We Continue to Walk for the Lord

I know many of you are curious how things are going with Seth. I’ve just been so exhausted when we arrive home in the evenings, that I don’t do much. πŸ™‚ I hit the ground running in the evenings trying to catch up on laundry, clean dishes, pick up the house a bit, and then go to bed.

Seth is continuing to do well. He is off the oxygen, off the antibiotics, and off the bilirubin lights. His morphine dose has been lowered to twice a day. He is still on phenobarbital as well. However, he can not come home until he goes 5 days off the morphine. We are praying that happens quickly. He has lost weight the past two nights as well. Please pray for him to get off the morphine soon and to gain weight.

Seth is adorable. Many of you know that we were adopting a baby that was caucasian, Vietnamese, and Dominican, and have asked us what ethnicity he is. Well, let’s say this, our neighbor that likes to talk about the “black adopted children” will not be talking about us. We were open to any ethnicity that the Lord chose for our family. However, Seth is pretty much all caucasian-no color. He even has red highlights in his brown hair, just like our family! Ironically, he may turn out to look a lot like the rest of us! God works in mysterious ways. This was just another example of the untruths that we were told during our wait for Seth. Yes, it is sad that he will never know his birth father or any thing about him, all the way to his ethnicity. But, as we’ve been told again and again, Seth hit the “jack-pot” with our family, he is going to have a totally different world to live in with us, he is so blessed to grow up in our family, etc. However, we feel so blessed to have him in our family! Do you know how hard it is to sit there and help the nurse administer phenobarbital and morphine to your newborn baby? How ironic is it that we are happily helping put these drugs in his system? Never would have dreamed of this before on our adoption walk. Never dreamed we would spend a month in NICU visiting our son daily and holding him every moment we are there, only to have to leave him there for the evening again. Some days I want to cry when I leave him and others, I know it is the right thing to do for now-go home and take care of the rest of our family.

I have decided to write a book about large families adopting babies that have to go through withdrawals. I don’t know how quickly I will write it, but I have felt called to write about our journey as I know there are other big families and older parents out there that want to adopt and are considering adopting drug withdrawal babies. If you know anyone considering this walk, I’d be more than happy to speak with them. This has become a new ministry to us. We want to share our walk with others and encourage them in this walk. It is not an easy walk.

Seth finally opened his eyes for us briefly on Sunday night. Then he opened them again yesterday afternoon for a good while. When we arrived this morning, he had his eyes open. He was turning his head all around, looking at the bright, new world. It is so beautiful to finally see his eyes! He has been so drugged up that he did not open his eyes until this point. It was almost as if we were in a drug-induced coma. So exciting to see his eyes and his head turning to look at things. πŸ™‚

Seth is strong. Another prayer answered! He lifts himself up on his elbows and holds his head up in his bed! The people next to us- young couple, with their first baby about had a cow when he did that. They asked if he was going to crawl out of the bed! LOL! Yes, the Lord has answered another one of our prayers-strength for Seth.

Two days ago, I saw two different couples coming and going. They were closer to our age. I just “knew” they were there adopting. I asked the nurses and they said yes, they were there to adopt withdrawal babies as well!!! Praise the Lord, we found new friends to encourage and love while we wait out our time in NICU. I went to their room and introduced myself to them. Their babies were born 4 and 5 days after Seth! One couple is from Connecticut and live just south of where we lived in Connecticut!!! The other couple is from the Midwest-Kentucky! The husband actually lived in Indianapolis for awhile!! Small world, huh? No, it is just beautiful meetings and paths crossing that the Lord has orchestrated. There are no coincidences. None. I was able to see one couple again this morning and then later introduce Steve to the other couple, who just so happen to be staying at their uncle’s about 10 minutes from our house! No coincidences! We are going to have them over for dinner one night. We are hoping the others can come over too, but it looks like they might get to go home this weekend. We are so blessed to have met these couples.

We also met a couple who have a baby girl that arrived 6 weeks early. She got to go home finally today after 4 weeks of staying. She was due a few days after Seth. We also met a family that just had their eigth baby and now have 4 girls and 4 boys. Such a delight to talk with these parents and watch them come in and hold their babies and love on them.

Today we were given permission to take Seth on a “field trip” as the Doctor called it. We rolled him down the hall to visit our adoptive friends. Then we stopped off and had “career day” with the doctor at the desk. He gave us permission to bring our children in tomorrow to see their baby brother for the first time! We have to meet in the family room, but still this is a big step for our children to meet Seth!!! Seth will seem so much more real to them after they get to meet him.

The doctor and I have had lots of chat times. He is from here, but went to Ohio State and Kansas. Steve is from Ohio! Another coincidence. πŸ™‚ Anyway, I’ve enjoyed chatting with him. The first day I met him, I didn’t know he was a doctor and I told him that Seth needed his bottle now. Could he please get one? LOL!!! Later I joked with him that he is dealing with a mother of 7 children and when I am need of something for my son, he better be prepared for me to be telling him what I need! Funny. Years ago I was fearful of doctors. Today I look at them as someone who sleeps, eats, and breathes just as we do! They are people!

The nurses I know all by name now. I always ask who is on duty for the next day. One is named the same as me. We talk about adoption costs, adoption in general, children, school, vacations, you name it, we discuss it. They sit and chat with us while we rock Seth, if they aren’t busy. I can call them any time and ask for the stats on Seth. They have become part of our family. So sweet!

As you can see, I’ve been socializing quite a bit at the hospital! LOL! But, oh, this is my love-people! I am loving the time we have to hold Seth and meet others. I am loving the chance to encourage others on their walk. Such a blessing this hospital stay. Steve has sent me in twice without him and I’ve come back home with new friends both times. πŸ™‚

Our birth mom wanted to come and see Seth again today. She was in on Tuesday too. Today was tougher as she is flying back tomorrow. She spent over 2 hours, holding him, feeding him, diapering him, and taking tons of pictures of him. The first hour she wasn’t so pleasant to me. Steve just kinda stayed back out of the way. By the second hour, she had warmed back up to me. It was scary watching her with him though. She was holding him way up in the air above her head as if he were 6 mths. old. She held him with only one hand propped on a pillow, jiggled him a tad hard, unhooked all his monitors without asking, etc. It was tough for Steve and I to watch this as we have always been so gentle with our babies and had to keep from cringing. She brought in three outfits and tried two of them on him to take pictures of him. She continued to call herself “Mommy” with him too. It was tough to say the least. I know some families have fantastic relationships with their birth moms, but I have not met (at least not that I am aware of) an adoptive family that is close to a birth mom that had drug issues. That just makes it so hard to be close when the untruths and manipulation comes into play. We want to love them and do love them, but have to love them at a distance. After her visit, the nurse asked me if I just wanted to cry. Yes, I did. I had even fought back tears at one point while watching the birth mom hold and play with Seth. I almost felt like leaving the room, but prayed my way through and stayed. She has decided she wants to fight to get her children back. We’ve been told that she will have a hard time doing that, but I told her that she can’t do it alone. That she needs God. I told her to read her Bible daily, even when she doesn’t feel like it. God is her only answer. She said she won’t quit praying for Seth. You all can pray that she does turn her life around and can begin anew.

Today was emotionally draining-again.

They are predicting another 2-3 weeks of NICU for Seth. We are praying it is sooner than that that he gets to come home, but are so thankful for the wonderful staff at the hospital. I can only imagine what it is like for babies born to drug mothers that go home with their mothers without any medication to deal with the withdrawals and pain. The nurses sadly, see this from time to time and know what will happen with the babies.

We received a precious gift from Mark and Angela and Family today in the mail! Thank you all! You have walked this road before us, and we are so thankful for your love and encouragement for us on this same walk.

And Heidi and Joe and Family sent us a beautiful card today welcoming Seth into our family. Thank you so much for your love and support.

And we received a precious gift to our Adopt Together Fund from the Phillips Family! You all are such a blessing! Thank you for your prayers and support!

Yesterday, my dear friend, Jennifer, came over with her daughter and helped me for a couple hours. She organized my pantry and helped with cleaning the house. So blessed by you, Jennifer!

Today our friend, Tommy, came over and helped the boys and Steve (after we got back home) work on the chicken house. So thankful for your help, Tommy!

Earlier this week, our pastor, Robby, came over and put in a garbage disposal for us! We are so thankful for your help, Robby!

Robby also came to visit us at the hospital. Our friend Hannah also spent time with us at the hospital this week. So blessed to have you all in our lives! Hannah and Andy and Family also took care of our children for one afternoon and fed all of our crew dinner! That is a huge feat!!!

So many of you have told us that you are praying for us. That is the biggest blessing of all! Your prayers mean so much to us.

As far as how things are going financially, it looks like we will have a bill of about $100,000 by the time Seth gets out of the hospital. No joke. However, we are blessed with excellent insurance. So, it looks like we will pay 10% and also for all the bill for the first two days of his stay in NICU before she signed the papers. They said NICU is running $1700 a day on average at this hospital. That does not include doctor bills. If you feel led to shop through our links to the side, we would be so grateful as every bit we earn will go towards paying Seth’s medical bills. If you’d share our links, we’d be ever so grateful too! And if you know someone considering adopting a drug baby, feel free to share our blog with them. I am being upfront on this walk and sharing all kinds of details as I know someone else out there would find these details of interest or importance in their walk. I want to share our walk openly with others from the thrill of being matched to the ethnicity surprise to the cost of adoption. I hope it can prepare others in some small way for this very emotional and physical walk. I know when I started reading adoption blogs, I was searching for someone that was upfront about the costs, the details of the match, the birth mom experiences, etc.

How can you help? Keep praying! Physical help? We’ve been asked about meals, we are fine in that area, but so appreciate the offers to come help us with projects at our house or visit with our children for a few hours while we are at the hospital. These are all relationship building things that are so important to our family. Steve is preparing to have a knee replacement in December. It was 25 years ago that he had his surgery while in the military that the surgeon came out and told my mother-in-law and myself that when we had children, Steve would never run or play ball with them due the condition of his knee. He never has ran with our children. Never. Steve has been in tons of pain for years, but has faithfully got up each day and gone to work to support our family without so much as a complaint of the pain in driving, walking, going up or down stairs, etc. It has come time to replace his knee. There is no other choices left. He has been to so many doctors and they all shake their heads at the terrible condition his knee is in. So, the last doctor told him, “Get your knee replaced and live life to its fullest for the next 10-12 yrs. before you need another replacement. Enjoy your children like you have never done before. You are still young.” This is a scary surgery for both of us, but it is taking a huge toll on Steve’s day-to-day life. Please pray for us as we prepare to walk this walk soon. I will be busy caring for a newborn (about 8 weeks old) and Steve for awhile before he gets totally back to normal (a new normal for him!)life. The blessing in this? Steve will be able to spend a lot of time resting with Seth on his chest. This is something Steve has always enjoyed with our babies. There are blessings in every thing, sometimes you just have to look for them. πŸ™‚

Okay, if you’ve read this far, you are amazing! Now, get off the computer and go do something amazing with someone special in your life!

We continue to walk for the Lord.

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One Response to We Continue to Walk for the Lord

  1. Christy Newhouse says:

    Michelle, I love ready your blog; thank you for sharing your life with everyone. Yes you definitely need to write a book.

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