Family Friday: A Special Trip

I’ve struggled with what and how much of the following to share with you, but to not share would be to not include part of our journey with Esther.  Esther was considered a special needs adoption but often times Michael Luke and I don’t consider her special needs at all.  We have even joked that God must have considered us special needs parents because she had such an easy transition into our family and because her actual special need seems so minor in our eyes.

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In reality though she does have a special need.  Her caregivers in Hong Kong used to tell her that she had a “special eye”.  When I first heard Esther refer to it as that I immediately loved it and decided that is what we would also call it.  Little did I know how special this eye was.  After bringing her home back in February we took Esther to the International Adoption Clinic here in town where they accessed her and recommended different doctors for her.  One of them was a ocular plastic craniofacial plastic surgeon here in town, Dr. Ray at Children’s Hospital of Alabama.  We scheduled our appointment for early this fall and went on with our life because in reality we felt that the doctors would probably wait until she got older to do anything.  One day Dr. Ray’s office called to let us know there had been a cancellation of one of their appointments and they could see us that week if we wanted.  So we took the appointment and looked forward to meeting Dr. Ray.

I’ll spare you all the details of the appointment but during this time we fell in love with her doctor and his team.  Dr. Ray agreed that Esther’s eye was special.  It was so special that this may be the only case like her’s that he sees in his career!  I just looked at Esther and smiled.  It was at this visit that we were given a medical name to go with her special need, facial cleft of the eye.  The name didn’t change anything for us but it was nice to know what it actually was.

You want to know how amazing God is and how his plans are bigger than we could ever imagine? He brought a little girl from Hong Kong all the way to Birmingham, Alabama to a doctor that specializes in ASIAN EYE RECONSTRUCTION!!!  Who even knew there was such a thing but it completely makes sense when you think of the reconstruction of the eye as an art.  It’s like sculpting or molding.  And after staring at Esther’s beautiful face for hours there is a huge difference between asian eyes and caucasian eyes.  Dr. Ray trained under one of the other doctors in his practice who also specializes in asian eye reconstruction and he trained in Seattle where the asian population is larger.  I’m just blown away how God has provided such amazing doctors for Esther.  The doctor’s are pretty excited too because this is a pretty big opportunity for them since it may be the only one like it that they ever see.

At the appointment that day Dr. Ray began to lay out his plans for Esther’s eye and the steps he would like to take.  These steps involve a series of surgeries over the next two years or so.  The first of which was last week.

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Last Thursday she had two tissue expanders placed under the skin on her face.  I think I struggled with this more than she did… I mean what mother wants their child to have to go through surgery.   I’m not going to go into details about the expanders but the goal is to use them to grow new skin so they can replace some scarred skin on her face.

Esther and I talked about everything that was going to happen in the weeks leading up to the surgery.  I showed her pictures of other children with tissue expanders and we gave them the nickname “bubbles”  I played it up by telling her that Dr. Ray wanted to “give” her bubbles and that she could “keep” them until around Christmas time.  We then talked about how sometimes when we don’t know what something is that we ask questions.  So some people may not know what her bubbles are but that’s ok because we can help them to learn.  She did want to make sure that her “bubbles” wouldn’t wash off in the bathtub!

Next, we began talking about going to the hospital.  We talked about how Dr. Ray wanted her to “camp out’ at the hospital.  She would get a big bed and Mommy and Daddy would sleep in a chair/sofa. There would be juice there and a nurse would bring it to her whenever she needed.  She would also get a television with Princess Sofia and Doc McStuffins that she could watch the whole time she was there.  That pretty much did it. She was sold on the idea of going to the hospital and spent the next few weeks looking forward to it.

As we got closer to the day we talked about how she would take a big nap and then when she woke up Mommy and Daddy would be there.  She may not feel very good but that’s ok because sometimes people don’t feel good after surgery.  Esther was prepped.  She may be only three but she’s a smart little three year old would much rather know what is going to happen than be surprised.  Her main concern was that Michael Luke and I would both be there after surgery.  I made sure that she knew we weren’t going to leave her.

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(This was the beautiful view at the end of the day from her hotel hospital room.)

The day came and she couldn’t have been more excited.  There was a little nervousness but we talked about how that was ok.  Since this was such a special day for her I let her pick out any outfit that she wanted to wear.10606293_10101305124726646_5038380980225016524_n

Our little star chose this… because everyone gets dressed in their finest to go to the hospital for surgery.  (The above picture was actually taken the day after surgery.)  That day I applied a few extra application of Tranquil to her for her anxiety.  We arrived at the hospital and she was calm. She vegged out watching television during the triage part.  Finally, they took her back and we had to kiss her good-bye.  I’ll admit I got a little teary-eyed but she did great.  The nurse said she never once cried… except for post surgery when some little boy started screaming his guts out next to her… but who wouldn’t cry then. Three hours after she went back we got to see her again.  Once we were settled in her room for the night one of the first things she said to me was, “Can I have some Tranquil?” I smiled and hugged her and then immediately went and got her essential oil blend, Tranquil.  The pain medicine made her sick that night so around midnight we switched from codeine to morphine and after that we only used lavender applied to her face for pain, swelling, and fever.  I was thankful to have something as simple and familiar as Lavender to use on her.

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The next day she was still pretty void of energy and she pretty much milked the whole “everyone is waiting you” thing for what it was worth.  We let her for the most part because we were enjoying getting a little one on one time with her since Noah was at my parent’s house getting spoiled. We discharged around lunch last Friday and then went home and all napped that afternoon. That night we decided to make the most of our time alone with her took and her out to Mugshots at Uptown in Birmingham.  She loved it!

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The tissue expanders will start expanding in a couple of weeks and will continue all the way up until they are removed in December.  I’ll let you know how it goes but in the meantime I more than likely won’t bring attention to them.

P.S. If you are interested in the adoption process from Hong Kong never hesitate to e-mail me or to send me a message on Facebook.

Also, if you would like more information on Young Living Essential Oils (why and how we use them) then click the Essential Oils tab at the top of the page.

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About the Absence and… DiGize

Things have slowed down a lot here on the blog lately.  I haven’t shared near as many design posts as I used to… and there is a reason why.  It’s because we really haven’t had time to do much of anything lately. There’s a list a mile long of stuff I would love to do but since early this year I have been captivated by Young Living Essential Oils and what they have done for my me and my family and as a result of that I have been busy sharing about them with others.  For the most part I have kept quiet about it here but that has led to a neglect of one of my favorite hobbies… blogging.  So occasionally I will be sharing about Young Living Essential Oils and how our family uses them. There will still be the regular family posts and the occasional design post but essential oils are a big part of our lives now and to leave them out of the blog would be to leave a big part of us out.

Do you ever think that essential oils are more expensive than over the counter meds? Keep reading to find out the answer about DiGize.

Digize essential oil takes on your stomach problems.

DiGize won a place in the essential oils hall of honor for me last month and is back in stock. It’s one of those oils you just want to keep handy. Let me tell you why. Noah went to the doctor back in July because she had been complaining of her tummy aching. Before going to the doctor I ordered DiGize in hopes of avoiding a trip to the doctor.  The great thing about DiGize is that it is recommended for constipation or diarrhea.  So since I didn’t know what what was bothering Noah it didn’t hurt to give it to her. I would apply a drop to her stomach whenever she complained of her tummy hurting but ML and I were afraid she may have a food allergy and wanted to find out the cause of the problem. Well an x-ray and two hour wait later and the doctor let us know Noah had severe constipation. According to him it’s perfectly normal for toddlers because they probably aren’t getting enough fruits and vegetables. His recommendation was to give her a 1/2 capful of Miralax everyday for a month. My interpretation of that was smoothies for breakfast and two drops of Digize a day. One drop in her smoothie and one on her tummy. Y’all we started that regimen and within two days we were seeing results and her complaining was gone in the first week! Take that Miralax. 

Now for the good stuff. Which is more affordable… DiGize or Miralax? If you are like me you probably guessed Miralax. Even though I love my oils I figured Miralax was probably cheaper than something pure and and natural. WRONG!!! DiGize is more affordable… let me break it down for you.

At my local grocery store Miralax runs 21.99 a bottle. If Noah were to have taken 1/2 a capful everyday that would have cost .36 a day. My wholesale price for DiGize is 32.75. Using two drops a day that costs us .21 a day. That’s fifteen cents less than Miralax! Even at the retail price of 43.09 DiGize is still only .28 a day. Don’t let the prices of these little bottles fool you because one bottle of DiGize is capable of a lot. 

Ok, you want another DiGize story?  Well, ready or not here goes.  Yesterday I was at the grocery store and it hit me.  Not the cart behind me or a tomato can falling from the top shop but that sick feeling that takes over you when you know you are about come down with something… quick.  I knew then that I needed to get home pronto!  So we checked out and headed home.   Me, being the slow learner that I am, planned to go home and just suffer.  I knew I had DiGize on hand for once the sickness started but my initial plan was just to wait. What was I thinking?  Finally my senses got the better of me and I remembered one of the first rules with essential oils is early and often.  So I applied a drop of Thieves to my feet and rubbed a drop of DiGize to my stomach.  I repeated the drop of DiGize to my stomach every fifteen minutes for forty-five minutes and by that point my sick feeling was gone. Thank goodness because ML and I already had plans for last night and the babysitter was already on the clock.  I stuck my bottle of DiGize in my purse just in case but I never needed it.  This my friends is why you should have a bottle of DiGize on hand.  You just never know when you are going to come down with something and life doesn’t wait on you to get better.  Another plus of DiGize is that I didn’t have to drink it like some “pink stuff” that I’ve taken in the past for upset stomach. I just can’t take that stuff or tablets.  They make me sick(er)… and they don’t taste good.  I would much rather rub something on my tummy.

DiGize is also recommended by Gentle Babies for mom-to-be’s and their nausea.  It’s one of those oil blends that has so many uses and I plan to use DiGize for my family if we experience stomach aches, food poisoning, hear burn, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, bloating, and/or diarrhea.

So come on now… don’t you wish you had an extra bottle in your cabinet? You never know when you may need it.  If you would like to order a bottle check out my Essential Oil page here on the blog for instructions or e-mail me (colorfuldroppers@gmail.com) and I will help you get your bottle ordered.  If you order a bottle this month and are a new customer with me (Independent Distributor # 1605099) I will personally send you a great mini-book about Young Living Essential Oils and some of the many uses for the oils included in the Premium Starter Kit.  So go ahead and place your order because I wouldn’t want to experience the stomach bug… or worse without it.

 

 

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Officially Final!

It’s final!  It’s really final.  Esther’s adoption process from start to ending was around two and a half years and is officially final today!  I know that today you could really care less about words.  It’s time to meet the girl that has been hiding behind the camera for the past six months.

Meet Esther…. one of the U.S.’s newest citizens and the newest official member of our family!

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Isn’t she just beautiful?  We think so and I can’t help but tell her everyday.  In the picture above I think she has the beauty of a model. This is absolutely one of my most favorite pictures of her.  Pictures. Oh, yeah.  You are probably here to see lots of them… so here goes. Six months of Esther in one post.

But first let’s back up to the beginning of July 2013.  That’s when we received the picture below along with a few more precious photos and information about our daughter. This picture remained the screensaver on my phone until we went to Hong Kong.  Looking back now it is easy to see how much she has grown in a year’s time… even in six month’s time.

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To keep it simple all pictures are in chronological order.

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This is one of our first pictures as a family of four in Hong Kong.  It was gotcha-day night.  I know this because I remember we went and bought her a pair of pink Stride-Rite shoes that day. Esther wasn’t exactly in love with us yet but thankfully we won her over in time.
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This was one of our first nights home and the girls were goofing off in bed with their new matching panda pajamas.  We were probably still pretty jet lagged at this point so this picture could have easily been taken close to midnight.  
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Esther immediately fell in love with her pink princess bicycle that I brought her home one day.  I can’t say she felt the same about learning to ride her bike but now that she has it down she really enjoys it.
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She was so excited about her bicycle helmet that she wore it on to the playground.  This is one of the beautiful dresses that was given to her by one of her caregivers that I mentioned in her earlier posts.  I’m amazed at the detail on it but most of all I love the smile on her face in this picture.
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Apparently someone in Hong Kong taught her how to make her “angry face” which she felt was appropriate for lots of pictures in the beginning.  We still get that face from time to time.
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This pretty much sums up how Esther felt about her kitchen and turning three.2014-03-09 16.23.02

And what princess doesn’t wear a crown on her head for her birthday.

2014-03-12 17.58.58Before having two girls I thought I wouldn’t enjoy dressing them just alike but it really doesn’t matter what I like because these two girls love dressing the same.

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This was only a few weeks after coming home and Esther was already beginning to make friends. Outside of Noah, June is her best friend.
2014-05-01 17.28.45I have this picture hanging up in our den. I absolutely love it.  Another dress-alike day and Esther’s determination to get down the road make this picture.  Although I’m pretty sure Noah fell off shortly after this picture was taken.

2014-04-20 12.15.12-1Ok. Can I just say that I love this picture.  That’s all.  Oh, and it’s not uncommon for people to say that Esther resembles Michael Luke.  It makes him smile every time he hears it.

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All dressed up to go to a Fancy Nancy book signing.  This is the day Esther fell in love with Fancy Nancy.  So much so that we check out a Fancy Nancy book almost every week at the library and she just might have a Fancy Nancy birthday party next year.  Yeah, she’s already planning it… weekly.2014-05-30 09.33.45And this is who Esther thinks she really is.  A princess.

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Hanging out at the library.  Don’t mind us.  We are just your typical American family.2014-06-07 12.02.23

What?  You wouldn’t let your kids ride a zebra if it promised not to move?2014-07-17 09.52.07

It’s the moments like this that make it all worthwhile. The moments when they love each other.wpid-20140806_103000.jpg

At the beginning of the summer this child cried because her swim suit got splashed by a wave. Now look at her.  She’s a little fish!wpid-20140803_150153.jpg

Just a girl and a donkey.  
wpid-20140807_160158.jpgBecause every girl needs to know what a Krispy Kreme Donut tastes like and because sometimes Momma is just plain craving some sweets.  It happens.  Needless to say Esther is a huge fan of donuts now.  Mission Accomplished.

 
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… and our most recent family picture taken this past Sunday.

That ladies and gentlemen is Esther.  A girl that six months ago didn’t want us and now wants to know why we waited so long to come get her.  God has truly worked in her heart and ours.

Speaking of God working in hearts.  You may have noticed that something doesn’t look quite right about one of Esther’s eyes.  She has a facial eye cleft of the left eye.  These days I hardly notice it.  God has allowed me to see past her special need and to instead see the beautiful girl that he created in his image and that he loves.  He loves her!  He loves her and how could I not love his creation?

When we received that first picture of her over a year ago I knew almost immediately that she was meant to be our daughter but I also struggled with adopting a girl with such a visible special need.  Not because I worried what other’s would think but because I didn’t know if it was something that would keep me from seeing her true beauty.

So I began praying from the beginning that God would give me strength.  That he would allow me to see her as he sees her.  And now six months later I can say without a shadow of doubt that he has done that.  It’s not even a special need to me anymore.  I hardly even think about it because all I see is my beautiful daughter staring back at me.  I have enjoyed these past six months of hiding her face from you.  Not because I am ashamed of it but because you have had the chance to fall in love with her for who she is.  Star.  Esther.

Thank you!

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