six percent

*update: Jude did great in the MRI. no results until our docs have a look, but so glad this is behind us now. Thank you so much for your prayers.*

Jude came home from China five years ago. He was 16 months and had bilateral, unrepaired clubfoot.

We took him to Iowa for casting and we followed the bracing protocol to the letter.

And all went well until we took Jude out of his night-time boots, right before his sixth birthday.

He began to relapse on his right foot. The relapse rate for kids who are treated properly and braced properly is only about six percent. So I guess our sweet Jude is proving that he truly is one special guy.

Tomorrow we go for a sedated MRI to rule out any neurological component. Since Jude relapsed very quickly, there is a small chance that he could have a tethered cord. Our neurologist feels confident that this is not the case, but an MRI has been ordered to confirm.

Once the MRI is complete and – assuming he does not have a tethered cord – we will schedule surgery for our little man. He’ll need to have an anterior tibial tendon transfer.


So, if you think of it, please keep Jude in your prayers. Needless to say, this mama is the tiniest bit anxious about tomorrow.

And, assuming we get the all clear on the MRI, Jude and I will travel to Iowa for his surgery. Then he’ll spend six weeks in a non-weight bearing cast (using a walker or wheelchair) and then a full six months to recover completely.

I don’t think this is going to be quite the summer Jude had planned.



  1. Praying for your Mama’s heart tomorrow!

  2. Oh…I’m so sorry that you and Jude have to go through this. Will be thinking of you both tomorrow and praying for good news!

    Love the photos..the are gorgeous. Jude has grown so much in the last year. He looks so much older but is still every bit as handsome as ever!

  3. What a handsome guy. I will be keeping you both in my prayers!!
    Kathie in NY

  4. Poor littler guy:(……Will be keeping your family in my prayers

  5. Cute little feet! Thinking about him for the test tomorrow. I hope you get the answers he needs from the MRI.

    He is precious. Thanks for sharing about his feet… I wondered what “real life” treatment looks like.

  6. Hugs and prayers!!!!

  7. Oh, I will be keeping you and Jude in my prayers. We’ve been traveling down to Iowa weekly and my sweet Willem is in his 5th set of casts right now. They are amazing people there (and they think you are an amazing family)! I’m praying too, that my son will be healed with his casting, tenotomy, and bracing.

  8. He is such a handsome little guy. I’m sorry to hear about this setback.

  9. Those are such cute little feet though. You can’t be upset with them for being in that 6%. :) I will pray that his visit goes well!

  10. Deborah says:

    Sorry about the relapse. Hope all goes well tomorrow and the MRI shows better news. :)

  11. Prayers for you and your sweet boy!!Prayers for good results!

  12. Crystal Oh says:

    Praying for Jude!!

    • Praying Jude does not have a tethered cord. BTDT twice! Tendon transfer 3 times! I think the latter was an easier recovery for us all! God Bless.

  13. Praying for you and Jude!!!!!

  14. Ok first of all was he the cutest baby ever or what!! Sorry LOL! Prayers for the MRI (it will be so nice to rule it out!) and prayers for a non weight bearing summer. Our little guy is having amputation surgery June 4th and will also be non weight bearing, I don’t even know how we are going to manage.

  15. Elaina did really wells with her detethering surgery. Hardest part was her age and spunk which made keeping her on her back for 2 days nearly impossible but other than that really went well! If it is tethered cord will he still need the other surgery? Praying now. Perfect love casts out all fear. God is with you and at work for good. Hold fast to Him. Hugs, Holly

  16. Stefanie, I’m so sorry to hear this, and of course he will be in my prayers.

  17. Kelli Moran says:


    About four years ago, I called you to talk about sweet Jude and his clubbed feet. I was seeking guidance and wisdom in an area that was all knew to us.

    When we brought our daughter home from China she, too, had clubbed feet. With her only being 14 months old we wanted to see someone who wouldn’t go right to surgery. We wanted to try casting first. After talking to you we contacted Dr. Ponsetti and in less than a week we were in our car driving out to Iowa. After five castings and several years of wearing night shoes she started to have a litle freedom but then the regression started. We waited and waited hoping that her right (yes, her right just like Jude’s) foot would correct itself but it never did. It actually started getting worse. It got to the point where she could not even pick up her big toe when she was walking. We decided to go ahead with the surgery and she had a tendon transfer on both feet last April. She got around on her hands and knees crawling and was a tropper through it all. She now is doing great and other than her button that she kept which held her tendon in place as it healed and a small incision line on the top of her foot, there is no sign that anything was done. She is running and not falling, picking up her toes without dragging, and a lot less injured.

    Praying for Jude and for you guys that the whatever is decided you will find peace in knowing that God will be walking you through it all.


  18. Hi Stefanie, My youngest girl (now two years) was also born with severe clubfoot involving both feets. I know what you have gone through and I’ll definitely keep Jude in my prayers! I hope we wont be in that 6 percent :(
    It was also interested to see the pictures and story on the adoption webisite. I’m embarrased to say but I don’t have any photos nor memories of my daughter’s feet when she was a baby…

    Take care! It will all go well!

  19. I’ll be thinking of a very special boy and his Mama.

  20. So sorry to hear this. Praying for both of you as you face the days ahead….

  21. michele rider says:

    Sending my thoughts and prayers from Maine. Please tell Jude Hello and I miss Him!

  22. Of course we’ll be praying – and Jude – bummer on the summer but worth it in the long run!!

    hugs – aus and co.

  23. Thoughts and prayers for you and Jude … hope all goes well!

  24. awwww, poor baby! and poor Momma!

    Praying for both of you!


  25. Prayers for your sweet boy! He is just absolutely adorable!
    My two youngest have both had tendon transfers, so we know all about the non-weight bearing casts.
    Hope you get some answers from the MRI.

  26. As special as all your children are, Jude dug deep in my heart the first time I saw his pic on your blog. He’s tough, you are tough, and God is awesome. I have no doubt that Gods got ya in this, and you certainly will be covered in my family’s prayers.

  27. Praying this morning, Stefanie! I just love that sweet little “andthencamejude”!!!!! Keep us posted..

  28. Laura Kahl says:

    Praying for you and Jude today. Poor guy. :(

  29. I’m so sorry to read this! We were just with Dr. M last week, and he was trying to prepare us for the possibility of the ATTT, too. Grace still has some tightness on one side, but generally doing well with no sign of relapse yet. But Jude’s experience is reminding us that there are never any guarantees. We’ll be praying for you all!

  30. Good thoughts and prayers going your way! Great last pic-of the two of you! Love shining thru!! Summer will be different-but good with all the love all around!!~~Rain

  31. Good luck with the MRI.

  32. Hugs and kisses for you and your family hope you get some good news x x

  33. Stephanie,
    We only live about a 1/2 our from the U of I. As you know, they do amazing work there and I know they’ll take good care of him. If you need company, shoot us an email and we’ll come take you out.

    Shari & Amelia

  34. Jill Shelton says:

    Praying for you and family sweet friend. I’ll be in your area August (for our move) and would love to help out as often needed.

  35. Praying for that sweet boy. We are going through something similar over here… it’s not bilateral club foot, but we are looking ahead to surgery on my little ones ankles and hips. :(

    So hoping no surgery for Jude!

  36. There is a Shriner’s Hospital in St Louis that does wonders with clubfoot. If you ever go there for treatment, let me know because that’s where Joey goes for his orthopedic problems. I’d love to meet you and your family. :)

    Also, LE Valgus. Could he be developling LE Valgus?

  37. Praying for your heart, his foot, and the doctors’ wisdom.

  38. Oh dear Stefanie, you know we just went through this with Lizzie and the doctor decided to try AFO’s on her first. However, he thinks we may be dealing with a drop foot instead of a relapse. I am not so sure. Anyway, I will be thinking about sweet Jude and his beautiful Momma!!!!!

  39. Awhhh, praying for Khloe’s fellow ‘Fujian’ brother!! I know this has to make your heart uneasy, but know we are all joining together in one accord, lifting your precious little man up before the Throne of Grace! Keep us posted!!

    Blessings & Hugs,
    ~ Tanya

  40. Stef,
    I’ll be praying for Jude’s feet…and your peace of mind. We still see Dr M in Iowa every few months for Meizhi’s feet too. Only she’s the opposite of Jude; Meizhi’s tendons are still insanely loose and are not tightening like they should. So she’s turning in again but Dr M says its Mind over body now, not physical. Just remember how far he (and you all) have come and this is just a small stage in his very long blessed life he’ll have. Sending prayers from the midwest.
    Erin, Meizhi and Kiomi

  41. He is adorable. Poor baby. I hope all goes well. Prayers.

  42. Laurie Cleveland says:

    Wow! I wish I lived closer to Iowa City so I could offer you a place to stay! We live in Des Moines – it takes us a good 2 hours to get there when we go see the eye specialists. :(. If you’re in town June 1st, my oldest daughter and I will be at the learning disabilities clinic this time – just look for the tall, white haired Chinese girl with her mobility cane!!

    Good luck to you and Jude!!

  43. Catilin says:


    My daughter (now 5) was born with a very severe left clubfoot. She had the heel cord surgery at 6 weeks, wore the braces for 3 years and we noticed her relapse right around her 4th birthday. After a gait study about a year ago, we tried a series of 6 one week casts to get her foot back on track. After these, we waited six months to find her foot was relapsing again. In November we started serial casting again and in January she had a tendon transfer and another heel cord extension. 6 weeks in a wheelchair, and 4 weeks in a boot later, our daughter is doing remarkably well. We can already see a drastic improvement in her gait and she is not tripping/ falling nearly as much as she was before. I am happy to share more details about the surgery- we were certainly not prepared for the extent of it going forward.

    You are in my thoughts and prayers.

  44. Many prayers for sweet Jude and his wonderful feet! Prayers for your MRI tomorrow and hugs to you.


  45. Melynda Dye says:

    Our Jude is having this same surgery for his relapse on both feet June 15th! I Pray all goes well for your sweet Jude. We will pray for him by name for healing and understanding. Keep us posted.

  46. I am so sorry!! No mama likes news that one of their babies is having surgery!

  47. Seeing so “”So Tough” tshirt in the making…???

  48. I am a Physical Therapist who reads your blog. Consider asking Jude’s dr to prescribe him a roll about. This is covered under Tricare as DME. He will enjoy that much more than a wheeled walker

  49. Behind in my blog reading, so I just got to this. Y’all remain in our thoughts and prayers for this. Hoping for the best for everyone and a fun summer for Jude regardless of the outcome!

  50. Thank God for Dr. Ponseti! His technique has saved so many from unneeded surgeries and pain from arthritis as they get older. Hope his setback is minimal! (((HUGS))) to Jude!

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