He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy,
carrying sheaves with him. Psalm 126:6

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Surgery is Done

Anna had a endoscopic third ventriulostomy yesterday.  This should allow her cerebrospinal fluid to flow more normally through her skull and ease the hydrocephalus.  The surgeon was very pleased with the results!  In about a month, she will be able to have a cranial reconstruction.  They will remove a large portion of her skull.  In a little less than two years, she should have a completely reshaped head, hopefully one that is not as heavy.  Maybe in time she will be able to sit up on her own.  Who knows the plans God has for her!

She is understandably a little irritable today.  They have given her something for the pain and she is resting comfortably.

I don't know yet when we might be able to get her home.  We still need to deal with her eating issues and get her some adaptive equipment.

Thank you for all the prayers!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Anna Update

Anna has now been in the U.S. for almost a week and has spent all of that time in the hospital.  Part of me hates that, as I cannot wait for her to meet her brothers and sisters and see her new home.  But in reality it has been such a blessing!  She is scheduled for her first surgery tomorrow.  It was originally scheduled for last Tuesday but they found some fluid in her lung and wanted to wait.

This surgery is a good thing!  It should eliminate the cause of the hydrocephalus and get the fluid in her head flowing as it should again.  The surgeons also told us that in about a month, they should be able to perform surgery to correct the shape of her head!  We didn't know if this would be possible.  She has a large bump on the back of her head that makes lying on it uncomfortable and it is so heavy that she has never been able to sit up on her own.  I can't wait to see what God is going to do in her life!  I feel like there is no limit. 

She has an NG tube now for her feedings, which is also a blessing.  It takes all the pressure off her and us to get her to eat and drink.  Once the surgery is complete, they will begin to assess her swallowing.

Thank you again for all of the prayers!  God is answering them!

I have two prayer requests today. 

First, remember sweet Henry who I posted about a few months back?  He was adopted and passed away after complications from surgery.  Well, his family has just announced that they are returning to Eastern Europe for a sibling group of three!  I am so excited.  You can read more on their blog here.  To donate to help them bring this group home, go here.

Our agency just posted this morning that on April 18, there will be a new hearing in Bulgaria for the old director of the Pleven orphanage who wishes to be reinstated.  It is because of the conditions that she allowed that Anna went so long with untreated hydrocephalus and weighs just 24 pounds at 4 and 1/2 years old.  Please pray that the courts will deny any petition she has!  For Nora and all the children we left behind there, she must never be allowed to step foot in Pleven again.  Please also pray for the new director, as she faces much opposition in all the good reforms she is trying to implement.

I will update after surgery tomorrow!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Anna is Home!

I am typing by Anna's bedside at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.  So much has happened since my last post that we were going to pick her up last week.  I am sorry about the lack of posts during our trip, but it was an incredibly busy week, and about all I had time to do was take care of Anna and sleep a bit.  I know many of you kept up with us either on Facebook or through Susanna's blog.  I can never thank all of you enough for the thousands of prayers that went up for us and are still being lifted.  I will try to express through this post what they have meant to us.

My son Damir (he's 15) and I picked up Anna from Pleven on Friday, March 29.  Honestly, it was about what I had expected.  We waited in the lobby and Anna was brought down to us.  We received her and some papers and raced out the door back to Sofia.  The staff did give me some food for the trip so I fed her on the way back.  She proved a good eater, but took quite a while to down her jar of baby food. 

I'm not sure I even remember my initial thoughts about Anna.  Remember my husband came on the first trip so I had never met her when they put her in my arms and she was mine forever.  I'm sure there was some shock as nothing can prepare you for what has been done or allowed to happen to these children.  Now I know that she looked very bad (compared to how she looks now.)  I had been told she was on a seizure medication, but when I picked her up, I found out that she had been taken off the medicine.  I was not told why. 

We went straight to the police station to apply for her passport.  The lights were very bright and it was noisy, two things I am sure she was not used to.  While we were there she appeared to have a seizure, so I emailed my adoption doctor back home.  She contacted the head of pediatrics at Tokuda Hospital in Sofia and they both agreed she should be admitted.  So our first night with Anna was spent in the hospital.  On Saturday morning, an EEG showed that she was having constant seizures.   She was also severely dehydrated.  She stayed in the hospital for several days. 

It was during this time that I had what I would call some crises of faith.  God was with us.  I never doubted that.  But he allowed Satan to sift me.  I know this because of the fear I felt.  Fear is never of God.  Satan was showing me some pretty horrible visions - things like I would spend all my time in hospitals from now on.  As a mom of eight prior to Anna, I have been blessed with disgustingly healthy kids.  We have had two minor surgeries over eleven years and only two broken bones.  I just haven't ever had to deal with real sickness.  And Anna has a lot of needs!  But I prayed and I know that so many of you were praying and the fears subsided and in their place came a new resolve and strength.  God is so faithful!

One of the things that helped me pull myself back together was Monday afternoon.  God gave us such a time of joy with her!  I was feeding her and she was doing well so I gave her a high five.  Well she loved it and started trying to high five me back!  I was stunned!  She kept up this constant interaction for an hour.  Here is a taste:


This gave me so much hope for what God will do in her life.

Damir and I were overjoyed on Tuesday when we finally got to take her back to the hotel.  The rest of trip passed quickly.  The trip home was not good.  She would not eat or drink much at all.  We made the decision to bring her straight to the hospital from the airport.  It was disappointing because we wanted her to meet the rest of her brothers and sisters and see her new home.  But she is getting such awesome care here at CHOA.  She has been seen by a neurosurgeon who wants to operate as soon as Tuesday.  Today she received an NG tube so we can get some nourishment in her.  I hate it because she really eats well, but I am also relieved because the constant struggle to get her to take any liquids was wearing me down. 

It is amazing how fast this little girl has wrapped us all around her finger.  How spoiled she will be once we can get her home! 

Please keep praying for her health.  Also, please pray for our bonding.  I hate that pretty much all she can associate us with is hospitals.  We don't have any choice; her health must come first, but I want her to trust us and not just think we bring needle sticks and little sleep.  Would you also pray for my employer LaGrange College?  Without my insurance, we could never have brought this little girl home.  I am so thankful for my job.  Please pray that God will bless the College with more than enough students to make up for the extra costs we have placed on it with Anna's care.  God is able to provide.

I will try to be a better blogger and keep everyone up to date on Anna's progress.  I can't wait to see what plans God has for her. 

Photo: For all the Anna fans out there. I would like to say that her popularity hasn't changed her, but truth be told, she's become quite the little diva.