How the Healing Power of Family Changed Katie’s Life Forever
From the moment that Katie arrived in the world, it was clear that she was special. Born 15 weeks early and weighing just over a pound, she spent the first two months of her life in the hospital fighting to survive.
Knowing that attachment to loving parents would be vital for Katie’s health to improve, Olive Crest made an important call to Talon and Doug Deatrick who had been certified to become foster parents just four days prior.
Talon recalls, “They were up front with us about the issues Katie was likely to have. There were no guarantees about anything, but we prayed about it and put it all into God’s hands.”
Doug adds with a smile, “I was pretty attached as soon as I held her.”
Katie Never Gave Up
“It was intense for a while,” Talon recalls of their first days with her at the hospital. “Sometimes, when one of us was holding her, she’d stop breathing. The monitor would go off and the nurses would have to take her out of our arms and start working on her to get her breathing again.”
In the beginning, Katie also struggled with eating and getting enough nutrition. However, once Doug and Talon began staying with her at the hospital each day, Katie improved and starting eating normally.
Additional physical challenges started surfacing. When Katie was six months old, she seemed to be having trouble seeing. Talon says, “We took her to an ophthalmologist, who said she couldn’t see anything beyond distinguishing between light and shadow – and it was doubtful whether it was ever going to improve. We were devastated by that, as you can imagine.”
Doug continues the story, “We set up an appointment with a developmental optometrist. In the meantime, we did what we could to stimulate her vision. Then one morning, we noticed that she was tracking! She could see, and we were thrilled! It seems that it just took her a little bit longer to develop. We know she still needs help with her vision. We’re not exactly sure, since she’s still so young, exactly how much vision she has. But her visual problems don’t seem to affect her in any way.”
A teacher with a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education, Talon quit her job to be able to spend more time caring for Katie. With a therapy schedule of nine hours a week, Talon and Doug are devoted to ensuring she is responding well and making as much progress as possible. When things get rough, Talon says, “Any time I have a problem, the first person I call is the case manager at Olive Crest. She’s always ready to help.”
“She’s a problem solver”
Both parents say their little girl has an independent spirit and works hard to get what she wants. Doug says, “If there’s a challenge, she’s going to figure it out. As one of our therapists told us, ‘She’s a problem solver.’”
Doug and Talon have learned that Katie is full of determination and that she will keep surprising them as she overcomes her obstacles and continues to thrive. “She’s a pistol,” Talon laughs. “She’s taught me so much about fighting and persevering and just not giving up. She has changed our lives. She may never walk the way other kids walk. She may have hiccups in her vision, or she may never use her left hand. We still don’t know what the future holds, but we’re trusting her to God and taking things one day at a time. We are so thankful for our little girl, no matter what the challenges are.”
Katie Has a Forever Home
Right around Katie’s first birthday, on June 7, 2016, Katie, Talon, and Doug spent a joyous morning at Edmund D. Edelman Children’s Court in Los Angeles finalizing precious Katie’s adoption, and became her forever family.