Saturday, August 11, 2012


These past few days i have been going over these past three months a lot.  These past three months have been some of the loneliest in my entire life.  It was exhausting, draining, so lonely, intense, and some of the hardest days of my life AND i have had some VERY. HARD. DAYS. in my life.

We came home on May 12th....worn out, exhausted, jet lagged, tired, drained, and as i told someone today who just came back from a long missions trip....there was really NO TIME for recovery from any of the week that we had just experienced.  We were both shocked over Ethan's weight, malnutrition, but especially his attitude toward us.  We were shocked as to how much he ate AND how much he drank as it seemed almost non stop BUT what was also a wonder to us was that he didn't gorge himself....he ate a LOT BUT he DID stop too.  The hardest thing was the biting, hitting, pulling hair and pinching that started well, on the ride away from the orphanage.  I had a black and blue mark for the entire week that we were there as it was a bad bite.

The first night we were even more surprised by the way that Ethan slept or should i say...DID NOT SLEEP.  We just assumed it was because everything was new and different and he had never slept with a mommy and daddy. (the play pen that was in the room had no way to zip up the side of it as it had an opening to zip but no zipper.  we had put Ethan in there to see if it would work and he was TERRIFIED and crawled out so quickly that we couldn't figure it out----it was dark and very late so we didn't see what had happened until we figured it out in the morning!!!)  Ethan would get to sleep BUT he would hardly STAY asleep....he would sleep up against the wall SITTING UP then he would lay across us and then i would awaken to his NOT BREATHING!!!  THEN he would snort and start breathing again.  Needless to say, Scott and i didn't sleep well then either!  We assumed that when he got home and into his crib that he would NOT be doing this anymore as we assumed it was because of his sleeping conditions.

WE WERE WRONG!  The day before we got home we FB messaged our kids and let them know that plans had changed and so we decided to have Ethan in OUR ROOM and Sophina got kicked out into her sister's room.  We thought that we should at least check more on Ethan than we were needing to for Sophina.  WE WERE RIGHT!!!  Ethan continued to stop breathing AND i HAD to get a video camera as we would hear all kinds of things while he was napping.  The video camera showed that he was not only doing EXACTLY what he had been doing with his parents in Bulga*ia BUT it was even worse as i watched him running around his crib in order to find a better spot to sleep.  He was doing the backward somersaults still and he was stopping his breathing and he was sleeping sitting up in the corners and he just was NOT getting sleep.

Ethan was also hitting, biting, pinching, slapping, and acting out against his sisters DAILY and OFTEN!   It was SO HARD!!!  Sophina got a black and blue mark across her forehead from him hitting her over the head with his hard plastic cup.  THAT was one of his first meetings with her.  It was often that he would hurt her BUT it was DAILY that he would hurt the girls.  They would have bite marks that would look like welts on their shoulders, legs and arms.  It was SO DRAINING to watch as we would all be excited as he would cuddle and then our shock would turn to HUGE disappointment as his cuddles would turn to pinching or biting or any form of pain that he could inflict. He didn't do it in front of strangers SO he wouldn't do it in front of Liz or Nate as they were here a few times or people who would stop by.  He ONLY did it to people who were there in his life daily.

Scott had only been able to be home after coming back from BG a few days so it was me without our PCA helping with Sophina as she was in Africa on a missions trip.  THEN Ally left for her missions trip and that same week was VBS.  Let's just say that it was a really hard time in that time period.  Having Scott gone SO LONG was and is inexplainable to anyone.  It is one of those things that i kept trying to explain but it is inexplainable because one has to experience it in order to understand it and what those almost three months were not able to be explained.  ALONE.....OVERWHELMED and wondering if it was always going to be like this or was i going to do it!?!?!

THEN....Ethan had a surgery that was supposed to be a 'typical' surgery.  It was being done at the hospital instead of the surgery center only as a precaution AND it was only a precaution that we were going to be there overnight.  Ethan had other plans.  It was almost a week.  Ethan's oxygen levels were not good AND he only stopped breathing one time while soon as i left the surgery room after seeing that he 'went to sleep'.  I had warned the Dr that he did that so they were not surprised.  He didn't ever do that while in his room however and even still his oxygen levels would be at the 70/80's range when he would stick his tongue back in his mouth OR when he wouldn't swallow his med and so it affected his breathing as he slept!!!  He also would NOT drink....PERIOD!  He still isn't-btw!  He was called "FIESTY" and "STRONG" by every nurse who would come in.  We had amazing nurses and several who went above and beyond.  They were so busy though and i was so overwhelmed that it would happen that Ethan's meds would be past due and was NOT pretty.  One of the first days as i was all alone then...i held him for almost ten hours with him screaming for a big part of it.  He would NOT sleep....even with the pain meds.  That poor nurse was trying to find ANY way to help us as i am SURE that Ethan was NOT making a pleasant experience for ANYONE in our area.  We finally just figured out that Ethan's NOT going to have great oxygen levels as he has lived like this his whole life and my putting the oxygen 'tube' blowing over his face didn't even help as he HAS to get his tongue down.  We also knew that there was NOTHING that we could do to MAKE him swallow his med as he would hold it in his upper neck!!!  I still don't think that the Dr's believed me BUT there were witnesses who heard it with me and WATCHED him and THEY believed me.  I went home knowing that there was nothing more that could be done in the hospital that i couldn't do at home.

Toward the end of our stay our pastor found out that we were STILL there and he called and got the church secretary to let out a shout for our need.  One mother of MANY children came to the hospital with FOOD, TREATS but the best.....a foot massage......(brought tears to my eyes writing this) A FOOT MASSAGE!!!!!!  OH MY!!!  Then other BUSY moms brought food and hugs and love and listening, cried with me as she understood our son more than most!  OH!  To be understood!!!!  Even got a visit from some old college friends that popped in for a visit....hadn't seen them in 23 years!!!

I will let you know that the two weeks of this past three were even harder than i could have imagined as a LOT of hard things were also happening in our lives OUTSIDE of Ethan's surgery.  REALLY tough stuff.  I explained many times over these past three months that it felt like i couldn't come up for air....i couldn't breathe as i felt pushed down every time i tried to come up for air.  Those two weeks were some of the HARDEST of the past three months.

WHAT IS AMAZING????  ETHAN IS TOTALLY WORTH IT!!!!!  I said that on my hardest days and i will continue to say it!!!  I am going to write the incredible miracle of the past THREE days.  SO, make sure that you read that too.

I am ALWAYS BLESSED, Connie for the crew!!!

These past few days

PLEASE MAKE SURE THAT YOU READ the other post FIRST before reading this one.... it is called THREE MONTHS!!!!

First, i will tell you that God is faithful.....even when i am NOT!  My God is an amazing God and He has been One who has brought me such amazing times with Him through avenues that are not the 'typical' avenues.  A verse or a song on the radio or even on FB or messaged to me were like rain on a parched soul.  There was the VBS cd that Victoria was given early as she was a helper and was able to have it come home with her from her helper meeting.  Those songs had meanings that no one could have known.  DEEP meanings where when my friend was sitting next to me at the much later last day of VBS performance heard my heart over the words that were being sung....she was seeing what i had heard and it moved her.  GOD IS SO FAITHFUL isn't He???

One day is one that is embedded into my heart as a Mommy....a time when i was putting Ethan to bed and he was SO very sweet and our time together was SO amazing....he called me MaMa too that day.  The Lord gave me that time as a true gift as those next weeks were some of the toughest that i could have dreamed.  Another thing that brought me through my toughest days....a friend whom i am most grateful for told me that she had been told that when one adopts a child that that child is NOT the age that the paperwork says they are RATHER they are a BABY emotionally speaking SO BABIES bite and hit and pinch and pull hair!!!  THAT FACT went through my head MANY MANY times!!!  SO grateful that she shared that with me!

Bonnie is a friend who would just pop in and drop off a bag of chocolates or a great find...a tool toy for Ethan.  She would text me a message.  A friend fb messaged me verses to meditate on and oh my it was SO needed!!!  Another friend came over and brought a pizza and ate with us.  Several women let me know of their love and prayers....mostly women that i have never met before.  One woman prayed 'out loud' on FB for our family and she did it often.  I am grateful for these things and more.  My dear Mother-in-law....a blessing to me as she wrote every single day on FB....her support has meant the world to me.

Through all of those VERY hard days, weeks and these months....our girls were IN the thick of the craziness.  Ally was gone for six weeks of this and she was preparing for a lot of that time before that.  Vica and Catia had their lives changed in a WAY bigger way then we had prepared them for and thankfully they have stepped WAY up to the challenge.  I am forever grateful for their VERY INVOLVED help on a daily basis.  Liz and Nate stepped up to the plate and when i found out that we were NOT going to be just one night at the hospital they volunteered to spend the nights with our younger girls!

This past week has been amazing and a lot of it has to do with friends that answered the request for help.  Women came and helped with laundry but especially with meals!!  OH MY how that helped me out SO MUCH!  Ethan was NOT eating and Sophina was NOT doing well with her eating either and to have time to also take care of the eating of the rest of us....UFFDA!  SUCH a blessing!

These past four days have been as if i had not been breathing before and i finally am able to now!  I have been able to have alone time with three of the girls in these days and OH how i had missed that!!! I was able to get caught up on laundry.  Today, i am in the weeds on that AND dishes but i HAD to write this update and the other post as i PROMISED myself that i would on Ethan's three month anniversary.  (i missed the other ones)  I feel like baking and cooking and visiting people and getting out and being ALIVE!

Ethan has been wanting me to hold him and he is allowing me to cuddle him and he is reaching out to his siblings and being WAY WAY more loving.  He IS still doing SOME acting out but NOTHING like before!  He is EATING!!!!  He is NOT drinking BUT i am figuring out MANY things that can be doused in his rice milk ;)  He is sleeping more often in the laying down position!!!  He is more content!!!  He is acting as if he has given in to the fact that these 'workers' at his new 'orphanage' are NEVER going to leave him alone SO he might as well accept them and treat them as if they are FAMILY!!!  Even a week ago, i would have never thought that i could feel like this again BUT i am THRILLED beyond belief that we are where we are at with Ethan in our family!  I have always known that we did what God asked us to do and that it was WORTH IT BUT i LOVE it....i absolutely LOVE it that we have Ethan and that he is our son!  Our daughters are LOVING their brother this week and are warming up QUICKLY with HOPE that this trend is continuing and will just grow in leaps and bounds!

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE if God is calling YOU to adopt.....YES, it IS hard!!!  SOME harder than others BUT it is OBEDIENCE that God has called us to....NOT easiness!   IF God has laid it on your heart to bring home a child who is in need of a family.....DO!!!!!  IT!!!!!  God is faithful and even when He is dragging you through the sand of your life where those footprints once were of yours and then just His.....LET HIM drag you at least BECAUSE one day again....YOUR footprints will be back in the sand SKIPPING beside His!!!  THANKFUL that He is ALWAYS FAITHFUL!!!  ALWAYS even when YOU are not!!!

ALWAYS BLESSED!!!  Connie for the crew!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Our family adventures-UFFDA!

OUR ALLY IS HOME!!!! Man, i LOVE her and OH how i MISSED her!!!

Scott found a vehicle to drive back to work tonight!!! Yep, he bought it!

Ethan drank a few sips of water tonight out of our Lizzie's bottled water.....which is more than he has had total in MANY MANY hours. He is eating his hot cereals still AND HATES it that i keep adding fruit sauces to them OR anything else that could be anywh

ere CLOSE to a liquid.

We got to celebrate by eating a DQ cake with our WHOLE family together for about fifteen minutes to sing Happy 50th Birthday to Scott!!!!

1) Ally is exhausted as she has lost a FULL 24 hours of a day so she is in need of rest and restoration
2) Ethan NEEDS to eat and DRINK.....i literally am FORCING in food and as much of what is considered liquid into him but it is EXTREMELY stressful on the entire family to be a part of, to hear and to watch
3) Scott going back to work on his 50th birthday...PLEASE pray that he is encouraged
4) Sophina would improve on her eating and drinking as it is still a fight but there IS improvement
5) There is SO MUCH that is needing to be done and i am in need of wisdom, energy, strength, use of time, ability to do what needs to be done and who to help when! SO i am in need of a covering of prayer support BIG TIME!

Thank you so much to those who DO pray for us as we keep having our adventures! We are ALWAYS BLESSED, Connie for the crew

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Last night at home....NOT GOOD!!!

Well, it will be interesting to see what our day is going to be like because yesterday was FULL and i mean FULL of sleep!!!  I got to have time with Sophina and we got to have fun watching the Olympics with Becky!
I had put Ethan down at 1pm and again he wouldn't swallow his med SO he fought being able to sleep for TWO HOURS due to his not being able to breathe well.  He would cough and cough (just like in the hospital BUT he wouldn't swallow that med that now i am sure was mostly mixed with mucus. THEN at 3pm (after Becky and i had watched this 'fight' on the video), he just crashed and slept REALLY WELL!!!!  You could just SEE his relaxation...his body was finally getting rest.  Well, 6pm came and i went up to check on him physically and he didn't budge even though all the other times he would just be done with his nap as he is a VERY light sleeper.  SO, i thought that maybe he should just sleep since that brings healing.  THEN, it was 7pm and i had just kept on watching his breathing and by that time it was a major part of our conversation.  I went up again and THIS time, i rubbed his back over and over again.....he was OUT!  His breathing was fine and so was his color.  We decided to just let him sleep!!!!!  AND. HE. DID!!!!!
I was exhausted by the time the Olympics were done (exhaustion was from the night's/nights before of little sleep) and i couldn't wait to hit the bed!!!  I thought that i should see if i could get Ethan to wake up so i could get him liquids AND at least one med.  He woke up and the first thing i gave him was my white chocolate pudding with his med and again it went in just fine BUT again.....he immediately started sounding rattily like he did in the hospital that time at 4am/5am.  I was not surprised when the respiratory nurse at that time said that he was filled with junk in his throat and not his lungs.  It happened again that next night when Susan was there.  It has happened every time at home BUT last was. beyond. bad. 

At the hospital when Ethan would go down to the low 70's the nurse would ask me if i could see the blueness around his nose and i wouldn't.  Last night, i saw the blueness around his nose AND he did what he used to do before the surgery....he stopped breathing, twice.  Yep, just about did me in.  We called our NICU/PICU nurse neighbors twice while we were in the heat of it as i had Sophina asleep in one room (as it was so late, they were asleep, i am sure) and Vica (who is fearful of being alone at night) here awake as she was the one helping me (after we had watched the Olympics)......i wasn't going to bring in all of us to the ER at now midnight and find out that there is nothing that they could do to make him swallow.  

I kept trying to get Ethan to drink his juice so he would swallow more of the med.  The only way that i can explain it to you know how your kids can't swallow a pill those first tries when they are little OR like my girls....even after being older and trying over and over and over and over and that pill is STILL there?  Well, THAT, in Ethan's capability of learning how to get more food????? IDK, is what he does when he doesn't like something.  He has done this since we got him at the hotel almost three months ago....we just didn't know that he could also do this with LIQUIDS in the back of his throat!!!!!

The good thing is.....ETHAN DRANK!!!!  He drank LOTS!!!!  His cup is in the room now but i am sure that he drank @ 170 mls of JUICE!!!!  THAT, thrilled me!!!  After about an hour of frantic prayers for wisdom and dousing him with oils that were supposed to help, i knew that he was doing what he had done at the hospital and WHEN he was doing that....they said that there is nothing that i can do....he just has to swallow or cough it OUT!  He was doing neither.  Many times he HAD coughed it OUT thus losing his meds and thus the reason why many times his meds wouldn't last him BUT this time....he wouldn't get it out.

If we wouldn't have gone through all that we did at the hospital and if i had not had the past almost three months with him .....seeing what he sleeps like and how he breathes and how he holds his food/liquids/meds....i would have had NO DOUBT about taking him in last night BUT since i knew that there wasn't anything that we could do.  Since, he WAS breathing back to what it was like when they were trying to get us home.....i put him into his crib and i collapsed into bed.

So, did you get this....he was put into bed at 1pm yesterday for his nap.....wouldn't get to sleep until 3pm BUT didn't wake up until MOMMY woke him up to get him meds, 'food' and juice at 11:15pm and then went back to sleep at @1am and is STILL asleep now!!!!!  His breathing is still not where i would like it to be but it is what i am used to and he is back to sleeping sitting up (the past two nights). i can't wait for our 1:20pm appointment to see what is going on.

PRAYING for our son to start swallowing IMMEDIATELY with his liquids and after CHEWING his food....this cannot be good for his throat back there.  PLEASE pray that he will start eating and drinking again and that he will have a desire for it. Please PRAY that this immense sleep is bringing healing!!!  He screams a LOT from frustration and anger and did so intensely the day after (or was it the day OF the surgery) SO i AM thrilled that he is sleeping and resting that throat!  PLEASE PRAY FOR HEALING!!!
ALWAYS BLESSED, Connie for the crew
ps  THIS is why i cried quite often when thinking that they were doing this surgery in Bul*aria.....i couldn't imagine our son laying in a crib in a hospital with NO ONE to comfort him....NOW, seeing what he has gone through, the nurses and i would say over and over again....they would have had to have strapped him down completely.  Over and over again, i would say....i just am so thankful that they decided AGAINST doing the surgery there and letting Ethan wait until he was here......our son has been held for HOURS and HOURS and has been comforted and sung to and prayed over and LOVED intensely through all of this!  I am just praying that he knows that his family LOVES him!!!!