"Once our eyes are opened, we cannot pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act." Proverbs 24:12

“There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven’t yet met.”- William Butler Yeats

Sunday, February 23, 2014

We're Going Green, Baby!

Well, as much as many of you would like to think that I've turned into a tree-hugging, whale-saving, environmentalist, that's not the 'green' I'm talking about.  

When, I say, "We're Going, Green!"  I mean really green.  Green as in a big ole green circle.


And, we're celebrating it!  We're celebrating the green....and the boy who has made it happen.   

None other than our rambunctious, non-stop talking, energy-filled, A.J. 

For weeks now, he's been struggling at school.  He's a straight "A" kid, so academics is not his issue.  It's those darn tickets.  His classroom has a green, yellow, red set-up for behavior.

Green is good.  It's a make-Mama-smile, kinda good.  Yellow is Meh.  A warning.  Treading thin ice.  Then, there's the infamous RED.  That's a dark place.  Thankfully, we've never gone there.

However, that yellow ticket...oh, how that boy seems to bask in the glow of that yellow ticket. 

Man, how I adore that little face!

We've talked, cried, and lost many a privilege over that yellow ticket. Thankfully, things have been improving.  Slowly.  Two steps forward.  One step back. For a while, we had 2 or 3 yellow tickets coming home every week. Then, they began to wither down to maybe 1 or 2 a week.

But, this Friday, before he stepped out of the car to go to class,  I gave him the final day of the week "RAH...RAH....You can do this!" speech.

In the afternoon, I waited with baited breath as I saw him walking towards the car.  He walked slowly, with measured strides.  Head hanging.  Eyes staring at the ground.  

Then, he arduously hopped in the van and made his way to the back, where he plopped down his book bag and pensively looked out the window, without uttering a single word.  

My heart sank.  I said nothing at first.  I began driving away from the pick up line, and then found the courage to muster the words he so often hears. "AJ, how'd you do today?  Did you get a green?", I asked.  He looked down at his feet, contemplating what he would say to me, when all of a sudden, he looked up again! A huge grin had broken out across his adorable little face, and he blurted out, "YES!!!!  I did it! I got a green today!  I got a green every day this week!  I did it!"

We all clapped and cheered and rejoiced.  

Oh, it's the little things in life that sometimes are the biggest, and this was big, indeed!

Just had to throw in some more cuteness for ya!

Congratulations, beautiful boy.  We knew you could do it!

Keep it up!  Go green, baby!  Go green!  Mama and Daddy are proud of ya!  

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Toughest Job....Ever!

I'm sure bankers on Wall Street, CEO's of huge multi-billion dollar corporations and even neuro-brain surgeons all have very tough jobs. I'm sure they worry and pace, and hopefully probably even pray before taking that next huge step.  

But, this Mama knows the facts, the truth.  There is NO job on the face of the earth that is harder, than being a Mama.  Nothing.  Hands downs. I'm thinking God knew Adam wouldn't have the necessary grit and tenacity to become a Mama, not in the physical sense, but in the emotional sense, that's why he sent him off to work.

Gosh, how I love this silly boy!

It's been quite a while since I've updated on our precious China man, Kai.

We've not quite experienced anything like we did during THIS time period. But, we did have a bit of a scare with his apnea issues last year, where he had to be taken into emergency surgery to open his airways, after he stopped breathing in a previous surgery two days before, getting new tubes in his ears.

Our new doctor in Charlotte is world renown and came highly recommended.  We feel we are in good hands.

Since we arrived in the Promised Land, Kai has been seeing his doctors, and the orthodontists have been working diligently with him to expand his jaw, all in preparation for the the highlight of every child born with a cleft palate, the scary and extremely painful  ALVEOLAR BONE GRAFT surgery. 

My heart aches for my boy.


Let me back up a bit.  

It amazes me how "in-tune" I am to this child. I knew he wasn't hearing well again.  I took him to the ENT and sure enough, tubes are out and new ones need to be put in.  His eardrums are flat against the bone because they have no ventilation.  Only problem with this 'routine' surgery is that the last time, his left eardrum was perforated.  It was repaired with a paper patch, as they call it.  The patch held.  The perforation occurred  because of the many sets of tubes he's had put in.  It's worn down the lining of the drum and it is thin and fragile.  The only remedy to revert his hearing again to normal is.....another set of tubes, and the risk of yet another perforated eardrum.  If that happens, we may not get so lucky that a patch will hold and it be repaired.  I'm leaving it to God. 

Have I mentioned that my heart aches for my boy?   Just checking.

God's precious child!

The ENT wanted me to check with his surgeon to make sure he didn't need any other surgeries at this time, so he wouldn't be put under twice.

That brings us to today.   We went to visit his surgeon.   I explained what the ENT had said, and also mentioned that the orthodontists (who had already faxed him their opinions) felt his jaw had been widened enough for the bone graft.  After a thorough examination.  He agreed.

So, we head for our 13th and 14th surgical procedure, his 9th myringtomy (tubes in ears) and the infamous Alveolar bone graft.  

Now here is where I once again claim that being a Mama is the world's toughest job.

I asked the doctor to tell me the procedures and recovery for the bone graft.  

He said that bone for the graft could be accessed from three sources:

  • Allograft - cadaveric "living" bone obtained from a bone bank with added stem cells
  • Autologous - bone harvested from his own body which could come from either the hip (iliac crest), or the skull (if the hole that needed to be filled is very large).

I asked what the differences and pros and cons would be.

He said pros were the obvious, which is to provide support for the lip and nose, improve symmetry (although his nose will be another surgery in the future), and form a continuous upper gum ridge for adult teeth to adhere to and grow from.

He said the cadaver graft would obviously not have the pain as harvesting a bone from his own body, but he only uses cadaver bone when it is not a large hole he needs to fill.  In addition, doing the cadaver graft he would only need to remain in the hospital one night, if there were no complications.

Then, I asked about the cons and how he would determine which graft he would use for Kai.

He said he would not know until he was in surgery, and looked inside to see the depths and width of the cleft, how much bone or what type of graft he would use.

Number 1 con for the hip or skull, "Pain!"   I asked how long would the pain last, and held my breath hoping to hear, "a day or two".   He responded with, "Two to three weeks."   The surgery would last approximately 5 to 6 hours, and his hospital stay would be 3 or 4 nights, possibly longer, depending on how he does.  He would then be out of school for another week after that and be on liquid/soft foods for 6 weeks. 

He also mentioned that he would need at least two more surgeries to correct his deviated septum and move facial muscles around that will allow for easier breathing, since his palate deformity was pretty severe.

Bless his sweet heart, Kai loathes missing school because of the makeup work.  I told him we'd deal with it.  Honestly, I think we have bigger fish to fry at this time so I'm not gonna stress over it, not to mention that he has amazing teachers that will no doubt, work with us.  

After being told about the autologous grafts, I really almost felt like asking nothing else when he emphasized the pain from the hip.  I felt like I had been punched in the gut.  

I then went to check out and asked when someone would contact me about the surgery.  They told me, of course, that they had to speak to the insurance company (which is a whole other story since we are thousands away from meeting our insane deductible), and then coordinate with the ENT a surgical date.  But, she was clear to say that we are not to expect anything for at least TWO MONTHS.  I said, "Months?  TWO MONTHS?"  The girl said, "Yes, we have approximately 45 children waiting to be put on the schedule for surgery."   ::sigh::   

So, we are looking at the end of April, possibly May before all this occurs.  I remain steadfast on the fact that God's timing is perfect, so I didn't question it, or try to push for an earlier date. Besides, I was still numb, thinking about my skinny, little guy who will be crying in pain.  I have seen that sweet face beg me to stop the hurt after a surgery, and have felt completely helpless. But, I have also seen God perform miracles right before my eyes, when I begged Him to take the pain away.

It's hard to explain, unless you've been through it, how difficult it is to see your child go through surgery after surgery, and yet....we are SO blessed.  God has taken such incredible care of us.  He has never, ever failed us.  It took me driving home, shedding a few tears, hugging my husband and claiming over and over how I wish I could be the donor, for me to realize that yes, while this is another surgery for a little boy that has been through more than any child should go through, HE IS HEALTHY!

I thank God from the depths of my soul, that I could say those words.  I have friends with children that have terminal diseases, with children going through their second rounds of chemo, with children in wheelchairs that will never know the joys of running through a field or racing down the street.  I. WILL. NOT. COMPLAIN.  

My heart hurts for my boy.   Yes, it does.  It tears me up that he is going through yet another painful surgery, but he is tough!  He is resilient!  He has a great surgeon that knows what he's doing and truly cares for the children he treats.  

But most importantly, my precious little Kai has a Savior that loves him and that will never forsake him.  A Savior that is indeed the Great Physician.  A Savior who has guided every surgeon's hands that have ever been placed on this little boy, and a Savior who knows what is best for all of us and we could blindly trust.

So, while I may have the toughest job on the face of the earth, I will do it daily.  Gladly.  Joyfully, for no monetary reward.  The smiles and joy in the faces of those precious babes God entrusted me to care for, is worth every single tear and pang of pain in my heart.  My greatest gifts came in the form of six little bundles.  

Isn't he the sweetest?
We covet your prayers for both his ears, and the easiest, less painful and successful bone graft possible. 

This Mama thanks you from the bottom of her heart.


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Tell Me Again, Mama!

"Tell me again, Mama!"

Those four words are not uncommon around our household.  We've been hearing them for a few years now.

Apparently, there's been much talk lately, as there has been in the past, about the rights and wrongs, of what the story behind our children's life, before they came into our families, is.

I believe each family should find the words that work for them.  Our family has found that the truth is the answer, especially with our Chinese children.  But, it relates to all three.  As a matter of fact, it relates to all six of my precious babes.  

TRUTH.   There is such power in that word.

I've heard people tell their children from China that their Mamas loved them so much, that they were left in a place where they could be found, and that they tried to care for them, but they weren't able to.  That all may be true, but we have no 'real' proof'.  We may believe in our hearts the information we were given, because it seems like the logical explanation when a child is left in a very public place such as a hospital, train station or orphanage steps, but that still isn't enough truth for me.  I wanted proof of their story.  I wanted it to be true, not just what I wished or hoped it was.

So, when in doubt, I do what I always do.  I pray.  I search for God.  I seek His answer.

When we decided to adopt, I knew these were questions we'd someday face.  "Why didn't my Mom keep me?", "Did my Mom love me?", etc.  So, my praying began long before I saw their precious faces.

I skirted around a bit with the above suggestions, but something just didn't feel right.  That proof, that truth wasn't there.  I wanted to be able to look them in the eyes and with all my heart know that what I was telling them was solid, not just the desires of my heart to ease their loss.  

Then, one day while reading God's Word,  He clearly spoke the truth to me.  I had my answer!  A perfect answer.  A truthful answer that could not be unproven or denied because it had come from His infallible Word.

All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before 
one of them came to be."  ~ Psalms 139:16 

That's where their story began.  It didn't begin the day their birth Mamas realized they were carrying a child in their womb.  It didn't begin the day that they gasped their first breath of air.  It began before time began.  It began before they were even a thought in the minds of any human. It began in the mind of God.  That's how special they are!  They were chosen.  Not chosen by us, but chosen by their Almighty Father and Creator.

The story pretty much goes like this:

Once upon a time, way before time began, God decided he would make a beautiful and perfect baby. A baby He knew would bring Him glory.  But first, He needed a very special lady to bring this baby into the world.  So, He searched and searched for someone special enough that He knew would say, "Yes!  I will bring this baby into the world."  

Then, He planted the seed in that special lady's belly that formed the baby and the baby began to grow.  Oh, how quickly that beautiful baby grew and grew!  Just as God had planned.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made, your works are wonderful.  Psalm 139:13-14

But God, who of course knows everything, knew that this baby would not stay with that special lady, because He had other plans for him.  Plans that were as special as the baby He had chosen.  

He didn't stop at just making the baby. God wasn't done yet.. That was only a small part of His plan.  As that baby grew and grew, God had more planting of seeds to do. This time, He planted seeds in hearts.  Two hearts in particular.  He planted seeds in the hearts of a Mama and Daddy.  He knew that the two people He has chosen loved Him very, very much.  So, one day He whispered into their hearts, "I have a beautiful and perfect baby for you." God smiled because He knew this family would do what He asked, and they really, really wanted this beautiful and perfect baby.  But most importantly, God knew this family would teach this baby about Him and His amazing love.  God also knew that the baby would love Him so much, that even as a small child learning about Him, this child would begin to share Him with the world. The child would speak to others about Him in places most grownups don't go to share Him, like schools and playgrounds. 

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations." Jeremiah 1:5 

Time went by and finally, this baby was born into the world.  Because God had already placed in the birth Mama's heart that she wasn't keeping this baby, she followed through with another plan.  She chose for him to be adopted.  Yes, the same way that Jesus adopted us, His children..

The baby was watched over and protected by God until the perfect family He had chosen for him, was able to bring that baby home.  Boy, did it seem to take forever!  Although they were a little impatient, especially the Mama, they knew that sometimes God's timing does seem like forever to arrive.  So, they waited....and they waited,. and they waited, all the while trusting God.

The Mama and Daddy knew time was getting closer.  Every day they woke up wondering if this would be the day.  Then one day, there was a phone call!  The phone call they had waited such a long time for.  Their baby was ready and waiting for them to bring him home!  Oh, that Mama and Daddy cried lots and lots of happy tears, They also thanked God, over and over, for His miracle and His goodness, because they knew that God always keeps His promises.

Not long after, they saw that beautiful baby for the first time ever.   The moment they held him, they knew....it was perfect.  All of it.  God's plan.  The baby.  Their family.  God smiled from Heaven when the family was finally together, because He knew that indeed, it was perfect. (Of course, everything He does is perfect!)
"God saw all that he had made, and it was very good". - Genesis 1:31

At last, they all went home as a family.  The baby joined his brothers and sister and lots and lots of other family members.  He was loved and he loved back with all his heart, because he knew that God loved him so very much, that He made a special plan just for him.  A plan that He makes for all of His children that ask Him into their hearts.

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." - Jeremiah 29:11

The best part of the story is that the baby grew up knowing the truth.  The real truth.  The truth that said that he was so loved by God, that He handpicked him and chose him, out of all the millions and millions of children in the world, to fulfill His purpose, and bring Him glory.  Wow!  Can you imagine what an honor is it to be chosen by God for something like that?!!

This truth filled the entire family with joy, and they all lived happily ever after.

The End.    
©Ohilda Bombardier    

Shortly after sharing their story with the kiddos, I hear those words, "Tell me again, Mama!"   What joy it brings into our  hearts that our children realize, not only that they are treasured and adored, but they know, that they know, that they know,,,,who they belong to, their real Father, Jesus Christ.  While the world may want to add all the messiness about their beginnings, how they were found, where they were found and even trying to guess the 'why' of it all, into the equation, the fact remains that their days were ordained for them, even before time began.!

So friends, that is our story.  No, not just the baby's story, but all of us who are blessed and honored to have been adopted and chosen into the family of God.

If you're not sure if you belong to that family, please don't hesitate to ask me.  I'd love to share i it  with you, and Jesus would love to call YOU His child.   Email me HERE.


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