a little and a lot

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Home Again Home Again Jiggity Jig

Hello from the land of bottles, bibs, and baby babbles!  Over here on the blog, no news has been good news--in the true fashion of this adoption process, we received last minute travel approval to go get Brooklyn, and we jumped on a plane 2 days later.  Fifteen days later, we returned to Memphis with our new daughter!

The past couple of weeks have been a blur of transition, but I'm ready to tell the story God has been writing about His glory and His great love for Brooklyn.

First things first, though, because I know you guys are wanting an update.  Here it is, in bullet points:

- We were able to get Brooklyn in to see our GI Team in Memphis a day and a half after returning from China.  Her blood labs returned with some good (normal) numbers and some pretty bad numbers.  We expected this, so there were no surprises there.  She is in liver failure, she does need a transplant, but her health for the time being is stable.

- Later that first week we were home, we got some news that initially disappointed us: our health insurance will not cover a transplant here in Memphis.  They require that we go elsewhere to a designated "center of excellence," which are centers that meet a certain criteria set by the insurance company (including number of transplants done per year, success rates, cost effectiveness, etc.).  While we were still dealing with our first week home and jet-lagging, this news was a little overwhelming to take in.  The closest center of excellence to us does not have any direct flights to it, and it takes about 5 hours of driving time.  But we started looking at the list of approved centers for pediatric liver transplants, and we realized something that changed our perspective: yes, traveling elsewhere is inconvenient and uncomfortable, but we have the change to CHOOSE where our child will receive care.  And we had some great choices as far as programs go.  So, we looked at that list with new eyes, pitting programs against each other, looking at success rates & wait times, and considering national rankings.  We chose Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago--they have relatively inexpensive and short direct flights from Memphis, they are ranked #2 in the nation for GI/GI surgery, and most providentially, Chicago is the home of a very special person to us--the woman who found Brooklyn in her orphanage and advocated for her, which led to our agency working to complete her file and find a family for her, and you mostly know the rest of that story!  ;)  Another friend who just took the enormous burden of fundraising off of our plates lives just 2 hours away from Chicago.  Between the two of them, they have an army of friends who have already supported us financially and in prayer.  We are confident (and oh-so-humbled!) that we will be well taken care of in Chicago.  (Also, you may remember my fun little tag-along trip with Nick to Chicago back in June--I fell in love with the place and had a lot of fun exploring with the trains and buses.)

- We're set up for an evaluation next Tuesday (February 17th) at Lurie, after which Brooklyn will be placed on the transplant list.  More to come about what all of that will involve.

- Our family transition has been fun, hard, joy-filled, frustrating, lots of work, and completely covered with help and prayers from people we love.  (THANK YOU, Team Brooklyn!!!)

Many people have asked how they can help, so here are some immediate needs:
- Formula!  Brooklyn's liver can't process the some of the nutrients in regular formula, so we are feeding her special formula called Pregestimil.  You can order it online through Amazon, Walmart, Walgreens, etc or I can also order it through my local pharmacy.  It ranges in price from $28-38 per 1 lb can, and we go through 1 can every three days or so.  (Cha-ching!!)  We would be SO grateful, if you want to send us formula or a gift card to help us purchase it!

- My friend Elizabeth set up a Meal List for us, and your food has been manna from heaven!  I can't tell you how awesome it is not to have to worry about grocery shopping and cooking as we deal with transitioning and getting our medical help lined up!  Several friends from out of town even signed up, and have told us they'll have something delivered.  (In the process, I found this nifty meal delivery service that will deliver from several restaurants in our area!)

- Giftcards to Target--we're still making those "oh, I forgot we would need that for a baby" trips.  :)

- Cash to help with our many trips to Chicago this year!  We're keeping the Razoo site open for now to help with medical costs, but we may switch over to something more medically related in the future.

- Diapers are always welcomed--Little Biscuit is currently a size 2, and we've been using Pampers Swaddlers.  (We also like Pampers Cruisers once she's big enough, but her little 14-lb self is so teeny that they don't sell them in her size yet!)

- We are good on clothes for a bit, although I know it is so much fun to shop for baby girls!  (In fact it is so much fun, I like to do the shopping!  Old Navy, Baby Gap, Target, and Carter's are our favorites for little girl clothes.)

We are so, so thankful for all of your prayers and well-wishes.  I can't even begin to tell you how much God has done and used you to do, but I'm going to attempt to tell the story of His provision and power over the next few weeks during naptimes!  


Adopting Rhet: Click on the timeline above to read more