Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Shaving Cream Summer Fun

God has blessed us with the BEST helpers ever!!!

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Young ladies who serve selflessly.

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Through the heat, the bug bites, the poopie diapers, vomit accidents, biting, hitting, and more.

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They give of themselves so that our children will be able to have more opportunities to learn, explore, and be challenged.

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And they do it all with smiles on their faces and joy in their hearts.

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Yesterday, two of our helpers decided to do shaving cream fun with the little kids.

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They didn’t just stand back and watch them play in it.

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They came alongside the littles to join them in their shaving cream adventures.



Just another day on the ranch.

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With lots of LOVE and JOY!


Thank you to our amazing helpers, Emily, KJ, and Molly, for all you do, day in and day out, to make our family and home even more delightful.  We love you!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Delighting in Milestones

Look at Conner’s most recent accomplishment:

Yep, this non-verbal boy is now VERBAL!!!!!!!  And, oh, how he delights in himself when he says, “Momma”!  We, too, delight in our sweet son’s amazing accomplishment.  All glory to God, for He has done (and continues to do!) GREAT things!!!


Conner spent the day yesterday sitting in my lap in church absolutely thrilled that he could call me by name.  The shrieks that showed his delight echoed throughout the chapel.  Joyful noise indeed!


As if saying “Momma” isn’t enough, I thought I’d share with you the silliness within Conner.  He CRACKS himself up when he does this:

True story!


I’ve been working with Conner to try to say “Da-da” for Matt (he signs it, but I’m trying to get him to use his words and speak “Da-da” aloud.  Conner thinks it’s absolutely HILARIOUS to say “Momma” instead of “Da-da”.  I haven’t been able to capture Conner cracking himself up over this, but every single time I try to get Conner to mimic the sound of “Da-da”, he ALWAYS says, “Momma”, followed by laughter. Smile


Oh how we delight in this precious child of God!  Thank you, Jesus, for sharing him with us!!!

Friday, June 21, 2013

His Royalty

How blessed are we to be called His children?  We are His royalty, His kings and queens, sons and daughters of the King.


Our dear friend, Emily, created this video for us to use yesterday at a local VBS.  We were asked to speak to kids of all ages about orphan care during the missions portion of their VBS program.  Mattie presented many options on how children can participate in orphan care.  (Thanks, Britany, for thinking of us and allowing us to share our hearts with the kiddos!)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Happy 8th Birthday, Coopie!

Happy 8th birthday, Cooper Immanuel Patterson!

We LOVE and ADORE you!

Cooper Birthday

It’s mind boggling to witness how much Cooper has changed since he arrived home just 15 months ago on March 3, 2012.


Click HERE to read last year’s birthday post and see photos from his first 3 months home.  And look at Cooper today:



Isn’t he just precious?!?!  Now, just a year after Cooper’s 7th b-day post was written, Cooper is walking, jumping into the pool, using sign language, and he looks like such a BIG BOY, not a malnourished toddler.  And—get this—he is now POTTY TRAINED!!!!  Just took a few days of no school (so we could have him home 24/7 to focus on potty training) and wearing nothing but underwear, but Cooper is actually using the toilet consistently.  He’s also communicating his need to use the restroom by getting his picture schedule, opening it to the picture of the toilet, and showing us he wants to use the restroom.  This is such huge progress!  Glory to God!!!


Enjoy the videos of Cooper below—we absolutely love and adore him!



Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Urgent Prayers for Teresa

Our Place Called Home

URGENT:  Please pray for a beautiful princess named Teresa, adopted from China with severe congenital heart defects.  She was adopted in July 2010, shortly after Chrissie went to live with Jesus.  Teresa’s mommy asked us to pray for their daughter and their family shortly after Teresa joined their family, and she asked if Chrissie's amazing cardiologist, Dr. Mary Porisch, would review Teresa’s heart files to see if she could do anything to help save her life (which she did).  I’ve asked for prayer before on our blog for Teresa, and you may have seen Teresa’s story on the Today Show or various other TV programs and news reports.  She truly is a miracle girl who reminds me so much of our Princess Chrissie in too many ways to count, from her infectious smile, joyful personality, broken heart, princess warrior spirit, love of family and life, to the mere fact that she was chosen and adopted, knowing she might not live as long a life as we all hope and pray for our children.


Last night, Teresa received her miracle of a heart transplant, but today her new heart failed and she was put on ECMO, the same life-saving device Chrissie was on. 


Teresa is an absolute miracle, and she is in need of our prayers.  Her family is, too.  We've been in similar shoes as Teresa’s family, and your prayers comforted us more than anything else during that time.  Jesus' presence was stronger in our lives during Chrissie's 31-day heart battle than any other time of our lives.  I pray Teresa and her family feel His presence, peace, and comfort that passes all understanding during this time, and I ask you to join me in prayer for them all.  Thank you!


To join the Facebook prayer group for Teresa, click HERE.


To follow Teresa’s family’s blog, click HERE.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Our Superhero

I feel so utterly blessed to have this man as my husband, and I know our children feel the same way to have him as their daddy.

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Whether he was the daddy of one or of one hundred, we’d love him exactly the same, simply because of his heart.


He has a heart for children.  All shapes.  All sizes.  All ages.  All colors.  All genders.  All races.  All abilities. 


He has a heart for those who are easy to love.  And a heart for those others have deemed not worthy of love.


He has a heart to defend the weak, no matter the cost.


A heart better than any superhero out there.  A heart like His.


Happy Father’s Day, Big Daddy!  You’re our favorite superhero, and we’re so blessed to have you in our lives.  We love you so much!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Conner’s Reflux and Motility Testing

Conner is in the hospital for 24-hour reflux and motility testing.

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He’s been home 15 months now, and he still struggles with crazy SEVERE reflux.

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It’s really more like vomiting, but it’s still classified as reflux.

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Conner vomits a minimum of ten times/day (every day since he’s been home), but sometimes it’s too many times to even estimate a total for the day.  And it’s not little bitty spit-up episodes.  It’s huge volumes of vomit.  Often.


Conner’s gastroenterologist has tried every single type of medication possible to treat reflux, including medicines that help to empty the stomach more quickly.  We’ve tried diet and volume adjustments as well, but nothing has successfully treated Conner’s reflux. Sad smile

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Despite the volume and amount of reflux/vomiting, Conner continues to gain weight and grow, which we are most grateful for.  We’re really baffled by this because it appears that Conner vomits more than he intakes daily.  Perhaps this is a surefire way to bring glory to God.  It’s quite a miracle in our eyes.

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Conner was put under anesthesia yesterday and two probes were placed in his small intestine/duodenum (the first section of the small intestine). 


Conner is having a pH Impedance Probe Test as well as esophageal manometry testing. 


Both tests require me to input info into the computer, as well as into an external portable measuring device.  I must input whether Conner is lying down or sitting up (change of positions), as well as documenting when he is eating and/or drinking.  I must also document if there are any external signs/symptoms of reflux, such as grimacing, crying, burping, belching, vomiting, etc.  In addition to putting this info into the computer and external device, I must also record it in a written diary, along with the time and explanation next to each event.


Needless to say, it’s been a busy 24 hours!!!


But the craziest thing is that Conner hasn’t vomited ONCE since we’ve been here.  NOT ONCE.  The gastroenterologist said this testing procedure doesn’t normally decrease reflux/vomiting, but perhaps Conner could be a candidate for Botox injections in the small intestine area (where the probes are) in order to control his reflux.  If the probes are truly a factor in the decrease of reflux (simply because their positioning/placement has done something to decrease reflux output), then Botox might possibly work, which would be less invasive and less risk than Nissen Fundoplication surgery.  (Conner might not even be a candidate for Nissen surgery because his esophageal muscles might not be strong enough to effectively push food through the tightened area at the base of the esophagus if he had Nissen repair.  We’ll know more after we get the results of the esophageal manotremy testing.)

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Conner has been such a trooper.  He is a great patient.  He’s only cried a handful of times.  He never has problems with anesthesia, and he wakes happily from anesthesia as well (he’s our only happy anesthesia kiddo!).  He’s content to hang out in his enclosed crib and watch children’s videos.  He does try to pull on all of his tubes and cords, hence the required use of his no-no’s on his arms, which he is NOT fond of. 


Conner is NEVER still at home—he’s like a little tornado of activity, always.  He is continuously moving and throwing every single item he can get his hands on (and he turns into Stretch Armstrong to reach items!), plus he’s quicker than a chameleon catching a fly!  So, having Conner be still and content in his hospital crib is amazing to witness.

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Conner’s probes were placed yesterday around 1PMish.  He had a stomach X-ray this morning at 5AM to check on the placement of the probes.  The gastroenterologist reported that the probes moved in the night and are not in the optimal position anymore, but testing will continue to see if they can use the results anyway.


Please pray for usable, useful, and accurate testing results, as well as for wisdom for the gastroenterologist to determine the cause (and hopefully a cure!!!) for Conner’s extreme reflux.  Thank you!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Boss Your Heart Shirt Orders Shipped!

Thank y’all so much for your support of our Boss Your Heart shirt fundraiser, in memory of Chrissie.  Thank you also for your patience while we fulfilled orders.  We’re happy to announce that all shirt orders are completed and will be shipping today!


This year, God brought a new screen printer into our fundraising campaign, and she did an amazing job with the shirts.  And, guess what?  She’s an adoptive momma with a heart for orphans and orphan care!!!  God is so good!  This precious momma and new friend has stayed up into the wee hours of the night for weeks in order to make the Boss Your Heart shirts.  We’re so grateful for her and all of the hard work she put into helping us raise money to help orphans in memory of our precious princess, Chrissie.


And we’re so grateful for all of YOU who placed orders and continuously help us to help orphans, in memory of Chrissie.  You are helping carry out Chrissie’s legacy, and we are so thankful for your support.  It looks like you helped us to raise approximately $2,000 to help orphans through the t-shirt fundraiser.  THANK YOU!!!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Videos of Cooper and Conner

I posted the following videos on Facebook of Cooper and Conner swimming and enjoying the pool, but wanted to post them here as well. 


Conner is a natural swimmer, without floaties!  Who would have thought this little forgotten bundle of love would be swimming just a year after his adoption?  Yep, this is the same boy whose orphanage director tried to talk us out of adopting him because he wouldn’t be able to ever do anything.  Our God is in the business of shedding light on darkness and displaying hidden treasures for His glory, and we feel so very blessed that He entrusted us to care for Conner.  We rejoice in the One who transformed this lifeless, nearly-dead, hidden in captivity, 16-pound six-year-old orphan into this new creation, a blossoming treasure, discovered, chosen, loved, growing, thriving, and flourishing in every way!  With God, all things are possible!


Conner is a BUSY BODY, to say the least.  He is like a little tornado, full of energy ALWAYS.  Conner is into everything, but he hasn’t yet learned to play with toys appropriately.  He throws every single item he can possibly get his hands on, and he turns into Stretch Armstrong in order to reach items.  He’s also SUPER QUICK.  He’s able to reach out and grab items quicker than a Chameleon grabs a fly with his tongue.  It’s crazy!  We haven’t found any successful way(s) to teach Conner not to grab and throw every item he can possibly reach.  He understands many words, including “no”, but he doesn’t obey them.  He laughs and laughs and laughs any time he throws something; he just thinks it’s great fun. 


Conner uses/understands about 30 signs, but he doesn’t use them to communicate…yet.  He will show us the sign if we say the word, but Conner doesn’t proactively communicate with us using signs…yet.  Conner loves to GO (as in walk, run, and climb), and his strength amazes us.  Even though he’s hypotonic, he has some crazy strength.  He’s actually flipped over heavy tables and chairs, all for a good laugh.  Conner has to have someone with him 100% of the time in order to be safe, but he’s so full of joy, laughter, hugs, and love that he blesses whoever is on “Conner duty”. Smile


Oh how blessed we are to not only be blessed with one of God’s precious treasures, but TWO!  Cooper also spent the first six years of his life in the same captivity as Conner, tucked away in a dark room in a lonely orphanage in Ukraine.  He had severe unrepaired bilateral club foot and was unable to stand for the first six years of his life. 


This video shows a glimpse of Cooper’s transformation.  He is now walking, climbing, and using sign language.  Cooper is A LOT more stubborn than Conner, so he has to have strong motivation to want to use his sign language.  Fortunately, Cooper LOVES to swim and be tossed into the pool, so he’s eager to use his sign language to communicate his desire for more swimming! 


Cooper is looking like such a big boy these days.  Gone are the baby days.  Hello big boy days!  We are going to work on potty training this summer.  Cooper has had success with using the toilet over the past year, but with his being in school and his stubborn spirit, he hasn’t complied as much as school.  At home, he rarely has an accident.  However, we have kept him in diapers, and this summer we’re going to put on big-boy underwear and see if we can get Cooper potty trained.  We believe he can do it, he just doesn’t like to communicate, so we’ll keep him on a toileting schedule and pray that one day he’ll communicate to us that he needs to go. Smile


Cooper loves to play with toys that make music and light up.  He also loves to watch TV/movies and play on the iPad.  Coopie also likes to people watch!  Oh, and he loves to play “honk, honk” with people’s noses and rub his hand on Daddy’s beard/goatee.  Cooper’s very favorite activity is swimming, hands down.  He’s pretty laid back, but he much prefers to have a predictable schedule that doesn’t vary in the slightest.  The more we’ve gotten to know Cooper, the better we understand that he has many autistic tendencies, but as long as we do everything we possibly can to help keep Cooper’s daily routine the same, the easier it is for Cooper.  He’s taught us so much, and we feel so very blessed God chose us to be Cooper’s forever family.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Summer Traditions

One of our favorite family traditions is spending a few days every summer at the Hyatt Lost Pines in Bastrop, Texas.


It’s an easy drive from our house, so we don’t have to worry about getting flights for everyone or trying to keep Selah strapped in her car seat for a long road trip (sitting still for 10 minutes is super challenging for Selah’s miracle brain).


And there’s something for everyone at this resort, so every person in our family looks forward to going each summer.

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Selah kept dragging a tube to the baby pool and asking Daddy to get in with her. Smile


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Snack time.


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Y’all come back now, ya hear?


No worries, Hyatt Lost Pines, we WILL be back again…next summer!

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