Saturday, April 18, 2015

T-shirt fundraiser

Just in case anyone was interested, we are doing a t-shirt fundraiser through Booster.  Orders will be taken through May 1st.  If there are enough orders, they will be printed - you will not be charged unless the minimum has been met.  Will be shipped approx 2 weeks later.  $20 plus $5 shipping - you can pick your own color. :)

Here is the link:  http://www.booster.com/brookeandjillian






Thursday, April 16, 2015

And a time for tears....

I opened up my mailbox to see the LONG awaited USCIS logo on an envelope - I excitedly rip it open - only to find that one of us has to redo their fingerprints.  This is 3 weeks after our fingerprints were taken.  The retake is not scheduled until 4/27.  I was hoping that we would be DTC by the end of this month.

Sometimes, I just hit the point of overwhelming tears....this was the trigger today.  Everything seems to tidal wave at once.... 

I know God is Sovereign - there is a reason for this.  I will choose to thank Him.  But I may need to cry awhile as I do....

Please pray with me that the next fingerprints will work and that we will be quickly approved after the fingerprint retake....pray for His perfect plan.  Pray that the Lord blesses my girls as they wait.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The way that God does things...

So the whirlwind has continued - but not quite in the direction we thought!

Serenity came down with a bad cold last week.  As you may or may not know, they will not do anesthesia on a child who has had a cold in the two weeks before an operation.....so, no surgery on Tuesday.  As always, it caused mixed emotions.  I am always glad to not have to have a surgery, but I know we are just kicking it down the road a bit.  So now we are looking at May 22nd.

Then, I got a phone call for the surgeries for Hope and Serenity. Okay, it will not be in May/June.  We are scheduled for the end of July - Hope on a Tuesday and Serenity on a Friday.  When they first suggested that we do the surgeries at the same time, I thought they were plumb crazy.  But then thinking about it, Handsome will have to miss work - if we combine the time, it will be less time overall that he will miss.  Handsome was up for it, so that is the plan.....ugh.

Still really struggling with preparing my heart for Hope's surgery.  I know it is a good thing.  I know it, but my heart will miss the little face I fell in love with almost 3 years ago now.  I worry for her little heart while this is going on.  Will we lose all the progress we have made?  Plenty to talk to my Savior about....

We had some wonderful pictures taken by a friend for the dossier...here are a few for fun!

The Helper and Serenity
Family Photo
The girls
The boys
Mommy, The Prince, and Little Man

Would you please pray with me that we would receive USCIS approval soon?  The dossier is all ready for the next steps as soon as it comes...one more notarization...off to the capital for authentication...then over-nighted to the group that will get the Chinese Consulate's authentication....then back to the agency who will send it on to China......as soon as we get that approval. Sigh.

Until He comes....


Monday, March 30, 2015

In the middle of a whirlwind....

I keep putting off posting, thinking I will get a picture of Serenity's hand.......and that has not happened yet. :)  I will try again today.  But here is the update...

Serenity's hand surgery (that took twice as long as they anticipated!) was very successful!  The weeks in the cast were hard on everyone - patience was greatly needed here for one bored little girl.  After the full cast, they made her a splint to keep her hand straight and the fingers spread apart so the skin grafts would heal.  Can't quite call that a success as she quickly figured out how to get her fingers free! 

We were all excited to see what her reaction was to having fingers when they took the cast off.  There was really no way to be able to communicate that to her ahead of time.  Handsome was the one who took her and he described it as stunned shock.  True shock.  Not the joyful shock we expected, but stunned shock.  I can't even imagine what it must have felt like to bend areas she had never been able to move before, especially with skin grafts, nerves, etc.  the hand had quite a covering of scabs and funny colored skin due to all the grafting and work that was done.  Come to think of it, maybe it was better I didn't post pictures!

We tried to prepare the rest of the kids, but they still had a hard time with it the first few days after the cast was off.  It isn't pretty, but now she has function.  Very hard for young minds to weigh that the right way.  I had talked with The Helper about Hope's surgery - how I thought I might have a rough time saying goodbye to the little face I loved even though the new face would be better for her long-term.  Frankly, she thought I was crazy.  But she told me after seeing Serenity's hand change, that she finally understood.

Two weeks ago, they changed the hand splint to a different splint.  Now she can move her wrist, but the fingers are kept apart by a brace so the skin does not start to grow back together.  I will still try to get a picture of that one.  Just for those that are interested - we found out with Grace that skin is a highly connective tissue.  That is how God designed it so that cut heal - the skin grows back together.  However with Grace's curled hands and Serenity's new skin grafts - we don't want the skin to grow together in those areas - thus the braces for them both.  This new brace she will wear for a total of three weeks day and night with brief times off to wiggle and clean it.  Then it will switch to just night time for 3 months. 

The day we switch to just the brace at night is the surgery on the other hand - next Tuesday.  The other hand already had one finger separated in Bulgaria, so it will just be separating the other pinkie.  I am praying this is a MUCH easier surgery that the other.  Then we will do the whole cast, splint, different splint thing all over again.  It is a GOOD thing - but a little hard to gear up for. :)

In the meantime, Grace went in for a recheck on her hips from the dysplasia surgery last June.  She also saw the rehab doc (who does the botox and braces) and the neurologist for her seizure meds.  The hips look fine but they have decided that she does need to wear a brace to help slow the scoliosis.  This was HARD news.  She will have to be in the brace 18 hours a day - only off when she lays flat.  Handsome goes to pick up the brace today.  We were told that it is fairly soft.  Sometimes though, I have noticed that we just hit the point where something seems to be the tipping point and it suddenly feels like "too much" for a child to need to have done.  It is purely emotional - but it still happens.  For some reason, the brace just seems to be that tipping point emotionally.  We just really, really don't want her to have to have it.  We will obviously do it because it is best for her - but it just rubs the heart the wrong way right now. :(  I am sure in a few days it will just be part of life, but this morning it hurts my heart.

As we were emotionally stewing on that, Serenity and Hope had a follow up appointment with the craniofacial doctors.  Serenity came to have a spot on her head checked.  Skip the next few sentences if you have a queasy stomach!  There is one spot along her incision that we just couldn't get to heal.  Her hair would get stuck in it and when we tried to wash it, the whole scab would pull off.  A spot about the size of two quarters.  I worked and worked since the surgery in November to get it to heal.  We had a nurse look at it once and she gave us some ideas, but it still kept getting pussy and pulling off.  I finally cut a big spot of hair all around it and it seemed to be finally healing.  But then when I washed it one day, I realized that a piece of the plastic "skull" was poking out.  I have a strong stomach - I have done a lot of medical things - but this made my stomach flip and I turned green.  Especially when the piece pull out when I was cleaning the spot again.  Eww!  It honestly looked like a little clear piece of lego.  This was two days before the appointment.  When the surgeon's looked at it, they said sometimes that happens, and now it should heal again - to just keep it clean and the hair cut back.  Okay.  I felt like we had dodged a bullet on skin grafts, etc.  So back home trying to keep it clean....only to find another piece is sticking out now.  (Stomach does a little flip, ugh.)  So I have a feeling we will be going back soon.  My guess is that they will move her next surgery sooner so they can repair the area after they expand the forehead.

Hope was there for a pre-pre-op appointment after an MRI.  Hope has not had to be in the doctor's office for quite a while other than a brief check up in November.  We keep her home other than a few trips to church or family.  This was the first time in a waiting room in almost a year.  A very quiet waiting room.....at least until we got there.  Hope makes all kinds of noises - it has gotten the nickname "smoping" here.  It is hard to describe other than loud bursts of noise with severe body motions - like a yell with hands flopping everywhere, and then another noise with hitting herself.  We know that if she is feeling excited or nervous, there will be "smoping" going on.  Well, this definitely triggered it.  I am going to lay this out there, just in case there are other moms with severe kiddos reading this - this was the first time I was embarrassed by her behavior.  I wish I could say I was as strong as other moms I have read about that just keep smiling and don't worry about what others thought - but not this time.  I was embarrassed and heartbroken over how "severe" she must have looked to others.  Her face always draws attention - and I understand that - but the behavior was really, really an attention-getter this time.  It started to freak out the other children there.  I finally found the quietest corner I could and wrapped her in her blanket and hummed to her - all the while trying not to cry.  I love my girl - the weight of the damage that has been done just felt too heavy at the moment...

The MRI was in the early morning, so by the time we got to the afternoon appointment, she was "smoping" in full gear.  However, the waiting room at the hospital was much noisier and full of life so it didn't seem so bad.  Plus, I was bouncing a loud, unhappy Little Man and trying to keep Serenity reigned in - so I was a bit distracted. ;-)

The MRI looked very good to the surgeons.  Once again, we had a room FULL of people as every visiting or training doctor wants to come take a look.  There was actually a doctor from Poland there this time!  They talked with me about how they would do the surgery.  I will try to scan the MRI and their sketching and post it here.  Fascinating.  Simple fascinating.  And a little stomach churning. ;-) 

Now we just wait for surgery dates for Serenity and Hope - as well as going to see dentists and optomologists for them both.  Mimi also needs to see the eye doctor as it has been quite a while and her lazy eye is not looking any better.  So still a great deal of appointments and decisions out there.

There is a lot more to say, but I am out of time this morning.  We are headed off to the federal building to get our fingerprints done for our dossier.  The process has really come to a complete stop until we get our USCIS approval - very disheartening - so I am glad to get this show on the road again.....

Thank you for all your prayers - 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Here she is!

They did make it home at midnight.  We are all tired and sipping coffee.  Serenity is ready to take on the world!  They said to keep her arm propped up all day...um, okay, I will also try to hold back the ocean tide while I am at it.....

Love this precious girl!


Friday, February 13, 2015

Quick update

Serenity was supposed to have surgery at 1 p.m.  Supposed to.  Instead, they finally started surgery at 3:45.  It was supposed to be a 2 hour surgery.  Supposed to.  Handsome called me at 6 p.m. and they had just come out with an update....They said it will most likely be a couple more HOURS.  They said that there was not any complications, they were just taking their time and being thorough. 

Wow.

We are hoping that Serenity, Handsome, and The Helper are home before midnight.  We are praying that they do not keep her overnight as Handsome has to work tomorrow.

Please continue to lift her up in your prayers.

I will update in the morning.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Urgent Need

Little Ashlyn is in desperate need of  a family.  She is 17 months old and has some severe heart defects.  Amazing things can be done in the US, but beyond that, the love of a family and knowing you belong effects down to the soul.  More can be read here.  Please pray for a family to move forward for this tiny little blessing.  Pray for their needs to be meet to be able to move swiftly.  How my heart breaks!