Actually it's from Ohio to Ukraine, back to Ohio, then to China

Saturday, March 28, 2009

three weeks until surgery

We have less than three weeks until the big surgery...and suprisingly, I am getting less nervous as it gets closer. I'm sure that will all change once we are days out from the surgery, but for now, I'll enjoy this. If I do start to think about it, I repeat the verse from Matthew 6:34 -
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
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Wes has an MRI next week, but other than that, not much until the big day. The MRI is being used to determine the exact make-up of Wesley's chest (mainly how much esophagus he has). We pretty much know that he has next to none, but our knowledge will be "official." The doctors will be able to see where his esophagus should connect to his stomach since he has no esophagus from his stomach up. From the top down, he pretty much only has the amount from the back of his mouth to the spit fistula on his neck. I cannot tell you how happy I will be to not have to deal with the spit fistula!!!!!!!!!!! I cannot even find words to describe my excitement :)
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We have decided not to travel to Minnesota to meet with the doctor there. It was a difficult decision, but Damon and I think it is for the best. The doctor is not practicing much anymore, so it wouldn't be him doing the surgery, it would be someone he trained. From what I read from other families using the trained doctors, their success rate was not nearly what the original doctor's was. I also have to be honest, being away from home for at least another 2.5+ months did not look good to us.
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Damon and I are happy to report that we are debt-free except for our home!!! We paid off the last of my school loans, and now we are onto baby step three: saving 3-6 months salary. Here are the steps from Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University:
1 - save $1000 to start an emergency fund
2 - pay off all your debt (except for your home) through the debt snowball
3 - save 3-6 months living expenses in an emergency fund
4 - invest 15% of your income in a Roth IRA and a pre-tax retirement fund
5 - college funding for children
6 - pay off your home early
7 - build wealth and give
If you are interested in taking the class for yourself (I highly recommend it), check out http://www.daveramsey.com
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Prayer requests:
- Dr. Lim (Wesley's surgeon) and the other doctors and nurses at the hospital
- my parents - they've been having some tough times, but they are persevering!
- my mother-in-law - she fell and broke her wrist
- me - I've come down with a horrible cold! Thankfully I have time to get over it before the surgery because my visiting the hospital would be restricted.
- our Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University classmates - so many of them have had very tough times financially, but through this class, things are dramatically improving.

I'll leave you with a few pictures.
- Staci

"playing" golf in the backyard
giggling after being tickled on the bed
Mom wears such great necklaces
we saw an airplane fly overhead, so Wes told me about it (probably a million times)

March 2009 - the swings in the park

November 2008 - look how tiny he was!!

some of the many faces of Wesley...
I don't know that I've ever seen a more expressive child I am not sure what this look says...
I love the raised eyebrow!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Friday, March 13, 2009

in celebration of 6 months as a family




For your viewing pleasure, I have finally uploaded a few videos. None of which are birthday shots yet, but those will come soon enough. The photo above shows you how sweaty Wes was when I finally got him to come inside after playing in the backyard (videos below). I have never seen a child sweat like he does!! If you listen closely on some of the videos, you can hear Wesley talking or just saying "hi" at random times.

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Today marks the 6 month anniversary of Wes becoming an American citizen. When we were still in Ukraine, I remember thinking how happy I would be once I'd been home for a while, and I was right! It's great to have Wesley home and getting healthier by the day.

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This is a short post because these videos take FOREVER to upload!! Have a great weekend!

video video video video

video

Friday, March 6, 2009

almost 6 months home

I can hardly believe it's been almost a month since I last posted! We haven't been up to much - just getting ready for the big surgery. I found out about a doctor in Minneapolis who has invented a procedure that could possibly stretch Wesley's native esophagus from his neck to his stomach. This would prevent the use of some part of his large intestine. We would prefer that Wes didn't have to recover from two large incisions, and the future complications that go along with that. Both types of surgery have positive and negative aspects to them, so it's tough to figure out.
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Please pray for us as we wade through the information and determine the best course of action. At this point though, the surgery is still on for April 17th.
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On a lighter note, the weather here in Ohio has been beautiful! I was at home yesterday, so I took Wes to the park to swing. He enjoyed it, but the wind got to him after a bit. While the weather was in the 60s, the wind was quite strong. I'm not sure if it's an orphanage thing or not, but Wes does not enjoy strong wind in his face. Well - no one really does, but it seems to bother him more than I would think. He is more comfortable with it than we we first got home, so maybe it's just not something he had experienced before.
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Since we've been home almost six months, it is hard to believe Wesley's progress!! He has grown over 4" in height and put on 13 pounds (he's now up to 30 pounds)! The little boy who was in the 1st and 2nd percentiles for height and weight is now in the 35th percentile for height and the 60th percentile for weight!! I just realized looking at his hands yesterday that they are starting to look more like adult hands. His fingers are longer and thinning out, which is good because for a while they were about as fat as they were long!
Wesley is also talking up a storm - not bad for a kid who only said one or two words six months ago. For quite a while he's been babbling nonstop, but now I can usually make out some of what he's saying. Sometimes it still doesn't make sense, but he laughs, so I think he's trying to be silly. I just laugh, so then he does it again. Wesley is using his new found speech skills to point things out to me constantly like "Mommy, dog" or "Mommy, meow" but the favorite is "Mommy, ball." The kid can notice any sort of sports ball from a mile away!! Looks like we might have an athlete on our hands.
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Damon and I have been taking Dave Ramsey's "Financial Peace University" class at a local church. What a great class!! We've have traditionally spent and saved our money wisely, but I was looking to take the class to encourage us to be more intentional about how we spend and save. So far it has been great. We are about to pay off my master's degree loans, then our home is the only debt we have. I have been so encouraged to hear of others in the class paying off thousands of dollars in credit card debt in the few weeks we've had class so far! I encourage everyone to check it out - according to the website, the average family pays off $5300 in debt while saving $2700 in the course of the class (13 weeks). That is over $615 a week. http://www.daveramsey.com/fpu/home I'll let you know how we did at the end of the class, but so far, so good.
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I promise to post pictures and videos this weekend. I've been trying to cut the birthday video enough to fit here, but no luck so far. It will probably have to be three separate videos you watch in sequence, but we'll see what I can do.
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It's finally Friday - have a great weekend!!
Staci
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