"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





Saturday, April 4, 2009

Memories Filled With Joy

Words cannot begin to express how amazing these past three years have been since this little man walked into our lives.


Do you remember this incredible moment that will forever live in our hearts?
(Please remember to scroll down to turn off background music.)

video


...and when there was no way I could ever believe my heart could hold any more love, I realized I was wrong. This clip was taken seconds after holding our Kai for the first time.

video

Oh, sweet boy of ours.....

God has transformed you from a scared 22 month-old baby that could barely walk and couldn't speak, into a vibrant, energetic, smart, loving, sweet little boy. You rise with the sweetest smile on your face every morning of your life. And that same smile seems to be etched on there until you close those precious almond shaped eyes of yours each night.

Kai, your charisma, perseverance, determination, will and zest for life will get you so very far. You have overcome challenges that I know would have probably stopped me in my tracks, yet you soar like an eagle over them and never look back. You are my hero and I am so very blessed to call myself your Mama!

We all love you so very much. You are one of God's greatest gifts to our family. Thank you for filling our lives with so much joy!

Happy 3rd Forever Family Day baby boy!!!!!

*Pictures of today's celebration coming later this evening!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

It's a long one, folks!

I can't tell you all how moved I am when I leave my computer for hours at a time and come back to read your comments and emails. Not just with the picture decision, but I don't think there's been a time that I've ever come on here and asked for prayers or rejoiced in a life event or even just fooled around on here with some of my silliness that you haven't been awesome and shared in it with me, even the shy ones that don't comment publicly but send me emails. You guys completely ROCK! I swear if I had the big bucks, I'd be giving a big 'ole Let's-Get-Together-To-Hangout-And-Praise-Our-God party with my bloggy friends.

I know that it'll be impossible for me to meet all of you in this lifetime, but man, oh man....I sure hope the Big Guy upstairs allows me that privilege when I get there. And just think, I'll even have a great big mansion that He made himself so we could really party!!!!! Yeah, baby!

Can you tell I'm feeling a bit better? Yep. God's in control. I've moved outta the driver's seat.

Now....the nitty-gritty stuff.


First, did you happen to notice the adorable little button on the left side panel of my blog? Yeah, the really cute one with the little girl and boy kneeling down praying? That was my very sweet friend Ame. She posted it on her blog with a link over here asking for prayers for us. I tell ya, I am so very blessed. Thank you, Ame. I love you, girl! (And if ya'll could please say a quick prayer for her too. She's going through some stuff and needs lifting up! God knows exactly what she needs so that's all we have to ask for. - THANK YOU!!)

So, I decided that I would drag that gorgeous little button over to my blog and ask any of you, if you feel moved to do so and you are praying for our family, to please request prayers, (especially for Kai who will be going back into surgery next week and of course, Anna Grace, who will be left behind....again) from those that visit your own blogs by poppin' it on your own sidebar. You know how strongly I feel about the power of prayer and I know God listens, because he's carried us through some really rough times lately. But maybe you can prayerfully consider spreading the word? All you have to do is grab the html code under the picture and slap it onto your layout page! Thank you!!

A Bouquet of Blessings




Before I commence on the big Kai details, I just want to say that PICTURE "B" won by an overwhelming amount... 36 to 15! You guys sure made it clear that out of both pictures, PICTURE "B" should be the one hangin' on the Dr. Hero's wall. By the way, yes that is Dr. Hero. The picture you all chose was taken when Kai was just 29 months old. He had been home for 3 months. It was taken the day after his palate closure here in Ft. Myers and Dr. Hero had taken him for a little walk down the hallways of the hospital. PICTURE "A" was taken just prior to having his VP flap in Orlando in 2007.

Scott and I discussed last week about doing something special for Dr. Hero since we knew we'd be seeing him soon. We decided an appreciation plaque would be appropriate. We are really happy with how it turned out (only seen proofs though) and it will be delivered by Monday, just in time for us to wrap it up and take it with us to Orlando. I needed to give them the final picture this morning, hence the rush for the decision. (I pray that Dr. Hero never comes across our blog. heh!)

One of the many reasons we were moved to even doing the plaque was because this man has literally been at our beck and call since this entire ordeal started almost 6 weeks ago, without charging us one cent. He has not been involved in any of Kai's medical care thus far during this, but has taken the time to call almost daily to check in on Kai's de-sats and was invaluable in guiding us when he was first admitted and later airlifted. So much so, that the doctors in the ICU in Fort Myers called him at 3:30 a.m. when Kai was pretty critical and they did not know what to do, so that he could help them out. He did. Without hesitation. Dr. Hero's heart is without a doubt huge. That was very evident to us from the very first time we met him and learned that he and his gracious wife are the proud parents to 3 adopted Guatemalan beauties. He has a huge heart for orphans and has traveled internationally donating his time and services to repair cleft lips and palates. And he loves our Kai! :)

We are now almost 2 weeks into being home and Kai's de-sat numbers have gone from being 10-15 a night, closer now to 18-25 a night. The length of time he now pauses without breathing during each de-sat have also increased. They have gone from 2-5 seconds, to more serious apneatic episodes of 10-15 seconds of no breathing. This is life threatening and if not treated soon will eventually cause his little heart to fail and his lungs will collapse.

THE GAME PLAN

Dr. Hero wants us arriving in Orlando to admit Kai on Wednesday, the 8th, in the morning. After some nudging from Po-Po that Kai is so deserving of a little fun before heading into another surgery, we have prayerfully decided that I will be leaving at 6 a.m. on Tuesday morning instead and spending a Mama and Kai day at Sea World with him. He loves animals, the ocean and sharks! I think he'll have a ball and I know that I will too, just watching his little face light up. Poor baby has been through so much in the past 6 weeks that just thinking about it, especially having to put those IV's in again, make my heart shrivel and the tears flow. There are few people that he's not shared his "ouchies" with as he pulls out both little arms to show them them bruises brought on by failed IV attempts. He continues to lose weight and is now about 6 lbs. of weight loss since this started 6 weeks ago.

Sadly, Scott will not be going up with us. I will absolutely be missing my best friend being by my side. He began a new job last year and as great as his bosses have been, we cannot risk him losing his job, not to mention the fact that we cannot afford any more unpaid leave. So, unless God forbid, there is an emergency, he will be home.

Po-Po and Ayi will again provide the entertainment for the week for Anna Grace and AJ. Please remember to keep Anna Grace in your prayers. I have been telling her daily about Kai having to go back to the hospital and Mama needing to go with him, but I know it's hard for her to understand. AJ is our little trooper and he just goes with the flow. Thank you, Jesus!

A few of you have asked if Anna Grace could go with me. Unfortunately, she cannot. I will be getting a room at the adjacent Ronald McDonald house like we did last time, but she cannot go into the ICU rooms where Kai will be staying. And if you've read any of the times my babies have gone into the hospital, I have never left them alone. I do have a couple of friends that live in the Orlando area and I am hoping that they may be able to come and stay with Kai for a couple of hours so I can grab maybe an hour of sleep and a quick shower at the RM House. I know the nurses are great and on top of things, but I just could not even fathom leaving Kai alone without someone by his side, especially with him being so traumatized about hospitals now.

Going back to the admission. He will be admitted on Wednesday (without complications our stay should be approximately 5 days) so that they could monitor him and view for themselves his de-sat patterns. On Thursday at 1:30 p.m., he will be taken to the OR to have a Laryngoscopy and a Bronchoscopy done. Depending on the results, he will either have a repeat adenoidectomy, a modification of his flap, or his flap will be completely taken down. He is now at a higher risk with general anesthesia because of the fact that a) he was under G.A. less than a month ago. b) he continues to de-sat and c) he still has something obstructing his airway. Please...please....please pray that the surgery is 100% succesful, that they fully and completely remove whatever obstruction is impeding his breathing and that it does not damage his ability to speak. He has come such a long way. The boy is truly my hero.

I know this is a lot of info in one post to take in and I am hoping you're still awake since I left the most important facts for last, but I wanted to make sure I covered as much as possible.

By the way, I will of course be taking my laptop with me and look forward to proclaiming God's goodness as we rejoice in Kai's complete healing!!! (And I'm sure some really cute pictures from Sea World!) I look forward to spending some happy, pain-free, one-on-one time with my little man.

Thank you again and God bless,


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I need YOU!!!!!

I know you're all waiting to hear about Kai's latest details and I promise I will do this really, really soon, but PLEEEEASSSE (!!!) I need a big favor. I have a huge time crunch and need to choose only one of these pictures. Like ASAP, YESTERDAY, well, you get the picture.

I need your opinions, which I value so much, because I can't decide which one I like best (the end result is a gift for the doctor). Please let me know which picture you like best, Picture "A" or Picture "B".

THANK YOU.....BIG!!!




PICTURE "A"


PICTURE "B"







The Day Finally Arrived

For his anger is but for a moment,
and his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may tarry for the night,
but joy comes with the morning. - Psalm 30:5




Last week I was telling a friend on Facebook how odd I seemed to find it, especially with my being a big cry-baby by nature, that during everything that's happened in the past 6 weeks, I've never broken down or cried excessively. Oh yes, I was scared and I was worried, but for some reason, the tears never flowed like they would normally do for me in a situation like this.

Well God, in his usual manner, heard and agreed that it was time for me to break. Yesterday, while Anna Grace and AJ napped, I layed down to try and see if I could close my eyes. I can't express how worn down and tired I felt. Physically. Emotionally. Spiritually. I surrounded myself by my cell phone, house phone (waiting for doctors to call) and began reading my bible. Specifically Psalm 23. "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me". Over and over I read this particular verse. Fear is my nemesis. I try so hard to not allow myself to fall into that abyss. That point of darkness. But yesterday, I was overwhelmed. Anna Grace's attachment and sadness, Kai's continuing struggle to breathe, my desperate need for sleep, and mostly the the false feeling (obviously coming from the enemy) that it's my job to keep everything and everyone together. I broke. I cried out to God. I yelled out to satan. I praised my Lord, begged Him for mercy and for healing for my babies. I thanked Him for being so omnipotent and sovereign and finally surrendered. On my knees, I bowed down. Eyes closed. I pleaded with Him to take it all away from me. I didn't want to carry these burdens. These are His children. I am His child. He loves us all unconditionally, with each of our brokenness. I begged Him for relief and thanked Him for having allowed those nails to pierce His sacred flesh and allow His precious blood to flow in order for us to have life. I never did get to sleep. But I did feel His arms carry me. My afternoon changed. My spirit changed.

He's never left my side. But in His usual gentlemanly manner, He was waiting for me to come to Him. He didn't want to push Himself upon me, only to be brushed away because I felt I needed to control the situation. Again, more lies.

That leads me to sharing about what's happening with all of the kiddos, since a lot of you have been asking.

First, AJ. Thank you Lord for this little guy. He's doing great...praise God! But I just wanna share a quickie of one of his daily "AJ-isms" that keep me in stitches. He is so funny and smart. I honestly don't know where he comes up with the things he does.

Last night we were all at the table eating dinner. As he was chewing, I heard him say something, which immediately made me turn my head. I looked at Scott and said, "Did you hear what AJ said?" He said, "No." I then turn back to AJ and said, "What did you say? Mama didn't hear you." He gives me the cutest little grin and says, "This family is gooooooood times!" Heh!! The kid cracks us up!

Next Amanda. She's doing great (again, praise God!). Her softball career will be ending in a couple of weeks and I must admit I'm sort of glad because the team has not fared well this season. To be honest, most games were agonizing. Her grades are excellent in school and for the most part, she's a happy camper with the exception of the few days a month that the teenage hormone monster creeps in. But, it's bearable.

Movin' on to the next li'l critter. Anna Grace. Oh, Anna Grace. My poor baby girl is definitely still in need of prayer. I never got to write about our homecoming so I will try it sum it up quickly.

There we were. We had just walked through the door of Po-Po's house on the day we arrived home. AJ's piercing scream for Mama shattered windows and his little arms wrapped around me like an octopus. Pure joy! My heart raced as I seeked out Anna Grace. There she sat in a dining room chair with a look on her face that made it difficult to determine whether she was angry or sad. Experience told me both. Not a sound was coming from her.

I ran over and knelt down beside her. She glared blankly at me. I then scooped her up and said, "Oh my gosh!! I missed you sooooooooooo much baby girl! Did you miss Mama? I couldn't wait to get back home to see you!" Her response? Nothing. She hung on me like an ironing board would have. Rigid and non-emotional. I then sat with her in the holding-time position (cradled like a baby). I softly asked her repeatedly to look into my eyes. That was so difficult for her. She'd do so for a few seconds at a time, with repeated reminders. Long story short, she began crying. Wailing. I held her tightly and told her over and over how much I loved her. How I would never, ever leave her. I reminded her that Mama always comes back and that I understood she was angry and sad. I kept asking her to speak to me. Nothing. The reassurance continued for almost an hour as she shook crying, letting out every ounce of pain her little heart was holding in. Finally, after my repeatedly asking, "Are you mad at Mama? Tell Mama why're you sad. It's Ok, baby." she burst out, "Yes! You left me! You left me at Po-Po's house! You not come back!" And the crying ensued. My heart thanked Jesus for allowing her to verbalize her feelings. A huge brick had been destroyed from the well built wall she had formed in the 12 days I was in the hospital with Kai.

Since then, we've definitely seen a lot of regression, but every day I have been consistent in reminding her several hundred times a day Mama will never leave her and that it doesn't matter what she does, Mama will always love her. I tell her she is my baby girl, a special gift sent from God to our family and that I am her Mama forever.

After much thought, prayer and discussing it with Scott, we both decided that she needed much more one-on-one bonding time with Mama than what she was getting. School is important, but her emotional needs are more important right now. By the time she gets home from school, bathes, I make dinner, she eats, the night is over. We decided to keep her from school for a while until she stabilizes a bit and is reassured that neither she nor I are going anywhere. We are a family. Forever.

Yesterday was her first "full-time" day at home with Mama and we both loved it. We went to the library where AJ went in to the pre-k program alone for an hour like a "big-boy" and Anna Grace and I remained outside reading stories about Mama's and their daughters. We shared laughs, giggles and even some of those serious moments where her attachment issues make her wonder if it's safe to love. It was a great day. I'm also rocking her to sleep every night, which I haven't done in a while. She's tense and rigid, but after an hour or so (yes, an hour) she begins to relax and eventually falls asleep in my arms. God is good!

I am also preparing her for another Mama-has-to-go-away episode. Next week. With Kai.

To be continued....

Monday, March 30, 2009

I ♥ Faces - Pouting & Pets



This week that great site I HEART FACES is having some of the cutest themes - Kids Pouting and a one-week special category of Pets.

So, once again, I thought I'd jump in the fun and enter a couple of my favorite pictures.



anna gracie1


For the Kids Category, I love this picture of Anna Grace taken about a month after coming home, being tortured kissed by her Mama and her Shu-Shu.


IMG_45731

For the Pets Category, I chose one of my favs of Kiefer, our doxie, all set to go trick-or-treating! Can't you just see the joy in his eyes? heh!



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