Solomon’s quest

January 18, 2013


By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

Solomon is a very active and adventurous 2-year-old. He likes trains and enjoys music. His smile could brighten any dreary Michigan winter day. He can tell you exactly what he wants and what he doesn’t want.

Nothing seems to limit this child, even the fact that he is unable to speak.

Solomon is the son of Jeffrey and Heather Miller. He came into their lives in late March 2011. Jeffrey and Heather had made the choice to adopt a child through foster care and can recount when this precious little boy changed their lives.

“We first heard about him on March 17, 2011,” Heather recalls. “We had a call that there was a baby on a vent. We met him and fell in love with him. He came home with us on April 14 and he was on a vent until Christmas Eve. of that year.”

Solomon’s birth mother was 24 weeks pregnant when he was born at just over 1 pound.

He was intubated for two months. Because of his prematurity he faced many medical challenges, including the need for heart surgery, a side effect is often paralyzed vocal cords in babies.

Following his heart surgery, which happened when he would have reached full term, he had to have a tracheostomy, a surgical procedure to create an opening through the neck into the trachea (windpipe).

When they adopted Solomon, Heather and Jeffrey were living in Virginia. Jeffrey is a 1994 graduate of Mason County Central and grew up in Scottville. Heather grew up near Petosky. They met while in college at Central Michigan University.

After some research, the Millers discovered Dr. Robin Cotton at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Cotton is a world renowned ear, nose and throat doctor.

They left their jobs and decided to live on faith and savings, moving to Cincinnati to devote their lives to take care of their son until he is healed.

The long progression of testing started and came to a climax with surgery of Solomon’s vocal cords on Nov. 8.

“He did remarkably well,” Jeffrey says, “and he was out of the hospital in four days. Then, he had an infection which meant another 17 days in the hospital.”

Since then, he has had a handful of smaller surgeries, the last one on Dec. 14. The small family decided they needed a break so they came home to Scottville for a month.

Jeffrey, Heather and Solomon have had a lot of help throughout their journey. Solomon has required constant care. Early on, two nurses were assigned to help with his care, which allowed the couple some time to themselves. They also have had a lot of help from family, particular their mothers. Jeffrey’s mother, Colleen Miller of Scottville, has spent several months helping her grandson and her son and daughter-in-law.

“We couldn’t have done it without all the help,” Jeffrey says. “They have been saints.”

Everyday Solomon progresses toward healing.

“The doctors say the trach will probably be removed in the spring,” Heather says. “We can tell his vocal cords are healing because he is making more noises. We are expecting he will be talking sometime in the future.”

In many ways, Solomon’s inability to speak has given him an advantage. He communicates by sign language, which allows him to explain in more detail what he is trying to say.

“He communicates a lot more elaborate things,” Heather says. “He describes things that most 2-year-olds wouldn’t. I think it’s because he has access to it. He can’t explain things verbally so he uses what he has. I think he uses what he has well.”

Raising Solomon has strengthened their marriage.

“The little things are definitely not upsetting,” Heather says.

“Communications is the key,” Jeffrey says. “We learned we needed to have more direct communication with each other.”

Their faith has also been strengthened.

“When he is in pain it certainly makes me pray more,” Jeffery says.

The Millers keep in touch with Solomon’s birth mother. She was 17 when she gave birth to him. She actually asked them to adopt Solomon, something that is rare in a foster care situation where the child was removed from the home.

On Oct. 18, 2012 they formally adopted Solomon, but they considered him their son from the day he came into their lives on April 14, 2011.

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