Tag Archives: hong kong adoption blog

Three Down

I shared back in September that Esther had had a surgery on her face to place tissue expanders around her eye to help “grow new skin.  I also shared that I was the one most nervous about this new adventure.

I was nervous for a lot of reasons but mainly because I just didn’t know what it would be like to watch two “bubbles” grow on Esther’s head over the next couple of months.

On top of that I couldn’t even imagine what it would be like to give her the injections for them ourselves at home. (More on that in a minute.)

Back to the growing bubbles. It’s really not that big of a deal and because I was with her day in and day out I seriously hardly ever noticed them.  It’s hard to see the bubbles when all you see is her absolute beauty.  You know you’ve got natural beauty when you can rock some tissue expanders on your face!  Just sayin’.


Now, back to the injections.  Yeah, we did them at home. Well, actually ML did.  I held her hand… that part is important too though!

After a week or two of observing and training, Dr. Ray felt like Michael Luke could handle doing the injections at home.  From the outsider looking in I’m sure we looked like some pretty cruel parents… or either weird scientist parents.  Two to three times a week we would numb the ports hidden under her scalp and then distract both girls with a little Barney while they sat side by side on a bench.

They would zone out watching tv while Michael Luke would cleanse the spot and then stick a needle into her port and inject a few cc’s of saline each time.  Most of the times the girls didn’t even notice… at least not until the end.  Sometimes, Noah would look over and ask what was going on.  But what child wouldn’t if they saw there parents doing that to their sibling.  We liked to to do the injections at nighttime so that afterwards we could just rub a little pain cream (a mixture of essential oils) on to her face and then put her to sleep.

We continued this for several weeks.  The bubbles kept growing and the top one got to a pretty impressive size.  Then one night ML came home and noticed she had a small opening in her skin on the area that was covering one of her bubbles.  We didn’t freak though.  Thankfully, the dr. had told us a day or two before that this might happen and we were at a good place if it did.  He had also given us his cell phone number.

We texted him a picture of her forehead and went about preparing to leave our girls with the babysitter for the night.  Dr. Ray replied with the news we were both sort of expecting, “Don’t feed her breakfast in the morning.  Bring her to Children’s South and we may do surgery.”

Thankfully, we have an awesome babysitter who totally wasn’t weirded out by the fact that Esther had a small hole in her head.  I say this only because my weak little stomach really didn’t want to focus on that fact.  She kept the girls for us while Michael Luke and I went to a meeting that night.

In hindsight that probably wasn’t the best solution for Esther though.  She did incredibly well with her first surgery but that was because I spent weeks prepping her and days in advance applying Tranquil to her to help ease any nervousness she had.  This time we had less than eighteen hours to prep her. #fail

Her tummy started hurting her that night and she couldn’t fall asleep easily.  Our sitter texted us and I recommended rubbing a little DiGize on her tummy.  Clueless me thought she was coming down with a virus or something.  WRONG!  She woke up the next morning sick but it wasn’t because of a virus it was because of nerves.  Poor thing, she just felt horrible and dreaded what was to come. She ended up getting to surgery and having to take a Tranquilizer to help her calm down. It was not how we wanted her next surgery to go.wpid-20141023_110859.jpg


Thankfully, the actual surgery went great. The top forehead expander was removed and she was back to her old self in no time.

It was then that I realized her next surgery would need just as much preparation as her first.  She had a little more motivation this time around too.  Why?  Because when she had the expander removed they gave her a sippy cup with lemonade in it!  She wanted that again!  Whatever works, right?

Her third surgery was this Monday.  After weeks of preparation again and days of applying Tranquil for preparation she did great!  She didn’t shed a tear as she was rolled off to surgery and even bounced out of bed Monday morning.  To continue with the tradition of the first surgery she dressed in some of her fanciest clothes to go to the hospital.  Wearing her pajamas like some of the other kids just isn’t an option for her.

She did great and then thoroughly embraced her “Queen Esther” roll while in the hospital Monday night.  I’m telling you, staying in the hospital for Esther is like a trip to a resort and spa… on insurance.  People waiting on her hand and foot. Endless tv.  Meals at your request.  And your own bed on wheels.  What more does a girl need?wpid-20141202_093955.jpg

Both expanders have now been removed as well as all previously scarred and bound down skin.  Her new skin on her face will now be as smooth as the other side.  And the dr. surprised us by lowering her eye just a smidgen to match her good eye.  Esther’s head will be in wraps until this morning and then we will resume life as normal until hopefully sometime next year.  We’ll just have to wait until another day to talk about that surgery though.

P.S. For more on why and what type of essential oils we just click here.

P.P.S  For more on our Hong Kong adoption click here.

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Daughter of a King

November is National Adoption Month.  The month has almost come and gone, but I can’t let it slip by without highlighting the beauty and picture of the gospel (Galatians 4:4-8, Romans 8:14-17) that is found in adoption.

Over the past year we have gone from a family of three to a family of four… through adoption.  Why adoption?  Even before meeting Michael Luke, I had a heart for adoption.  I shared this desire with him EARLY in our relationship. Let’s just say it was sort of like a non-negotiable for me.  Thankfully, this desire that God had given me to grow our family through adoption was something that God was also growing in his heart.

After tying the knot and spending several years as newlyweds, we began to think about children.  Biological or adoption first?  That was the question.  You see, during the years as newlyweds, God had placed several friends in our lives that had been blessed with children biologically.  As scary as labor and pregnancy seemed to me, I found myself also wanting to experience it… at least once.

So we spent much time talking and praying about it and decided that since we knew absolutely nothing about babies or children maybe we should start from scratch. So biological it was!  We figured we would give a try, and if it didn’t work, we would go ahead and start the adoption process.  I was ready to adopt as much as I was ready to have a biological child.  A few months after trying to conceive, God blessed me with joy of pregnancy.  Little Noah was on the way!

Noah was four months old when we first began the adoption process.  If you’ve had a newborn, you understand that at this point you probably weren’t ready to start thinking about another child just yet.  Adoption is somewhat of a lengthy process though, and being on the backside of it, four months after giving birth is a wonderful time to begin the adoption process.

Adoption for us is not the result of fertility struggles.  Adoption for us is the result of a dream!  When talking about adoption, I love to tell people that adoption is filled with all the excitement of pregnancy.  For instance, we found out that because Noah would be sharing a room with her new sibling, our next child would have to be a girl.  It was just as exciting to us as when our ultrasound revealed that we were expecting a girl.  The excitement of the morning that we met Esther was just as exciting as the night we went to the hospital to deliver Noah.  There are so many parallels, and each one is special to me.

God may not call everyone to adopt but God does say,

“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world”. – James 1:27

Adoption is beautiful!  Just as Christians have been adopted by God and are co-heirs with Christ, Esther has been adopted.  Esther’s future was forever changed February 12 when she left Mother’s Choice for the last time… with us!

Please, pray and seek God as to how he wants to use you to care for orphans. Does it mean adopting a child?  Supporting an adoption agency or orphanage?  Helping a family raise money to bring their child home?  Or serving as a foster parent?  There are multiple ways that God may choose to use you, and none are lesser than the other.  How will He use you?

Finally, a couple of months ago, Mother’s Choice contacted us through Lifeline Children’s Services, our adoption agency, asking for our permission to use Esther’ story to advocate for adoption and to raise support for their ministry through Wee Care, the orphanage where Esther lived.  We didn’t have to think twice.

Esther is named after Queen Esther of the Bible, whose name means “Star”.  Of course, our “star” should help advocate for adoption!  I can’t wait to see the other plans God has in store for her!  Below is the video and story of our little girl, “Princess Esther”! So far I haven’t been able to watch it without crying but I keep watching it over and over again.  It’s beautiful!

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Mommy, I Don’t Feel Like Smiling Today

I shared a couple of weeks ago that Esther had had surgery.  We are about five weeks into the tissue expanders actually expanding and have at least three more weeks left of the process.  She receives injections in the expanders every two to three days and for the most part they have been fairly painless… which is incredibly surprising to me.

Noah and Esther at Pumpkin Patch

Esther is such a brave girl and Noah is doing an incredible job of being the supportive sister.  Last Thursday was especially tough for Esther though.  Over the past couple of weeks ML had been doing the injections for the expanders at home.  It sounds a little odd but the doctor had worked with him and felt that we was competent (because I’m certainly not) to do them at home.  It made things a lot easier than having to wake up before six and get to the hospital by seven on mornings when we needed to get an injection from the doctor.  We had gotten into a routine of doing them just before bed time and letting Esther pick a show (Barney is her distraction of choice) to watch while ML injected her expanders.  It worked great and normally we could get through the entire process with her barely noticing anything was going on. It was awesome!!!

But then last Thursday happened.  Thursday we had to go back to Children’s of Alabama so that her doctor could check on her progress and get some measurements.  Like I said earlier her appointment was at 7:00 a.m.  For the record y’all, I barely function at that time of the morning.  He went ahead and did her injection for that day… which is no big deal except that he injected a lot more than we had been in one of her expanders and it was immediate discomfort and pain for her.

I brought her home and took her straight to bed because she just wanted to try and sleep the pain off.  Before and after the injections I applied some of my pain cream mixture of essential oils.  She really felt like this helped and asked for it often that day but despite all the cream and sleep it was still uncomfortable for her.  She would wake up crying and scared and beg for me to lay with her.  I took her up on her offer and enjoyed snuggling with her and loving on her. It was really a nice bonding time for us.

As I lay there with her I couldn’t help but think over her first few months of life.  The first few months when she was in the hospital.  I wondered how often she had cried out and no one was there to cradle her or feed her.  No doubt, I believe she was well cared for her and she definitely had one special lady in her life but I imagine there were still times that she cried and no one was available to come meet her needs.  I enjoyed spending time Thursday and Friday doing just that.. meeting her needs.  Oh, that all the needs of orphaned children around the world could be met.  That they could cry to their mommy like Esther did and say to their mommy like Esther did, “mommy, I don’t feel like smiling today.” and then be reassured that it is ok to not feel like smiling when you don’t feel well and then rest in the arms of their mother.

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