"A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.
God sets the lonely in families." Psalm 68:5-6a

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Saying "yes" with His peace

Where I left off in our story of this adoption is how we determined we could move forward with Bryley's adoption without pertinent information regarding a brain tumor. Her medical file listed two special needs but the adoption agency shared minimal information about a brain tumor removal surgery stating no medical information was available. We were torn. We had nothing else to do but pray.

Through prayer, God moved my heart to contact some key people who impacted our decision. Just a few months prior to seeing Bryley's file, our daughter Raimey had her last heart surgery. She was in the Pediatric ICU for the better part of her twelve day stay. During this time, we met a valuable resource without even knowing what the future would hold. In talking about Raimey's adoption, this sweet nurse named Diana shared about a medical trip she had been on to Ch*na just a few weeks prior. She had met many children in medical care homes called Ch*na Little Flower. I loved hearing about the ways this team of doctors and nurses were moved to go work with the medically fragile orphans. We had so much in common and connected right much so that before we were nearing discharge from the PICU, I asked if I could stay in contact with her. I asked if she had a FB account and she said yes, I could find her on there.

In the days following, I did, in fact, befriend Diana on FB. I shared with her about my daughter's recovery and that was it. We were FB "friends" but otherwise lost contact.

Fast forward a couple months from October to December and sweet Diana came to mind. I wondered if there was any way SHE could have met our daughter on that medical trip to Ch*na. This would be like asking her to remember one animal at the zoo or one fish at the aquarium...probably less chance than finding a needle in a haystack, BUT GOD...

God had a plan and a purpose, for that trip and for our child. Not only did Diana remember our precious Bryley, she had taken pictures of her and we were able to know with certainty that the information she had was on our girl. Diana shared what she knew about the surgery and more importantly how Bryley was post-operative. She shared her optimism as well as her concerns. She gave us a clear picture so we could make an educated decision. She also reminded me of another nurse friend who was on the trip, and I contacted this special mama as well. She, too, not only remembered our Bryley, but had pictures and another several names to contact about how she was doing post-op.

To condense a very long story, I had a handful of pictures following brain tumor removal surgery, a video, and an up-to-date narrative of Bryley's current medical condition in my hands within a week.

We had contacted our Pediatrician, Pediatric Neurosurgeon and Pediatric Endocrinologist and beside a plan for future care....the information we received was what the possibilities for future care will be. No one can say with certainty because of the lack of history.

I must add that there was and is still uncertainty about physical delays and possible cognitive delays resulting from brain surgery...but after much prayer, Andy and I felt at peace saying "yes" and submitting our Letter of Intent to Ch*na to adopt Bryley.

And so it begins...the wait, the process, the journey, and the adventure.

We were thrilled to receive an update with some pictures and a video that indicate Bryley is doing well. She is stable. She is happy. She has mobility of her legs, even though we still haven't seen her walk. We did get an update saying she has started standing with assistance and pulling herself up using things to hold onto.

Oh my heart, I cannot wait to bring this girl home into our lives forever!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Another adoption - the beginning of the story

In summary, we decided on Christmas Eve to submit our Letter of Intent for a precious baby girl in Taiyuan, Shanxi, China. I had been looking at files for weeks but as I saw this little face, I KNEW she was ours. I had not expected to *know* this so perfectly again, but God has a way of revealing your child to you in His time...and He did.

My heart beat wildly, my stomach had butterflies...but when I e-mailed to inquire about her I was told someone else was reviewing her file so we could take a number. Well, it wasn't quite like that but it felt like it.

I prayed hard, I truly spent an entire night wrestling with why I felt she was ours and how I could handle it if the other family proceeded. I was sick...literally sick, about the possibility of someone else moving forward for her. I could not understand my own instincts feeling like she was to be ours if it was not His will.

After I wrestled through a sleepless night, my sweet and *oh so patient* husband reassured me with these words, "Don't you trust God?"  I do. I do. (But I am so human....and I want to be in control some times. I am sure I am not the only one who struggles here.)

The following day, I researched this little one who had stolen my heart. I knew the name of the organization who is caring for her in China. They are a wonderful group that provides care for medically fragile orphans. I have been a long time follower and supporter of the work they do. 

I went through dozens, no...hundreds, possibly even thousands of pictures of children in the Little Flowers care homes since the date that this girl was born. I learned that she had been transferred to Little Flowers within a couple weeks of birth and was not expected to survive. I learned that she had experienced heart failure and kidney swelling for no apparent reason. I learned that they had tried to take her to a hospital for care but were told, "There is no hope".

But God....

God had another story.

Back to the wrestling and researching. In the midst of 3-4 hours of researching and writing down every medical note I could find....I felt like I knew this child already. I had just seen her grow up in pictures. I had seen her nearly die in pictures and make a miraculous recovery with no explanation other than the healing hand of God.

During my hours of research, my phone rang. I didn't recognize the number but I answered **hoping** to hear the news that would change our lives!

"The other family decided not to move forward"...."if you are interested, you have a few days to make a decision while you review her file." I could have said "YES!" right there...but God gave me this incredibly level-headed husband who was looking me in the eye as I heard this news. I calmly told the agency worker we would discuss her medical needs and make a decision as soon as possible.

I was ecstatic. I KNEW that I KNEW and I also KNEW that God KNEW how this all would happen.

We immediately sent out file review requests to our pediatrician as to what specialty care would handle her special needs. We then contacted that team, asking their opinion on what she might need in terms of long-term medical care. A huge part of her file was missing...within the last six months she had been found to have a brain tumor AND had it removed but nothing about this was in her medical file.

How do you move forward without this information?...(to be continued).

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2013 ~ The Last Quarter in Review!

I don't know what happened to me the last few months...

I simply dropped of the face of the blogging world.

It has not been for any other reason than keeping busy with life.

So, in review, I thought I'd catch up on the last three months.

We had family pictures in December and these were my favorites.

The kids enjoyed decorating

(and gobbling up all the candy in the process)
their gingerbread house.

They did one together, which has always worked for two kids,

but perhaps with three...we should have had a second one.

There wasn't enough work surface for everyone at the same time.

(Note to self!)

 When I asked the kids for a picture in front of the Christmas tree, 

they quickly came up with a pyramid pose. I just had to laugh!

Raimey melted my heart on December 1st. 

She was  so excited about celebrating my birthday

and giving me gifts...that she loaded a box,

with all her favorite toys to give to me.

So sweet! She brought some tears to my eyes.

What a giver!

Additionally, my boys and hubby were very generous 

and made my day quite special.

This is a rare occasion and it was definitely

photo worthy and note-worthy.

I was leaving for an adoption conference when Raimey

got out of the shower, so I LOVED catching a glimpse of this.

Daddy's can do hair!

Raimey became quite the baker this year.

She loves rolling cookies with mommy...

and keeps me on my toes with her silliness!

 Justin had a great season of football,

and I was delighted when we finally got

discharged from the hospital

and Raimey and I could catch some games!

Raimey was a cheerleader for Halloween.

And this picture was just one month post-Fontan,

open-heart surgery. It serves as my "Ebenezar"...

or remembrance of how far God brought us.

She was wearing a Holter heart monitor,

her "pretty necklace", which was on to

determine if her little heart would need

a pacemaker. At this point, one more

open-heart surgery for pacemaker placement

looked like it was still in the near future.

Just as God does at times, in the last hour,

when we were approaching a surgery date, 

He touched her heart and she went back into

Sinus Rhythm, no longer needing a 

pacemaker.  Whoo-hoo!

Best. News. Ever.

It was sometime this year that I realized

how much our boys are growing up.

Their new skill sets this year that have clued me in...

using a power drill to carve a pumpkin,

chopping wood with an ax,

and perhaps noticing girls more than I'd like.


And, I have to end on this picture.

This was where I left off in my last posts.

We were still in the hospital for Raimey's heart surgery,

12 days after surgery, 

we were being discharged and

went to say good-bye to our friends,

Andrea and Rini.

Rini was newly adopted from China and her heart and health were failing fast.

We had enjoyed many visits between the 9th floor and 10th floor of Doernbecher Children's Hospital, but we were leaving and she was not. In fact, shortly after discharge, Rini was life-flighted to Seattle Children's where she would be evaluated for a heart transplant. There were many moments of doubt as to whether she'd be strong enough to be considered a candidate, but miraculously, she was accepted for a heart. And...even more miraculously, in less than three months from coming home from China, Rini received her new heart. Her story has been a testament of God's faithfulness and has reminded us how often God is there, even in the final hours. Her heart stopped more than once prior to transplant and she was on life support while waiting, and hoping, for a heart to come available. And it did. Rini received a new heart on November 13th and is still at Seattle Children's recovering. You can read her story here...

 I am excited about what 2014 holds not only for our family, but for so many others. Medical miracles, adoptions, pregnancies and births....the hope and possibilities are endless when we give them to God!

~ May He bless you and yours in 2014  ~

Sneak Peeks at Roo Roo...

Sneak Peeks at Roo Roo...

Raimey is from Qingdao, Shandong Province

Raimey is from Qingdao, Shandong Province

Our family of 5 on the famous red couch!

Our family of 5 on the famous red couch!

If you have time to watch & listen...let it touch your heart!