The whole darn fam

The whole darn fam

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Surgery One Complete!

So sorry for the lack of an update! I could not get my computer to work in the hospital room--and a certain someone would not let me leave for more than a nano-second--so I could not get to the hospital library to update on their computer! So here it is....

pre-surgery fun!paging Dr. Sam.....Surgery went well. He did have to get 2 pins in his foot--and two tendons lengthened. He also had artificial skin (integra) on top of where he had his scars released on his foot and hip. The Doctors were pleased--and the orthopedic Dr. said that his foot is perfectly flat to the ground! Yes!

He did have ALOT of pain however. We had a heck of a time getting it under control. He was screaming on and off for about 12 hours after surgery. I cried with him most of the time! He was given morphine-then a larger dose of morphine- then a bulbous to top off that larger dose--then finally--Valium. He FINALLY slept after all of this. Poor, sweet baby!

He is home now--cuddling next to me on the couch-and slept in his crib beautifully last night! He woke once for pain meds--but that's it! The stinky thing-is that he came home with a thing called a wound VAC. Basically--it is two tubes--once coming from his hip-one from his foot. They are in a sponge that was placed on top of his artificial skin. It drains all of the liquid (ie-blood and guck!) away from the sight and into a machine. This helps to provide a better seal for the skin graft-so that it will adhere properly. It prohibits him from moving very far--and frankly makes it a bit difficult to get around much. We will go back on Wednesday to have his dressings changed. Then it is surgery #2 on Feb. 11th. Ugh!@

the VAC

poor baby...

That surgery will be taking his actual skin (probably from his tiny hiney) and covering the artificial skin. He will stay in the hospital for 3-5 days that time due to the high risk of rejection of the skin. We have to be very careful to make sure that he is as still as possible for a good week after. That should be really easy! (not!)

BUT--he should most likely go home without the Vac. Which will be much more pleasant! Then-he'll be wrapped up for a couple of weeks-then we should be done for awhile. The ortho Doc will check his foot out then--and see if he needs a brace-which he probably will for a bit.

Long term--it's a wait and see. If his toes/foot grows--we are all good. If not--we could be looking at bone grafts--and/or lengthening surgery. All of this sounds barbaric to me. It is years down the road--so I am choosing to ignore it for now, and take one step at a time!

I have to say--that every day that goes by, Sam amazes me more. He is strong, and spirited, and has a capacity to love that would astound you! Even after I handed him over to the Doctors=and he woke up in incredible pain, he still reached for me. He was still comforted by his mom and dad. He still lifted his little leg up and cried "mama" hoping that I would be the one to make it all better for him. He trusts us-he loves us--and we love him so much, it could make our hearts burst!

I ask for continued prayers and good thoughts-as the battle is only half over. But we feel all of your love-and we are so grateful!!

As a side note--if any one is looking for an AMAZING plastic and reconstructive surgeon--Dr. Richard Redett at John's Hopkins is TOP NOTCH! Amazing Dr.-Amazing man. He does mission trips often throughout the world to perform surgeries on children in 3rd world countries. He just did a surgery in Nepal in November on a little boy that had the same injuries as Sam. He is really awesome!

And for orthopedic work-Dr. Arabella Leet is the BOMB! She is calm, soothing, and confident. I love her! She is also a mom--AND she has a disability herself-which is such a hopeful-incredible connection to make!

So-off to care for my favorite little patient--and the other 5 too! Will update more as I can!



Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Surgery Tommorow....

Hi all! I am back in computer land-after a nasty virus hit my laptop! yuk!

We are all nerves here tonight as we are preparing for Sam to have his first surgery tomorrow. For those who do not know--Sam was abandoned at 2 days old with a severe burn on his right hip and foot. He is now 2 years old--and has not yet been treated for the burn. The result is that he has severe scar contractures. This is causing his foot to be twisted, and causes him to walk on the inside of his foot. Tomorrow--he will have the contractures released on his hip and foot--he will have artificial skin grafting done, and have an orthopedic surgeon step in and determine if he also will need tendon release on his foot--and possibly pins-so that it will turn straight.

He will then have a second surgery on Feb. 11th to take actual skin from his groin and place it on top of the artificial skin.

Now--that's the technical side of it. Now for the emotional side.
I am a nervous, blubbering wreck about it all. I KNOW it needs to be done. I KNOW it will improve his quality of life. I KNOW all of this. Yet--my heart is broken that he will go through all this pain...again. He has endured so much. He is so incredibly brave and has such a strong spirit. It is I that is weak!

I just wish that I could do this for him. He is so happy--and has come so far. He was a weak, undernourished baby that could not eat a cheerio last June. He is now a healthy, thriving, happy, silly 2 year old. He is also always smiling. Always.

It hurts me to have to have him hurt.

Please--as you lay your head down tonight..and again as you wake in the morning...think of my sweet Samuel. If you pray...please send a prayer up for him. I am praying that angels surround him and that God will guide the surgeons hands. That what was done..can be fixed. That he will not be in pain. That his foot will serve him well...

please. That his three nights in the hospital will not scare him. That the nurses don't object to me crawling in the hospital crib with him! LOL
He is my angel--and I love him so. Please send prayer and good thought our way...

I will be updating my blog as the morning goes on.

He goes in tomorrow at 8:45 AM.


and Good Night!

amy xoxoox

Monday, January 18, 2010


The Helpless... The Hurting......
The people of Haiti....

In the spirit of continuing to try and help the children of the world who need it the most--please, please consider helping in any way that you can to support the children of Haiti. Below is a list of organizations that are reputable. This info was obtained from the website.

Please,help in any way that you can. They are desperate, broken, hungry, sick.....and scared. And they are children, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters--just like all of us.

If you would like to donate, please contact one of the following organizations or orphanages working with children in the orphanages of Haiti:
Carolina Adoption Services: Working with Maison des Anges in Tabarre. CAS reports that they have 90 children, with the majority under the age of 2 years. Thankfully, all of the children are unhurt. The orphanage has sustained some structural damage, but the extent of damage is not yet clear. CAS is concerned about basic supplies of food and water for the children.
Children's House International: Working with Creche Enfante Jesus. CHI reports little damage at the orphanage and no injuries to children. Major damaged to their office/receiving center in Port-au-Prince, but no one was injured. Greatest Need: Food and Water. They are recommending that all donations go through Chances for Children, to help the orphanages most in need.
Tree of Life Adoption Center: Working with HIS Home for Children in Port-au-Prince and Foyer de Sara. TOLA reports that all children are okay and, "The boys' house is damaged, one wall fell down. The children and staff are sleeping outside, afraid that the aftershock will crumble the house. Today they were planning to move the furniture out of that house and find another place to move them. There's about 100 (over) kids in the two location s for HIS Home". They are asking for prayers for their generator that is not in good condition, and that they are able to gather enough food and water to hold them over during this crisis.
Bethany Christian Services: Working with God's Littlest Angels orphanage and The Creche Enfants Jesus. Bethany reports that God's Littlest Angels received no damage or injuires, and little structural damage at The Creche. They also report that both orphanages are willing to take in more children as needed. They ask for prayers. Please designate gifts as "Haiti - Earthquake Fund".
Holt International: Working with Holt Fontana Village. Holt reports that the buildings received little damage, but that the children are in great distress. Holt is asking for financial assistance for the children and will also be offering assistance to the community.
Dillon International: Children are all fine, but disrupted. Many people are moving through the area where the orphanage and hospital are located, which is scaring the children. Some flooding within one building has occured. Greatest need: Gasoline for the generators and ongoing food/water supplies.
God's Littlest Angels: An orphanage in Haiti. All children fine, but 90 children sleeping outdoors as building damage is assessed. Children are upset and caretakers doing their best to gather supplies to provide for all needs.
Foyer de Sion - This is an orphanage with approximately 225 children in their care in the Port-au-Prince area. They are reporting today that all children are accounted for. One of the three locations was destroyed, but again, all children are safe. They are currently working to bring the children from the destroyed location to one of the other two standing, one in Fontamara and the other in Petionville. The Leogone location was destroyed. We still do not know if they have necessary supplies (food/water) and adequate medical care. Please consider donating to their earthquake fund.
Le Foyer des Filles de Dieu: Home to about 70 girls, located in Port-au-Prince. Confirmed that three girls age 18 have died in the earthquake. These girls were not residents, as reported by many news organizations. One was the daughter of a staff member, and the other two were her friends. The orphanage has sustained damage and the children are in great need of clean water and food. We are unable to find a confirmed donation website for this charity...there appear to be more than one orphanage with this name.
Maison des Enfants de Dieu, in Port-au-Prince: We have received news that on the evening of the 17th, 30 UN soldiers have reached the orphanage with medical care for the babies. The Red Cross has delivered needed aid. This orphanage is actively working to unite the children who are cleared for adoption with their families in the US.
BRESMA: 150 orphans in Port-au-Prince. You may have seen the 2 American sisters on CNN who run this orphanage. Today's report is that 5 orphans have traveled to the US (see news below). The situatio is dire. Although some aid has reached the compound, the haitian community is now camping out near the gates of the orphanage, ready to take any further aid for themselves. Their greatest need is security to guard the children and so that food and clean water may reach them.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Birthdays, bathrooms, and Bahamas!

Read the words first to understand the pics--I am on my daughter's computer and it is not letting me move my pics!! (sorry!)

sweet Charlie.....

Charlie's turn!
popsicles instead of cake....

spa day makes it all better

A Healthy Caroline

poor caroline
Sorry for the lack of posts--my computer is getting fixed--so I am borrowing my daughter's mouse-sized computer!

SO today I am going to highlight my 3rd and 5th children. See yesterday was Caroline's 6th birthday,and today is Charlie's 4th birthday!

(the above pic gives you an idea of how "happy" Caroline's b-day was!!

We make a big deal out of B-days here at our house--and this weekend was set to be a fun one! Charlie was having his buddies over from school on Friday for cake and pizza, and Caroline was having a party at Color Me Mine (a pottery place) on Saturday morning.

That is until...the stomach flu reared it's ugly head! Thursday night Charlie started. His party had to be cancelled--changed to Monday. Thought we would make it to Saturday morning with no other victims--because as of 9 PM Friday--all was well! I was decorating the kitchen for Caroline--when all the sudden, I started feeling less than perfect---and by 10 PM--it was the start of an all night bathroom party for me--ugh!! I was so sad--but thought that at least Darrin could man the party in the morning.

2AM--Joseph gets sick all over his bed.

3AM-Caroline got sick all over her bed.


Poor Darrin was like a ping pong ball going from room to bathroom, to laundry room all night. In the midst of my sickness, I did feel pretty bad for him! He totally rocked as the hubby/daddy of the night!

So Saturday was a recovery day--with long naps had by all-and today we are celebrating Charlie's day--having cake later-and playing with his new racetrack. All is well--that is until the next three drop.....(please no!!)

I also want to mention a few words about my little sickly birthday angels...

First Caroline:
my baby that came into the world 3 weeks early--and had 2 nights in the NICU for high blood sugar. Scared the heck out of me! She was honestly the most strikingly beautiful newborn. Perfect in every way--long fingers, big blue eyes..perfect rose bud lips--the face of an angel!

However..Caroline was my roughest newborn--she had acid reflux, trouble nursing, an umbilical hernia, and a case of RSV in her first month!!

Thankfully--she is now the easiest, most delicious, charming, shy little person! She is soft in personality, and is fine spending time alone coloring, or doing a puzzle. She is very bright--and practices reading every day, and is always trying to figure things out. Sometimes I think that she would do beautifully in a home with maybe one other child--poor kid!! :-)
When the rest of the gang is loud and noisy--she can go off and find a quiet corner. However--the most wonderful giggles escape her lips when she is with her siblings. She has an incredibly kind heart--and cares for her family so much. She is a blessing--and she is now a big 6 year old!!

Charlie is now 4 years old!

This baby came into the world at a big 9 lbs--and he is still quite the big boy! He was an easy, delightful, newborn. Slept, ate, giggled-just wonderful! He is now the funniest child!

Without even trying-he can say something or throw a look that has us laughing out loud! He makes friends with everyone--and upon arrival at pre-school every morning,his buddies scream "CHARLIE!!" and give him big hugs! Charlie seems to be sort of the mascot of the older kids we know too--they all love Charlie and wait to hear what funny thing he will say and do!

He also is such a love. He is a Mama's boy--who is often snuggling by my side. He told me yesterday that he wants to marry me.
Oh boy--I love that kid!!
Happy 4th Birthday--my funny, sweet little Charlie!!

And lastly--my hubby and I are taking a brief respite--and going to the Bahamas this week for a few days!! Lucky lucky us!! I am a bit panicked--as I don't relish the thought of leaving the little ones--but do believe that we need "us" time in the midst of raising these great kids!!

When we return-we will be getting ready for Sam's surgery. That is on the 28th. I will do a post on that all by itself--it sure deserves it!

And very lastly....(but not least!)

I will be doing a post soon about Taylor--the little boy that we all helped that is staying at Philip Hayden Foundation. I have gotten some updated picks--and am still waiting to hear about surgery for him. It sounds like they are going to try and do it in China--before his family gets there. When this is confirmed-- I will be starting some fundraising! Say a prayer for his little self!

If you made it to the end of this LONG post--bless you!! I hope that you have a wonderful Sunday!!


Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Okay--so I promised you all that I would post about what I have made as my resolutions for the year 2010. I have thought long and hard about a way to post this that I could adequately put into a few incredibly well-written words. I am not the best linguist (as you probably have already figured out!) but I hope that the following will help to inspire someone--anyone. If anything, it will help me to inspire myself again!

There really is only one resolution that I will encourage everyone to heed this year. Just one. It does not involve dieting, exercise, money, jobs, wealth, or things. It will not require getting anything. It can not be bought.

The resolution that I am encouraging for each and every one of you that may happen upon my to......


It's as simple as that.

What would being significant ask? If I am a significant human being, I have had the opportunity to make a difference. I have had the opportunity to GIVE of myself to the point of where I have been SIGNIFICANT to someone.

This life does not give us but one chance to live it. Would it not be incredible if we all decided that we (yes-you and me!) could do something so amazing that it could inspire someone else, who could inspire others, --maybe hundreds, thousands, why not millions?? It all starts with finding your passion. Searching deep within your soul to see what is important in this world. Notice, I did not say, what is important to YOU. I said what is important in this world. What can you do to help? Locally? Globally? Maybe even just in your own neighborhood?

This is our only chance. We don't get do-overs.

I, personally, have always felt a sense of urgency in my life--like things need to be done, and they need to be done now. I have had moments where I have felt the depths of despair--have had the bottom of my core rocked. In these moments I have had the hard lessons of learning that life is short.

*My Mom's time was too short. She found out that she had lung cancer in the summer of 1979. She died January 8, 1980. She was 48 years young. I was 9 years old. I was the youngest of her seven children.

*My Dad's time was too short. He went to work on December 20th, 1989. He called me to tell me that he was so excited to find the toy that he had been looking for for my nephew for Christmas. He said he was stopping at Toys R Us to pick it up on the way home. He said, "see you in a little bit Boo Boo! "(his nickname for me.) I never spoke with him again. He had a heart attack at work and by the time I reached the hospital he was gone...too soon.

*My brother's time was too short. He had his first heart attack at 40. He was waiting for a heart transplant when he died. He was 52. He had three wonderful kids and a loving wife.

I truly don't tell you all this to depress you. Really, I don't. I am only trying to light the fire. Give YOU the sense of urgency. Please stop saying to yourself, as I did for years, "oh, when I have more time, I'll volunteer or feed the homeless, raise money, call that loved one, etc, etc,".

The time is now. And time is a wastin' away.

There are so many things that we as individuals can be doing to make a difference. If there is a cause worth fighting for --do it! If there is a neighbor in need-help them!

"We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand, and melting like a snowflake." Marie Beyton Ray

I swear that my moment of clarity came when I stepped off of the plane in China for our 1st adoption. I saw a world vastly different than the bubble that I had lived in.

A world where children have no voice.

Where parents are forced, by law, to have only one child.

Where children are discarded --sometimes like trash.

Where cribs line the walls of the orphanages- with eyes staring at me so vacantly--searching....searching....for something, or someone.

Where if your child has a disability, there is no insurance to cover the costs of it.

Where you give up your child so that he or she can live.

A place where the stories that you "read about" actually happen.

Where people work tirelessly for so little pay--and do not complain about it.

Where there are good people--that have seen so little of the world that they have no idea how bad they have it.

A place that gave me the two most amazing gifts that I could have ever asked for.

That was my wake up call--where I found my passion--for the first time in my life I felt directed. It felt so wonderful. I had an outlet where there was a meaningful way for me to give of myself. To be significant. To be the difference.

I am determined this year to be as passionate as ever--to make as much of a difference for those little ones waiting in China as possible. To fundraise, and advocate, and create adoption awareness. I am making that resolution to both you and myself. And there you have it--in black and white.

What is your wake up call? How can you give? How can you be significant?

"All of us were born for a reason, but all of us don't discover why. Success in life has nothing to do with what you gain in life or accomplish for yourself. It is what you do for others. Danny Thomas, founder, St. Jude's Hospital

I hope and pray that you all get inspired to not just live, but to live passionately about something that matters. To be the significant one to someone. To get your wake up call, and to start living your best life starting right now!

It's already January 5th--the clock is ticking--let's do it!

God Bless you and Happy New Year!

Amy D. xoxooxox

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Back to normal...sort of

Hi all!

I hope that you all had a wonderful holiday season--and a great start to your New Year! We had a great time here--probably one of my favorite Christmas seasons ever! All the kids still believe in the magic of Christmas--and they had so much fun playing and spending time with their friends and family at the several parties that we all went to!

But--now--it is back to reality--or as I always feel--back to NORMAL. I LOVE the holidays--absolutely, I do. But--I also am ready for the routine that school brings, and for getting my house back to it's normal state. I spent this weekend-un-decking the halls, and finding places for toys, organizing--and oh yes--doing the 200 loads of laundry that I have been neglecting the rest of the vacation!

I now feel sane again. I like to be happily un-sane (is that a word?) at times--and tend to overlook the toys, laundry, and dust bunnies for a week or so--but then it makes me sort of nuts. I am an organizer by nature. Well--with most things--just don't open any drawers around my house anytime soon!

This is also the time of year for promises, or resolutions--whatever you may call them. I have my list ready--and will be sharing it in my next post--since some of them involve YOU! (you lucky dogs!!)

Oh--and at one of our celebrations--(my daughter's pre-teen bash after Christmas), I broke my camera. I would like any recommendations that you have on a new one. I LOVE to take pics--and take them frequently--any of you have a camera that you just love?? Let me know!

Lastly--please offer up prayers for a friend of mine that was diagnosed right before Christmas with a brain tumor. She will be having surgery this week to remove it. She is a wonderful mom and friend. She also has 3 kids that need her! If you could pray for her health and healing-it would mean so much!

Love to all of you and a Happy, Happy New Year!!!