Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Post Surgery

Shriner trip tips from Julia. 
Getting a hotel room with a king-sized bed that is cheaper than the room with two doubles is not necessarily a wise decision.  Especially when the little boy sleeping next to you does not stick to the 'stay on your own side of the bed rule.'
Make sure to wear football padding if you do try to save a few bucks because you will need it. I left the padding at home.  Not smart. Little boy is a nightmare to sleep with!! 
Checking the quality of your windshield wipers before you leave would be smart. Make sure they pass the 'constant smattering of melted snow on the windshield while you drive down the interstate test'.  Mine didn't. It was a LONG night last night driving in the drizzle from above and the spray from below.
Make sure NOT to leave Pooh Bear behind in Rob's truck or you will have one very sad little boy.
Make sure to get a wonderful nurse who is willing to hunt all over the hospital to find that same sad little boy a replacement bear.
Make sure NOT to say anything at all when the bear given to your sad little boy happens to be a Philadelphia Eagle bear.  Just grin and bear it!!!
Sweet boy is through surgery. Everything went well - plate is out. Plate is in.  No major complications.
We were hoping to go home cast-free but his surgeon decided to put one on as a precaution.
That means we get to come back up in a few weeks...

John's doing well although smiling for the camera is NOT on his agenda at the moment.  Getting something to drink and eat are much higher on his needs list.

We will be here at least one more day....
Thank you so so much for praying for us.
We are so grateful to have so many loving and caring for our little guy.


Monday, February 1, 2016

Philly Bound

John and I are leaving tonight for Philly.  I have to teach today so we are leaving as soon as I teach my last class. We won't make it all the way up but we are planning on getting within an hour of the hospital.

Tuesday morning we will leave early early from the hotel and go the rest of the way.

Rob is staying home to hold down the fort and to work on a house project that has been on the to-do list for years!  He's ripping out the carpet in our bedroom and laying down hardwood.  The carpet in our bedroom is over 20 years old and is so ready to be ripped out of there!  I voted he do it while I am gone so I don't have to live in the mess!
Aaron is excited that he will get to help his Papa after school.

 Our little boys are already missing the fact that they won't be together for a few days.

I'm not sure what Summer is thinking...

 We would definitely appreciate prayers this week.  Surgery is on Tuesday.  We are hoping to only have to stay in the hospital one night and home on Wednesday.
I will try to blog and post on Facebook if I can about how surgery went for John...

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Plates and More Plates

They keep us hopping our two little boys from across the ocean.

There is never a dull moment with them!

Since Aaron has been home we have chosen to get all of his orthopedic help at the Shriners Hospital in Philly. We consider his doctors to be the best and once we met them have never considered going anywhere else for his treatment. 

Shriners is a 4 1/2 hour one-way trip for us according to MapQuest.  It is a rare day when we can come close to making it up there in that amount of time.  A normal trip is about 6 hours up and 6-7 hours back.  Some days our return trip has been a lot longer because of rush hour traffic. 
We have traveled with Aaron to Shriners about 34 times.
Aaron's lower extremity doctor is so popular that the waiting list for a new patient just to SEE him is over a year. That's just to get your foot in the door. If you need surgery you could wait up to 2 more years. 
Last year after meeting John we immediately called Shriners and got him on the waiting list.  Even though John couldn't see Aaron's doctor, last May we took him to Shriners  to meet the scoliosis doctor who was kind enough to go ahead and order X-rays of his hips and legs in anticipation of John eventually being able to see the lower extremity doctor. 
We came home and his X-rays have sat in his file without anyone ever reading them.  I called three weeks ago to make sure his name was still on the waiting list and it was. 
About a week after calling I started thinking.  Were we foolish to be waiting? Should we get his X-rays and go somewhere else?
I didn't want to throw in the towel on Aaron's doctor because he is so good, but we also didn't want to sit around wasting our time if there really wasn't anything he could do for John.  So I did something I never do. I boldly e-mailed him.  I asked him if he would have the time to look at John's X-rays and give us some idea of what we should do. Was it hopeless to think that John would ever walk better than he does? 
I didn't honestly expect a response.
When you have so many patients that you are a year backed-up, when would you have the time to even look at a file of an unknown child? 
I sent the e-mail not really expecting a response.
He responded within half an hour. He pulled up my child's file and looked at it and wrote us a sweet letter back with words of encouragement and hope.
The next day Shriners called.
Aaron's doctor had contacted another doctor up there and spelled out to her exactly what he wanted her to do in the short-term for John.
So last week Rob and I drove John the 6 hours up and 6 hours back. Next Monday John and I will travel up there again so that he can have surgery on Tuesday. His surgery will involve removing a plate on his right femur that was inserted several years ago, plus inserting small plates into his growth plates on that same knee in order to straighten the leg. 
Plates, plates and more plates!!
We've done the growth plate surgery with Aaron, so we know a bit about what to expect. This surgery will pave the way for future surgeries on John's hip to hopefully get his leg oriented in the proper direction.  Aaron's doctor will do the bigger surgeries but for now we have a short-term plan with a very nice doctor and for that we are grateful.
This surgery absolutely needed to be done. And now.  That's the amazing part of this story. The plate that is currently in John's leg has bone growing into it.  The plates they want to put in his knees are going into growth plates which are soon not going to be there due to John's age.  If we didn't do the growth plate surgery now then he wouldn't get it done.
He was on borrowed time and we didn't know it. If I hadn't e-mailed Aaron's doctor we never would have known.
Only God!
So if you think about it next week we would definitely appreciate prayers for traveling mercies and for John's surgery and his recovery.
Aaron's going to miss his partner in crime.
It's never a dull moment with our little guys!!
We wouldn't trade them for the world!
But we sure could use help keeping their toy room clean!!!


Monday, January 25, 2016

And Then There Were None... Almost

We left John's institute yelling and shouting for FIVE FABULOUS babes...
Five precious orphans needing families.
As of this morning... ALL FIVE HAVE FAMILIES!!
 Two are home (Reilly and Toby). 
One family is in country right now loving on their sweet sweet little Wetherby.  COURT IS TOMORROW!!
Rebecca's family committed a few weeks ago. 

This morning... Charlie's family announced!!

Advocating matters.
It truly matters.
It is beautiful and awe-inspiring to have watched the Holy Spirit moving in the hearts of five families over the course of  these last 9 months.
If you don't believe the Holy Spirit moves in hearts... then read THIS POST written by Rebecca's Papa.  Two people NOT looking to adopt again are now adopting.
I know for a fact that in the hearts and lives of each of the other four families they have similar stories.  God moves in hearts. He does.  He stirs and whispers and sometimes outright screams for us to listen and obey.
His desire is to set the lonely in families.
Our Fabulous Five have all found their families.
And then there were none... almost...
Since leaving last May, three other little boys have become available from John's institute so now we have THREE MORE FABULOUS babes who are looking for families...
Meet BYRON.  He arrived there only a few days before John left. He's the wee fellow in Charlie's lap.
Meet CHESTER. We actually saw a lot of Chester since he was in John's groupa.  He's a sweet little guy who doesn't talk much but is right in the middle of anything that is going on.
Meet JOEY. He just arrived there and from what I hear is darling!! 
Three little boys who need Mamas.
They can all be adopted together or separately.  They are all in the same orphanage.  Three little loves.
Byron. Chester. Joey.
He sets the lonely in families....
Are you listening???
Sing to God, sing in praise of his name,
    extol him who rides on the clouds;
    rejoice before him—his name is the Lord.
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
    is God in his holy dwelling.
God sets the lonely in families,
    he leads out the prisoners with singing;
    but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Snowy Saturday

It's not quite a blizzard in our neck of the woods but it sure is a LOT of fun!!
John's first Virginia snow!

So what if the snow doesn't pack... snow shovels make great snow catapults!

John trying to be an angel.... not sure any of us were too convinced!!
Sweet faithful dog hung with us even though she would much rather have been inside!

Snowy Saturday Fun!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

A Very Tired Thumbs Up

This little blog has been quiet over the last few weeks.
I miss it.
It's been a wild three weeks here in our little house in the woods.  Four of us have been working around the clock finishing a book project that has had all of us at one point or another in complete melt-down.  Two of us in this little house in the woods have been playing and making messes without a care in the world.
Can you guess which were the carefree imps???
Can you guess what one of my jobs was yesterday before Ben went back to college?
Yesterday Rob and I finished the final edits on the book.
Ben and Elijah are two chapters short of finishing their part so Ben will come home next weekend from college to get it done.  Considering he was so brain-weary when he left that he forgot his pillow, sheets and other essentials he isn't complaining about coming back.
I cannot begin to express how grateful we are for the work these two put into our family business.  They make me so very proud!!
Rob and I were so exhausted and weary last night that the full extent of our celebration party was to climb in bed and give each other a very tired thumbs up.  We then both promptly fell into a stress free sleep for the first time in way too long.
I'm not ready to share what we have been working on. We have to the finalize the cover and get the website changed around but we are unveiling soon....
I can't wait.
If you homeschool and are doing Medieval History next year with your K-6th graders or if you are doing Classical Conversations Cycle 2 next year or if you are thinking of homeschooling and have no clue what to do for history or if you are using another program and are considering changing then STAY TUNED!!
So are they!!!!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Last Day to Bounce a Babe

The LAST DAY to help a babe over the wall on the Angel Tree!!

So for all of you who have been saying you were going to get around to bumping a babe over the $1,000 wall.....


Come on! Join in!

It's baby bouncing day!
I mean seriously... How can you resist all those sweet faces...

Tuesday, December 29, 2015


We are in the final days of the Angel Tree.
Derek Micah (Asia)
Honestly, the tree looks pretty grim right now.  There are far too many babes sitting at the $500.00 mark and not enough babes over the $1,000.00 wall.

Most importantly, from my perspective, the yelling and sharing for all the babes has just not been as spirited this year as in past years.
Last night one of the Angel Tree Warriors was sharing their sorrow that all their efforts to get their babe over the wall had fallen short.  Despair was taking over.
Prudence Betsy
It's a slimy pit that is quick to drown us if we are not careful.
We care so much.  We hurt so deeply.  We hope so hard.
Alaric #25-15
Just taking the time to scroll through all the faces on the Angel Tree is all it takes for the tentacles of despair to reach out and pull you in. Clicking further into the Reece's Rainbow website and realizing that only a tiny portion of the children on the website are on the Angel Tree is an even harder pill to swallow.
The need is so great.
The families seem so few.
Getting all the children over the $1,000 wall is a worthy goal.  It makes a statement to a future family that their child has value. Someone cared enough to sow some seed money into that child's life. 
Looking back, I love that both my children had people fighting for them.  Aaron had close to $1,000 in his grant account and John had over $3,000.
And both boys had people yelling for them.  Aaron had a yelling warrior whose shouts were so loud that we could hear them all the way to our little house in the woods.  She was just a college student with no money and no job. But she cared. Deeply.  She yelled. She blogged. She yelled some more. She was crazy yelling for a little boy who had been transferred to a mental institute.  And we heard.  God used her yelling to penetrate deep into our hearts.
John also had his yelling warriors. Families met him at his orphanage and they came out shouting. 
It wasn't just yelling though.
It was the prayers of the saints.
I can't tell you how many people shared with us after we committed to both Aaron and John that they had been praying for our boys. 
Prayer Warriors.
People saw their pictures and read their profiles and committed to praying for our boys.
Those prayers went straight to the throne of God and He heard and He moved in our hearts.
Both boys were covered, drenched in prayers.
The sweet, tender, loving prayers of the saints.
The Angel Tree ends on Thursday night.
On Friday we will begin a New Year and the 160+ babes on the tree will go back to just being another picture on the Reece's Rainbow website.  They will again be just one of many many many children longing for families.
Stanley (Asia)
Each of them have something special right now.  They are being seen across the country. They have people raising money for them.  They have people yelling for them. And most importantly, they have people praying for them.
On Friday, raising the money will most likely stop.  And the yelling will die down.  But the prayers. The prayers of the saints.
They cannot stop.
They cannot.
It is through prayer that hearts are touched.
I've seen it time and again.
Sealey (48)
I can't raise money for every child. I can't advocate for every family. Picking one child means ignoring hundreds more. Picking one family in process means ignoring the rest.
I could despair.
I could slip into a slimy pit of despair and throw in the towel believing that my pitiful attempts are not good enough.
It would be easy.
The need is too great and the families are not enough.
Or I could pray.
I could pray and I do pray because I know that prayer is the biggest heart mover of them all. 
I've witnessed the power of that prayer enough times in these last six years to believe that prayer is the mightiest weapon we have against despair.  It is powerful and penetrating and heart-changing.
So these next three days and into the New Year I'm just going to continue to do what I have been doing for the last six years since stumbling upon Reece's Rainbow. I'm going to yell, raise money and pray.
And I'm going to believe that my efforts - no matter how small and insignificant - they matter.
Join me. Please.
Yell for the babes over the next few days. Share them on your blogs.  Put them on your Facebook pages.  E-mail their pictures to your friends and neighbors.  You never know who is going to be touched by the simple act of sharing. Who knows.  It might even be you.
Give to them so that the financial burden for their forever families is eased a bit. Don't despair at the enormity of the need. If everyone gave a little then we could chip away at the mountain and move more children over the wall.
Most importantly... PRAY FOR THEM. Pick a child. Put their picture on your fridge. Use it as a bookmark in your Bible.  Put it on the background of your desktop. Each time you see it pray.  Pray some more.
Yell. Give. Pray.
A simple formula to ward off despair.
There are currently 135 babes under $1,000 on the Angel Tree.
I'm excited to see how many babes jump the wall by Thursday night.
Each one over is a VICTORY! Each time one jumps their Warrior will be shouting Hurrah! 
And the rest of us will be cheering right beside them!
Yell. Give. Pray.