Kadi and her husband David dated for a little while in high school. They both moved from Texas to Colorado separately in college to pursue their creative endeavors. That is where they reconnected and fell in love. They married in January of 2004 with no plans of children anytime in the foreseeable future, but when Kadi found out she was pregnant only 3 months later, their plans changed. From that point on they’ve watched all of their plans change… a lot. It’s been through many tests and trials that they have learned now more than ever to lean on the Lord and trust that His ways are perfect.
In 2013 Kadi was pregnant with their 4th child, a little girl they named Charley Mae. She was born healthy weighing 6 1/2 pound but there was something different about her. She had extremely low muscle tone and because this was Kadi’s 4th child she knew that she wasn’t hitting all the milestones at a normal rate.
Charley Mae was a happy, easy going baby but she didn’t even roll over until she was 10 months old. Of course the Doctors were doing everything they could to pinpoint the problem, but they ruled out muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, and all of the main causes of low muscle tone. By the time Charley Mae was 3 Kadi had taken her to see more specialists than they could count but they still lacked a diagnosis.
Kadi was feeling completely discouraged. Reflecting on that season she says “at that point, I didn’t care what it was. I just wanted to know how to help her. I wanted answers.” So finally a developmental pediatrician ordered a panel of blood work and a referral to see a geneticist. That’s when they started getting clues to what was going on. Charley Mae’s panel came back with a rare abnormality caused by a deletion in her chromosome 11. She is missing a tiny fragment of that chain, and only a handful of people in the world have been diagnosed with this condition. It doesn’t even have an official name.
Kadi and David were informed that this condition, along with low muscle tone and other minor issues, causes cancerous tumors that can appear between the ages of eight and ten years old. These tumors would develop in her neck, chest, and maybe even brain area.
Even though this wasn’t great news they were thankful to have some answers and were ready to take the next step to help their daughter.
Kadi met with the genetic counselor and learned that the condition thrives in high altitude. That means that low oxygen is not healthy for Charley Mae and it was recommended that they move. Kadi said that in that moment she immediately started thinking of moving to another area within the state that would be lower altitude.
Colorado was their home. It was where they fell in love and got married and it is all their children had ever known. This was more than just their address. It was their dream.
That’s when the geneticists informed Kadi of the severity of the situation. She looked at her and told her, I’m sorry, but I’m not talking about a lower altitude in Colorado. You all would need to move to sea level.
A shock went through Kadi’s body. She was alone when she met the geneticists assuming they would discuss treatment options like diet, medicine, and more bloodwork. This news came from out of nowhere and now it was up to her to share it with her husband. She called him after the appointment expecting that he would not respond well to the news because he loved Colorado even more than she did. After going over all the details with David, Kadi held the phone in silence allowing David to respond and then he said “Okay. Then we are moving”. He didn’t even hesitate.
They prayerfully felt that the Portland area would be their destination. They didn’t have any connections there. No big safety net or job transfers that would make for a smooth transition. They had something better than all that, the peace of God.
Kadi says “Things moved quickly once we knew what needed to be done. It was as simple as that. There was nothing that was going to stop us from making sure Charley Mae has the best life possible.”
So they immediately finished remodeling, and put their house on the market. It sold on the first weekend. Ironically they had already tried to get their house on the market before because they wanted to live in the country, but things kept preventing them. Kadi said that once Charley Mae got her diagnosis it all made sense WHY things weren’t working before. It would have been a disaster if they had just bought a house and then had to relocate again.
When the genetic counselor did a follow-up call to see what they had decided, they told her that the plan was to fly out to Portland in a month and buy a house. As soon as she heard that she was thrilled because she was going to recommend a specialist that was a colleague of hers that was in Portland! This was such a miraculous setup that made the whole transition go extremely smooth.
When they went to Portland to look at houses they prayed “Lord give us a clear yes or no” and house after house seemed to be a definite NO. They were starting to run out of time and it was getting dark, but that’s when it happened. They rolled up to a tiny little tiny house in Washington with a barn and chicken coop and they instantly fell in love! This was it!
It was what they wanted when they were in Denver but had never worked out. Now was the time. When they first walked through the 1920’s 2 bedroom house with the tiny porch on 5 acres, they had no reservations!
Maybe some would call them crazy considering their dream house was nowhere near move in ready. It was originally a bunkhouse to the ranch hands that worked on the dairy farm. It was 1,100 square feet and it looked like all the electrical would have to be pulled, walls torn down, sheetrock replaced. There had been multiple remodels with 6 different layers of flooring that would all be ripped out. It was so nasty (Kadi’s description) that they bought a cute 1950’s Spartan camper and lived in that for the first 7 months while they gutted the place.
They wouldn’t have it any other way though. They are a true fixer upper couple with enough talent to make Chip and Joanna Gaines marvel at their work.
It’s been a year since the big diagnosis and in the time that they have been in Washington they have seen dramatic results in Charley Mae’s health and development. Her muscle strength has improved and her geneticists at the Portland’s Children’s Hospital has encouraged them that she’s on the right path. It is a lengthy process though. Charley Mae is in physical therapy, speech therapy and they will continue to reevaluate and assess her as she grows.
The biggest change aside from the move has been their new diet.
The specialists have recommended that Charley Mae be on a no processed food diet. They said it’s okay if she goes to a birthday party and has a piece of cake but on a day to day basis she does not need to eat anything that cancer could feed off such as gluten, dairy, and refined sugar. Living on farm land and eating homegrown foods as certainly helped with this process!
Charley Mae just turned five and while it hasn’t always been easy Kadi knows that they are giving her the best quality of life possible.
Kadi said, “We’ve been here a year and watched God put all the puzzle pieces together. It has been amazing to see it all fall into place and makes us excited for what’s next. We know God has a plan for Charley.
I want her to know what God has done and is doing and constantly be able to share that he has made her for a special purpose. I know God is using her in a big way.”
Kadi’s days are full as she now has SIX kids and homeschools almost all of them. They have created a beautiful home for themselves in Washington, just north of Portland Oregon.
Kadi has one of those Instagrams that you scroll through and drool over.
Not only does she have a gorgeous family but she is an extremely talented photographer with an equally talented husband who does carpentry like you wouldn’t believe. Oh, and they can both make the most incredibly exquisite food. What is really beautiful though are their hearts and their faith. They are committed to putting Christ first in their marriage and family. It is evident that His love radiates in their little farmhouse.
Kadi’s words in the midst of the storm are both encouraging and profound. She says: “When something is so completely out of your control you are either going to panic or you just have to let go. I prayed for an answer and we got that answer. I prayed for peace and He gave us peace. We know deep down that God has this. It’s in His hands and so we trust Him. “