Thursday, September 22, 2016

Moseying~The Medical (Benjamin, Jael, Gabe, and Timothy)

I feel like I'm moseying back onto the blog, casually.  We have had "happenings" constantly, but I feel the sun on my skin and relaxed in my heart....and I'm moseying (is that even really a word?).

Our lives our full and (it seems daily) getting fuller, so pull up a chair...grab a cup of tea...and get comfortable.

I think I'm going to just update you all gradually by subject.  There's just a lot of "goings on" that a mosey is about the only pace I can do right now.

I'm gradually (though not going to do it all at once) going to update everyone on...Medical Stuff, Big Family News, Every Day Doings, Adoption, Home School and.....

Feel free to comment or email me what you'd like to know... or YOUR prayer requests.

Mosey is about the only speed I go right now, so....

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

THE MEDICAL (Benjamin, Jael, Gabe, and Timothy)

I'm not sure we've ever had so much going on medically.  There's just flat out a lot.  I'm not sure where to dig in.  My thought is just to start from the oldest child (having to work through the medical maze) to the youngest child.

Benjamin/13 years old~Ben has always had issues gaining weight.  We get weight on him and it's a fight to keep it.  We went to a pediatric GI doctor pretty quick upon bringing Benjamin home, armed with the knowledge that many other special needs parents had shared with us.  We knew Ben had Celiac Disease, but (to us) that didn't explain everything.  Though this doctor was super sweet, she dismissed some things that we really saw were probably a need, because (though a fight) he was gaining weight.

This year at Ben's physical with doctor's guidance, we started in a new direction.  Ben can eat and eat and eat...and still fights to keep on weight.  Our WONDERFUL pediatrician gets that something else is behind this...she suggested that there was at this years appointment.  She gave us the name of a new pediatric GI doctor.

This Gastroenterologist saw exactly what we had felt in our gut for years.  He said Ben may always struggle...but there IS something else going on.  He immediately assigned the most fun test...the poop test.  (Yup...I have had so many years of scooping poop for tests, that I'm claiming expert status.  I am a poop scooping Samari.)

The doctor's office called...just today.  One of the MANY tests that were run showed (wait for it) a malabsorbtion issue.  He will need a endoscopy (and biopsy) and a colonoscopy.  This was definitely news, but not 100% unexpected.


We are actually glad, not because Ben will have to go through this, but because maybe after years of trying to find answers...we may be able to.  Thank you Lord!!!!  Talking to other special needs parents, fighting for years of diagnoses is sadly very normal.  At least we are on the right track now.

(Next up with Ben...geneticist and endocrinologist.)

Jael/8 years old-  Jael has a successfully working pair of prosthesis with knees.  It took awhile to get it working with her new suspension system.  A valve that is supposed to let out air was doing it when it wasn't supposed to.  Now that it's successful we will be getting her running legs done with the new suspension system.  It no longer has a belt that wraps around her waist, but is a system that uses a form of suction to secure the legs to her body.

We stumbled on this in our Children's Hospital. 
Gabe spotted it an actually yelled (he was so excited).

We are now in the process of getting a self-propelled wheelchair for Jael.  It's made to fit her and is supposed to last for five years.  For long distances or extremely hot days, she needs to have the option.  She also needs to be able to be independent and not rely on a stroller meant for much younger.  The insurance approved it and will take care of 90% (we have a great insurance) and are applying for grants to cover the rest.  We have a lead on 3 to 4 places we can seek a grant.

Gabriel/7 years old- Gabriel had allergy testing recently and has always struggled with allergies.  We were surprised by a couple results and are altering his diet some at this point.  We are now testing for thyroid issues.  We have a test next week to insure the first results we received were correct (high numbers).  The first lab sometimes tests a little high with just this test (from what we understand).


Timothy/4 years old- With Timothy there has been a lot of hurry up and wait.  Here's where we are now.

Both the specialty doctor at Shiners (in PA) and our doctor here are willing to do surgery on his hips and put them into socket.

Side note:  As you may remember, the doctor in PA is one of the world's leading experts in Arthrogryposis (Timothy's diagnoses).  People wait forever to see him.

The biggest question now is Timothy's feet.  The doctors here tried casting with almost no results.  They had many doctors examine him and discuss the best avenue and still, at this point, are leaning toward amputation.  The other options they don't feel are feasible for him.

The cool part is that our local hospital doctors have such respect the doctor in PA that they don't want to do ANY surgery on Timothy's feet and hips until he is seen by this PA doctor.  They want his thoughts.



So, here's where we are at.  The hospital in PA has now called and given us a date...actually three different trips (the last two may be cancelled...or not...depending on the doctor's thoughts on this first trip).  We have a couple of months, but in the meantime we are applying for medical flights, trying to make reservations at the Ronald McDonald house, and trying to figure out how to do afford a rent a car while there.  PLEASE let me know if you have any ideas when it comes to renting a car (and if you know of any medical grant places for things such as this).  The Ronald McDonald house is not right next to the hospital.

We also have an appointment next week where we may get a surgery date for Timothy's wrist.


Anna taught Timothy to do this.  Uh Oh....

As for Thomas and I, we have our medicals hopefully tomorrow (for the adoption). We appreciate prayers that blood work and examinations go beyond good.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Well, that's my moseying.  Just as I had no clue how to begin this,  I have no clue how to end this either (chuckle).  My moseying brain doesn't work that way right now.

I hope you have all been blessed.  I know many are struggling with big Big BIG stuff right now.  I will admit my heart hurting for many.  It's been a bit of a sad day.  Though I ask for prayers for above, please pray for hope for several of my friends.  There's rough stuff going on.

See you all soon...hopefully (chuckle).  My hope is to mosey back on here and cover the next subject.

Now go be silly.  It helps.

Our mouths were filled with laughter,
    our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
    “The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us,
    and we are filled with joy.  

                   Psalm 126:2-3


Sunday, September 11, 2016

9/11/01


I wrote this originally in 2009.  I edited it this morning to add detail I had not previously shared.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I heard the children laughing as I turned and stepped out into the hall.  A cacophony of silliness mixed with preparation surrounded me.

Sarah LOVED preschool and had such joy participating in class and learning. Colorful decorations fluttered on the wall as people passed.  I turned and started down the narrow stairs...smelling the fresh Elmer's glue and the scent copy machines running. Another mom passed me and stopped, “Did you hear a plane hit the twin towers?”. I walked down the steps to the car where my mom waited (for me to take Sarah to class).

 My perception was that this was a little plane, really hard and lives lost. 

I had yet to realize the enormity.

Now, I will never forget those words, “Did you hear a plane hit the twin towers?”

I can picture the mom's face as she told me, though I cannot remember her name.

The radio on, we sat and listened in my mom's car.  No one had a clue how big this was at that point.

By the time I arrived home and flipped on the television, the other plane was just hitting the second tower. I watched it happen...unreal, like a bad movie.  This was beyond comprehension for me. I couldn’t even begin to fathom this.

 The towers hit…the was pentagon hit…the planes crashed...

We watched as people jumped to their deaths.  I will never forget seeing this sight over and over again.  Over...and over...and over...

Then, even more unfathomable, the towers collapsed and the American feeling of safety vanished before us.

Tom (our oldest and then a first grader) I picked up early from school...and then Sarah (though not early, she only went half day).  Our little Anna (not even one) stayed secure in my arms, but all my children needed to be home, like somehow I could protect them.  My husband and I had already talked, he worked in telecommunications and needed to stay at work to see how he could help.

I had nightmares for weeks. I wasn’t angry, but had overwhelming sadness for those lost and the terrorists that chose such a violent act. I ached for their childhoods and the parents that may have instilled such hatred and malice in them. I ached for choices made.  I ached for the those who perished before us and those in their families that watched.  I ached for the hugs that would never again be felt from moms, dads, children, and friends.

My heart shattered into a bazillion slivers...were any of our friends from the military serving in the Pentagon today?

Maybe I should have been angry, but this world (so fallen) overwhelmed me.

The loss…the enormity of the loss.

Most of us knew someone who died, and if not, we knew someone who did. My brother’s coworker was on one of the planes. We searched a list of those who died at the Pentagon to see if any friends we made in the Army were on the list.

We all searched these lists I think. 

Families gathered together, clung to each other….and God….God remained our constant. I can’t fathom surviving this kind of devastation without Him.

Some may wonder, “How could God allow these things to happen?”. God is a God of love. He gave us all a choice and those choices have repercussions….not just on ourselves, but for others. He is a God that loves us and calls us to Him. He is a God that sees a picture of the past, present, and future and IS constantly in our lives…guiding us, blessing us, teaching us, growing us.

There are things on this side of Heaven that are beyond our reach, our human understanding is limited, but those things are minuscule compared to eternity….they just did’t feel like then or now.  If our minds could understand all of our Heavenly Father, then the God we serve would be remarkably small.  HE IS NOT.

As we mourn for those lost, we also celebrate life and a future rich with God. Sadness remains, yes….but sadness is temporal in a life filled with the hope of eternity.  I have to hope.  I cannot live without it.  It's like air.

I will never forget....that day, the lives lost, the lives given for others.

I will never forget….how God worked that day, bonding together a nation so disjointed.

I will never forget….to share with those mourning who the Comforter really is and to stand with them, cry with them, ache with them.

I will never forget….God is, was, and always will be. 

That is how we survived that day and the weeks to follow.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

God Moments and Miracles #1

The miracles have brought us to a place we could not have imagined.

As we wait for funds for Grace, weekly, daily, hourly....we see God move on behalf of our family.

I'm truthfully not sure where to even start or what to share.

Some things are not just ours to share and some things we know are not meant for social media...whether just so preciously intimate or there's not wisdom in sharing right now publicly.

We also know that there are many hurting hearts.

This world is rough.  Friend's situations have our hearts aching.  Loss is all around us.  Loved ones are struggling with serious health issues.  Many woke up these last weeks with their arms empty and their hearts breaking to a point where they don't think they can recover.

We pray for the families of those who have been killed by those they swore to protect.  We pray for the families of those whose lives were taken by the hands of those that were sworn to protect them.


I don't know so much of the truth.  I can't weed through the spin the media puts on everything.  I can't.  All I know is there are many hurting.  All I know is this IS a fallen world, redeemed by the ONLY one who can save it...Jesus Christ.

I come to you today to share blessing amid the hurt.  I don't know about you, but I need hope.  I need to remember God's goodness.  I need to remember love.  

Side Note:  If you want to share your own "God Moments and Miracles", please comment or email me.  I can put a link to your blog or share your story here.

There were days during the year of bringing Timothy home, where catching our breath...from one trauma to the next...was seemingly impossible.  Since we didn't turn blue or pass out on the floor, I'm thinking we made it.  Oh, we had WONDERFUL things...beautiful gifts happen...but we also had trials (the likes of which we had never seen before) back to back.

Now it feels like the rain has started...the wonderful cleansing rain.  The humbling, blow us out of the water, we do not deserve this rain.

Timothy came home two months ago on May 6th.  Blessings have poured down in these last two months.  Some things are tiny (small in the big picture), but reiterating the path God has put us on.  Some things are HUGE and we are still getting our minds wrapped around them.

Again, I'm at a bit of a loss of where to start, but I think I will first share a God Moment that I cling to.

A hospital visit is often not where you'd assume a blessing might start.  This wasn't a hospital visit for me, but for Timothy and Jael at the local orthopedic hospital.   Timothy had casting and Jael had the continued fitting of her new prosthetics (working out the kinks).

Our teen sat out in the waiting room (his choice to hang out while we recasted) and started a conversation about God with another adoptive family.  (I'm not saying this to pat us on the back, but just because the connection between brothers and sisters in Christ is BEAUTIFUL.)

As I came out, I introduced myself.

This man's little boy came home only a couple of months before.

The family was from out of state.  Though there are patients from out of state, from what I understand this is a lot less common.  He and his family happened to have a similar appointment time to us.  As we continued to talk, my mouth dropped open.  Our daughter Grace is at the same institution that his son was at.  In this HUGE Asian country with many many orphanages, his son was at the same one as our daughter is.  He may have seen her.  This blows us away.

One day, one appointment, one moment in time...an ocean of beautiful children across the world...and our children were together.

God knew I needed this as we start this adventure of uncertainty all over again.  He knew I needed something outside myself to remember that God set our course.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We continue to ask for prayers.  God is moving and we feel such a wave of His Power and Might.
Right now, where Grace is, is having disastrous flooding.  We are asking for prayer for protection for her and the other children.  We are asking for prayers that we can connect with the right person who can check on her welfare.

We also have an avenue we are working on financially to bring Grace home.  My mama heart is tender.  I long for her to be safe in my arms.  Please pray favor in this avenue.  We are within a few hundred of being able to afford (we believe) the home study (though we still need $4000 still to send to the international agency).  We are just waiting on one question.  If you wish to join us in this journey, you can send money by YouCaring at the side of the blog or by sending it through PayPal (nothing is taken out) to 1thomkat (at) verizon (dot) net.

Please also keep Alyssa in your prayers.  She is the 14 year old daughter of friends from college.  She has brain cancer.  After four surgeries to remove the cancer and a hopeful medical trial, the cancer is back.  Please pray for healing.  Alyssa is an inspiration.

"Called by Name", you can also email me at the above and I'd LOVE to answer your questions!

Thank you all for joining us in this adventure.  There are MANY more parts to "God Moments and Miracles" coming soon.  No joke, we are blown away.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Oh How They Change (Part 2)

Apparently two trillion pictures cannot fit into one blog. Who knew? (Shrug...giggle).  If you haven't seen "Part 1", check it out!

Here is part two of our family pictures...oh how they change!

Our Boys 2013

Our Boys 2014

Our Boys 2015

The Next three are from 2016....and our reality (chuckle).




~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Our Girls 2013

Our Girls 2014

Our Girls 2015

2016 (Above and Below) 
Our girl group is growing.  Elizabeth joined our
family this year through marriage.  She is holding a 
picture of our Grace.  Sarah is holding a picture of our
Isabella (to be born to Sarah and Ivan in December).

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This is a random picture we always take of our "triplets".
Rachel, Gabe, and Jael
Jael's birthday (2008) is the same day that Rachel and Gabe came home from Ethiopia in 2010.

2013


2014


2015


2016 (Above and Below)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Our Treasures 2011 


Our Treasures 2013



Our Treasures 2014


Our Treasures (Above and Below) 2015



Our Treasures 2016 (Minus Ivan)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There were other moments of joy this July 4th too.  
We celebrated Jaels 8th Birthday.





~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We also had the joy of celebrating with friends.


The above is the younger generation that visited our house.  The below is Noelle (Ivan's sister) who 
is winning over Timothy.  Timothy LOVESSSSS Ivan, so now he has some competition.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So that's it for the review in pictures.  Yes, it is finally over.   Thank you again for
 joining us as our family grows and blossoms, prayerfully into what 
God wants us to be.

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Prayers right now are vitally important.  Please pray for our family.  If you would like to help bring Grace home financially, please know how much we appreciate it.  I'll put the info at the very end of this post.  This is a scary part for us, starting from scratch all over again.  Should it be?  No, but the humanness eeks out.  The current financial needs were due weeks ago, but our agencies have been patient.  Please pray that the funds come in this week for Grace's adoption and the humanness is kicked to the curb and replaced with what we know (confidence in that), that God provides.

Prayer Requests....
1.  Please pray for ease and protection during this current adoption process.
     It is not that our goal is comfort, but during Timothy's adoption, it was rough.  There were many
     health issues, emergencies, and really hard stuff.  We are just praying the road is smooth ahead. 
    We ALWAYS ask for prayers of protection.  God is our protector...our hope...our salvation.
2.  Please pray for Grace, that she is protected and ministered to. 
     She has another special need that (we were told) can be painful at times.  It's smaller, but we
     appreciate prayers for her.
3.  Please pray for speed of this adoption.  That Grace can come home sooner than we expect.
4.  Please, very specifically, pray for funds to come in this week (that we need) for this adoption.
5.  Please pray for our newlywed children, all of them have been married less than a year.  Please pray for continued blessing on their marriages.  We see beautiful things.  Please pray for the gift of health for Isabella (our newest granddaughter in utero) and Sarah (our daughter, Isabella's mommy-issues with Celiacs).  Please pray for the gift of a passion for God, treasuring each other, communication, and joy for our son Tom and his wife Elizabeth and for Sarah and her husband Ivan.
6.  Please pray for Timothy, his transition and understanding, as we wade through medical waters.

Thank you friends for joining our family and coming before the Lord on our behalf.

Oh, and a mini thing.  I over did it this week.  I feel like I've been hit by a truck (exhaustion).  It's not normal for me, but I appreciate prayers for energy and health.  Thank you!!!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Our immediate need for Grace is $6,685.  The YouCaring site will update the total as it comes in, or if it comes in another way, we will post an update on that site (and here). 

The YouCaring for Grace goes straight into a separate adoption account.  Thank you for helping bring her home!

If you would like to give directly through PayPal with no money being taken out, you can send directly to 1thomkat(at)verizon(dot)net .  The second a donation comes in, we will transfer it to our separate adoption account at the bank.

Thank you again guys!!!!

For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 
                                                      1 John 5:4
(Grace's Verse)

Oh How They Change (Part 1)

Over the years our family has grown and blossomed.  The Fourth of July has become a time of yearly pictures, watching how our family has been blessed through the years.  Bear with us.  This one will be long (smile).



2015/Tom and Elizabeth

2016/Newly Married

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Tom 2013/18 years old

2014/19 years old

2015 (My Goof!)/20 years old

Still a goof  2016/21 years old
I need to give Tom props.  He has a upper respitory infection and still stood for pictures.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


2016/The first year of Elizabeth's individual 
pictures as she has joined our
family! YEA!!!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Ivan and Sarah 2015 Engaged (now married)
Ivan was sick this year.  Since he was sick, someone
stood in for him in :-). Just look for the 2016 pictures.

2016/Not taken at our 4th of July get together, but I 
take what I can get (smile).  Our baby Isabella (as of today) is around 11 oz.
Sarah is 18 weeks pregnant.


2016/Of course I can't forget Isabella.  This was taken today.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sarah/2009/12 years old

2013/16 years old

2014/17 years old

2015/ 18 years old

2016/Isabella (their daughter) is 
standing in for Ivan this year.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


2009/Anna/8 years old

2013/12 years old

2014/13 years old

2015/14 years old

2015/15 years old

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Max 2013/10 years old

2014/11 years old

2015/12 years old

2016/ 13 years old
I'm voting Max "the most changed" (smile).
 


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Benjamin 2013/9 years old

2014/10 years old

2015/11 years old


2016
2016 
Our dancing Ben 2016

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Bekah 2009/3 years old

2013/7 years old

Bekah 2014/8 years old

Bekah 2015/9 years old

Bekah (Above and Below) 2016/10 years old


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Jael 2013 (Above and Below)/5 years old



2014 (Above and Below) 6 years old
\



2015 (Above and Below) 7 years old



2016/8 years old


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Gabe 2013/3 years old

2014/4 years old

2015 (Above and Below)/5 years old



2016 (Above and Below)/6 years old
Still 2016 (Above and Below)



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Rachel 2013/ 3 years old

2014/4 years old

2015 (Above and Below)/5 years old



2016 (Above and Below)/6 years old


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Timothy did NOT want to smile.
Timothy 2016/4 years old/1st year home
We worked on him though.
He couldn't resist!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Grace~Victory/2015/2 years old

Prayerfully Grace will join our family sometime in the next year.
This is our heartfelt prayer.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We will also never forget  our Jonathan
Forever 8 years old.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So that's it for the first part of the family pictures.  You knew it was coming, as with every year (smile)   Thank you  for joining us as our family grows and blossoms, prayerfully into what 
God wants us to be.  Join us for "Part 2"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Prayers right now are vitally important.  Please pray for our family.  If you would like to help bring Grace home financially, please know how much we appreciate it.  I'll put the info at the very end of this post.  This is a scary part for us, starting from scratch all over again.  Should it be?  No, but the humanness eeks out.  The current financial needs were due weeks ago, but our agencies have been patient.  Please pray that the funds come in this week for Grace's adoption and the humanness is kicked to the curb and replaced with what we know (confidence in that), that God provides.

Prayer Requests....
1.  Please pray for ease and protection during this current adoption process.
     It is not that our goal is comfort, but during Timothy's adoption, it was rough.  There were many
     health issues, emergencies, and really hard stuff.  We are just praying the road is smooth ahead. 
    We ALWAYS ask for prayers of protection.  God is our protector...our hope...our salvation.
2.  Please pray for Grace, that she is protected and ministered to. 
     She has another special need that (we were told) can be painful at times.  It's smaller, but we
     appreciate prayers for her.
3.  Please pray for speed of this adoption.  That Grace can come home sooner than we expect.
4.  Please, very specifically, pray for funds to come in this week (that we need) for this adoption.
5.  Please pray for our newlywed children, all of them have been married less than a year.  Please pray for continued blessing on their marriages.  We see beautiful things.  Please pray for the gift of health for Isabella (our newest granddaughter in utero) and Sarah (our daughter, Isabella's mommy-issues with Celiacs).  Please pray for the gift of a passion for God, treasuring each other, communication, and joy for our son Tom and his wife Elizabeth and for Sarah and her husband Ivan.
6.  Please pray for Timothy, his transition and understanding, as we wade through medical waters.

Thank you friends for joining our family and coming before the Lord on our behalf.

Oh, and a mini thing.  I over did it this week.  I feel like I've been hit by a truck (exhaustion).  It's not normal for me, but I appreciate prayers for energy and health.  Thank you!!!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Our immediate need for Grace is $6,685.  The YouCaring site will update the total as it comes in, or if it comes in another way, we will post an update on that site (and here). 

The YouCaring for Grace goes straight into a separate adoption account.  Thank you for helping bring her home!




If you would like to give directly through PayPal with no money being taken out, you can send directly to 1thomkat(at)verizon(dot)net .  The second a donation comes in, we will transfer it to our separate adoption account at the bank.

Thank you again guys!!!!

For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 
                                                      1 John 5:4
(Grace's Verse)
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