The back actually looks very, very good. She's doing everything that a well-loved 4-month-old baby should be doing. You pick her up and hold her and the smile comes out.

The longer we go without putting a shunt in, the less likely she'll need one. We're cautiously optimistic.

Quality of life is very important, but if we don't get rid of this defect, it will eventually take her life as well.

She is very strong because her family is strong.

She just radiates good feeling. We're getting to the point where we love this child.

I'm thoroughly amazed at how bright and alert she is.

We need to get the back closed. The concern here is meningitis. If the baby gets an infection on the back, that infection can spread to the coverings all over the brain and the baby may die, so time is of the essence.

She will definitely need to be in a wheelchair.

If she gets good care when she returns to Iraq, she should live a long and full life.