Count of Chicks for Children

God's Plan For Us

This is our journey - God's incredible plan for our lives. When we followed the moving of the Holy Spirit, He opened the windows of Heaven and poured out upon us blessings we never dreamed of! Indescribable joy!

" For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Update on Xiaoyun/ 47 years of blessings

Before I begin to ramble ;-)  - Xiaoyun is doing very well. She is off the heavy duty pain meds, though she still needs pain medicine daily and muscle relaxers occasionally. She caused me and Virgil to yell 'Xiaoyun!" in unison, last night. We were standing in the same room she was laying in, but not in her line of vision. She says " Hey look at me!" We both turned and yelled because she had twisted around and was propping herself up on her elbows looking at us. Scared us both! She can't even sit up yet without the brace, much less twisting her neck around and then her body. She took us by surprise, but I think our reaction caught her even more by surprise ;-) !!!!! I explained to her (again) how delicate those vertebrae are right now, and the concern that those hooks will pull away from the vertebrae (which would be very ugly indeed!). She knew she wasn't supposed to sit up without the brace, but I never thought to tell her not to contort her body :-) . She did go and sit outside for a while yesterday and soaked up some sunshine, which was good for her. I told Virgil the other day how incredible it is that she hasn't whined or complained about being confined to the couch/ bed or the brace. She continues to amaze me!

Now to the rambling:
Today I celebrate 47 years on this earth. When I look at my life, I can't help but think of what King David said : " Who am I, O Lord God? And what is my house, that you have brought me this far?" (2 Samuel 7:18). By God's grace, I listened to two little pig-tailed girls laughing and chattering non-stop in the back yard all afternoon yesterday, heard Xiaoyun whispering in the other room to Elli and LiLi to 'make Mama her birthday cards", received a phone call from my 25 yr old son, Zak, who was calling to say hi and let my beautiful 2 yr old granddaughter say " I love you Nannie! (her version of nana), sung Happy Birthday to You! with my 84 yr old grandmother, who's birthday is 3 days apart from mine, enjoyed a conversation with  my 19 yr old, who still enjoys being home and being around family, and at around 3 am heard the love of my life sing Happy Birthday to me. I was able to talk with my mom for a while this morning, received a beautiful bouquet of flowers from Zak, Mandy and Zeza, the girls made me an awesome cake, Virgil picked up supper, and Zeb and Dana gave me a sweet card and gifts.Throughout the day I have visited with family, was given a wonderful video my niece made with pics of the family, and had phone calls from family and friends both near and far telling me they love me and happy birthday. Truly I am BLESSED. I've said before, my desire in life was to be a wife and mother, and God has granted me my heart's desire, and He's done it far beyond my wildest imagination!  What more could anyone ask for on their birthday?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


I've been asked to advocate for another sweet girl who is soon to age out. Naomi turns 14 on July 18, so her paperwork needs to get started immediately. There is still plenty of time to get it completed. If you are already LID for another child, then the process would be even easier (this was what we did - took 10 weeks, but I know that another lady got the paperwork accomplished in 1 month - they will push that paperwork through!). There are many similarities between Xiaoyun and Naomi. Both have severe scoliosis, though at this point, I'm not sure of the curvature of Naomi's, both dangerously close to never having a family of their own, both lived in a foster home (as of the last update I have on Naomi), and it appears that perhaps Naomi's lungs (or perhaps heart?) might be compromised. Her file says she can't do a lot of exercise, and gets out of breath - which was Xiaoyun's case. The difference is that Xiaoyun now - only a year after we began- has already had her surgeries and lives with her forever family. Naomi's file says she loves to play with the neighbor's children and loves music. She can take care of her physical needs. Please consider whether this child might be the daughter you didn't even realize was waiting on you!! I have more info on Naomi - please send a note with your email address (I won't post it). If she isn't to be your daughter, will you please join me in praying for both Naomi and Makenna (as well as Tommy and Dawn - the children on the right side of my blog), that they will find their forever families before it is too late? Thank you!!!!

BTW - Xiaoyun has said she'd be glad to write Naomi for you (translate your letter or write one herself), to reassure her about being adopted.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

Three beauties!!!!

These are pics made today. As you can see, Xiaoyun is doing very well. She went back to the surgeon today. The drive was a little rough - she hasn't been in the car except for a few minutes, and that hour drive made her hurt, which in turn made her throw up :-(
The x-rays looked good, though the surgeon is still concerned that the hook at T-1 or T-5 could pull out (during the last surgery when they inserted the hooks and rods the T-3 crumbled). Because of that, he wants her to wait another month before even sitting up without the brace on. She is now able to lay on both sides, which shows how much her pain has decreased, and we're no longer getting up through the night to give her medicine (YEAH!). The brace was adjusted and cut down some yesterday, and makes for a much better fit now.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Little Tre

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned a little guy in PICU -Tre. We met Tre (4 yrs old) and his mother after Xiaoyun's last surgery while we were in there for a few days. They had been in PICU for 4 months at that time. Waiting for a lung transplant. The last time I saw Tre was the day we left. I'd run over to PICU to take them a plate of food and say we'd be praying for them. She told me that day, that they were going to have a conference call with the hospital in St. Louis (who would do the transplant) in a couple of days. I tried to find his facebook page after we got home, but wasn't able to. Today, in the paper was his obituary. It broke my heart, and I cannot even begin to imagine how difficult this is for his parents and his brother and sister. Please pray for Tre's family during their darkest hour.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

What a difference a year makes!

Today marks a year since I first saw an email that began " Urgent plea for 13 yr old" . A year since I looked at a picture of a girl who was dangerously close to being a forever orphan. Judged in her country by the fact she had scoliosis and no family. A difficult place to be. When I saw her file it scared me. I wasn't looking to adopt two children at the same time, and never had any intention of adopting a teenager. However, for reasons I couldn't explain at the time, here is the email I sent to Annie, the one who was advocating for Xiaoyun

"I don't know why I'm even asking, except that it breaks my heart to see this girl who has suffered so much. Our dossier isn't even in China yet (will be sent next week), so I know, short of a miracle there would be no way we could be paper ready for another one by the time she ages out. We are already locked in for a 7 yr old (we adopted our first China princess last May). Also, unless finances changed I don't see how in the world we could afford this. However, having said all that, could you at least give me the list number she is on so I can look at her file? Thank you for advocating for these precious children! Cindy"

By the time Virgil got home from work, I was an emotional wreck. I asked him to sit down and not say anything until I'd told him everything I knew. He listened to me and said " I guess we need to contact our agency and see if we can adopt her".

The rest, as they say, is history- a miracle really. 'His' story, of moving mountains, miracle after miracle, to bring home Xiaoyun and Enya only 10 weeks after we first saw the plea for Xiaoyun. He put people in our path to help walk us through the process of adopting quickly, adopting an older child, and those familiar with scoliosis (of which I knew nothing). God opened the 'floodgates of Heaven' and provided finances, without our even asking anyone else. Money was even sent by complete strangers!!!!
I spoke with a lady the other day and was telling her, " If I had to put it down on paper, or even explain it, I couldn't. We've adopted 3 children in a year. I'm a stay at home mom, and we aren't 'well off' by US standards. Yet, if you looked at our finances, you'd never know we've adopted three children. Truly God's provision!
This year has been hectic, chaotic, filled with doctor's appointments, 2 surgeries for Enya, and 4 for Xiaoyun, adjustments, and days of feeling overwhelmed.
It has also been filled with laughter, little feet running through the house, hugs, kisses, 'I love you's!!!', hide and seek, and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!!! I wouldn't trade my wonderful, crazy life for anything!!!!!!!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Picture of Makenna

Some of you commented that the picture didn't come through, so I'm trying posting it a different way - hope this works!!!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Makenna - perhaps your new daughter?

I was recently asked if I would post Makenna's information on our blog in the hopes that her forever family might be found. She, like Xiaoyun, has congenital scoliosis, but was able to have 2 surgeries already to correct this. Also, like Xiaoyun was at this time last year, she is very close to losing her opportunity to have a family. She'll be 14 on December 2. Lest you think that is not enough time to get your paperwork together - at this time last year we had never seen a file of Xiaoyun (we saw her file mid February), but I had Xiaoyun in my arms 10 weeks after looking at her file. It can be done and will change this beautiful girl's life ( and yours!) forever!!!! I am able to get more detailed medical information about Makenna if anyone is interested. She was agency specific, but has just recently went back on the shared list. If you'd like more information leave a comment (I promise not to post it!!) with your email and I'll make sure you get it. Praying she receives her miracle too!!!!!!!!

Here is the information I received:

"Makenna is a pretty young girl who will be 13 years old on December 2. She only has 1 more year to find a family before she will no longer be eligible for adoption under Chinese law. She has had several surgeries; one when she was an infant to remove the meningocele on her back, then one to correct her scoliosis in 2007 and another for scoliosis in 2009. Makenna is a delightful young girl who is very smart and very compassionate toward others. She has received several awards at school for her abilities. She is very fond of reading and loves to do needlework. She is quiet and thoughtful. She is very polite and will always share with others. Her teachers, nannies and friends all love her very much. Makenna has endured many surgeries and always faced them with bravery. This sweet girl is ready to be brave yet again and face a whole new world...a new family, school, friends, language, customs...but she is ready. She only has one more year to find you... Makenna was abandoned as an infant at a hospital and after the search for her birthparents failed, she was sent to a welfare institute to be raised. In 1999, she underwent surgery for a spinda bifida related tumor on her back and was diagnosed with scoliosis. She underwent further corrective surgeries in 2007 and 2009, which have greatly improved her scoliosis. Her caretakers say she has adapted well to life in the orphanage and considers the other children her brothers and sisters. She is described as a helpful, kind, introverted, shy and cute girl. She enjoys cross-stitch, reading books, and is loved by her teachers. Though a little behind in school due to missing classes due to having surgeries, Makenna is very smart, works hard and has earned several awards in school. Makenna has told her caretakers that if she were adopted, she would miss her caregivers and the children she calls her brothers and sisters. She would love to go back and visit them if she ever had the chance. She also desires her own mother and father, a space of her own, and a warm family. MakennaFang has agreed to be adopted by a foreign family and would have the opportunity to know a life of love, growth and happiness. "



Monday, February 6, 2012

Description of Xiaoyun's surgeries -from a non-medical mom

For those of you who are considering adopting a child with scoliosis (or already have a child that needs surgery), I wanted to give you the medical terminology for what each of the surgeries entailed. In the perfect world, I would have a definition by all these, but I'm finally resigned to just getting this much done, and one day when life slows down (LOL!!!!) putting definitions by everything.

Background: Xiaoyun had congenital scoliosis that had never been treated. Her curvature was 160 degrees and was an S-curve. The area where the right scapula would normally be located is actually a part of her spine, and those vertebrae are turned around 180 degrees from the way they should face. Her lungs were compromised, because of curvature and her lung function was at 33%. Had her lung function been any lower she would have been considered too high risk for the operation. Also, because her lung function was so low, they decided it was too risky to wait another year or two. Pneumonia could have been deadly for her. Thankfully, though her heart had to work overtime to push the oxygen through, there had been no damage to her heart yet. As she aged the wall of the right side of her heart would have thickened, until the point that it caused her to go into cardiac arrest. This was truly a life saving operation for her. It was also not without quite a few risks - pneumonia, paralysis, infection, or worse. Because of the severity, her surgeon decided to do the surgeries in four parts- each a week apart if all went well from the previous surgery.
1. Halo placement - four pins inserted into her skull - they screw in between the outer and inner skull, two in the temple area and two behind the ears. The halo was then attached to a pulley system and weights were added until she finally reached 18 pounds of weight stretching out those muscles and ligaments.
2. Posterior spinal osteotomies, rib resection w/ spinal instrumentation, MEPS (removed part of 5 ribs, length of incision was about 12 inches - almost entire length of back).
3. Anterior spinal fusion, discectomy, thoracotomy, T6-possible T10-T11, Solera instrumentation, local bone, BBB, infuse, EM6, SSEPS, NIM, cell saver.  (The incision started under right arm and curved around to the front. She had a chest tube inserted just below incision area, one rib was removed and 'banked' at the hospital until last surgery, There were three different methods they used to monitor the nerves to make sure none were being compromised. The cell savor was a machine that captured the blood she lost, circulated it, and placed it back into her body. 6 discs were removed, as well as a wedge shaped piece of two vertebrae.)
4.Posterior Instrumented Fusion T2 - L3, Solera instrumentation, Cherron osteotomies, scoliosis correction, autograft, Infuse, SSEP, MMEP, NIM. (Placed two hooks - T1 and at T5 (T3 crumbled) and inserted a rod, also rod placed coming up from L3 - L1, rods attached to each other, the bone removed previously and banked, was ground up and used as the 'glue' between to vertebrae, they went in the same posterior incision as before, but had to cut up a little higher than last time. Halo was then removed. Because right portion of spine was turned completely around, they would have had to cut through all her muscles on that side. They would never have healed properly, so they weren't able to put a rod on that side.)
Instrumentation used was titanium so she will be able to have MRI's if needed.
She needed a unit of blood during each of the surgeries, and after 3 of the surgeries she needed an extra unit.

This seems overwhelming looking at this list, but please know that it is now February 6, her first surgery was on January 4, and we are now home, she's gained at least a pound since getting home, has grown 4 1/2 inches, and now has a FUTURE without heart damage and difficulty breathing. It is a miracle, especially when you consider that is has been less than a year since we first looked at her file.
God has been SO good to us and has blessed us with many, many people who have come along side us with love, support and PRAYERS. We are truly grateful that God has allowed us the privilege of watching a miracle in the process!!!!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Living in a Whirlwind

As busy as we seemed to stay at the hospital, it seems magnified now. Trying to catch up after a month of survival mode, plus taking care of Xiaoyun (and two busy other girls ;-) !), takes up the day. Xiaoyun is doing very well, and we seem to be managing the pain pretty good. She's getting her strength back in her legs, and is moving around more, which helps to get her brace on. We still need to do some adjustments on the brace, which hopefully can be done tomorrow. It is difficult to fit her correctly, since she still has some curvature. She is sleeping well at night, for which I am so grateful!!! Her appetite is back now that she is at home, so hopefully we can get her weight back on her soon. I'm so glad my mom is still here to help!!!!!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

brief update

It has been a great day, and a busy one. Virgil took the day off, and we've been enjoying being together (feeling almost normal ;-)! ). I haven't taken the time to stop and post today, and promise to catch up tomorrow. I think I will be able to figure out how to post the before and after pics of her back. I will say that the radiologist report said her curvature is now 67*!!!!!!! That is even better than hoped for. From 150* to 67* - thank you Lord! I do want to include a pic of three beautiful girls!!