Wednesday, February 04, 2009

One Year Ago AND Six Months Ago!

One year ago today we met our beautiful children for the first time.  Emma was a tiny little 17 lbs at 5 years old and wore size 6-12 months for most things other than length- 18 months.  We went to visit her expecting to find a limp child that didn't react to anything, was unable to do anything by herself, was dark behind the eyes and lifeless--- this is how she'd been described to us.  But what we found was a SPUNKY little girl with a twinkle in her eye and the motivation to accomplish anything she set her mind to... she just lacked a reason to do it.  I'm so glad that one year later she still has that spunk, still has that motivation, and she has accomplished SO MUCH!!

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In the past year here are a few of the things she tolerated and accomplished...

  • Began to hold up her head
  • Went through a heart cath with a 'terminal' diagnosis
  • Learned to sit up propped with her hands
  • Went through T&A and ear tubes surgery and 8 days in a hospital
  • Learned to sit unassisted for brief periods
  • Tolerated oxygen treatment and SAT monitors
  • Had open heart surgery and a MIRACULOUS recovery period
  • Learned to sit well unassisted
  • Began 'hop' crawling
  • Found out she could bear weight on her feet
  • Went through castings for leg bracing
  • Began to show interest in PEOPLE and to seek out attention
  • Learned to play with toys
  • Learned to splash and sit unassisted in the bathtub
  • Discovered FOOD and how fun and yummy it is :)
  • Began to pull from a bench to a stand with some assistance (and braces)

And her newest accomplishment- tho it is still 'on its way' and not quite consistent...

  • says "bah bah" as "bye bye" when she or someone else is leaving.

We are so proud of you Emma!!



And this little guy- what a trooper!  From his 11 lbs at 16 months old to his current 25 lbs he has come a LONG way physically!  He's learned so many new things and basically caught up with other children within the spectrum of children w/ Ds for his age!  We didn't know what to expect when meeting him, but a little guy that was practically sedated 24/7 and had harsh GI issues wasn't something we'd even guessed.  The poor little guy was not holding his head up or smiling for more than a brief second, but he quickly learned that when Mommy was there he wanted to be held :)  And as you can imagine- I didn't mind one bit!

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Here's a bit of what our little guy has both been through and accomplished in the past year!

  • Learned to smile!!
  • Changed to soy and stopped with the massive diarrhea
  • Learned to SUCK from a bottle rather than have it pour in
  • Discovered hospitals through trips with his sister- we didn't leave his side and he didn't leave ours.
  • Went through a bout of pneumonia and a 5 day hospital stay
  • Learned to sit with assistance or propping
  • Learned to interact with his siblings
  • Found out that toys are fun- especially musical ones
  • Learned to sit without help and to get to sitting by himself
  • Began to pull to bear weight on his feet when assisted
  • Learned to crawl and took off at record speed :)
  • Tolerated upper GI studies and a change in diet to get rid of any thin liquids
  • Started to pull to a stand
  • Figured out 'cruising' and quickly took off around every piece of furniture in the house
  • Realized that playtime is fun and so is being held, but mobility means he wants to be DOWN
  • Discovered how to stand up without assistance or balance
  • Took his first step toward Daddy then LEANED hoping to be caught

And Micah's newest skill and we're so excited to see what he does in the next year...

  • Learned to take babyfood from a spoon and to enjoy EVERY BITE :)

We're so proud of our little man!!



And just 6 months ago, we did one of the hardest thing any parent can be asked to do and we handed over our sweet Emma to the arms of the anesthesiologist as they carried her down the hallway to the operating room.  Then we sat and cried, not knowing whether we'd be able to hold her again.  The risks were high, but the risks without surgery were higher.  This was her chance, and God used it to SHINE.  Hours after her operation began we finally let out that sigh of relief when her surgeon came into the waiting room and said "It's finished, she did better than we could have imagined.  I don't have any explanation for it, but her pressures are down and she's tolerated a full repair."

Relief isn't even the right word.  I don't think there's a strong enough word to describe the emotion that comes with knowing that such a high risk surgery is behind her and it's just the recover now... the "hard" part is over.

I can't even write that without tears running down my face.  The reminder of the pain, the difficulty, the ache of the unknown.  (Yeah, some of it's hormones, but even without the hormones it's still so raw.)  What a blessing she is, what a miracle. 

I pray God has this hand of blessing on each of the children that He leads home to families.  That their heart conditions will be as "easily" resolved and they will each have a long and healthy life with their forever families.  I can attest to His goodness.  What a gift to reflect on this 6 months later and see my big girl now...


  1. No Meredith,
    It's not "just hormones". I am crying as I read this also, I know the pain of having to hand your child over, of course E's was much more severe not as good of a prognosis as W (and B) but I still understand some of that pain of thinking you may not ever get your child back. There are truly no words to describe that feeling of hurt and then the sheer joy when you know everything is going to be fine.

  2. Tears here too. Thank God for his goodness and for saving their lives.

    Love to you all!

  3. I remember getting an email from you while you were in Ukraine asking about how we dealt with a severly malnurished child...and I remember thinking, "could they be asking for Daria?". Oh how I prayed that night for God's wisdom in your decision! And I distinctly remember seeing these same photos you posted a year ago....and I cried then too (nope, it's not your hormones cuz I KNOW I'm not pregnant and I'm crying too!).
    And wow, has it really been 6 months since Emma's heart surgery??? What a testimony that day was to God's power and goodness!
    Having met both of these precious angels, I can attest to their spunk and what an absolute delight they both are! I pray that their second year in your family brings many more accomplishments and much more joy!

  4. Your children bring so much joy to my heart and reading their accomplishments. None of them would have been possible without you and your husbands loving hearts though. God Bless you!!!!

  5. Wow! What a year. The memories of heart surgery brought back memories of my own and it's been even longer for us. I thank God for the amazing work He has done and is doing in and through you.


  6. Tears here too, lots of them. Your family is an inspiration to us all. Thank you for sharing them with us.

  7. it sure has been an incredible year! i began following your blog the week you guys got home (or around there) and i can hardly believe i've been checking in almost daily all that time... read it from first entry to last... prayed and cried right along with you... thanks for the reminders. :-)

    today is also the 1-year mark of when another adoptive family met their son, Artem, in Russia. didn't realize the same date before...

    and i had brain surgery 2 months ago TODAY. i was on the receiving end and obviously it wasn't the same risk as what Emma went through, but i'll NEVER forget what i heard when i woke up (when they finally got me to wake up, that is...) and my Mom was there. she said, "Michelle?" and her voice was trembling. my name wasn't a statement, it was a question, it was so much wrapped up into one word. she just wanted to hear me say something - ANYTHING - to show her that the daughter she watched the neurosurgeon & anesthesiologist take into the operating room was still in that shell of a body. it was chilling.

    congrats on one year together... and may God bless you with many more! :-D


  8. It's been so amazing to watch all these kiddos blossom in just a year. Thank the Lord for you and Mike for giving those two wonderful children the gift of a wonderful family....

  9. I'm certainly not pregnant and I cry when I read about Emma or see her pictures. I still have raw feelings when talking about Sawyer and his surgery/diagnosis and that was 3 plus years ago.

    You are right, there is not a good word in our language to describe the feelings/relief that you feel after the surgery.