First of all, Nora. Our baby girl actually turned 4 months old TODAY!!! Yeah! She is doing so well in Haiti. She is eating almost too well right now (smile) and seems to love sitting outside in the sunshine. Rachel says Nora enjoys watching the other children play there. From what I hear, one of the little boys also loved to stop playing, run over and kiss her all over her head, and then go back to playing--so cute. Giselle, Nora's older sister who turns 2 this month, also found out she could feed Nora a bottle! Rachel said it was so adorable to watch her and she wished she would have had her camera there to take a picture of it for me (me too!). Two of the boys in the orphanage got to fly home to their forever families over the past two weeks and I'm sure as overjoyed as we all are to have them in their homes, their buddies back at the orphanage are missing them too. It's remarkable how much of a "family" these children become while living together at ROH. Likewise, all of us adoptive moms have also become a "family" of our own while sharing stories, photos, and prayers for each other and each others' kiddos during this process. I would be lost without them.
(Here is Nora with Christopher patting her head)
Speaking of the process...that's the curve that has s.l.o.w.e.d. us down in life right now. According to our ticker, we are 6 months, 3 weeks, and 3 days into our process. Oh how I wish that meant we were that far into our 1-2 year wait, but sadly, THAT part of the process still hasn't begun. Our 1-2 year wait does not start until our paperwork enters IBESR (Haitian Social Services) and we are still waiting to hear the word from Rachel that has happened...we're waiting for that green light in our life here. Our paperwork is done, Nora's paperwork is done, but we are waiting still for Nora's paperwork to be legalized so it is ready to go to IBESR. We were hoping this would have happened about a month ago, but we are still waiting....and yes, it's frustrating. This is the line you will probably begin to hear a lot on this blog--"we are still waiting, and yes, it's frustrating". There is nothing we can do to make this time go faster, however, so we just continue to wait. One of these days we will get the email with our IBESR number in it and the journey will continue on...that will be a great day!
Some of you have asked what the results of the meetings in Haiti are that I had you praying for in the posts here and here. Well, it's still a bit of a mystery really. I guess what we (meaning parents who are adopting Haitian children) were being told was one meeting ended up being three different meetings, which is why there were so many confusions as to what day this "meeting" was supposed to happen. Unfortunately, Rachel never made it to any of the meetings because she was held up at other meetings getting paperwork for one of the boys going home (which was a good thing). From what I gather from other Haitian newspaper articles and another orphanage director's blog, there were good things that came to pass because of the meeting, but there was much still left up in the air too. I have passed both reference articles on to Rachel, but have yet to hear back if she had any answers to how these would all effect our adoption. There is potential that our time in IBESR would be drastically reduced, which is awesome, but there is also potential that we may have to end up finding a US adoption agency to work with in order to proceed with our adoption, which would be both good and frustrating because it would end up costing us more than we originally thought. All that to say, we really don't know anything...so we are....still waiting, and yes, it's frustrating. (Notice a theme here???)
For the time being, continue to pray for Nora's protection, for our paperwork to receive the signatures it needs, for us to enter IBESR now--or even yesterday would be great, and for our process to begin to get around the "curve" and on the straight road again. We have been TOTALLY blessed by some recent photos of Nora though so we want to pass those along to you...her smiles continue to brighten our days.
So, that is Nora, now on to Maddie. Well, if you have been following Amy & Dan's care page (http://www.carepages.com/carepages/MadisonPflug), not much of this will be new, but if you haven't, then let me give you the quick summary.
The steroids Maddie have been on this week broke down the tumors on her lymph nodes very quickly which was awesome, but also sent her kidneys into overdrive so she was put on a kidney dialysis machine to help the kidneys catch back up. She was supposed to be on that for 24 hours but since her body was reacting so well to the dialysis (another awesome), she was back off of the dialysis under the 24 hour mark. Overall, her body has simply responded profoundly well to the steroids and the dialysis...thank God! I truly believe the prayers being lifted on behalf of them all from around the world are working right in line with these medicines.
Maddie had a great weekend of rest and feeling pretty good. We were able to Skype with her yesterday which was great for all of us since we haven't had the chance to head up there yet.
Here is a photo of Maddie being silly on the Skype call...you can tell she was feeling her normal self when you see photos like this.
These other two photos were taken by my dad at the hospital while Maddie's sister, Sydney was visiting her on Sunday. The two of them were having too much fun moving the bed with the remote control...you can just tell that Maddie loves her sister very much and likewise, Sydney loves Maddie too!
These are precious photos in the midst of a very trying time. Like my brother-in-law typed on their care page--this is the calm before the storm. And, unfortunately, the storm begins tonight. I talked with my sister this morning briefly and they will begin chemo tonight. There is a chance they will be heading home from the hospital mid-week with the chemo treatments happening more as an outpatient or occasional overnight-two night stay instead of having to be inpatient. If that happens, she will head back to the hospital next week to have the port put back into her chest to help all future iv sticks. It is good to know Maddie will be able to have the comforts of home while going through chemo, but it also boosts up their travel times as it is a 1 hour drive one way to the hospital from their current home in MI. Please pray that travel safety will abound!
The bone marrow transplant is tentatively on the docket for three months from now. Sydney, Amy, and Dan's blood work is currently being tested to see if any of them are a match and if Sydney is a match then she would be the best match possible. They would then determine if she was big enough to donate and if she is not (or if none of them match) then the search will continue on to the larger pool of people internationally. Micah has recently signed up to be a donor hoping to be a match for Maddie--or someone else who needs it! If you have the desire to also help another patient desperately needing their life saved, please go to this website (http://marrow.org/Join/Join_the_Registry.aspx) and learn more of what you need to do to be a donor.
To close, here is a little video of part of our Skype call with Maddie. I think it's just good for everyone to be able to see her in action, hear her voice, and connect with her beyond her name or a photo. We are asking for everyone to be in prayer for God to heal her body from this cancer and glorify His name because of that healing! Another little segment from Dan's care page post has not left my brain or heart for a minute since he posted it. I will share it here because it was incredibly uplifting and encouraging to my own prayer time. I think sometimes, as adults, we just doubt God's power and goodness too much. If Maddie can see Jesus at work around her, then we need to be praying for that work to continue! Here is that part of his post:
"I'll close with a conversation that I had with her (Maddie) this morning that really touched me. We were talking about a certain significant gift (an IPad) that someone had given to her and how she was going to receive it later today. While she was trying to guess what it was, I kind of made it sound like it was bigger/cooler than any other gift she had gotten before. To which, she replied, "Oh! Is it Jesus?!" And I said, "Ah, well, OK then, it is the second greatest gift that you could get." And then she said, "Because you know daddy, Jesus is all around this hospital, helping the nurses and doctors get my cancer gone."
Blessings to each of you, and thank you for your prayers on our behalf for our adoption of Nora and for Maddie as she enters, yet again, a battle for her life. Onward we go...