Friday, July 27, 2012

A Great Report

Hudson came through his heart cath very well. God has clearly protected him through the years. He was scheduled to have his third major surgery when he was in China with New Hope but the orphanage directed that he return to their facility in Luoyang. He is several years older than most children are when they have the surgery. Yet from this week's heart cath, the doctors determined that despite the and his serious CHD, his heart was otherwise in very good condition and that pressures were good in his lungs.

We stayed one night in the hospital, which Hudson handled well. I didn't do nearly as well with the 'overnight.' He did like that I gave him ice cream for an early breakfast after he had his x-ray early in the morning after his surgery. Of course, this morning at home he went to the kitchen and opened the freezer drawer in anticipation of having ice cream to begin his day!

Following the cath, the doctor indicated that he is a good candidate for the Fontan Procedure, in which the superior vena cava is redirected to the pulmonary artery. (It's actually more complicated than that but that's the extent of my understanding.) We expect him to have that open heart surgery sometime later this year.

If you look closely you can see Hudson sitting
up as they wheel him to the OR.
We are grateful for the prayers. Hudson handled the anesthesia very well. They gave him some medicine orally before he left us on the gurney so that went very well. He was a much more relaxed Hudson!

The only pain he experienced was when a nurse removed a bandaid from his neck with a less-than-gentle tug.

The procedure actually took less time than the doctor had told us. (I am sure that was his plan.) While we did have to wait a while to actually go to see Hudson, we were confident he was in good Hands the entire time.

Even the six hours after the surgery in which Hudson was supposed to lay calm on his back went relatively well–thanks to Netflix on an iPad.

We are grateful beyond words for everyone who lifted our little guy up to the Father.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Traveling a New Path

It goes without saying that when you adopt (or give birth to) a child with medical needs, there will be some stressful moments. Of course, there are tough times for all parents.

When God led us to Hudson we knew that sometime in the future we would be facing medical tests, procedures, and eventually, open heart surgery. Now home for two months, we are facing our first big challenge Tuesday, July 24.

Hudson will be having a heart cath at the children's hospital tomorrow.

The cath is designed to both give doctors a better idea of what is going on inside his heart and to address any narrowing of pulmonary arteries they think he may have (discovered in earlier cardiology tests.) The heart cath will allow them to determine whether or not Hudson is a good candidate for the Fontan Procedure, which is the third open heart surgery necessary to address his congenital heart defect. He had his first two surgeries in Beijing while under the care of New Hope Foster Homes.

We will be at the hospital early in the morning. The surgeon expects to begin the procedure around 7:00 or 7:15 am. He expects everything to take 4-5 hours. If everything goes smoothly, there is a chance Hudson will be able to come home later in the day. If the doctors determine some work is necessary while they are 'in there,' we will have to stay overnight.

We certainly appreciate your prayers for Hudson...
  • that he would be supernaturally calmed tomorrow morning when we arrive at the hospital. (Since he doesn't understand everything we tell him, he doesn't know about it.);
  • that the anesthesia would work as it should on him;
  • that the heart cath would be simple and without complications;
  • that the surgeon and others in OR would be clear-minded and directed by the Holy Spirit;
  • that Marla and I (and our entire family) would have a confidence and peace from God about the operation;
  • that Hudson would recover quickly and without any problems; and
  • that Hudson would "know" that he is loved and that everything will be fine.

We know that God's Spirit is already at work. Admittedly we are nervous but we are faith-filled.

It was not our plan to adopt a child with "serious" special needs. We wanted a little one that could be easily "fixed." But that was not God's plan for us. 

HE made that very clear. We recognize that HE wants us to walk this path in HIS strength not our's. But I believe he understands that as much as we trust HIM, we still 'hurt' for our little boy. Our love for little Hudson is as deep and strong as it is for any of our children. God does that. HE knits our hearts together in an instant. I truly can't imagine traveling this path with HIM.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

"You weren't ready..."

Some people who have adoption blogs are just as faithful to write after they travel to adopt as they were before. Obviously I am not one of those people.

I was going through some documents on my iPad today, where I had infrequently captured my thoughts as we slowly moved through the adoption process over the past year. Sad to say there aren't many thoughts written.

I wish I had been more dedicated to journaling the adventure. (Word to those who 'waiting' to adopt right now: Start journaling. Even if it is only a sentence or two every day or two. I guarantee that looking back at what you wrote after your child is in your arms and home will be rich.)

Only a few folks know that we identified a "special needs" child through our adoption agency before we 'met' Hudson. We shared his file with our pediatrician, filled out the appropriate paperwork for him, and wrote our letter of intent. We even began to buy some clothing that we expected would fit him.

But several weeks later our agency called to say that the Chinese government had declined our request for this particular child. We were rocked back on our heels. Our plan had not gone through!

It was some time after that that God drew us along to discover Hudson (Fu Yun). And the rest, as they say, is history. We know looking back that God's will was done and that HIS will was (and is) perfect.

I didn't understand it at that time. I wrote a note on September 22, 2011 on the extended wait– "Asked God why we didn't hear of Fu Yun until two weeks ago. HIS response: 'You weren't ready before.'"


Sunday, June 17, 2012

More than a date on the calendar

I am not that "big" on holidays (except those having to do with my faith). If you have any doubts, ask Marla. I don't do good with presents or remembering. And although I love cards (especially handmade ones), you won't find me standing in the front of the Hallmark card rack in Target–unless it is to grab one of my youngest children who is pulling greeting cards out by the handful.

But there is one secular holiday (actually officially recognized by Congress in 1913) that is special to me, it's Father's Day.

For those who know our family, that's probably not a surprise given that I am a father eight times over. I like to say we are a far better than average family (and I'm just not talking about the statistical average of children per family!)

There is hardly a sweeter sound to me (this side of Heaven) than to hear one of my children call me, "Daddy." Granted it's not all that special at 2:00 in the morning, that is until I stumble to their bedside and am able to help them relax after a bad dream.

Hudson, who has been home just over a month, doesn't call out for me by name in the night but on more than a few evenings he will just whimper quietly in his bed.

Sometimes I will lay next to him so that he can feel my presence or I will sit on the floor by his bed with my hand on his chest. A few times he has reached out and held my hand. But then he drifts back to sleep. It's at that point that I no longer chafe at being awakened from a deep sleep. My little boy needed me.

Hudson just wants to know that he is not alone, that there is someone nearby who has his back, so to speak. Like all little boys and girls who were orphaned, Hudson comes from a hard place, even if he was well-cared for where he was. (And we are confident he was.)

He wasn't home. He wasn't with his mommy and daddy. He didn't have anything that was definitively his.

When we met Gracee, James, and Hudson, they literally only came with the clothes on their back, which were more often than not the incorrect size and were mismatched. We could say these were loaner clothes. I've heard of some orphanage personnel asking for the clothes back from adoptive parents, to help clothe another child. Orphanages are not places of high style; most are barely getting by and focusing on caring for the children as best as they can.

And that's the way I came to my Heavenly Father. There was nothing I could bring to the relationship that He didn't already have and was willing to bless me with. I was a spiritual orphan; we all are. We came from a hard place and were on track for the most hard place, apart from a life-saving encounter with a loving God.

I am grateful that when I call out, He doesn't grumble about being bothered but makes His presence known to me. He will hold my hand. I might feel all alone but I'm not. He's there–always.

I call the brick and mortar structure we live in my "home," but it really isn't. I have a place in Glory. There is nothing that is definitively mine here. I just think it is. It's all His.

It's rather overwhelming, if you focus on it just a bit, to consider that name-wise, it's just a capital letter between me and the Eternal God–father versus Father. That might be a quirk of the English language. But nonetheless that's where the comparison really stops.

Yet it's a high calling to be a dad, a calling I don't take nearly as serious as I should. And with eight children, you'd think by now I would have figured it out. But to little Hudson, to Gracee and James, and even to my five "older" children, what they think of God–right or wrong–is colored in great part by who I am. Perhaps it means Father's Day is a little important than I ever imagined.

Friday, June 15, 2012

First Cardio Appointment

Hudson recently had his first visit with the pediatric cardiologist at VUCH.

He was quite the trooper after an ultrasound, EKG, and an x-ray, along with the requisite waiting and more waiting. He will have a heart cath in July, where doctors will get a much clearer picture of exactly what they are dealing with in his heart.

He had two open heart surgeries in China and is due (actually past due) for the third surgery he needs. The physician was pleased with his heart's ability to "squeeze," given his situation. She also indicated there was no leakage in his heart valves but suggested he may have some narrowing in his artery that they would seek to address in the cath. We are grateful that despite his CHD, he is thriving.



Wednesday, May 30, 2012

First Post-placement Visit Done

We haven't been home two weeks and we're had our first visit from our social worker. It was planned; the neighbors didn't call and report us!

Our first "post-placement" report has to be in Beijing by June 7 (one month following the date we met Hudson.) It is not a cumbersome endeavor, if you are doing what you are supposed to be doing--providing for the child.

The new schedule is part of new regulations put into place by the Chinese government, which require more visits than before. There will be six visits in total, extending out five years. It seems the new requirements are an attempt to keep better track of the welfare of the adoptees. While more visits means more fees for the families, the intent is good--more accountability for the care of the child.

So I surmise that we 'passed' our first post-placement visit. Hudson didn't say a word and while Gracee and James chattered on, we don't have anything to hide! The day before Hudson had come out with a panda mask on. He even added some shades to give a certain measure of cool. He didn't wear the mask for the social worker today!


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Doing Disney -- Hong Kong Style

On each of our other adoption trips we had flown out Guangzhou, our required and desirable last stop in the country. This time was different. When Northwest Airlines was folded into Delta, it appeared some of the outbound (USA) flights were shifted to Hong Kong. While you still fly out of Guangzhou, we found it much more cost-efficient to leave from HK.

So given that we had to be in Hong Kong, the suggestion was made by friends that we take the opportunity to spend an extra day there and visit Disney. While I was cool to the idea at first, I warmed to it and made the necessary arrangements. Now having done, would I recommend it? That depends.

While we were low on energy after 2 plus weeks in China, we handled that aspect fairly well. The tickets were reasonable, primarily because it is a small Disney park. It is roughly equivalent to the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. The issue I did not consider was that rides that were suitable for Gracee and James, as 8 year olds who knew English (and who understood what we were going to experience) were at times not all that suitable for Hudson, who is 5 and knew only Chinese. (And I don't.)

He didn't find much joy in fighting Zurg with Buzz Lightyear or contending with a volcano on the Jungle Cruise. In fact he screamed and wildly clutched whoever was next to him! So... It is a neat little Disney park (while not as clean as WDW) but it can be a bit overwhelming for a little guy who just met his mommy or daddy a few days earlier. But that didn't stop me from taking pictures!

Every one was perk and happy on bus ride from the hotel to the park.

It was a little bit of hike from the parking lot to the park itself. There are no monorails here!
A surfing Mickey greets you as you draw closer to the front gates.



A ride on the Disney Railroad is a nice, calm way to start your visit.





Chip and Dale were waiting om Main Street to greet us. It was our only character encounter of our visit, which I am sure was a relief to Hudson. It helped that the line was short (somewhat less familiar characters) and dad was waiting in an even longer line to rent a stroller. For the price I paid I could have bought one in Guangzhou and left it behind in the park!

Dad is still waiting in the stroller line!


















Hudson loved the streamers that fell from the ceiling after the Golden Mickeys show. We all loved it because it was inside and air conditioned.











A slightly smaller Cinderella's castle with hills of Hong Kong as a backdrop.

While not real excited about the carousel, Hudson was willing to take the pony for a ride.

Gracee found the merry go round much more satisfying.

And the Red Bus Project was promoted, although it would be a long drive to HK.

Hudson found the garbage can to be the most fun item in the park, except for the gift shops!






And yes, we went to It's a Small World. Despite the fact I have a serious dislike to the ride. And I think it is the same as the one at WDW.

(I will post more Disney shots later. Think this post is long enough already.)