Saturday, April 28, 2007
Life at my house is like a small tornado. Suddenly the thought that Mom who is the prime organizer leaving for a couple weeks takes on a new meaning... we are getting life in order! There just in not any other choice. Today we did our typical Saturday super clean and I also revamped Angeline's room to make room for more! We pulled out all the outgrown baby girl things and hung them up according to size. I packed a suitcase for Christella and Helande and just have to get my things together. :)
I had a couple really neat things happen over the past couple days since I last posted. I mentioned to my friend Kim that I sure wish that I knew a Mom who could go with me for the first week or so. There are going to be a couple days before the babies are admitted for surgery that they are doing pre-op etc. and I was just thinking about me, a rental van, two sick babies, and the possibility of car seats... or LACK of car seats given the girls special needs. I was imagining if I could do that, of if I could just walk everywhere? And then my friend Kim said, let me see if I can come! And guess what? SHE CAN! Her husband even is taking two vacation days to make sure she can be with me a full week. And guess what? When she leaves another friend named Ericka will be coming for four days!
AND THEN... I got an email from another friend who lives in TX (Ange) who said that she is only 15 miles away from where we are going! So she opened up her home to us all and I know she will be giving lots of baby love too. So there is just going to be lots of help and lots of hands to hold babies and love them while they are healing! What a blessing and what a miracle it is to watch all of these what seemed like elaborate plans unfold! Life's blessings... wow.
Once the babies are out of the hospital the plan is for Lauren to fly down (direct) with Angeline and two other children. They will spend the remaining weeks with me in Texas. Being away from Angeline for that long would be too hard on her. I am going to just expect the unexpected and be flexible throughout my time in Texas. :)
My Mom called and asked if a couple children could fly to her in Ohio... so that is a possibility too if the home school program we go to gives the OK to miss the last couple classes. I have been worried about how my kids felt with me leaving again but I know that my husband and sister can handle things here with them. I just don't want them to feel like they are missing out. So if they all have their own choice of adventure to go on, then it alleviates the chance that they will feel left out.
As far as the summer road trip goes... well its off. :(
This is a WAY bigger need than a vacation. We have a long list of things that we haven't done here yet and we plan to do lots of those this summer. :) And if it works out that some children go to Ohio and some to Texas... then... that's a vacation of sorts. The only thing that is a bummer is all the people I was going to see along the way!! If anyone wants to come here instead this summer let me know! I had really looked forward to visiting some old friends and meeting up with some newer friends as well.
OK well I am about done with my cup of tea and off to start organizing my paperwork.
Blessings and keep praying! The girls are hanging in there while they wait to leave!
P.S. Before I book it... if anyone has any "deals" or coupons for a rental mini van can you email me and let me know? email@example.com
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
These are Christella's parents. I really adore this picture because they look so happy! We all have a BIG reason to be happy today... because we have a HOSPITAL and a WONDERFUL DOCTOR willing to take on BOTH Christella and Helande!!!!
WHOOHOOOOO!!!!! GOD IS SO GOOD! Thanks for all your prayers!
Things change fast around here. We had been praying about this doctor and hospital and just like that... everything has come together in God's perfect timing. Because of privacy purposes I am not going to talk too much on the blog about where/when/who because there is just too much at stake of course. (I know that you are rolling your eyes thinking, but Sarah, here is the blog of the last year of your life, you are an open book, what do you have to hide?) I really don't have anything to hide but I have to keep specific travel plans and such off the blog, I am sure that you understand. I will say this though... the good doctor will here on out be referred to: Dr. A. (as in Angel, because SHE is an angel to two babies), and I can tell you that they are going to Texas, and it is going to be "soon".
I will also tell you that I AM going to Texas to stay with them during surgery and recovery. I am SO grateful to my family (sister and husband especially) for handling "life" around here while I am gone. There will be no shortage of updates and pictures to come with all the miracles and good news that will need to be spread.
Your nuts Sarah!
TWO MORE BABIES!
Ok... just stop thinking that. This isn't about numbers people. And you have to remember that we were foster parents to over 50 children throughout the years, and have had up to 6 children in diapers at one time. We manage the masses, that is what we do, and who we are. Will life be busy this summer? Yes. Will there be moments that I am whiny? Yes. Will I be blessed beyond belief to be able to have our family help these two families? ABSOLUTELY. You have to keep in mind that my family, while being a large one, has a above average built in support system of FOUR adults at home. I also have this INCREDIBLE group of Mommy friends who are willing and able to love and care for babies at a whim's notice. And then there is my sister Nina who is like a 2nd Mom around here. :) (Out of willingness, not obligation.)
So yes, Helande and Christella will be coming back to WA state after their recovery for some 'strengthening time'... and then a Mommy friend and I will be taking them back to Haiti. So... I will get to share in the joy of seeing their Moms and Dads having pain free and worry free joy with their children. Ahhhh!!! :) :)
That was my biggest news for the day. I still have more!
Angeline has been having a bit of a stomach bug, and is TEETHING her very first two teeth, and has been absolutely miserable. We have been to the doc twice this week already and I am acting like a first time Mother. (Hardy Har Har)
They keep telling me things slowly like: "Make sure to hold off on Milk products and give her lots of pedialyte. Have you heard of the BRAT diet?"
That panicked Mom thing, doesn't go away, no matter the number of children.
Today Angeline got her casts taken off. Her last pair of casts and she got her AFO's. She also got a pair of PINK converse that are way too big, but look oh so cute. She is thrilled of course. Thank you Dr. M and Sam for the MONTHS of serial casting and we hope that our time with you in the future is short lived but we still adore you.... at least, I adore you! (Angeline arches her back and gets hysterical at the sight of either of them, she has definitely had enough.) We have foot exercises three times a day to do along with wearing the braces 23 of 24 hours to keep her feet from turning the wrong way. I just can't even get over her feet. (Pictures soon.) It is absolutely amazing what this doctor was able to do! AMAZING!
And my last tidbit of information for the day. Happy Birthday Honey. It's my husbands birthday today. He worked 13 hours today bless him. His work friends brought him a gift and his wife gave him "the ok" to buy himself something new for his guitar. I missed out on baking the cake that I said I would make him (due to lack of time with being gone all day at the hospital), and he even had to stop and pick up his own dinner because I fed the kids on the way home. Thanks honey. Thanks for always supporting my feelings and beliefs when they count. And for understanding that while I may not be 100% "on" all the time, my heart is always 110% there. I look forward to the weekend when we will be able to celebrate your birthday the right way.
I am SO blessed to have such an amazing husband. (Not to brag or anything.) But if it was my birthday and he didn't do anything special for me, I would have gone off the deep end. (At least I think that I would have, it has never actually happened that he didn't do something for me for my birthday!)
Counting all my blessings today.
Thanks all. And keep praying for the miracles to come!
Monday, April 23, 2007
I hope that I haven't already named one of my blog posts, just another manic Monday. This picture is of Helande and her family. Aren't they a beautiful family?
I will first write about the latest update with "the girls" because I am sure that everyone is wondering if we have any news yet!
I did hear from the Peds NS. They are just SO wonderful there. They have about 30 people in their office and they have started collecting things for the girls (Helande and Christella) and they are taking up a donation for other things that they may need. The doctors letters are written and although the doc is out this week, he said to the nurse to re-arrange his schedule for next week, even Monday, to get the girls in ASAP. Unfortunately we don't have the hospital letter yet! The decision is in the hands of the administration and the doctors office is hopeful that things come together tomorrow or on Wednesday. Please pray!!!!!!!! I just know that they will be as disappointed as we will be if things don't work out there. (We do have some other potential places for back up if things fall through with the main hospital at this point. I realize its never a guarantee until we letters in hand.)
Today has been a flurry of activity. Angeline is finally getting her first tooth! And she has had horrible runny poops and some throwing up for three days now. We did take her to the doctor yesterday and he said she is doing fine. I am hoping that she gets better FAST because this Wednesday is her big day when she gets her last pair of casts off and she gets her new leg braces. Pray for her to get better soon! I can't hardly keep up with the laundry and I am diligently trying to make sure that she doesn't get another diaper rash.
The OT came today for his first visit. Angeline was grouchy and we spent most of the time filling out paperwork. He was really nice and I Angeline liked him. That's always a bonus when she doesn't scream when someone who "looks like a doctor" touches her. :) Poor Bean!
Stan the man filed the paperwork in court and lied about it. Apparently I am the fool for giving people the benefit of the doubt. My sister (retired attorney) got back home from vacation yesterday and promptly called our Dad (also an attorney who happens to work in Ohio) and they agreed there was NOTHING to worry about and that I wasn't to spend one more second worrying about this. I overnighted all the paperwork to my now "retained attorney"/Dad this morning, along with my five page statement. Stan the Man apparently works for a large law firm that has a gazillion law suits against them at the moment for back handed/pond scum kind of practices. So hopefully there is a glimmer of goodness in Stan, even though he had filed the paperwork before even talking to me! But I am done talking about this unless there is anything huge to report. :) Its out of my hands now. Thanks family for "having my back" always. Your the best.
Off to enjoy this beautiful day we are having. Tonight we are having a "hair care" night at a friends house! Fun fun fun!
Friday, April 20, 2007
I am feeling in a "mood". We have about four hours left (PST) to really hear some good news for Helande and Christella before the weekend. Weekends seem really long sometimes waiting until Monday to see if we will finally get good news. I can feel that things are so close and I know that things WILL come together in God's timing. I just pray that the girls can keep hanging on!
Here is a short update on the babies:
Helande is screaming a lot more now - high pitched, pain cry. I can tell
that her head is really hurting. Head circumferences are as follows:
4/4=45 1/2 cm, 4/11=47cm, 4/18=48cm.
Christella had a fever previously and has been treated for the infection.
The open area on her myelomeningocele looks better and her fever is down.
It is not leaking currently, but ready to open at any moment. The urgency
with her at this time is that there is an area that is so tight and thin
that the skin is almost transparent.
It makes me feel tired just thinking about how strong they are and how strong their Momma's are for standing by them in prayer all these days waiting for the help to happen!
Update on Stan:
(AKA Stan the Man)
We talked today. He read me the statement that the hospital gave him. It had some lies in it. Things like "They landed in Cleveland with the intention of staying here because that is where their family lives." Like we went to their hospital on purpose and never intended to use the donated care that was a mere 2 hours drive away. I explained to him why we landed in Cleveland (the closest place where there was a direct flight from Miami) and why we went to the hospital. He said that "he understands" that we have a large family and that we are good people who were trying to do the right thing. (Keep praying for his heart to be made even softer!) He asked that I write up my statement and ask for the hospital staff to give a statement and we will go from there. He will give me a bit of time to get these things together and he hasn't filed anything in the court yet. I know that I did the right thing for Angeline and seeing her alive today confirms that. I know that things are going to be ok, so please don't worry about this more than I am. (My Mom especially!)
Also... I am not sure if that is really a picture of Stan. I mean, their website says that it is Stan, but he sounds MUCH younger and NOT AT ALL like I imagine that Stan to sound. Just thought that I would throw some good vibes for Stan out there.
I forgive the woman writing the statement from the Cleveland hospital who happens to have the last name of "Sparrow", I know that she is doing her job and if bending the truth is how she can justify her work, it is ok, and I can forgive her.
Why should I feel discouraged
Why should the shadows come
Why should my heart feel lonely
And long for heaven and home
When Jesus is my portion
A constant friend is He
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know He watches over me
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know He watches me
I sing because I'm happy
I sing because I'm free
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know He watches me (He watches me)
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know He watches
I know He watches
I know He watches me
I sing because I'm happy
I sing because I'm free
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know He watches me (He watches me)
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know He watches me (He watches me)
He watches me
I Know I know
Good news must be coming soon!!!
Thanks for praying.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Today was a long day! Each time that I thought I was going to get a moment of peace there was something else going on. I am really looking forward to some good sleep tonight. My husband is out of town this week doing a class but did come home last night :)... but then had to leave again at 4:30am, so that is what time I got up today. After this week he is on a "local job" and will be home for several MONTHS. WHOOHOOOO!!!!!!
I am hoping that the adorable picture of Isaac that I got in my "in box" comes through. I keep trying to upload it and all I see is a red X. I will work on fixing that because it is one adorable picture.
We have some official middle names for Angeline and Isaac:
Josephine and Patrick are both family names after my sweet Aunt's "Patty and Bo/Patricia and Josephine" and Patrick is my Father and Brother's name.
Update on Helande and Christella.... we are SO close to having a commitment I just can feel it that we will be all set so soon! We are praying for Friday to have the letters on the way to us and we are so thankful that there are doctors and hospitals out there that are willing to help. Once we have the letters in our hands we will have a slew of thank you notes to mail out and phone calls to make, so if anyone else is interested in helping, please do let me know! We want to be sure to thank all of the kind doctors and hospitals who were considering helping the girls. THANK you for your prayers and please KEEP ON PRAYING. Both of the girls are in urgent need of care ASAP so every day that they are hanging on is so precious.
Please also pray about the finances for bringing the girls here. We aren't sure at this point how much money is raised but we are hoping to have most of the costs so far covered and be working towards travel costs. Every little bit helps! The address for making a donation is below.
REAL HOPE FOR HAITI
P.O. BOX 23
ELWOOD, IN 46036
P.S. Praying that the next blog entry is all about the babies letters of care in our hands!!!
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
I want to thank everyone for emailing me with suggestions of doctors and hospitals to call for charity care for Helande and Christella (note the new spellings that we now know because of the birth certificates!) It has been very helpful to spend most of my time calling and less time researching and hearing from you all was just wonderful. Its great to have everyone please continue to pray:
Pray that one of the hospitals trying to get the care donation to go through do so soon! We have several possibilities at this point but nothing definite. Each hospital has its own process that they go through in order to approve or deny care. So we need a plan with a back up plan and a back up for that plan as well!
Thanks to those people who have stepped up and said... I can make phone calls! I can send out some emails! I can do some research! Its awesome to see the way that God is touching lives through these babies already. THANK YOU.
Around here... nothing too newsy. We all have some runny nose, allergy thing going on that's been kind of a drag. My children have been so patient with Mom spending so much extra time on the phone in the past week. And Leishan has been SUPER at calling around to places, she does a great job with talking to people. I love hearing her "go!"
I know that there is a plan for Helande and Christella and I can't wait for that plan to come to fruition! In the meantime we will keep seeking the plan, praying for the plan, and praying also that the girls, their families, and the nurses in Haiti are all staying strong and hanging in there.
As of today only one more component is needed on the Haiti side of the paperwork and that should be done by the end of the week at the latest. So as soon as we have a doctor and hospital on board, the girls are ready to come for medical care!
Keep praying please.
Thursday, April 12, 2007
This is how Christela came into the clinic in late February. She has myelomeningocele/spina bifida and hydrocephalus. It was good timing for Christela to arrive to Lori because there were Neurosurgeons traveling to Haiti in March and they would see if they could help Christela.
Christela and her Mom went with Lori to see the good and gifted doctors and they were able to help her by doing her shunt surgery. They would be back in November and since her back was closed and with a shunt the CSF fluid would drain and help her myelomeningocele to go down. Please note that everyone involved did the best thing under the worst circumstances for Christela at the time.
That is not what has happened. Although her shunt appears to be working great, you can see a marked difference in her head and face:
Her back is worse now. Her Mom brought her back to the clinic after getting released from the hospital this week. Christela is now on borrowed time and needs an urgent Medical Visa to come to the US for surgery. It is our hope and prayer that the girls can come over together in a matter of days-weeks. SOON!
WARNING: PICTURES MAY BE UPSETTING!
If you know of a pediatric Neurosurgeon and hospital that might be willing to help with Christela or Helande please email me their contact information immediately so that we can add them to our call list: firstname.lastname@example.org
I appreciate all the parents of kiddo's with SB taking the time to read about Christela and for your well wishes and prayers.
Here is a new picture of Jesula. She was on steroids for her seizures so that is why she has chubbed up a bit. I think that her cheeks make her look a lot like Angeline. :)
Thanks for your prayers! Here is the new Jesi Update:
"She is doing ok today. I talked with her Mom around noon. The EEG is still improved. They are going to wean her off the ACTH and Phenobarb and start her on something else for the spasms. She is still fussy but not nearly like before. The only thing that has come up abnormal is a severe double ear infection. She still eating sucking very well and she isn't sure what that is from but hopefully that will improve. If Heather can get her to eat they will let her go home tonight or tomorrow."
Things are looking better! Keep praying!
So we are being sued.
$70,731.26 for the hospital bill from the Cleveland Hospital where my brother in law works. The hospital that happens to be closest to the airport where we landed in Cleveland and we thought Angeline was going to die on the 10 minute drive there.
But as you all know, she lived. :)
So we made the right choice and God will help us figure out the rest. The picture of this handsome fellow is Stan, "Stan the Man" is how I will affectionately refer to him from here on out. He is the lawyer that is representing the hospital. I tried to contact him but he is out of the office until Tuesday... that tells me there is no rush. "Yes I want to collect a debt and I am going to file this in court but I am out of the office until next week!"
So I just have to wait to talk to him until next week. I want to be sure that the hospital let him know that I am the mother of 13 children, do volunteer work for a living, have no income, a 2001 15 passenger van, and a wedding band. Other than that I own nothing. I have nothing to give, and nothing to take. I also want to make him aware of the things on my side:
Family members who are able to do law in the state of Ohio.
A sister in law that has some authority at one of the news stations in Cleveland.
And God of course, a very compassionate God.
So while I have NO money. I have lawyers and I have media! And we got God!
(Please note that my husband is NOT being sued. He was not even in Ohio when we got Angeline medical care at this hospital. So legally he had nothing to do with my choice to save her life.)
As much as I don't want to go to court in Cleveland anytime soon. I would be curious how the judge would respond to the case. I wonder if we could get a jury? Maybe we could use the court time as home school hours for the kids? I wonder if the kids would be quiet in court? I wonder if Angeline would blow kisses at the judge? (likely yes)
I wonder if Stan and the representatives from the hospital would feel ethically scarred by the choices that they are making? (Maybe not now but maybe later in life.) And you say... "Oh Sarah, they have to do this, it's their job!"... oh no... no one HAS to do this.
By the way... this lawsuit is for only the hospital portion owed to the hospital. The doctor's costs have not yet gone to collections. Will the madness ever end? Not likely.
We may start a letter writing campaign. Or possibly ask for $.25 donations to be mailed to Stan the man. :) Just kidding. I don't think he would appreciate that much and no sense in adding fuel to his fire.
More updates to come!
Sued Sad Sarah
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
I got this email earlier. Please keep Jesi in your prayers. This baby has gone through so much and has been so strong! I will update the blog as I hear updates. I know that her family really appreciates the prayers.
Please send out all of your prayer warriors. Jesula is back in the hospital. She hasn't slept in 2-3 days. She was up 27 hours straight at one point, screaming without stopping and hasn't taken in any formula in 10pm last night. She has a double ear infection that they have been treating but they are thinking it is more than that. They just tried a spinal tap for possible menengitis but after 3 sticks they were un-successful. She is just returning to her room from an EEG and she had a CT scan this morning. They are waiting to compare scans and see if it is the shunt. The neuro-surg in C. doesn't like how the shunt is placed and he wants to operate but Heather or her PCP don't want to do that without comparing the scans which I think is the right thing to do.
I'll update you when I know more. Her new mama is very tired. The seizures are back full force also which isn't helping matters any.
Sunday, April 08, 2007
Elande is two months old. She was born with Occipital Encephalocele. If you have been following this blog for a long time, you might think, that looks like Spina Bifida on the head, and Elande's bump, is just like Angeline's was. (There is also something called Cranial Meningocele... I am learning all kinds of new things.)
Elande came to the clinic run by the fantastic Haiti Nurse Lori (her blog link is below). We are currently working FAST on getting together things for a medical Visa for Elande. Tomorrow we start calling around for doctors and hospitals. Please pray that things come together quickly for Elande so that she can come and get her life saving medical care and then return to Haiti to her loving family. Elande also has hydrocephalus.
If you feel lead please contribute financially to this cause. You may send your donations to the address below. The clinic that Lori runs as well as the the rescue center run by her sister really are on a tight budget so we would love to be able to bless them with enough funds to cover Elande's expenses.
REAL HOPE FOR HAITI
P.O. BOX 23
ELWOOD, IN 46036
Thank you in advance for your prayers! I will post updates on the blog as they come in.
About a year ago today we first heard about Angeline, so this post is very appropriate timing. Something else happened while I was in Haiti. Katie, who is the wonderful woman from COTP that found Angeline, took my to the hospital in Milot where Angeline was found abandoned. Katie showed me where Angeline was found and we re-lived the beginning of Angeline's journey together. (With plenty of tears of course.) This was my absolute full circle and my complete sense of peace.
What would it take?
What would it take to dress your baby in their finest clothing...
(Thank you Sara at COTP for giving me this beautiful dress that Angeline was found in.)
And to take your most precious gift from God to this pediatric clinic... only to hear once again that there is nothing that they can do. That the baby needs to be taken to PAP, or the D.R. and that there is not any hope for her there in the tiny town of Milot.
And how much love would it take to take your beautiful baby and leave her on this table... this table under this awning where sometimes the dead are brought to be displayed. And to lay her helpless, fragile, body there and to walk away.
And how I live now and think about Angeline's other Mom and her struggles and how she spent every waking moment with her child full of worry, suffering and panic. I think about what it took to give up hope and run away, or possibly to give her hope and pray for some kind of miracle for her. I feel selfish at times getting to be the Mom with all the joy, the one who witnessed the miracles and the one who shares in our babies laughter.
I don't want to hear of another Mom having to face this choice. Angeline's Mom was not leaving her for dead, I just know it. A Mom leaving her baby for dead doesn't dress her in her best hand made, hand embroidered little perfect dress and leave her in a public place next to a pediatric ward. Her Mom left her because of love. I don't even know what kind of strength and love it would take? I can't even grasp it or imagine it even if I sit for a really long time, and I think about it really hard.
I will find her Mom and I will let her know the gift she gave me and my family. And the miracles that have happened and to show her how beautiful and happy her baby has become. To live in a place of such solid desperation that there is truly no hope is a thought that takes my breath away. And for that reason, and because of Angeline, I will help other Moms and other babies find that hope once again.
Saturday, April 07, 2007
Angeline and I have been blessed with having Friday's all to ourselves. Leishan has no college on Friday's and I have "hired" her to go to the homeschool school with the kids on Friday's. So we drop them off in the morning and Angeline and I are free until 2:30! Yesterday we played together, did some therapy, and had a photo shoot outside. The weather here was so beautiful... 75 degrees and sunny! Sorry to brag I know there is cold, bad weather hitting the east right now. It was days like yesterday when the weather here is so perfect and the scenary is so alive that you just have to take it all in. (Flowers blooming everywhere and huge snow covered mountains... gotta love it. I am making sure to write something nice about our weather because we do deal with a lot of not so pleasant weather here.
Angeline loves her short casts. She is able to move around a lot better without being casted all the way up past her thighs. She is a rolling machine and can get from one room to another rolling. It's really quite amazing the way that she has adapted her abilities to accomidate her needs. We go in later this month to get the little blue casts off and we get leg braces! Whoohoo!!!
When I was in Haiti I took my IPOD full of family pictures with tons of Angeline pictures. So when the nannies put 2 and 2 together that I was not only "MommaIsaac" but also "MommaAngel", they wanted to see pictures. They looked at Angeline's pictures and said... "OH BELLE!!" They were so excited and especially the nannies that cared for her while she was there. The nannies are all such lovely women.
Have a beautiful Saturday!
I was trying to explain yesterday to someone about Crunch Cones at DQ and I came across this blog. It's especially entertaining and funny if you LOVE the Crunch like I do and read through all the comments. :) Enjoy!!!
(Who hasn't been able to find Crunch since she left Ohio two years ago. Mind you there are links on the page that I gave the link for that will take you to where you can order your own crunch.)
Friday, April 06, 2007
Thanks COTP for giving the OK to share the slide show on my blog!
Thank you Kelly for sharing so many great photos, I think between the two of us, we have a wonderful collection for our boys "life books". I can't wait to be able to go back and spend time with the children at COTP. There are lots of pictures of Isaac on here of course! But if you enjoy seeing beautiful children, grab a cup of tea and sit back and enjoy! It's a bit "long" but definitely entertaining, put your music on!