Thursday, September 23, 2010

It's not always great...

Sometimes life happens...and it isn't great.  Sometimes things that you feared actually do happen.  And it just stinks.  But, that doesn't change anything.  Nothing surprises God.  He is STILL mighty to save.  He is STILL caring and compassionate.  He STILL loves us enough to die for us.
Today we got some pretty scary news while at Gracie's orthopedic appointment.  For those of you who need to be filled in:  Gracie had been limping for a while and it seemed to get worse, so we brought her to the doc,who ordered an x ray and bloodwork.  We waited for a week (which felt like forever) and got good results - after a little scare.  So, today we weren't expecting much.
Then, we got there and the orthopedic doc (a little more experienced with this sort of thing) noticed some things in her bloodwork and on the x ray that weren't noticed.  He said that he thought she either had Kohler's Disease or Rheumatoid Arthritis.  We learned that Kohler's is no fun, but really in the grand scheme of big deal.  A bone in her foot (the navicular) dies but then regenerates on it's own.  It takes a year and a half and is uncomfortable, maybe a little painful, but corrects itself.  So, we went for the MRI hoping that it was Kohler's.  We were nervous that we would have to sedate her, but she was A TOTAL TROOPER.  She hung in there for almost an hour totally STILL while they took pictures of her foot.  I'm sure it helped that her Daddy was by her side the whole time.  So proud.  We went back to the ortho and waited.  It was SO intense...watching him read the scans...making his doctor grunting sounds.  Then he stepped back and casually stated that he thinks it looks like she actually has both.  UGH.
Not what we were hoping to hear.
But...we agree that GOD IS STILL IN CONTROL.  We are thankful that we didn't get worse news.  He could have told us that she had cancer.  He could have told us something worse and we are thankful he didn't.  Rheumatoid Arthritis in a 3 year scary.  But, we know that God will take care of our sweet princess.  This changes nothing.
We also learned that there is only ONE pediatric rheumatologist in the DFW area.  So...guess what we will have to do until we get her in to see him!!!  You guessed it...WAIT!!!  The good news is that he is at Scottish Rite, so we know she will great and affordable (free probably) care.
God reminded us that he loves us and cares for us in several ways today.  We got all of our results of the MRI today...which isn't common.  I appreciated that we didn't have to wait more.  We also got to appreciate our time TOGETHER.  So nice that we were both off work and able to support each other.  We also got to take Gracie to the fair and enjoy a little carefree time!
We thought about O through out the day too.  This week was a pretty good one on the adoption front!  We got our paperwork off to Uganda.  Our lawyer said that she is waiting "with open hands" for it.  She is so sweet.  We also got our appointment for our FBI fingerprints.  So, that is great!  We are getting closer and closer!!!  We can't wait to have our family all together.
Here are a few pics of our day today...

Gracie sporting her new shoes that Nana got her.  Two words:  retail therapy.  :)
 Gracie and Daddy enjoying a ride at the carnival
Another ride...notice how beautiful this picture is.  I swear I didn't make this little boy ride with them.  I asked Josh if his (the stranger little boy's) Mom would think I was weird just for giving him a squeeze...Josh said yes.
So I didn't...but I REALLY wanted to!!!
And the princess wand...worth all $6.00!!!  (I think she looks like her Nana in this picture).

To Our Sweet O,
We are getting so close to you...I can feel it!!!  The closer we get, the more I want to hold you and love on you.  Every time we do something, I think of what it would be like if you were here.  I told someone today that I thought it is possible that I wouldn't even have to wait the "standard" 9 months for you and laughed.  Gracie didn't make me wait that long either!  God knows how impatient I am.  But, we will wait for as long as we need to.  We know God has you in His arms.  He loves you and your sister more than we ever could.  You are probably sleeping right now...sweet dreams baby boy.

Love you more,

Monday, September 20, 2010

Lean not to your own understanding...

7But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves;
 8we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing;
 9persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;
 10always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.
2 Corinthians 4:7-10

This week has been full of more...wait for it...wait for it...WAITING.  Mmmm Hmmm.  That's right...more of the same!  Woo Hoo!!!
Can you sense my sarcasm???
I say that, but we do have some really incredible things to celebrate and praise the Lord for this week!!!
We have been making some headway with our paperwork for both the babies home and our Ugandan lawyer, so that is good!  We hope to send that off to them this week.
We also had a very successful garage sale on Saturday!  I think we will do one more, but we will wait a few weeks and recoop!
We heard from a friend that O is doing well.  He is still "symptomatic" of malnourishment, but we know that God is still in the healing business.  So, we are sure he will be good soon!
We got word today that most of Gracie's bloodwork came back normal, with one acception - her LDH was elevated.  After about a dozen phone calls to our doc friends, we feel pretty confident that she will be ok.  That this is yet another opportunity for growth in our faith (what isn't?) - and that at the end of this road, she will be just fine!  The opportunity - of course - will be in the "waiting" category.  We brought her for more bloodwork today (Happy birthday to me!) and were reminded of her strength.  Took 3 of us to hold that little ball of fireworks down!  Praise the Lord, this time it only took 1 stick and we got all the blood they needed.  Last time was not so successful.  We will wait on that and then probably follow up with an ortho for a MRI.  Her limp is still there, at times a little worse, and she seems to be bothered by it more.  So, we WILL get to the bottom of whatever it is.  It doesn't seem to be slowing her down too much most of the time!
The verse I noted above struck me today.  When things happen all at once...or don't happen all at once in some cases, it can be overwhelming.  I had a "moment" today.  The phones were ringing, the cars were honking, the radio was going, the texts were binging, Gracie was crying about shots, and it was just so overwhelming when paired with the thoughts in my head.  It took about 2 seconds for Josh to pull the car over and pray.  Then, my Mom prayed over the phone with me.  And once again...I was able to remember that I TRUST GOD WITH MY BABIES.  Both of them.  He loves them more than I ever could.  He knows everything about them - and I don't.  He sees the big picture and I don't.
It is OK to be concerned...what matters is that you recognize it, then turn it over to God.  And I have.  He is in control.  And it is a darned good thing...

To my sweet O,
Through out the day I catch your Daddy looking at your picture.  He just smiles and stares and I can imagine he is planning all the things you will do together.  You pop into my mind all the time.  Gracie talks about you all the time.  She even brought a dollar to Dad and told him she wanted to use it to bring home "my baby O".  We all love you and long to hold you.  Hang in there sweet boy.  You have no idea how much love you are in for.

Love you more,

This is the pic we are sending to the babies home - I wanted it to be close up in case they showed it to O. The more I look at it, the more I think something is missing....Can't wait to include him in our family photos!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

2 big lessons...

This week has been busy!  We had our garage sale last weekend and I am so excited to announce that it was quite successful!  Such a blessing to have so many awesome donations!  We are going for round two this Saturday at the Stonebridge Ranch Garage Sale!  Hopefully, it will be just as great as this last one!
This week I have reallllly learned two things:  1.  Life was never intended to be done alone.  2.  Life isn't about the goal, but it is about the journey.
Lesson 1 was learned in several experiences this week.  There have been so many instances when I have really felt God's love show through another person.  These are just a few of the MANY.

  • Today I was told by a complete stranger that she would check in on our sweet O at the babies home he is staying in.  She is there getting her little girl, and she agreed that "desperate times call for crazy things".  It made me feel so much better about reaching out to a stranger and reminded me of the amazing woman who lead us to O and the women who have helped along the way.
  • My Mom saw a little, tiny, blue and brown blanket for sale at the garage sale.  She picked it up, gave me a crooked glance, and said "This can't be sold.  I'm buying it for my sweet boy."  In those few heart swelled up!  She already loves O like we do.  Isn't God's love amazing???
  • One day last week, I was sitting on the couch thinking about O.  About how his life is and how he has no idea what kind of love he is in for.  How he is sitting at the babies home and has no idea how much we love him.  How many hugs he is going to be getting and how many people want to hold him.  It was overwhelming for a minute and I got a little sad.  I just want to show him love so bad.  I want to undo some of the pain.  Joshua looked at me...leaned over and gave me this peaceful smile.  Then, he told me that God has perfect timing.  How amazing is he?  He knew exactly what to say.  Who knew?
  • When I shared the story above with a friend at Sunday School, she got choked up, and that goes to show AGAIN God's love.  She has feelings for O because she knows God's love.  And it is just inspiring to see. 
  • One of my closest friends called to check in because she couldn't wait for a facebook response to check in on Gracie.
  • Another friend texts to say she was just thinking about me.
  • My grandmother brings two suitcases full of stuff on her flight because she doesn't need it and it would be good for us to sell at the garage sale. 
  • Our friends and family members take the time to help with donations for the sale,
  • A friend goes through all the steps of setting up the give back night.
  • I could really go on with this all night, but I think you get the point.

This goes to show how many amazing, beautiful people I have in my life.  I am so thankful for each of them.  I thank God daily that I get to go through life with them!  Each relationship is different and on different levels and I am just glad I get to be a part of the masterpiece God is creating.

Lesson 2 has been a little harder to learn.  It is one that I have been "in the process" of learning for a LONG time.  You would think I would get it by now...but I guess I am a bit hard headed.  I am sitting here...waiting...for O's process.  When will we get him?  When will our little family grow?  I have really just tried to focus on today.  Look directly in front of me and trust God with tomorrow.  I thought I was getting it. Then, God throws a curve ball.  Most of us know that He is really good at that!  I think they are really just learning opportunities, growth opportunities.
Gracie has been walking with a limp for a while now.  We thought it to be hardly noticeable, but when my grandmother came in, she mentioned it.  So, we made an appointment.  We noticed that it seemed to be getting worse over time.  When we made it to the nurse practitioner (whom we see instead of the doc b/c we LOVE her), she was obviously walking with a limp and when she manipulated her right foot, Gracie lost it.  We immediately went for X-Rays and blood work.  Of course, lots of thoughts flood my head...that is what I do.  I allow my thoughts to take over...the fear...the what ifs...the anxiety and worry.  I find myself thinking that this is just too much.  Then, I remind myself (again with help from Josh), that it is OK.  Really.  No matter what.  It isn't too much - b/c I trust that God will never give me too much.  I have to stop my thought pattern from doing what it does naturally b/c I am not going to allow myself to be that person any more.  He will use this journey to teach me a lesson.  And I really think I may be closer to actually "getting it".  It isn't about when O gets home...but it IS about today and the process of getting him here and how I am and what I make of today.  And it isn't about getting the rest of Gracie's blood work back...but it IS about today and how incredibly beautiful and how much of a blessing she is.
I learned today...that I really do trust God.  I really do trust him with O and I really do trust him with Gracie.  We are OK with waiting.  Waiting to get O home and to get his medical testing done.  And now waiting for Gracie's blood work too.  And that is OK.  Because I know God will take care of her.  Unfortunately (sounds funny, I know), the x-rays were normal.  We were kind of hoping for a healing fracture.  Most of her blood work is back and normal.  So, we are waiting for the rest.  And guess what!!!  I'm not freaking out!  Really.  I'm kind of proud.  I have found myself stressing here and there, but I just remind myself that God is in control and quietly say a prayer to remind myself that I do trust God.  Why wouldn't I???  He has NEVER LET ME DOWN.
P.S.  I'm sure that the next blog post will be titled something like:  "All of that for a sprained ankle?!?!"

To Our Sweet O,
What I would give for a little squeeze right now!  You don't know it...but I am going to spend the rest of my life loving you and your sister more than words can say.  I will do everything in my power to show you and her how much I love you and how much God loves you.  Your name pops into conversation everywhere we go now.  You are one of Gracie's favorite topics of discussion!  Your Daddy and I are falling in love with you more every day.

Love you more,

Monday, September 6, 2010

Waiting for our family of four...

I wish I had more of an update, but I kind of don't.  And that isn't really a bad thing, I suppose...considering where we were last week!  We are so ready to be united with the fourth addition to our family...but we know that God has perfect timing.  So, we wait...for our CIS (dept of homeland security) paperwork to be approved...for O to grow and heal...for our family to gain knowledge...for the ability to raise funds...for God to mature and mold us to be who he wants us to be.
It is easier for me to think about O being in the babies home knowing that he came from an unsafe and unhealthy is just so much better there, such a step up.  And we know they care for children, really.  I know he is safe and fed.  However, I still desire to hold him and to love him so much.  I want him to know that he has parents and a big sister who love him and care for him and don't want him to hurt.  I want him to know that we are here, but I (again) remind myself that we are where we are for a reason.  WE MUST BE RIPENING.  
Our lawyer let us know that it was a bit of a fight to get O in the babies home and situated, but that it is all working out now.  We didn't even know that they were having a hard time with it.  They fought for our sweet boy...and we are just so thankful.  I think our situation is a little different from the "normal situation"...if that exists, so we will have to probably jump through some hoops.  Which is just fine.  God is providing all we need.  And it will be beautiful for a mature O to look back and see how God orchestrated his story so beautifully.
We are also still waiting for his medical information.  We hope to find out a better idea of how old he is exactly, how much he weighs, how tall he is, what size he wears, that he is healthy, and that he is what I like to call...plumping right on up.  It is crazy to know that we love someone so much and haven't held much like how we loved Gracie before we held her.  Our pregnancy was so complicated...and this process is reminding me of that so much.  
We continue to learn new meaning to "Be Still".  We continue to learn the power of prayer.  We continue to learn how much God loves each of us.
We are just so thankful to be on this journey.  And to have O at the end of it.  We are just so blessed.  Our lawyers said they could get us a court date in October...HOW AWESOME WOULD THAT BE?  Thanksgiving AND Christmas with our sweet boy!!!  I'm not holding my breath, since there is still a lot of money to raise and things to be taken care of, but I can hope, right?  
We are starting the garage sale madness this please come visit us if you are in the area.  We have had a lot of people donate some pretty awesome stuff!!!  We will still be at the Stonebridge Garage Sale on the 18th too.  
Please continue to pray for health and healing for O and a seamless (as possible) process for us!  Your prayers have really been felt this week.  God bless you guys!

To Our Sweet O,
My love for you grows stronger every day.  When I think about holding you and comforting you...kissing your little forehead...I get choked up.  I just want to show you how much we care for you so badly.  You have no idea what you are in for and I can't wait to show you.

Love you more,