Monday, December 24, 2012

A Special Place in my bout yours?

Merry Christmas!!

What a blessed time of year!  I just LOVE how this time of year always has that "feel good" feeling in your heart.  Is it the family? The friends? The church?  The love of a Heavenly Father?  This time of year...this "holiday season"....I wish that feeling carried on for most year round!

Anyway, when I was in church last night, holding my precious sleeping Sadie in my lap, I was looking at her and reflecting on how blessed we are.  How amazing God's plan was when bringing this child into our lives.  How His timing was perfect in it all. 

But as I sat there, holding my blessing (and watching her brother hold her hand and rub her head) my heart started aching for the orphans and those not spending Christmas with a family and I immediately started thinking of Danny.

I am asking for all of you who read this to stop and say a prayer for this sweet sweet boy!  I just think of all of his potential, if given the opportunity!  Just the growth he would experience with the love of a family alone...

I know his forever family is out searching for him too.

If you feel you are that family... please do not hesitate to contact me!

May you ALL have a BLESSED Christmas this year!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Keeping things "normal"???

Since coming home in November with Sadie, we were inpatient in December, January, February, March...not April or May...back in June and July.  Each stay was a minimum of 2 nights, but most were 3-7 nights.

We have the most AMAZING (truly) team of doctors involved in her care.  When Sadie came home, she had one diagnosis of Hydrocephalus.

The diagnosis she now has is;

Legally Blind (she has cortical blindness and with stimulation and therapy, can regain sight and we have seen this)
Sensory Hearing Loss (for which she sports very cool purple sparkly hearing aids)
Cerebral Palsy
Global Developmental Delays
Endochondral Ossification  (I will save you time of asking...because of how malnourished she was and how fast she was now growing...her body thought it was time to go into "puberty".  True story.  Poor girl was getting little "boobies". This has now slowed down.  Thankfully!  My husband said he can handle just about anything...but not a hormonal 2 year old going thru puberty...I love him).

One of our biggest struggle was wanting to keep things "normal" for the older three kids.  I believe I referenced that in an earlier blog.  Never did we want any of "this" to affect them in a negative way, have them resent us...or worse, Sadie.

However, if you ever think adopting a special needs child wouldn't "be fare" to the rest of your kids, let me tell you...I think every child should have a special needs sibling!

At 10 years old, my daughter was begging to learn how to feed her sister.  What 10 year old asks to tube feed her sister?  I was scared when I had to do it, she jumps right in and does it like it's natural!  Now at 11 years old, she is asking me to show her how to dose all of her medications and give those too.  I am very careful never to ask her to do to much.  She would do it all if I let her. 

Kobe....oh Kobe.  He has always been my child with the biggest and most compassionate heart.  He loves hard and deeply.  The first thing he does every single morning is kisses her and the last thing he does each night is kisses her goodnight.  He holds her and talks to her and reads to her.  His love for her amazes me.  Now at 10 years old, he is also asking me to teach him how to feed her.  However....sometimes he has the attention span of a squirrel and I am not ready to tackle that yet.

And Nathan.  I think he is just now starting to "get" the extent of her disabilities...but still speaks very optimistically and I love him for that...."Mom, I think you will be as old as Grandma when Sadie starts college".  Instead of immediately defending my age and that I am not that first thought was "OH!  He thinks she will go to college!"

Where we were warned that having a child would not be fare to our other kids and that they will have to sacrifice so much and they will have nothing but resentment towards us....I can tell that person that the exact opposite is happening in the Beute household.  Sadie has not only blessed and enriched our lives, but the kids' lives too!  They have more compassion and passion for kids with disabilities.  They ALL are actually begging us to adopt more Sadie!  I can't wait to see what each of them does with all of this as they get older and how this will help form and shape them into adults.

I can't tell why I find it so funny that Kobe always says when he grows up he is going to adopt some kids...from Ghana.  Maybe because he is Korean...but regardless, he makes my heart smile!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Still working on getting to today...

I guess this is what don't blog for SO SO long...and now there is so much to catch up on!

So, December...very much a blur.  Today's my birthday.  I am trying to remember last years birthday and I have NO recollection.  Not because of my age and my mind not being as sharp...just the reality what being in "survival mode" will do to you. 

We are now adjusting to having our tube fed baby.  The thing with having an NJ tube, if baby somehow pulls it out, you have to go to the hospital to have it put back in as it goes thru the stomach to the small intestine and needs to be guided in with x-ray.  Well, Merry Christmas to me.  We woke early Christmas morning to find that Sadie managed to pull hers out.  My Christmas morning was spent in the ER, where they have to call a specialist in (from home...enjoying his Christmas morning with his family) to have Sadie's tube put back in.  I missed Christmas morning with my kids.  It was not the best Christmas ever, to say the least.  I felt slapped in the face with the reality of Sadie's "need".  I find that I get that in doses and those times can be difficult. 

Sadie was suppose to have her G-Tube (feeding tube inserted right thru her belly into her stomach) put in in January.  This poor baby.  The tape used to hold her NJ tube was eating the skin on her face.  I was becoming a pro at taping her tube and her cheeks...but disliked very much how good I was getting at it.  When getting the feeding tube, she was also going to get a Nissen.  The Nissen is a procedure that they will do to people (kids and adults) who have severe reflux.  The Nissen is when they take the stomach and literally wrap a portion of the stomach around her esophagus to disable the ability to reflux, burp, puke....However, if the retching is forceful enough, you can manage to vomit....Sadie has proven that! 

At the same time as Sadie's procedures for her feeding tube and Nissen, we were going to have tubes put in her ears as well as a BAER Hearing Test.  The purpose of the BAER Hearing test was that it was obvious that Sadie's hearing was impaired, she cannot be tested like "normal" kids in a sound booth.  This test is performed while sedated.

I woke early the morning of surgery and got myself ready, bag was packed as we would be inpatient for a few days.  When I went into wake Sadie up, she was seizing.  Again, a horrible seizure, but this time we were prepared!  We have Diastat in the house, this is a medication given rectally that will abort the seizure.  Sadly, it was not working.  A call to 911, a ride in the ambulance and we are back to DeVos for another week.

The cause of Sadie's seizure was a high fever.  I don't remember exactly, but I know it was well over 104.  I should let you know that the cause of her first seizure with us was also fever from immunizations.  Once a child has febrile seizures...they are very prone to having them again.

The source of the fever was bacterial pneumonia.  I cannot tell you how frustrating this was.  First, bacterial pneumonia can be very tricky to treat...very different from a viral pneumonia that most people get.  But her bacterial pneumonia is caused by something getting into her lungs. She eats nothing orally, so the only that could have caused hers was from aspirating on her own secretions (spit).  She was "puking" up her spit frequently.  Sadly, anytime she vomits, she runs a HUGE risk of aspirating.  So, here we were suppose to have the surgery that day to help keep her from suffering the exact thing that we ended up in the hospital for!

I was crushed.  I just could not understand WHY God would continue to make this path SO difficult for us?  Why do we have to continue to see Sadie suffer!?  Why can't anything be easy?

While all this with Sadie was going on, we went out of our way to make things as "normal" as possible for the other kids.  They will never know the lengths and hoops we jumped thru to make the impact of these changes on them minimal. We never want them to feel frustration or resentment towards Sadie or us for all the changes that have been, are being and will be made as a result of having her home with us.

I feel like I just got over the stress of the first seizure...Sadie was finally sleeping in her own bed...her OWN room (only made possible by amazing friends).  It only took 2 weeks for me to feel comfortable to let her sleep again in her own room.  I still pray over her each and every night to keep the horrid seizures away.

All of Sadie's procedures were rescheduled for February.  Another month of taping feeding tubes like a "Pro" :(

Looking back....when I had more "rational" thoughts and thinking, I know that Nick and I were not necessarily going thru this to learn a lesson.   I begged with God just to let me see the point of what we were suppose to learn from all of these trials so we can move forward.  It took a long time for me to realize that although we did learn...ALOT, we were not going thru this alone...and the lessons were not just for us to learn.  Each nurse and each doctor...every therapist and registration specialist, family, neighbors, friends, church family, school family...they were all part of hearing Sadie's story.  And many of them continue to BE part of Sadie's story.  She (Sadie) is a LIFE CHANGER.  Nobody is the same once them meet her and hear her story.  We are just so lucky that God chose us to be the Story Tellers.

We aren't done yet....MORE TO COME!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Getting to where we are now....Volume 5

I said previously that we chronicle Sadie's life from one miracle to another.  That is no lie or exaggeration.

What you should know, was that Sadie's biological mom learned of her hydrocephalus and at 34 weeks went in to have an abortion.  Despite being aborted, our God intervened and Sadie was born ALIVE!  We learned of this after we had received her referral and after we said yes.  To us, when we learned of this sad start to her life, we knew that God had a purpose for her being there and that just confirmed our decision to adopt Sadie.  Sadie's biological mom left her at the hospital and never looked back.

Read the previous post about Sadie's second miracle, Dr. Yaa.

If Sadie had this first seizure with us, in Ghana, the doctors are certain she would not have made it.  Just another miracle and also a demonstration of God's perfect timing of having her home.

Before bringing Sadie home, I had been working.  I worked 30 hours a week at a medical practice office close to my home.  This was a relatively new job that I took when offered simply because of the convenience of being so close to home.  Although I informed them when I was hired that we were adopting, I never felt that they were real supportive of this.  When Sadie was inpatient on this first time was at the same time I was suppose to return to work. Due to her new high level of care, I could not agree to coming back to my full 30 hour/week job nor could I return when I was scheduled.  Due to these reasons, my employer decided to not have me return to work.  This was 2 1/2 weeks before Christmas.  I was devastated.  Since high school I worked.  I love working.  I truly enjoy work...the challenge, the social, the feeling of being part of a team...all of it.  I also worked to help our family income. We committed to sending our kids to the Christian school and my income was a HUGE part in that.

So, Nick and I haven't slept in about 1 1/2 months, I feel like I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (no lie) from Sadie's can I let her sleep without watching her every second for a seizure?  What if I miss that she is having one in bed?  The kids...oh my poor Ryleigh.  She loves Sadie SO SO much!  This was very hard on her...full of worry.  So, we now we are approaching Christmas and my identity has changed from being a working mom, to now being a stay at home mom with a special needs baby.  I have not gone shopping....because I didn't know how to with this baby hooked up to a feeding tube and even if I could, we had no money.  Our basement construction stopped and we felt like this was the bottom for us.  We were tired, confused, name it, we were feeling it.

That was the miracles and  Now for the ANGELS.

The support...oh the support.   Nick and I have always been the ones to jump in and try to help out others the best that we could.  I am a proud and independent person.  Asking for help is very much outside of my comfort zone and never did we want people to know that we were B.R.O.K.E.

Angels came in and FINISHED Ryleigh's bedroom downstairs so that Sadie could move into her own room!

Angels came and provided the carpet and installation in our basement!

Angels sent us anonymous gift cards to Family Fare in the mail...more than once which helped us with our groceries!

Angels paid for our kids to play little league last summer when it came to registration time!

Angels brought meals...and meals.. and meals...

Angels dropped off cash (literally) to our front door so that we could buy Christmas gifts for our kids!

Angels made some payments on our tuition's at Allendale Christian School!

Angels brought gas cards!

Angels came in the form of home made scones!  YUM!

Angels are giving Kobe piano lessons because he wanted so badly to take it!

Angels did my hair for free because the grey that was surfacing was abundant! ;)

Angels came and sat at the house so that Nick and I could grab a cup of coffee together!

An Angel came over very early in the morning and also very late at night when I would call about stuck feeding tube!

Angels filled my empty truck to the top with gas!

Angels sat with me at the hospital.

Angels helped me paint Sadie's bedroom.

Angels gave us a recliner to sleep in when Sadie isn't feeling well.

Angels introduced us to other family (now friends) with special needs kids!

An Angel came and stayed with Sadie in the hospital for a few hours so I could leave and go watch the kids' school Christmas Program!

Angels prayed.

Angels quietly listened and prayed while I wept.

Angels came in the form of kids from church clearing their grandpa's garden of rocks and then giving the money they earned to Sadie! 

Angels CARRIED us thru the last holiday season, as we could not carry ourselves.  We were overwhelmed and tired and scared.

We asked God how we would make things work with all of these unexpected changes and He answered us...abundantly...with ANGELS.

We could NEVER EVER begin to send enough or keep up with Thank you cards for all of blessings that carried us thru that difficult time.  It was humbling to say the least.  But watching God's people work...AMAZING.

Tomorrow....rough roads ahead...

Monday, December 17, 2012

Where to we are now, Volume 4

I will be honest in saying that the first 3 months of Sadie coming home, I was in complete survival mode.  Looking back, sadly, many parts are a blurred memory.

I guess if we are honest, I would say that when we accepted Sadie's referral, at 13 months old, she was being assessed at a 2-6 month old level.  She showed alot of potential on future development and we just felt like we could offer her the world here.  I think ultimately we expected to bring her home and really eventually have a child that would "catch up" with therapy and maybe just be slightly delayed.

Once we brought Sadie home we were slapped straight in the face with reality.  She had a lot more going on inside her than we anticipated.

First was her feeding issues.  We would try to feed and thicken her baby food up with cereal and it would take FOREVER to feed her.  We worked on her drinking from a bottle and if we were successful in getting her to take in 2 oz in an hour, we celebrated!  We were not aware then that she was burning more calories when she was eating than she was taking in.  What is worse, was later we found that she was aspirating on everything she ate/drank.  She has a partial swallow, which means literally 1/2 of everything she was eating or drinking would go to her lungs. 

This was also true for her meds.  When she came home, she was on a seizure med and if she didn't spit/throw it up later, 1/2 of her meds were going to her lungs, thus not being metabolized properly.

When Sadie came home, our basement was under construction, so her crib was in our room.  We were finishing the basement to have a large family room and a bedroom for Ryleigh.  It didn't really matter where Sadie's bed was, as she rarely slept.   Ever.  We ended up acquiring a recliner from Nick's mom and spent most nights semi sitting up while holder her to sleep.  We later discovered that this was in part to a.) she was HUNGRY and b.) she had horrible acid reflux.  Exhausted does not begin to define what we were.  Beyond exhausted.

The first part of December we had an especially long night with Sadie.  I finally had her sleeping in our bed in the crook of my arm.  Nick was up and getting the kids ready for school and came and woke me up.  That was just the beginning of the longest day/week of my life.  When I woke I noticed that my shirt was soaked....and Sadie was twitching uncontrollably.  My baby was seizing in my arms.  I have never experienced a seizure before...very much new territory for me. I have no idea when it started or how long it was going before I woke...but judging by how wet my shirt was....she had been at it for a while. We called 911 and by the time they came, assessed, loaded and drove us to DeVos (priority 1 with sirens blaring) and upon our arrival, 45 minutes had passed and she was STILL seizing.  This began our first week of inpatient.

We spent the first few days in the Pediatric ICU.  It was there that they did the Upper GI and swallow study and learned the extent of her aspirations.  The stopped all oral feeding immediately.  My heart broke.  Eating is a huge developmental milestone...and it was gone, just like that.  She had the NJ tube, which went up her nose and down thru her stomach into the small intestine. This eliminated any concern for reflux.  She was on a continual pump, being fed 20 hours a day.

At 18 months old, Sadie weighed 18 pounds.  Due to her hydrocephalus, almost 10 pound was just her head.  So, she had an adult size head on basically a new born size body.  At 18 months old, she was wearing size 1 diapers!

While in PICU we had alot of things dealing with her health and development thrown at us.  What I remember the most was a doctor coming in and stating that she has been aspirating her entire life..basically drowning every time she ate or drank.  How she didn't die in Ghana from bacterial pneumonia is amazing.  Minutes later another doctor came in and said that he believed that she was dehydrated or near dehydration her entire life.  How she made it out of Africa without dying from dehydration, just shows what a fighter this girl is.  Then finally a third doctor came in and that doctor was just shaking his head reading notes on her.  He looked at us and said, the fact that this girl is here a miracle. 

Miracle.  That was the only thing said to us that day that did not surprise us.  Sadie's life is chronicled by miracles.  Literally.  She is one after another.  If it is clear that the Lord has a purpose for any life, it is certainly hers, as with all the odds stacked against her, by His grace and by His protection, she is here with us today.

Tomorrow:, challenges, angels and miracles.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Getting to where we are, Volume 3

Our time in Ghana bringing Sadie home was a whirlwind!  We did that trip extremely quick!  Looking back I am glad we got her home as quickly as we did, however, I think more time there would have made a better impression on me.

When we arrived in Ghana, Johnbull and Stacy (the Directors of City of Refuge) greeted us at the airport long with Ma Teresa and our precious Sadie.  Ma Teresa is the most amazing woman.  She is the one that cared for over a year for our Princess 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

What I remember most was this amazing woman...Sadie's "first mom" sitting next to me for nearly 2 hours in the car as we drove from the airport and I wanted to be so respectful to her and her last days with Sadie, that I didn't hold her or ask....but all my mind was saying was "GIVE ME MY BABY!!!"

We spent days with our new family at City of Refuge and were AMAZED at all the work that their ministry does!!  Please take time to go to and learn more about them, their ministry and what you can do to help!

On our last day there, they gave a party for Princess, we gave Ma Teresa some gifts, had time of prayer and a tearful goodbye.  Heart breaking is the only words to say....

I will tell you that the first moments of holding our daughter in my arms was truly amazing.  I could not believe how small she so small.  I remember looking at her hands and feet and thinking that they were the size of newborns.

I knew that we needed to get this baby girl home.  My biggest concern was when  I saw her eat.  She would spit out more than she would swallow and it would just take forever to feed her!  Nick and I thought that if we made her baby food pasty pasty thick, then maybe she would have an easier time swallowing...Something we would work on at home.

After we left City of Refuge, we stayed our final two nights with the McIntyre family.  They are just the sweetest missionaries from WAMM (West African Mercy Ministries) and run the HOMe (House Of Mercy) Orphanage there (more info. on that to come). 

Sadie's passport was misprinted, so on Tuesday our final day in Ghana....when we were suppose to be flying home...we spent the entire day at the Embassy waiting for her reprinted Passport.  What a challenging day!  We literally were there all day and I started crying at one point, because if we didn't get it soon, we would surely miss our flight out of Ghana that night.  We started making Plans B and C on what we were going to do if we get it at the last possible second or if we don't get it at all.  At this point I was exhausted, HOT, scared for my daughter, missing our other kids at home and just wanted to leave this country!  Nick had left with our driver to go back to the McIntyre's and get our luggage.  At this point, if we did get the passport (which was still not guaranteed) we would have to leave right from the Embassy to the airport.  FINALLY at 4:45 they called our names, passport was given and the race was ON!  Thankfully we made shower, no time to clean up...if you have been to Ghana, you know exactly how nasty I felt boarding that plane and for the next 22 hours traveling home.  But how cares...I was going home...with our daughter!!

My first impressions of Ghana...HOT, dirty, disgusting, busy, crazy...I really had very little of anything positive to say about it.  When I came home, I had NO desire to return...ever....FOR SURE MORE ON THIS LATER!

Tomorrow;  Hydrocephalus, miracles, scary moments...God moments...

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Getting to where we are, volume 2

So, we said YES!  Once we said that word...that little...but so HUGE word, we were bursting with excitement!

I hsould back track to our decision making time....when I was reviewing her information on the computer, Ryleigh was behind me.  She just couldn't understand why this was even something we were thinking about!  Why wouldn't we just say yes!??  I explained to her then that this baby could grow up and be a beautiful healthy child full of energy and life....or she may continue to grow old, but continue to stay a 6 month old forever.  Ryleigh....with a very serious thoughtful look on her face says to me "Well, she still needs a mom and dad".   Can't argue with the deep wisdom of a then 10 year old.

We initially made the decision to NOT tell people about her diagnosis of Hydrocephalus.  This was because we knew that some people would not understand at all our hearts and our faith.  We did not want anyone to label her or put her in a box...or really just give us there opinion...or google Hydrocephalus and tell us all the scary things that it comes with.  We already knew that.  We just wanted people to lover her as her. 

As time went by we started telling some people of her diagnosis, but we always remained very positive about it...we have one of the best children's hospitals in the US only 20 minutes from our home.  We have one of the best rehab facilities in the country also 20 minutes from our home.  We literally live miles from the Intermediate School where they also provide her with PT/OT and Speech.  We had everything to give this child the best opportunities to thrive literally at our finger tips.

Her special needs was not well recieved by all and quite frankly, some people offered their very strong opinions...One person (a christian medical professional...I will just say not my kids' doctor) told me that "she will be nothing but a burden to us.  She will amount to nothing.  It would be unfair for my children to adopt her. Nick and I would surely end up in financial ruin and divorce."  That was the one time that I surely felt the devil attack. 

Because of Sadie's health and where we were with having everything together, our POA went to court for us in August, making Princess Solomey, Sadie Mae Beute. Nick traveled to Ghana in September to file our I600 and we went in November to bring her home....Here are some pictures of our homecoming...

Come back tomorrow....I will share more about our time specifically in Ghana, first impressions and an abundance of miracles...

Friday, December 14, 2012

Getting to where we are today

I am excited that I made the choice to open this blog up not only to our friends and family, but also to lots of new friends recently and others.  I am hoping that the blog will offer support and encouragement to many.

I feel it is only fair (especially to newer readers) to share how we got to where we are today...more pertaining to our adoption of Sadie.

Grab some coffee and get cozy, I anticipate this being a long one! ;)

I will start with the fact.  We are blessed.  So undeserving...yet so blessed! 

I will start in late 2010.  We had our family...we have our beautiful daughter Ryleigh and two amazing sons, Kobe and Nathan. Ryleigh being our only biological child and the boys both adopted from South Korea.  The kids were all finally at the ages where we didn't have to adhere to any schedule for naps or worry so much about late nights.  We almost didn't have a need for a babysitter.  Life was was EASY and we were very COMFORTABLE.

Ever since bringing Nathan home, though, I felt the urge and tug that we are not "finished".  Our family, to me, was not complete.  I was ready to jump right in to another adoption.  I guess that this where you can say that I am the gas pedal and Nick is the break.  He was not ready.  Not even close.

For YEARS I prayed for Nick and I to be on the same page with adopting again.  I could not understand why I felt so strongly, for my husband to feel so much the opposite.  I would dance around the subject occasionally just to "feel him out"...only to be shot down quickly and left very sad, disappointed and frustrated.  I had a "come to Jesus" meeting....with Him himself.  I prayed that if we were to adopt again, that it would be made clear and that it would come thru Nick. I begged God that if we were not meant to adopt, to take this feeling off my heart, as it would almost cause me physical pain at times.  But, if we were meant to adopt, to give me PEACE while I waited for His time to be perfect.

About 5 years later, the Lord spoke to both Nick and I and very clearly pointed us towards Ghana....and it came from Nick.

We were not prepared to adopt.  Not even close.  We were not financially prepared nor "room" in the house.  However, we new that if this was God's plan, that was not for us to worry about.  We put this entire process in God's hands.

We moved forward and were blessed each step of the way.  Our homestudy was complete and submitted to the orphanage director first part of May, 2011.  At that point, we truly expected to wait one full year until we received a referral.  However, days later, we had gotten an e-mail from the director, stating that although they did not have a child ready for referral, she was helping advocate for a child that they needed a family that had their homestudy complete and could move forward....quickly.

 We said that we would certainly be willing to look at her information and prayerfully consider it.  I contacted the appropriate person advocating for Princess Solomey (her name given to her in Ghana) and these were our very first pictures of our daughter.
We did our "research" on Hydrocephalus (her only diagnosis at that time).  We prayed and read lots of scripture.  But, when it came down to it.  We really felt could we say from the start that we put this entire process in God's hands, but now when He is presenting a child to us, that He hand selected for us and this child was not quite what we were expecting...could we tell God that although we trusted Him, He just asked us to do too much.  That did not make sense to us.  Although this sweet and beautiful girl was NOT at all what we were "expecting" we took one look and knew in our hearts, this was our daughter.
To be Continued.......

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Lots to be said this morning....

What you may or may not know that happens behind closed doors at the Beute house...

Having a child with special needs is the most rewarding opportunity I have ever been given.  Waking up each and every day to Sadie is waking up to a miracle...and that is no lie or exaggeration.  Every day that she does something new or even repeats something she learned the day AMAZING.  We all have the opportunity to see God work and miracles everyday...some just have to look harder than others.  I am blessed to see it every day in Sadie. 

Having a child like Sadie means I have a snuggle buddy whenever I want one!  And I get LOTS of sunggle time in every day!

It also means lots of bending, lifting, carrying, holding, feeding.  As we approach cold and flu season, it means lots of "hibernating". 

Sadie was hit last week with her first cold and it hit her hard.  Sadie getting a cold is 100 times worse than the other kids.  She has a hard time handling her secreations (spit) and she doesn't swallow properly.  She will gag alot when she has a cold and even throw up pass her Nissen (the procedure she had almost a year ago that prevents her from having reflux and the ability to throw up).  All those combined can ultimately land her in the hospital and due to all of her "issues" could ultimately even take her life from us.  Sadly, also not a lie or exaggeration.

The past two weeks has been extremely difficult as I had a hysterectomy almost 2 weeks ago (everything is fine).  We were very thankful for the help and meals that were brought.  However, because of Sadie getting sick, it really thru a wrench into her care plans and I had to take over caring for her much earlier than what I should.  Lifting her, holding her, getting up/down from the floor took a physical toll on me and the healing process. 

This past Thursday I went in for my post-op follow up and was given a verbal reprimand by the doctor for "over doing it".  I just looked at the doctor and shook my head.  If she only could walk a day in my shoes and then tell me how she thought I should try "taking it easy".  I have a sick special needs child, who, ultimately could be in a life threatening situation if her illness is not treated properly (suctioning, positioning, etc) and tell me how I should just give that to someone else to take care of...???

After that appointment I went to get Sadie from school and after carrying her out of class and loading her into the car, as I was buckling her, I noticed that her feeding tube had been pulled out.  Not knowing how long this has been out, I was quite concerned as these can close up quickly...just meaning a trip to the ER.  All this and at the same time I am suppose to pick the boys up from school, prepare dinner for the inlaws to come over and get to Ryleigh's basketball game.  Get Sadie home and cannot get her replacement button (feeding tube) in.  UGH!  I call my neighbor (who is a pediatric nurse) and she came over (on the way to picking up her own kids....) and helps me pop this in.  Of course this caused Sadie discomfort and to cry out in pain and now I am crying because of all of it.  I had to call another good friend and inconvenience her to grab my boys.  Finish getting dinner ready and out the door to the basketball game.  For all those who saw my tears when I now know why.  I felt completely incompetant to handle all of my responsibilities and the hardest thing for me to do is ask for help.

Friday I wake up and feel like I am tackling a new day. Sadie seems much healthier, I was ready and thankful to have a "do-over".  I had big plans to have lunch with a friend...that has been rescheduled too many times already and try to accomplish some much needed Christmas shopping....I know that this isn't "taking it easy", but it was going to be mentally/emotionally beneficial to me.  Got everyone up ready and out and as I pull out of the driveway I hear it...Sadie again puking...ALOT...ALL OVER.  Ok...cancel plans with friend, give Sadie a bath (which is not at all easy or comfortable with my current situation) dismantle carseat and wash from top to bottom, clean car.  Call friend to cry over my life...regain perspective and control.

The reality is; since being back from Ghana I have been inspired and motivated.  I feel God working in ways that only He can and I am excited and blessed!  I have started advocating for the Orphans...not just the Orphans...but the really special ones, like Sadie, that are so overlooked.  I feel it is a priviliage to be able to do this and just praying over the parents to find their children.  If you can add that on as a prayer request, I would love that.

Since being back from Ghana I am finding ways to get plugged in with City of Refuge and find ways to support them state side...another thing for you to add to your prayers.

Of course I am going to feel as if I am being kicked while being "down".  Does the devil not try his hardest to attack when we are posing the most danger to him?  All I will say is keep it coming!  You can try your hardest, but in case you didn't know...I have my armor on and ready for this battle.

Throughout all this past week I have endured, I still feel blessed beyond measure.  I love all my children more today than yesterday.  If I have to pick Sadie up 101 times today, I know that the Lord will give me the strength to do it.

My life certainly isn't pretty...but it is mine, it is blessed and I love it.

Monday, December 3, 2012

If not you....then who?

I struggle every day with the title of this post.  IF NOT YOU, THEN WHO?  I think of this sweet sweet baby girl in Ghana that because of her title of "special needs" nobody has stepped out in faith to make her theirs.  It continues to replay over and over and over in my mind all day...If NOT ME, THEN WHO?  I know, in order to be fair to Sadie (and the older three kids) and to this precious girl, our family is not the right place for her.  She needs all same indvidualized attention we give to Sadie all to herself.  But if not US...then WHO? 

Being thru three seperate adoptions...I KNOW first hand that they are scary.  Being thru a special needs adoption, I know how hard the "what will people think" feeling is like.  Having a special needs child is not easy.  But friends, the Lord does not call us to a life of EASY!  He WANTS us to be challenged!  He WANTS us to be uncomfortable!  In those times do we grow in HIM.  He does not bless us with so much just to sit on our couches and enjoy all the blessings He has given to us!  NO!  We are to be His HANDS.  We are to be His FEET!  The best way we can do this is by getting uncomfortable and stepping out in faith in ways to many seem CRAZY....but all for the Glory of GOD and the babies (especially the difficult ones) He has placed on this earth!

This sweet AMAZING baby has been on my heart since leaving Ghana weeks ago.  She needs a family like no other.  No...she DESERVES a family like no other.  I have been given the permission by the orphanage director to advocate for her forever family.  We have prayed and prayed over her.

If you have considered adoption...consider this child.  She is about 1 1/2 - 2 years old and just beautiful.  She needs a family that is first and foremost committed to Christ and His plan.  This child will ONLY go to a Christian family.  It is preferred for the family to have a homestudy completed, or one that is ready to move forward quickly.  This will be an independent adoption and should role quickly because of her health.  I will share privately with you answers to any of your questions.  Please call (616) 340-3503 or e-mail me at specific questions. 

This baby girl has so much potential, just needs to right forever family to give her all the tools.  An incentive???  I will forever be part of your life! ;)  I will follow this baby girl forever and do anything in my power to help her and her family along.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Who does that!?

So, I have been "down and out" since coming home from Ghana.  When I got back I had one day of pure crazy adrenaline and excitement for all that happened....then for the next week I was down with a terrible "bug".  Now I have been spending the past few days recovering from a Hysterectomy.  It has been challenging being forced to rest and "be still".

One part of my trip that I just stand in awe of, was the meeting of Dr. Yaa.  I will have to explain the back story.

Our Princess Sadie was born at 34 weeks in Ghana as a result of a failed abortion.  Praise God that He had purpose for her life and gave her breath on that day.  However, her trials only began.   Children born like Sadie in countries like Ghana are not valued, nor do they have the resources available to properly care for them.  It is not unheard of for children like this to be placed in dumpsters or left in a corner to die.  When we tell people of Sadie's life, we chronicle it by miracles, as she is just that.  The first miracle in her life was that she was born ALIVE.  The second miracle, we have always said was Dr. Yaa.  See, Dr. Yaa not only advocated for Sadie's life, but also had her family pay for a large portion of her care (if not all) while spending the first 8 - 9 months in the hospital and had her first shunt surgery.

Sadie has been blessed with many mothers to love her forever, and I think of Dr. Yaa as her first. 
When I arrived at City of Refuge on Wednesday, while in Ghana, Stacy told me then that she had a surprise for me the following day.  Number one, majority of you know that I cannot stand surprises and that the suspense of them generally eats away at me.  I also could not even imagine what in the world they could surprise me with!  I was blessed to be visiting at the same time some members from YGAP were there.  YGAP is an amazing organization from Australia that supports City of Refuge.  So, a meeting had been arranged for the group of YGAP, along with Johnbull and Stacy from City of Refuge, to meet with the head doctor at a Women's Clinic in a town nearby.  The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the possibility of a future Women's Clinic at City of Refuge with the assistance of YGAP.  The ministry of City of Refuge will never cease to AMAZE me!!  (Here is a "teaser" for you...keep an eye open on how you can help City of Refuge too!)
So, I think that this is pretty cool and have no clue what is in store for me until I reach this office room that we are going to meet with and Stacy comes walking out with a beautiful woman who looks only slightly familiar to me, and introduces me to Dr. Yaa!!!
Never, ever in a million years....I have e-mailed this amazing lady on the other side of the world and have had back/forth correspondence with her.  In writing, I have thanked her from the depth of my heart for what she has done for this miracle child.  But never, ever did I ever think I would be blessed with the opportunity to meet her in person.
Tears were shed by us both.  Well, weeping actually.
I knew that going to Ghana was in many ways going to be "therapeutic" for me, but I never imagined what all the Lord had planned for me while there.
I am still in shock and amazement.  If you take a step back and you see how God had knitted that planned meeting for us...2 1/2 years ago.  It wasn't by "chance" that I just "happened" to book my trip at the time my friend's were going...and that "ironically" this group YGAP just decided to be there as well and just thought of the idea of a women's clinic and this meeting with Dr. Yaa's father just "coincidentally" fell during my time with City of Refuge.
Who does that?!  Who could possibly orchestrate the most perfect plan like that?  My God, that's who! 
This is just the beginning.  The Lord moved so many things in my heart in that very fast week, just listening to His will and His direction on what I can do next.....

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Back to Blogging....


I have been feeling the nudge to go back to blogging for quite some time.  I found that facebook has taken over the way of updating and keeping people posted on what is going on in life.

However, because I generally have a lot to say, I feel like maybe blogging would be a better option.

I was a bit surprised that four years have gone by since i last blogged. Wow has our family changed.

I am not going to bore you with the details of all that has happened in the past four years, but more looking ahead at the exciting things in store for the future.

Since returning from Ghana last Monday I have been in bed sick pretty much the entire time.  Very frustrating. However, it has given me time to reflect and process all I have seen and experienced while in Ghana. There are very exciting things coming up and ways for you all to get involved too!  Looking foward to rolling ahead with new ideas how to serve my God and care for the orphans.

Please feel free to share this blog with others. 

Our family looks much different from when it did four years ago.  So, here is an updated pic....