Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Day 24 - Rosie, Carlie, Maisey, Nathaniel

I had the opportunity to share on 28 Days of Hearts last year. Read 2015

What a year it has been. So much has happened in the past year, so many miracles. It was a year filled with love…and joy…and hope.

Today marks two years since we met Rosie. I’m filled with joy, because that day was a completely amazing day, but there are also tears over the fact that she’s not here to celebrate with us. So much has changed in just two short years. Our family has grown by five, making us a family of eleven.  In May, it’ll have been two years since she gained her angel wings and half of my heart resides in Heaven with her. I’m so thankful that I have pictures like this one…

Celebrating her first birthday in Heaven with a monkey cake

Carlie had her first open heart surgery on April 3rd. Instead of staying at our local hospital, we made the decision to travel to Boston. To be honest, I was quite nervous when Carlie left for surgery. The last time I saw Rosie alert and happy was right before her surgery. Memories of those days spent with Rosie before surgery flooded my mind the weeks before Carlie’s surgery. During her surgery, the surgeon ended up ditching all the potential plans and instead performed a modified Glenn to her right pulmonary artery and a shunt to her left pulmonary artery. Her body handled it miraculously well, and she came home a short seven days later (without oxygen!).

Watching her transformation has been breathtaking. When we met Carlie in China, she was barely surviving. Now, she is thriving. In August, we celebrated her ninth birthday. And while she is still super small, she definitely has enough sass for a nine year old!

In December 2015, Carlie once again traveled to Boston with my mom. Three months earlier, the doctors had told us she was in the beginning stages of heart failure. She underwent her second surgery on December 14 and ended up receiving a full Fontan circulation. Although she still has some issues with her only valve (common AV valve) being leaky, the surgery went really well. We were amazed once again.  God clearly has mighty plans for this girl!

“She was awake enough to play with her doll while still on the ventilator!

Maisey recently had her one year heart checkup. The doctor says she looks great and he’ll see her in two years! Her ASD has closed itself and her VSD is so small it just needs to be watched.  Maisey is our little ball of energy and keeps us all laughing. While she still doesn’t talk (believe me, she makes PLENTY of noise), she communicates everything through ASL (American Sign Language). After getting her hearing checked three times, getting ear tubes, and finding a new doctor, she will be starting aural rehab/listening therapy next month. She has mild hearing loss, so hearing aids may be in her future. In October, we celebrated Maisey’s seventh birthday.

I stand amazed at how much has happened in the past two years. I vividly remember the days I spent with Rosie here on this earth. Those were beautiful days. I can still recall her cute voice calling my name at the top of her lungs. I watch videos of her doing ‘nastics and giggling over everything. And I listen every morning to her wind chimes that hang on our porch… Reminding me just how precious life is.   

And while (temporarily) losing her was hard, she was completely worth it. Rosie was my sister inside and out. Genetics didn’t mean anything. We loved each other with our whole hearts. And while that made her leaving 10x harder, it made her being here 100x more awesome. She rocked my world in the very best way possible and showed me how to have genuine and unspeakable joy. I love her so much.

Right now my mom and older sister are in China. Three little boys have just joined our family! One of them, Nathaniel, was Carlie’s crib mate from their orphanage (Carlie, Rosie, Maisey, and Nathaniel are all from the same orphanage). We met Nate in December 2014, and knew that we wanted to get him help. Little did we know that we were his family! Nate has a large ASD, which was surgically repaired in China, and untreated hydrocephalus. His heart will be fully assessed upon arriving home.

My two other brothers who recently joined our family are, Adam, who is eight years old, and Collin, who is six months old. Adam has arthrogryposis and loves to be silly. Collin has biliary atresia and is in liver failure. He is currently hospitalized in Guangzhou. They are hoping to fly home this Saturday.

Thank you for taking the time to read the story that God is writing. I am amazed and in awe at how God works. Sometimes it doesn’t make sense, and sometimes it’s a bit messy, but it all works out in the most beautiful of ways. 



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