Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Praise the Lord for Complete Healing!

At first I wasn't going to blog about Abe's surgery, but the wife of Chris' mentor shared with me what her husband was praying for Abe. Once she told me that Bob was praying for Abe to be a "mouthpiece for God," I wanted to have this blog with pictures to show him when he gets older as a part of his unique story.  

The first part of our week was planned.  Abe was going to be in Lucille Packard's Children Hospital for two nights as he recovered from having his palate closed, tubes in his ears, and circumcision.  The doctors kept calling it the "blue plate special."  Abe's cleft lip was repaired in China before his first birthday, but the roof of his mouth was still completely open and needed to be closed so we could start speech therapy.  It was a long surgery, but the doctors said he did great.  

Before going into surgery

Feeling a little sleepy from the medicine. 

Our nurse, John. He was great and he loved Abe!

Right after his surgery... love that he is holding onto his panda!

Now sleeping with two pandas.  My mom found one in the gift shop, that Abe just had to have. :)

Reading with Gram

Going on a wagon ride around the hospital. 

We left the hospital on Sunday afternoon and headed home (the children's hospital is two hours from us).  My mom came up for Abe's surgery to help us during his  recovery.  For the next two weeks, we could only give Abe soft foods and not let him put anything (including his fingers) in his mouth, because it would reopen his palate.  Monday was spent sleeping and watching movies. He had a fever all day, but once it got up to 106 my mom and I were worried and we took him to the emergency room.

At first they thought Abe had pneumonia, but the next morning they realized he had a bacteria in his blood. He had a staph infection called MRSA.  None of his surgical sights were infected, so they think he had this bacteria in China and during the surgery it was released into his blood stream.  They started him on antibiotics immediately. His fever stayed high until Wednesday. Abe was so tired and didn't want to leave the bed, play with toys and of course he didn't want to eat or drink because his mouth was still sore.

It was a pretty rough week, but we know only through the power of prayer, the pretty severe bacteria stopped growing on Tuesday and it never returned.  After a pretty traumatic experience with an IV on Thursday night, we were ready to go home.  Thankfully we were assigned an amazing pediatrician and infectious disease doctor. They quickly found an oral antibiotic Abe could take at home that would treat his specific infection.  

Even though it was a rough, long week it did give Abe's a mouth chance to heal. We didn't have to worry about him putting toys in his mouth or getting upset because he couldn't eat the foods he was used to.  It was wonderful to have my sweet mom here.  She was such a blessing. She would hold Abe so I could take a shower, grab a coffee or eat dinner with Chris every night.  She loved it!! Also, every nurse and doctor that came into the room wanted to hear about Abe's adoption story.  Most of them had tears in their eyes as they listened. :) And the best part of the week... it gave Abe and I a week to bond.  Such a blessing.  I would sleep with him in his bed and every night we would go to sleep he had such a sweet smile on his face. I loved it!

So glad my sweet mom was here during the crazy week!

Abe and Gram laughing together

I love this picture. He's listening to panda's heart. 

Thank you everyone who prayed!  We definitely needed your prayers and we felt them!  I was amazed at all the comments on Facebook or messages that said their Bible Study group was praying for Abe. I also have a dear, sweet friend in Germany who was having a hard time getting ahold of me because of the time zones, so she prayed over the phone for us.  I was in tears listening to her message! Praise the Lord that we serve a God who heals! Abe is back to his usual fun self and eating everything!  We went for his post op appointment yesterday and the plastic surgeon said his mouth looks great!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A "Very Hungry Caterpillar" Birthday

I'll be honest with you... I've been planning this party since May. Literally.  While we were waiting for Abe I did practically everything for the party except the food.  I knew I had the time then, and I wouldn't once we brought him home.  It was so fun to pull everything out last week... stuff I haven't seen in almost 6 months! :)
I absolutely love the children's author Eric Carle and his book The Very Hungry Caterpillar is easily a favorite. (Plus, I knew it would be easy to decide what to serve... we just stuck with what was in the book.) I had so much fun planning, but even more fun seeing Abe and his sweet friends enjoying the party.  I had to keep promising Chris that I won't do this every year.  I just thought since he didn't have a first birthday party, the way most kids do, he absolutely deserved one!

My friend, Dawn, helped me design the invitations.  I think they turned out super cute!

We had his party at a great park. It had a pavilion, picnic tables and great play equipment for the kids.  I had fun decorating and fixing up the area. Thank you Pinterest for all your wonderful ideas! How did we plan parties before the invention of Pinterest??

I found Hungry Caterpillar fabric and I had to use it! I love how this flag turned out. I think I'll hang it for every birthday at our house. 

Our family picture with Abe's banner.

A caterpillar made out of tissue paper.  It is a tad wilted because of the extreme fog we had that morning.  

All the guests signed Abe's book. I think it is a great keepsake from his party!

Like I said earlier, the food was so easy! We just made food that the caterpillar ate through in the book.

Of course the kindergarten teacher side of me had to have "centers." We had five activities set up around the park for the kids to do.  

Feed the Hungry Caterpillar (throw beanbags in his mouth)

Dig for Caterpillars (the kids dug for gummy worms)

Make a Caterpillar Necklace (using colored pasta)
We also had coloring sheets and green and red play dough for the kids to make caterpillars.

And finally the cake... Chris actually made this. He made the cupcakes and cake, the icing, and laid it out to resemble a caterpillar.  I think it turned out great! And Abe couldn't wait to dig into a cupcake.  Hands down, my favorite part of the party was singing "Happy Birthday" to Abram.  It actually made me teary-eyed. I just loved that all our friends were helping us celebrate our sweet little boy.  Such a great day!!

Happy Birthday Abram!!
Mommy and Daddy love you so very much!!

Thursday, October 10, 2013


When we realized that Chris had a week off from school, we immediately knew we wanted to go to Hawaii.  We wanted to go for four main reasons:
1.  Abram LOVES all things water. So we knew he would love the beach and pool!
2.  We haven't been back since we moved away in October of 2010 and Hawaii is one of our most favorite places!
3.  We have some special friends that we wanted to introduce Abram to.
4.  We wanted to go while Abe can still fly on our lap for free! (Starting Oct. 18, when he turns 2, we have to buy him a seat).

Abram did great on the six hour flight to Hawaii.  Of course he didn't sleep at all, but we tried to keep him busy with games, books, and food.  He has no interest in movies on the ipad, so that wasn't an option.  It was a long six hours, but we made it! We landed on a Thursday afternoon and by the next morning when Abe was wide awake at 5am we realized that traveling with a toddler is way different from how we are accustomed to traveling! He definitely calls the shots!

Thankfully, he loves to be in the water. He gets all giddy when he sees the pool or ocean.  He would even sit still when we would lather him in sunscreen because he knew it meant that swim time is coming.  Here are a few of our favorite pictures!

He loves to roll in the sand, but he hates getting it in his mouth! It was a never ending cycle!

Most of our time was spent with our friends, eating at our favorite restaurants, and swimming, but we did spend one day out at the North Shore.  We had so much fun with Abe!

Seeing the huge sea turtles at Turtle Beach

Watching the sea turtle
In the pineapple fields at Dole

Trying Dole Whip for the first time at the Pineapple Plantation

And of course we had to ride the train!!

Like I said earlier, we were looking forward to introducing Abram to our friends in Hawaii.  These special friends have been with us from the very beginning of our journey.  They prayed with and for us while we were struggling with infertility and throughout our whole adoption journey.  When we started to go to Harbor Church in 2007, we became good friends the the pastor and his family.  They have three adopted children and one biological child.  Chris and I learned so much from the Dirks and they were constant encouragers and supporters to us throughout our adoption.  We couldn't wait to for them to meet Abe. It was such a special moment for Chris and I.

We love this family so much!! They are so special to us!

When we moved from Hawaii, many of our friends had just had babies. It was wonderful to not only see how much they have grown, but to watch Abram play with them! Definitely a highlight from our trip!

Just love this!

Our sweet friend Tatum was also in Hawaii visiting while we were there.  She lived in Hawaii when we did, but since then has moved to Georgia.  Abram just loved Tatum! We were so glad we had the opportunity to spend so much time with her.  The only thing that would have made it better would have been if our friend, Erin, was there with us, too!

I don't think I can adequately explain to you how much it meant for us to introduce Abram to these amazing friends.  Not to be cheesy, but I can't express it in any other way than to say, "we came full circle." We feel like the journey to Abram started in Hawaii and we couldn't wait to take him there!  

Hands down one of our most cherished memories in Hawaii was being apart of Harbor Church.  We planned our trip so we would definitely be there on a Sunday so we could worship with them again.  Chris and I were both in tears during the service, but at different times.  I started crying at the beginning during worship while I was holding Abe in my arms.  I can remember sitting in church at Harbor so many times and wondering why God wasn't allowing us to get pregnant.  It was such an amazing moment to be back, but this time, holding my son! Harbor does communion every Sunday at the end of the sermon. You take it voluntarily at the back of the church either on your own or with your family.  Chris just loved taking communion while Abram was with us!  Needless to say, our Sunday was very emotional.  (Sorry I don't have more pictures with our friends... we would be so busy talking and watching our kids play that I would completely forget to take out my camera!)

Another highlight from our trip (and I know this is going to sound crazy) was taking Abe to the zoo.  We took him to the zoo in China a few days after we got him and he could have cared less. He just sat and stared.  But this trip to the zoo, just two months later, was so different!  He was smiling, jumping around and making animal sounds.  He just loved it! Its amazing how much he has changed in two months!

Here's a few more random pictures from our fun week...

A balloon artist made a panda hat for him one night during dinner! I think I liked it more than he did!

Observing the HUGE Hawaii slugs! He wasn't a fan when we put it on his leg! 

He was in heaven with all these ducks!

His first Hawaiian rainbow! 

We had a wonderful time on our first family vacation.  We were exhausted when we got home, but it was well worth it to see our friends and watch Abe have so much fun in the water!! Aloha!!