Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Staph is such a nasty word at our house right now. Staph as in staph infection. Lucas has been fighting an ongoing staph infection in his burn since last November. In March, it was cultured and it was not MRSA. But, it's come back quite strong in the last two weeks. He took a full round of antibiotics and the day after he finished, it was worse than before. We do not know what type of staph he has now. It may be MRSA, or it may be a different antibiotic resistain type. Regardless, it's agressive and resistant. That means that antibiotics aren't clearing it up. Instead, it's developed a resistance to antibiotics and is having a field day in his little body right now. It has once again become systemic, meaning that it's not confined to the burn site, but is manifesting throughout his body as little sores on his skin. We greatly appreciate any prayers offered to Jesus, who I am reminded died for every disease, including nasty resistant staph infections.

What I have learned is that antibiotics, hand sanitizer, and lysol are wonderful most of the time. But if you ever notice, antibacterial products say that they kill "99.9%" of germs. That means that the remaining .1% were strong enough to survive the poison bath they just received. Not only that, but they're pretty smart little critters and they know that they must mutate in order to resist future attacks waged against them by moms and teacher everywhere. Once they mutate, they're even stronger and they're even harder to kill. Yikes. What a viscious cycle.

Thanks for praying! We're hoping that one of the sores will manifest itself to the point that we will be able to take Lucas to the doctor to have a sample taken. The problem is that the majority of the infection is deep within the scar tissue and the doctor has been unable to successfully obtain a sample for a culture to determine what we're fighting. He sees an Infectious Disease doctor in early Oct. Hopefully, we'll have some idea of what this staph looks like by then. I'll keep my blog posted when I know more.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Aren't these children gorgeous??????
I hardly ever update my blog anymore, but wanted to share a few pics that were taken last weekend. The family is doing great!

Yosef is in 5th grade this year. His math is at a 6th grade level. Yeah!!!! His reading is still behind, but is steadly improving. He is such a good student! And such a good son! So much bonding has occurred in our family, especially with Yosef. He's an incredible kid.

Kaitlyn is in 3rd grade this year. People have been saying that she is an old soul in a young body. That's because she's such a quiet, thoughtful little girl who is so happy doing little crafts, knitting, etc. She is soooooo sweet.....when she's not throwing a melodramatic fit. We're working on that.

Mihret is in 2nd grade and is doing great. Of course! She just continues to do so well in school. She is just an amazing little thing. I can't imagine life without her.

Lucas is in 1st grade and is still such a funny little fireball. We're working on teaching him responsibility. All of the kids now have a chore chart and a weekly allowance of one dollar that is paid for good work. The key is that I do not remind them to do their jobs. If they do them, they get paid. If they don't, they get deductions. Lucas is finally getting the hang of it.

This chore chart has been such an awesome thing for our family. I am so much less stressed now. I don't have to tell the kids all of the things they need to do anymore because it's all written down. The drastic reduction in my talking (bossing) alone has helped tremendously. Plus, with the kids all helping so much, we have so much more free time to spend together as a family. The kids are so motivated by the reward of family time each night. By the time they move out of the house, I think I might have evolved into a really good mom!

Lucas is continuing to heal from his burn. The scar has had four infections this year. Not good. Three of them have been staff. Not MRSA, which is good. He recently had steroid injections in the scar. Already, I can feel the scar shrinking and becoming smaller. I don't really see it yet, but my hand feels it when I rub him everyday. I am so thankful for this improvement. But still, this is not exactly what God has asked me to pray for. I continue to ask God to give Lucas new skin. But for now, this is an incredible miracle that we are so very thankful for.

And the other news is that we are trying to sell our house. We feel that God is prompting us to start moving in a new direction and the first step is to get our house ready to put on the market. Let's just say that this is going to require a lot of money and work and time. We're in no hurry and we're not stressing. Just doing what we feel like God is leading us to do.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Let the Redemption Begin....

Please take a few minutes to watch Steven Curtis Chapman and his beautiful family as they appeared on Good Morning America this morning. ***Be sure to grab a tissue first! What a beautiful faith this family has.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Ethiopia's Tiniest

This little girl is three years old and weights just 10 pounds due to mass food shortages in Ethiopia. Her name is Bezunesh, which means something like "You are more and more" or "You are so much". Her mother must love her so very much and yet she is watching her baby die of starvation. According to CNN, there are at least 120,000 Ethiopian children who have just one month to live if food relief doesn't come through soon. It's so easy to feel guilt over the plush American lives that even the American poor live out. While we complain about rising gas prices, our bellies are still full. The price of rice in America rises just a few cents and the big stores like Sam's Club and Costco start rationing how much rice we can purchase. So, we run out and buy the maximum alotment of rice...just in case. And even in purchasing that maximum alotment, we spend less than a dollar more per bag than we're used to spending. Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, the price of rice and other foods is soaring so high that even working class Ethiopian families, such as my dear Ethiopian friend, are finding themselves going hungry. My friend's father is a college professor! If even a college professor's family is hungry, how much less of a chance do the unemployed have under such conditions. The world is such an unfair place. To be American is to be rich relative to most of the world. Regardless of economic status. Lord, please intervene for these people...and use your people to do it.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Ethiopia Needs our Prayers

I post so infrequently on this blog that I'm not sure if I even have any readers any more. But, if I do, I hope that you will join me in praying for Ethiopia. We've been hearing in the news that Ethiopia is only receiving electricity for 3-4 days each week. The government is saying that lack of rain is making it impossible for Ethiopia's hydroelectric power plant to operate and produce electricity for the people. The bigger problem though is that teff and rice and food in general have drastically increased in price. I received an email this morning from a very dear Ethiopian family that has become like our own family. They told me that there is just not enough food or money. Our family is immediately going to wire them money of course. But that doesn't solve the problem. So, please be in prayer for this nation that is so dear to my heart and the hearts of many other families.

Friday, May 23, 2008


Many of you know this already, but please be in prayer for Steven Curtis Chapman's family. They lost their youngest daughter, adopted from China on Wednesday. You can see a blog set up for her at the following link:

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

New Family Pics

It's been a while since I posted. All is well. For those wanting to check out my new look, go over to Avery's blog. Enjoy! :)

Friday, February 15, 2008

1 Year Ago...

It was one year ago today that a judge in Ethiopia finally issued the adoption decree, thereby making Yosef and Mihret my very own. 18 months of absolute anguish and uncertainty finally ended with perhaps the most beautiful news I have ever received. I'll never forget the moment I found out. I was shopping in a Salvation Army store, anxiously awaiting news. I had been on the phone off and on all day with Avery and other families who were awaiting news of their courtdates. One of the mothers who unfortunately did not have a courtdate that day called me on my cell to tell me that she had just seen on the agency yahoo group that our kids passed court! I cannot even begin to describe what a relief it was to know that these children were finally ours! What an even bigger relief it was to finally have them in my arms once more...and when we stepped foot out of the airport back in DC and were finally all together on American! God turned our faith into sight. What a wonderful day indeed.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Lucas- 9 Months After His Burn

It occurred to me today that I have not posted an update about Lucas for a long time. For those who are just now stumbling upon my blog, Lucas is my 6-year-old son who was burned quite severely in May 2007. He spent several weeks in the UNC Burn Center in Chapel Hill, NC where he received top-notch treatment. Miraculously, even the 3rd degree burns healed without requiring surgery. So, here is an update on how he continues to progress and heal.

The 2nd and 3rd degree burns were on his left foot, lower left back, and the entire right hand, arm, and shoulder. His right arm and left foot are completely healed with only a barely perceivable difference in skin color. The lower left back has only a few thick scars that are very small. The skin will in time regenerate, and has already progressed quite far. It still has at least 6 months to go before it has built back up to a normal depth of skin. Right now, it is darker than his normal skin and still has "buds" on it which look like lots of little dark dots. In time, this will go away though as the skin heals.

The only real problem area that still remains is his right shoulder and upper right arm. It has developed a very thick hypertrophic scar over the entire area. The scar is still forming and has at least 6 months to go before it "matures" and stops developing. Basically, his body suffered great trauma and his healing senses kicked into overdrive and didn't know enough to stop. His body went overboard in healing itself. So, this causes two problems. The first is cosmetic and the second is the limitation of mobility in his shoulder.

His doctor in the burn center referred him to the UNC Burn Plastic Surgeon in January. The Burn Plastic Surgeon will continue to care for him, though there is currently no surgery available to correct such an issue in a still-growing child on the shoulder. So, basically, there's little that the doctors can do to help him. He currently is wearing a very tight "burn shirt" that squeezes him very tightly for the purpose of applying constant pressure to the scar tissue. He wears it during the day. Underneath the shirt he wears silicoln gel pads which have proven very helpful in scar reduction. I do massage therapy each morning and night where I press firmly on the scar and massage it to aid in breaking down the scar tissue. He goes back to UNC in two months at which time the surgery team may decide to start steroid therapy as well. Beyond that, there is nothing that can be done.

Mind you, I did not want my little guy to have to have surgery, but at the same time, I was hoping that there was something the surgeon could do for him. Still, when he said he could not help Lucas, I was discouraged only for a few moments. What this means is that God is our plan A and our only plan. I have been praying for the impossible for Lucas. I'm asking God to give him new skin instead of a scar. This is impossible. But it is what I feel God has asked me to pray for. In my human condition, I'm always thinking of the scientific and medical ways that this prayer could be answered. I found out at that last doctor visit that only God can do what I am asking. I would like to say that God has always been my Plan A on this, and at times, He has been. But in the back of my mind, surgery has been my Plan A. Now, there is only one plan and that is God. So, we continue to pray.

The little guy continues to absolutely astound everybody with his incredible little spirit that has not been broken by this. He came to me a few weeks ago and told me that he wanted to write a worship song about his burn. He began to sing as I wrote the lyrics as quickly as I could. It was such a beautiful song! It was all about how God made dead bones come to life and put new skin on them and how Jesus was dead and was then alive in just three days, so "when are You going to do that for me?". The main point of his song was such a child-like innocence in asking God, "When are you going to heal my burn?" followed with, "I love You and You love me- I know so!"

I am so awed by the faith of little ones. Lord, may my faith become like that of my children. They are so beautiful.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

10 Months Home

It has now been ten months since our family welcomed Yosef (age 10) and Mihret (age 7) home from Ethiopia. It's hard to believe that just one year ago at this time, we were entering into our 16th month of waiting since we accepted their referral with still no end in sight. When we were in the thick of our extremely difficult wait, we were very aware of God's presence with us. But looking back, I am absolutely astounded at how faithful God was to us during that dark time when my heart was feeling such anguish over my children. He so perfectly prepared us to be able to walk through that valley by His grace. He brought me to a place of knowing that even if my kids never did come home to me that He was still sovereign. Now, as I continue to live each day, I am so aware of His sovereignty. One of my dearest friends was diagnosed with Stage 4 Ovarian Cancer last week. Despite the intense grief I am facing right now, I am so comforted by God's sovereignty in this. That understanding of God is something that happened in my heart due to our difficult adoption. It's funny how we are able to find that place of truly trusting God when circumstances are so far beyond our control and we know that we cannot trust ourselves to change them.

With each update that I write, the process of becoming a bonded and attatched family is seeming more and more natural. Things really are very good. Increasingly, I am feeling like a "normal" (I really have no idea what that term even means!) woman trying to mother four "regular" children. What I mean is that the issues we face are seeming more like ordinary issues that all families face rather than adoption related issues.

Seven days a week, we have a conversation that goes like this:
MOM: "Yosef, you need to go take a shower now."
YOSEF: "Why do I have to take a shower EVERY day?!?!"
MOM: "Because if you don't you will smell stinky."
YOSEF: "But I don't want to! That's not fair! You don't make the other kids take a shower everyday. Why do I have to?!"
MOM: "Because you are 10 now and you're becoming a man and I don't like it when my kids are stinky, so go!"

And then Yosef goes and takes his shower. This happens every single day. It's become such a routine conversation that I think we have it just because it's part of our evening routine! I think that this is a "normal" issue and not an adoption issue!

Another example is this:

MOM: "Girls, talk nicely to each other."
KAITLYN: "Well, SHE'S bothering me!"
MIHRET: (In a shrill, manipulative, whining voice with arms crossed) "Kaitlyn's being mean to me, Mom!"
(Ten minutes later)

MIHRET: "Come on, Kaitlyn! Let's go play in our room!"
KAITLYN: "Okay! Let's play with our American Girl Dolls!"
MIHRET: "That would be fun! Let's go!"

All of my older, wiser friends assure me that their girls had these episodes at least 10 times everyday and still have these episodes with each other as adults. So, again, I think we're entering the realm of "normal" issues as opposed to always adoption related issues. What a relief!

We did put Yosef in a new class at school after Christmas break. This kid is like a brand-new child! He is doing so well in school now! He's reading at a 2nd grade reading level with pretty good comprehension. And he is so very proud of himself for this accomplishment! He's getting all A's on his spelling tests. He's getting A's and B's on his classwork. I have not seen many tests so far, but I am hopeful that he is doing well on them too. I am so thankful that we moved him to this class.

Since I teach at the same school where the kids attend, I try to respect them and not embarass them. Lucas and Mihret LOVE it when they pass me in the hallway and always want me to stop and give them a hug and kiss. Kaitlyn's need for attention at school varies with the day. Yosef, being the oldest, is really just so mortified that I might possibly embarass him. So, I usually just say hi or smile at him when I see him at school. He totally made my day the other day though when his class passed by me and he stepped out of line to give me a hug. I thought something was wrong! But he just wanted to hug me. It's the little moments like those that make me see just how far we've come. This is the same child who was going days at a time without speaking to me just a few months ago. Now, Yosef gets upset if I forget to hug him when we get home from school. Just a few months ago, his entire body would stiffen up if he even thought that I might try to touch him in any way. A hug was just torture for him. Just a few months ago, we were using TV as a means of rewarding him for being civil toward me, even if it was insincere. Now, I have to make him go play outside sometimes because I need him to get out from under my feet! God is the One who has guided us through this tricky process of attatchment between perfect strangers! He has given us such creative ideas that have worked so well for each child according to their unique little personalities.

Are we finished with attatchment? Have we figured out this parenting thing? Of course not! There's still lots of work to do. Right now, I really need God to give me a way to get Mihret to stop whining. I need to figure out how to keep Kaitlyn from getting lice....again. I wish I could get Lucas to be responsible enough to not keep a rotten banana in the bottom of his backpack until it gets smashed all over everything. And I wish I could make Yosef understand what a common noun is. Two months from now, it will be something different. But for now, I am confident that God will continue to guide us on this amazing journey called "Life" as He always has.

To those who have just recently brought home their older adopted children, hang on! Be consistent. Be listening to God's creative strategies. And take heart- those first few months don't last forever!

Saturday, January 05, 2008