Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Trip to hospital

We had a cranio facial clinic appointment yesterday. What a busy day it was. We woke up really early, Jeremiah had a funeral to go to for a fallen police officer (he is in an honor guard). I hired a friend of mine to babysit two of the kids. Then I drove to meet my mom and one child to go to the hospital with Samuel. We got there just in time with Seattle traffic picking up.

We saw a neurosurgeon (Ellenbogen, Richard G), plastic surgeon (Gruss, Joseph S), nurse, pediatrician, and social worker. They all were amazed at how well Samuel is doing considering all he had been through. He is quite the charmer. I brought in all the scans, from Haiti and Sacramento. Dr Ellenbogen and his assistant both told me his Chiari Malformation is quite large and surgery is inevitable at some point. Right now the focus is correcting the rest of the encephalocele, making sure the shunt is working properly, and do some plastic surgery. He does not have to wait until he is grown, it may be soon. First we have to come in again for some imaging, and then they can figure out what to do. We are also going to check into seizure activity by seeing a neurologist at some point. IF he is having seizures they are quite small and short. I am not sure if he is or not.

Everyone was very friendly and helpful. I am excited to get some more answers after we have the imaging done.

After our appointments, we stopped for some lunch, and drove back to my mom's car to drop her off. I had to meet my kids at my friend's dance studio, and drive home. I used almost 3/4 a tank of gas yesterday!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Article about Haiti from World Vision

Haiti's hunger woes compounded by the unforgiving force of four hurricanes
The poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, already reeling from the food crisis, is slammed by floods from Hurricanes Fay, Gustav, Hanna, and Ike.

September 2008

By Jasmine Vendredi and Peter Warski, World Vision Communications

Fanny, 15, doesn't exert any energy during her short breaks at school. She needs to save it up to focus on her studies during class — a hard thing to do when her stomach has been empty for several days. Even during the lessons at school, her concern is focused mainly on whether there will be food in her house when she gets home. The prospects are usually grim: Her father earns a meager $20 per month, barely enough to provide a few days' worth of food for Fanny's seven-member family during that period of time.

Fanny's story is sadly reflective of a harsh reality facing most Haitian children — their families simply don't have the economic resources necessary to cover the rapidly rising cost of food. Following flooding from four powerful hurricanes there, however, the hunger situation is quickly devolving from bad to unbearable.

Adding insult to injury

"The only good news here is that Hurricane Ike's path was far enough north that Haiti did not take another direct hit," said Wesley Charles, World Vision's national director in Haiti, speaking of the fourth storm to strike the island country in less than a month. "But the rains from Ike have made it even more difficult for aid workers to get into some of the worst flooded areas. People are becoming increasingly desperate."

According to reports, some 10,000 people were crammed into 115 shelters in the beleaguered city of Gonaive following the passage of Ike, and only 10 of those shelters had food. In the region of Jean Denis, dirty floodwater worsened the situation for desperate families.

"Children played in the filthy water," said Steve Matthews, World Vision's emergency communications manager. "Women were washing clothes and dishes in overflowing streams. The farmland was absolutely drenched. Everything has become waterlogged, making it nearly impossible to cook, even for those who were able to salvage some of their rice."

Food crisis intensified

Even before the flooding, a stable food supply was out of reach to most Haitian families, like Fanny's. Spiraling global food prices — caused by a variety of factors, including fuel costs — have dealt devastation to this poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, where many live on less than $2 per day. World Vision staff members there have worked tirelessly to save children teetering on the brink of starvation.

But the four recent hurricanes have delivered a near-knockout punch. "Bread is scarce and will soon be gone, and much of people's stored brown rice got wet when Hurricane Hanna went by," explained World Vision relief coordinator Elvire Douglas.

In partnership with other humanitarian agencies, World Vision is scaling up its relief efforts in Haiti following the flooding. The top priority is to reach affected families cut off by the hurricane damage and deliver emergency food aid and supplies to those who need it most. But additional resources are needed to effectively respond to such a critical situation.

Meanwhile, for children like Fanny across Haiti, the clock is ticking. Her exhaustion and physical harm at the hands of malnutrition are observable in her appearance.

"When we don't have the money to buy food, we just take a bath and go to bed, expecting what the following morning will bring," said Evana, Fanny's mother, who struggles to explain the problems facing her five children and husband. They're issues similar to what she faced as a child.

Certainly, Evana is one mother who doesn't want her children to face the same hardships as adults that she has. With conditions in Haiti as they are these days, she is likely one parent among many sharing that sentiment.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wishing I was there...

instead of rainy, cold, yucky here.

Big boy....

Feeding himself mushy corn flakes. The nannies were feeding him while we were there, like they are feeding someone in the background here:

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Monday, September 22, 2008

Showered with Love

I was given a lovely adoption shower yesterday by my good friend Sarah.  It was a great day, with lots of good friends, food and blessings!  We were given a ton of gifts...clothes, toys, books, gift cards, baby wipes, etc.  The best part was knowing we have so many friends and family to support our adoption and our growing family.  Thank you everyone who took part, especially Sarah and her wonderful family, my mom and sister, and Debbie (who made the most adorable cake). I will post some photos of the event when I get some.  I was so busy I didn't get to take any pics, but I know others were snapping away.  Even though it could be months before Elijah comes home, it was a great reminder that he is still a part of our family, and that is reason to celebrate.

Standing Sammy

Saturday, September 20, 2008


Samuel is pulling himself to stand, in his crib, around furniture, and on people. It is so cute! He is getting into everything, and it is much harder to get him to sleep. He stands in his crib and cries at us (he is in our bedroom for now). I miss when I could just lay him down and he would go right to sleep.

He had his blood taken yesterday. The new doc wants to double check things that were done in Haiti, like HIV, Hep and other things. His TB test was neg. He will get checked out again at the beginning of next month.

On the 29th we are going to Seattle for an appointment with Craniofacial. I am anxious to hear what this group of Dr's think would be the best plan for him.

We had an appointment with the speech therapist and massage therapist this week. He is delayed in his communication skills, so the speech therapist gave me some ideas on how to work with him. We will go back in Jan. to see how he is doing, unless I hear otherwise. The massage therapist comes out to our house and teaches infant massage to us. This was our first appointment, so no massage was done, just discussing and working on goals and a plan for Samuel.

He also got his first tooth. It finally came through a few days ago!

That's about it, I will post some pics soon of Samuel standing, and maybe of his tooth if I can get a good shot.

Monday, September 8, 2008

"What's wrong with that kid?"

On Saturday I went to a church function with friends. When we were climbing in the van and I was buckling Samuel in his carseat I was approached by a very upfront child.
"Whoa, what's wrong with that kid??" this eight or nine year old boy asks me.
"He was born with a whole in his skull so he had to have surgery." is my reply.
"What is that then?" He points to Samuel's bump.
"That is where they fixed the hole." I say.
"What did they put in it?" he asks.
" I am not sure exactly, some medical stuff." It was some sort of putty, but I wanted the conversation to end.
"Mom, look this kid...." then his ADD kicks in as he turns back to me. "Can I touch it?" Shocked by the question, but in awe by this child's curiosity, I say yes. He poked it gently a few times. It feels hard like bone. He turns, gets in the car and we pull away.

My kids couldn't believe what happened. They thought it was so rude. I really hope that Samuel does not have to be asked these questions his whole life. I don't even notice his bump anymore, but I know a lot of people do. Some people make sure to comment on how adorable he is, other people stare, then look away when I see them staring, and some come right out and ask what happened. I personally would rather not answer them, but I do, hoping it will satisfy their curiosity so I can finish paying for my groceries (or whatever else I am doing)!!

Plea for help from another blog

Dear Friend,
Ike rained and blew all night on poor Haiti. This morning it is still raining and blowing. While we are safe on a mountain in Port au Prince, the northwest of Haiti is experiencing a natural disaster of unimaginable proportions. Tropical Storm Hanna flooded Gonaives and claimed more than 500 lives in the past week. Now Hurrican Ike is dumping more wind and rain on the battered region. This morning we received a first hand report of a missionary there who said, "Forty children in the orphanage are eating flour, because they have not had food for five days." This same missionary is using bleach to purify contaminated well water for drinking. While human and animal cadavers float in the flood waters surrounding the facility. They have no other choice though as the UN is NOT DISTRIBUTING RELIEF.The UN received 33 tons of relief for the region yesterday and it is warehoused in Gonaives, to date they have not distributed any of it. We received a message from a Haitian pastor in Gonaives who said his wife walked 18 hours through mud and flood waters to get food for her family. She returned empty handed, even with cash she could not find food; BECAUSE THE UN IS HOLDING THE FOOD BACK IN THE WAREHOUSES. It is rumored they will sell the relief after the storm. This same family said, they "are waiting for death." This is not an overstatement of the situation in Haiti. We need your help now. You can go on line and find the name of your Congress men and you United States Senators with their phone numbers. Call them today and tell them that the UN is NOT DISTRIBUTING RELIEF IN HAITI. That you know the situation is worsening by the minute and thousands are at risk, in fact 600,000 Haitians have been displaced without food and water for days now. As of Sunday morning, aid had arrived in Gonaive but due to fear of rioting, it had not been distributed according to missionaries in Gonaive. People have been without food AND water for 6 days now. Orphanages in the area have children without food and water. The UN that is suppose to distribute the food and water. The US, Canada, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Spain, The Netherlands, and other countries supporting the UN should demand that this food be distributed!Another missionary, Licia Zachary Betor with Real Hope for Haiti, in the village of Cazele said that at 3 AM on Sunday morning, a wall of water swept through the village of Cazele. There is a small, shallow river that runs through the middle of the village. They are assuming that a mud slide in the mountains caused the wall of water to sweep down and flood the village. It took out the foot bridge over the river and swept people away. Licia heard that the road to the village was cut in half by the fast moving water and so the village is isolated, but she did not know for certain yesterday afternoon if that was true. Go to her blog at: http://haitirescuecenter.wordpress.com/ to read more about the flood.Please be praying for Haiti. Due to the flooding and devastation, schools will not open until October 6. Your help is needed more than ever to help the Haitian children.

Hurricane in Haiti

Needs for Real Hope for Haiti- you can donate at their site or to the right:
#1 need is water – they have people bringing water in from the river and then they are running it through filter. Lori wasn’t sure on numbers, but she knows that Licia is paying people to bring water up from river and people to filter the water. They have good filters, it just takes time, money to run generators, and money to pay people to get the water. Lori gave me a rough estimate that $40US dollars per day could get clean water to a minimum of 250 people per day. That’s awesome!
#2 need is food – problem is that they can not get in and out of Cazalle. So they are having to buy from local vendors, etc. BUT they all went through flood too, so resources are low.
#3 need is stuff for people’s houses in villages that was destroyed – Lori isn’t there, so she can’t say first hand, but she knows that people had to have lost everything. She thinks one of their workers lost his whole house. Just from knowing where people live she knows that people had to have lost a lot. They will try and help their employees from the RC and clinic and people in their village and surrounding villages. So, they will need $ from volunteers like us to help rebuild people’s home and get them new “stuff”. As she gets back and they can get out and access the damage they will let me know more needs. Right now Licia can’t even walk around or get across the river to check things out.One of the things that concerned me the most was the bridge but Lori says it is not one of their top needs. She said that usually the Aid reliefs and Haitian government will come in and fix those things. It also sounds like this storm hit the worst in their area (Cabaret on Rd Nat 1) and around them. SO, hopefully the government will get out and start fixing some bridges. She explained all that was wrong with the bridge, but she told me this is not one of their biggest concerns. Right now they need water and food. She said that the bridge that is there across from them is gone as well as the one in Cabaret and one more I think that I can’t remember where it is. The road up to their house is gone. If you’ve been there you know it is not much of a road for our American standards, but there is no way in and out right now. People are having to walk miles to get to them. They heard that gas was up to $13 US and when gas goes up, food goes up, and people can’t get food, and so we’re praying for no riots, etc like we saw this Spring. Good thing is that RC and clinic are good and no damage that she knows of went on. Houses on both sides of them flooded. God protected the children and the clinic from damage. :) As they say in Haiti “DEGAJE” – do the best with what you’ve got!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

New Doctor

I took Samuel to a new doctor today. A friend recommended him to us, and I love him! He is younger, and very nice. He ran an HIV clinic in Africa for a while, and also worked and studied in China. He is very well educated in different cultures and illnesses and things that most American doctors never see. Today we went over Sammy's history. He decided to do another TB check, and check for anemia. He also said that he should be seen about his eyes. (I made an appointment today to go in October.) We will need to come in to the doctor's office on Thursday AM to check the TB site on his forearm. With all the prodding and poking Samuel did so great. He is such a good baby. I will try to post some new photos soon.