Wednesday, August 31, 2011


(Photo taken Wednesday morning, August 31)

Well, I have some praises and some sighs from today. 

Selah, immediately after being extubated, August 31, 2011.

Praises:  Selah is extubated and breathing well!!!  Hallelujah!  Selah's fever subsided (temp stayed at 99 or below all day) and she didn't spike any more temps.  Her bleeding in the skull has slowed tremendously, and she is really doing well overall.  She rested well this afternoon and seems to be comfortable.  What a joy it is to hear Selah's sweet voice and see her moving in the right direction so quickly.  All glory to our Jehovah Rapha. 

(That black thing on the right.  Well, that's a bag of Selah's hair!  Photo was taken this morning, August 31, before Selah was extubated.  I'm putting this photo in the praises section because it's a praise that we have a baggie full of Selah's beautiful curls!  We haven't seen Selah's skull yet (it's wrapped), but I'm so grateful they saved Selah's trademark...her head full of corkscrew curls!)

Sighs:  We had some "errors" with Selah's nurse today.  Yes, this was the nurse I was singing praises about in this morning's report.  She removed Selah's central line without orders to do so.  Apparently, she misinterpreted the order.  The problem with this is that Selah's IV's go bad quickly (usually only lasting a day or two), and it's pretty much impossible to get a new one in.  (It took about 2 hours for the anesthesia team to get 2 IV's into Selah in the operating room, under anesthesia.)  The doctors and I discussed the need for Selah to have (and keep) a central line so that there would always be access in the event that an IV (or both IV's) go bad.  Well, the nurse had her central line removed today around Noon by mistake.  Sigh. 

Then, around 5PM, we discovered that her foot IV had gone bad at some point in the day, and no one had noticed it.  That's the IV that they were running continuous fluids through, which means that Selah's leg, from the knee down to the toes, was FILLED with fluid.  It was HORRIBLE.  (Still is, actually.)  It was a condition known as compartment syndrome, where fluid gets trapped within a "compartment" of the body, causing severe swelling with some severe risks, including permanent muscle, tissue, and/or nerve damage (and a risk of amputation).  Sigh.  Upon discovery, Selah's leg (from the knee down) felt like a plastic doll's leg.  It was cold and hard and lifeless.  It didn't even feel like a human leg at all.  And Selah's foot was completely purple and stiff, and they were unable to flex her foot at her ankle.  It was bad.  They wrapped her leg in warm compresses and gave her a dosage of Lasix to help drain some of the fluid, and they talked about the possibility of calling in a general surgeon if things didn't clear up.  By the saving hand of our mighty Jehovah Rapha, slowly but surely, Selah's leg and foot are healing.  Her foot is now pink and more pliable.  Her leg is still cooler to the touch and hard/filled with fluid, but it is better than it was before.  It will most likely take all night for the fluid and swelling to decrease.  Sigh.
It's really hard to see the level of swelling and understand how horrible it was to feel this cold, stiff, hard leg on my baby girl.  Even the doctor freaked out and ran out of the room to get help.  This photo was taken a few hours after the warm compresses and Lasix.

Selah's also been dealing with a lot of facial swelling that has increased throughout the day.  It started with her left eye, which began to swell after her CT scan this morning.  It actually swelled so much that it swelled completely closed.
Selah mid-afternoon, Wednesday, August 31.

Now Selah's only able to open her right eye, as her left eye is totally swollen closed.

Here's what Selah thinks about this whole ordeal.  (Notice she's sticking out her tongue.)

So, all in all, even with today's mishaps, things are good.  What matters most is that Selah is comfortable, breathing well, the bleeding in her skull is at a tolerable level, and she's stable.  All praises to our might Jehovah Rapha!

Some things to pray for:
  • That Selah's last IV (in her hand) would not go bad.  (She doesn't have any other IV's, and she doesn't have her central line, so this is it.)  If Selah's IV will hang in there until they can stop the IV fluids and the IV antibiotics, we should be OK.  The IV antibiotics can stop once they're able to pull the drains from Selah's skull, but we're not yet sure when they'll do that.  Maybe 2 more days.  The IV fluids can stop once Selah is drinking enough fluids to keep hydrated.  She hasn't drunk anything yet.  (She doesn't want anything and won't suck on anything.)
  • That Selah's swelling in her leg/foot will disappear and that she won't have any lasting damage to her muscles/nerves/tissues.
  • That Selah's swelling in her left eye would disappear, and for overall swelling to be relieved.
  • That Selah would continue to be comfortable.  So, so, so grateful for her comfort level today, and I pray she'll continue to be comfortable.
  • That Selah's shunt would continue to work well and that her brain ventricle and the placement of the shunt would all remain good.
  • That Selah will continue to move in the right direction toward healing and ultimately toward home...quickly. :-)
  • That Selah would remain fever-free and infection-free.
  • That Selah
  • That Selah would be able to go home quickly!
  • That our kids and us would have peace and strength through this trial.
  • That glory would be brought to our Father through His daughter, Princess Selah, and that we would be a light to all those we encounter, particularly shining light on darkness with those who may not yet know Him.

She's extubated!

The head CT/shunt looked good, so they pulled Selah's breathing tube around 12:30pm, and she's doing great. She had some stridors (squeaky, wheezy, high-pitched breathing) right after pulling the tube, so they gave her a breathing treatment, which fixed her up.

When they pulled the tube, I was overwhelmed with grief. I heard Selah's scratchy, hoarse cry as she tried to babble, and I so longed for us to have experienced that moment of extubation with Chrissie. So hard, but it was sweet music to our ears to listen to Selah's voice. Thank you, Jesus!

I'm feeling more and more confident as we walk this road with Jesus as our forerunner. The only analogy I can think of would be getting bucked off a horse and being hurt badly, only to have someone force you back on the horse again. In the end, you're grateful to have faced that fear and overcome it. God has us on that journey, and I can't think of anyone better to be holding our hands as we get back in the saddle again.

Sent from Lorraine's iPhone

New plan

Dr. George (neurosurgeon) came by and wants to get a CT scan of Selah's head so he can check on her shunt placement. He's being proactive and wanting to make sure the shunt is still in the ventricle (where it should be) and to make sure the ventricle is of acceptable size (meaning the shunt isn't overdraining).

God blessed us with an amazing nurse, from Israel, who is so compassionate and assertive enough to advocate well for her patients.

Originally the plan was to extubate Selah between 9-10am, but then Dr. George ordered the CT scan. They had removed Selah's auto-drip IV pain meds and pulled the order for Versed since they were wanting to have Selah awake and more active to clear he mr lungs once extubated.

Well, when the nurse saw the CT order, she advocated for Selah to have more Versed to keep her calm in the CT, which is awesome because Selah was having a big fit, thrashing her legs and getting really angry about less pain meds and less happy juice while having a tube still in her throat.

So, now the plan is to keep her intubated for the CT with Versed for relaxation, then extubate after the CT scan.

Whew! Thanking God for our awesome nurse today!

Sent from Lorraine's iPhone

Good Morning from Selah

Selah did well through the night, all glory to Jehovah Rapha! She was blessed with a good night nurse who stayed on top of things, kept her pain under control, and kept her comfortable. So grateful for that!

I woke countless times in the night to check on Selah, sing to her, hold her hand, pray over her, and simply let her know I was by her side. She opened her eyes and smiled at me a few times. Precious.

Selah has a lot of gunk in her lungs. They bagged her for aggressive suctioning this morning and got a TON out. That's one of those sights that makes my stomach turn with an instant upchuck feeling. Then I boss my heart according to His Word and cling to my tube floating on His river of peace.

They had to put hand restraints on Selah because of her feistiness. Love my warrior princess! She continues to try to rip out her breathing tube, even with hand restraints. That's my fighter!

They decided to give her some Lasix to try to clear her lungs somewhat, and they plan to pull her breathing tube sometime between 9-10am!

Selah had 102-103 fever in the night, but she's already on IV antibiotics, so they're watching to see if she spikes another fever after her Tylenol wears off.

One really annoying thing is that Selah's room is right across from the supply closet, which has a very large and heavy door which has a very loud and annoying slam each time someone goes in. And each time someone goes out. Which is about every 3 minutes. The slam startled Selah just about every time. Repeatedly. Ugh. That's one o those details that the medical staff don't think about because their baby isn't the one waking, startling, and crying each time the door slams. Nor are they having to confort the baby that is across the hall from the supply room. Every 3 minutes. I think I'll ask Matt to rig something up to keep that door from slamming. Every 3 minutes.

I'll keep you updated on Princess Selah, and thank you all from the depths of our hearts for your prayers. We are truly grateful.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Hebrews and Hope

As I was praying and reading God's Word a few minutes ago, He led me to this verse:

"We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf." Hebrews 6:19-20a

What a sweet reminder as I lay my head on this hospital pillow, longing for sleep, knowing it will be minimal and very interrupted, praying for my baby girl, watching vitals, inspecting my baby's face for pain so I can be her voice since she has a tube down her throat, that Jesus is the anchor of my soul, firm and secure.

That's all that really matters. Jesus is my anchor. He not only has securely fastened me to Him, but He has also securely fastened Himself to me, and He will never let go, no matter how tired I am, no matter how badly I fail Him. We are securely fastened to one another, and He has given me His hope forever and always, no matter what.

Amen! Thank you, Jesus!

Sent from Lorraine's iPhone


Selah is a feisty little girl who is following in the warrior princess footsteps of her big sissie in heaven. Even with tons of great meds, Selah tried to hit the respiratory therapist, she's tried to pull out her breathing tube several times, and she gets fighting mad when anyone (other than Mom or Dad) comes near her. Doesn't that remind you of Princess Chrissie?!?!

The doctors are working on figuring out meds for Selah. Her blood pressure has been dropping too low with Versed (a med that majorly chills people out). They've suctioned quite a bit of "gook" out of her lungs, and they're working slowly toward extubating, bit she has quite a bit further to go before they can accomplish pulling her breathing tube.

Selah also doesn't have a lot of urine output, so they're investigating that. They flushed her catheter, but so far that hasn't helped.

She seems more stable and comfortable than a few hours ago. Or maybe I'm used to things now.

When we first came into Selah's ICU room and the RT started suctioning the breathing tube and Selah was coughing and coughing and there was a flurry of activity, Matt and I felt so sick. We both just stared, almost paralyzed by the memories.

Then I felt defensive, wanting to speak up for those who cannot defend themselves. I wasn't familiar with any of the doctors, nurses, or the respiratory therapist, so my flesh wanted to jump up and defend Selah. I didn't even have a reason other than my unfamiliarity with the team and my momma bear spirit wanting to jump in and make everything calm down. Wow, we haven't been in that same type of intubation scare since we stayed by Chrissie's side, fighting for her. I really dislike breathing tubes. Well, I dislike seeing my children intubated, helpless, realizing how fragile life really is.

I truly felt the precious peace of our Savior after my initial panic. Peace swept over me like a river, a flood really. Thank you, Jesus!

I've only had about 3 hours of sleep since Monday, so I'm exhausted. I feel so very grateful to lean on the One who never slumbers, as I'm held up by the prayer warriors He's placed on our team. Thank you!

Sent from Lorraine's iPhone

Not out of the woods

Selah's not out of the woods. She's had to have 2 units of blood (transfusion), and they've ordered more. They've also ordered platelets. She's draining a lot of blood from inside her skull. They want to keep her sedated and comfortable, but she keeps waking up and trying to move and cry.

Selah also has a lot of gunk in her lungs, so they're suctioning her breathing tube, which causes her to cough, which causes her to cry.

Seeing Selah in this condition is really hard. It looks so much like Chrissie. The suctioning makes me feel like I'm going to vomit. Matt's stomach is in knots. Has been for a few days.

Please pray for Selah to be comfortable, for her lungs to clear, for her bleeding to slow down, for her to be strong and fight so she can come back to play at Forgotten Saw Ranch as quickly as possible.

God is faithful. He is mighty to save. He is our Rock and our Redeemer. He loves Selah more than we do.

Praise Jesus!

Hallelujah! Thank you, Jesus! Selah did great and Dr. Harshbarger is so pleased with the results. It was his most complicated case yet. They're going to keep Selah intubated until tonight or tomorrow. She's headed to ICU now. We saw a glimpse of her. Awwwwww! Thank you for praying. Keep them coming for a full recovery.

Sent from Lorraine's iPhone

Afternoon Update

I'm updating more on Facebook, so those who are eagerly awaiting updates might want to check Facebook.

Selah is doing well. Dr. Harshbarger is still working on Selah. He finished shaping the skull and is now working on placing the plates that will hold everything in place. We were told it would still be several more hours.

Thank you for praying!

Sent from Lorraine's iPhone

Update from OR

Update from OR: They just finished dissecting the scalp away from the skull. Dr. George is coming in now to do his part (neurosurgeon), and then they will start with the drills. Nice update, huh?!?!

Sent from Lorraine's iPhone

Selah is in OR now

Selah's posterior cranial vault reconstruction is today. They took her into the operating room at 7:30am, and the surgery is expected to last 5-7 hours. Dr. Harshbarger is the reconstructive surgeon and Dr. George is the neurosurgeon.

Selah will have the back portion of her head/skull totally reconstructed today, as it is a necessary procedure in order for her brain to continue to grow and develop correctly.

The procedure involves an incision from ear to ear, peeling her scalp away from her skull, shaving away extra bone/ridge, cutting the existing skull into smaller pieces (like a jigsaw puzzle), then holding everything in place (in the correct/round shape that skulls are supposed to have) using plates and screws that will dissolve over a year's time.

Dr. George will be protecting Selah's brain and VP shunt throughout the surgery, so he'll be playing the role of her "skull" for several hours today, which is a vital role in the successful outcome of this surgery.

Please pray for no complications (during surgery as well as post-op). Pray for God to guide the hands of everyone working on Selah. Pray for a successful surgery, quick healing, and comfort for Selah. Pray for us (our kids, too) to have His peace that surpasses all understanding. We trust the Great Physician, regardless of earthly fears that are heightened because of Chrissie's journey to heaven.

We are grateful for your prayers and support. Thank you!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Monday's Meditation: A Boss Your Heart Message

Thank you, Kirsten Walkup, for today's Boss Your Heart message. :-)

From Kirsten:
We live in an age of moral relativism and decay. The world’s position is that there is no right or wrong, no absolute truth, and no “one way” to know God (if there is one). Evangelicals are daily painted as “right-wing radicals”, or close-minded “extremist”. Those of us who adhere to God’s word and view it as God’s inspired Word are tagged as “intellectually deficient flat-earth” types. One need not look far to find or listen too closely to realize that our society is one that is increasingly hostile towards Christianity and the values it represents.

Have you ever noticed that the fringe movements that claim Christianity get the most attention paid to them? Several months ago, a disingenuous pastor in Florida held what was billed as “burn a Quran day”. Even though virtually every evangelical denomination and most independent churches went out of their way to condemn this pastor’s actions as counterproductive to bringing glory to God and unnecessarily inflammatory, news coverage went out of its way trying to find others who agreed with this small fringe fellowships’ point of view. A misguided church whose regular Sunday morning attendance hovers in the teens was presented as “main stream Christianity”.

When our beliefs and the things that we adhere to are subject to a daily, non-stop onslaught of negative press-coverage and half-truths, it’s really tempting to stick our heads in the sand and withdraw. It’s easy to buy into the notion that “if I don’t draw any attention to myself, not be too loud about what I believe, and only mention my faith with the like-minded (and then, only in a whisper) I won’t get branded with the extremist or radical label.” And that’s the objective of the daily onslaught, to shut us down and make us irrelevant.

It’s so easy to buy into the false idea that the world is hopelessly lost and too far gone for us to have any real impact. Sometimes it would be so easy to just cover our heads, give up on this lost world as utterly bleak and irredeemable. The way society has decayed over the past 75yrs and current state of madness the world seems to find itself in has led many to believe that striving forward is meaningless in the face of such hostile and irrational opposition.

True, there is much in the world that seems to indicate life is meaningless, the world is hopeless and we are fighting a losing battle. Actually, I've heard this pessimistic view from people of all ages. Don't believe it. The message of the Bible is that no matter how bad things appear to be, with God in your life, you don't have to give in to despair. Relationships may fall apart, your career may be stalled before it gets started, your job may be a dead end road, school may seem like one unending nightmare—-but with God in your life there is always reason to hope.

In the year 60 A.D., the Apostle Paul wrote a letter to the Christians living in the Asian city of Colosse. He was speaking to people who lived in a predominantly non-Christian society, and he showed them how to stand Against the Tide of society's prevailing attitudes and capture a life that is pleasing to God. He talked a lot about what it means to love God, what it means to follow Jesus, what it means to be a Christian in a non-Christian environment

In Colossians 1:3-5, Paul writes, “We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people— 5 the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel 6 that has come to you. In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace.”

Notice the word "hope". Do you know what that word means? We tend to use it as a synonym for "wishful thinking." Paul uses it differently. He uses it as a synonym for "sensible optimism."

What do we have to hope for? Well, because of Jesus, our hope gives us the assurance that everything will turn out o.k., even if things do not appear to be o.k. right now. Our hope gives us the assurance that God is going to take care of all the details of our life. As we approach a new job, or a new relationship, or a new business venture, or a new move, or any major change in our lives, even though we don't know exactly what is going to happen next, we know that God is going to see us through. Even if we face hard times and difficult opposition, we know that God is taking care of us and he will see us through.

This is not wishful thinking. It is sensible optimism. It doesn't work for just anyone, but it works for those who are committed to following Jesus Christ, because God makes it work.

We know that God causes all things to work together for good, to those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

Boss your heart!



Friday, August 26, 2011

Hope for Orphans Institute. Be There.

OK, y'all.  I am totally bummed, yet totally excited at the very same time.

The reason I'm bummed is that I'm not sure I'll be able to attend this AWESOME event (due to Selah's skull reconstructive surgery).

The reason I'm excited is that this is an AWESOME event that I want every single adoptive friend, advocate, prayer warrior, church member, and family to attend.

And, to help you get to attend this totally rockin' event, Hope for Orphans is offering my blog readers a 50% discount by using the code BOSSYOURHEART, which will make your registration fee only $49.50.


$49.50 isn't even a fraction of the value of this conference.

Click HERE to see for yourself how awesome it's going to be. 

And while you're at it, pray that Baby Selah will be healed enough for us to be able to attend.  I would be so thrilled to be able to reap the rewards of so much wisdom, so much help, so much awesome adoption info all wrapped up into one amazing event.  I'd sure love to see you there!

Here's a few names of people who'll be a part of this incredible event, just to entice you (all of these people have either adopted, were adopted, are adoption experts/advocates):
  • Dr. Karyn Purvis (adoption expert; author of The Connected Child)
  • Ryan Dobson (Dr. James Dobson's son; he's adopted)
  • Geoff Moore (Grammy and Dove Award winner; best buds with Steven Curtis Chapman)
  • Paul and Robin Pennington (Co-Founders of Hope for Orphans; incredible folks)
Please join in and benefit from all of the amazing speakers, wisdom, fellowship, and awesomeness of this special event.  Here's the schedule and some more info, taken from the HFO site:


Institute Host:Ryan Dobson

Friday: General Sessions 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Geoff MooreWorship
Paul PenningtonAt-risk Families & At-risk Children
Dr. Sharen FordThe Emotional Transition of Special Needs/At-risk Child in Adoption
Paula St. JohnIndicators for Families At-risk For Post Adoption Crisis
Mark GregstonExamining Parental Motivation in the Adoption Decision
Dr. Randy StinsonThe Church in Pre- & Post-Adoption Support/Disruption Prevention

Friday Evening Concert with Geoff Moore: 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Saturday: General Sessions 9 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.

Robin PenningtonAnatomy of a Disruption / The Church as a Proactive Force
Dr. Karyn PurvisUnderstanding Who is the At-risk Child in Adoption
Dr. Jon BergeronThe Impact of a Special Needs Adoption on the Family
Mary KlentzmanA Vision for Special Needs Ministry in Your Church

Do you know a family considering adoption or a family struggling since adopting?
Are you interested in learning the latest on how to best serve the increasing number of families adopting special needs or at-risk kids?
Would you like help on how to best prepare for and help manage a possible disruption?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Selah did great

Thank you all for praying for Selah's blood draw today. I feel overwhelmed with gratefulness at how God arranged things regarding this required pre-op blood draw.

Selah is an EXTREMELY hard stick, as I've mentioned before. I've had kids that are hard sticks, meaning after 4-5 sticks, they finally get blood. Selah is different. After 10-12 sticks, lots of digging around under the skin (ouch!), and even under ultrasound, they still aren't successful!

Selah was originally supposed to have her blood drawn Tuesday at a local lab in the medical building adjacent to the hospital. (You might have seen my Facebook prayer request.) That fell through because of a silly bracelet/wristband issue (it wasn't waterproof and they said Selah couldn't get it wet...a WEEK before her surgery). So, that lab told us to come back Monday, the day before her surgery.

Well, the hospital called Wednesday to schedule Selah's pre-op blood draw. What?!?! I thought we were doing that Monday at the lab. Well, God put the right person on the phone with the hospital because she was AMAZING. I mentioned to her about Selah being a hard stick, and she scheduled Selah an appointment with an anesthesiologist for her blood draw. (We had to use an anesthesiologist last time, too, but Selah was already in the hospital that time.)

The anesthesiologist ordered Selah to be nothing by mouth for 6 hours prior in case he needed to sedate her. It's a good thing he did because he took one look at Selah and ordered Versed to relax her. He saw the orders for the amount of blood he needed to get, and he decided to just get it from her femoral artery while Selah was under the spell of her happy juice.

Selah did great, the anesthesiologist got it first try, and it was sooooooo awesome for Selah to NOT be tortured.


While it took about 2 hours in the hospital from start to finish, the time was well spent and oh so worth it!

Thanks for praying for sweet Selah! Don't forget to sign up for a prayer spot in her prayer chain (see Tuesday's post for more info). Thanks again!

PS The anesthesiologist told us that there would be no way for a lab to get her blood, so looks like this is the route to take for Selah, at least until she thins up and/or gets some bigger veins!

Selah's Blood Draw Today Around Noon...Pray Please

If you recall Selah's last hospitalization (March 2011), you might remember how extremely hard it was for them to get anything into Selah's veins.  Blood draws were impossible.  After being stuck numerous times when trying to start another IV for Selah (after her original IV went bad), they called in the PICC team.  The PICC team used their ultrasound technique to actually view the veins, and, even with specialized viewing, the PICC team was still unable to get into Selah's vein, numerous times.

So, after many pokes, many screams, many tears, and much frustration back in March 2010, the nurse decided to call in the big dogs.  They brought in the anesthesiology team, and after just two pokes, they were successful.

Fast forward to today, and Selah must get blood drawn for her pre-op lab work.  They were going to do it at a local lab, which fell through.  The children's hospital called me yesterday, and they made arrangements for the anesthesia team to draw Selah's blood sometime around 12Noon today.  I was SO VERY GRATEFUL for the accommodations and graciousness of the hospital.  God must have sent a little birdy to some very kind person at the hospital who knew that it was important for Selah to have an anesthesiologist draw her blood. 

The down-side to this is that the anesthesiologist requested that Selah have nothing by mouth after 6AM, just in case he needs to sedate her in order to get the blood he needs.  (They must get whole blood, and I'm assuming it's quite a bit of it since the anesthesiologist is having us prepare for sedation.)  He asked that we try our best to hydrate Selah as much as possible, so we've been giving her Pedialyte unflavored water with her bottles, with hopes of hydrating Selah as much as we possibly can.  I actually don't think the hydration was an issue back in March, I think it had more to do with how chubby Selah is, but I could be wrong.

Anyway, I would greatly appreciate your prayers for the anesthesiologist to be able to see Selah promptly upon our arrival, and for him to be able to successfully draw the required amount of blood (on the first try) without having to sedate Selah.  And pray for Selah to not feel hungry until after she's able to eat/drink (after her blood draw).

Thank you so much!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Selah's Skull Reconstruction Prayer Chain

Selah, our 10-month old baby, will undergo major surgery Tuesday, August 30.  I shared about this surgery in THIS POST.   This surgery is high-risk and highly invasive, but it is necessary in order for Selah's brain to continue to develop, grow, and thrive.

Our friend, Kaleigh, felt the Lord's leading for her to organize a prayer chain for Selah.  (Info for that is below.)  A meal calendar for our family will be organized shortly as well (for local folks).  We are MOST grateful for your prayers and support; we simply cannot find adequate words to express the comfort we receive from your prayers.  It truly is a peace that surpasses understanding, only through the miracles of our Father.
The above video shows Selah crawling to Mommy on the day of her pre-op appointment, August 23.

Please pray for our precious princess.

We would also be most grateful for prayers for our family as we face another high-risk surgery.  Pray that each family member's heart would feel peace, that our kids at home will be comforted, that Satan would keep his ugly head out of our lives during this time, and that we would be filled with His strength as we face this time.

And above all else, that glory would be brought to God at all times, in all situations.

If you feel led to sign up for the "official" round-the-clock prayer chain (the first 48 hours are the most critical), please read the info below.

~Prayer Chain For Selah~
Organized by Kaleigh Anderson

You are Invited to be a part of prayer chain for Princess Selah Patterson as she undergoes surgery.

Who:  Princess Selah Patterson, age 10 months.

What: A special 48 hours committed to praying for safety as Selah undergoes her surgery
When: Round-the-clock coverage will begin August 30th at 4am and end September 1st at 4am

Where: Anywhere!  The beauty of prayer is that it can be done anywhere!
How:   Please sign up in the comments section of this post (click on "leave a comment"), and be sure to include the date/time of your prayer commitment.  (Be sure to read through the comments to make sure your preferred prayer slot isn't already taken.)  After you leave a comment on this post, please contact Kaleigh at and tell her what time you would like to commit to praying for Selah and an alternative time in the event that someone has already claimed that time. Hour-long slots would be great but even if you can commit to praying for 10 or 20 minutes that would be wonderful as well!!

Please pray for safety, that the doctors would have wisdom, that the Patterson family would be peaceful and that the Lord would be glorified in Selah’s life! Also pray for complete healing for Selah!

The day before the surgery, Kaleigh will send reminder emails to remind you of the time you have commited to, and any special prayer requests that the Patterson family have for Selah.  Prayer/Selah updates will be posted to this blog regularly.

Thanks so much everyone. Lets storm the gates of heaven for His precious, treasured baby girl.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Kiefer's best buddy at his orphanage in Haiti now lives in TEXAS!!!  Kiefer and Samuel lived at Ruuska Village together and survived the earthquake of January, 2010.  Both boys came home to their forever families in April, 2010.  However, Samuel's forever family lived in Tennessee, which was not too convenient for playdates from Texas.

Well, Samel's forever family moved to TEXAS two weeks ago!  So, Samuel and his parents and brother all came over Saturday night (August 20).

Kiefer didn't seem to recognize/recall Samuel right off the bat (Kiefer was 20 months old when he came home from Haiti), but that didn't stop him from having a blast with Samuel.  I sure wish I had an understanding of what was going through Kiefer's brain when he saw Samuel.  I wonder if he remembered him?  I wonder if he has any memories of life at Ruuska Village?  I wonder if he recalls playing with Samuel at the orphanage for hours and hours and hours, every single day?

Samuel and Kiefer wrestled, played, and jumped on the trampoline.  And wrestled some more.

And they swam.  (Don't have any photos of that activity.)

They rode horses, too, all by themselves!

Samuel shared his daddy with baby Selah!

Samuel's little brother, Caeden (age 2), hung in there with all of the "big" kids.

Such precious boys!

Thanks, Carrie and Thomas, for coming out to Forgotten Saw Ranch!  We had a great time visiting with y'all, and we're so happy to live close enough for these two best Haitian buds to grow up together.

Welcome to Texas, Samuel and family!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

National Lampoon's (oops, Patterson's) Vacation

I mentioned our trip to Colorado for adoptive family camp in THIS POST.  Since I didn't have internet at the camp, I was unable to post photos and give updates.  I use this blog partially as my journal when at all possible, so I really want to record this trip, complete with photos (iPhone photos...not the greatest quality, but convenient to capture our memories), so that our memory of our first adoptive family camp will be recorded here.
This photo was taken just outside Raton, New Mexico, on the Colorado side of the border.  We "camped" here Friday night, August 5, on our way to family camp.  We loaded up our RV and left our home in Texas Thursday night, August 4.  We stayed in Amarillo Thursday night, just long enough to catch some sleep, then we were up and at 'em Friday morning, bound for Colorado. We drove all day Friday, August 5, and parked at this small little campground just outside Raton.  It was FABULOUS to wake to cool temperatures,with a beautiful view of Colorado mountain ranges, on Saturday morning!

The generator in our RV completely broke Saturday (it was puttering on and off during our drive Friday...if you look closely in the photo above, you'll see Matt kneeling down at the back of the RV inspecting the generator), but we were just grateful it decided to quit completely die AFTER we got into cooler temps!  We opened the windows of the RV and enjoyed the crisp mountain air as we headed to Westcliffe, Colorado.
This video shows the kids "rockin' out" in the RV as we traveled.

We arrived at Westcliffe on Saturday, August 6, several hours before the camp allowed for early check-in, so we hung out at a beautiful park in the quaint town of Westcliffe.  The kids played football and Frisbee while Mom, Dad, Kiefer, and Selah napped in the camper. 
Family camp officially started Sunday, August 7, but they allowed families to check in a day early to get settled in. Around 5PM, Saturday, August 6, we pulled into the parking lot at Horn Creek Camp, eager to get "moved in" to our cabin and prepare for family camp. We registered and were told we would have two cabins because they couldn't accommodate 11 people in one cabin, so we split our family into girls and boys. We had 6 girls (including Mom) in one cabin and 5 boys (including Dad) in the other cabin.

If you look closely, there's a tiny cottontail bunny sitting on the porch of this cabin, which was an unoccupied cabin directly across from our boys' cabin.  The cute little bunny hung around the entire time.  Many times there are special little gifts like this when we take trips without our Princess Chrissie.  Jesus will surprise us with something unexpected that reminds us of the presence of our little lovie in heaven.  Thank you, Jesus, for all of your good gifts.
This sweet little "love bunny" sat and watched us unload all of our stuff as we transformed the cabins into our home away from home for a week.  (A background story about the "love bunny" is that we used to hide a little stuffed bunny in unexpected places for our kids (and spouse!) to discover and be reminded of our love for the person who found the bunny.  Whoever discovered the hidden "love bunny" was to hide it for someone else in the family to discover.  God gave us the gift of a real, live "love bunny" on this trip!)

 The kids worked HARD to pull everything we'd packed into our motor home and haul it to the two cabins, as the little love bunny patiently watched. We had SO MUCH stuff to accommodate a family of 11 for 10 days of being away from home. We had baby supplies (diapers, wipes, baby food, bottles, formula, toys, Bumbo seat, blankets, pack-n-play), food allergy provisions (all of Sawyer's pre-made food and snacks, plus extras for Matt), plus the ordinary things such as 10 days worth of clothing for warm weather, clothing for cool weather, a variety of shoes (water shoes, flip-flops/Crocs, tennis shoes, hiking boots, etc.), jackets, bed rails (top bunks at the cabins don't have rails), plus toiletries, towels, bedding, etc. Oh my, it was A LOT.

   The boys dumped all of the girls' necessities directly at the entrance to the girls' cabin (see photo above), but I was just grateful to have everything unloaded.  I truly rejoiced that I didn't have to unload it all by myself!!!  We were having some serious altitude adjustments, going from Texas altitude to 8,000 feet at the base of the Sangre de Cristos mountains near Westcliffe, Colorado.  It was hard enough on our lungs just to walk from the RV to the cabin, much less carry 20-50 pounds of luggage at a time.  So grateful for the help of our kids!
This video shows Ella keeping Selah entertained while Mommy unpacked things in both cabins.

Shortly after our arrival, several of us got sick.  Really sick.  Kiefer vomited all night Saturday night, plus he had a high fever and nasty cough.  Matt had severe altitude sickness.  Selah was F-U-S-S-Y and didn't sleep most of Saturday night.  Meribeth and Mattie both had a chronic cough, and I came down with a severe allergy attack.  I sneezed, coughed, wheezed, and had itchy eyes and throat for most of the stay at family camp, but it was  most severe Saturday night.  I took a Zyrtec that literally knocked me out for a full day.  I could NOT wake up.  And Matt couldn't get out of bed due to his altitude sickness.  Plus Kiefer was unable to move due to his severe illness and fever, and he wasn't happy unless he was nestled into Daddy's chest.

Needless to say, Matt, Kiefer, and Mom all spent Sunday in bed.  Asleep.  Wrestling with illness.  Not fun.

Selah slept well Sunday night, praise God! 

Kiefer did not.  He screamed in pain much of Sunday night, complaining that his belly hurt, directly at his belly button.  The pain would wake him from his sleep, and he was pretty much inconsolable.  We contemplated taking him to the ER, with concerns about appendicitis.  We prayed over him continuously, and around 3AM, he fell asleep and rested well until Monday morning.

When he woke Monday morning, he had no more pain and no more fever!  We were so relieved, and Kiefer was eager to have some fun.  He begged us to take him to the water slides at the camp, so after lunch, we spent our day hanging out at the water slides.

Kiefer LOVED the water slides!

So did Ella!
And Sawyer, too!
Ella enjoyed hanging out in the heated waiting area of the slide pool.
Selah enjoyed hanging out in her daddy's arms, playing with his "Boss Your Heart" necklace.
Unfortunately, by the time Monday  night rolled around, Kiefer was once again awakened from his slumber with severe abdominal pain.  Once again, we prayed over him and begged God for healing of whatever was causing this severe stomach pain.  Kiefer didn't vomit anymore (after Saturday night), but the pain seemed to come on without warning, and it was S-E-V-E-R-E.  Kiefer is a TOUGH guy who very rarely complains about pain, and this pain was waking him from deep sleep, causing him to scream in pain repeatedly.  We almost took him to the ER in the middle of the night Monday night, but, once again, around 3AM, he settled in to sleep and rested peacefully for the remainder of the night.

Tuesday morning the big kids (mature, responsible, trustworthy, strong-swimmers:  Parker, Meribeth, Mattie and Sawyer) went on a white-water rafting trip.  Don, one of the awesome volunteers at Horn Creek, drove them to their day excursion, while Matt and I contemplated what to do about Kiefer.  We decided to take him to the Westcliffe medical clinic for an exam by a doctor.  On our way into the quaint little town, Kiefer perked up and was feeling much better.  He wanted to eat lunch.  Matt needed to pick up some parts for the generator, and I desperately needed to do some laundry at the local laundromat, so we altered our plan a tad.  We started laundry at the laundromat, then took the other kids to eat an early lunch at a local restaurant.

Selah enjoyed her very first "big kid" meal.  She's 10 months old and scarfed down a homemade burger with homemade fries!  I had forgotten Selah's baby food back at the camp, and she was determined to steal my plate, so I shared with her.  And, guess what?  She LOVED it, and she had no problem chewing up the food and swallowing it.  Who knew?!?

While we were waiting for our meal, Kiefer began to shake and shiver.  He crawled into Daddy's lap and wouldn't eat his meal.  He once again complained that his belly hurt, and his fever came back, so we left the restaurant, stopped by the laundromat to put the clothes in the dryer, then went to the medical clinic.

The nurse at the medical clinic took one look at Kiefer and advised us to take him to the ER at the nearest hospital in Pueblo, Colorado, about a 2 hour drive from Westcliffe.  They were also afraid that he had appendicitis.  We prayed and decided it would be best to return the other kids to the camp, under Naomi's supervision, in case Kiefer needed to have surgery.  Matt really wanted Kiefer to have both his mommy and his daddy there, so we went back to camp, packed a bag for Mom, Dad, Kiefer and Baby, got the other kids settled (Naomi, Asher, and Ella), then took off for the hospital.

Directly upon our mid-afternoon arrival at the hospital, the ER doctor immediately took Kiefer (and Dad, Mom and Baby) into a room.  He listened to Kiefer breathe, and immediately declared that he felt Kiefer had pneumonia.  They did a chest x-ray, which confirmed pneumonia, so they wrote a prescription for Azithromycin (Z-pack).

But we were still concerned about Kiefer's unexplained stomach pain.  The doctor agreed to do further testing to rule out appendicitis, so they spent several hours completed those tests.  Kiefer had blood drawn, an IV placed, a urinalysis, and a CT chest and stomach scan.  Thankfully, everything came back showing that the appendix was fine, but it did show that Kiefer had a lot of stool in his intestines, which, compounded with the lower right lobe of his lung being infected, could possibly have been the cause of his stomach pain.  (Still didn't seem like it would be so severe to wake Kiefer in the night with screaming pain, especially considering he's such a tough boy, but there was no other explanation.)

Kiefer fell asleep on Momma while waiting for his CT scan.

And Selah fell asleep on Dadda while waiting in the hospital for her big brother to get better.
(Selah had a huge poop that ruined her leggings.  Ugh.  National Lampoon's Patterson's Vacation.  Never a dull moment.)

Finally, around 8:30PM, Kiefer was discharged from the hospital with instructions to take his Z-Pack for pneumonia and Miralax for the constipation.  We got Kiefer's prescription filled, ate a little supper (Kiefer didn't eat as he had fever and felt miserable), and then headed back to family camp.

Kiefer wanted to sleep in the bed at the very back of the motor home during our drive back.  I gave him his first 2 dosages of the Z-pack, as prescribed, and then Kiefer fell asleep in the back bed.  About an hour into our drive, Kiefer vomited, wet his pants (and bed), and also pooped in his pants (diarrhea).  He was one sick boy. :-(

You can't really appreciate trying to clean up such a mess while stabling oneself in the back of an RV, in the dark (because the generator was broken), trying to keep a very sick boy for falling over (and trying to keep Mom from falling over) while winding through a very rough, winding, bumpy mountain road.  Think about the movie RV and the "off road" trip that Robin Williams took the "Rolling Terd" down.  Now you can appreciate what I was experiencing.  Somewhat.  I threw Kiefer's underwear in the trash, scrambled to locate wipes (in the dark) to clean him up, laid some towels on the bed to cover the urine and vomit, and then Kiefer went back to sleep.  Ugh!

We arrived back at family camp around midnight.  Kiefer transferred to his cabin bed easily and slept peacefully through the night with his daddy.  Selah, not so much.  She had napped in her car seat on the 2-hour ride home, so upon our arrival to our cabin, she was ready to play and eat.  For her, it seemed like she'd just had a nap and it was only mid-afternoon again!

The following morning, Wednesday, Kiefer woke feeling MUCH better, praise the Lord.  He was able to play and enjoy the day, although he was tired and winded from his pneumonia.  Wednesday night was "western night", so we got dressed up in our "normal" attire and joined the festivities.
Kiefer brought his toy gun and bull-riding vest!

Sawyer brought his sister's pink camo bandanna, as if that would make him more of a cowboy!

Ella wore her "Forever Cowboys" shirt with a cowgirl vest, while Selah wore a cowboy bib and overalls.

Precious girl!

Brothers.  Best friends.

Asher studied the square dancing for a while, then decided to give it a shot!

This video (very poor videography by Lorraine!) shows most of the kids attempting to square dance.  Asher is standing by the instructor near the end of the video, studying her steps, determined to learn to square dance. :-)

Meribeth bonded with a girl at the camp; they were convinced that they were long-lost sisters. 

Mattie and Naomi enjoying western night.

Parker and Mattie were dance partners.  They actually learned some fun western dance moves that they're still practicing (and showing off!) at home.

Here's Kiefer feeling much better, donning his cowboy boots, jeans, and bull-riding vest.  His normal attire. :-)

Thursday brought a little much-needed rain.  I had most of the kids at the water slides when the storm hit.  Here's a photo of us walking back to the cabin:

Friday was spent with each person focusing on their favorite activities, since this was the last full day of family camp.  Matt spent the E-N-T-I-R-E day working on the generator.  He spent portions of each day working on that silly thing, ordering parts, tearing it apart, putting it back together, praying over it, and getting covered in grease from head to toe.  I wish I had taken a photo of him.  He looked like the camp mechanic.  In fact, I'm not even sure that some of the families realized he WASN'T the camp mechanic!  Finally, after a full day of working on the generator on Friday, Matt got it working!!!  Hallelujah!  We were so proud of Daddy, although he took no credit, giving all glory to God.  Matt is NOT a mechanic, but God enabled him to fix that generator.  Thank you, God!
Naomi finally tried out the slides on Friday (she passed on every previous invitation), and she realized how much fun the slides were.  Yay!

Kiefer fell asleep in the arms of this amazing Christian young woman who served as family camp director this summer.

Mattie and Parker had a blast at the camp.  They said their favorite activity was the white-water rafting, but the water slides also a favorite activity.

Here are the older kids in the pool on the last day of family camp.  (The two kids on either end are not Pattersons. :-)

Kiefer, all smiles, at our last night of family worship at Horn Creek family camp.  He was feeling SO MUCH BETTER at this point. :-)

Selah on our last night during family worship.  She's such a doll.  How unworthy we are of such a blessing from our Father, the giver of all good gifts.

The Patterson Family
Thank you, Horn Creek and Tapestry Ministry, for putting this camp together specifically for adoptive and foster families.  We are grateful!

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