Thursday, April 19, 2012

This is Life

Ever had one of those days that got so nutty you just felt like standing on your head?  I've had one of those weeks.  Where to begin?  Oh, I know....let's start with the TWO squad trips for Miss Kemeri.

Tuesday night, Kameryn, Kade, Sydni, the three little girls & I had just set down in the living room to watch some t.v. (K'Tyo had just gone to bed).  Kemeri had been running a low fever since waking up from her nap, but she was so excited to see everybody & started playing.  A few minutes later she climbed up on my lap, which is our usual bedtime gig.  I suddenly felt like something wasn't right, & when I peeked around at her face, I saw something no one wants to see.  Kemeri's eyes were rolled into the back of her head, lips dark blue, body was like a noodle, & she was completely unresponsive.  God bless the big kids that were home, b/c they all jumped into action (Joe was picking up Kyler from his driving class).  Kam called the squad, Syd took the other 2 girls into another room, & Kade called Joe.  I got Kemmy on the floor & started trying to stir her & thankfully, she began breathing again without needing CPR, but was still unresponsive.

We were taken directly to our local ER, & while they were great, with her limited health history, they wasted no time having us transported to the children's hospital that we've been going to for her medical evaluations.  Know what "running hot" means?  I do now.  It's when the squad doing the transport goes full throttle down the highway with the lights & sirens going so that you make a 1 hr. 15 min. trip in under an hour.  Fortunately, I just got home from the driving in China, so this did not phase me much.

After a very long night in the ER ruling out lots of stuff, it was determined that she had a febrile seizure, which is actually a fairly common thing in kiddos between 6 months-6 years old but is one of the scariest episodes I've ever witnessed.  Who knew?  This is my 9th child, & we have never experienced one of these.  Two days later & you would never know anything even happened.

Since we're in medical mode anyhow, wanna let you know we're gonna be needing some prayer warriors in the near future.  We had Kemeri's MRI last Friday.  A specialist we had consulted with when reviewing her medical info thought that her spina bifida was quite minor & at most she would probably need a minor surgery to fix the dimple/skin tag on her back.  It's going to be a bit more than that.  Our punkin has a tethered cord, which will need to be released, & there's also a fatty mass pressing against her spine that will need to be removed as well as some of the excess bone at the bottom of her spine.  While I had hoped for the best, something told me it would be more, so I am not completely surprised by this.  I am sad that she will have to go through this (6+ hours of surgery/week in the hospital), but we have all resolved that we're in this together & will do whatever we have to for our sweet girl.  I'm sharing all this for 2 reasons:  1) Prayer is powerful! and 2) This is part of our journey, & I'm finding more & more through this blog that when you keep it real, it's amazing the people God brings into your path that either have been there done that & can offer support OR might be traveling the same road currently OR that might someday stumble upon Kemeri's story just as they are looking to adopt a child with the same need.  God is so cool like that.

Kemeri didn't much care for that MRI business, but I do believe she is the cutest sleepy patient ever!

She continues to get along well with all the kids, but I suppose I have the most pictures of she & Kendi together since, well, they are most always together.
I just wish they were always as angelic as in the above picture.  Unfortunately, this is the exception, not the rule.  Case in point:

This is what happens when these 2 discover a box of strawberry quik within reach (note to self: Kemeri can reach higher than Kendi, so rethink the positioning of things).  Yes, fashion is out the window these days.  I go straight for the sneakers.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Diagnosis: Daughter

I remember the day that we had our "match" meeting for Kaya. Even though she had been in our family since she was 2 days old, we still had to go through the process to adopt her. As we sat there, we were presented with a stack of papers no less than a foot tall stating this child's possible "issues" down the road as well as current needs. I'm not kidding, the stack of papers was HUGE. Not to sound snarky, but I remember sitting there thinking, "Whatever. You can tell me all kinds of scary stuff, but it doesn't matter. She's our daughter. Period." The bottom line was, we already knew her. We would do anything for her.

I wish I could say that I had the same fierce resolve as we reviewed Kemeri's referral paperwork. But I didn't. I was gripped by fear of the unknowns, so much so that at one point we even thought it best to walk away.

As I have slowly come out of my jetlag fog, I have been thinking a lot about those days of uncertainty & fear. I've also thought about what it might look like if all of my potential special needs or "issues" made their way to paper. Ha, I'm pretty sure I'd have my own fairly tall stack of papers. Lucky for me, there is no such special needs inventory on me to be found on this earth. But my Father in heaven knows Seriously, He looked at my rap sheet of imperfections (that's what I feel like these sweet children get stuck with), but He didn't walk away. He saw promise. He saw worth. He saw hope. He said that I'm chosen, & loved me so much that He laid down His life for me.

It humbles me to say that I had to wrestle with God a lot about what He kept speaking to our heart about this little girl we only knew from the papers in front of us. But He knew her & wanted us to trust Him in that. That one day we would know her, too, beyond the scary words on that paper. And love her fiercely. Do not get me wrong. It is important to know & understand a child's special needs, but knowledge & fear are 2 very different things, & I was allowing fear to rule me. Adoption is a leap of faith, & God was asking us to jump, even though all we knew was what was on paper.

We have now been home for almost 2 weeks, & this is what I know about Kemeri:

  • She has a twinkle in her eye & a laugh that sounds like "Boo" on Monsters, Inc., & it is contagious!

  • She loves eggs, fruit, pizza, goldfish crackers, lollipops, & jellybeans, not necessarily in that order.

  • She likes to go outside, but thinks grass is scary.

  • She likes to play with lots of different toys, including baby dolls.

  • She likes to snuggle with Mommy when it's time to go to sleep, & goes running with excitement when Daddy gets home.

  • She adores her brothers & sisters, & it's so sweet the way she puts her arms up to get a squeezer from them. She does share the occasional push with Kendi.

  • She has zero tolerance for messy hands.

  • She loves to play in the bath, & now that she has a sister to share a bath with, it's even more fun.

  • She thinks our dance parties are silly & fun!

  • She was terribly afraid of the dog, but after 9 days, she lifted the restraining order against Ella & they are now great friends.

  • She is one of the bravest little girls I know.

There's so much more, & each day brings new discoveries about this little girl of ours. We have already had a couple of medical appointments & are scheduled for a sedated MRI on Friday, but when I look out in the other room to watch her play, the thoughts in my mind are not related to the medical diagnosis we were faced with in that initial paperwork. My heart knows that her diagnosis is that she is our daughter that we love, & even more wonderful...She is a daughter of the King.

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalm 139:13-15

Monday, April 2, 2012

It Ain't Pretty...

This jetlag thing...ugh. I feel like dog meat. Shoot, I probably look like dog meat, too. But I am avoiding mirrors at this point. I wondered about all this talk of jetlag. The only trouble I had when we traveled to Ethiopia was the need for a little earlier bedtime. Evidently, the difference between an 8 hour time difference & a 12 hour one is ginormous. Lucky me.

Last night was the worst yet. I had decided to stay up until about midnight to see if I could make it a bit longer through the night. Big fail. Instead, I never fell asleep. Kemeri did better, but she has little moments that she wakes up crying to make sure I'm there. Fortunately, it doesn't take too long to settle her down & get her back to sleep.

The last time I checked the time, it was about 5 a.m. And then the vicious raccoon came & tried to bite Kade, so I hit it with a baseball bat. Seems the blood attracted wolves to come, so I fought them off until I could get all the kids into Grandpa Jack's cabin. When I tried to yell for him to get his gun, nothing would come out of my mouth, & the wolves were pushing the door in. Finally, Joe showed up, so I was frantically telling him we needed to shoot a gun to scare the wolves away, when I realized some idiot was filming the whole thing with his cell phone. I turned & told him I thought it highly inappropriate for him to be filming this horror, especially since I am a mother of 9 & in my underwear.

I could really use a peaceful night of sleep.