"By adopting a child and helping them reach their potential, they help us reach ours. An adopted child is not an unwanted child; to the contrary. They are a child who was searched for, prayed for, cried for, begged for; received by arms that ached, making empty hearts full. Love is meant to be shared." Author unknown

Friday, January 20, 2012

4 out of 6 drains - GONE

We removed Tegan's final drain and Corban's first drain last night.  Tegan did really well sitting still as I snipped the stitch on each of them to pull them out.  He really impressed me.  Now he did not like the feeling of the drain tubes being pulled out but I can't blame him.  I'm sure it has to be a weird feeling. Corban on the other hand, I knew, would no be thrilled about needing to sit still but we got it done.  I know both boys were glad to have their mesh helmets taken off this morning. I was glad to see them with them off too!  Corban still has the drains for his back expanders in and they will probably be in for the full 10 days as they were still full when he woke up this morning.  I confirmed with the nurse that this is normal.  She gave me some tips on what to do before pulling them on Sunday.  We will also be doing the first weekly expander fills on Sunday. I am not looking forward to that but we only have 8 weeks to fill them up so we've gotta get started.

Here are some happy boys with their drains and mesh helmets gone!

And Angel one week after revisions. Her eye is still a bit swollen, hoping that will go down soon.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Adopting from China by Kailey

Our 8 year old daughter, Kailey, wrote the following at school last month for a writing assignment:


Do you like babies?  If so you would like this story.  My family looked at the computer for a new family member. They found a little boy.  A couple days later they found another little boy. We got them from China.  We brought them home in ******.

My mom looked on the computer and saw them. My mom and dad had to sign a lot of papers. It happened on November 17th and 19th.


She is such a sweet girl who has taken quite a liking and motherlyness to her new little brothers. I am touched by how often she writes about our adoption experiences. It is neat to see the process through her eyes.

Hope you enjoy it!

Keep praying, door has opened a little...

I received an updated email today stating to please continue to pray for Noel's situation.  The orphanage has shown a little interest in learning more about what this organization can do to help Noel - YAY.  Keep praying that upon receiving more information that they see what a wonderful opportunity this could be for Noel.

I also learned a tad bit more about her health issues.  The email stated that she has some major heart and kidney issues. The local hospital says her issues are complex and that treatment may not be possible.  These specialists recommend palliative care and don't see much hope for her.  

The organization seeking to take custody of her, hopes the orphanage will accept their help so that they can get her to a major city for a second opinion.

Through God all things are possible! Please continue to lift her up.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Pray for Noel

Seeking prayers for Noel...I received an update from an acquaintance who knows our Noel situation quite well, she had been working on seeking medical assistance for Noel and has succeeded in finding an organization willing to help.  The hold back is those in charge at the orphanage; please pray that they will agree to accept the offer of better care for Noel. At this point, her life might depend on it.  Please share this with any and all prayer warriors you know.

My prayer...
Lord, I cry out to you today, that you would open the hearts of those in charge at the orphanage our precious Noel resides at. I pray that they will accept the offer from an organization willing to do their best to provide the care that they lack the resources for. Noel is your child, Lord, but she continues to weigh heavily on my heart. I long for her to have the best care. I know You are laying Your comforting hands on her and that You are by her side but my mothering heart aches to know more. Please accept my plea.  In Your Holy name, amen.weigh heavily on my heart. I long for her to have the best care, Lord. I know You are by her side, laying Your comforting hands upon her but my mothering heart aches to know more. Please accept my plea. In Your Holy name, amen. lack the resources for. Noel is your child Lord but she continues to weigh heavily on my heart. I long for her to have the best care, Lord. I know You are by her side, laying Your comforting hands upon her but my mothering heart aches to know more. Please accept my plea. In Your Holy name, amen.

lack the resources for. Noel is your child Lord but she continues to weigh heavily on my heart. I long for her to have the best care, Lord. I know You are by her side, laying Your comforting hands upon her but my mothering heart aches to know more. Please accept my plea. In Your Holy name, amen.

Surgeries successful - recovering

It was a long day of surgeries on Thursday.  Corban began the day at 7:30am and Angel came out of surgery about 2:30pm.  The surgeries all went well.  Each of the boys had 3 tissue expanders placed.  We had only expected Corban to have two large expanders placed in his back but at his preop appointment on Wednesday we learned Dr. B thought he'd need to place a small one in Corban's forehead to removed the spot located there.  It was then that we got a clearer understand of his intentions for Angel.

Angel had a portion of the remaining nevus on her nose excised.  Dr. B also did some narrowing of her nose bridge between the eyes and thinning of the scars around her nostrils. She has recovered quite well.  She only had pain meds for the following 36 hours or so and then at bed time.  She has only mentioned discomfort in certain areas at time but it doesn't seem to be enough to interfere with activities.
This was on Sunday

Now the kids are on amends.  They have perked up each day and now the boys are ready to be up and about but we are still limiting that.  They have drainage tubes in and the  more active them are, the more they tend to fill up.  I think by the end of today we will be able to remove two of Tegan's three tubes.  Corban still has a few days to go till removing any of his.

These were taken yesterday

Recover, overall has gone pretty well.  Tegan dealt with quite a bit of nausea following surgery but by Friday morning he was finally able to keep food and meds down!!!  They have been real troopers.  I know they have been uncomfortable, Tegan will point to what is hurting and I can gage their pain meds that way. Their personalities are back so I know they are feeling much better.  The "terrible" two's attitudes are making their appearances.

I will be glad when all their drainage tubes are out though that means we are close to doing the first fill of the expanders and I am not looking forward to that.  I'm sure these 9 weeks will go by quickly and we'll be back at the hospital for surgery, again.  Their transformation with these balloons will be amazing, watch as I post their progress pictures each week.

Thanks for all the prayers during surgery!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Surgery X 3 on Thursday

Two months ago I officially became the mother of 6.  It seems so long ago yet it doesn't - I know that doesn't make much sense it is just the way it seems with all that has transpired.  With that passage of time, the surgery dates that I set up before we even had travel approval to bring the boys home have approached.  When you are booking with a well known surgeon, you have to plan way in advance.

On Wednesday morning, we will make the almost 6 hour drive to Chicago for pre-op appointments with the surgeon.  It will be the first time he has met the boys but he has seen many pictures.  It will be the sixth surgery for our daughter. If you calculated that correctly, all three of our nevus owners will undergo surgery on Thursday, one after another. 

Corban and Tegan will have tissue expanders (similar to balloons) inserted so that we can begin growing new tissue to replace their birthmark tissues.  It is an amazing process that we went through with our daughter two and a half years ago.  I will do my best to update the blog as to document their progress for others who will face similar procedures.  Therefore, I want to forewarn you that some of the pictures I post will be a bit painful to look at.  Know that typically it is harder to look at than how the child feels.  Our daughter was a trooper through the many procedures she has undergone.  If you would like to see how her procedure went you can visit the posts I made starting in late June 2009 and follow them from there.

Please pray for our children, the surgeon and for my husband and I - it will be a long day and night. Tegan (along with dad) and Corban (along with mom) will be staying overnight. Our daughter, Angel's, procedure is outpatient so she will get to leave the hospital and spend the night at the hotel with a good friend of ours.

I'm not really ready for all of this but then again no one every really is. My biggest fear is that anesthesia for the first time for both the boys. My faith is in God and that He is in control so as Philippians 4:6 says I will pray about everything and do my best not to worry.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

One amazing year, heartache and joy!

Today I think of where we were one year ago. One year ago, we were a family of 6 having just returned a few days prior from spending Christmas with our extended family. We were also recovering from our New Year's party that we spent with severas families and played games all evening.

On our minds was a 2 year old little girl, "Noel"was her referred name, that I had seen for the first time less than two weeks prior. She weighed heavly on our hearts. I was praying for my husband, Jason's, heart to be opened to her joining our family. He was praying, asking God if it was His will that this child be a part of our family though he was a bit reluctant in making our already semi-big family even bigger. Boy did God have even bigger plans.

Just days later my husband told me that he felt we were to proceed with adopting Noel, my heart was overjoyed. On January 10th we submitted our application to Madison Adoption Associates and began the adoption journey, for the second time. That same day we submitted our LOI, letter of intent to adopt Noel, and received pre-approval, in less than 3 days. I remember my surprise when I saw the email stating we had pre-approval, China had the paperwork less than 2 days. Everything seemed to falling into place. Our home study began right away and by mid-February we were just about ready to finalize it. That's when the dreaded phone call came, Wednesday, February 16th.

Thankfully, I was having lunch with a friend when my cell phone rang, I saw it was the adoption agency and decided I better take the call. The words I heard next, kicked me in the gut and the tears of confusion and heartbreak began to flow. Something like the following, "Tracy, we received an email from the CCAA, there isn't much info but the orphanage is pulling Noel from being adopted, she is quite ill." I was told they would do what they could to find out more information but made no promises that they would be able to get many details and that is just what happened. We received a medical update that had been done in December but there weren't many details as to her precise diagnosis.

Today I sit sit at my desk, with Noel's photos still taped to an upper cabinet on my desk. I have yet to remove them because she still weighs so heavily on my heart. We have no update on her despite the efforts of our agency to try to find out more. We do not know if she has recovered or if she still battles what ailed her one year ago. It still still hurts me that she didn't come home with us this fall. All we can do is pray for her, wherever she is and hope that she has improved. We pray that she will weigh heavily on the hearts of another family who will be drawn down the same path but who successfully bring her home. Despite this heartache, our story did not end on a dreary note; instead, God saw fit that we would be blessed with not only one more child but two.

In early March, after the dust settled a bit from the news of Noel, I was led to the file of a little boy who has the same birthday as me and who also has a large facial nevus like Angel, our daughter adopted in March 2009. The ironic thing was that Madison had recently recognized his file and had thought about us a perfect fit. They did not contact us right away because they were giving us time to recover from Noel and because they were preparing to do a camp at the orphanage this little guy resided at. So when I asked them if I could review this little guy's file, they informed me of their wanting to contact us about him but were giving us some time. Amazing how it all came together. Once again, within a few days we submitted our LOI to pursue "Abe" as they called him, he is known to us as Tegan!

In March we finally finalized our home study and moved forward with the remaining paperwork that needed to be done. We had made sure that our home study approved to adopt two children, in case Noel would get better. By early May, our Dossier was near completion but God knew there was someone out there still waiting for us. After our agency's China contact learned from a resource that Noel was likely not going to improve, we reluctantly gave up hope that she was to be ours and a void arose. Then in May, once again, I stumbled onto the file of another little boy who had been waiting for almost a year on the waiting list. He was only a couple weeks older than Tegan but had a Nevus that was much more extensive, though not as extensive as Noel's. Once again I prayed for God's will and for my husband's heart. Did we have enough love to add not only one but two toddlers to our family? That was the question I asked of myself and my then to my husband.  The next question was is there a good reason why we shouldn't give these two little guys the opportunity of a family?  And we couldn't.

By the end of May our Dossier was completed and sent to China.  We also submitted our LOI to adopt Corban. And the rest is in recent posts. 

Seven months later, I sit here as a mother of 6 though in my heart I'm a mother of 7.  I am filled with much joy that my heavenly Father saw us worthy enough to be parents to these two miraculous boys. Two boys who have taught us so much in the short two months they have been with us.  Did I ever think that I'd be a mother of 6, nope but I wouldn't have it any other way!  Praise the Lord for His plans because His will is beyond what I could ever have imagined for myself.  I know He has big plans for Noel, whatever they may be.

God bless you Noel, you will forever hold a place in my heart.  Praying for you every day. Wo Ai Ni, Noel.

Pictures of our Journey to bring Tegan and Corban home!