Saturday, January 30, 2010

Haiti and Orphans

I haven't posted anything on this blog yet regarding the earthquake in Haiti, because honestly the tragedy has almost felt too overwhelming for me to put into words. Where do you even start? Well, definitely with PRAYER. Continued prayer for Haiti will be especially important as the media coverage begins to dwindle and we are no longer confronted with horrifying images on our televisions every day. My heart is burdened in particular for children who were orphaned prior to the earthquake, and children now who have not yet been able to find their family members. Will you join me in continuing to lift up these children, and all of the Haitian people, in prayer throughout the coming days, weeks, months, and year?

Our adoption agency, Holt International, has received an enormous amount of phone calls since the earthquake, from people who are interested in adopting orphans from Haiti. I think it's often a misunderstanding how complex international adoption truly is. I think sometime people believe that you can just go over to a developing country, survey the children, and say "I'll take that one." No joke, during our adoption process, someone actually asked me if we would travel over to Ethiopia and just pick out a child to bring home. Um.... no.

On one hand, it is WONDERFUL that people are opening their hearts to the idea of adoption. On another hand, I think that tragedy sometimes spurs very emotional responses in people... and that is definitely a reason to not rush into anything. After all, international adoption is not an act of charity... it's an act of LIFElong parenting. Quite a difference!

There are many children, as you know, who were already in the process of being adopted prior to the earthquake, and it's wonderful that many of those have been granted expedited entry into the U.S. to unite with their adoptive families. I know of some families who are still waiting or trying to find their adoptive children in Haiti, and we continue to pray for those families.

For the children who "appear" to be orphaned since the earthquake, it is of utmost importance that due diligence is done to ensure that every effort is made first and foremost to unite those children with living family members. This crisis has the potential to create a highway for child trafficking... and agencies must be vigilant in the actions they take to work on behalf of orphans during this unstable time. Holt International is one of many agencies who work on behalf of children and families in Haiti, and they issued the following statement on their website after the large influx of calls they have received about adopting from Haiti:

"Because of the uncertainty of the Haitian government’s ability to function at this time, which includes processing adoptions, Holt’s Haiti program is currently closed to new adoption applications. We will continue to assess the situation, but we anticipate that it will take months to determine whether children orphaned by the earthquake have surviving family members who may be able to care for them.

I would encourage anyone who is able, to donate money or time on behalf of the children of Haiti. If adoption is truly on the forefront of your heart, and you are ready to pursue it, I would urge you to contact an adoption agency and being the process of your home study. That process is designed to allow you a chance to reflect on yourself as an adoptive parent, while at the same time educating you to understand the world (risks) of international adoption, and the realities of what to expect once your child is home. There are so many children all around the world RIGHT NOW in need of loving, forever families. Maybe the crisis in Haiti IS part of your adoption story... maybe it provided confirmation in your heart that this is the direction you need to head... but maybe your son or daughter resides elsewhere in the world? Although Haiti is on the forefront of our minds, there are children in dire situations across the world whose stories are equally as tragic, yet not being broadcast on the evening news. I encourage you to take the first steps on this journey, trust God, and see where He may lead you...

And no matter what, let us continue to pray fervently, and give generously, to those in Haiti whose suffering many of us can't come close to even fathoming.

"The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. " Psalm 9:9

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Little Puffs... My First Attempt!

Now that Mikayla's hair is finally long enough to pull together in small sections, I decided to have my first try at creating little puffs today. Parting the hair (as I've been warned) was the most difficult aspect to tackle, and my parts definitely leave room for lots of improvement! This style took me about 45 minutes from start to finish. I am hoping it will last a few days with just some minor touch-ups after sleeping on it. We'll see...

Overall, I think it turned out pretty cute for the first try, and Mikayla LOVES it which is the most important thing. And in case you're wondering, the white stuff you see in a couple of the pictures is just hair product that hasn't been soaked up by the hair yet... she really doesn't have white streaks in her hair!

Mikayla's Bandages

The "big one" that she had to wear for the first 48 hours after surgery. She looks somewhat happy in this picture, but she didn't have much fun not being able to use her hand.

She's much happier now that we've stepped down to the "thumb-only" bandage :)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Quick Update on Mikayla

Thank you so much to everyone who prayed for Mikayla's procedure this morning. The procedure went well, and she was so brave! We won't know the results of the biopsy for 1-2 more weeks, so now we wait... good thing our journey to adopt Mikayla taught us a lot about "waiting" right? She has been in quite a bit of pain since her procedure, despite having quite a bit of pain medication. So your continued prayers for her healing are appreciated. She has a huge bandage on her thumb and hand, and has already asked for it to be "off" multiple times. Fortunately, we only have to leave it on for another day or so. She's such a trooper, and I know your prayers made a difference today. Thanks again!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Will You Pray For Our Sweet Girlie?

Yep, our sweet Mikayla could use your prayers, and I'll get to the details in a sec... but first, just savor the cuteness...
Mikayla LOVES to play dress-up. Before we brought her home some friends gave us a bag of dress-up clothes, amongst other "girly" toys since we had NONE, and Mikayla has enjoyed them to the full! A funny story about what she is wearing in this picture... the first time we ever got the dress-up clothes out, she was absolutely TERRIFIED of the pink fuzzy scarf that is currently wrapped around her neck. She would have nothing to do with it for the longest time, and would shriek with terror when someone tried to show it to her (you can imagine Eli's delight with this new game). I'm not sure what she thought it was (maybe a snake?), but apparently she has now decided she can trust us enough that we wouldn't be giving her something harmful to play with :) The pink scarf is now a "must-have" accessory with each outfit.

Okay, now for our prayer request... Mikayla has been battling various fungal issues since we came home, one being a nail fungus that she is currently taking medication for. Underneath two of her fingernails there is some sort of growth that extends from the top of her nail all the way down into her finger (above the knuckle). They resembles moles... but different. Needless to say, the pediatric dermatologist feels it is necessary to biopsy the growth so we can figure out what it is and how to treat it. I will be taking Mikayla to Phoenix Children's Hospital early tomorrow morning for this procedure. She will be put under general anesthesia, which is a little scary since we don't know a lot of health history for her, and then her thumb will be "operated on" (I'll spare you the details, but it sounds painful). The procedure itself is fairly routine, and the doctor isn't expecting the biopsy to reveal anything major, but in the back of the mind I know there is always that chance with a biopsy.

So, if you would please just pray for the following we would greatly appreciate it:
1. Mikayla's peace and comfort, especially before the procedure since the language barrier makes it tough to explain to her what is going to happen (she has some sort of idea, but it will probably still seem weird & scary)
2. That everything would go well during the procedure, and Mikayla wouldn't have any weird reactions to the anesthesia
3. That her pain would be minimal afterward, and she would recover quickly.
4. That the biopsy would provide clear details as far as her diagnosis, so that we can effectively treat her :)

Thanks so much friends!!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Cards Win and Tooth #2 is Out!

We sat on the edge of our seats tonight watching the final quarter of the Cardinals/Packers game, and were thrilled that the Cards brought home the win :) The kids and daddy were so excited that they started playing their own football game in our living room... didn't take long before one of the "tackles" had enough force to knock Mikayla's 2nd tooth out! After shedding a few tears (I think from the shock of it), she was quite thrilled about the whole event. Even Eli was excited for her! Maybe he is still just glad that it's HER teeth that are falling out and not HIS. Mikayla put the tooth under her pillow and is hoping for carousel tokens so she and Eli can ride the carousel at the mall. Something tells me she just might get them...

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Two Funny Scenes

Scene 1: The other night...
Mikayla: "Mom! Tar (car) broten (broken)! Broten Tar!!"
(I look over to where she is pointing just in time to see the convertible drive by)

Scene 2: At the dinner table...
Me: "Mikayla you are doing a good job learning how to say your words."
Eli: "Yeah, you better learn how to say them right so no more of your teeth fall out!"