Archive for the ‘William’ Category

  • Her Kidneys Can’t Heal But Her Heart Can

    Date: 2016.03.16 | Category: Faith, Jessica, William

    Cassie had a long conversation with Jasmine the other day about Jessica’s hospitalization.  Jasmine told Cassie that she believes God knew that Jessica needed more time with just Dan and I.  Jessica needed to know she could trust us and that we would be by her side through it all.  Jessica needed to be held and to be comforted.  She needed to know that she would never be alone in the hospital again.


    We can all see God’s hand in this.

    • The way Dan and Ben knew that Liam was to be our son.
    • How things worked out so files could be transferred and we could add Liam without slowing down our adoption process.
    • How our travel plans worked out so that we had to meet Liam first.  Liam was so good for her.  Jessica was completely shut down and refuses to talk to adults, but she loves Liam.  The laughter they shared together was so beautiful. They would play and play.  It brought such joy to our hearts to watch her just be a little girl.
    • When she didn’t get sick while we were in China.
    • When she had a couple of days at home, before her hospitalization, with Gracie and Elyse to feel safe.
    • When they allowed us to add her on to Grace’s appointment with nephrology so she could be seen right away.
    • When the timing allowed her to be hospitalized over Spring Break so Cassie and Reece were home for Liam to feel safe.
    • When we were admitted with nurses who had already taken care of Jasmine and understood how to care for a child of trauma and were so kind with Jessica.

    There are so many little things that we can see God’s hand in.  If we pay attention and if we give credit where it is due, then we can see miracles in delays and hospitalizations.  We can see how the bad can ultimately lead to good.  Many of us have taken the verse “All things work together for good” to mean that all things are good, but that isn’t the truth.  This verse means God can take the worst situation and use it for good.  It does not mean that if we believe, everything in our lives will be good.

    We saw it with Jasmine’s wound infection and  her subsequent 30 day hospital stay.  We saw something horrible lead to great healing for her.  It was hard at the time to understand why a child who had been through so much had to endure so much more pain, but a year later we see the healing it brought to Jasmine. (Blog) We understand that although this hospitalization isn’t ideal, it can lead to healing and trust for Jessica too.

    We now know that her kidney disease can not be reversed.  We know that she will at some point need a transplant and dialysis.  The good news is her kidney function has improved from 15% -which means dialysis now, to 22%, which means we can wait and watch her closely for now. It could be months or even years before she needs dialysis. This is a gift.  I can’t imagine starting dialysis right away.  We would have done it, but it’s nice to have a buffer of time to bond and for her to feel more secure.

    Her MRI and CAT scan showed many different spinal defects.  It’s complicated and no one can really give us any concrete answers.  Dan believes it falls in the spectrum of caudal regression syndrome.  Genetics is involved and I’m sure we will learn more as time goes on.  Her spinal cord ends at T8, she has severe “s” type scoliosis, there are numerous butterfly and hemi-vertebrae, she is missing ribs, and some ribs are fused, she has grade 4 vesicoureteral reflux of her right kidney.  It’s complicated and we aren’t sure what, if anything, can be done to help her spine.

    The good news?  Her heart is healthy and she is smart as a whip.  She has full use of her arms and hands.  She has a family that adores her and she will never go through anything alone again.

    The unbelievable news?  That the adoption process moved quickly enough that we got to her before she had this last infection.  When her charts were looked over by our urologist, he said, “She’s one bad kidney infection (urosepsis) away from passing away.”  That’s pretty scary.  But she got sick in the US where we could treat her aggressively and get her all of the specialized care she needed.

    The praise God news?  Had she stayed in China and had this infection she may not have survived. If she had survived, the infection could have accelerated her kidney failure to the point that she would have died without dialysis (she would not have been offered dialysis in the orphanage). If we had not been granted an “expedite” on her adoption – we may never had made to her in time. God provided.

    The great news?  We can help her heart heal.  Her sweet personality shines through.  We have seen her slowly start to trust.  She reaches out for us.  She shyly smiles and doesn’t shake her head no when we say “I love you”.  She still doesn’t really talk to any adults, but she’s figured out how to ask for what she needs with signs and pointing.  She’s asked to be held.  She lets us tuck her in.  She allows us to hold her hand and stroke her hair.  She reaches out for me when she is sleeping.  She will ask me for help.

    This is huge from where we were in China where she hung her head and wouldn’t look anyone in the eye.  Knowing what I know from Jasmine and Elyse, I know she was told she was worthless.  I can see it on her face.  I see it with the way she hangs her head.  How she refuses to look in a mirror.  How she shakes her head no over and over again if you say she is pretty.

    JJ & Liam

    She has come along way since her admission last week.  The look on her face just melts my heart.  Sometimes she forgets that she doesn’t trust.  Sometimes just for a few minutes you see her truly feel the joy of being loved.  She soaks it in.  She wants it so much.  Someday she won’t instantly throw those guards back up.  Someday she will know she is safe and loved.  Someday she will know we can be trusted with the great gift of her love.

    As Dan jokes – “Resistance is futile, you will be assimilated. We are the Ellsburys”… yes a bit of Star Trek humor. We are a bit tired.

    Someday our sweet girl will know her worth.  Someday she will know she is cherished.  She will understand the peace that comes when bathed in unconditional love. Someday she will play and laugh and dance in her wheelchair and just be a little girl.


  • So Many Thoughts

    Date: 2016.03.01 | Category: Adoption, Jessica, William

    I’m going to give writing a blog post on my phone a try.  At the rate this is going with all my typing errors, you can look for this post sometime mid-June.

    This adoption trip has been interesting and one might say almost fun.  It’s been the most vacation-like of any of our our trips.  The first trip in 2012, was so nerve wracking, mainly because we had no clue what we were doing.  Plus, Dan got food poisoning on that trip so we didn’t do a lot of sightseeing.  We just hunkered down in the hotel room.

    The second trip, when we adopted four at once and three were much sicker than we thought, was a strap yourself in for the ride and hope you get home safe, kind of a trip.  Plus, whenever we went out people were beyond unkind to Jasmine.   They yelled things at her, they spit at her, and everytime we went out we had to form a circle of protection around her to keep people away.  Even going to the buffet was a nightmare.  We had very nice servers who would save her a spot behind a wall so that no one could see or her yell things at her while she ate.  Her province was the worst for this type of behavior.  It got a little better once we got to the China Hotel in Guangzhou where there were lots of adoptive families but it still wasn’t good when we ventured outside the hotel.

    Elyse and Max’s trip was fairly simple except that Max had no idea how to NOT get into everything and Elyse spent most of the first part of her trip trying to figure out how to call her foster grandma.  In a room with many breakables and buttons to push, Max didn’t make it very relaxing. It’s hard to toddler proof a room when your toddler is 6. Plus, Dan wasn’t able to travel with me that trip.

    This trip, Mr. Charming readily accepted us as his parents after his foster mama told him goodbye and to go and be happy.  He ran to us saying mama and baba and has had very few tears during this trip.  He adores his baba and has said the word “baba” (daddy) at least a 1,000 times.  He’s only cried when we went back to offices to do paperwork. We were told by his teacher that he is fearful of being taken back because his friend was disrupted and he also cried when I held a baby at one of LWB’s healing homes.

    Dan and I are on LWB’s board of directors and we were so happy to see the healing homes in action.   I had my heart stolen by quite a few of those sweet babies and especially sweet little Christine!  I was so happy to hear that she has a family in progress. I can’t say enough good things about the nannies in these homes.

    All in all William has done extremely well.   He smiles most of the time.  He says “thank you and hello and good morning” to almost everyone he meets.  He says it in both English and Chinese. He is sweet and sensitive and a great little boy.   The fact that he has waited almost 6 years to be adopted blows my mind. He is so smart and cute and so able to do anything he puts his mind to.  He already knows all his siblings names (no small feat), has learned many English words and corrected my Chinese, and says he wants to be a doctor.  I can’t help but have my heart hurt for his bio parents who let him go, probably to get him the medical care he needed.   It seems so unfair that I get to have this treasure as a son and they can not.

    William Daddy Healing home hug (1)

    Jessica has been a bit of a different story.  Our little girl has obviously been hurt.  She does not like adults and especially men.  She had spent time in the hospital alone.  She’s been through surgery alone.  She’s been isolated away from the other kids in the orphanage. She came to me and let me hold her but it was more like she had no choice than she wanted to.  It’s going to take a lot of time to heal her heart and calm her fears.

    That being said, by the time we went to the orphanage for a visit four days after we had met her she wouldn’t go to anyone there.  She was upset when I had to hand her off to have her foley cath changed.  She came back to me and there was a disagreement between the orphanage staff and Dan.  They had the right size foley but the wrong size connecting tubing.  They wanted us to hand her to the physician who wanted to take her to the hospital to get the right tubing.  He said he would be back in an hour.  Dan, who is a physician, said it made no sense because it didn’t matter that the tubing was a smidge bigger and he wouldn’t allow it.   They disagreed and were completely disgusted with us for refusing.  Dan was not about to allow anyone to take our girl again.  I do not believe we will be welcomed back there any time soon.

    By the time we went to meet the director before leaving the building, she was so quiet.  They asked her to lunch about 10 times.  They tried hard to talk her into it but she kept refusing.   We left the decision up to her and by the time she got to the van she was worn out emotionally.   She laid her little head on my chest and fell asleep.  It was a turning point and a step in the right direction because she knew she has a voice with us and we would protect her.

    We’ve slowly made progress with her.  She will say “xie xie mama” (thank you mama) to me when I hand her items and when I say “wo ai ni” (I love you) she shakes her head yes now. When I pick her up first thing in the morning she forgets to be afraid and lays her little head on my shoulder and hugs me. Then it’s almost like she remembers she is suppose to be afraid and lifts up her little head. But it’s those moments when I know there is hope.

    Jessica Pink

    She’s amazing with Liam (William) though. She is the big sister even though he outweighs her by a good 15 pounds.  She talks to him non-stop.  They laugh and giggle and play all day long.  They are already true siblings and we’ve caught them doing the “don’t copy me” game which seems to be universal.  It was pretty funny.  He kisses her and she pats his hands.  She encourages him and tells him to finish his dinner and to throw away his papers. Liam has been good for her.  God knew what He was doing. This trip would have been much harder for Little Miss had she been adopted alone.

    Seeing her with Liam (William) lets me know that she will be fine with the kiddos.  She likes kids.   She loves to mother Liam.   She will be loved and will fit in just fine.  I have no concerns about that.

    We head home Friday and I can’t wait.  I miss my babies so much.  I am so thankful for technology.  Skype, Whatsap, and FaceTime have saved the day!

    I will warn anyone and everyone to be prepared to have your socks charmed off by the little guy.  He’s so easy to love, everyone comments on it.  They also can’t believe we’ve only had him with us for 2 weeks.

    My other warning is for adults with regard to Jessica.  Please give JJ her space.  Don’t try to pick her up, even though she’s little and cute.   Don’t get upset when she won’t talk to you or look you in the eye.  It’s not personal.  Right now she needs time to know that adults are ok.  She needs to feel safe and protected and we are going to insure that she has that.

    I’m happy we were called to adopt again.  These two precious souls are amazing and I am feeling overwhelmed by this gift that I don’t deserve.  Blessings beyond measure for being obedient to the call.  The sheer thought of this brings me to my knees.







  • Wish Me Luck

    Date: 2015.12.14 | Category: Adoption, Jasmine's Dream, Jessica, William

    One of the fun things you get to do, as a family that is waiting, is send care packages to your child. After a certain time in the process, your agency will allow you to do this. The agency will send you the address and you are allowed to send small toys, clothes, and other items. We have always enjoyed doing this, spending time shopping for just the right gifts to hopefully show we care.  We love trying to guess what their personality is like and find just the right gift.
    The problem is that none of our children, except Jasmine and Maisey, have received their gifts. I have no idea why they never received them. They may have been lost in the mail or customs or maybe someone took them. I don’t know but it is frustrating just the same. Jasmine was the only child who came with any of the stuff we gave her. We received Maisey’s disposable camera 2 1/2 years later from Show Hope when they found it at the orphanage in a drawer. We had no indication that Maisey had received anything else from us.
    Its frustrating because you send pictures and letters. You want them to know your family and be prepared, at least a little, when they meet you.  You take the time to pick out those special gifts and hope that they feel the love you are sending.
    Today Jasmine mentioned the letter than Dan had sent her.  She was talking about how much it meant to know that her daddy loved her and thought she was beautiful.  (Jasmine’s Letter)She said she reread that letter over and over again as she waited for us. Elyse said it must have been nice to get a letter like that. It was then that I realized Elyse never got our care package. We had sent her jewelry, hair accessories, clothes, toys, and tons of pictures and letters from everyone.
    I never even thought about it when we met her because Elyse did come with her locket and some of our family pictures. That locket and those pictures were hand delivered by another adoptive mama who had just adopted her daughter. I am thankful that there are other adoptive parents who are willing to ask for and carry items to the children who are still waiting. Thank you Krista for doing that for us. If you are adoptive parents who will travel soon, put the message out in the families of _____ orphanage Facebook groups.   I’m positive other parents will appreciate it too.
    Luckily, Dan had typed the letter and it was still saved on his computer. Today his little girl got to read how much her daddy loved her before he even met her. He told of falling in love with her sweet face when he saw her picture for the first time. He told her how much he loved hearing her sing and how he couldn’t wait to get her home to be his daughter forever. She cried reading these words. Her foster father didn’t treat her well. She thought she deserved this kind of treatment until she met Dan. She had no idea that she should be adored and loved just for who she is. She couldn’t grasp the unconditional love of a father when we adopted her. Elyse knows what that means now and this letter is just one more thing that proves she has always had worth and she will always be loved.
    I have heard that the orphanage that Jessica is in is hit or miss with packages.  Some people have said their child came with pictures and their items and others have said that their child said they never, ever received the package. It’s so frustrating because I would love for her to know we care about her.  I would love for her to know what we look like and be prepared for her new family.
    I wish I knew the rhyme or reason behind why some get them and some don’t.  I know there are orphanages who wait until right before the child is adopted because they have been burned before by a family backing out.  I can’t imagine what that would do to a child’s heart.  How horrible to wait for that forever family you heard you had, who never, ever showed up for you.   So I can understand the orphanage wanting to be careful.  I can understand somethings getting lost in the mail, but 6 out of 8 packages never making it are pretty bad odds.
    I think I may just take the chance that our children will get their packages.  I will pray that if they don’t get them, then the person who does get them feels all the love that went into the package and will have their lives changed by it.
    Wish us luck.  Maybe say a prayer or two that our newest family members actually do get their gifts so they know that they are loved and have a forever family that will be there soon.