Friday, May 31, 2013

Waiting for the Green Light

Our littlest made it through surgery.  THANK YOU FOR PRAYING.  It was a LONG surgery but in the end -all is well.
 


 

After a night on a couch next to his bed... my brain has little creative power in it so I'm just going to be simple.



For some reason unknown to the doctor - Aaron's bones hadn't healed from the first surgery.  We knew they were not fully healed based on an end of April X-ray but everyone had assumed that by now the bones would have knit together.  It didn't happen.  This meant that surgery would most likely have been inevitable.  We just did it sooner rather than later!
 
On top of that - when Aaron fell we think he hit the plate in his arm directly on the threshold.  There is no other way that that plate could have bent the way it did.  We were gifted the plate after surgery and I could not bend it.  It is a substantial plate.   When Aaron fell - he fell HARD.
 
So in surgery Dr. Z worked hard to ensure that Aaron's brain would recognize a broken bone and fix it.  This included roughing up the edges of the two ends and doing a bone graft.   He also put in a larger plate which has its own risks but protecting the broken section took priority.
 
Here's the wild part of the surgery.... while Aaron was under, Dr. VanBosse, Aaron's lower extremity doctor, went into the OR and manually manipulated Aaron's frozen knee.  We had NO IDEA he was going to do this so imagine our surprise when he came up to the surgical waiting room to tell us that he had worked on Aaron's leg to try to break up the scar tissue inside.   He was able to get it moving again.  We were absolutely overjoyed.  Honestly - that stuff happens only at Shriners.  It will take a lot of determination to keep that knee moving because it is going to HURT Aaron.  We plan on doing a lot of heat, massage and therapy to keep what was gained while he was asleep. 

Me thinks this little stinker is going to do whatever he can to thwart our plans!


Two and a half years ago, when we received Aaron's one-page little medical record from the director at the mental institute - it had on it a list of his hospitalizations.  That was all we ever received.  No explanations - just a list.  One of those hospitalizations involved his left elbow.  When Dr. Z took the bone graft he took it from Aaron's elbow.  Here is where I need a vomit bag.  Apparently Aaron either fell when he was a little guy or someone tried to force his elbow to move and ended up breaking it apart (That was Dr. Z's theory).  Aaron's elbow was a mess inside.  Hearing Dr. Z describe the condition of Aaron's elbow made me ill.  Let's just leave it at that.  Things were misplaced that didn't happen at birth.  No it isn't fixable. 
 
 
We are heading home this morning as soon as we get the green light.  
 
 
Thank you again for all your prayers and love.
 
The love for our little guy from all over the world continues to astound us.
 
God is good.
 
 
 
 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

For Better or Worse....

It's our 21st wedding anniversary.

21 years together.  For Better or Worse.  Richer or Poorer. Sickness and Health. Until death....
 
 

This is NOT how we would have chosen to spend our anniversary.  Sitting in the hospital and waiting for our son to get out of surgery. 

His arm was worse than we expected.  Doctor Zlotolow (Dr. Z) is totally replacing the screws and pins.  He's also having to do a bone graft to fill in between the bones in order to convince Aaron's brain that the bone needs fixing.  We chose to not address Aaron's knee on this visit.  Dr. Z looked at it and was stunned to see that Aaron lost his range of motion after the 8-plate surgery.  Never happens.  Well now they know it does.  We just couldn't handle adding that nightmare onto this one.

So we are sitting together.  Waiting for the call saying Aaron is done.  Then we will spend the rest of the day ministering to our youngest.  Loving on him.  Caring for him.  Tonight I will sleep at the hospital and Rob will hike back over to the hotel and spend the night there.

On our 21st wedding anniversary we will be apart.

That is not how we would have chosen to spend our anniversary but we are right where we want to be.  Parents to a little boy who is so very worth it.
 

 
 

It is our 21st wedding anniversary.  We promised no matter what - we were in it together.  It has been an amazing 21 years.  I've had my best friend by my side.  For better or worse.  Richer or poorer.  Sickness and Health.  Together. 
 
All is well.
 
 
 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Will You Play?

Every single day this sweet girl asks the missionary if she will play with her tomorrow.
 
 
Will you play with me??
 
If not today..... Maybe tomorrow??

Please??
 
Unfortunately, tomorrow never comes.
 
Iris is not on the allowed list for the missionary to visit.
 
 
So every single day she has to make promises to the sweetest child in the world knowing that she can't keep them.
 
 
Every single day.
 
Tomorrow never comes.
 
Iris does not have a family coming.
 
She has no one even in process for her.

Few have even inquired about her.
 
She is alone.
 
Iris
 
 
DID YOU SEE THAT NUMBER?
 
SIXTEEN THOUSAND in her Reece's Rainbow grant account. 
 
Where in the world is her Mama???
 
All she wants is for someone to play with her... what she really needs is for someone to love her and call her their own.
 
Will you play with me?
 
Oh Iris...

WHERE IN THE WORLD IS YOUR MAMA????
 
I need some Kleenex.

---------------------------------

Yesterday I asked you to help SIX FAMILIES.  Four of those families are across the ocean.  A little bit came in for each family and I thank each of you who gave... but the need is still really great for all six families.

IF EVERYONE READING THIS BLOG WOULD TAKE 10.00 AND PICK ONE FAMILY AND DONATE IT TO THEM WE COULD MAKE A DENT.  IF YOU GAVE TO TWO FAMILIES WE COULD REALLY MAKE A DENT... IF YOU GAVE TO ALL SIX FAMILIES - WE WOULD MAKE A HUGE DIFFERENCE...

PLEASE - DONATE 10.00

OR 20.00

OR 30.00

OR MORE...

MAKE A DIFFERENCE!!

Please???

 

They are $1,898 short
Their grant account needs to read $16,300 to be fully funded.
Lisa is over there and HAS THE BOYS but is still short.
  
 
They are 2,126 short.
Their grant account needs to read $16,500.00 to be fully funded.
darrennov2011-5-cropped Lianne4-cropped
 
 
They are $1928 short.
Their grant account needs to read $3,865 to be fully funded.
This family adopted two RR babes and now are getting another one!  They fundraised like crazy but still came up short.  They are not able to share pictures but from what I understand - this little guy is precious and very very smart!! 
21116092236-Bowendec2012-1
 
They are $2,610 short
Their grant account needs to read $13,500 to be fully funded.
Serai
 
THESE ARE TWO FAMILIES WHO ARE LEAVING  VERY VERY SOON...Both of them are extremely short of funds. 
 
They are $16,609 short
Their FSP needs to read $21,000 to be fully funded.
This dear family was supposed to be helped in their fundraising by some people who made big promises but in the end - did not deliver.  Since then they have been scrambling hard to raise the funds.  They are BIG TIME short and are leaving on June 6.  THAT IS NEXT WEEK!!
 
They are $17,512 short.
 Their grant account needs to read $32,054 to be fully funded.
They are leaving in June!  The most recent picture they have of Jack is here.  He seriously needs for them to get him as soon as possible!  The price tag for getting both these boys is over $40,000.00.  They have been chipping away at that and many of you have helped and helped but we need to dig deep some more and get them funded!
 Jensen
 
 
PLEASE GIVE.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Just Imagine

Imagine how you would feel if you went on vacation with your family.  You packed your bags and filled your car up with everything you would need for a wonderful week at the beach. 
 
 
 
 You drove all the way to the beach anticipating a fun-filled week relaxing at the shore.  Imagine how you would feel when you arrived at the beach and went into the hotel and pulled out your wallet and found only enough money to pay for ONE night. 
 
One night of vacation.
 
One night of fun.
 
Imagine telling your kids that they would have to go home the next day.
 
 
Can you imagine??
 
It's hard to imagine because who would be crazy enough to go on vacation without the money to pay for the trip?
 
You may be like us and live frugally - even on vacation - but you plan ahead and make sure that when you go away - you have enough.
 
Well let me tell you... I know some adopting families who are across the ocean or are almost across the ocean and who DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH.
 
It isn't because they didn't plan.  It isn't because they weren't paying attention.
 
Then why???
 
In a nutshell.... Adoption is crazy expensive.

Most people don't have 25,000 sitting in their bank accounts.
 
Some families bring home more than one child which adds thousands and thousands onto the already steep price tag.
 
Some families (OKAY - MANY OF THEM) have already adopted once before and are going back for more.  Their saving accounts are drained.  They have already sold everything not nailed down.
 
Not only that but...
 
Adoption has a timetable that does not necessarily make raising the funds needed humanly possible.
 
In Aaron's former country - special needs adoptions move very very fast.  You could commit to a child and be across the ocean in a matter of 4-6 months. 
 
I have friends who spend their entire year setting aside money for their yearly family vacation.  They put a little bit away each month to cover the 2-4 thousand dollar get-away.
 
Imagine trying to raise 25,000+ thousands of dollars in 6 months.
 
Unless you have a few yachts or a roomful of gold to sell it is not humanly possible.
 
DEAR FRIENDS...
 
There are families who are right now across the ocean who have not raised everything they need to come home.
 
They did everything they could to get their funds before leaving. 
 
They couldn't NOT go.  They HAD to go.  Their kids were over there.  So they flew on a plane hoping and praying that what was not humanly possible.... would be made possible by God.
 
Their wallets are empty.
 
They seriously need help.
 
These are the families who are THERE NOW.....
 
They are $1,961 short
Their grant account needs to read $16,300 to be fully funded.
Lisa is over there and HAS THE BOYS but is still short by almost $2,000.00.  Look at these boys and tell me you don't have a few dollars to help them get home!!!
  
 
They are 2,558.00 short.
Their grant account needs to read $16,500.00 to be fully funded.
Lisa has been sharing pictures of Darren with me in private..... I can't share them until after they have court but I am just rejoicing that he has a Mama who is going to love him to pieces!!!  We yelled for a family for Darren.  They are there.  Now let's get them home!
darrennov2011-5-cropped Lianne4-cropped
 
 
They are $2,054 short.
Their grant account needs to read $3,865 to be fully funded.
This family adopted two RR babes and now are getting another one!  They fundraised like crazy but still came up short.  They are not able to share pictures but from what I understand - this little guy is precious and very very smart!! 
21116092236-Bowendec2012-1
 
They are $2,791 short
Their grant account needs to read $13,500 to be fully funded.
They sold their car, furniture and everything in their house that was not nailed down to get this babe.  They just left home and are going to meet her at the end of this week. Oh to be a fly on the wall when she realizes she has a family!!  Tears at the thought!
Serai
 
THESE ARE TWO FAMILIES WHO ARE LEAVING  VERY VERY SOON...Both of them are extremely short of funds. 
 
They are $16,939 short
Their FSP needs to read $21,000 to be fully funded.
This dear family was supposed to be helped in their fundraising by some people who made big promises but in the end - did not deliver.  Since then they have been scrambling hard to raise the funds.  They are BIG TIME short and are leaving on June 6.  THAT IS NEXT WEEK!!
 
They are $17,634 short.
 Their grant account needs to read $32,054 to be fully funded.
They are leaving in June!  The most recent picture they have of Jack is here.  He seriously needs for them to get him as soon as possible!  The price tag for getting both these boys is over $40,000.00.  They have been chipping away at that and many of you have helped and helped but we need to dig deep some more and get them funded!
 Jensen
 
WOULD YOU PICK ONE FAMILY...TWO FAMILIES .... OR THREE... OR FOUR... OR ALL SIX??
 
Drop something in their accounts??
 
Would you PLEASE help them?
 
Imagine if you were them.  Imagine being in their shoes. 
 
Just Imagine.
 
PLEASE GIVE.
 
We are leaving for Shriners tomorrow but I am going to be watching these grant accounts.  Praying.  Hoping that the financial burden would be eased. 
 
WOULDN'T IT BE COOL IF WE COULD GET ALL SIX FULLY FUNDED?
 
 
JUST IMAGINE...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Monday, May 27, 2013

I Am Grateful

I am grateful that I am home.
 
I am grateful that our littlest has a temporary cast on his arm compliments of our family practitioner.
 
 
I am grateful that in the last week we have e-mailed both of Aaron's doctors at Shriners and BOTH DOCTORS e-mailed us back.  Several times.  That means the world to us.  Aaron's arm doctor is ON VACATION.  Yet he still took the time to e-mail us and reassure us that he will take care of our boy. 
 
We are traveling to Shriners on Wednesday.  We aren't sure when they will fix his arm or exactly how they will do it.  But I am grateful they are going to take care of him.
 
I'm grateful that the day before Aaron fell he had a blast at his school's field day.
 
 
I'm grateful that he was able to ride his bike with his friends.
 
I am VERY VERY GRATEFUL that at my BiblioPlan booth I was visited by some very special Reece's Rainbow babes. 
 
Last year I did a shout out for them as they had just come home from adopting sweet Emma....
 
 
 
And were crossing the ocean to bring these three home too...
 
  
 
I am grateful that YOU HELPED BRING THOSE BABES HOME!! Your donations mattered so much!!
 
I AM GRATEFUL THAT ON SATURDAY I GOT TO HOLD IN MY ARMS ALL FOUR BABES!
 
LOOK AT EMMA.... She is WALKING!

 
THE LITTLE GIRL WHO COULD...

 
 
Oh my goodness I was blessed and blessed and blessed and blessed....
 



 


 
 
In the midst of broken arms and locked knees and crazy schedules and utter exhaustion....
 
I am grateful!!
 
 
 
Thank you Renee and Alan for blessing me on Saturday!!
 
When they left our booth on Saturday... my helper and I stood there wiping away tears from our eyes.
 
I am most definitely grateful.
 
 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Update on Aaron

Quick update on our precious little guy.
 
His arm is most definitely broken (in two) and the plate that was holding the bone together is bent.  Rob is sending the X-Ray's to Shriner's (overnight) and we will wait to hear from them as to WHEN he will have surgery because there is no doubt that he will have to have surgery.
 
Yes our hearts are bleeding right now. I'm numb.  Thankful to be at a Christian Homeschooling Convention with people willing to cut me a lot of grace right now as I try to talk about our curriculum with my little boy front and center on my mind.  So many have just stopped and prayed with me.  So glad to be surrounded in that way. 
 
Rob said Aaron's uncomfortable but not in dire pain which is a blessing.
 
Thank you for praying.  Thank you for loving our precious little one!




Pray for my Littlest

Please pray for Aaron.
 
Ben carried him down the steps this morning in order to take him to school  He set him down.  Aaron took a step and got tangled and fell.  Ben tried to catch him but couldn't grab him fast enough.  Rob thinks he broke his arm.  The same arm that just finished healing from surgery.  I'm in North Carolina at a Convention but my heart is in Virginia right now.   Pray for Aaron.  Pray for Rob.  Pray for Ben.  I wouldn't mind some prayers myself. 
 
Hard times.
 
Grateful for a Loving God.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Pressing On

So many of you have asked about Aaron.  How he is doing.  How his recovery is  going.  So many of you love our little guy and we are ever so grateful for that love.  You care about him and that just plain makes me a blubbering mess!
 
Honestly, I have wanted to respond but I struggled with how in the world I would share.  The last 2 1/2 months have been so hard as we have watched our little guy suffer.  The first month we went into survival mode around here.  We counted the hours until the casts came off and Aaron could get back to being Aaron.  The second month we kept waiting for him to turn a corner so we could rejoice with everyone at the success of the surgeries.  Unfortunately, that didn't happen.  This week we finally e-mailed Aaron's doctor and got news we really didn't want to hear but in some ways are relieved to know.
 
So here's the update..
 
Aaron had 3 different types of surgeries done. 
 
ONE:  Aaron had his left arm rotated....
 
Before surgery Aaron's left arm was rotated backwards with his fingers pointing behind him.  Now Aaron's left arm is turned inward with his fingers in a more natural position! 
 
This surgery was absolutely a wonderful success!  He's one happy boy that he can now use BOTH his hands to write and color and build.  The recovery from this surgery was easy and it was not super-painful.  It took his arm a good bit of time to heal and he only just recently was released from wearing the splint but it was a great surgery!
 
BEFORE                                                    AFTER  

 
TWO:  Aaron had the tendons in each of his hips nicked to enable him to stand up straight.  This surgery was also a great success although it was most definitely painful.  It took much longer for him to recover from the pain in his hips than it did the arm despite that one being the more invasive surgery.  Aaron can now stand perfectly straight.  Since he spent 8+ years pulled over - it is going to take time to retrain his brain into standing/walking erect all the time. 
 
The biggest incentive is seeing in the mirror how much taller he is when he stands erect. 
 
 
 
 THREE:  Aaron's knees.
 
This is when things break down.
 
This is where I shake my head and wonder.
 
This is when Rob and I clearly see the sorrow in each other's eyes.
 
Aaron's surgery on his knees was done in order to give him the ability to extend his knees fully.  In the long-run, being able to extend your knees is rather important.  It prevents a lot of pain as an adult.  Before we elected to do the surgery, we asked over and over whether Aaron would lose the range of motion in his knees.  We were reassured that he would not lose range but should keep what he had and would most likely GAIN range. 
 
So we agreed to the surgery.
 
The day after the surgery I seriously wanted to go to pieces on the floor. 
 
The knee surgery devastated him on every single level.
 
You have to understand.... our little guy spent 6 years institutionalized.  One of those years was in a Level 4 mental institute.  He went through numerous surgeries in those six years without anyone holding his hand or comforting him.  He suffered physically and emotionally.  He suffered loss and abandonment.  At the institute he had virtually lost all but a handful of words in his own language when we adopted him. 
 
But he maintained hope in all of that. 
 
And part of that hope was his ability to walk.  He was not tied down.  He was not wheelchair bound.  He walked on his toes...
 
 
And he fell all the time...

 
But he walked.
 
After we brought him home - we immediately set out to get his feet flat...
 
 
 
Flat to run and play and not fall quite so much...
 
And he LOVES his freedom.
 
Walking and running mean everything to Aaron.
 
Four weeks in casts was emotionally devastating.
 
We did not consider the emotional impact of that loss on him.  To be blunt.  He regressed.  We saw behaviors come back that had disappeared long ago.  We saw new behaviors that we had never seen before.  We watched his speech deteriorate in a way that shocked us. 
 
Watching his speech crumble was like being given a window into his transfer year. 
 
It ripped my heart out.  I could not stand seeing my talkative, happy, learning new words every day little boy shut down so unbelievably.  I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes.  All of us noticed.  All of us saw.  The rocking.  The banging.   The despair. 
 
And the pain.
 
From the day he had surgery he had intense pain in his left knee.
 
Pain and more pain.
 
And it hasn't gone away.
 
He lost range of motion in both knees.
 
As the right knee healed though - the pain decreased and he was able to bend it. 
 
This was what was SUPPOSED to happen.  The right knee doesn't have full range back but we are not worried about it.  A swimming pool, his bike, the trampoline... walking and running.. Aaron will have it back in no time.
 
BUT... the left knee...
 
It is stuck.
 
 
That's it.  He can't bend past that point.  Poor babe.
 
It isn't a matter of him not wanting to bend it... We can't even bend it.  It is rigid.
 
We kept hoping that as the pain decreased that he would start to bend it but it hasn't happened.  We waited and waited and worried and waited.
 
Not bending his knee means he walks Frankenstein style. It means he is prone to fall. It means he can't go up and down steps easily.  It means that he screams in pain any time I try to massage it and stretch it. 
 
Tears and Sorrow!
 
When we tried to get him on his bike this week in anticipation of bike day at school - it was then that we realized that something was seriously wrong.  Up until then we had been hoping and praying and hoping and waiting and hoping some more. 
 
But when Rob tried to bend Aaron's knee so that he could put his feet on the pedals and could NOT bend it past 5 degrees..... I rained tears and went into the house and e-mailed the doctor.
 
What we learned.... Aaron is the FIRST child that Aaron's doctor has ever had that has lost significant function after the plates were put in.  He's one of a kind!  
 
What are we going to do....
 

Wait it out until the first of July to see if thing ease. Do some non-invasive therapy (heat, massage) to try to help heal the knee.
 
If he still is as stiff as a board in July then we have several surgical options.  We will cross those bridges when we get to them.
 
As for Aaron... despite his knee giving him major trouble... overall  - he is coming out of the long dark tunnel.  He had to relearn how to do a lot of things he could do before.  Each time he masters a new/old skill he is filled up with joy. 
 
He's getting a new lease on life as he gains back what he lost.
 
And yesterday he was given back a beautiful gift...
 
 
When Rob couldn't get Aaron's left knee to bend enough to get on the pedal.... He started making adjustments to his  bike... After adjusting the left pedal so that it barely turns, last night Aaron was able to pedal his bike. It's hard.  He has little power and his right leg, which is still not 100%, has to do all the work, but tomorrow for bike day... He gets to ride with all his friends around his school parking lot.
 
 


 
Thank you Jesus!!
 
We love our little guy.
 
 
Watching him suffer these past few months has been hard.
 
We don't regret two of the three surgeries.  We don't even regret the wisdom and reason for the third surgery.  It was NOT a wrong decision.  No one could have anticipated that Aaron's knee was going to be so uncooperative.  And it is not hopeless.  There are options.  So we press on.  He's a tough little guy and hope lives in him. 
 
In his words - "It will be better tzumorrow!"
 
 
P.S. I'm off to North Carolina to the North Carolina for Home Education Convention early in the morning!  If you are in the area... stop by my booth!!  I'm selling used books to raise money for my sweet son for his trip across the ocean....
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 




THE BIGGEST HOMESCHOOL CURRICULUM OF THE YEAR!

Save up to 95% on Homeschool Curriculum at the 2018 Build Your Bundle Sale