Friday, November 21, 2014

Into The Fire



Imagine with me...

You are walking along a street and see ahead that a house is on fire. There are flames pouring out from everywhere! Hot flames and smoke just pouring out of every crack and window.

You run to get as close as you can to see if there is someone in the house – Only to see the house is FULL of children. Children whose cries you cannot hear -but you just see each of their little faces as the flames are creeping closer, burning holes in their clothing and choking their every breath. You are horrified beyond your wildest nightmares. You start shouting for help to all those passing by. "Help me save these children! Please help me get this one, and this one, and this one!'

But to your amazement, people glance at you, walk around you and hurry away. Some say, "I am not equipped to fight fires, I am so sorry. Good luck."

Others say “Oh my, this is so horrible…..But then they shrug and say this isn’t my house”…..

Still others wring their hands for a few moments, and say, "There are just too many of them. What good will saving one do?

It is only one…..One out of hundreds…..Even thousands…. It’s just too hard….Why try?"

Even others say, "Why put your own life at risk? Why change your day to help them? What have they ever done for you? What of your own family? They are your responsibility now, not these."

Others say, "Go ahead, but just so you know, this will change your life.  It will make your day too hard.  Please do not do this.  It’s not good for you"

Finally, you see a few people running into the house. To your relief, these people are grabbing as many children as they can. They run them out to the arms of their family and race back in to grab as many more as they can carry.

Panic and relief cause tears to stream down your face and you begin run as well, struggling into the flames, darkness, and evil to grab a precious child.

It takes so long to get to them! It takes so much energy - you are weary and stumbling. You are crying for help with each breath. “Please, please help me to do this!"

As you are struggling to put one foot in front of the other, you are falling down and getting back up again.  You are terrified. 

Then you hear whispering coming from outside the house. You pause for a moment, but can't take the time to really listen to what is being said by so many people. Then you begin to recognize a few of the voices.

You are thinking,  what is happening? I am fighting for this child’s life.  Why aren't these people  helping me? Why are they just standing there? What are they saying?"

In desperation, you burst out of the house into the fresh air.  Your face is covered in soot and tears. You are stumbling out in your weariness. You are gasping for breath! But you are triumphant! You look up and see your friends and family.

A few are reaching to help you - to restore your strength and tenderly care for this child you carry. You see a few watching, tears on their face and you realize that they were pulling for you, some even praying that you will make it.  You are filled with joy and your strength is renewed.

Then you glance at the rest of them – Some of whom you love and know. You are expecting them at any moment to come help this precious child and the other children who are trapped.

But instead, you realize that they are part of the whispers. You focus on one face after face .....You are getting ready to run in for another child - and another, as many as you can carry in the strength that you have.

Slowly though, their words start to break through. And your horror grows...

What are they saying? They are saying to STOP?

Did they really just say that?

 You scream over the whispers that there are still children in there! "Please come help me!" you desperately cry. But the whispers grow.

They say that they could understand you feeling like you needed to save one -as they glance cautiously at the little one that you just risked your life for......But they really can't understand why you would go in for another.

Haven't you sacrificed enough?  What’s wrong with you?  Some are even saying that you are selfish!  That you are only thinking of what you want. 

They are saying that when you race into that house, it makes them feel uncomfortable.

It distracts them from all of the important things that they have to think about that day.

You try to reason with them, to explain how important this is…These are human beings……These are innocent children..…And then you suddenly realize that their faces have changed…..Their faces are now full of pity….For you!

Pity that you have obviously lost all common sense.  Pity that you think that you really have made a difference.  Pity that you have stepped out of where should be…..And where you should stay.

The agony builds in your heart as you pause for a second in indecision...Your thoughts are racing…..You feel the exhaustion and the confusion….These are the people you love and trust!  

You glance back at the first tiny group - the ones that raced to embrace the child that you carried out...the ones that cheered for you and prayed while you are in the house....And they stand up and form a circle around you. They look you in the eyes and place their gentle hands on you and tell you, "Go. We know there are children in there. Go.  We will help you through."

 Then they silently go back to helping the child you carried out. 

You take a deep breath and turn back again to the larger crowd.  You plead with them to understand.  You plead with them to join you. 

But they only become more adamant in their opposition. There is no convincing them. They yell, "We cannot watch you do this.  We cannot help you.  This is your choice to run in there, not ours.  They turn away in disgust"

You cry as your heart breaks.  You scream out in pain. Your body trembles from weariness.

But you hear the cries of the children and you glance at that burning building again.  You cannot erase the picture of the little ones still trapped inside.

You let out one final scream over those who do not understand..…Then you turn and race back into the flames.

 
Reprinted & adapted from fellow Reece’s Rainbow Mom
Redemptionwhispers.blogspot.com

 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014




I am no longer accepting the things
I cannot change-

I am changing the things

I can no longer accept-




 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

A Tribute To Shriner's Hospital


Jais had surgery in early January.

Our hope was that one day he could
bear some weight on his legs.
 
We've learned that weight bearing is important for people to transfer (from wheelchair to chair/bed/car etc. and vice versa) so they don't have to use just their arms to move back and forth.  This is very tough and can be damaging to shoulders, wrists and bodies in general.

We feel so humbled and fortunate that Shriner's Hospital of Chicago performed
Jais's surgery....
 
What an incredible organization!!
 
If you ever know of a child that requires
special medical care-
 
Shriner's Hospital
is.the.place.to.be. 
 
This medical network of professionals and members is AMAZING to say the least.  

Each and every person cares deeply about kids and they make medical miracles happen every day......
 
Every day....
 
One year ago, I didn't know much about the Shriners.
 
 I mean, I knew that they wore red hats and rode around in little cars in parades :-)
 
Seriously that was all I knew.
 
If you have a moment, check them out-
It is a phenomenal organization.

www.shrinershospitalsforchildren.org 

Thanks to the generosity of the Shriner's organization, insurance coverage is not mandatory...If you have insurance, they bill it...

If not, they don't...

Either way, it's nothing out of pocket...
Can you imagine?
Nothing. 
 
A few months after Jais arrived home from Ukraine, I called Shriner's Hospital of Chicago, and asked if they could help my son. 
 
I shared Jais's story. 

They said they would see him. 
 
They said they would try to help.
 
In January, Jais had surgery.

In February, we went back to Shriner's for two weeks of inpatient, intensive therapy. 
 
This month, we are invited to a 
Shriner's meeting at the hospital in Chicago. 

We are honored.
  
They want to hear Jais's story...

We want to say thank you and show them how great Jais is doing :-) 
 
Here's a little video for the meeting,
about Jais and
the wonderful people
at 
Shriner's Hospital of Chicago. 

It was truly such a great experience!
 
What can you say about a group of people that changed your child's life?
 
Thank you just doesn't begin to do it. 
 
We will never forget Shriner's Hospital or the wonderful people that make such a difference in the lives of others. 
 
 

 
 
 
 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

A Big, Big Day!!!!





Jais's FIRST Steps.... :-)



 
 















So, so proud of our little boy!!!!


















Friday, February 7, 2014

Quick Jais Update


Jais has been healing and enjoying his time at home!
 
The purple casts are off.....
The soft casts are off......
And Jais is sporting his new AFO's and removable knee immobilizers that keep his legs straight.

 
 
And he can wear shoes now!!  He's so excited :-)
 
We are anxiously awaiting the call letting us know that the RGO's (walking braces) are ready and Jais can begin his 2 weeks of intensive therapy to learn how to walk.
 
HE.IS.SO.READY...LOL
 
While we wait for the walking to begin, Jais has been working on some other things..... ;-)
 









Friday, January 31, 2014

Flashback Friday

 
Summertime-Summertime-Summertime!!!
 
 
In August, we took the little kids to the State Fair :-)

 
 
 Mathis was pretty scared initially-
 
He had been home for only 4 months when his parents dragged him off to a place where the animals were HUGE, the lights were flashing non-stop, people were everywhere and the constant noise was over the top!!!
 
  (Sigh....Sorry Matte)
 
 
 



This was the first year that Emme got to ride on some rides :-)
 
(Sniff, sniff-Our little girl is growing up....)

 
 
What a day!!! 
 
We had squabble-less siblings....


 
Adventuresome kiddos....



And slightly nervous little ones....LOL


 
 
By the time we got to the cream puffs though....
 
EVERYONE was on board!! :-)



We have a saying in our family...
 
Don't do once
what your not willing to do eight times!!! :-)

Sean

Torre

Rio


Kia

Liam

Sean & Matte

Jais

Emme



I think you get the picture...LOL :-)
 
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Woot Woot!!!

Jais's appointment went fabulously at Shriner's yesterday! 
 
His docs removed the purple casts and assessed their artwork/handiwork/masterpiece :-)
 


Conclusion: The medical team was thrilled with Jais's legs and feet and that he could stand up...(I sent them the video...LOL)  After the casts were removed, his legs were gently pulled/straightened further and his feet were positioned and held at 90 degrees so they could put on straight leg splint casts.....This process is sort of a casting method that slowly stretches his legs...

 
Next week, we will go back and they will remove the soft splint casts and he will begin using his new AFO's (the lower leg braces to keep his ankles in place) to heal until the next steps (pun intended...Hee Hee)

*****
Then to make the day EVEN more spectacular....
(DRUM ROLL please.....)
 
They measured Jais for RGO's (walking braces!!!!).... :-)
 


(Google photo)
 
(Hospital photo from yesterday-
It looks like Jais's RGO's will be more open around his tummy...)


The RGO's (walking braces) are customized and take some time to make.....But once they are completed, Jais will spend 2 weeks in Chicago for intensive physical therapy and walking training :-)  ..... 
 
They expect that he will be able to walk with RGO's and either a walker or crutches for support. 
 
 
It's a long road for sure, but as we have learned....
 
Jais is one determined little boy :-) 
 
 

 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Amazing Jais!!!



Two weeks ago, Jais underwent some pretty major surgery to help straighten his legs and feet.

 
 
Prior to surgery, his legs were permanently bent and his feet were turned under.


(This is as straight as Jais's legs could go)
 

His ankles could do an incredible, flip over, complete circle, bend every which way thing (Which is pretty creepy to watch)...Only because I've never seen ANY feet do what his can do....LOL
 
Jais could also not lay flat on his tummy, because one hip was stuck in a bent position....(Causing him to lay sort of on his side all the time).
 
In July, we learned about Shriner's Hospital of Chicago.  It's an orthopedic hospital.
 
They said they would take Jais's case......
 
They said they would do all that they can to help him.....
 
They said that you never know about these things..... ;-)
 
So......
 
On January 6th, Jais went in for surgery. 
 
They worked for 5 hours on his hip, fronts and backs of both knees and both ankles......
 
Jais was hospitalized for three days and then came home in straight leg casts.....He chose purple :-)
 
 
 
This week, we go back for x-rays, a cast change and measuring for braces.  It is expected that Jais will be in casts for 8 weeks.....
 
The doctor's initial goal is to get Jais able to put his feet flat on the floor... (surgery should help his ankles get to a 90 degree angle so his feet can be flat instead of curled under...)
 
Jais should also be able to wear shoes soon too! 
 
With the correction of his ankles/feet, and the help of braces, the doctors are hopeful that he will be able to bear weight (stand) for transferring in and out of his wheelchair.....
 
********************
 
Jais however.....
 
Has bigger goals... 
 
 
And he put that all in perspective for us yesterday, when he stood up for the first time EVER!!! :-)









Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Imagine.....



Imagine being in a special needs orphanage in Eastern Europe your ENTIRE life. 

One room day after day after day......

After day.

 
 
The same four walls.....

The same children.....

The same food.....

The same smells...

The same sights...

The same routine.....

Day after day after day.
 
 

 
The only thing that changes is the staff....

The workers....

The people you are dependent on to care for you.....

To feed you, to clothe you, to give any affection that you might be lucky enough to receive-

You never know who will be there.  The nice one, the mean one, the loud one, the quiet one, the rough one, the gentle the one, the scary one, the silent one...


***

One day, out of the blue, people come to visit you.
 
 
You don't know why.....

But you are allowed out of the big room and into the coat room or outside.
 
 
 
 
 
The people look different, talk different, smell different-

And it's scary and exciting...

You are not given a choice-

So you visit with them.....
 
 
 
 
 
You hear the workers talking...

Talking about what might happen to you after you leave this place. 
 
 
 They tell you to be nice so the people will like you and take you home. 
 
 
Since you have never gone anywhere before,

you have no idea what they are talking about.....
 
 
 
***
 
 
One day, the people come to take you away from your orphanage...

You are told to go.
 
 
 
 
You ride in a car with the new people.....
 
 
 
 
 
 
And then on a train....

and then on airplanes.....
 
You are scared......

And exhausted.....

And

Completely

Overwhelmed....
 
 
 

 You are assaulted....

 By new sounds, smells, sights, touches, clothes, food....

You are sick to your stomach....

You vomit again and again....

Your head is pounding...You cry and scream.....

Your muscles hurt from so much movement...

You want to get away...

You hit and pinch and bite......

You are terrified....

And helpless.
 
 
 
You miss...
 
The orphanage...

The routine...
 
The same four walls...
 
The same faces...
 
The smells and sounds...

You miss the nannies...

and your body misses the medications.....

 
 
***
 
 
When you arrive...
 
There are many more people.....
 
 
 
Your new family and friends....
 
Are waiting...
 

 
They are happy,
 
but you have no idea why...


 
 
They want to touch you and talk to you....
 
 
 
 

 
And cry on you....
 

 
 
And kiss you and hug you....
 

 
And talk to you with words
you don't understand...

 
 You just want to cry...

 
And go back home....
 
 

And you do....
 
 
Forever...
 
 
(January 2014)