24 Weeks

24 weeks is pretty significant for our family because my eight year old sister, K, was a micro-premie born at 24 weeks. This is her story.

24 weeks seems pretty early for someone to be born and it really is. Somewhere between 23 and 24 weeks is the point of viability where there is a chance that the child can survive outside of the womb (with loads of medical care).

My youngest three sisters are all adopted, two internationally and K as an adoption-after-foster-care situation. My parents have done foster care since I was around 10 years old. Mom is a pediatric home-care nurse and always felt comfortable taking in foster kids with extensive medical problems. K was no different. We hadn’t had any new foster kids for a year and were surprised when the agency called to tell us that they had a baby for us to take. K was born to a crack-addicted woman and was already 6 months old by the time she was placed with us. Her birth mother had 3 other children and had seen K twice since she was born. At 6 months old, K was still one of the smallest babies I had seen. She hadn’t had any opportunities to gain baby fat so she had the tiniest stick legs and arms. She had already gone through multiple¬†surgeries including heart surgery and getting a gastrointestinal feeding tube put in. She was on oxygen at all times but she was getting strong enough to be discharged from NICU. In Michigan, parental rights have to be terminated by a judge before a child is available for adoption and that happened for us my freshman year of college. At 18, I had a 1 1/2 year old sister!

K’s story is not only amazing because she survived, but she is also thriving as well. She’s slightly developmentally delayed but hasn’t been on oxygen since before she could walk, has no heart trouble, takes no respiratory medications anymore, and within the last year, she has learned to eat solid food like an a normal kid and got her g-tube removed. She’s in a general education classroom for most of the day with a little extra help from resource teachers for math and a few other subjects. She is great friends with her classmates and loves playing American Girl dolls with the neighbor girls and swims like a fish during the summer.

She is pretty darn awesome.


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