Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? -Matthew 6:26

As we walk through this adventure called life, we remind ourselves that we are all precious children of our Father-- those of us who have walked a little further down the road striving to guide those who have been entrusted to our care for a time. Here is our journey down this path.



Thursday, September 23, 2010

6 months

Yesterday was 6 months since that day in a hotel in China when a woman I didn't know walked up to me and put a child I didn't know into my arms. What a surreal experience that was.

Now, I can't imagine my life without her. Or our family's life. She is such a treasure to us all and continues to bring us such joy.

It has been quite a few weeks with surgery, recovery and then re-entry into 'normal' life with the craziness of work, school, soccer, ballet.........etc.......etc.........etc.

I have had some time to reflect on the last few weeks. The 'what ifs' of her condition made me think a lot. What if she had stayed in China? Would her family have been able to get her help? What if she hadn't been put in the 'adoptable' group at the orphanage? Would the orphanage have gotten her help? What if she never got help and she became paralyzed? Where would she have gone when she 'aged out' of the orphanage? What would have happened to her? What if something had gone wrong during surgery? What if ....

Well, of course, I don't know the answers and fortunately, don't need to know. None of that was in God's plan for her life. What I do know is this:

She was fearfully and wonderfully made.

She was chosen.

Not by us, but by the God who reached down into circumstances in a remote city in China to pick her out of the multitudes for a purpose. To bring her to our family--a perfect fit--and to bring her to a place where she could become healed and whole, physically and, we pray, spiritually.

How much control did she have over her situation?

A 2 year old in remote China.
No family.
Completely dependent on others for food, clothing, shelter.
A physical deformity that she probably didn't even know was there. Definitely didn't know what it could lead to if not repaired.
Unaware of a family on the other side of the world who had been planning and working for years to bring her home.
Unable to do anything to get herself out of her situation or fix her problem.
Unable to save herself from the destruction looming in her future.

Sound familiar?

I was fearfully and wonderfully made, but I have a problem, too. Not a physical problem that can lead to physical paralysis and destruction, but a spiritual problem that leads to the ultimate destruction--sin.

I was unaware of my problem.
Unaware of a God who had been planning and working out his perfect plan for eternity to bring me home.
Unable to do anything to get myself out of my situation or get rid of my problem.
Unable to save myself from the certain destruction in my future.

God reached down and chose me out of the multitudes to be his daughter. He fulfilled his plan of exchanging my sin for his righteousness. He forgave my sins and made me healed and whole for a purpose--to glorify him and enjoy him forever. To live for his glory.

God did the same thing for me that he did for our sweet Cynthia and I am so blessed to have such a tangible example walking around my house to remind me daily of his grace.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Yes!

OK, in all of the craziness of the day, I didn't have a chance to update and so, today had 3 people say, "I didn't know if you were going to be here!"

Yes, we were discharged yesterday--not first thing, but after lunch.

Yes, Cynthia is doing amazingly well -- not really seeming to be in much pain--controlled with Ibuprofen. What a trooper!

Yes, we were even able to come all the way HOME! last night. What a blessing that was to hear. And what a transformation in Cynthia from the hospital bed to the car in the parking lot. Almost as if she thought, "sick people are in there, so I act sick, but out here, I can act like myself again. So, goldfish and juice and good to go!

Yes, we have actually been able to keep her flat since we have been home. She is doing great on the living room floor with a little makeshift pallet and Papa and Grandma Carol here to help entertain her.

Yes, I went back to work today. Actually, that was a nice change of pace.

Yes, we have amazing friends who have kept kids, transported kids, driven carpool, brought us food......thanks to you all!

And......
Yes, I am exhausted! Off to bed!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Whew!

So another good day....for the most part.
She slept all night--minus waking once only dreaming, but didn't need any pain medicine. Woke happy, ate some breakfast and then slept a little while.

Then, we had a rough patch. It started with her heart rate monitor beginning to alarm. She had done this the first day with the pain, so I thought maybe she was hurting again. But, then she started to squirm. And fuss. And then cry. Then scream. Pretty soon, she was screaming uncontrollably and I could NOT figure out what was going on. Funny how when it is your own child, all logic goes out the window. I called the nurse and choked out, 'Please come in here.' through my tears....at that point, I was about as big of a mess as she was. All I could say was, 'something is wrong.' I was of course, imagining something horrible--incision opened, meningitis.....the nurse quickly got some morphine to calm her down so we could try to figure out what was going on. We checked the dressing over the incision, the IVs, her eyes, stomach...hmmm....when was the last time she had a dirty diaper? Suppository and ..... not long afterward..... fixed! Happy again.

The rest of the day has been good and we are hopefully being discharged in the morning.

This is the first time I have been with anyone in the hospital (other than with my new infants after giving birth). My thoughts prior to the hospital stay were unsure of what it would be like to be on this side of the medical world.
As she was carried away from us to the O.R. and again today, I was struck by an overwhelming feeling of lack of control.
I don't like that.
I tend to usually think that as I am caring for my children, nurturing them, guiding them, protecting them from any harm that I am in control. Somehow, my presence makes me feel I have control over the circumstances we/they are in. While there is some truth in the caring, nurturing, protecting....I have been reminded this weekend, that I am not in control.
Ever.
As I watched her be carried by someone I had never met to an operating room I had never seen to undergo something I could not imagine, I was overwhelmed with thankfulness that I WASN'T in control. That I don't have to have all of the answers. That I don't need to trust in myself. The God who created her, knit her together, and loves her more than his own life went into that OR with her, was here in this room today and was in complete control, just as he was in every circumstance and detail of bringing her home to us. He not only knit her together, but he has knit my heart to hers. My 'crazy mom' tears this afternoon helped me to see just how much a part of me she is now.
I am so thankful.
And I am thankful for a big stinky diaper!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

What a difference a day makes

This was pretty much all day yesterday....and through the night. So hard to see her in pain. She would rest for a while, but then wake and cry out in pain. Thankfully, the nurses were very quick to respond and she would be comfortably sleeping again quickly with the help of some morphine. She tried to drink a little in the evening, but had an upset tummy....and had to change her bed twice, which of course meant moving her twice, which was not fun....twice. She had a rough night until about 3am, when she finally settled for a long sleep.
About mid-morning, she woke up and wasn't fussy...a good start. She just lay there, very still for a while. We put some videos in for her and she actually drank and ate ice chips, so we ordered some food--which she ate really well. She has gotten better and better through the day, really only getting upset when her trunk is moved--rolled over, etc. She has only had Tylenol and Ibuprofen for pain and it seems to be controlling it. She is playful with her arms (as much as she can with 2 IV boards) and her legs--even using her feet to point to things in books! For a while, we had some college football on and she looked up and said, "Go Jackets." Made her Daddy proud!!
She had some visitors that put her in an even better mood--Thomas, Samuel and Molly made it over today and came for a while. She let Molly feed her some goldfish and was happy to see them all. So far, keeping her still and flat has not been a problem as she doesn't want to move her back yet, so today was easy with that. We aren't sure about a discharge plan, yet, but if she continues to improve at this rate, it can't be too far away!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Post Op

Well, it has been a long day. We started early--Jeff and I got up at 4:30 to get ready and we arrived at the hospital at 6:00. We met with the surgeon and the anesthesiologist. Cynthia was in a good mood from the moment we woke her up and stayed that way the whole time in the pre-op area. They have her some 'happy juice' :) to relax her and some pain medicine before they even took her, so when it was time to go, she didn't really mind leaving--or anything else, at that point!
They were great about keeping us updated during the surgery, calling every hour to let us know all was well. It took about 2 1/2 hours and the surgeon said all went well. He did say that this is a very unusual lesion, took some pictures and she may get 'published' sometime!
We then met her back in her room and she has slept most of the day, but she does seem very uncomfortable and cries out in pain some. She has, though, smiled, talked, asked to 'play'--we read a book, asked for juice. She is now asleep again with the help of some morphine. He expects her recovery to take about a week, we will be here 2-3 days, depending on how she is doing.
Now for the tricky part--because he opened her spinal column and had to delicately sew it closed again, she likely has a bad spinal headache as well as a sore back and if she moves too much, the area could develp a leak. So, she is suppose to stay flat, on her side or stomach, not her back.....for a WEEK!!! He said he knows she is 2 and will start to move around some after she begins to feel better, but to keep her there 'as much as possible' !!! Any suggestions?????

All in all, we are, of course very glad to be POST-op and that we are on the road to recovery, every day should be better and then this will all be behind us. Thank you to all of those who called, texted, and especially prayed today--we truly felt covered in prayer by the body of Christ.

Complete

Cynthia is out of surgery...resting quietly...more later.  Praise God.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless Phone

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Pre-op...done!

Well, our morning could not have gone more smoothly. We had an appointment in radiology at 9:00 for a quick CT scan. They scheduled a sedated time for her--just in case. They didn't need it....she laid there perfectly still--except for the one second that she looked up and SMILED at me! What a girl.
Then, it was off to the preop appointment with a quick history and physical....we arrived 2 hours early since radiology was so quick, but since no one was there waiting, they took us right back.

Her 'bracelet'.
She looks a little worried in this picture, but she did great....notice the Cheerios--she couldn't eat breakfast in case they had to sedate her. She started saying, "Eat" on the way to the hospital, so she wouldn't let these go once she had them with her!

Lastly, a quick trip to the lab. There were a few tears there, but a quick recovery! She did great. We left the hospital before our second appointment was even suppose to begin. If all goes as smoothly tomorrow, we will be very thankful. Thanks for praying--and keep on for tomorrow--7:30 start time for the surgery.

Friday, September 3, 2010

This time next week

This time next week....
It will be over.

Surgery.

That word makes me nervous. It was one thing when we looked at a file and a picture of a child we didn't know. Now, it is totally another when we think of our daughter who has to go through all of this. Our daughter who we now know, love, and treasure. Who looks up at me, holds her hands up and says, "Mama, hold you!"

Ugh...I will be glad when this time next week is here!

So, what is all of this about?

A bump....yep, that's it, a bump.

But, what a bump it is.....if she hadn't had that bump, there is NO way she would have been a Drake!
So, we are thankful for the bump. We have had lots of questions from friends--and even strangers--about that bump. My favorite was one of Samuel's friends who asked what it was. I usually tell kids it is something she was born with. Not many ask much more, but he thought a second and said matter-of-factly, "Oh, so it's a birth bump." Sounds good to me!

As you can tell, she seems really bothered by it....
In adult language....she has a meningoceole...an outpouching of her spinal coverings that is skin covered and filled with spinal fluid. We did an MRI recently which showed that there is no nerve tissue involved. There is, however, a small connection to the spinal cord. It needs fixed in order to avoid any damage to the area and exposing her spinal column. The neurosurgeon will go in, cut the connection, remove the outpouched portion, sew the covering of the spinal canal back together and leave a single verticle scar on her back. Sounds simple (for a neurosurgeon!!!), and he is very confident she will do fine, but there are always risks, of course.
We have a preop appointment on Thursday and then she is scheduled to be the first case on Friday, Sept 10...7:30 start time. If you think of her that morning, prayers would be much appreciated. We are a little anxious, but we are more confident....
we know she is in good hands...yes, the neurosurgeon seems great, but those aren't the hands I am ultimately trusting in.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding...Psalm 3:5