Isaiah 43:5

Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. Isaiah 43:5

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

"the messy middle"


I read  many great articles on adoption, orphan care and all things related.  This particular article resonated very deeply with me as I have been reflecting during this Holy week on the cross and the resurrection of Jesus and my own redemption and adoption into God's family.  I wanted Our Red Thread friends to have the opportunity to also read this article and consider the author's message.  (to read the entire article, click on red link)

"Let’s own the Saturdays when the loss is heavy and come alongside those whose burdens feel crushing. Let’s not just celebrate with those who celebrate but also mourn with those who mourn."

"Have we become a resurrection people who gloss over the agony of the cross to get to the part when the tomb is finally empty?"                                                         quotes by author Shannon Dingle

Friday, March 18, 2016

Blog Bits and Birthday Beauty (part 3 of 3)

*any picture can be enlarged by clicking on pic.

The third part and final part of our 1st quarter 2016 update continued.......

Celebrating Chinese New Year - this year's February celebration was low key and a bit quieter than our last two.

she's got the "duck lips" pose down
"take a picture like this Mom!"
waiting for lunch at our favorite local Chinese restaurant
  Play time - Lucy's choice of what to do with her play time varies depending on WHO is around to play with.   If alone, Lucy can often be found playing with matchbox cars (one of her fav. past times), drawing parking spaces for her match boxes, asking for the "bean bin" to dig around in or riding her little car outdoors.  You get the idea -  she loves cars and trucks!
keepin' up with the boys
snuggled in for movie night with her BFFs

these two can be pals or fight like cats and dogs

  First family birthday of the year - celebrating big brother Kaden's March birthday, means that ten days later it will be her turn to celebrate her birthday!

 We continue to have the privilege of mentoring, helping, supporting and encouraging other families as they work toward bringing home their children through adoption. The past few months, we've seen an increase in these opportunities.  We're excited  to share some of these God stories with you in future posts!
Hand painted print in Lucy's room - supporting an adoption
 fund raiser.  Painted by 2 VERY talented
young adult adoptees from China 

In December, 2012 when we started this blog it was the easiest/most convenient way to keep our friends and family updated in one central place during our adoption process.  As you can see, Our Red Thread posts have continued well beyond our adoption of  Lucy Kim.  So many of you lovingly supported Lucy and our family in her journey home as well as expressing  to us wanting to know updates on Lucy Kim's continuing journey. The first two years there was much to post as the plethora of appointments and medical needs were attended to.

While Lucy will have on-going transitions and changes, they appear to be (thankfully!) slowing down in intensity and frequency.

We continue to be extremely grateful for your on-going love and support!  Really!! I can not express enough how it's often the life line that adoptive families cling to in the "hard" of their journeys (transitions, bonding, attachment and medical needs to name a few)  I hope to continue to post periodic updates on Lucy Kim,  (sometimes they'll be several posts in succession then a lull - but stay tuned)

It is also my hope to continue to encourage our readers to journey with us as we write and share about other families that are taking the faith steps in their adoption journey.  We want to share and encourage you in ways you can continue to support, encourage and be hands on in helping bring orphans home to their families!  It takes a village!

Blog Bits and Birthday Beauty (part 2 of 3)

*any picture can be enlarged by clicking on it

 Time for a 2016 blog post entry!  Time to catch our faithful readers up on some of the things that have happened/transpired/celebrated or we've been doing/working on since the last update:

Blizzard of 2016
 Winter/Snow - while many of us in this family are NOT snow lovers, Lucy girl is.  After each snow fall this winter, she would ask to go out and play in the snow. Even after Pennsylvania's blizzard which dumped about 30" in one storm, she begged to go out and help "shobel".   Walking or trudging through snow  and maintaining balance with a brace on her leg is a bit hard for Lu, but that doesn't hold her back from wanting to enjoy the cold wet stuff!  Not Me!  I've been ready for spring since January!
Bundled and ready to help shovel

  Physical therapy - Lucy's schedule is kept busy with her 2x/week p.t. sessions with our beloved therapist "Miss Sarah",  as well as daily p.t. at home.  Lucy had a contracture in her right leg,which kept her from having a straight right leg for the first five years of her life.  In  March 2015, she was put into an "external fixator" and over the course of 3 mos. the ex. fix. corrected the contracture so that her leg was in a constant new "straight" leg position.  Her anatomy in her leg especially around the knee area is abnormal.  Ligaments and tissue were in this contracted position for 5 years and created their own design .  Lucy's hard work now (and for many years ahead) consists of gaining/building  strength in her (small) right leg and working on obtaining a proper gait pattern.  She's also working on  straightening and bending the leg (not as easy as one might think!) at will.   Lucy Kim practices things at physical therapy like walking very slowly on the treadmill, going up and down stairs, working on getting into the 'ole "criss cross applesauce" position that most littles can get into without thinking twice about and more "fun stuff."
hugs for Miss Sarah
  Medical appointments -too many to count since coming home from China 2 1/2 years ago. However, the medical appointments (other than physical therapy) have settled into a bit of a fairly predictable pattern. Every few months we need to check in with Dr. vB (orthopedic specialist at Shriner's Hospital in Philly), periodic x-rays for some other issues related to her previous tethered spinal cord.  In March , we made a trip to Philly to pick up Lu Belle's new AFO and KAFO.  She was starting to have a lot of discomfort and got a pressure ulcer from her KAFO (the full length brace she wears all night every night).  Lucy continues to be in a brace for about 23 hours a day and this will be her protocol until she's done growing.

the familiar tiger gown - ready for x-rays

the blue one w/ pink straps is her "KAFO" and the pink shorter
one is her "AFO"

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Blog Bits and Birthday Beauty (1 of 3)

Our March birthday babies -
12 years and 6 years

Stay tuned for  parts two and three that will "show and tell" of some of Lucy's shenanigans since our end of year post in 2015.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Wrapping up 2015 with updates (part 3 of 3)

*clicking on red lettered words will take you directly to a link of a previous post

I'm one of those people. The person wanting more details, has one more question and cares deeply for the marginalized and most vulnerable in our society.  And because many of you too have wondered (and asked), have given generously and care deeply,  I wanted to update about 3 of our little friends that were once upon a time orphans.....
In March of this year, many participated in "mail mania" in honor of Lucy's 5th birthday.  It was an incredible blessing to have so many of you join with us in caring for orphans, especially "Little K"  and "Sophie" in this fun way!   

 If you missed it, post results of mail mania post here.
Nine months later, - an update -
Low Down on "Little K" - 

We fondly used the name "Little K" back in March due to privacy laws and restrictions. "Little K's" name is Kristin!  Kristin's adoption was expedited because of her fragile health and in particular her heart.  Kristin kicked the orphan status in June when she was officially adopted into her forever family.  Kristin has integrated into life in the United States well, is bonded to her parents and siblings and is getting fantastic medical care. She has (and continues) to go through much needed medical testing and procedures.
Kristin's community sent Santa to their house early
in anticipation of the early Dec. surgery that had been scheduled.
(you will note that Kristin's lips are blueish/ most likely due to heart
issues that require surgery)
 Please pray for Kristin and her family as most recently an open heart surgery scheduled for early December had to be postponed due to an uncovered thyroid issue they became aware of during pre-op testing.  Open heart surgery for Kristin is now re-scheduled in January 2016.  Each $5 donated in mail mania made a difference!  Kristin is h.o.m.e. and getting the best medical care but it took a village to help her home, THANK YOU for being part of her village!

Kristin and Mommy
This was recently posted by Kristin's Mommy on facebook:
"I went into kiss Kristin goodnight again after I had already kissed her earlier before bed. She was sound asleep. I found her holding a small family picture gripped in her hands. Oh my heart. I just started to cry." 

Sweet Sophie's Story updated:
Sophie with her crib mate in orphanage
Sweet Sophie girl was born in China with pigment and eye issues.  She has albinism. In China albinism is considered by many as a curse from the gods.

 Sophie girl WAS an orphan for 3 1/2 years.  Now this silly and adorable four year old is a beloved daughter and sister. She is receiving the visual adaptations and therapy needed to help her succeed to her fullest potential.  
  Here's what her Mama recently wrote:
"Adopted in June, Sophie turned four years old in October and started preschool.  She already speaks fluent English (she just came home in June!!!)."  Sophie's mommy has told me that Sophie is wicked smart." (here's to kicking to the curb the lie - "albinism is a curse from the gods")  
Every $5 you gifted to Sophie helped her home to a loving family.  Thank you. final update.....
If you've watched Find Me, "(the documentary that features Lucy's adoption in China ) you will remember seeing our cute little friend CALEB.  His adoption was also included on this film....
mile emoticonCatching up with Caleb: Some of you may remember Lucy and I advocating for Caleb two Christmas' ago.   this post was written inviting readers to help this special little guy home. It's time for a "Caleb catch-up"!
 Catching up with Caleb!  Two Christmas' ago, shortly after Lucy was home, Lucy and I were advocating for Caleb.  He was an orphan living in the same province as Lucy once lived (Shaanxi).  Here was that post from December 2013

Caleb has now been home for over a year and a half. He is a loved son and brother and has bonded to his new family beautifully.  Like Lucy, an MRI unexpectedly showed that Caleb had a complicated tethered spinal cord and needed surgery.  Caleb underwent a detethering surgery this past June at the same hospital with the same fantastic surgeon as Lucy.  The surgery was successful in helping Caleb and he has recovered wonderfully.  .
Caleb & Mom before spinal surgery in June
  He is noted to be enthusiastic, spunky and full of energy (hmmmm, those Shaanxi kiddos must have similar DNA - "same/same" as Lucy).  Thank you to those who partnered with Caleb's family in caring for this little man, once an orphan now a son.  

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this, to look after orphans and widows in their distress and keep oneself from being polluted by the world."  James 1:27

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Wrapping up 2015 with updates (part 2 of 3)

*click on any picture to enlarge
December brings more fun updates to show 'n tell you about!  Lucy's sporting a "new/shorter do" and earrings!

Big sis, Emily is performing in a children's play at a local dinner theater.  Daddy, Mommy and b.f.f.,Sadie Joy enjoyed an extra special day together with a stop to see Emmy on stage!

 picture with actress/sister
(in her very blonde wig)
Could these two be any more adorable!
I'll end this post with the most fun and exciting news to shout out  .....our family is growing (again!)  Lucy's getting another big brother(in-law)!  Lucy's only sister still living at home will be moving out next summer to marry the love of her life, Michael.  Mike has seen and experienced the shenanigans and chaos of this big family and loves us in spite of it all!  We're excited to welcome Mike into the family!    
Emily and Michael - Summer 2015
stay tuned for update 3.....

Monday, December 14, 2015

Wrapping up 2015 with updates (part 1 of 3)

Lucy Kim has now completed three months of kindergarten and continues to be much like a big 'ole sponge, soaking in and learning so many new things each and every day.  She attends afternoon kindergarten which is only two and half hours in length.  Afternoon school is good for Lucy as it fits nicely with Lucy's home and physical therapy schedules.  She is doing well both academically and socially. This is nothing short of  amazing, considering that two years and three months ago, this little one knew not a word of English, and lived in an orphanage on the other side of the world!
Xi'an orphanage, China
Her first kindergarten field trip was to a local pumpkin patch.  Venues like this field trip are reminders that she is differently abled then her classmates in some ways.  We don't think much about her disability on a day to day basis.  A field trip to the pumpkin patch seems like a simple field trip:  board the school bus, travel to the pumpkin patch, get on a big tractor driven wagon and ride to the pumpkin field, chose a favorite pumpkin, get back on the wagon for the ride back to the bus and then a bus ride back to the school. These things are not easy when you can't easily bend one of your legs.  Do-able?  Yes(at least with supports) but not easy.  Bus steps are steep for Lucy, steps into the wagon didn't have any hand rails and the uneven terrain of pumpkin patches can be a trip hazard when you have an orthopedic disability.  A hand (sometimes two) for help with balance is all that Lucy needed and Mama went along to join in the fun and lend a hand.

 After what seemed like a lull, we are now seeing some measurable progress orthopedically.  Most progress is being noted in her ability to bend her right knee (some) and also straighten again on command.   Lucy has never had a proper walking pattern (gait).  Her leg  contracture along with a slight limb difference  kept her from walking properly the first 5 years of her life and now because she's only recently had the ability and is learning to straighten and bend her knee, her gait is still obscure. 

Lucy  "peg legs"it when she wants to get somewhere quickly (which is 95% of the time). She has learned that if she holds her right leg straight and swings it out and around each step- she can run (sorta), and walk a lot more quickly which enables her to (almost) keep up with peers.  However, this adaption has created bad form and habit. It's hard, very hard for Lucy to consciously walk extremely slow and mentally try to think about bending her knee with every step.   Recently, I purchased "hip helpers" (very tight spandex like shorts) that she wears for short periods of time throughout the day.  These "helpers" remind her both mentally and physically to not swing her right leg out in a "peg leg" fashion each step (or gallop!).  However, she can/should not wear continually because of over correction.  Once again, forward progress is happening!
stock photo of "hip helpers"

more pictures and updates coming in parts 2 and 3......