Saturday, November 22, 2008

Another Reunion and Ellie's Recovery

The Barbees came to visit us for the first time since we travelled together to adopt Lilly and Lainie back in May of 2007. Jen had asked me to pick up a few things for Lainie while we were in China adopting Ellie. I told her I'd be happy to do that, but that I would hold all her "loot" hostage until she came to visit us! It worked! They came down last Sat. and spent the night. We all had a blast- the children had fun while Jen and I had a little time to chat and catch up with each other.

Lilly kept saying "Lainie is my best friend" and "I love Lainie" It was so beautiful to see these two girls together again. They began their lives together in an orphanage in China and now are members of loving families who cherish them. Adoption is so miraculous!

Although Lainie is 4 months younger than Lilly, it appears that she is an inch or so taller.

The whole gang- that's 10 kids in all, and they are all smiling and looking at the camera! WOW!

Before and After:

Ellie's bilateral cleft palate before surgery

Ellie's palate 3 1/2 weeks after surgery.

I know the picture is not great, but she has become increasingly less cooperatve about opening her mouth. I guess she has good reason considering what she has been through these last few weeks. However, you can tell that it is now one complete palate- praise God! She had a check-up with her surgeon on Thursday and he was very pleased. She can now eat whatever she wants although I still plan to restrict sharp foods like chips. We also saw her ENT and both tubes are in place and open. Her hearing was tested and it was "superb" despite long-term chronic infection in both ears that was discovered only during surgery. We are so thankful that this step in Ellie's cleft repair was successful and is now behind us. She has already started speech therapy twice a week through Baby Net, our state's Early Intervention Program. She is already making improvements and can say "Bubba" for her brother Fulton, "no", "mama", "baba", and a few other words that are pretty clear. She is so eager and is willing to repeat whatever we ask her. She is puckering her lips well and is starting to bring her lips together more to make sounds like "b" and "m". I feel like she is finally "whole". She was born with 2 holes in her heart, a cleft lip, and cleft palate. Thanks to wonderful surgeons gifted by God, she now is "whole" other than her biltaeral cleft gums. Praise be to God for seeing us all through this surgery and recovery!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Time to Fill Shoe Boxes!

Our family has been participating in Samaritan's Purse Shoe Box Ministry, Operation Christmas Child, for many years. We used to fill only one box but as our family has grown so has the number of boxes we fill. This year we are planning to fill 5 boxes. Each of the older children choose the age and sex of the child that they want their box to go to. I'm filling a box on behalf of Lilly and Ellie for a little girl aged 2-4 years. Throughout the year, we save items that we can use to put in the shoe boxes. The toys from Happy Meals that grandmoms buy (only those worth saving- some go straight in the trash) or other small items the children receive from parties and such that they really don't need. Then we gather together, pull out the items we saved throughout the year, and have fun filling the boxes. We usually make a trip to the Dollar Store to buy extra items like toothbrushes and toothpaste, socks, coloring books, etc. The children talk about where they hope there box might end up- maybe China or a country in Africa. This year Shelby and Katie wrote a note to their child hoping to hear back from them one day. Operation Christmas Child is a great project that families can work on together, it gives Christmas gifts to children who may otherwise receive nothing, and most importantly, Samaritan's Purse also includes literature in the child's native language about the "Good News" of Jesus Christ. Please consider joining us in this project. For further information, go to

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Fall Festival Time!

We are all still surviving here. Last week was rough, but God sustained us and for that we are grateful. Ellie is recovering well. Food has become a battle now because she feels well enough to eat what we are eating, but of course she can't. We are now trying to feed her before everyone else eats and that has helped some. She is sleeping well at nap and night time and only wakes up once or twice. Overall I think she has done very well.

Fulton had another bout of the kidney stone pain yesterday. Thankfully the pain medicine did help, and he was better by bedtime. The doctor (urologist) on Thursday said the stone was at the bottom of the urinary tract and should be in the bladder soon. He has a 92% chance of passing it on his own. The worst of the pain should be over. We are scheduled to see a nephrologist on Tuesday to hopefully identify the cause of the stones so that we can prevent them in the future. Lots of lab work was done a few weeks ago and all the results are back so we are anxious to hear the results. Thanks so much for the comments of concern and offers of prayer. Also, a big thanks to Lita for coming to help on Wed. and to friends who have brought meals. I haven't cooked since we came home Wednesday. Also, a big thank you to Mary Beth who had Ethan for an afternoon last week. What a blessing all of you are to our family. Thank you all!!!

This year we had 3 cheerleaders, 1 football player, Buzz Lightyear, and one hippy. Ellie wanted to be held by Daddy so David squatted in the back w/ Ellie. That's why you can barely see her! Oh well, she did pretty well considering Friday was only 3 days after surgery.

Trunk or Treat at church. Ellie and I stayed in the car to hand out candy while the rest of the bunch collected quite a bit of loot!