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Sunday, April 12, 2015

Telling the Story to Ourselves

I feel sad and overwhelmed today as the sunshine streams through my window on this pretty spring day.  And that's the way it is sometimes.

We'd like to think change is just good and not accompanied with stress and exhaustion and regression.  That healing is only triumph and will erase all trauma.  That progress means that you'll never get stuck again.  That you won't feel gloomy anymore once the sun is shining again.  

Last spring, we went through an intensive training program in order to become certified to teach a set of parenting strategies that we feel passionate about to others.  The program is called "Empowered to Connect," (ETC) and it was developed to support parents & caregivers of children "from hard places."  That phrase "from hard places," gets thrown around a lot as a popular phrase in adoption circles now, but in essence, it refers to a child who has experienced trauma of any form.  (That can include children who were involved in high risk/high stress pregnancies/births, spent time in the NICU/hospital, experienced childhood illnesses, or experienced any kind of traumatic event in their life.  That includes many more children than those who came to their families through adoption!)

We have loved and used this material since it was first presented to us when we were preparing to become adoptive parents.  We've read Dr. Karyn Purvis's book, "The Connected Child," multiple times, attended the Empowered to Connect Conference, participated in both the pre-adoptive ETC course as well as the post-adoptive parent Connect course, and then we were trained to be trainers.  We have had lots and lots and lots of practice with this material over the last six years.

And yet, I felt a heaviness yesterday as I attended a simulcast here in Memphis of the annual ETC conference.  No matter how much training I've received, how many books I've read, how many seminars I use to remind myself of the principals that promote connection and healing with my children...it's still really hard.  It's HARD.  Because trauma and pain and feelings and growing and BEING A PERSON is hard.  For everyone.

We've had a big year.  We're having a big year.  I joked the other day (in the context of forgetting to take a family picture on Easter) that "I don't do 2015."  So many plates are spinning and they're overwhelming and complex, and everything else has been pared down to the bare bones.  I didn't do my "12 Days of Christmas" this year or put ornaments on the tree or travel for New Year's or make Nick's chocolate peanut butter layer cake or compile Rhet's annual birthday video or do anything out of the ordinary for our 9th anniversary or hide eggs to hunt in the back yard.  We are keeping it so so SO simple.

And we're all feeling it, those big changes.  I've been honest with friends about how we're dealing with transition and regression with our kiddos.  But it struck me yesterday as I tried to hold the guilt and shame at bay while listening to experts talk about these parenting principles and values that I feel so passionate about...WE'VE regressed too.  Stress just does that.  It knocks you off your feet...pushes you back a couple steps.  I'm not peeing in my pants, but I might as well be...because I sure am regressing back to that yelling voice and angry eyes and lecture, lecture, lecturing...and so much despair that what I'm doing doesn't matter, that it's not making a difference, that I'm just spinning my wheels...

This is why the story matters.  This is why His Story matters.  We struggle to connect and and we repair our mistakes and we do our best, and then we do it all again the next day.  And through that mess, He is healing, restoring, redeeming.  WE are the WEAK ONES.  He is the strength.  We lose sight of the progress, and we feel like everything is sliding backwards, but He is writing the story.  And when we tell it, we see where we've come from and how we got here.

This whole time I've been thinking, "I need to tell them Brooklyn's story.  I need to tell them how God is at work in the world and in her life.  I need to tell them for His glory.  I need to tell them to strengthen their hearts and faith."  But this whole time...I've needed it.  I've been telling the story to myself.

He is not finished.  There is more to come.  And some of it will be so freaking hard.  And some if will be blindingly glorious.  But I'm going to keep telling this story...her story...His Story...to myself.  Because it's just what I need to keep doing this today. 

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Those Sweet Cheeks

I'm interrupting the crazy stories of how God worked to write a little "everyday" post of what life is like on a daily basis with sweet B.  Hoping I can satisfy some curiosity as well as educate a little on how best to pray for us and treat Brooklyn when you see us out and about.

First, I can't remember if I ever told you what "biliary atresia" is!  So for those of you who haven't asked Google yet, my most simple explanation is this: Everyone has ducts that lead from the liver to the small intestine.  The liver produces bile, and the ducts remove it from the liver and dump it into the small intestine.  This is what makes your poop brown.  (Gross, I know, but now you have your fun poop fact for the day!  I know you needed one of those, right?)  A person with biliary atresia (BILL-ee-airy uh-TREE-shuh) was born with ducts that are blocked, so the bile can't make it out of the liver.  Bile is toxic and causes liver damage and ultimately liver failure.  Sometimes a surgery called the "Kasai procedure" can be done, which reroutes the flow of bile and extends the life of the liver, but it needs to be done early enough in life (by 3 months old) to keep the liver from sustaining significant damage.  Without a successful Kasai procedure, a child cannot typically live past the age of 2 years old with biliary atresia.

So, there's my non-medical and probably not 100% accurate explanation.  But now you know.  {Cue shooting star with rainbow.}  In terms of Brooklyn's little body, she was given the Kasai procedure at around 4 months old, which is too late.  Her liver was already damaged and thus the older she got, the more that liver started shutting down.  We found out about her when she was 9 months old.  She weighed 10 lbs.  (The liver processes certain fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, & K, and they're needed for proper nutrition.  Since children with liver damage/failure cannot process those vitamins, they often have trouble putting on weight and getting the proper nutrition to help their little bodies grow.)  She had a big "buddha belly," caused by acites (ah-SITE-ees, which means there is fluid in her belly as a complication of liver failure), but her chest, arms/hands, legs/feet, and little booty were so, so tiny.  The doctors in China gave her a 50% chance of living 4-6 months.

PS: We are now at 6 months from that original prognosis!  {High five!}

Since October, Brooklyn has made it up to 15 lbs and grown 1 inch taller!  Yeah, girl!  And her development in all areas is just flourishing.  We're so proud of our Little Biscuit!  Lots of people (including us) are so surprised when they first meet Brooklyn, because she is tinier in person than she appears in pictures.  She has these sweet chubby cheeks and that big buddha belly, and they don't realize that her feet don't even fit in 3-6 month-size shoes!

(Her latest trick: saying "cheeeeeese!")
So, a day in the life with Brooklyn looks like this:

7-8a - She wakes up and we give her 3 vitamin supplements: a water-soluble combination of vitamins A, D, E, & K, a water-soluble version of vitamin D, and a water-soluble version of vitamin E.

When she first came home, she was gagging on pureed foods, but now she can feed herself finger foods and loves being fed with a fork or spoon.

More poop talk: B's poop is grey/white because it doesn't have bile in it.  Don't worry, it still stinks to high heaven.  ;)

9:30a - Brooklyn drinks a bottle of formula and usually takes a morning nap.
Normally, a 15-month old wouldn't still be drinking formula, but B drinks Pregestimil, which is specially formulated to be easier to digest for babies with fat-soluble digestion issues.  It's also $40/can at retail cost.  {Cha-ching!}  Totally worth it for the weight she's able to continue putting on!

11a - B wakes up, and we eat lunch and play.  She loves pulling up and cruising, she'll obsess over anything paper or plastic (or iPhone--ha), and she adores music.  (If she meets you, she will ask via hand motions if you know "The Itsy Bitsy Spider.")

1-2p - Time for another bottle and another nap!  I call the two-nap phase "nap jail" because you can only really get out of the house between those two naps.  But look at all the napping, uh I mean blogging, oops I mean housework I can get done!

2:30-4p -B wakes up and it's time for more playing!  We usually go pick up Rhet from school around this time.

5p - Dinner time for everyone--Brooklyn eats little bites of what everyone else is having.  Plus Annie's Cheddar Bunnies: her one true love.  ;)

6p- Brooklyn loves splashing in the water at bathtime.  She drinks one more bottle before going to bed around 7p.  I usually give her Benadryl, because hightened amounts of bilirubin (a result of bile) in the blood make your skin jaundiced (as you can see) and itchy.  (B's bili level is up to 23.  A normal level is 0.)  Especially when she's tired, Brooklyn scratches and scratches, and she will often scratch herself so much that she starts bleeding somewhere.  The Benadryl often helps alleviate some of the itchiness.  And thank you Old Navy, for making the only pj's B wears these days because the sleeves fold over and cover her hands in her little 6-9 month jammies!

10:30p - We wake B up to drink a bottle right before we go to bed.

2-4p - On a "good" night, B usually only wakes us up once to drink a bottle in the middle of the night.  (When we first came home, we were on "ever hour/every 2 hours" duty.  {Zzzzzzz})

Also, every minute of every day, have our phone turned on and nearby, because once we get "the call," we'll drop everything and follow our "Liver Call List."  We have an hour to return the call if we miss it, and we have 24 hours to get there after we receive it.

After transplant, Brooklyn will be in-patient at the hospital for about 2 weeks (barring complications) and then we'll stay in the Chicago area for another 2 weeks (totaling a month) so they can keep an eye on her.  Then, we'll come back every week for a month for check-ups, then every other week for a couple months, and then eventually once a month until we reach the one year anniversary of the transplant.  So far, we love Chicago, and we love Lurie, so we hope it stays that way!

One more thing: before transplant, we have to be diligent to keep Brooklyn from getting sick, because she can't be cleared for surgery if she is.  (And because transplants are so time-sensitive, that could cost us a liver!)  Post-transplant, she'll be on immune-supressing medications to keep her body from rejecting her liver, so it will be very very easy for her to catch illness.  That being said, we are being trying to be super vigilant about not exposing her to illness and germs (short of putting her in a bubble).  EVERYONE wants to touch those sweet cheeks of hers, but we're asking everyone (kids AND adults) not to touch her face or tiny little hands.  Thanks for using your super-human willpower!  (Because you guys, she's just so dang adorable!)

Thanks for praying for her and for us.  God is so good to us, and we are enjoying this sweet post-home/pre-liver time to grow our attachments nice and strong.  :)

Monday, April 06, 2015

I've Just Seen a Face

{Psst: There's a new medical update over here today... }

The weeks leading up to seeing Brooklyn's sweet face for the first time are remarkable when I look back and think about them.

I was still sorting out the medical bills/insurance mix-up hassles.  Rhet and I had started back to school that fall, and we were adjusting to our new schedule.  I inevitably got a respiratory virus that was being passed around, and it took me almost a whole month to shake it off.  After it came back with a vengeance, I high-tailed it to my parents' house in Atlanta for help and rest.  We had fall break that week, and Rhet and I went early in the week and Nick joined us later for a few days.

The day we arrived, I had a missed call on my phone from a number I didn't recognize.  It's here in the story that I need to push rewind for a second...

****
A year and a half earlier, I had been praying for a 7-month-old little girl in China.  A friend had been advocating for her, and her picture just stuck with us.  Her file was not complete (nor was it being worked on at the time), so I just prayed and prayed for her family...and I prayed for us...that maybe we could be her family.  She had a medical condition I had never heard of before: biliary atresia.  I googled it and internet-researched it (yeah, the best kind of research right? ;) ) and just prayed.  Biliary atresia seemed big and scary.  And yet I just prayed....Lord, please find her a family.  Lord, please let us be the family.  Nick wasn't feeling it.  We had just gotten rolling on our Dave Ramsey quest--we still had all of our debt.  We didn't have any space for a new kiddo.  He didn't feel led to say yes.  And that is the way things go.  One person feels the pull, the other person isn't on the same page.  You live in the tension.  You pray and talk and one of you moves.  It requires lots of respect and communication and open hearts and a commitment not to harbor resentment, and it is really hard.  I think most adoption stories for most families probably include a piece of that.  But you move forward, knowing that you both have your family's best interests and God's leading on your hearts, and you'll make a decision...together. We decided that I could fill out a Family Profile for the adoption agency in order to find out more about her if and when her file was completed, but otherwise, I moved--this time was a "no."
****

So I listened to the voicemail from the unknown number.  A year and a half later, it is a representative from the adoption agency whose voice I'm hearing.  The message was vague: Can you please call me back?  I have something I need to ask you.  The voicemail was out of the clear blue and it perplexed me.  I stood in my parent's driveway, alone, just wondering.  I called her back and got her voicemail.  I googled her name--she is the coordinator for the China Hosting Program.  Ahhh, she wants to know if we could host a child next summer, I guess.  Um, lady?  Do you know we are already stacked on top of each other in our itty bitty house?  I dismiss the message in my mind.

But all week, my mind went back to it.  Is that what she really wanted?

I received a text from my dear friend Brooke, a matron of honor in my wedding, on the same day that I received the voicemail from the adoption agency.  The message says: We must talk.  Been way too long.  You've been showing up in dreams!  For real!  I figure it's a sign.  We played phone tag for the next couple of weeks.

The week at my parent's house was just what we needed.  Relaxing, recovery from illness, playing, sunshine, date nights, just enjoying being together. Nick and I even took the plunge and updated our "archaic" phones.  Our family of three drove back to Memphis at the end of that week feeling lighter and more restful.

Nick was unpacking the car that night while Rhet helped, and I flopped on the bed for a minute to stretch out from the long roadtrip.  I went to Facebook on my phone, and my eyes were drawn to the picture of a baby girl staring back at me.  A friend had reposted her picture from a China Waiting Child Advocacy page.  She was 9 months old.  With biliary atresia.  (Yep, I know what that is.  I've been sitting with that idea for a year and a half.)  Her name was Brooke.  (Brooke!  She's been having dreams about me...)  Nick came in the house with another suitcase and I called out to him, "Hey Nick!  Come look at this little girl..."

"Oh geez..." he mutters with a smile as he takes my phone.  He looks at her a second longer than usual.  "She is adorable," he says, his voice softening.  My heart leaps--NOT Nick's usual response.

I've written about what our decision-making process was like that week.  What I didn't include is that we'd seen a house we were interested in the previous week when we were in Atlanta.  We contacted our realtor and set up a time for me to go see it while Rhet was in school on Monday.  It was small--not much bigger than what we currently live in now.  But it was cute and staged well and it was in a neighborhood close to where Rhet and I went to school.  I brought Nick and Rhet to see it on Tuesday, and in those 24 hours between Monday and Tuesday we ran the numbers with our mortgage broker and talked seriously about living there.  There wasn't a lot of room in the house to play, but it had a big yard.  There wasn't room for family/friends to stay with us when they visited, but we could just pile into one bedroom and put our guests in the other.  There wasn't an extra room for an another kiddo, but we could just put Rhet in the master bedroom with the alcove off of it and put a crib in the alcove.  We all walked out of the house talking about the purchase.  We promised to be in touch, Nick got in his car parked on the street and waited for us to back out of the carport, which I'd parked under due to the rain.

Scrrrrraaaaaape.  My driver's side mirror scraped along the side of the house.  AUGHH!  I immediately re-centered the car and tried again.  Scrrrrrraaaaaape.  My passenger's side mirror scraped along the other side of the carport.  No no no!!!  I can't explain what physiologically and emotionally happened to me in that moment.  I know I'm sounding melodramatic, but as I finally got the car backed out the carport and backed down the driveway and scrrrrrrrraaaaaped the bottom of the car as I pulled onto the street, it was like a clean break.  I rolled down the window and said to Nick, "Did you just see that?"  "Yeah, bummer," he replied.  And in my mind, it was done.  There was no way we could buy that house.  The scrapes on my mirrors had just snapped me back to reality.  Nope, not our house.

Now as I think about that day, it feels like God was saying "You can NOT buy this house."  There wasn't enough room for Brooklyn over the next 5 years, and more importantly, if we had put that sale into motion, we could not have pursued her adoption.  The agency wanted someone who was already paper-ready for a China adoption (meaning their dossier was already sent to China).  We were not, but we promised to move swiftly.  USCIS requires that you re-submit paperwork for any address changes--we would have had to wait 30 days to close on that house and then get new clearances on several different levels.  It just would've set us too far back.

The day after we committed to pursuing Brooklyn's adoption, I finally got in touch with the woman from the other adoption agency with whom I'd been playing phone tag for a good two weeks.  She was actually calling to offer me a referral for a little girl with congenital heart disease.  My jaw dropped.  What if I had answered her call that first day of fall break?

****
I've just seen a face
I can't forget the time or place
Where we just met

She's just the girl for me
And I want all the world
To see we've met
Mmm, mmm, mmm, mmm mmm mmm

Had it been another day
I might have looked the other way
And I'd have never been aware
But as it is I'll dream of her tonight
La, di, di, da di di

Falling, yes I am falling
And she keeps calling
Me back again

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Medical Update, Web Address Update, and a Heap of Gratitude

There is a new medical update on our page--Brooklyn's hernia surgery was moved up a couple days.

In other news, you can now access this page with the old web address OR my new one:
www.jessefaris.com

Also, as I sit at this desk with four stacks of unopened and unused thank you cards, all ready to send to all of you, I just want to say: thanks.  For your open hands, for your constant prayers, for your selfless help, and for your crazy grace that has me feeling so grateful without a chance to catch up and send a proper thank you.  Until I get there, know I'm feeling it!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Way Way Back

Bear with me, friends, as I attempt to tell the story God has been writing.  To begin, we must start with some setup.  These are the things that can only be traced in hindsight...

In February 2014, I attended a favorite retreat for adoptive mom's called Created for Care.  One of my "take-aways" from the retreat that weekend (through several different sessions and conversations) was that I needed to listen to God in a more focused way.  In the minivan on the drive back, a group of dear friends challenged me in this.  And so I began to make an effort to listen.

I didn't grow up with an emphasis around me on listening to God or hearing God speak.  That was a little too "out there"...a little too charismatic-sounding for the denomination in which was raised.  I prayed.  I've been counseled by the Holy Spirit through people and Scripture.  But feeling prompted by God or hearing God was a little beyond my comfort zone.  Even typing it now, that I felt prompted by God or told by God to do something...it feels weird to me.  So I just need to tell you that that was my starting point.

My first time of focused, intentional, quiet listening to the Lord after I returned from the retreat, I wrote down two things:
1. We should ask our landlord if we can buy the house we've been leasing from him.
2. I needed to ask my friend Amy if she had any positions available for teaching at her preschool (to kick paying off our debt into a higher gear).

We've been leasing this little 900-square-foot house since I moved in after grad school in 2005.  That's right...this April, I will have lived in this house for 10 years!  I never imagined Nick and I would live here together for 9 years, start our family here, continue our family here...!  We seriously could have paid off the house by now.  While that could make me a little sick with regret, I'm also so thankful for the many years of NON-homeownership that we've lived through--being able to make changes in this house without paying for them, repairs and replacements that were required without our financial responsibility.  The 6-month lease I signed in 2005 has led to a decade of good memories and lessons in contentment.

We started to take a closer look at our house.  What would we change?  What were its flaws and strengths?  We have definitely redefined our definition of "cramped" for the last 5 years as we added another dog (totaling 2), then added a kid, then lost a dog...(and of course now added another kid!)  We desire more space for the future, but we also love the idea of being able to pay off a house quickly.  In examining our house with a more critical eye (the kind you have to a blinder on most of the time to enjoy contentment with you have), we realized there are some things we didn't think we could change about the house that we also didn't want for our family long term.

Simultaneously, I contacted my friend Amy, who is the director at a local preschool.  She didn't have any available positions at the school, but she told me she could definitely use me as a substitute teacher if I was able to fill in that way.  Something was better than nothing, although I wasn't quite sure what I would do with Rhet on the days I was substituting.  I filled out the application and visited Amy at her office.  In the meantime, a good friend who taught at the school was getting ready to take a maternity leave.  It started lining up in just the right way at just the right time that perhaps I could fill in as a teacher's aid in the class my friend was about to be leaving....  With a regular position, they were able to make a spot for Rhet in the 3-year-old class.

And so began last spring, pondering what we wanted in a future house (whether in the one in which we were living or elsewhere) and starting a part-time gig with small people.

In the busy-ness, I started developing this pain in my right molars.  I visited the dentist, convinced it was cavity-related, but they couldn't find anything wrong.  The pain spread up my jaw, and it would come and go intermittently.  After a few weeks, it consumed the entire right side of my face and it would bring me to tears it was so intense.  It happened on the way to school, at school, after school, and it even woke me in the middle of the night.  I visited my general practitioner who referred me to an ENT.  I went back to the general practitioner and then back to the ENT.  I finally went back to the general practitioner who referred me to a neurologist, and the neurologist sent me in for an MRI and diagnosed me with trigeminal neuralgia.  I was so desperate for relief from the pain, and I was so thankful to finally find a source.  At the same time, this whole "no cure" except for a really invasive surgery thing had me entirely freaked out.  I was put on anti-seizure medication, which left me feeling really tired and out of it, it affected my bladder in my weird way, and it even changed the way I smelled tasted things.  (I could not stand the smell of tap water!)  BUT, it IMMEDIATELY stopped the terrible pain, and that was enough for me.  I resigned myself to being on the medication for the rest of my life or until surgery was needed.

School ended, the summer began, and our May and June months were pretty busy.  I finally became irked enough with the side effects of my medication that I called my neurologist's office during a trip to Nashville.  She told me they'd switch medications to see if my side effects were alleviated, but she recommended I try not taking any medication at all for a couple of days.  If I experienced the face pain, I could immediately start the new meds.  This was a weird idea for me, but in the midst of all-day meetings for a training we were at, I went ahead and gave it a whirl.

The pain never came back.  I barely believed it, and completely credited it to a miracle healing.  For real.

That summer, we contacted a realtor and began casually looking at homes and figuring out what we wanted/liked, with the goal of maybe finding something by the spring of the next year.

We also took a trip to Chicago over the summer, as I tagged along with Nick for work.  We fell in LOVE with the city--we had great weather and a great time.  I ventured out everyday on my own, learning how to navigate the trains and buses.  The conference Nick attended is held annually, and we looked forward to returning again to Chicago for the next one.

And then, strangely, we started receiving medical bill after medical bill.  They were charging us full cost for the myriad of dr's appointments and tests I had received in the spring.  It was such a mystery, and as soon as I called and resolved one bill, another would show up for the same appointment or test.  After a bit, we figured out that Nick's employer had forgotten to sign us up for health insurance that year--somehow, we had just slipped through the cracks.  The retroactively added us, it didn't "take," they retroactively added us again, it didn't "take" again, and then finally they resolved the problem once and for all.

That fall, I continued working at the preschool as a permanent teacher's aid in a different class.  I received a discount on tuition and after-care, which allowed Rhet to start Jr Kindergarten there with my good friend (who was back from maternity leave).

I started reading through a great book entitled "The Best Yes" and meeting with friends every other week to discuss it.  It was all about how to make decisions that honored the Lord and discerning where He was leading.

And that brings us up to October, the month we saw B's face for the first time. (The two weeks leading up to seeing her picture get a post of their own!)

Hindsight has shown me God's hand in many ways:
  • I needed to be able to listen to God before I could have heard Him telling us we needed to pursue Brooklyn.  The challenging conversation with my friends last February and the paradigm shift it caused as well as reading through "The Best Yes" with friends in the fall were so instrumental in this.
  • Thinking about houses and whether we could/should stay in this one and eventually the decision to look for a house to buy influenced Brooklyn's adoption by getting us ready for change.  We were looking to the future and evaluating what our growing family would need in the future.  We were discussing debt and budgets and timelines.
  • The job!  It helped us continue paying off debt, it gave Rhet a great school opportunity for this year, and (this was SO HUGE) it gave me so much flexibility to complete paperwork as fast as I could this fall.  There were several days I took off while Rhet went to school, and Rhet was able to stay in aftercare many afternoons when I was rushing around town.  The teachers even gave up Secret Santa during the holidays to take up a donation for our adoption expenses instead.  We were so so so blessed by the school and my job this past year.  Even now, Rhet has a stable school schedule with people we love and trust during this time of transition.  We could NOT have sped through the adoption as quickly as we did (which means maybe we could not have even adopted B at all) if it had not been for the preschool!  
  • I still can not believe that I have not had one reoccurrence of trigeminal neuralgia symptoms.  I firmly believe God healed me from it so that I would be free to pursue this adoption.  I also think it was used to show us the problem with our health insurance so that we could get ready to bring B home.  We learned much more about our deductible and benefits through my whole ordeal, and we got all of the mess straightened out.  And if I had still been suffering from the condition during the adoption process, I would have had to get special permission and fill out extra paperwork to make an allowance for my health status.  With the whole thing in the past, we were able to bypass all of that.
  • The trip to Chicago, y'all.  I still can't believe everything has led us back to Chicago.  When we were looking at programs on our approved "centers of excellence" list with short, direct flights, Chicago practically stood out in lights.  Not only did we have HUGE emotional support from dear friends-like-family there, but I felt so comfortable with the idea of going there alone and getting around the city and being in that big urban jungle because of my time there last summer.  Also, I had tasted and seen the awesomeness that is Garrett Popcorn.  ;) 
I can't wait to tell you what happened in October leading up to Brooklyn's "Face Day."  It is wild and only of God, as is every single step along this journey.  To be continued...!

Adopting Rhet: Click on the timeline above to read more