Archive for October, 2014

  • We LOVE Pink!

    Date: 2014.10.30 | Category: Adoption, Congenital Heart Defect, Evangeline Faith

    We got the wonderful news Tuesday that we could head home.

    7 days post-op from open heart surgery and she was ready to go.

    Evie 17

    She was ready in two seconds flat with her cape, sparkly boots, phone, and purse with all her critters.

    Evie 15

    Dr. Marx came to say goodbye and to let us know how pleased he was with her recovery.

    Evie 10

    She could barely contain the giggles in the elevator.

    Evie 11

    Everyone thought she was very stylish!

    Evie 14

    We said our prayers before we took off.

    Evie 12

    She was so happy to be home with the other littles.

    Evie

    And the middles…

    Evie 5

    Evie 4

    And the bigs were happy too.  Although I did not take any pictures to prove this fact.

    It’s hard to tell which little is the happiest to have her home.

    Evie 8

    Evie 7

    Evie 3

    Evie 2

    Trying to get a picture with Lainey proved to be quite the challenge.

    Evie 1

    After 2 1/2 years of having little blue ones in the house, the surgeries are done and everyone is PINK!

    Evie 9

    WE LOVE THE COLOR PINK!  It looks pretty good on our Evie Faith!

    We have been so blessed through the past year with all your prayers.  It started with Evie’s heart cath in August of last year, we had four more heart catherizations and three more open heart surgeries.   Each one of the kids did unbelievably well.  With each of the last three surgeries, the kids were discharged on post op day 7.  Have I told you how much I love the number 7?  Here is the definition for the number 7 in the Bible.

    Seven is the number of completeness and perfection (both physical and spiritual).

    Seems pretty appropriate for these little ones who are healing emotionally, spiritually, and physically.

    Thank you again for every prayer said, every word of encouragement uttered, and for standing with us during this busy, busy year.  We can not possibly put into words how much it meant.

    Praise be to God!

    We are indeed seriously blessed!!!

  • Just when I thought I’d heard it all.

    Date: 2014.10.26 | Category: Adoption

    I have blogged a few times about what people have said to us on this adoption journey.   I wrote about the  Top 10 Questions.  Later, I wrote another post about the Questions we’ve been asked.   And most recently I wrote a blog about the Four Types of People we have met.

    I have heard “Boy, you have your hands full.” so many times when I’m out shopping, that I have considered, whenever I am out with the kids, wearing a t-shirt that says, “If you think my hands are full, you should see my heart.”

    Believe it or not…

    Yes, I know how it happens.

    Yes, I have time to play with everyone.

    Yes, they are happy.

    Yes, they like each other.

    Yes, they are loved.

    Yes, I am blessed.

    I know that I am not the only person who hears these things.  You-tube is full of funny videos about just this thing.   This Christmas video is one of my favorites.  Believe it or not we have been asked each and every one of these questions.  Although, I don’t think Cassie would approve of the very first answer.  🙂

    There are many, many blogs talking about this very subject.  I know it doesn’t just happen to me.  I know most people don’t mean anything by it.  I answer politely and with grace as often as possible.  I can sometimes be blunt when I think it will make a better point to help someone remember not to judge in the future.  For example, when we were flying to Boston for her surgery, Evie asked if she could have a Coke.  I told her yes and when they were handing out drinks I asked the flight attendant for a Coke for Evie.  She asked me if I was really going to give Evie a Coke. Lots of times I just smile and let things go.  But this time she just stared at me with the most obnoxious look on her face and I thought I needed to say something.   I informed her that I was indeed going to give Evie a Coke.  I also told her that Evie was having open heart surgery on Monday and I wasn’t sure if she was going to live or not so today I was okay with her having a Coke.

    I honestly do try to answer politely.  I try to keep a smile on my face.  I know most people are just trying to be funny.  I know most people don’t mean anything by it.  I have even practiced responses to lots of the usual questions so I am better prepared to answer, but sometimes I get asked a question that just throws me for a loop.

    It happened on this trip.  She asked this question right after she had just asked about all of our children.  I thought she was truly interested.

    “Do you think you might have done something wrong in a previous life to deserve this?”

    How do you even answer that?   There aren’t any one or two sentence answers that are going to properly answer it.

    No, I never think that.  I honestly often wonder how I got to be so lucky?  Why am I so blessed?  Why do I get to parent these beautiful children?  It has never crossed my mind that God might be punishing me.

    It’s all about perspective I guess.

    All I know is Seriously Blessed is the name of my blog for a reason.

     

     

  • Evie Update

    Date: 2014.10.23 | Category: Congenital Heart Defect, Evangeline Faith

    Amazingly, two days after having open heart surgery, Evie was discharged to the cardiac floor.

    Evie 5

    Today, post-op day 3, she no longer needs extra oxygen.  She has started eating again and is acting more like her sweet, little self.

    Evie 7

    Yesterday and today have been healing days.

    We have blown bubbles to help us clear our lungs.

    Evie 8

    We’ve dressed up in our pretty jewelry that daddy bought so we can pretend to be a princess.

    Evie 6

    And we’ve taken lots of naps surrounded by our soft, cuddly friends.

    Evie 9

    As Dan and I sat there today looking at her sweet face, we were reminiscing about what she looked like when we first met her on that day in May of 2013.  She was a 26 month old, bald, very blue little girl with oxygen sats in the 50’s, weighing 13 pounds, unable to even sit up by herself,  and able to fit in a 6 month pair of pajamas.

    Even then, as sick as she was, you could see her big personality shining through.

    Evie 4

    Dan and I are feeling very blessed this evening.  What an amazing journey this has been.

  • Today is the Day

    Date: 2014.10.20 | Category: Congenital Heart Defect, Evangeline Faith

    Today is the day that the Lord has made.  Let us rejoice and be glad in it.  Today Evie has her Fontan surgery.  Today Evie gets a chance at a longer life.  Today is a beautiful day!

    For some reason getting ready for Evie’s surgery has been extra difficult.  Ben and Eli both had great results, better than normal results even, but this time there has been a small voice whispering “You’ve had too much good luck!”.

    Evie 1

    I know this isn’t the truth.  It’s not luck.  I have nothing to do with it. It’s not based on rewarding or punishing me.   Evie’s life has been forever known to God.  God did not set out to harm Evie. God did not leave Evie on the side of the road.  Man did that.  I won’t get into debates about whether God made Evie this way or why her parents had to leave her.   I can not even begin to fathom the whys of the world.

    If you know Evie, you know she oozes joy. She is a beautiful soul.  She is full of laughter and light.  She makes friends wherever she goes.  Evie’s plan is most assuredly John 9:1-3.  If you have never heard this verse, here it is…

    As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.  John 9:1-3

    I see that with Evie.  I see the works of God displayed in her.  How many of us can say that about our lives?

    Evie 2

    As I was flying to Boston I had lots of time to just look at my girl.  I watched as the flight attendants and people around us interacted with her.  When we landed, the gentlemen in our row told me that he flies all the time and has never, ever seen a child behave so well.   If you had seen us earlier when we arrived at the airport, you’d know what a miracle this was.  We arrived at the airport and Evie refused to get out of the car.  She cried and yelled, “I don’t want to go.”  She knew exactly where we were going.

    As we headed to security, I went over the plans.  We would fly to Boston.  We would have a good night and go to our doctor’s appointment.  The doctor’s appointment would have no big owies.  We would have two days just to hang out and have fun together.  I told her we had three days until surgery.  I told her if she was sad and worried leading up to surgery, she wouldn’t have fun the next three days.  I asked her if she trusted mommy and she said, “YES!”   From that moment on she has done really well.  Whenever we went to radiology, labs, echo, she was nervous, would cry a bit, and I would say,  “Do you trust me?” and she would yell, “YES!” and smile.  I can not even begin to explain what that did to my heart.

    Evie 3

    It was then that I understood why I was so nervous.  Evie was trusting us to do what was best for her.   We are trying to make the best decisions we can with the information we have.  Dr. delNido is skipping the second stage and going straight to the third stage.  This is wonderful because it will save her having another big open heart surgery but it makes it a little more complicated.  We are trusting the doctor’s decisions.  They know so much more than we do and are the best that there is in cardiology.  But the risks are still there…complications, strokes, and death are possible.  Every time you head in for open heart surgery you take a chance.  You are hoping to extend their lives, to give them a better quality of life and a longer life, but the truth is it doesn’t always work that way.

    I was feeling a little nervous and then I read this devotional.  I have mentioned many times how I love that God brings the words to me that I need to hear when I need to hear them.

    “The truth is that all things belong to God, including our time and our children. Every heartbeat is His gift. This perspective encourages us to make our offerings as true worship because we realize we have no claim on the things of this earth. It is only because of grace that we are able to have fellowship with Him and offer those gifts in the first place.”  – Parenting by Design

    Every heartbeat is a gift.  I truly believe that.  It is only by grace that I have been granted the opportunity to be Evie’s mama.  I am worshiping a God who has graciously granted us 525 days with Evie.  525 of the most beautiful days that you could ever hope to have.  Today I praise a God of possibilities.  I praise a God of second chances.  I praise a God that knows every hair on Evie’s head.   He has always known her and will hold her in His hand.  He loves my girl even more than I do.

    evie

    We arrived at the hospital at 6 a.m.  They took her to the O.R. at 7:30.  They are expecting it to take at least six hours and I will update how it goes in the comment section.

    Please continue to pray for Evie.  Pray for the doctors and for everyone who will come in contact with her.  May they see God’s love and hope in everything that we do.  May Evie’s life continue to be a beacon of light showing all of God’s good works.

     

  • Traveling with Evie

    Date: 2014.10.17 | Category: Adoption, Evangeline Faith, Faith

    There’s an amazing thing that happens when we are traveling and in the hospital.  We are presented time and time again with the opportunity to share our adoption story, this is especially true when you travel with Evie.  We like to joke that Evie may have half a heart but God gave her double the personality.  She is social.  She is a greeter.  She says “Hi!” to everyone she meets.  She is just a beautiful soul.   She notices everyone from the lady sitting by herself on the bench to the little girl in the hot pink wheelchair in the gift shop who everyone else just walked by.  Evie saw her.  Evie said hello to her and blew her a kiss.  The grandmother even mentioned how most little kids are afraid of this little girl, but not Evie.

    evie 2

    Today we had the pre-op appointment getting ready for her Fontan surgery bright and early Monday morning.  All day long she has been practicing saying “How are you?”.  It just cracks me up.  She told the x-ray tech that she was sorry she cried.  She even thanked the phlebotomist for her owie.

    The adoption talk starts when people say how cute she is, how social she is, and then they ask if she has any brothers or sisters.  When I say that she has 13 siblings, there are a variety of ways people respond.  You can usually tell within one or two questions which group they will fall into.

    The Skeptic” – these people believe we must have some ulterior motive – want money, glory, to get a book deal or to be on reality TV, etc.

    The Confused” – Why would you put yourself through this? Why China and not the U.S.?  Are you crazy?

    The Appreciative” – You are so kind, thank you, your kids are so lucky.

    The Curious” – I’ve always thought about adoption or I’d love a large family…

    The skeptics hurt my heart.  I wonder how they could think those things.   Adoption is hard.  How could anyone think you did it for any of those reason?  How many people really get a reality show?  I most certainly don’t want one.  Our house is too loud to be a t.v. show.  I often refer to our house as controlled chaos.  I love children running and laughing out loud.  I love loud, off key singing and dancing.  Plus, it is way too much work to try and be famous.

    Answering the questions of the confused are much harder because I am constantly on defense.  Trying to justify why one child deserves to be adopted is impossible.  The truth is trying to adopt when you are older is tricky.  There were many factors in why we chose to adopt from China.  After we traveled the first time, there were even more reasons why we went back.  None of this can be explained in just a couple of sentences nor will any of it make sense to someone who doesn’t understand what a child living in institutional care goes through.  (Jasmine’s Blog)

    Then there are those who go on and on about what we are doing.  They are the appreciative.  It’s embarrassing.  Honestly anyone who spends a moment with these guys would have to be blind and unfeeling to not understand why we do it.  They are beautiful souls full of life and love.  Their joy is contagious.   I am not special or extra kind or wonderful.  I am blessed, truly blessed to be their mama.

    My favorite moments are with the curious.  I love when people truly, honestly want to know why.  What would lead us to do this?  Why would we open our hearts to pain?  Why would we invest this much time in children that have health issues?   Why would we adopt nine?

    I love how often God puts those in our path that have been thinking about adopting.  It happens time and time again.  It is inspiring to talk with those that are in the process of adopting, have adopted, or have gone on mission trips and cared for special needs children.  It’s fun to share notes, encourage others, and learn about new organizations that are helping those in need.

    I enjoy being able to share how God lead us to each of the children.  God has amazingly opened up doors time and time again.  I love to share about the children’s stories because it is not about me or Dan or our family.  It’s all about God.  It is an honor to be able to share their stories, to talk about how far they have come, and what it means to step out in fear, but with trust that God’s plan is perfect!

    It’s hard to contain your joy when you have been allowed to be part of such amazing stories.  I mean really who wouldn’t want to be a part of this girl’s life?

    evie 3

    Just a reminder:

    If you are on Facebook, you can follow along at Seriously Blessed by Adoption.

    The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and He helps me.  My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise Him.  Psalm 28:7  NIV


     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • The Flower That Blooms

    Date: 2014.10.05 | Category: Adoption, Jasmine (Shuang Shuang)

    I just wanted to let everyone know that our daughter, Jasmine, has decided to start a blog too.   She wants to share what it was like to be in an orphanage for six years, almost age out, join a family, and come to America.  She hopes to help other older children who may be afraid by letting them know family is a wonderful thing.

    http://www.flowerthatblooms.com/

    Her first blog is entitled Adoption Day.

    She was such a brave girl. She knew very little English.  She couldn’t run away from us if she had wanted to because of her muscular dystrophy.  Yet, she put a smile on her face and chose to be brave and happy about all that her life could be.  It is truly a blessing to be her mother and I am honored to share her words with you.

     

     

     

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