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

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Anna Update 5/30

Well, I would love to be able to report that Anna is home with us, but she's not.  I think she is getting closer, though.

Her lungs are doing much better.  The pulmonologists are very pleased with how she is healing.  She is still receiving therapies, and occasionally oxygen, but we are tickled pink with her progress.

Tomorrow she will have a g-j tube inserted.  This is a type of feeding tube.  It would be problematic for her to come home with her n-j tube (which is inserted through her nose) because if it comes loose, we have to travel all the way back to the hospital to have it reinserted and the hospital is almost two hours away.  The g-j tube should be more stable.  I would think more comfortable as well.

No one has mentioned when she might come home after the surgery, but if things go well, I hope sometime next week.

During all this time, she has been receiving outstanding physical, occupational, speech and music therapy at CHOA.  Her progress is mindboggling!  She is holding up her head which I never thought would happen without the cranial reduction surgery.  She is gaining weight.  Her brother who hasn't seen her in weeks, commented yesterday that her arms look "fat."  Yippee!!! Fat is definitely good for this girl. 

Hopefully my next post will be to let you know she is home!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day

This Mother's Day holds very mixed emotions for me.  I am so happy and thankful to now be the mother to nine of God's precious children.  But Anna is still not with us and that makes it hard. 

We were told that she would be discharged on Wednesday if she were stable enough.  Scott and I took Owen, our 22 month old, with us and joyfully went to finally bring Anna home.  We quickly realized that that wasn't going to happen.  She was still desatting and spiking fevers.  The doctors ordered a CT scan of her lungs.

What we were told basically was that 1/3 of her left lung and 2/3 of her right weren't working.  They were blocked.  Without putting a camera in, they couldn't tell us why.  Most likely it was from chronic aspiration.  The children in Anna's orphanage were fed lying down for years.  Many died from this treatment.  They also told us that they might have to remove part of her lung if it was damaged enough.

I just didn't have peace about this.  I prayed that God would give her the best possible outcome and that no surgery would be needed.  My heart was just broken for all she had suffered.

At this time, I admit, I was hit with a feeling of dread as well.  I don't believe that that ever comes from God unless it is a warning.  This was just general yuckiness and fear, wondering if I could truly handle all of the challenges that Anna brings with her.  I also admit that it was my selfishness rising to the top again, feeling sorry for myself and missing how comfortable life had become before Anna came home.

And this is what God shared with me.  He is so faithful and patient!  He clearly told me how arrogant I was.  How completely and totally arrogant.  I was assuming that if he had not brought Anna into our lives, that our lives would have gone along all hunky dorey and roses.  No one else in the family would ever get sick, I wouldn't lose my job, no moronic terrorist would ever set a bomb down by my feet.  Oh, my goodness, how ridiculous I was being!  Of course bad things would happen.  And the safest place to be is in the middle of his will, even when it's hard.  After that revelation, my whole outlook changed.  Jesus said that we have to give up EVERYTHING to follow him.  And yes it hurts, but he gave up EVERYTHING to rescue us. 

On Friday, they performed a procedure where they looked at her lungs and cleaned out as much of the gunk as possible.  We received a really good report.  The pus was clear and they didn't see any need to operate at this time.  They have put her on a more stringent respiratory therapy and new stronger antibiotics.  The doctor also said that she was going "downhill fast" when we brought her in.  She didn't believe that Anna could have survived much longer without medical care.  Glory be to God whose timing is always perfect!  He brought her to us at just the right time.  I am knocked to my knees in humility at his perfect knowledge and my extreme ignorance.

I have stopped worrying about when she is coming home.  God has made it clear that only he knows and that that is good enough.  I admit, though, that today I miss her so much it hurts.

I know you all have been praying faithfully for Anna and for us.  Thank you from the bottom of this mother's heart. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Anna Update 5/1

I hope you all will forgive me for my lack of posts lately.  Anna is still in the hospital, almost two hours away from our home.  In the meantime, I have to work and Scott and I still have to take care of our other 8 children, so time has been scarce! 

Anna is doing great.  I am overwhelmed with the changes God has brought to her life over the past month.  I cannot say enough good things about Childrens Healthcare of Atlanta.  God has used these doctors, nurses and therapists in mighty ways!  She is already sitting up so much better and is beginning to tolerate her wheelchair.  She has put on a little weight.  Her seizures seem to be under control.  Her lungs are finally looking clearer, so it appears that the pneumonia is abating.  She lights up around both Scott and me, so despite the craziness and having never been to our home, she seems to understand that we are "special" and is bonding.  She is still choosing not to eat by mouth and will be getting a g-tube within the next couple of days.  Once she has recovered from that surgery, we should be able to bring her home!

 Here are some pictures and video that show how well she is doing.  The first picture was the day we picked her up in Bulgaria.  The second is from Saturday and shows how well she is sitting up in her wheelchair:

The first video was taken in Bulgaria, when she astonished us with her high-fives!  The second was a week or so ago.  She is so happy!

God's grace has been truly sufficient.  I am amazed when I look back over the past month at how he has orchestrated everything.  He is teaching Scott and me so much through this experience. 

I admit that I still get fearful sometimes.  For the most part, having a child with severe special needs has become the new normal.  I don't worry about our future with Anna.  She is a delight and we are blessed to have her.  I can't wait for her brothers and sisters to meet her.  I especially can't wait to see the reaction of my 22-month-old who calls her "baby" (even though she is three years older than he is, he dwarfs her).  Now that I have accepted that God will give us the strength and means to care for this child, I think what he is working on now is my issues with money.

Anyone else out there have that issue?  I know in my mind that all I have is God's.  I know that he has never once let me down when it comes to my finances.  In fact, he has done miracle after miracle.  There is no way that we could have afforded to complete eight international adoptions in the past twelve years and afforded to raise nine kids on my salary.  It just doesn't add up!  And still I find myself dwelling on how we will pay for Anna's medical care (a month in the hospital, including two surgeries, and another major surgery coming up in about a month).  My insurance will pick up the majority, but copays and deductibles will still have to be paid.  I know God is able and I can't wait to share on here how he comes through!  Just pray for me to have a stronger faith in this area.  I am WAY out of my comfort zone here. 

I also know that that is where God wants me to be.  It is so refreshing to my spirit to read about other families in that same place.  I read about the Ayer family this morning.  What an inspiration!  Families like this that have given everything to God amaze me!

Lastly, my sweet Giselle waiting in an Eastern European orphanage now has a grant of over $5,000!  Could you be her mama or daddy?