Thursday, December 1, 2011

Little Man Back at the Hospital

Today, Valor went back to the hospital for his second surgery.  Praise God that it went very well and was much less severe than last time.  He had his palate repaired and a little adjustment made to his lip.

Before surgery
His tiny self cracks me up in those gowns...

We are with him now as he is recovering from surgery.  Thankfully, it is not nearly as dramatic and crazy as it was last time!! He is actually sleeping!

Thank you all for your prayers and words of encouragement!   We will keep you posted!

Post Operation...poor guy :(

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

America Day

I'm not sure if you felt the shift in our country's population, but on September 20, Valor became an American citizen!  In the case of our international adoption, there was the national portion, but we also had to legally "readopt" Valor in the state.  So, we completed that process in court a couple of weeks ago, through the help of our amazing attorney.  Christina worked tirelessly for us as she does for adoptive families all over the metro area.  She was such a support and encouragement during the whole process.  I told her it was like having someone help you with the last two miles of a marathon.  I just could not navigate anymore paperwork, I had to have her help.

We had a fun lunch to celebrate the day's excitement and Ansley dubbed it American day.  So, American day, it was!

What an amazing blessing to have Valor "officially" be ours, but we will never let him forget his heritage, and what a heritage it is.  Ethiopia touched Brian and I so deeply and we will always hold her and her people close to our hearts, and hopefully, return there again soon.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Amazing Healing!

We made it to the beach again since Valor's surgery! Look at these before and after pictures... Amazing!  God has blessed this healing richly!

Beach at end of July..
Beach at beginning of September..

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Valor's Recovery - A Week Out

So how's our man doing a week after major surgery? GREAT! I'd even say better than I would have thought.  We are by no means back to normal, but he is sleeping much better than I would have thought and his swelling has come down dramatically!!

We were a little worried when we got home because some serious swelling set in...
I think this was Thursday.  It had even been worse the day before.  The nurse kept telling us over the phone that tremendous swelling was normal...

Thankfully, with each day, he got better and better!

Today he went to the surgeon's office for his post op appointment.  It went great and the doctor was encouraged with what he saw.  It is truly amazing what he was able to do with Valor's mouth in just one procedure! He told us that the lip will most likely be worked on again in the future, but for now, he is really happy with the progress that he has shown and the wonderful "base" they were able to create for Valor's future surgeries.

At doctor's office
Waiting to see the doctor with his constant companion, Landry

There is still a significant amount of swelling around the lip and nose area that needs to go down.  I know that this will continue to change how he looks.  Every morning when I go to get him out of his crib, a partially new face greets me.  I am still getting used to this "new" Valor.  I miss the other little mouth, but I am warming up :)

So, all in all he is good, we are good and God has blessed us through round 1! Thank you all for your prayers, support, meals, child care, carpool and all of the other wonderful things you did for us!! We would not have survived without you!!  Special thanks to Lollie, Jana, Grams and Michelle for all you did to serve our family last week.  We love you!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Hospital Day 2... Valor Rocks the House

WE ARE HOME! That's right, home... Valor rocked it and made a huge turn during the night.  By God's grace, he progressed so much that the surgeon didn't see any reason to keep him cooped up at the hospital.  So, we were actually discharged from PICU.... never even went to a regular room.

Sorry for the delay of updates! Yesterday, once the little man was up and alert from surgery, it became increasingly difficult to get much of anything done other than trying to subdue him and keep him comfortable.  He was mostly miserable all day yesterday...especially until the anaesthesia drugs finally worked out of his system.  Around 11pm, he began to turn a corner and by the middle of the night last night, his little personality began to show itself again.  There was once during the night that he actually began to dance! Not a lot of sleep, but dancing was a good trade off :)

Today, Brian came to relieve me from my shift, but we both ended up staying at the hospital because we found out we were likely to get discharged.  It took all day, but we drove home around 3:00 this afternoon.  Valor seems happy to be home and I am so glad that we were able to come back because he is just energetic enough that containing him to a hospital room tied to wires was getting difficult.  He was happy to see his toys and has been playing a lot. He was also surprisingly happy to see his bed! Mama loved this development!!

Thank you all for your continued support and prayers! It has been so uplifting to read messages and get support throughout this step in the journey.  Thankfully, the hospital portion was dramatically shorter than we expected.  Brian and I were humbled by the fact that here we were leaving a day after major ELECTIVE surgery with our healthy little man.  There are so many families camped out at the PICU dealing with very sick babies and children.  As much as Valor enjoyed his wagon rides around the unit, it was a heartbreaking walk to take for Brian and I.  So many tiny bodies on ventilators and machines fighting for survival.  So many teary eyed moms and dads.

Going into this procedure, I was asked many times if I was nervous, and the honest answer was no.  Now, I will be totally honest, if Ansley, Luke or Landry suddenly were thrown into unexpected major surgery I would be freaking out!! Does that mean that I care about Valor less?  No. I realized yesterday that my faith for Valor is stronger.  There is nothing like having your child live away from you in a third world country on the other side of the globe to build your faith.  I'm getting there with the other 3, but in my silly humaness, I still try to hold onto the idea that I "keep them safe".  I realize more and more how Valor's presence pushes me more towards what God has designed for us.  With Valor, I can see just how much he is a gift "borrowed" from heaven.  All of our children are in our care for a time, but ultimately the Father has a plan for them.  Just like those sweet little ones fighting in the PICU right now..... thank goodness the hope for them is so much bigger than a parent's ability to keep them safe or even the function of healing that the hospital can provide.  True peace and hope come from Him.   "And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."  (Phil 4:7)

Hug your children close and keep those in mind who tonight sit by their kids' bedsides in a hospital wishing they could be home.... sure puts things in perspective.

Its sweet that Valor is so into his daddy right now...I'm a lucky girl to have such a wonderful man to love on me and my kids...

Here he is in the late evening last night...beginning to get back to his normal personality...playing with a toy!

By this morning, he already looked so much better...swelling had gone done dramtically!
Hitting the halls for some distraction....Needless to say, he was a hit!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Pediatric Intensive Care Unit...

After Valor finished up in recovery, we were told we could head to the family waiting room at the PICU. It was explained that Valor would be wheeled by on his bed where we could see him for a minute, then he would proceed to his PICU room where we could join him after they had him settled.  So, off we went and we waited.  It didn't take long before we got to see him.  Poor buddy! He looked beat up! The surgeon did an amazing job, but with the swelling, stitches and blood, it is hard not to feel sorry for him.  Besides, no matter how amazing he looks, it is going to take a mama's heart a little bit to adjust to anything but that little face I was used to.  We both were overcome with emotion when we saw him and were surprised that he was anxious to see us...even in such a medicated state.

We have been in his PICU room ever since.  I spent the first two hours holding him in his bed.  (You should have seen the nurse, Brian and I trying to get me up there!)  He sleeps for a few minutes, then fusses, he's just miserable!! I was able to entertain him with my phone for a little while.  He played Angry Birds and listened to some music.  Right now, Brian has him in the rocker - 900 wires and all.  

I keep asking when is he going to sleep... the response I got was that it didn't seem like he was going to... hmmmm, that doesn't sound good.

Beyond the  of the surgery, God has blessed Brian and I with two adoption encounters.  While we were waiting on surgery to finish this morning, a nurse came to us and explained that she has a heart to adopt and that she knew all about Valor from our blog! Amazing!! We were able to share and hopefully encourage her towards being able to adopt.  It was such great thing for us to visit with her and be able to allow our journey to come full circle for someone else. 

Also, the lady who checked us into the PICU shared with us how she was adopted as a baby and what life had been like for her both growing up and finding her natural family later in life.  What a story! We felt so honored that she shared it with us! Both of these ladies lifted us up!

Your prayers are still appreciated and needed as we head into the night! Looks like it might be a long one!

He's OUT!!!!

We just spoke to the surgeon and Valor is done and surgery was absolutely successful! He said it actually went better than he thought it would.  He did reiterate that this is merely the first step in many steps to getting Valor to a more "normal" facial structure - we are building the base so to speak, but all in all, it was a success!

Praise God! Thank you for your prayers!

Once he is out of recovery, he will be admitted to the ICU for closer observation since it was such a big day for him.  Pray for his comfort and healing!