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Monday, December 19, 2011

Countdown and Cookies

It's getting close, close to Christmas, close to the end of the year, and close to Christmas. Scorpion Tornado is now considered full term which means he could come any day. According to my doctor we probably still have a couple weeks which is good news because we're in no hurry to have our hands more full!!

I'm trying to focus on enjoying this extra time with just the three of us but I am pretty good at distracting myself from what really matters- the present. Nevertheless, I think just an awareness of how precious these moments are is a start. Today Anellah and I tried to potty train, it felt like a failure of a day but in reality it meant we spent A LOT of time together and she enjoyed it because I was almost 100% focused on her all day. Daniel and I have also been going on lots of lunch dates on his days off which are fun and special since it won't be so easy to be spontaneous in a few weeks.
Yesterday we had fun with our friends Lindsay (my friend from growing up in Fall City) and her daughter, Katy. We made over 300 cookies to give away and just had a good time being together. If you want some cookies feel free to stop by!!

In case I don't post again before then, Merry Christmas every one! 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Childcare Approved!!

I received the following email from Anellah's social worker today, 

Hi Lindsey -

Just got word yesterday that the childcare funding was approved again!   Why can't anything so right be so easy!!  We'll resubmit the paperwork today.
Kimberly   

I read it three times before believing it. So simple? I only made phone calls, I didn't write letters or go to court. Thank you, God!

In other praise: 

Anellah is loving preschool! We went again today for about an hour and tomorrow she'll go to two hours (one hour with me and one hour alone). Tuesday she will be there for three hours (one hour with me, two hours alone). The location is very set on a SLOW transition time but I think that may be more for their staff than for Anellah. Regardless, she'll do great.

Anellah is also really working on her speaking skills! Yesterday she said, "Moon! Moon! I SEE Moon!" Here's a photo of her at speech therapy this morning. It looks like hard work doesn't it?


In Baby News: Last night we went to visit the Birth Center at Alta Bates where we'll be having Scorpion Tornado (ie. Baby). It made things really real!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Fun Days

I'm not sure how I've managed to stay so busy despite not working, Daniel says, "It's because you're Lindsey Royal." I think it may be a combination of that and the fact that God was sparing a few things from occurring until I had time for them! Every day I am so thankful for this time to be on leave and focus on enjoying time with Daniel and Anellah while still being able to do everything else that needs to be done.

This morning we were able to have a "Fun Day" and go to San Francisco on the ferry with some friends. All the kids (and Moms) had a great time. I felt privileged to finally be able to participate in a play day!

Riding the ferry and sharing PB & J with Jack

Visiting the Sea Lions
Paige, Penny, Jack, and Anellah
This week I have spent a lot of time meeting with and getting things organized for Anellah to start preschool. It is proving to take a lot more time than I had expected and I know I would not have been able to put in this time if I were still working. Anellah and I really like all the staff at the preschool location she will be attending and today she was even able to play with some of the kids. She absolutely loved it and did not want to leave. I tried to take a photo of her playing but she was too busy to look at the camera.

I have also been in touch with attorneys, advocates, social workers, etc. because the contract which authorizes payments for Anellah's childcare have not been renewed. The person who renews these contracts is the same person whom we have struggled with in the past regarding adoption payments. I have not attempted to contact her directly as in the past she refused to return my phone calls or meet with Daniel or I. It is an unusual case that the county will pay for childcare for a foster child but they were paying for Anellah because there were no other placement options and it was cheaper for her to have childcare subsidized than for her to live anywhere other than our home. In preparation for the transition out of foster care (and therefore becoming our sole financial responsibility) I spent the last 6 months getting her into Early Head Start so that we would only have to pay for HALF day childcare when I return to work and the adoption is finalized. We were not given any warning that the childcare payments would stop nor were we requested to decrease the number of hours (we did that of our own accord) but despite these facts one person has again decided to complicate matters and leave us fighting for what we feel is best for Anellah. Thankfully, as usual, we have a lot of people fighting for us and I have three irons in the fire to remedy the situation. Please pray that it is remedied quickly as we need a solution by the end of December which does not leave many business days. We do not want to have another big transition for Anellah around the time of Baby Boy's birth (which is why we attempted to start preschool as quickly as possible not knowing it would take 6 months!) so please pray that the solution will be for her to stay with her current daycare provider for the half days she is not at preschool.

We are thankful for each of you who support us including the Roths who invited us to spend Thanksgiving with them!
Making our contribution to the Thanksgiving Feast
Loving the piano music 
Notice the festive "pumpkin belly"

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

We are thankful for everything in our lives right now. We are thankful for the home God has given us, the family and friends he has surrounded us with, and the way he is constantly showing Himself in new and unique ways. Thank YOU for partnering with us in prayer and other types of support as we venture on this journey of our expanding family.

Yesterday Anellah wore an outfit with a turkey on it that says, "Everyone is Thankful for Me." When I bought it last year for $2 I had no idea how fitting it would be. Anellah is such a joy and an example of one who thrives against all odds. We are thankful for her because our experiences and struggles surrounding fostering, parenting, and loving her have shown us so much about God's provision and about ourselves.

This past weekend my parents came to visit so that they could watch Anellah and we could celebrate our anniversary. Unfortunately we don't have many pictures since we lost our camera but here are a few taken with my phone at Harley's Goat Farm.



Have a wonderful Thanksgiving everyone!!

Friday, November 18, 2011

A Time of Rejoicing


Just over a month ago I started a post with the following verse which was also my prayer at the time,

Isaiah 41:10 

So do not fear, for I am with you; 
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.


A few verses later Isaiah 41 reads, 

Isaiah 41:16b

But you will rejoice in the LORD
 and glory in the Holy One of Israel.

We are definitely now in the season of peace and rejoicing. Seemingly overnight we transitioned from one of the busy-est and most difficult times in our lives to a time of relaxation. Anellah has returned to daycare and I will continue to be on maternity leave until after the baby is born. This means lots of time for getting our house back in order and catching up on everything that has fallen through the cracks over the past six months. 

We were also able to come to a compromise with Head Start and Daycare so that she will be able to attend half-day daycare four days/week beginning on December 1st. I'm glad we can make the transition before the baby comes and she has that to adjust to also.

Speaking of the baby, another praise is that I had an ultrasound this week and the partial placenta previa which was observed on a previous ultrasound has resolved on it own! The baby is also positioned appropriately so being breech should not be a problem. We have the green light to try to have this baby without a mandatory c-section.

Here are some pictures of Anellah "rejoicing through dance" in her unique way. :)


 


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Surgery - 2 Weeks Out

I just wanted to give everyone a quick update that Anellah had a follow up appointment yesterday with her surgeons and everything looks just as expected! When I asked the neurosurgeon about the chances Anellah would need to have the surgery repeated when she is older he said, "Well it's not zero, but it's not high. You'll keep seeing us about once a year until she's 8 years old." That was a lingering question I had had in my head and am glad to have answered.

In the waiting room we also met another kid who had the same surgery a couple years ago and you definitely could not see his scar as it was hidden under his hair.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Half Moon Bay

We arrived home yesterday evening after a fun weekend with our small group in Half Moon Bay.


We were slightly hesitant about going since it was so close to Anellah's surgery and she had gotten pretty whiny on Thursday and Friday morning. But we're glad we went because by Friday afternoon she was a happy little girl again and had fun with her three buddies (10 months, 22 months, and 3 years old). We even bundled up and went to the beach which she LOVED!


On the drive home we took a short jaunt to Pescadero so that we could visit Harley's Goat Farm. Then took the scenic route up Highway 1. It was a fun and relaxing drive.


Yesterday was Anellah's first pain-medicine free day which is exciting! Her hair is starting to cover her scar and the swelling has gone down enough that it's not super-obvious something happened to her. Her right eye still has some swelling which makes her eyelid droop, I'm hoping that will go away soon.

In other news- 
  • Things are going well with Anellah's Mom. She has been very appreciative that we are "treating Anellah like your own kid" which is what we consider her to be. She has stated multiple times that she would not have been able to support her through the surgery process and is thankful we were there to do so. Legally Anellah's Mom does not have any rights other than what is written up in our adoption contract (one visit per month and two phone calls per month plus being updated about Anellah's health status) but as long as things continue to go well we feel that it is healthy for both Anellah and her Mom to keep in touch with each other more frequently than that. The next court date is set for February and there probably won't be any adoption updates/changes until then.
  • I am thoroughly enjoying my maternity leave, although I haven't actually DONE much baby planning at least I have time to think about it and enjoy these last few weeks of pregnancy. My belly continues to grow but I'm still relatively comfortable and would say I've had a pretty easy pregnancy! I'm even sleeping better now that I don't have so much stress and anxiety.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Post Op Days 6&7- One Week Later

Our little girl is back! She is still a little on the tired/fussy side but for the most part, Anellah has returned to herself. She had a relatively normal sleep, eat, and play schedule today which included lots of talking and singing. She even had a short session with her physical therapist (she normally sees Kristin weekly) who remarked that her stability and ability to stand upright had already begun to improve!!

Yesterday we noticed that Anellah had a significant cough which was still present today but had improved. It seems she caught a cold but her body has been able to fight it off relatively well.
Found a costume that fits over her swollen head! She loved it even though we never left the house.
As you can see, the swelling in her face is continuing to decrease pretty much hourly. It's amazing.
Today she looks A LOT more like Anellah
I am so thankful to not have to be at work. Anellah continues to have LOTS of appointments to shuffle (weekly physical therapy, weekly early childhood development, weekly speech therapy, multiple surgery follow ups, a liver ultrasound, pediatrician appointments, social workers, attorney, etc. etc.) but I am able to easily schedule them without the stress of trying to shuffle my work schedule! I feel relaxed and am really able to enjoy this time with Anellah, Daniel, Anne, and fetus rather than being preoccupied with what I must be forgetting to do.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Post Op Day 5- We're Home

Last night ended up being the only night that I spent at the Hospital since she was moved out of ICU and needed someone to be at her bedside to operate her insulin pump. The accommodations were comfortable but, as with all hospital stays, there were lots of night-time interruptions.
First nap of the day, sharing a bed with Mommy for the first hour
This morning I had resigned myself to leaving tomorrow since Anellah's blood counts were down again. But, evidently all the prayers from our First Covenant Church Family gave the doctors confidence in Anellah's physical state because they discharged us this afternoon! Anellah has a few follow up appointments this week and a few new medications to take for awhile but according to her discharge paperwork she is "ok to return to daycare/school." She is still VERY easily exhausted meaning that she takes lots of naps, that's great for me because I can use the nap time too. She is still taking her pain medicine but it is down to every 6 hours instead of every 4 hours. Her head is continuing to become less and less swollen although I still call her, "my little black-eyed baby."

Finally getting to play with her babies again

We were both SO HAPPY to come home this afternoon. She just wanted to play with her familiar toys and make sure everything was the same as she had left it. And, of course, she was VERY happy Grandma was around to sing to her and read books.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Post Op: Day 4

When I arrived at the hospital around 8am this morning, Anellah was still asleep. Evidently she had slept all night! It was so good to see her sleeping in her usual position- bum in the air- rather than how she'd been sleeping- on her back propped up with pillows.

When she did wake up she was fussy but after some oatmeal, a diaper change, and some pain medicine she was a happy camper.

We went for a wagon ride and she was THRILLED that we found a playground and I let her gently go down the slide.

We moved to a room today out of the ICU. Now we have access to a bathroom, we can talk on our cell phones, eat/drink, and turn around without squeezing past something (even with a pregnant belly!) It's basically like sharing a hotel room with a stranger. :)

According to our surgeon's colleague who is checking his patients over the weekend- we might get to go home tomorrow! He also took off Anellah's "hat" to reveal some nasty matted hair! But the incision is healing well (see photo below if you dare!)

Thank you again for your prayers, support, and visits/food deliveries! It sure beats paying for cafeteria food all the time.





Friday, October 28, 2011

Post Op: Day 3

I think the postings are going to start slowing down again.

Anellah is still rapidly recovering.  She has about 60% of her left eye and 10% of her right eye back in use. She's much happier and much easier to console.  She's playful and active and although she still is in pain you can tell it is much less.

Today she was cleared to move from the I.C.U. to the regular floor, but we are awaiting room availability.  That will allow us a bit more privacy, space, a bathroom, and we can eat and drink.  It seems everything is on track for a timely departure.

We are looking forward to picking up Anne tomorrow evening and the delicious food that is guaranteed (or our money back) after her arrival!

Everyone has still been getting plenty of sleep too!

Thanks for you prayers and support!



P.S.  Anellah will be getting the dressing removed prior to departure, after which there will be no helmet, just a stripe shaved in her head.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Post-Op: Day 2

From our estimation today the worst of the swelling was yesterday!

She is a lot more lively, using her words, eating, playing, singing, dancing and asking for a lot of peanut butter.  To those of you who know her: she is no where near her regular levels at these things, but she's back to her usual making lemonade out of lemons again.



Just this evening her swelling has gone down enough that she's learned she can lift her eyelids (with her fingers) and see.  Nothing has made her happier and smile more than to look around.  Stand by for the update on her upcoming eye infection. :)



As you can see she's in a wagon, we've been making trips around the hospital (mainly to the cafeteria) to air her out.  She loves the wagon.

We are all getting plenty of sleep too!

New news:
-Discharge is more probable for Monday.
-Once she's off an I.V. we'll leave the I.C.U. and have a private room.
-She should be able to start opening her eyes tomorrow (which she has been politely ask for, "Open eyes, please.")




Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Post-Op: Day 1


A Daniel authored post: (Note from Lindsey- sorry about the weird formatting)

Are you ready for an encouraged post?  You’re in luck! Just a warning- it's long.

Things have really been going great since Anellah was admitted to the hospital.  As I’m sure you read in the timeline the surgery is completed and Anellah is in the Pediatric I.C.U. recovering.

I’m sure you’ve also seen the pictures and they may strike some as being concerning.  We’ll give you some more information it put you at ease.

The three surgeons that attended her surgery are top notch.  One from neurosurgery, one plastic surgeon and one for safety.  What more could you ask for?  Although it took almost an hour and a half longer than predicted we were assured that everything went normally and that they are all very pleased with the results.  Better yet we have been visited by at least one of the surgeons daily to check her progress and everything that is occurring is as expected (and normal).  She did receive a ton (not literally) of blood during the procedure and has had to have a little extra so far in her I.C.U. stay.  Not uncommon, but noteworthy.

Right now her face is very swollen from such a traumatic event.  But this is expected.  We were previously warned that the worst of the swelling would be occurring approximately 48 hours after completion, that would be tomorrow afternoon.

As it is she is sleeping a vast majority of the day and feeling very little, if any, discomfort.  She is awake for short periods, usually for medical procedures and tests, and is often very irate for that period.  She is difficult to console and a bit more violent than usual but she recognizes our voice, IS consolable eventually, is eating, drinking and using her words!

Last night after meeting with the I.C.U. staff Lindsey and I felt comfortable enough to come home and sleep.  Early this morning Lindsey went to the hospital and I joined her around noon.  Tonight Lindsey planned to stay at the hospital but ended up deciding to come home. While at the hospital she’s getting a lot of good reading in and is close at hand to help the competent nursing staff.

On the note of the nursing staff…

We have been EXTREMELY encouraged by the competency and communications that have been occurring.  The doctor last night allowed Anellah to stay on her insulin pump and learned how to use it because he recognizes it as a superior form of diabetes control.  They have written orders that Anellah can have a normal (not “diabetic”) diet.  That may sound strange but the “diabetic” diet the hospital follows is poorly organized and understood and restricts many foods to being sugar-free (which isn’t something we/her endocrine team support).  She has had the same nurse both evenings who communicates amazingly, supports our thoughts/opinions and is truly working to make Anellah’s stay efficient.  Expected time of departure from the hospital: Sundayish.

On to closing the loop on the administrative side of the hospital.  The hospital social worker paid us a visit today.  We let her know our frustrations with the hospital administrative side, including that Patient Relations hadn’t even returned our phone call.  She was sympathetic (although she has previously been part of the problem) and arranged for the Patient Relations employee to come visit with us.  Upon meeting her we are resting assured that our experience will be one that the hospital learns from and are expecting written explanation and apology for the ordeal.  We hope it helps others in the future.

I’m reminded of the Israelites slavery in Egypt.  They must have seen each plague as the sure-fire exodus from slavery.  Yet pharaoh’s heart was hardened time after time.  We were so confused and upset time after time when we felt there was no reason for the surgery to be postponed.  But God has a plan and He succeeded as always.  It’s truly humbling to look back at the frustration I lived and know of the faith and peace, which I could have experienced instead.

There ya go! An update, a life lesson and some entertainment, anywhere else you’d have to pay for this!

Quick additional praise list:

-Lindsey doesn’t have to go back to work until March (earliest)
-Anne Royal is coming back to cook and clean for us on Saturday
-Great friends stopping by to see us/bring snacks at the hospital


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Lindsey and Anellah's first day of "bedrest"

4:45am- Parents wake up
5:45am- Leave Home
6:00am- Arrive at Hospital
6:15am- Anellah wakes up
6:30am- PreOp
7:30am- Taken to the Operating Room (in a drugged state)
9:00am- OR called to say surgery commenced (Mom and Dad bored)
4:45pm- Surgery Over!!
5:00pm- Recovery- the swelling has begun!
 5:05pm-But the baby sleeps
We'll be headed home "soon" (whatever that means in hospital terms) and back tomorrow morning. Thank you to everyone for your thoughts and prayers!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Excited for Surgery?

I never thought I would be excited for my child to have surgery. But I AM excited because there is only a LITTLE chance that surgery would be changed/cancelled/postponed at this point.

We are very much indebted to a family member who was able to get us in touch with our Congresswoman's office today. A representative from her office immediately contacted Children's Hospital and it's just amazing how everything else was able to work itself out!

The "correct" court consent was pushed through the courts and should be on file at Children's. I brought Anellah to have her thyroid levels re-drawn today and they had moved from "critical" to "high."

Thank you, everyone, for your thoughts and prayers. They have surely made a difference as things have come together today.

I was also anxious about taking time off work if the surgery was changed because my PTO was slowly being eaten away by all of this surgery preparation. Today my OB put me on disability so knowing I won't need to return to work until AFTER the baby is born is also a huge relief.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Next Layer of Icing on the Cake

You're probably here because you're looking for an update. The update of the day is that the blood test (thyroid level) that was REALLY important to have done today, was forgotten. The lab technician drew blood for the other (less important) lab tests but didn't see the paper for the thyroid test and therefore never drew it. There were a few other issues that we found out about so at this point I'm pretty positive the surgery will not be happening on Tuesday.

Please pray that this prolonged wait (which is occurring due to multiple people making errors) will NOT permanently affect her brain development.

Thanks!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Surgery Probably Postponed...Again

I can't think of anything inspirational to say but I did just want to ask for prayer for a few things:

  • It's looking like Anellah's surgery may actually NOT be happening on Tuesday, please pray that her thyroid level has improved so that the surgeons can proceed safely.
  • Please pray for our family as we're worn out and discouraged, we could definitely use some peace!
Thanks!

Lindsey


Monday, October 17, 2011

Pumpkin Time!

We've been enjoying Daniel's Mom being here and the timing worked out well since our daycare provider decided to take a few days off.

Today I had a meeting which included Anellah's attorney regarding starting preschool and all the delays we've encountered. It's pretty crazy that we're still working on this considering she was accepted and verbally everyone agreed that there wouldn't be an issue back in July! But it sounds like since attorneys are involved things will begin moving rather quickly.

We do have a new surgery date, October 25th, I am told this is "tentative" but haven't been able to get a straight answer as to what may cause it to change. So we're planning on October 25th! Time to start scheduling/rescheduling!

Anellah is doing well, she's happy grandma is here to give extra attention (though probably not as happy as Buddy is!) She's been enjoying lots of reading and singing. We've all been enjoying lots of good food.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Next Steps

We don't have any updates so far on Anellah's surgery. Her endocrinologist wants to talk to the surgeon but they've been playing phone tag. The good news is that due to this whole fiasco, my mother in law has decided to come visit/help out TWICE! I'm super excited about that.

I'm still working on figuring out preschool. I'm learning that it is much more difficult than one would think. Unfortunately despite a lot of laws being present to protect people with disabilities (and diabetes is considered a disability) different organizations can squeeze around them and come to the conclusion that providing for this particular child is not necessarily their responsibility. I thought we had a solution to preschool (that the Head Start program had figured out a way to make things work so that Anellah could attend) but today, after a few phone calls, I am kind of back to square one. The good news- I sat down to do some praying, listening, and thinking, this afternoon with my Bible, my journal, and a cup of tea. I had an idea that I think just might work to get funding for some extra help to enable Anellah to attend preschool! Praying that it was a God-provided epiphany. :)

Regarding adoption- we have more good news and a timeline!! The first court date is set for February 1, 2012. This is just one step in a series so the soonest things would be completed would be six months after that date. August 2012 may been like a long time to wait but we're actually happy to have more time that Anellah is in foster care so we can utilize that to get her into big-kid Head Start for the 2012-2013 school year (pending the above issue getting resolved).

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Rest of the Story

Isaiah 41:10 

So do not fear, for I am with you; 
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

So most of you know bits and pieces of what has been going on lately via Facebook. Here's a more complete picture.

The past month has been filled with making scheduling modifications with our work schedules; juggling my work schedule by finding people to cover for me and changing meetings; postponing and rescheduling Anellah's speech therapy; physical therapy; early intervention sessions, and other appointments (she has about 4 per week); and making other arrangements around Anellah's schedule. I also struggled with coming to terms with the fact that Anellah needs to have surgery and just kept thinking, "She has gone through so much before the age of three, what's the rest of her life going to look like? Will she be able to live a 'normal' life? Will she ever be able to care for a family of her own?" After some much needed quiet time with God at a Women's Retreat I was able to come to terms with these questions. I was READY for the surgery and READY for it to be over!!

Yesterday Daniel took Anellah to her "last" appointment prior to surgery- an MRI under anesthesia and a pre-op appointment. They were expected to be done by 11:30am. Due to ANOTHER error by their scheduling coordinator (I'd given her feedback before about scheduling problems she had caused) Anellah and Daniel were stuck at the hospital for 9 hours and Anellah had to be poked for blood 10 times. Finally, however, they were allowed to leave and told, "see you Monday." That was our first time discovering the surgery had been changed to Monday rather than Tuesday. After they left her bloodwork was reviewed and one of her thyroid levels was abnormally elevated. We were asked to return to the hospital to have the blood drawn AGAIN and if the level was accurate rather than a lab error, the surgery would be postponed.

This morning Anellah and I returned to the hospital to have her blood drawn again. This afternoon I received a call that her thyroid level was at a dangerous place and the surgery would not be performed until further notice. Basically I was devastated and overwhelmed.

But God DOES give strength to the weary, right? And He doesn't give us more than we can handle? So many times I have felt like if He gives me one more trial it will be too much but it's amazing how much more we can stretch than we think we can!

We are so thankful that Anellah is a good sport. Through everything she is happy and smiley. She is still learning and growing despite the fact that she shouldn't be able to based on her thyroid levels being so off and her brain being out of room to grow. But maybe that's one of the miracles God is performing in her life.

Here's an example of Anellah's attitude.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Marathon

Here's a post courtesy of Daniel. I'll add a couple photos tonight.

Life is still a whirlwind.  But there is a lot of positive news to go along with the usual ongoing difficulties.  Anellah has her leg braces and LOVES her "dinosaur legs".  She is continuing to flourish, grow and be generally happy.  And we are all still alive, employeed and have a roof over our heads.

Adoption Update: Anellah's mother has relinquished her rights as a parent to Anellah.  It appears as though now there are no possible large obstacles for adoption.

Surgery: Anellah has an MRI scheduled for October 5th and the surgery on October 11th.  This will require a week long stay at the hospital and a week or two recovery at home.  This will be demanding upon our already stretched and exhausted schedules but with God on our side we are confident.  My mother will be flying down soon after the surgery for a week and a half to help absorb some of the increased demands (by cooking us delicious food and cleaning!) so we are extremely thankful for that as well. 

Pregnancy Update:  Everything seems to be going great with our pregnancy!  We are looking more closely at what post-partum life will be like in the Royal's households and workplaces. 

Pre-School:  No word back from Head Start yet.  Although they have given us written approval for admittance  of Anellah.  They have just asked for time to get everything in line to provide care.

Prayer Requests: 
-Success, quick recovery and peace with Anellah's surgery.
-Praise that Anellah's condition was noted quickly and can be treated.
-Energy, confidence and strength in every day.
-Continued positive adoption and preschool news.
-Lindsey will be able to find nurses to help cover her job so she can take some time off for Anellah's surgery.
-Anellah has a cold, Daniel has been home with her for the last two days monitoring and treating. We're praying she gets well soon and doesn't require any ER visits.

Thanks for praying!!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Moving Forward!

I finally have an adoption update! We are moving forward! The rates that we were waiting on have been approved so we are being offerred a reasonable Adoption Assistance Program (AAP) rate to adopt Anellah. What does this mean? It means that in as little as 4 months Anellah may legally be our daughter!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Home again, Home again

Yesterday evening we returned home from TWO WEEKS of visiting our families. It was a wonderful time during which we were able to visit with ALL Anellah's cousins and aunts, 2 out of 3 uncles, bot sets of grandparents, and even 2 out of 3 sets of GREAT-grandparents! What a special time.

Here are some photos, then an update about Anellah's upcoming cranial surgery, baby boy, and adoption.

Cousin Jacob, Uncle Scott, and Anellah

Grandpa G pulling Anellah and Jacob in Great Grandma's new gardening wagon

Exploring the woods with co-2-year-old cousin Eloise

Playing the piano with Grandma R

About to hop on the foot ferry to Bremerton

Headed to the Kitsap County fair with Grandpa, Mom, and cousins Elo and Anna

Blueberry picking! (we ended up with 10 pounds!)

Experiencing a Fire Hose with Grandpa G and LOVING every minute. The evening ended with a very wet, muddy, tired, and HAPPY little girl.

This morning Daddy took Anellah to have a CT scan which confirmed that she does need cranial surgery. The scan required anesthesia and for her not to eat anything from midnight until after it was complete. According to Daniel she was a champ and the hospital gave her a book, a teddy bear, and a quilt!

In the afternoon Daniel and Anellah met with a bunch of people including two surgeons regarding her upcoming surgery which will take place in less than 6 weeks (we don't have a date yet). The surgery is pretty invasive and involves a large incision into her skull to separate the plates on her skull and allow her brain to grow. She will spend almost a week in the hospital and another few weeks recovering at home. Daniel was told that most parents take 3-4 weeks off from work. Her head will need to be shaved where the incision is made which is a total bummer, any African American woman will tell you this will be a crappy thing since it takes FOREVER for black little girl's hair to grow! We'll do what we can. There are a whole lot of praises in this:


  • The situation was caught early so it doesn't appear Anellah has suffered any negative effects yet. If it had not been caught soon Anellah would have gone blind and then had brain damage.
  • She will be treated by one of the best cranial surgeons in the country and a plastic surgeon is actively involved to minimize cosmetic issues
  • It is not entirely uncommon for children of Anellah's age to have the surgery (as we'd previously thought) and the surgeon actually stated this is a good age because there is less chance that the surgery will need to be repeated as her skull grows
  • Anellah's recovery will NOT involve wearing a helmet for 6-12 months as we'd originally though (yay!)
  • This is all taking place now rather than when we have a newborn in the home
  • Anellah will be surrounded by prayer to a faithful God. 
I am so thankful that God cares not only about the "big" needs of his children but also about our comfort and anxiety. Although I still wish it didn't have to happen, I feel confidence and peace about this surgery.


On another positive note- Baby Boy seems to be developing very well. At each appointment our OB remarks that the baby appears very healthy. He's been moving a lot lately and last night gave Daniel's hand quite a few good kicks over and over again. We tell Anellah about the baby pretty frequently and although she is FAR from able to comprehend the pregnancy she seems to be starting to understand that a new baby brother is coming at some point. I need to take a belly picture, I was going to tonight but forgot. I'll post one when I remember on an evening I haven't already put my PJs on.

Adoption update- I tricked you, there isn't one.