Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Day 1 at Gillette

What an amazing day!  We met our personal taxi driver at 9.  That's right, we've got our own taxi driver :)  Kamish drove us from the airport yesterday, and once he learned why we were here, he offered to drive us to all our appointments and back for a flat rate!

So we loaded into his van, and after putting my back out lifting Kasidi into her seat, we headed to our first set of appointments. 

First, after Katie took all sorts of measurements, Kasidi walked for the special cameras.

Next, Katie and Nancy attached sensors for the special video equipment to record Kasidi's movement.

Katie told me to be sure and use my flash so it would pick up the bedazzle!

Lastly, Kasidi chose a movie to watch for 10 minutes while her resting energy level was recorded.

Then, Kasidi, Katie, Daddy and Too took a 6-minute walk to measure her energy use under exertion.

After working hard all morning, Kas had a short break for oatmeal from the coffee shop, and then Kamish drove us to the Burnsville clinic to see physical therapy.

Again, she worked super hard, and did everything asked of her.

So when she asked for rice noodles for an early supper, rice noodles it was!

Tomorrow we return to the Burnsville clinic for x-rays and to meet the team of neurosurgery, PT and physiatry to get the results of the tests and their recommendation for treatment.

And then we will process all we've learned as we fly home...

Thank you for praying!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

One Foot in Front of the Other - No Pun Intended

We are finally here!  A visit we've anticipated for quite some time, and frankly, even feared for some time.  We're in St. Paul, MN for Kasidi Joy's two-day Gait Lab and Motion Assessment at the world renowned Gillette Children's Hospital!
A little background.  We have an amazing pediatric physiatrist back home, Dr. Wright.  What's a physiatrist?  Well, he's an extraordinary doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of neurological, musculoskeletal and orthopaedic issues in children, particularly with cerebral palsy and spina bifida.

Kasidi Joy is super extraordinary because while she was born with a thoracic region meningocele (spina bifida), she has the muscle spasticity of cerebral palsy.  At the recommendation of  Dr. Wright, we've taken every measure from non-invasive medication, botox injections, serial casting, bracing and stretching, to two surgical spinal cord de-tethers, to address the spasticity in her super special legs.

At our last visit in November, Dr. Wright suggested we consider a more aggressive approach in light of the fact this girl is growing by leaps and bounds.  Since her muscles are so tight, they aren't stretching and growing as fast as her legs are, and will likely cause the bones to rotate, leading to more discomfort and extensive orthopaedic surgery.

And so here we are.  Wednesday morning Kasidi will spend about three hours in the gait lab.  She's never been afraid to give her all, and we're praying that tomorrow is no different.  After a lunch break, she will spend the afternoon with the physical therapist for further assessment.

Then Thursday morning we will go over general health history and meet with the team of neurosurgery, physical therapy and physiatrist to receive the assessment results and their recommendation for treatment.  We sort of know in our hearts what the recommendation will be, and that brings new fear.  But it also brings much hope.  Hope that Kasidi's gait will improve, causing her to use less energy to walk, ensuring that her hips are aligned, and avoiding orthopaedic surgery.

We're choosing not to worry about the unknowns.  We'll leave this in the hands of the One who loves Kasidi even more than we do.  He has given her a sweet spirit and incredible courage, so whatever we need to do, we'll put one foot in front of the other and move forward.

Meanwhile, this girl has proven to be a superstar traveler.

And we learned that when the airline loses your stroller, you get to "shop" their mountain of unclaimed strollers, with no upgrade fee :) 

Until tomorrow...

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Your Kids Did What?

Sometimes I forget what a dramatic turn our lives took when the Lord first spoke adoption into our hearts...13 years ago!

I forget the shock when we discovered the cost.

I forget the reams and reams of paperwork we would need to complete.  Oh, wait, I had no idea there would be so much paperwork.

I forget the ache to hold a child I've never met.

I forget the hours upon hours of poring through the Scriptures seeking wisdom.

I forget how 'easy' life was.

I even forget the rallies of the enemy.  Oh, how he battles against us.  He wants us to believe the lie that what we're considering is crazy.  He wants us to doubt our decision by taunting us with the shiny things of this world.  He reminds us of our own weakness and fallibility.  He discourages us with the words of  naysayers: 

*What about YOUR kids?
*You'll never be able to put YOUR kids through college?
*YOUR kids will not get everything they deserve.
*You won't have time for YOUR kids.
*You're cheating YOUR kids.

So many voices, so much confusion, many times I thought how sweet it would be if God would just give us this...

Know what I mean?  A clear path with no obstacles, the knowledge of exactly when and where to go next, and the absolute assurance that it will all end well.

I know that God is faithful.  I know that He keeps His promises.  I know that His Word is true.  But my flesh wants constant gratification.  My flesh cries out, "Will we be okay?  Please, Lord, show me something, anything to let me know the trials are only 'light and momentary troubles."

And then I started to see it.  The manifestation of God's goodness through it all.  The mercy in every tear shed.  The faith grown in walking the trenches of trauma.  The compassion and forgiveness undeserved.  The redemption.

His goodness was seen  not only through the receiving of a child long awaited and prayed for, and the healing of a broken heart, but also in the actions of our big kids, the bios, the three amigos, the original Krew.

Nearly 13 years have passed since we first took a leap of obedience, a plummet outside the comfort zone, a walk on the wild side.  

Since that time, our oldest bio son, Kuyler, and his bride Caitlin have graduated from college, and they love and serve children in their church.  They recently told us they want to do the craziest thing ever in case of the unthinkable untimely passing of Clayton and I ~ they want to be the guardians of their siblings.  All.nine.of.them.  Poor Kuyler.  He has been ruined.

Our second born, Kolton, and his bride Allie are in college, and they have a heart for missions.  We've had the privilege of hearing Kolton testify about the mighty work the Lord has done through missions teams traveling outside the borders of this country.  His heart is moved desperately for children and the difference the gospel makes in their future.  Poor Kolton.  He has been ruined.

Kenzie is in college, and her groom Josh has entered the civilian ranks after serving in the military, and they too love the Lord.  Of the three bios, Kenzie has spent the most time at home with her siblings, and accepted much responsibility in helping care for them.  We've heard people say she probably couldn't wait to leave home, but since her wedding less than two months ago, she has requested her siblings come for sleepovers on two occasions.  Poor Kenzie.  She has been ruined.

My older kids will tell you that although their teen years weren't 'typical,' theirs was the only family visiting the college campus with a string of young dark-haired siblings trailing behind their nearly-middle-aged parents, and life hasn't always been easy, every sacrifice has been worth it.  This is not to our credit.  This is the work of the Lord.

As for my failing memory, maybe it's less forgetfulness and more a sense of peace.  

In fact, we are enveloped in peace as we wait to bring our newest treasure, Kaison home!

When I watch my older kids with their siblings, and when I see them loving others as Christ loves, it brings me to joyful tears.  Family runs deeper than blood.  And they get it.  They get that we aren't given life and breath to serve ourselves.  So little of what we spend our time on really matters, but investing in a life matters forever.

Thank you, Jesus, for ruining this family.

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
John 14:18

Monday, February 1, 2016

Approved - 100% Tax Deductible Giving Through AdoptTogether!

As we anxiously await news of dossier movement in China, I am completing grant applications at the speed of life!

We entered this adoption journey certain that God was in the lead, and trusting that He would provide the adoption costs in His perfect time.

We are diligently praying for fundraising opportunities, spending hours on adoption assistance grant applications, and seeking His direction every step of the way.

We are excited to announce that we have been approved to fundraise through AdoptTogether!

Every dollar designated toward our adoption costs is 100% tax deductible!  It's a win/win!

Take a peek at our page here!


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