Fall 2013

Fall 2013

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

So much to catch up on

There are so many things I want to write about... updates on how the kids are doing, some thoughts about adoption, and sharing my heart about the subject of institutions in Eastern Europe. Unfortunately, a longer post is going to have to wait a few more days.

Mark has been sick since Saturday, likely influenza (high fever, chills, body aches, respiratory symptoms). He's exhausted after climbing the steps from our lower level to the upstairs. Yesterday was Maia's first day without a fever. Poor thing, the antibiotics she's taking for her UTI have given her diarrhea and her bottom is sore. And Matthew woke up around 3AM with a temp of 104.3. The lowest it's been since then is 101.8. He's been miserable, keeps telling me "Mama, Dima no good" as he holds his head. Poor guy has slept all day, finally woke up enough to eat a waffle with peanut butter for dinner and watch a little tv. Now, he's headed back to bed. He looks tough. :-(

Thankfully, today was my day off. I'm feeling ok at this point - just trying to take care of everyone else and stay healthy myself. I'm almost glad to be going back to work tomorrow to escape the germs - lol! Might be helpful to fumigate the house. ;-)  Anyway, I'll try to get an update going in a few days.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Just a quick "aaww!"

I have so much that I want to catch up on here, but I just will share a sweet moment before I head to bed. Tonight as the kids and I were getting ready to say prayers, I asked them each what they wanted to thank God for. Matthew said that he wanted to tell God thank you for daddy making his room and for putting a door on his room. Yep, he melted my heart with that one.

Thankful Thursday

I know it is not Thursday, but here it is anyway. I am thankful I have a wonderful and understanding wife. I have waited until the weekend to get sick. Melanie took care of the kids all weekend and let me stay in bed with the flu.


Saturday, February 25, 2012

More Love Notes

Gosh, it is so much fun to see who everyone is choosing as they redeem their love notes! Here are the latest kiddos!
Brandi has been blessed by "Home is where the heart is" (she won my heart as soon as I saw those pigtails and the joy in that sweet face!)

Natalia has been blessed by Jill (oh my goodness... those beautiful eyes and that precious smile make me want to just scoop her up! My mom can attest that Natalia is wearing my childhood favorite color combo, too - red and pink!) 

Ryland has been blessed by Anne (what a handsome boy he is - I can totally see why he touched your heart!)

Tatiana has been blessed by Kari (she is beyond gorgeous! I read her profile with tears in my eyes - yes, it is too bad you don't meet country requirements, I'd have to help you get her home!!  Love the purple, too!)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thank you!!

Thank you so much for your prayers! We just got home. Neurologist felt Maia's shunt was working fine, was not concerned about infection. They did find a urinary tract infection and gave her a dose of IV antibiotics before letting us go. She will be on oral antibiotics for seven days and we need to follow up with her regular pediatrician tomorrow morning. God's hand was definitely on our sweet girl and we praise Him for answered prayers! That's something to be thankful about on this Thursday!

Please pray

I am meeting Mark at the emergency room. Maia is running a high temperature and has swelling at her new shunt site.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Love Note Update

Thought you might like to hear about the Valentine's Day Love Notes... I gave 25 Love Notes of $5 each for a total of $125. Here are the kiddos who have been blessed so far.

Alek was blessed by Del (yes, he does look like he belongs with you!!)

Igor was blessed by Tidepool (what a precious face this cutie has!) 

 Konner was blessed by Amber (thank you for being his prayer warrior - what joy in that smile!)

Kurt was blessed by DJ Jazzy Jeff (if I could convince Mark to bring home one more, he might be the one! Thanks for choosing this precious boy!)

Laurel has been blessed by two families: Jane and Erica & Ed (this sweet girl is in imminent danger of institutionalization, she needs a family NOW! - are you it?)

Penny was blessed by MaryAnn (oh, what a gorgeous girl - I'd love to just snuggle her up!)
Sammy was blessed by Sarah and Chris (I can totally see why he captured your heart!!)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Thankful Thursday

The day almost got away from me... I was lying next to Maia as she was falling asleep and God reminded me that it was Thursday and I had a lot to be thankful for.
  • Of course, first and foremost I am thankful for God's protection over Maia. If her shunt has truly not been functioning since we got her home, it is amazing that she has not had more difficulties. Our loving Father has kept her safe since birth, knowing that we would travel around the world to bring her home as our child. He kept sweet Maia healthy over the past year and was there in the OR with her  yesterday, holding her in His arms when we couldn't, guiding the hands of Dr. W, and the entire team caring for her.
  • Second, I am thankful for the health care team who made our hospital stay uneventful. Miss Maia charmed all of the nurses caring for her (go figure... lol!). As each niurse finished her shift, she would bring the next one in to meet us, saying something along the lines of  "See, isn't she absolutely adorable (precious, an angel, etc.)?" Good thing Maia doesn't quite get it, we might not have been able to live with her ego otherwise.  Anyway, the nurses were all compassionate, caring, and committed to making sure that Maia was comfortable.
  • Third, I am thankful for the evidence of bonding that Maia showed over the past two days. When she was scared, in pain, overwhelmed, she reached for us. Yesterday when Maia was getting admitted, the nurse was going to take her out of her room to check her height. Maia got a few steps out the door with the nurse (I was following behind), stopped and said "No... Mama." She came back to take my hand. Last night, she wanted me to crawl in bed and sleep with her. She will reach up and wrap my arm around her. Tonight, Maia fell asleep holding my hand. While that may not seem like a big deal, this is huge! When we first came home, Maia barely allowed us to touch her and when we did, it was only on her terms. No eye contact, no affection, it was all foreign to her. God has created a strong, deep attachment in this precious girl and as I watched her fall asleep, all I could do was praise Him for the wonderful gift that He has given us.
  • Next, I am thankful that we are home together as a family tonight. Matthew had a wonderful time spending last night at Nana and Papa's, but I missed him (and our comfortable bed). Even though it was only one night away from home, it still feels wonderful to be back in our comfortable surroundings. Maia even commented about our whole family being home.
  • All of the prayers that have been lifted to heaven on Maia's behalf. The peace that was with us could only have come from God. Thanks to all of you who included us in your prayers - we are so blessed to have friends storming heaven on our behalf.
There are so many other things I am thankful for but since sleep was pretty limited last night, I am going to stop there and head for bed. What made your list of things to be thankful for today??

Maia update

We are home. Maia is doing well, she likes to watch tv right now (Super why and Cat n the hat).
She will go see Dr. W. again in 6 weeks. She is moving a little slow, but I think most of us would be.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Maia's doing well

Surgery went well. Dr. W was able to remove all of Maia's old shunt and place the new one. He said her ventricular pressures were increased and was surprised that she was not having any symptoms prior to surgery. We were able to be with her as soon as she reached the recovery room and came back to her regular room around 3:00pm. She's tolerating jello and ice cream without difficulty. Asked for a hot dog for dinner which she will get. :-)

We have a great nurse taking care of Maia this evening so we are thankful for this. Actually, everyone has been wonderful with our sweet girl. If she is feeling all right tomorrow, we will be able to go home. Tonight, Mark and I are both staying at the hospital with her. Matthew is staying with Nana and Papa (thanks so much to them!!).

Your prayers have been an encouragement to us today and I know have made a difference! God's peace and presence have been with us throughout the day. Thank you!


It's 11:50AM. Maia is in OR getting prepped for surgery> The prep will take 1-2 hours from what we understand and surgery itself will take less than an hour if all goes well. She did wonderfully this morning, started getting cranky about 10 minutes before the anesthesiologist came to the pre-op area to get her. Poor girl, she was hungry more than anything. I was able to go to the OR with her, she was scared when it came time to put on the mask but was calm until that point.

Thanks for all of your prayers - we are feeling them!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day and Maia update

First, I want to wish each of you a blessed Valentine's Day filled with love, laughter, and joy! For those of you who may be feeling alone, unappreciated, unloved on this day that seems to be only for couples, I will share this. God loves you more passionately than any human being can. He desires a relationship with you and actively pursues you! His love is perfect - something our spouse, friends, children, family can never be. Your heart will overflow with joy when you open it to our heavenly Father. It is my prayer that each of you who read this may feel His grace and tenderness today!

And now for the Maia update... we met with the neurosurgeon last Thursday. He confirmed that Maia's shunt is dislodged and not draining at all. Additionally, a piece of the shunt has broken off and is resting her her left ventricle. Dr. W says that he is not sure why the shunt was placed on that side in the first place, as the right ventricle of the brain is larger and better for drainage. We were given two options: #1 surgery, #2 watch Maia and see how she tolerates things with the shunt not draining. Initially my thought was that she has done so well, maybe we could just wait and see. But then, Dr. W said "If we do that, Maia will keep me awake at night worrying about how she is doing and what may be happening inside her brain." Enough said!
We are proceeding with surgery tomorrow. The plan is to remove the old shunt pieces, although they sometimes become brittle and break easily. If there is any sign of bleeding or problems with removal, the current shunt will be left in place. A new shunt will be placed in the right ventricle. If all goes well, Maia will go to the general care unit after surgery. If it is necessary to place a drain (for bleeding) or there are other complications, she will go to the pediatric ICU. Best case scenario, she will be able to go home the following day.

I have held it together pretty well anticipating this. I know it is a routine surgery and I have the utmost trust in Dr. W. Maia will be in excellent hands (and held in God's hands as well). But this is still my sweet girl and I have no control over the situation. Last night, I had a little meltdown at dinner. The result of a long, stressful day at work, rotten road conditions on the drive home, and thinking about the upcoming surgery. Today, I'm still teary but better. 

Anyway... please keep Miss Maia in your prayers tomorrow. We will try to post as we are able throughout the day.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Matthew's baptism

It's been a long, crazy week and I've got a lot to update. But this post is all about Matthew!! We've been talking about his baptism for weeks. He's seen some babies in our church be baptized and has been eagerly awaiting his turn. Every Sunday for the past month or more, Matthew has been asking if it is his day to be baptized. Finally, it was his turn!!  Doesn't he look handsome? Oh, my heart was overflowing as I just took a few moments to admire my sweet boy!!

At home after church with one of his beautiful bibles!!

With his god-parents. Kari is on the left (we've been friends since 5th grade) and Del is on the right (one of my dearest friends since we met 15 years ago this month!). Matthew is one blessed kiddo to have these two as his sponsors!

I'll post more soon, I haven't had a chance to look at the pics from church yet, but wanted to share these.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The RR Love Notes are on their way!!

Well... here they are. The Reece's Rainbow Love Notes are addressed and ready to go!!

And they are on their way!! 

After you redeem your Love Note, don't forget to visit the blog and let us know which kiddo you have chosen to bless!!  Thanks to everyone who participated in our Valentine's "giveaway!"

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Thankful Thursday

So many things come to mind today...

  • I am thankful for those who advocate passionately for orphans. God loves each one of His children, He is father to the fatherless. Take a moment to read Adeye's blog post and see beautiful kiddos who are in URGENT need of a family. Is one of them meant to be your child?? Can you do something to help a family who is bringing a treasure home?
  • God truly blessed us when he gave us the gift of relationships. My friends are such a precious part of my life. I hope that I am able to return even a small fraction of the blessing that they are to me.
  • Healthcare for my children. They have access to wonderful physicians and other health care providers who understand their issues and needs. We are also blessed to have insurance that covers much of the costs associated with this. Not everyone has this luxury and it is not something I take for granted.
  • Your responses to my Valentine's "give-a-way." I would love to hear from more of you and be able to send you a love note so that you can bless a waiting child. It's not to late. Just click here or scroll down to see my previous post.
What tops your list??

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Prayers needed please

I am not at liberty to share much information here, but I would like to ask for your prayers for two little ones who are going through some unspeakable things right now and for their aunt (one of my dear friends) who shared their situation with me. God knows the specifics so when you direct your prayers, He will understand. Thank you, thank you!

Also, please continue to keep Maia in your prayers. We will be meeting with the neurosurgeon tomorrow and likely scheduling revision/replacement of  her shunt. I don't have all the information, but it sounds like her shunt is not only dislodged, but there is a piece which is broken off and perhaps inside the shunt tubing. Thank you for these prayers as well!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Valentine's "Give-a-way"

God has placed it on my heart to do something special for those of you who follow our blog while also blessing some precious children who are waiting for a family. There is a little work required on your part, but I'm excited to see how many "takers" I get!!

Reece's Rainbow has a "Love Note" project for Valentine's Day. I will make a donation to RR's Guardian Angel Project for each person who responds to me. I will then send you a "Love Note" which will allow you to go to the RR website and redeem that note as a donation towards one of the "Other Angels."

What do you have to do??  Well, there are two things.
  1. Send me an email with your name and address (so I know who/where to send the card to). I need to receive this email by February 10, 2012. Just to clarify - when you click on the above email link, it will send a private email to me. I will not share your addresses with anyone and will delete them from my Inbox after I have sent your Love Note.
  2. After you have redeemed your note, come back and comment about which angel you chose to donate to and why you selected that angel.


Saturday, February 4, 2012

Silly and sweet moments with my boy

How about a giggle for your Saturday night?  So yesterday morning, Matthew is getting dressed. All of a sudden, he's not in our bedroom anymore. I go to check on him (he often needs reminders and redirection) and find him standing in the kitchen wearing only underwear. It looks like he is sticking his butt in Oliver's face. I'm curious, what in the world is Matthew doing??? So I peek around the corner watching him. And finally, I can't stand it anymore. I ask... "Matthew, what ARE you doing?"  Guesses anyone???

He was trying to show the cat Spiderman (who happens to be on the butt of his underwear). Oh my goodness, I could NOT stop laughing! Of course, I went in to the other room so it wasn't quite so obvious.

This afternoon, I had a precious moment with my boy. I was sitting on the floor in our bedroom and Matthew came in. He cuddled up with me and I was holding him close, telling him that I was going to love him forever, that he would always be my son, and that I am so glad he is part of our family. I said, "Matthew, are you going to love me forever?" He said, "Yep. And daddy and Maia, too!" It's moments like that that make the difficult ones seem far away. So glad that God gives me gifts like this!!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Prayers for Miss Maia please

Maia is undergoing some tests today and Monday so would you please include her in your prayers. Some are routine - she's been home a year and it's time to update her urologic studies and meet with the Nephrologist to see how her kidney function is. We're praying that the reflux from her kidneys back into her bladder that was noted last year has resolved.
We met with Neurology on this past Monday and the visit was uneventful. But, I received a call on Tuesday saying that Maia's head circumference had increased from last year. The NP had reviewed last year's MRI and noted that the radiologist who read the MRI questioned if Maia's shunt was dislodged. This was never followed up on and Tuesday was the first time we had heard about it. So, she will be having another MRI of her brain next Monday to ensure that her ventricles are not enlarged. If they are, our sweet girl will likely need a revision of her shunt.
Thanks for keeping Miss Maia in your prayers. I will let you know how things turn out.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Thankful Thursday

There are so many things to be thankful for today and I won't bore you with all of them, but here's what's on the top of my list:
  • First, I am thankful for my bloggy readers out there. I love the comments I receive from you. It is such an encouragement to me. I know there are some "lurkers," too which is fine. It's fun to see where people are "visiting" from. God has blessed me with this blog and I enjoy sharing a little of our life with the world. I've been thinking about a way to thank you so stay tuned. I hope to post about that soon.
  • Second, I am very thankful for my wonderful in-laws. They are always gracious and willing to watch Matthew and/or Maia. It makes it so much easier to take just one of them to a doctor's appointment. The kids love spending time with Nana and Papa! They are truly a blessing to us!
  • Our kids' birth moms. Because of them, we have two treasures who make us laugh, bring joy to our days (as well as some stress - lol), and are gifts from God. I wish that I could show them how much the kids are loved and cherished and how they are thriving.
  • Angelina - she is the medical director at the orphanage where our kids lived. I am so thankful for the oversight she gave to the care of our children. She always seemed very sincere and genuine in her wishes for them. I have heard some horror stories over the past week from adoptive parents who are visiting their new lovies at their orphanages. That's a story for another day (since today is a day to be thankful), but it both breaks my heart and makes me angry (not a strong enough word). Anyway, although the care at the detsky dom could never be compared with the loving care of a family, we never had any reason to believe that our kids were mistreated or abused.
  • The ability to reach out to others. I don't take advantage of that often enough. But, I am thankful that God reminds me that I have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of those around me.
What are you thankful for today?? I can't wait to hear!