January 24

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Ansley is Fancy: Rice Family Raising Funds for Adopted Daughter’s Cerebral Palsy

By Katie Rice

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“I was sitting in Church with my grandparents when I
leaned over, pointed to a boy and whispered to my Nanny, ‘I’m going to marry him.'”

I was sitting in Church with my grandparents when I leaned over, pointed to a boy and whispered to my Nanny “I’m going to marry him.” Ben and I met in High School on a Missions Trip to Mexico. My good friend was dating Ben’s brother. I told her I HAD to meet him. We met, fell in love and the rest is history. Giggle. We dated the majority of our high school years. After I graduated Ben and I KNEW we were ready to get married. Ben popped the question in
August of 2006. June of 2007 we were Hitched!

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“We decided early on in our marriage that we wanted to start a family pretty soon.”

We decided early on in our marriage that we wanted to start a family pretty soon. I knew I would have some troubles, as I don’t have very many periods (1-2/year). So we decided in 2008 to try and start a family. After about 6months of “trying” (giggle!) we sought help through my OB who then immediately sent me to a Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE) for further testing. I was then diagnosed with PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). Basically my body holds onto sugar 7x longer than it should. It then creates too much insulin which creates little cysts on my ovaries. My cysts were covered. The first RE told me, “don’t even try, you will never get pregnant.” The second was more optimistic, “You will be pregnant in 6 months, I guarantee it.”

11781872_1669763503254505_3160966350259106525_n“Well, six months came and went. Then a year, then two years… then three, four, five and six.”

We were SO excited. Pumped. I mean, we were going to be pregnant in six months!!! Well, six months came and went. Then a year, then two years… then three, four, five and six. We tried all sorts of things to boost me up, but it didn’t work. I would occasionally ask Ben what he thought about adoption and he said it wasn’t for him, so i would drop it. I prayed and prayed God would either give me a miracle pregnancy or change Ben’s mind. One afternoon, Ben came home and started talking about adoption. I pulled out my secret folder of information I had been gathering. We went through all of our training, got our home study and waited. We then found out about a little boy who had Cerebral Palsy (God was working on us!!!) and we thought he was the ONE, God had other plans. We sent our home study to every agency/attorney in Florida.

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“The next day we got the call saying the birth-mom CHOSE US!!!!!!”

One afternoon I got a call from a local agency that said they may have a birth-mom for us. I immediately called Ben and our family and asked them to pray. The agency asked that we provide our “LifeBook” so she could present it to the birth-mom the next day along with five other families. Needless to say it was a very restless night. The next day we got the call saying the birth-mom CHOSE US!!!!!!

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“We knew something was wrong. The case worker came back and said that the birth-mother had changed her mind.”

We went through the pregnancy along with her, our case workers, and attorney. She was in jail the majority of the pregnancy so we met her once, the week before her planned C-Section. We set up our nursery, got everything prepared, had a baby shower, packed the diaper bag. March 25th came and we were so excited. Ben, myself and our families headed out to the hospital at 5:00 a.m. We couldn’t believe THIS was the day we were starting a family. We were SOOOOO excited. So ready. The C-section was scheduled for 7:30 a.m., so we knew we should hear something 30 minutes to an hour later. An hour went by, then two. We thought maybe she was still saying goodbye. Then a nurse came out and got our case worker. We knew something was wrong. The case worker came back and said that the birth-mother had changed her mind (I literally can’t stop crying even writing this!).

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“Four months later, we got a call from our Attorney saying the birth-mother was on her way with baby girl.”

 

We fell. Hard. I ran into the restroom just to have a moment by myself. I sobbed. I was in shock. Our case worker told us to stay in the area in case she changed her mind, so we stayed in the area for the day. At one point, I told Ben “it’s time to go home.” When we walked in the house it was like running into a brick wall. We had everything out, thinking we were walking in with a baby. My mom, grandma and Ben immediately went to packing everything up and putting it in the nursery and shut the door. Some sweet friends sent us to Orlando for a few days just to get away, which was so, so needed. It allowed us to grieve. Allowed us to escape. Four months later, we got a call from our Attorney saying the birth-mother was on her way with baby girl.

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“My heart was so full. I looked at Ben and he was beaming with pride.”

I was SHOCKED. I was on vacation from work that week, so I immediately called Ben and told him to COME HOME. I
called all our family and asked them to fervently PRAY. We got to our attorney’s office and the birth-mother handed me my Ansley. My Baby. My girl. She was so skinny, so frail, screaming her little head off. I was sobbing. I snuggled her and she snuggled right in and fell asleep. My heart was so full. I looked at Ben and he was beaming with pride. We took her home and did a lot of “skin to skin,” snuggles, bathing, and crying. Boy, did we cry. Our families came over and snuggled, loved and cried. It was such a joyous occasion. We couldn’t stop thanking God. We held and loved on her all night (well…we still haven’t stopped, grin!).

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” The first thing they asked us was ‘do you know she’s retarded? Are you sure you want to adopt a handicapped child?'”

Within two days we had found a pediatrician and took her in for an appointment. The first thing they asked us was “do you know she’s retarded? Are you sure you want to adopt a handicapped child?” We were stunned. What?! (Can you believe his lack of compassion?!) We knew she was frail and unhealthy, but she was perfect. They sent us to Wolfsons and Nemours for testing. We learned she had Microcephaly (abnormally small head due to little to no brain development), and that she would be delayed. We had no idea to what extent. Within the next few weeks we were in and out of specialists getting testing done. We then noticed she was having infantile spasms (seizures) and she was sent to Wolfsons. This is where they did the MRI and found she had Lissencephaly, which often goes with Microcephaly (which is why it’s often referred to as MicroLissencephaly). They told us that she was categorized as “moderately severe,” that she would never surpass a three to five month old level, that she would never crawl, sit, walk, or talk. We were overwhelmed to say the least. But we also had hope. Hope that only our God could provide. We knew she was created perfectly in HIS image. We knew He made no mistake. We knew this was our baby so we loved her just the same.

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“We were overwhelmed to say the least. But we also had hope. Hope that only our God could provide. We knew she was created perfectly in HIS image. We knew He made no mistake. We knew this was our baby so we loved her just the same.”

We then noticed she was never opening up her eyes, we thought she was sleeping as she adjusted. We were referred to an Ophthalmologist where we learned Ansley was visually impaired. She was diagnosed with Cortical Visual Impairment (disease of the eye) and Optic Nerve Hypoplasia (her nerve from eye to brain is very thin). ***She has improved drastically with keeping her eyes open and working on focusing them now. Hallelujah!!!*** We started Ansley in Occupational, Physical, Vision and Speech Therapies. They referred us to a Spasticity Clinic, because she was just so stiff. We then learned she had Cerebral Palsy (Spastic Quadriplegia), which is another disorder of the brain.

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“We serve a BIG God. One who gives us peace, comfort and guidance. One who loves us thru our fears and doubts. We are looking forward to being a FOREVER family. We have had numerous setbacks but even still, we trust in HIS timing. And we pray God uses our story
to magnify and glorify Him. We do not know what the future holds. We have been told time and time again to ‘not expect much from Ansley, let’s see if she makes it past age two.’ And while we understand that Doctors have to be realistic we don’t take their word for anything. Our God holds the ultimate plan and we trust in that.”

Since then, we have been hospitalized numerous times, two procedures and more doctors than we can count. She had a G tube placed for feeding (due to the neurological disorders she has no hunger cues, and can’t coordinate the suck swallow), a nissen fundoplication placed (prevent throwing up all her feeds). The procedures were so so scary for us but have been life savers. Literally. We serve a BIG God. One who gives us peace, comfort and guidance. One who loves us through our fears and doubts. We are looking forward to being a FOREVER family. We have had numerous setbacks but even still, we trust in HIS timing. And we pray God uses our story to magnify and glorify him. We do not know what the future holds. We have been told time and time again to “not expect much from Ansley”, “let’s see if she makes it past age 2”. And while we understand that Doctors have to be realistic we don’t take their word for anything. Our God holds the ultimate plan and we trust in that.

All cards, letters, or packages to Ansley or family can be sent to:

          Rice Family
          P.O. Box 5971
          Jacksonville, FL 32247

For those who desire to donate, please send via Paypal to benkatierice@gmail.com or thru their GoFundMe Account at www.gofundme.com/f3a2n0
Please know all donations go directly to Ben & Katie Rice.

These funds help Katie work part time so she can be involved with Ansley in her therapies & numerous appointments.
If you have ANY questions, please email them at benkatierice@gmail.com.