If you’ve stayed in contact with our family through this blog, Facebook, or in person you know that when we adopted Malachi he was very bowed legged. Ultimately he was diagnosed with Bilateral Blount’s Disease. He wore leg braces for about seven months. In December of 2015 his doctors cleared him from his braces. I wanted to share some pictures and tells the story a bit more with you.
When we adopted Malachi, he was categorized a “minor-correctable special needs.” This label often includes cleft lip/palette and other “special needs” that can be addressed surgically. This can even include large birth marks. Malachi’s files were not great looking when we agreed to adopt him: small stature, failure to thrive, fine motor delay, etc. By the time we got to China, he had made some great gains and within months home he was cleared of all those labels. He had had two surgeries in China; one to repair an umbilical hernia and the other to remove a hemangioma on his chest. Both surgeries, according to our doctors, where unnecessary. But he was home and he had a family.
Malachi’s legs where not mentioned anywhere in his file. Andrea and I noticed that his legs were crooked when we brought him home. Even an infant’s legs look little crooked. When we went to The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia they said that better nutrition might straighten his legs out. By early 2015 we agreed with the doctors that his legs were getting worse and needed the attention of a specialist. So we went to the Orthopedics at A.I. Dupont Children’s Hospital in our home state of Delaware.
The doctor’s at A.I. Dupont said that Malachi needed to go into leg braces and wear them for 8-10 hours a day to correct the bowing of his legs. In early May, we went back up to A.I. Dupont to receive his leg braces. Needless to say, Malachi did not like them at all (and neither would I). Not only did he have the braces, the doctors wanted the braces locked so he could not bend his knees. This took a lot of work and re-learning how to walk for an almost two-year old. But Malachi was a trooper. He even learned to get up off the floor while wearing braces (and without bending his knees!)
We had our first checkup with the braces about four months into wearing them. The doctors took X-rays and examined his legs and how he walked. When the doctor asked how long we made Malachi wear them, I remember my heart sinking a little. There were days (especially in August) where he did not wear them a lot. We told the doctor that we were pretty consistent. The doctor replied, “I can tell. He has seen great improvement.” The doctor said it was his guess that one leg would be out of the brace by Christmas with the other leg requiring more time to straighten out.
We had our dear friends Lauren Pupchick and Rudi Pineda from Guatemala visit us in August. Before they left, and surrounded by many of our church friends Rudi prayed for the healing of Malachi’s legs. It was a moving time of prayer that I will not forget. The next morning when Malachi awoke, Andrea and I were both looking at his legs to see if God healed him over night- which did not happen. But we believe it could have. And I believe that what happened over the next three months was nothing less the miraculous.
We took a family vacation to Orlando, Florida and the happiest place on earth: Disney! This is significant because of the picture below. You can clearly see that Malachi’s legs are visibly crooked (especially his right leg, which was the worse of the two).
December 23, 2015
Andrea got to take Malachi back up to A.I. Dupont for this checkup. Remember in August, the doctor thought that Malachi’s left leg could be free of the brace with his right leg needing more time to straighten out. I got an excited call from Andrea after the doctor’s appointment that Malachi was out of both braces! Talk about a Christmas miracle! Malachi was just as excited as he celebrated in the lobby of AI Dupont.
Andrea was given copies of the before and after x-ray of Malachi’s legs. Here is a picture of the straight legs in December.
Again, in the first X-ray, Malachi’s knees are buckling outwards. In this picture they are in the proper location. Just a month earlier, while at Disney, Malachi’s legs are still visibly crooked and bent outward. I cannot say that in the last 30 days that we made Malachi wear the braces any more or less than we previously had. What I believe is that God brought healing to Malachi’s life and his legs. Not every healing is instantaneous. Some healing involve seven months of wearing leg braces. Regardless, we believe that the Great Physician was (and is) at work in Malachi’s life!