Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Last Man Standing

Oh my gracious this last week has been nuts!

A little over a week ago this one started the whole mess!

Sunday afternoon he spiked a fever that knocked him off his feet. He missed an entire week of school and is still battling a cough.

On Tuesday he shared it with his brother who left school halfway through the day with a fever. He spent the rest of the week battling a fever which finally broke on Saturday.

On Wednesday my poor dad, who lives next door, started with the fever and it hit him so hard that by Saturday he had pneumonia. He's only now starting to feel better.

On Wednesday night Rob cried uncle and crawled into bed with the fever and cough.

That left little girl and me.

Who would be the last man standing??

On Thursday I drove her into town to get her fitted for a new helmet. One that will have a face guard that covers her entire face. It can't come soon enough. Her seizures are causing her to slam to the floor face first and the number of bloody noses is getting ridiculous. We are helpless. 

While we were at the hospital she started cluster seizing. Usually that means that status is coming. Ten minutes from home it came. I looked the mirror and little girl was in Mary-style non-stop seizure mode. When I pulled over and got to her, I realized that the fever had caught up with her too. 

I can't honestly say I handled the situation with the greatest of ease. Having your little one burning up with fever and seizing in her car seat with no extra set of hands to help and the temperature outside hovering around 25 degrees meant I was shaking from cold and nerves.  We no longer give her the rescue meds right away in case she goes into a tonic/clonic (grand mal) seizure. So I waited the designated 8 minutes and when she hadn't stopped I drew up her rescue med. Unfortunately, my shaking, freezing hands failed to tighten the atomizer on correctly and when I inserted the syringe into her nose and pushed in the medicine, it squirted all over her face. At that point she slipped into a tonic/clonic seizure.

Usually they last about 2-3 minutes and then she goes into a deep sleep.

Of course not this time.

This time she went from the tonic/clonic back to her Mary-style seizure mode. There was nothing I could do except call Rob and tell him to get some more rescue med ready, as we were coming home.

Five minutes from home, she finally stopped seizing.

We carried her in the house, gave her Tylenol and tucked her on the couch. An hour later she was seizing again. Once we got her through that round, her fever broke and she was a happy, silly little girl the rest of the day. 

As for me, the last man standing... I've somehow, by the Grace of God, been able to withstand this round of illness. My nerves are raw, I feel like I've been through the wringer, but I've been spared being knocked off my feet. 

Three sick children, a sick husband and a sick dad has been enough!

For all of you who have been praying and wondering about Mary...  I will share more in a different post. Thank you for caring!! We are being held up by your prayers, love and concern!

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Breathe Mary Breathe

It caught us off guard.

What used to be scary had become commonplace. Status epilepticus. Non-stop seizures. Mary's style. 

Unique. Different.

We had a routine.

One of us would hold her, speak softly to her. The other would draw up the meds.

She had been sleeping peacefully next to me in bed.  The next minute she was in status. No pre-seizures. No warning.

It had been happening like that more and more so that in itself didn't scare us.

Concern us, yes. But we knew what to do. I called Rob on the intercom. 

I carried her downstairs and laid her on the couch and held her while he mixed her meds and gave them to her. And we waited. 10 minutes. That's how long it would take.

We were pros at the hard. We were used to waiting. 

Except this time we weren't.

Instead of the regular rhythm of status it changed.

Suddenly Mary slipped from her wacky style of seizing into a full tonic-clonic seizure.

From one to the other as fast as we could blink.

Her breathing stopped and so did we.

Her body rigid and convulsing.

We weren't prepared.

Fear enfolded us as we began to rub her chest. Breathe, Mary, Breathe. Her lips turned blue. Then her face. Breathe. 

Please, Dear Lord. Breathe.

Time stood still as we waited. And begged. Foam coming out of her mouth.

Then a gasp. A gasp again. A gurgle. teeth grinding. And breathing started. Shallow. Quiet. Long pauses between each breath. The rescue med suppressing her shallow breathing even more.

We weren't prepared.

Nothing can prepare.

It happened again a few days later.

And then again. And again.

We are no longer blindsided. We are a bit more ready but less comfortable. Her seizures are changing and we can't keep up.

Yesterday her VNS was turned on. It sends electrical impulses to the brain through the vagus nerve. It goes off every 5 minutes. We have a magnet that we can also use to set it off ourselves.

It was turned on but is currently at the lowest strength. Over the course of the next 6 months it will be increased bit by bit.

Yesterday morning she went from breathing quietly beside me to status. Seven minutes later she slipped into the tonic clonic seizure we have now, sadly, come to expect. We set off the VNS but didn't expect any results. It will takes weeks or months for it to work effectively.

It's a bad movie that just seems to keep getting worse.

Lately her drops have had her falling head first. Twice yesterday she slammed her face into the ground. Her helmet is no longer protecting her from the angle of the falls.

Both times blood poured. Her face is now bruised and puffy.

In between seizing and falling she is desperate to be just a typical little girl who thought making mud pies with the ash in the ash bucket a total blast.

So for a while her bruises and cuts and scrapes were mixed with dirt and ash.
And we could laugh at our messy-faced little girl.

With the cut lip. And the bruises.

And cry inside.


Friday, January 18, 2019



Preston has a family!!!

After I wrote my blogpost they contacted me and said they were in pursuit!! 

Well wasn't that just like having Christmas all over again!!!!

The coolest part.... They don't live that far from us and chances are we will share the same hospital... which means I will get to see Preston!!

Woo Hoo!!

Watching RR children thrive in families is one of my favorite pastimes!

So shout Hurrah with me!!!

Preston has a family!

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

One Little Boy

I remember the day. Urgent prayer requests came over the internet.

A little boy was near death. Screaming. Gasping for breath. His body convulsing. 

He was dying and the caretakers at the institute where he lived were refusing to get him care. The hospital where he had been just days before had discharged him because he was deemed hopeless. 

He was dying and no one who mattered cared.

All looked hopeless.

His little body shriveled and tiny and barely hanging on to life.

The ministry team surrounding him pleading and praying.

I remember the pleas and my heart cried out to the throne that he be spared. Breathe life, Lord. Give him more time.

Just one tiny little boy in an institute filled with boys. 

I remember the efforts that were made to get him the care that he needed. The night vigil around his bed. The phone calls to anyone who would listen. The government officials who were stirred from their apathy.

I remember finding out the next day that mountains were moved and this one little dying boy was rushed back to the hospital.

I remember.

Two years later that little dying boy lives.

His life spared.

For two years he's lived a protected life. Strings were pulled and that tiny little boy was placed in a foster home instead of at the institute.

For two years he has been allowed to grow and thrive in a house full of love. He's been given good food to eat and a warm bed. He's been surrounded by hands that love him and it has made all the difference.

He's a different little boy.

For two years he's lived with a single mom and her daughter who love him deeply.

But his protected life is soon coming to an end.

He's an orphan.

Orphans can't be adopted by single moms in his country.

Orphans belong in the institute in his country.

Orphans have no rights and no voice in his country.

Soon he will be headed back to the institute of indifference.

Soon he will be leaving a home filled with love and kindness and placed back in a building that reeks of urine and feces and is filled with boys and men who have been relegated to a life that is truly not living.

He has only one way out.


A family needs to boldly step out of their comfort zone and race across the ocean for one little boy.

He has some serious special needs, yes. 

But he is much more than a list of needs on a paper.

He's a lively, smiley, aware, social little guy who loves people and loves life. 

He's not an unknown child with just a diagnosis on a piece of paper. 

I have friends in his country who KNOW him. Just this last week they took him to the mountains with their family. 

They were the ones who stood by his bed in vigil as he lay convulsing and dying.

They were the ones who made phone calls and fought tooth and nail for him to be spared.

For the last two years they have been watching him, praying for him, loving him.

They have supported his foster mom and encouraged her as she has raised him.

They are grieving the reality that his time with her is soon over.

They are crying out for a family.

They are pleading to the Lord that he not be sent back.

They minister in the place where he will go.

They have adopted one out of there and are guardians to three others. They know the damage, the heartache, the horror that awaits him if he is sent back.

They know the smells and depravity of that place.

They have sold everything in their life here to minister in that place over there.

With all their hearts they do not want him sent back.

Are you feeling bold?

He needs bold.

He needs strong.

He needs a family of faith willing to step out and race to get him.


Someone rescue Preston!

Click HERE and HERE to find out more about Preston.

Pray. Adopt. Advocate.

Preston has $8,464.50 in his grant account on Reece's Rainbow towards the cost of his adoption. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Heading Home

We are going home! 

What we have learned in the last few days... Our little girl is fragile! 

That has been a hard lesson for all of us.

Her little body can't handle things like fasting for surgery or anesthesia or disrupted sleep or anything else. It will throw her off in every way.

Being on the Keto diet makes her even more fragile.

We are going home today, even though little girl is still not back to normal. But we are hoping that being home will encourage her to eat again and getting good sleep will help her to heal faster. 

She's not throwing up and that is a HUGE plus.

Her blood work is back to 'normal' which is another HUGE plus.

She's still acting strange which has a lot of doctors scratching their heads. 

But she's not strange enough to keep her another day for which we are very grateful!!

Our one of a kind little girl made sure everyone knows that she is definitely one of a kind!!

Heading home and grateful for all the prayers! We are also grateful for the kindness of our friends and my dad who pitched in and helped us with our sons, provided us food and cared for us during these past few days.

Sunday, January 6, 2019


We are back in the hospital.

Little girl took a nosedive on Friday... we at first attributed it to the anesthesia wearing off but on Saturday night when she emptied her stomach we knew there was something seriously wrong.

So off to the hospital and tests.

Her blood work agreed with what we had already figured out. Her ketones had skyrocketed after fasting for surgery on Wednesday. This caused a host of reactions including extreme dizziness, slurred language, lethargy,  nausea and vomiting.  

It’s a bit of a vicious cycle she is in. Vomiting equals fasting which increases her ketones which keeps her in acidosis. 

They are doing as much medically as they can... we have a few options to get her ketones down but the reality... little girl has to eat her calculated meals and get back on track.

So we are waiting it out here hoping anti-nausea meds will kick in and she can start eating without losing it.

Would again covet prayers for our little imp.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Mary Update

Wednesday was a LONG day for little girl. But she was unbelievably patient and well-behaved despite the fact that we kept refusing to give her any food each time she asked. Her surgery didn't start until 4:00 in the afternoon. That was a long time to go with nothing to eat or drink since the night before except water. Poor babe!

She wasn't too excited about all the people poking and prodding her and refused to answer any questions or engage with anyone except us. 

We knew when the happy juice they gave her had taken effect when she drunkenly gave the anesthesiologist this smile!!

She went back to the OR clueless and in good spirits.

She came out three and a half hours later quiet but doing quite fine. 

The surgery went well. They put the VNS device in and in three weeks they will turn it on. 

It will be set at the lowest setting and each week they will increase it. 

So it will be awhile before we see if her seizures decrease with the implant. It gives us extra weeks to pray hard for the best results!

We came home yesterday afternoon after a rather LONG and SLEEPLESS night at the hospital. Our roommate, we learned, loves SpongeBob and is afraid of the dark so we spent the night with the room lit up like Christmas and the TV on at the loudest volume possible. Around 1:00 am I was able to at least get the volume down but not the lights. Little girl had to bury her head under me to hide her eyes from the lights. 

You would have thought that our roommate would have slept in but at 6:00 am the TV volume was turned back up and we got to listen to more episodes of SpongeBob again. 

Coming home is the best after a night like that! 

Thank you to all who are praying for our little girl! Keep them coming! Seizure free is our heart's desire!

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Staying the Course

Today's the day.


I've been through a lot of surgeries with my kiddos in the last number of years. 

Every one of them is hard.

But somehow for both Rob and me, this one feels extra tough.

The surgery itself is not complicated.

But when it is done our little girl will have two scars on her body and a device inserted that may or may not work.

The chances of it not working are high enough that part of us wants to put on the brakes and cancel the procedure. But we have few other choices at this point. So we are staying the course.

I would be a bit less stressed about it if her surgery was this morning.

Instead we have to sit out the morning at home with a hungry little girl who probably won't have surgery until after 3:00 this afternoon.

A long day to sit and think and wonder and worry and whisper prayers to the Lord for this to work. 

I'm whispering a lot of prayers.

The bright spot to my week is that every single Itty Bitty made it over the $1,000 wall. Go look. I honestly didn't think it would happen this year. I gloomily told Rob on Monday morning when 51 babes still needed to jump the wall that it was hopeless.

Yes. I said that word.

I confess.

It wasn't until Monday evening that things started hopping on the wall.... 

I didn't stay up to watch all of it (medically fragile children rob you of so much sleep that staying up for New Years just is not an option), but before I went to bed I saw a whole bunch of lovies jump. I climbed into bed with my spirit lifted after seeing that jump. It made my day. The next morning all but 9 babes had jumped the wall and this morning - everyone was over.

Every single Itty Bitty.

Thank you to everyone who gave to them.

And thank you to everyone who is praying for my littlest today. We so appreciate every prayer on her behalf. 

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Being Honest

It's Sunday morning. A little over an hour ago little girl was snuggled next to me sleeping soundly. I was laying there thinking, praying and trying hard not to wake her up. She stretched a bit and reached for the covers so I reached over and pulled them up over her. She snuggled down again and I lay there in the dark watching her. Less than two minutes later I was hitting the intercom to let Rob know that she was in status. One minute she was snuggled peacefully beside me and the next she was seizing non-stop.

My heart hurts.

All the time.

Little girl seizes all day long. On good days our clicker reads around 40-60 seizures for the day with no status. On bad days it reads well over 100 and usually a status episode. I don't want to even discuss the worst days.

I show you pictures of her smiling and happy and it's easy to think that all is well. Our reality is a sister who is happy and silly one moment.

And seizing the next. 

She seizes all day long. No matter where or what she is doing.

An even though it seems we may take it in stride - they break our hearts. 

Little  by little. Seizure by seizure.

This Wednesday she is going in for surgery. She will be getting a VNS implant. It's a pacemaker-like device that will be put into her chest and connected to the vagus nerve in her neck. It will be programmed to send off electrical pulses designed to try to break up her seizures. They don't know how it works but for many it does. It isn't a cure. It is palliative. It will hopefully decrease her seizures but chances are it will not stop them entirely.

We are praying hard for the device to work well for her. We are longing for a drastic decrease in her seizures. 

It's Sunday morning. A little over an hour since we had to rescue little girl.

I'm being honest. I'm trying not to think about rescue or surgery or seizures.

Over the last few days I've been blogging about the MACC tree and 74 babes who desperately need families to fight for them. Yes. I said 74 because this morning another babe was found by a family!! Soon there will be one less orphan. That made me laugh out loud when I saw. 

MACC is therapy for me right now. It's a way to get my mind off hard things at our house. It's a way for me not to think about a surgeon cutting into my baby girl's perfect, unblemished skin. 

Will you help me in my therapy?


Go donate 5.00 or 10.00 or 50.00 or 500.00 to a babe on the tree and help get the bottom 55 over the $1,000 wall. Every one over is going to make me cheer in the next two days.

That's good therapy!

It's healthy and takes my mind off that hard that is coming. 

MACC ends at midnight New Year's Eve. That's two fun days watching 55 babes jumping the 1,000 wall. Mary loves looking at the babes with me. She doesn't understand the tree but she likes seeing all the Itty Bitties on one page.

CLICK HERE and join in the fun. 

It's good healthy fun!

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Real Children

Meet Marley..

My favorite Itty Bitty on the Tree right now....

I mean seriously... look at her little tongue sticking out! I would love to take her tiny little self in my arms and just smother her with kisses!

She's one of the 75 teeny tinies who hasn't found a Mama yet!! 

Come on.... isn't there someone out there who has an abundance of kisses for Marley???

What about shy Codee or poor miserable Kerri or precious Lois?

They are real children. They are stuck in orphanages across Eastern Europe, Africa and Asia.

They are teeny tiny tots.

There are only three more days for you to see all 75 babes together!

Plus, we still have 55 babes who are in need of some serious help getting to their $1,000 goal.

Please go see the babes.

Please consider, pray, talk, agonize, discuss and allow the Holy Spirit to whisper to your hearts.

Please give.

Marley and Braxton and Bodey and Lois and Wade and 70 more babes are waiting!!

Friday, December 28, 2018

Itty Bitties

It's the year of the Itty Bitties….

The littlest babies.

The teeny tiny tots under 5.

Some people groaned when it was announced that ONLY the Itty Bitties would be on the Angel Tree (MACC) this year.

Some people questioned the wisdom of only picking the teeny ones.

I did a HUGE fist pump.

I jumped up and down for joy.

I might even have cried a tiny bit.


All three of my adopted children were itty bitty babes in the orphanage.

All three were in decently run baby houses.

All three faced the sorrow and trauma of being transferred.

One went to a decently run older Level 2/3 children's internat where he spent way too long and learned that it is a dog-eat-dog world in orphanage land. 

One went to a Level 3 internat and then got dropped almost right away into the 'summer camp' from hell where she was barely fed or given her meds. She came out of that place bruised, sickly and starved. 

One was sent to a Level 4 mental institute. He wasted an entire year of his life sitting on a bench inside a shed.

All three suffered the trauma of transfer. All three were ripped from the familiar and placed in the unknown with no one by their side. All three learned behaviors of survival that are hard to give up. All three experienced abandonment. All three were completely alone.

In the birth country of my adopted children, transfer happens every year to the Itty Bitties who turn five.

Sometimes they are transferred even earlier than that.

Do you understand why I shouted for joy??

Don't get me wrong!  I care deeply about the older children. I grieve that they are too often lost in the system. All three of my children were 'older children.'

But I am so glad for the opportunity to yell for the Itty Bitties - to have the focus be on them in the hopes that they will find their Mamas and Papas before they have to face the trauma of transfer.

Some of those Itty Bitties are so fragile they will not survive transfer for long.

Some of them will end up in places where they will waste away with nothing to do and no one to engage their minds.

They are so little. They have such potential.

It's their year.

Seven of the Itty Bitties have found families - My Ronald is one of them.

There are 75 more teeny tots who are left.

Would you please go look at them?

Take a moment and SEE them.

If you have ever thought about adoption - if you are praying about it, considering it, wondering if there is room at your table - this is a beautiful opportunity to see 75 wee ones on one page. You can click their pictures and read their profiles. You can pray over them. Talk it over with your family. Pray some more.

Yes. Adoption is EXPENSIVE and LIFE CHANGING and EXHAUSTING and CONSUMING. Yes. You will never be the same.

But children belong in families. And these Itty Bitties are so in need of families. Some of them are in desperate situations. Without families they will not make it.

There are four more days until the New Year. Four more days for 75 wee ones to be seen on one page together. Four more days for yelling and advocating. Four more days for you to consider sowing into their grant accounts so that the cost of adopting them is relieved.

CLICK HERE to see the 75. Please see them. 


If you can't adopt them please give. 55 Itty Bitties still have not reached their 1,000 goal!