Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Growing a Princess

The last 4 months of our lives have been.....a hectic, difficult transition met with many challenges. To briefly recap, we received Gracie's picture on April 13 and discovered that the daughter God chose for us was having a difficult start and was severely malnourished due to sicknesses. The wait for a court date was miraculously short and we passed court the first try. Then we thought we were traveling to Ethiopia early and had everything packed and ready to go literally up to the last minute only to discover we would have to wait 2 more weeks due to a minor paperwork issue. Two weeks later we boarded our first plane for the trip to Ethiopia and by the end of the day Libby had a 103 degree fever. The trip to Ethiopia and back became a roller coaster ride of emotions as we battled Libby's illness, her abnormal tantrums, her fear of becoming a big sister, her refusal to eat, jet lag, meeting and embracing Gracie for the first time (chicken pox and all!), feeling the magnitude of poverty in Ethiopia, meeting Gracie's birthmother, and making the looooooooooooooong trip home. We landed in the US and my (Cindy's) stomach issues began... call it traveler's diarrhea or a bug - I don't know - but the next 2 weeks were a rough road with jet lag and potty time. Then I had a 24 hour bug that included throwing up... 5 pounds lost later... I discovered a lump in my breast. Sonogram revealed a golf ball sized cyst that needed to be removed. The day of my surgery consultation, Gracie's pediatrician called with news that Gracie may have a metabolic disorder and we were ordered to go to the hospital immediately for further blood work. Later that week our new CD was released and I had my lumpectomy. That evening our in-laws came in town for a visit. The next morning Gracie had a third round of blood work in just under 2 weeks time. Finally, news came that my cyst was NOT cancer! Praise God. Then camps began. First one was at camp Zephyr. Juggling 2 little ones and leading worship and eating in a crowded-teen-swarming cafeteria took its toll. By the end of the week I had RAGING pink eye, a fever blister (which I have NEVER had before) and terrible body aches. AND Gracie's ears started oosing infection (for a second round of double ear infections). Gracie started antibiotics (and diarrhea with that) and I felt EXHAUSTED. Arrived home from that camp at 2AM that Friday morning. Had Saturday to do laundry and repack. Left that Sunday for camp #2 in OK. Arrived at that camp feeling HORRIBLE. Cried a lot. Still had no solid word on Gracie's health and blood work - at this point the docs were also considering that she might have TB. Finished camp, started some new discipline ideas with Libby that FINALLY brought about some results, and sought a doctor about my health. Blood work revealed the next week that I had MONO!! All summer I assumed my exhaustion was from jet lag, foreign travel, becoming a mom of 2, and sleepless nights of feeding the baby - but nope - that wasn't all - I've had MONO! But hallelujah..... we also received news that week that Gracie is CLEARED of ALL assumed illnesses - she has NO tb, NO liver disease, NO metabolic disorder!!!

While I am still getting well and forcing myself to take it easy and hunker down at home most of the day, I am so relieved that my babies are doing well. During our trip to ET I shared on our other blog how difficult Libby's behavior was. Considering all we've been through and how hard the trip was, I know that most of her issues were understandable. But there were some meltdowns and tantrums that I just couldn't figure out how to handle. God brought a godly man back into our lives who spoke with Billy and I about how to handle Libby and we've had a seriously amazing breakthrough. The last 2 weeks have been SO AMAZING with her. She has settled into being a big sister. She loves on Gracie all day. She desires to obey. She is more affectionate than ever -even with all the extra discipline - in fact, the consistency and extra work have caused her heart to bond with us more deeply and sweetly than ever before. And Gracie is growing and getting fat! She is wonderful and pleasant and perfect (cause she's not 2 or 3 yet - haha!). It has been a complete joy - even in the midst of all our trials - to just be wife and mom. I'm loving it!

So - blogging has suffered due to the life of changing diapers and I am, after all, on a learning curve for trying to juggle a second little one. But I have a plan! I going to try to post a short post with about 5 pictures each night until I've completely caught you all up on our summer life in pictures... believe it or not... the "short" recap of our summer above is not an exhaustive list... much more happened than that even!

Here are my picture posts for tonight... 2 years ago we did the same camp at camp Zephyr and I took some sweet pictures of Libby. This year I tried to take a couple of the same shots so we can see how she's grown... Growing a princess may be hard work, but man, she is worth it. And who knew 2 years ago that we would be back with a second princess in such a short time!

Libby at camp Zephyr July 2009

Libby at camp Zephyr June 2007

Camp Zephyr 2009

Camp Zephyr 2007

Camp Zephyr - newest addition - Summer 2009
Welcome to Camp Life Gracie!


Katie said...

I'm exhausted just reading all that's happened since Gracie's referral! You've gone through a lot, but I'm so glad you are all on the mend! Love you a bunch! :D

carissa said...

Love the "then" and "nows" - so cute! Your girls are so beautiful!!! I am ready for you to feel good. Praying that you get rid of this! Love you.

Marti said...

MONO. Oh, Cindi. If you shared that somewhere before, I missed it.

You had so many challenges to face in such a short time; illness was no surprise in the midst of such a scenario.

Praying you can have a small season of rest (if the mom of two little ones ever rests) and continuing to lift you up
with so much love,

(who will get your gift in the mail THIS WEEK!)

Denise @ A Sacred Longing said...

In a word - WOW! What an exhausting journey this has been but I am praising God you are on the mend!

I have enjoyed reading your Gracie and Libby stories.

I will look forward to the pics ahead. Rest well.