Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Met My Match

Yesterday, Leo and I were at the pediatrician and he stated, "You have finally met your match in Little Leo!" Yes, it is true. Leo is giving us a run for our money. We knew his medical needs would be a lot, but I don't think you can fully understand the magnitude of the needs until you daily live them.

We have had a cold, virus, yucky thing go through our house. Everyone has gotten it to some degree. Jonathan was sick, really, really sick for 7 days. Sick as in he didn't move from the sofa except to go to the doctors. Tyler, Jordan, and Ben just had the cold symptoms of the virus. Amanda sick but not too sick. Leo got it good! So good, we visited the ER of Christmas Eve. Thankfully, we were home 4 hours later. Wheezing under control and antibiotic for busted eardrums.

Christmas was celebrated! We were together as a family and that was all that mattered.

On a side note, we received a call from our cardiologist on Christmas Eve, yes Christmas Eve. He left a message stating that he had the results of Leo's heart monitor test (which was done in October and he had already given us results)and needed to talk to us. This message on Christmas Eve!!!! Thankfully, we had an email address for him and emailed. He called us back (while I was at the ER with Leo) and Jeremy talked to him. Apparently, they send all heart monitor tests out to be evaluated by a team of doctors. This takes 3 months? Anyway, this team thought Leo's heart rate was too high ALL THE TIME! They would like him to redo the test. So another heart monitor is being sent to us to wear for another 24 hours. In the mean time, while we were at the doctor's yesterday, we had blood drawn to test Leo's thyroid and for anemia both of which can cause a high heart rate. Trying to rule things out or in this case a thyroid problem or anemia could be our best case scenario.

Tomorrow or Friday- a happy post about this week. Our after Christmas plans had to change but it has turned out to be a good week.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Missed my paramedic friends...

Last night at about 12:45 AM Leo had a seizure. I had just changed his diaper about 5 minutes earlier and he felt fine. He started coughing and then a gasp and nothing. Jeremy got up to check on him and yelled that he was seizing. Thankfully, we both remained calm and did what we had been told to to if this happened. We did wind up giving him the one seizure medicine after 5 minutes of seizing. He then did what is typical of doing after a seizure- he fell into a deep sleep. This just made Jeremy and I more nervous as we were trying to access if he was alright. Jeremy stayed up doing some work and watched him sleep for a while after to make sure he was alright.

I actually missed our paramedic friends. In the past they have taken control and all we had to do was pray and worry. Today we will be taking a trip back to our pediatrician this time with Leo. Besides the seizure, he also has the cough which sounds deep and crackly. We also need instructions on how to keep his fever under control so that it doesn't result in a seizure with each spike.

Jonathan is still spiking fevers and coughing. Please pray for healing for our two youngest. It is no fun to be sick especially this time of year.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Will the real mother stand up?

This is one of those posts where I know what I am supposed to think and do, but hey, I'm only human and sometimes (ok, a lot of times) I struggle. Last week we were informed that Leo's birth parent's rights will be terminated in January. We know the specific date. We are not supposed to go to court. Leo's birth mom and birth father do not need to go to court. In fact, only our lawyer needs to show up. Leo's birth mom signed papers placing Leo for adoption back in May. This is the formality of the judge officially terminating the rights. After this occurs, our lawyer will enter our intention to adopt.

This is where my mind goes down hill fast! Formality or not- the fact remains this would be the easiest time for his birth mom to change her mind and perhaps convince a judge to give her custody. I doubt this will happen. Our Social Worker assures me this most likely won't happen and even if it did - I am reminded she did already sign papers. But like I said- I struggle. I admit it will be a struggle for me to not worry until I hear from our lawyer saying everything went well in court in January.

My mind has wandered to the story of the two moms in I Kings 3: 16-27. It was the mom who chose life for the baby boy who Solomon deemed the "real" mom. This mom wasn't selfish. She would rather see her son raised by someone else then see him killed. She thought of her son before her own wants or needs. She was willing to give her son life even if it meant a life not with her. It says she was deeply moved out of love for her son.

This mom reminds me of Leo's mom. She made the greatest sacrifice in realizing she could not give Leo the care he needed/deserved. She thought of Leo's needs above her own desires. How easy would it have been for her to raise Leo, but she knew that he needed more then she could give. He needed more then love. I know she was deeply moved out of love for her son (Leo) and that is why she chose adoption.

Don't worry, I am not going to try and compare myself to the other mom in this story. We will just focus on the mom who chose life. What do I do with all of this? It spurs me on to provide the best possible care for Leo. If we only provide love then we are not doing anything his birth mom couldn't do. Leo has a complicated medical history. One that is demanding and requires lots of appointments and therapies. It is our responsibility to both Leo and his birth mom to provide him with the best medical care possible and all the therapies he needs. This can be tiring and draining, but it is what we need to do. It is what we do for our children. It is what I do for my son, Leo.

So, if we were seated in a room and someone asked for Leo's "real" mom to stand- there would be two of us standing. For we both are his real mom- our love and care just looks different.

Totally unrelated note- could I ask you to pray for Jonathan. He has been spiking a really high fever all weekend and having coughing fits. I took him to the doctor and he is having bronchial spasms. He should be better in a few days, once it runs its course and they gave him an inhaler which should help. Please also pray no one else gets it- especially Leo. Any virus or bug that causes him to have difficulty breathing could land us in the hospital and there is of course the worry of Leo spiking a fever and having a seizure. I have been taking his temperature all day. Thank you for all your prayers for our family!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

He owns the catttle

This is a post I hesitate to write because in our culture one does not discuss personal finances with anyone. BUT, one of the reasons we have kept this blog going is because we have witnessed how at least 4 other families have decided to adopt or switched to special needs adoption after reading Jonathan and Leo's journeys. If God can use our written words to encourage someone to adopt then we will continue to write.

Anyone who has investigated adoption at all will know it is expensive. This is often the biggest excuse people make for not adopting. Early on in the process of adopting Jonathan, Jeremy and I decided that we would not take out any loans to pay adoption expenses. We stuck to that and watched God provide. We received grants from organizations, we cut back our own spending, we had a huge garage sale, and we depleted our savings. The most humbling thing was receiving money from individuals who told us that they felt led of God to give to our family. Sometimes we received anonymous money orders or cash in the mail. God provided.

Now fast forward to Leo's adoption. When our Leo story began, we were still in the process of building up our savings. We were thinking that we would have at least a year before we had to pay for any adoption fees or travel (initially we had begun the international process). Here's the thing: God had a different plan for us. His plan involved us adopting Leo. Here's the surprise: because Leo came to live with us right from his birthmom and never entered “the system”, his adoption went through the healthy infant program. We quickly learned that adopting a healthy infant can be expensive. We were upfront with our social worker and told her that we didn't have the money to complete the adoption. Her response? The important thing is that Leo has a family that loves him. In the end, we did receive two grants from Bethany, a number of their fees were waived, we received another grant from SHOW HOPE, we once again depleted our savings, and once again God provided in unexpected ways. This time God used individuals who provided clothing and toys for Leo. (We had gotten rid of all things baby as we were sure our adoptions would be of toddlers or older!) God used at least 1 individual to send us a gift card at just the right time that I needed go go buy some things specifically for Leo.

Leo's adoption is still not final. We are still waiting for paperwork to be completed and for our day in court when a judge will introduce Leo Shafer for the very first time. We will have to pay the lawyer at that time. Do we have the money to pay him just sitting in a bank account waiting to be spent? I would love to say that we did, but the fact is we don't. God knows how it will be provided. In the end I believe God will provide as long as we do our part. Our part is saving what we can, and cutting back spending.

Why do we share this? I believe that often we limit God. We believe God only wants us to do what our finances will allow. If we had waited until we had enough money to adopt Leo he would most likely now be in the foster care system. I am not saying all this to pat ourselves on the back, because we know just how flawed we are. We hardly have it all figured out. We have so many areas that we need to grow in! Some may call us irresponsible, but we believe that God called us to adopt Leo and and that He will provide. He has provided so much already! This brings Him glory. Don't let money be the one and only obstacle between you and whatever He is calling you to!

It has been amazing to sit back and watch the relationship between Ben and Jonathan.
Our therapy homework- play with food!
My boys!