Julisia came to our home on June 25, 2009. At that time, less than a month old, she had spent all of her time in the hospital. She was born to a drug-addicted mother and started life prematurely and underdeveloped. At 4 lbs. 4 oz. she was born six weeks early. She would spend her first week on a ventilator while receiving multiple transfusions.
Julisia was our first foster baby. As a family, we were anxious and excited while wondering where this journey would lead. Our two children, ages 9 and 6 at that time, were thrilled at having a new face in the house. When Julisia arrived, she came with nothing more than what the hospital provided: some formula, a hospital blanket, and a few diapers to spare. She was very small and we were startled with how jaundice she appeared – even her eyes were colored yellow. She displayed the signs of abuse though she had never spent any time in her mother’s arms.
After the first couple of days, we found ourselves calling her “Jules”. Julisia seemed such a big name for such a little girl! Our oldest daughter enjoyed having a new baby to wrap up and hold while our son made every attempt to make her laugh at his funny faces.
Besides her obvious jaundice, we started to notice several health issues as a result of her abuse. Our biological son has experienced a number of digestive issues, and Jules soon experienced many of these same symptoms – though in a much more dramatic way. As her medical issues increased, she began seeing multiple doctors. There wasn’t a week that passed where a doctor visit wasn’t scheduled. Managing her health became a full time job.
From the moment Jules arrived, there were two goals for her: to care for her health needs and to reunify her with her birth mother. What we didn’t realize was that Jules was quickly becoming a part of our family.
After having her in our home for three to four months, our family began to pray about the possibility of Jules becoming a permanent part of our home if the opportunity was presented. Our kids began to pray every night for Jules to be able to stay. As parents, our hearts were guarded. We knew the possibility existed that, even without a return to her mother, Jules could be sent to other family members. We encouraged our kids to tell God what they wanted but to also understand that He may have other plans for her.
The next nine months would follow an emotional journey. Jules had learned to crawl, though in a stiff, somewhat robotic motion. Her caregivers began working with her to loosen her joints. Shortly after celebrating her first birthday, Jules began to walk. It took no more than two weeks before everything in the house became a target. It had been quite a while since we had experienced a walking toddler and we quickly found all of the loose items in the house.
On July 30, 2010 Jules became a permanent member of the Pilson family. Officially she became Amelie Julisia Pilson, though she will likely always be “Jules”. We never imagined our hearts would become so overwhelmed with love. Jules has overcome many hurdles with her health and will continue that journey. God has a plan for Jules’ life and we are very blessed that He chose us to be a permanent part of that plan.
- By Tim Pilson