was able to go straight back to the regular floor and we marveled at how GOOD God is. Judah continued to heal and after our 100 days post transplant were reached we were able to come home to Columbia! We had a lot to manage with Judah’s care once home, but slowly and surely he was able to drop from over 15 different medicines to just 1 now, from home IV fluids and being formula fed through his Gtube to eating and getting all his lines removed! We have made a good many trips back and forth to Charleston this year checking labs, doing bone marrow biopsies and lumbar punctures at 6weeks, 3 months, 6 months and 1 year post transplant!!! And this last HUGE milestone of 1 year, Judah had 100% donor cells and NO EVIDENCE OF DISEASE or CANCER anywhere in his little body! We were able to get his Gtube removed and it’s been healing up nicely. He has been able to go sometimes to preschool, but his immune system is still coming up so he does get colds a little more frequently. Last year my prayer was that leukemia would be a thing of the past, that we would be having fun going to the fair (and not worrying about germs), going to pumpkin patches, and living life to the fullest! And I truly can say that this past year that has happened!!! Overall, that life a year ago feels like a lifetime ago and yet as my Facebook continues to pop up memories of that dark time, I can remember so clearly how blessed we have been and how far we have come!
We want you to know how grateful we are for your help this Christmas in making it so special for our boys! Last year we celebrated Christmas away from home in Charleston and this will be a REALLY fun Christmas, because we will get to be home and I just know they are going to revel in the fun of being HOME to celebrate!!! It feels like our first Christmas in many ways and we want to thank you for doing all you are going to do for our family!
Outside of loving Jesus, our family is the most important thing to us! We hope this gives you a little glimpse into our family and we truly do thank you for adopting us and pray you have a Merry Christmas as well!