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!



Monday, February 9, 2015

Was that the calm? I think I missed it....

I always have to laugh (or cry) when I realize that we have gone through the "calm" before the storm....and we missed it! :)  I think it is another one of those times.  After Serenity's long hospital stay in Oct/Nov, it was time to launch into Thanksgiving and Christmas.  In that time, we began our paperwork for the adoption of our newest blessings, waiting far away....Then it was "holiday-detox" time - with continuing social worker visits, a million or so doctors' appointments as each kiddo needs to been seen by a doctor for the home study, more paperwork, and just busy everyday life.  

I had just taken a deep breath and smiled at the relatively empty calendar.  Even as I did so, I thought, "This isn't going to last!"....Sure enough!  I got several phone calls last week as the doctors at Children's had another "round table" discussion on what is next for Serenity and Hope. 

The amazing hand surgeon has been chomping at the bit to "release" the fingers on Serenity's hands.  She has an amazing ability to use them already with only the thumbs and one finger free.  The other kids are a little afraid she will have super powers if they are all free!

In Bulgaria, they had released finger on the right hand - but she is left-handed! :(  So the doctor is starting with her left hand this time.  Amazingly, it is only a day surgery - on February 13th.  Then six weeks later, he will do the right hand.  We are still waiting to find out if they are going to release all the fingers, or just the pinkies and pointers.  In general, we move the two middle fingers together unless it is a specific task like typing, playing the piano, etc.  If I understand it right, it will depend on if the bones are fused together as well as other things like her fingernails, amount of skin, etc.

Okay....got those on my calendar - along with all the pre-ops and post-ops visits.  Oh, yes, they are also going to do the sedated hearing test that we couldn't do with the second hand surgery.  Hooray for combo visits!

Umm, not done yet.  She will have her front vault expansion surgery (her forehead) in June.  Oooh, okay, will pray it will not effect the extended family camping trip.

Oh, yes, and the doctors also discussed Hope.  Her facial surgery will be this year.  (I get butterflies just thinking about it!)  It turns out that there is a doctor who will be leaving (I believe this is an internship) in July and she is begging to be part of Hope's surgery as it is so very rare.  So it is being scheduled for May.  Gulp.  I am very, very excited and nervous at the same time.  It is hard to explain.  I want this for her - for her vision, for eating, for the stigma that is on her because of it.  But I fell in love with her precious little face exactly the way it is - how can I say goodbye to it?  Just picture someone you love - and then picture their face being changed forever.....You will always love them...but there will also be some grieving as the changes come.  I also worry for her little heart.  Any change is hard on her.  Even if I change the spoon or the bowl I feed her with - it throws her for a loop.  I just don't know how her little heart will handle the hospital stay.  I don't have a lot of details yet on the length of the stay, so I am just trying to lay it at my Savior's feet.

One of the good things of all of this is that the major surgeries will be done before it is time for Handsome to go get Brooke and Jillian from their home country.  I am very, very thankful for that.  But it does mean that the pace of life will be picking up very quickly around here.  I have to take a deep breath, thank God for His goodness, and get us ready for the next journey.

Please pray for our pixie-girl this week.  Pray for our paperwork to continue to move forward for the adoption.  We should have our home study in hand this week.  We will immediately send it on to USCIS for immigration approval.  In approx 6-8 weeks, we will have that approval and can move on to get all the pieces of our dossier authenticated at the state, then the federal level, as well as from the Chinese embassy.  Again, another couple of weeks, is my understanding.  Then FINALLY, we can send the dossier to China and just wait and pray as it goes through their system.  Some days it is so hard to wait...

Until He comes....

Friday, January 23, 2015

Fungus and prayer requests....

Yes, that about sums up life here right now...fungus and prayers.

We took Serenity in for her "pre-op" appointments on Wednesday. "Pre-op" seems a little too serious for the procedure we were to have today - she needs a sedated hearing test to be able to accurately determine where in her ears there is a hearing problem.  That way the right type of hearing aid can be used.  It is strongly suspected that it is her middle/inner ear, but they need to know for sure. 

The day on Wednesday started off with traffic worse than normal, so we were late. :(  The first appointment went fine, other than Little Man is getting pretty squirrely at 8 months old.  The poor guy has been to more doctors' appointments than any other child because he has to go to all the appointments until he decides to start eating Gerber foods and not be so cranky.  It isn't fair to leave him with others who cannot feed him or comfort him!  Anyway.... Then we moved on to a nurse visit because one little area on her incision is not healing well.  That was a little traumatic for Serenity.  Deep breath....and move on to the last visit.  It was one of those days we were counting the minutes until we could head home.  This was just the doctor peeking in her ears to make sure they were clear.  No problem, right?  Uh, yes.....a problem.  One of her ear tubes had plugged.  Not good.  Then the doctor asks - and only those of you with an active tornado like Serenity will understand the panic that washed over me - "Does she stick things in her ears?....Like cotton?"  Well, I can imagine Serenity sticking LOTS of things in her ears - as she sticks things everywhere else!  (Her favorite trick right now is to pop her "nose" off her trach and then plug the hole with her thumb to see how fast I will come running as I hear her struggling to breathe!)  I think my answer to the doctor was something like, "Uhhhhhhhhhh.....".   He pulled out the massive electronic scope to see better.  He ended up pulling out the plugged tube to find that there is a fungus growing in her ear.  Not that uncommon (we have done that before with Romeo), but it can be very hard to thoroughly get rid of the fungus.  We have 3 weeks worth of meds twice a day and then will go see the doc again in 4-5 weeks.  If it is clear, we will reschedule.....which is making the test probably around the end of March, beginning of April at this point.  Deep sigh.  After grumbling a bit in prayer, I just left it with trust in Him that there is a plan.  It makes for an easier morning this morning! 

Please pray for quick healing for her.  Pray for the schedule as it will begin to be put together for the spring - Serenity's next skull surgery, preparation for Hope's surgery on her face, more botox injections to ease Grace's CP.  So many good things - with so much pain attached.  I am so very thankful as always for the blessings of amazing doctors and hospitals....what grace we have been given.

I also have a prayer request for this beautiful little man:

This is Aaron.  He is currently in a large Asian country.  He has complex heart problems.  It has been determined that the surgery he needs cannot be done in his country.  However - Praise the Lord! - he was able to have a shunt placed just today that will help.  But he is in the ICU alone.  No mom to sing over him.  No dad to hold his hands.  By the rules, the Nanny in this picture cannot be with him. 

This is just killing my heart.  He is tinier than Little man by 12 lbs, yet he is 5 months older.  There are so many children I stop and pray for....but then some are just like a kick in the stomach and I just can't catch a full breath.

Please pray for comfort and peace for him.  Pray that the Lord is singing over him.  Most of all, please pray that a family steps forward in faith to make him their own. 

Until He comes....

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Prayers answered and PA!!!

Serenity passed her swallow study - thank the Lord!  We need to thicken her drinks at half strength for a week and then we are back to normal!  I am ridiculously relieved about this....one less thing is always good, right?

Also, we received PA from China for Jillian and Brooke!  This is Pre-Approval to continue the adoption.  I am also ridiculously excited about this.  One step closer to our precious new ones. 

And the last thing I am ridiculously pleased about...a sweet picture of Hope.


I am truly blessed!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Prayer Request

On Monday, Serenity is going to have a repeat swallow study.  When they put the trach in, they did a swallow study in the hospital and saw that a small amount of fluids were going in her lungs when she drank.  This is obviously not good!  As a result, we have to thicken all her liquids to a "nectar" consistency.  This wasn't totally new to us as Mimi has to have thickened liquids if she tries to drink something.  (Which she does not unless we make her.) 

It really isn't a big deal in the scheme of things, it is just a hassle.  Kinda that "one more thing" hassle.  Serenity drinks a lot .... and each time it has to be thickened.  We also have to be vigilant about not leaving cups around that she can drink out of - even more so now because she is always on the hunt for them.  She does not like the thickened liquids and I can't say that I blame her!

Anyway, on Monday they will do another swallow study.  Would you join us in praying that she has adjusted to the trach and no longer needs to have the thickener?  It would just make the day-to-day a little easier!

A fun picture for you - though not the best quality:


That happy face would be hope in a swing!  AMAZING, huh?  I have been praying for over a year to get an indoor swing.  I knew this would  be an amazing "therapy" tool for all the girls, but especially for Hope who has just never had any "sensory" integration. The problem?  To get all the pieces we would need the price tag was almost $400.  Gulp.  I asked the Lord to provide, if it was His plan, but just never felt free to spend the money on it.  We know that every dollar belongs to Him, so if we don't feel peace, we don't do it.  At Christmas time, we almost bought it anyway...we just felt it would be so important...but just couldn't bring ourselves to go against what we don't feel fully comfortable with - especially with praying for every dollar needed for the new adoption.  So, I just laid it at His feet. A week or so later, I was discussing it again with my mom as The Helper was listening and she piped in, "Hey, Mom, you know they sell swing hangers that wrap around tree branches for $25?"  WHAT?  Sure enough, she showed me in a catalog.  The design of our manufactured home has "exposed" beams between some of the rooms....and they just fit around the last one I tried.

Thank you, Lord, for always providing!  

Add an outdoor swing...and TA DAH!  We are still praying and searching for more of a hammock style swing that Grace can lay in....but I am thrilled for this right now.  Serenity LOVED it - of course!  Mimi wanted nothing to do with it.  And Little Man....


He squealed and laughed until he was worn out! Happy day!

Finally, Mama V ~  I just loved your comment about visiting the blog to see Brooke's beautiful little face.  It just gets you, huh?  What a gift God is giving us!  So these are for you!



  And here are a few of my precious Jillian.  I completely understand why they shave their heads in the orphanages...but how I wish they wouldn't!



Don't worry, little one...we will let that hair grow.  Your big sisters can't wait to play with it!

Please continue to pray for our Savior to move the mountains to get these little ones home.  We have our final visit with the social worker on Monday.  I am praying that she will be able to complete the home study very quickly after that...then on to USCIS approval.

To Him be the glory ~