Author Daneille Snowden

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When I was 7 years old I was born again! Five years later, the Lord filled me with His Holy Spirit and called me out to serve in full time service in the ministry. My heart is missions and a longing to love people into God's Kingdom.
I love to teach God's Word, pray with people and write. 
Soon, we are hoping our Jesus opens amazing doors to walk into mission endeavors.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A LIFE CHANGINING ADOPTION STORY

 Bobby, Crysti, Joseph, Carissa, Hosanna, Daniel & Noah
Children from oldest to youngest.
Crystal Dethlefs is the Youth Ministry Director for Dunnellon 1st Assembly of God in Florida. She has been married for over 25 years and has 7 wonderful children. 


Two month old Noah & I during Kangaroo Care.


This is an amazing testimony of adoption. Read and expect God to take you into a deep place of perspective and hope. 






 

Daniel at 3 days old. 1 lb /11 oz.

Chapter 1
 
After my 3rd child was born I had my tubes tied after a LOT of pressure from my doctor. There were no health concerns, she just pressured me because we were broke! I was a stay at home mom with no insurance and pregnant with my 3rd baby in 5 years...which isn't a big deal when I think of it now!!  But reluctantly, Mike and I had it done. I regretted it immediately. Five years later, we took a step of faith and had the tubal ligation reversed. In the first year after that I was pregnant, I miscarried 3 times in 12 months. It was very difficult on us all.
  I had wanted for a long time to adopt from Haiti, or maybe Sierra Leone. The cost was just too much for us. So I called my friend at a local crisis pregnancy center to ask a few questions. She put us in touch with an adoption agency that was working with our state foster system. Florida had just 'privatized' foster care. I told them we felt strongly led to adopt, not foster. The director told me that many of their families go on to adopt infants through fostering. So we got started!
  It wasn't the easiest thing in the world. We had several babies that came to us but then left, taking pieces of our hearts with them. We also had a failed adoptive placement, meaning we had 1 & 3 year old boys that were ours to adopt, but the placement broke down and we had to release them back to the agency, by our own choice. To this day that decision stabs me in the heart. The boys went on to a Christian family that was able to help them in ways we couldn't at the time. So my logical brain understands my place in Gods plan for the boys. But my mother's heart feels like another person that broke a promise to children who desperately needed a mom and dad.
  But after some time I got a call saying there was an African American baby girl that was in a Tampa hospital, and would we be interested. I said; "When can we get her?!?!?!!?" I was elated! I called Mike, we had been trying to make plans on how to spend his next day off. I called and told him I had figured out what we should do. He replied;  "Oh yeah, what?" I said; "How would you like to spend the day rocking our brand new baby girl?" He almost cried!
  She was expected to be a quick adoption, but the state still considered her to be in foster care. There was once when it looked like they might move her. But God intervened. She had become our daughter the moment I knew she existed. I even did adoptive breast feeding with her!! I used the Lact-Aid system
, so she got formula as she nursed; as my own body eventually made some milk, too!  But the bonding was unbelievable and precious. Her adoption was finalized just before her 1st birthday.
  I was in worship one day in June at church. I suddenly saw two little brown hands raised to Jesus against a bright blue sky. I heard in my heart: "Her name is Hosanna". I didn't know who 'she' was yet. I was running errands with my eldest son in July, when a friend called me to ask where I was. She said everyone in Tampa was trying to find me, because Carissa's sister had been born and was about to be released from the hospital! If we didn't call right away she'd go to someone else. I was in full Momma Bear mode at that point and fought to be given time to get to Tampa. We didn't even know she was coming! When people ask about her name, I tell them that Jesus named her. Her middle name is Isabella. Together it means "A life of praise, consecrated to God".
Daniel at 3 days old. 1 lb /11 ozChapter 2
  The Vosberg's (who are my pastor's) triplets were born in March of '05; I  was in the nicu with them one day, when I became overwhelmed with this sudden thought from God. I looked at Shauna and said; "Oh my goodness. We're going to have another baby, a boy, and he's going to be in the nicu!". In May of that same year, when Hosanna was less than 10 months old, we were told their bother had been born. He was tiny, and not expected to live. He was born at 26 weeks and weighed 1 lb / 11 oz. They assured me we had no obligation to take him if he did live. I talked to my husband Mike,    then we told them to tell our baby boy that we'd be there soon and to hold on!!! He had many set backs and almost did die a couple of times. They expected him to be fed through an IV all of his life, which could be less than 8 years max. They kept asking us if we were certain we wanted to continue the process to adopt him. We never had a doubt! He was our baby and we were NOT walking away. After 4 1/2 months in the NICU we brought him home and he has gone on to have a full recovery, praise God!! You can look up Necrotizing Enterocolitis when you have time. It's an awful, awful illness. Mostbabies die from it. He had a colostomy bag for 2 months. They didn't think he'd ever have a normal diet. But they don't know our God!!!!!! When he was coming out of surgery to reverse the colostomy; I had this sudden "knowing". A look came over my face, and my sister said; "oh no, what is it??" I said; "Daniel's going to have a brother!" It's still amazing to me how God prepared us for their births!! I had no clue that Daniel would be so tiny, but God has prepared us for both boys.
  In 2006, a social worker came for one of our monthly home visits. Carissa and Hosanna's adoptions were both finalized, but Daniel was still considered to be in foster care. Only by the state, NOT by us. She came in and saw everyone, then asked how the baby was doing. I asked if she meant Daniel, she said; "No, I mean baby Sam". Then she looked closer at the paperwork and called out; "Oh! He was only born yesterday." Turns out our newest baby was only 1lb. / 6 oz and already 24 weeks. I was so terrified! I knew how hard Daniel had fought to live. And for an instant I was filled with grief, thinking our newest baby didn't have a chance of surviving. I dropped my face into my hands and wept. It's amazing, because these babies have been 100% completely ours from the moment we knew they existed. All I could think of is that I needed to get to the hospital to give him comfort and care until he passed. I went right away to see him. He was so tiny!! But SO feisty!
Chapter 3
  Ok, so back to our babies. By the way, Daniel is name Daniel Aaron Andre. Mike chose the name Daniel, & together we chose Aaron, which is Joseph Vosberg's middle name. Andre was his legal name given by his birth mom. In the past we've always given the children our own names. But I felt led to look up what Andre means. It knocked my so is off! It means 'strong and courageous'. Knowing that, and how courageously he had been fighting to survive, we knew Andre was HIS name. And I love the sound of it, Daniel Aaron Andre. Makes me happy. 
Daniel's 1st day home!! Carissa
 was singing a lullaby. He's 4 1/2 months old.

On to baby 'Sam'. We named him Noah James. He was so much smaller than Daniel, and was born a full 2 weeks earlier, right on the border for what they consider a preterm baby to be viable. Because of the illness Daniel had gotten (necrotizing enterocolitis) I told them not to feed him anything until I could get banked milk there for him. When Daniel was born the hospital policy didn't allow banked or donated milk to be given to the babies. But I fought hard to get that changed, and eventually it was! So Tampa General Hospital now allows banked milk because of Daniel! It really saved his life. So that's why I told the staff not to feed Noah until we could get milk there. I had actually saved back some of Daniel's milk 'just in case', so I was able to deliver it within hours. Formula is very harsh on preemie babies intestines. When a preemie is born everyone knows their lungs aren't fully developed to breathe on their own. It's the same with their intestines. They aren't fully developed and so formula can actually cause that awful infection.
My 1st look at Noah. I don't know if you can
 see how tiny he was. But his facial features,
mouth to eyebrows,
would have fit onto a silver dollar.

When Noah was a few weeks old he crashed a few times in just a few hours time. They did an ultrasound of his tiny head and found he had a Grade 3 brain bleed. They are scored on a scale of 1 being the mildest, to 4 being the most severe and causes death. A grade 3 bleed can cause death in 50% of babies, and the ones who survive are badly disabled. I was devastated. I called Mike crying and asking him what we should do. He was so confident. He told me to just calm down, that God would take care of this. I had to fight feeling like he just didn't understand how much I loved our baby, or how serious this was. Foolish girl!! We prayed and prayed!! Our church was praying. The next day they repeated the ultrasound to see if it had gotten worse. The results were so shocking to them, that they called in a Pediatric Radiologist Specialist from a different hospital to come check him. The bleed had suddenly gone from a Grade 3 down to a Grade 1, there is no logical explanation, bleeds just don't do that. The specialist told me "I'm sorry, I don't know what to tell you, but somehow this has resolved itself". So I said "well.....I can tell you this, there's a whole church praying for him around the clock!" The doctor happily said to tell them to keep it up, because its working!! 
Real skin to skin Kangaroo Care with Daniel.

 
He also had a hole in his heart, but that resolved itself too, and he really didn't have any other set backs. He went home at two months. He had to stay on an apnea monitor and would turn grey when I fed him, scared me so much. I was the only one who could feed him, because I could revive him if he lost consciousness. But he finally outgrew that. I was so happy to be allowed to do Kangaroo Care with both of the boys during their whole stay. There was one that Noah was tucked in my shirt, skin to skin, his ventilator tubing taped to me to keep it from moving, and he crashed while laying against my chest! It was so scary.
  So both the boys adoptions were finalized together. They've outgrown many challenges, but they're still medically needy children, and when they were babies they took a great deal of care and hospital stays. I had this feeling that we weren't going to have anymore children. I was worried what I would say when the state called us to say another sibling had been born. In the past, Mike and I both immediately felt that the newest sibling was our baby. It felt as if someone called you, to say your son has a baby sister in Tampa. Well, that would make that baby YOUR baby. So I didn't know how I would be able to say no. Funny thing is, that burden to adopt lifted at the same time that our birth mom stopped having children. We've never had another call again! God is so amazing how He guides His people.


This is Noah as I sat next to him. I had
 bathed him and gotten him settled. With the
 nurses help, because he's
 still on the ventilator. Then I sat next to him and he
 looked into my eyes like thisfor 45 min until he fell asleep.
One of my most treasures memories of that time.



 


 


   I feel a stirring in my spirit even to use our story to encourage Christians to do more on the abortion front. In Casting Crowns song, 'Jesus Friend of Sinners'; there's a line in the 2nd verse that says; "Nobody knows what we're for, only what we're against when we judge the wounded. What if we put down our signs, crossed over the lines & loved like You did?"
   It's just resonating inside of me. Christians say a lot about pro life issues, but are we willing to really 'do' something about it?  So many thoughts swirling in my mind. Excited to see how God may use it!!

This is something I wrote and taped to Noah's isolette (incubator). It was important to me for everyone to understand how precious he was. I used to hang different quotes from Winnie the Pooh & family pictures on Daniel's isolette.
I; Crystal, am a homeschool AND public school (temporary - ha,ha) mom. My oldest; Bobby & Crysti have graduated, Joe is a Sr this year. Our Homeschool Vision is for our children to have a personal relationship with Jesus. Also, that they easily will hear the Voice of the Holy Spirit and will be quick to obey Him, plus to be prepared academically for whatever God has planned for them to do. My education is high school & District School of Ministry with the AG.
 


8 comments:

  1. These little ones, I call them my Lil' Crew, have added so much to our lives! Through them God has taught us how far He can stretch your heart to contain all the love He is going to pour into it. Watching Daniel, so tiny and seemingly helpless fight so desperately to live has taught us all to refuse to give up and to know that we know that pain and difficulty do not come into our lives without purpose. Because of the battle he and Crystal fought to change the hospital policy on banked milk many babies lives have been saved and many more will be! They all make up one incredible family with a remarkable story. I am so grateful to God to have been allowed to be a part of it. I have two daughters who are my heroes, two wonderful son in laws that I admire greatly, ten grandchildren who call me Mimi. I am Crystal's mother.

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    1. Thank you for doing such a fine job raising your children. The fruits of your work are absolutely reproducing in abundance.

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  2. awesome example on how God places the heart in motion and His hand guides and provides every step of the way.

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  3. As the adoptive mother of those two boys I can without a doubt testify to the faith and love of the Detlefs family. We've kept in touch and I value them as family.

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    1. Agreed and what a blessing to be powerful connected to such extraodinary people.

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  4. As parents of two adopted children, I can certainly relate how God supernaturally instills a love for your children as soon as you lay your eyes on them. This is an amazing story of God's miraculous power. Bob

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    Replies
    1. Amen! God instills...HIS LOVE in such an amazing and beautiful way.
      Reminds me in scripture : Rom. 8:15 - "You have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, 'Abba!
      Father!'

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