Monday, April 21, 2014

Our Trip

I am so behind in posting about our amazing, special time we had visiting my son and daughter in love. So here is the overview and some photos. 
We went in March for 12 days. We took two days to drive to Tyler and Emily's place near Phoenix and stayed 3 days there. Then we all drove (including Ty and Em) another 6 hours to San Diego to the Naval base where we got the stay in a hotel, on the beach. One of the perks of being retired military. I must say it was gorgeous. I grew up in California where I had the blessing of visiting the beach regularly. But it has been many years since we have been back to the beaches of California. In fact, all of my children, except my oldest, have never seen the beach. Oh how I miss the beach. It really just does something to give my soul peace and rest to be there. I really need to visit more often. 

While we were in San Diego Jay had to work. His home office for his employer is there and they paid for our gas to drive out there and his hotel, which was the only way we could afford to do this trip. But he had the evenings with us.

I also drove the kids up to Carlsbad one day to Legoland. We are a huge Lego family and none of us had been. Besides the shock of the cost factor (and we had reduced tickets for military as well!) it really was a cool and creative place. They had rides, mini Lego buildings, giant Lego buildings, and other attractions. We were there most of the day one day and the day we were to head back to AZ Jay took the kids there for a few more hours (we had a 2 day pass). 

So all in all we were in San Diego for 4 1/2 days. It was great. I went to San Diego State University the year before I met and married Jay, so I have always loved that city!

Then we headed back to AZ. This time we drove a little more south to see our longtime and close friends. Their son was Ty's best man in his wedding and Darlene (Lynn) is my best friend, and the one we are naming Adelia after (Adelia Lynn). We had the joy of spending 2 days with them and their precious foster children. It was quite the rowdy and loud house with the 13 of us and the 6 of them! But we had a blast. 

After that we headed home sweet home. The two drive was not so fun, as about 15 out of 18 hours was constant high winds and our van doesn't seem to tolerate it well. My strong and diligent husband was faithful in bringing us home in safety.

The day after we got home was back to the same. 

Here are the photos.

 Tyler (my 22 year old) meeting his youngest brother (Isaiah age 3) for the first time. They easily became friends, which blessed this Mama's heart.

 Makenna (19) and Emily (20) two sweet friends from 11 years ago, who had no clue that one day they would become sisters!

 Me with my sweet Ellie (age 3)

 Me with my handsome Isaiah (age 3)

  Lenea (age 6) loved Emily's dog (Ella).

 Ellie loved the sand at the park!!

  Moriah (age 11) swinging herself the "fun way".

Our first stop in San Diego was the air craft carrier the USS Midway Museum. It was very huge and spectacular.
 Adorable man, Asher (age 4) posing for the camera.

 Toby (age 9), Isaiah, Makenna, Asher and Eliza (age 16) posing inside a big helicopter.

Isaiah posing on some ejector seat thingy? I actually didn't see this so not sure what it was. 
 Legoland! Asher riding a horse as a jouster, It was a very cute ride. I think one of the most creative fun ones for his age.

 Makenna and Lenea (Toby and Moriah also rode this ride) road this crazy thing. It whips you around every which way, and you have no clue what way is coming next. I was surprised they road it. I could not bring myself to do it.

 Toby in a lion's mouth!

 Jacob (age 13) and Lenea flying a helicopter.

 Lenea and Makenna riding some up and down ride? I went on one like this and it feels like you are going over railroad tracks very fast, over and over again.

 Asher and Eliza flying a police helicopter. We like helicopters :)

 Everyone in front of mini legoland. This was so cool. Right here was the US state Capitol. 

 Emily, Lenea, Moriah and Tyler riding a boat scenic ride.

Asher loved driving the car!

 Emily hanging out with Ellie and Isaiah on the beach. They loved it!!

 Asher had the greatest time with the waves. Here Emily caught him running and jumping at just the right time (see his cute feet in the air). Lenea and he kept saying they were afraid of the "jelly fish". which was actually the seaweed. I did take the time to show them a small seaweed and let them hold and examine it in hopes to comfort their fears. :)

 The next photos are all taken by my beautiful, aspiring, and awesome daughter in love and photographer, Emily! Thanks Em they are amazing!

Lenea and Tyler, sweet sister and brother.

Our desire was to take a photo with all of us. While we found a great spot for photos, the sun was going down and it was very cold. Emily was able to get a good one with everyone except her in it. Phooey! Anyway, here is all my kiddos except Emily and Adelia. Maybe next time ~

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A Little Boy From Tanzania

For the last 2 years we have had the joy and privilege of sponsoring several children through Compassion International. It is for only $38 each month. This cost provides school supplies, medicines, food and bible training along with discipleship and more through the Compassion program that works locally with the missionaries or church in the child's neighborhood.

We have the blessing of sending them letters and photos as often as we like. We get letters in return, sometimes hand written in English even; as in many countries when the children get older they learn English.

We can send them small care packages of paper goods.

We have the joy knowing they are being taught about God and being loved upon by the ministries in their poverty stricken areas.

We have the honor to pray for them and know that while our place in their lives might "seem" small to us, it is huge to them. I have read and heard story after story of sponsored children stating that because of their Sponsor their lives were changed for the better. It gave them a hope and courage to know that someone loved them enough to care, pray and know them.

Two of our children we specifically chose because they shared birthdays with Lenea and Toby. Lenea's girl is just a year older than her but same birthday, and lives in Tanzania. She is a precious girl who lives with her mother and younger sibling.

The boy, Jumanne, we chose because he too shared an exact birthday with Tobias. He is from Tanzania as well and is his Mama's only child.

We had sent a special "Family Gift" a few months back and we received a photo with his mother and him on it. It showed a mattress, some food, some new clothes, fabric all that they were able to buy with our really, not so large donation. These precious people had likely been sleeping on the ground. How selfish I felt, how spoiled I felt for the times I complained about something I "didn't have".

Sadly, we found out a few days ago that Jumanne died from malaria just a few weeks ago, and on his birthday. Oh what sorrow came to our hearts thinking of the many prayers we sent for his mother and him. Thinking about what his mother must be feeling right now, losing her son. Thinking about the sweet last words we read from him (Compassion sent us his last letter written to us just 3 weeks before he died.)

"Praise the Lord. I am real glad to receive your letter. I am doing well at school and at the center. I am glad to be learning about Tobias. I also wish to see him and be a close friend. Also thanks for the gifts that you sent me. May God bless you."

Jumanne was a precious child and important to God. Even though we only had the blessing of sponsoring him for almost 2 years, our small part of his life was a joy even if it was only for our benefit.

Right after we heard of his passing I went on Compassion's site and picked another little boy with the same birthday from Rwanda. Jumanne left a legacy in the hearts of our family. We are so thankful He is today sitting with Jesus.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

One Step Closer

"LOA" Letter of Acceptance from China!!!

After 99 days of waiting for this step..we onto the next one.  Now we are waiting for USCIS (immigration) to approve Adelia to become our daughter and a US citizen upon landing on US soil. This next 2 steps (sort of combined..USCIS approval and Article 5 being sent to Consulate in China) takes about 5-6 weeks. Then we wait for Travel Approval from China.

We are still praying mightily for the Lord to grant travel in mid May. It is possible, but it would only be His sovereignty to make it happen.

Monday, March 3, 2014

More Equipment

Isaiah got his ventilator, which is used for a CPAP for him. The FDA has not approved CPAP machines for kids under age 7, so they use this fancy ventilator that has settings including the CPAP. It has a little humidifier attached to it, that heats up the water and then cools it. It is computerized and very fancy. I am on a huge learning curve trying to remember all the details for how it works.
We turned off all the alarms, except for the one for power (it has back up batteries) and when the water is empty. Unfortunately, the water only lasts about 8 hours maybe, at least that is what we found last night. So it will need to be filled up part way in the night so we don't get woken up to a loud beep located by all of our heads.

Children's told us the only way to get him used to this mask and machine was to introduce it slowly and playfully. We tried that a couple of times during the day but while he tolerated it for a few minutes I knew it was going to take a long time and my gut just felt he needed to just try it at night and I felt he would handle it well. So last night was our first night.

We put it on him and right away he became quiet (not like him at bedtime). His pressure is almost as low as it can go right now and the oxygen goes through the machine. He began shutting down in a way, no crying though. This was similat to what he did when we began the oxygen. However, I just encouraged him and asked him if we wanted me to hold him. At first he said "no" but then he allowed me to. I held him until he fell asleep, well actucally we both fell asleep.

About an hour into sleep I moved him onto his bed, which is next to mine. He slept without waking the entire night!! Not even a complaint about the mask. In the morning he woke up pretty cheery too. While this contraption mask is quite cumbersome and awkward, it does seem to help him breath a lot better and get better rest, so far. At nap time again today, he put it on, quieted down quickly and I held him until he went to sleep which was only a few minutes this time and he slept 2 hours without a peep. Now mind you, this is the child that has not had a night like that but maybe a handful of times. Typically he whines, tosses and turns, cries, reaches for me or kicks off his blankets numerous times at least, not to mention the snoring and gasping for air that often happens. None of this has happened since using the CPAP. I pray this continues.

 It is not his favorite thing. However, today when talking about it with the kids he said it was to help his heart. Such a hero of mine. I think I would have such a hard time wearing this mask. I put it just  briefly up to my mouth to see what it felt like and I already felt too confined and like I was choking with it. I always hated it when the put the oxygen masks on me during labor when I wasn't breathing so well. 

Isaiah was also a good sport to pose for these photos. I asked him to get into his bed to take a picture and he climbed right in. I love this little guy.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Photos Not For the Faint Of Heart

When innocent, helpless children are persecuted and treated in ways that animals don't even get treated, we all feel disgusted. Those of us that call ourselves "Christians" and who seek to be God's heart MUST do more for these precious ones.

If you have a few minutes look at these few heartrending photos of Russian orphans and say some prayers. It is Satan's scheme to keep Russia from allowing us to adopt from their country, but God is still King of Kings and He WILL win the war for these children. This is just one example of Satan's ploys against adoption and attacking innocent children. You will see that most of the photos are of disabled children. In Russia, disabled people are seen as scum and treated as such. Little children are put into hospitals for the mentally insane when they have certain diagnosis.

Russian Photos 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Change of Direction for Isaiah

Just when you think things will go one way God has other plans LOL. I spoke with the ENT on the phone last night (very nice and thorough doctor). She isn't comfortable that by removing tonsils and adenoids that his sleep issues will be resolved and believes he will still need CPAP for relief.
Rather than just putting him in a surgery, with possible complications and risks she would rather we try the CPAP to see if it even gives him any relief first and foremost. 
This will be a long on-going process, watching him for a healing of that nerve, and making sure those tonsils/adenoids don't activate and get larger than they are (I guess combined they are not too large of a blockage). So we are comfortable with that.

We have an delivery of CPAP tomorrow evening. Just wanted to give a quick update. Thank you for your prayers for him.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Isaiah Heart and Health Update

Well, the day before Isaiah's cath was scheduled he woke up with a very high fever, which has not  ever happened since we have had him in our lives. It got as high as 103.8 at one point. The cath was cancelled for the following day, as they won't do a cath with the potential of viral illness like that. He had no other symptoms beside fussiness and not wanting to eat, saying his tummy hurt. The following morning his fever was completely gone and he seemed healthy. I was a bit frustrated at first, not sure why God would allow this to be cancelled. I did surrender it to God though, knowing He has Isaiah in His hands and I am not going to be in control of even the timing of his cath, as much as I wanted to be. LOL

We had a sleep study scheduled for him for February 28th, because of his ongoing, terrible sleepless nights. We did ask them to keep us on the "Cancellation List" and on last Friday morning we got a call that they had an opening that night if we wanted it. I jumped on that chance and Isaiah and I were headed down to our Children's Hospital just a few hours later. 

It was a VERY long night for him. The technician was very thorough and kept coming in and trying different things on him to help his pressures. It seems he is hyperventilating from trying to breath and there is definitely severe sleep apnea going on. He had high CO2 levels through out the night that suggests that.

The doctor who read the study the next morning called us before we even made it home (1 1/4 hour drive home). She was very concerned about what was witnessed all night and asked if that was typical for Isaiah? I told her it was not totally typical but did happen part of the night just about every night and happened as bad as that, once a week on average. She recommended we get him into the ENT asap. He also would need a CPAP machine as well as this type of apnea doesn't usually totally go away even with tonsils/adenoids removed.

Yesterday morning, Jay took Isaiah to see the ENT and Pulmonary Sleep Doctors and get him fitted for a CPAP mask. The ENT doctor scoped him (they went down his nose with a camera which he was very brave about). What they found is that yes, his tonsils and adenoids are contributing to the blockage but only by 25%. The other major issue is that his left vocal chord has been damaged from his open heart surgery. So my knowing that this happened after surgery was right on! When are doctors going to listen better to mothers? Just thankful that he did not have his cath last week. God is so in control of everything and does care about protecting His little ones. What a faith builder this has been for me.

So it was still to be decided if they should remove his tonsils/adenoids or just wait and see if the CPAP does enough. My concern is that if they are causing some airway issues, which he did have that before the surgery just not as severe, and he has many procedures through out his life in his future and while the nerve in his vocal chord theoretically should heal, but may not, then of course they should be removed. Isaiah needs all the help he can have regarding this breathing issue. He has enough issues alone for his pulmonary hypertension. Thankfully, it seems the doctors agreed.

So right now, we are waiting to hear from the ENT to schedule that surgery. Because of his age and airway issues and heart issues he will likely be hospitalized for up to 3 days following this surgery. And they suggest waiting at least a month for him to heal before his heart cath is done, because of intubation and swelling etc. Currently, the Cath was put on the calendar for March 24th.

Not sure if that will work out for that date or not now. Again trusting the Lord to work out those details. He will also need an xray for swallowing to make sure he is not aspirating. He has had that done, but it was before October's heart surgery and all looked good then. He will also need another sleep study after surgery and on CPAP to make sure his pressures are good with the machine set up.

God is good!! Isaiah is so brave and such my hero. How blessed I am to be called "Mommy" by him and so many other precious "babies" of many ages.

Here was the night of the sleep study. It took over 30 minutes for the tech to get all the electrodes and stuff on him. He also had a cannula and a sensor over his lip to make it complete. I was not supposed to have my phone on during the test so after I took this picture I shut it down.