Thursday, August 27, 2015

We've Moved!



I reckon I am a bit overdue here, but our family has moved to Philadelphia! We moved about 3 weeks ago and are quite impressed with this amazing state. We are surrounded by beauty in our backyard and neighborhood. We have incredibly kind neighbors who are growing accustomed to seeing our boys barefoot running down the street all hours of the day.

When we moved from India I did not believe I would find a more wildly beautiful dwelling place. Then we had a magnificent spread of a  backyard in Jacksonville, Florida. We built a hammock city sprawled across a massive oak tree and had a yard that wrapped around the house with a massive white wall and iron gate that made it feel nearly majestic (minus the leaking sewage pipe that bursted and made me feel more like I was walking an open sewage street in Bijwasan, India). But for the most part, that house surprised me with its beauty. So then we left and I bemoaned that surely it would never happen again. Alas, our rental house here in Pennsylvania is more than I could have asked for. We even have a hydrangea bush! We had a hydrangea bush around the corner of our last home in India and I learned from a sweet friend the beauty of savoring even the dead hydrangea blooms for they create a beautiful table piece long after the spring has passed. So I now have 5 vases of browned, fragile hydrangea blooms around our home that will last a long while. There are hints of a few rose bushes, a cherry blossom, and other promising trees that I believe will be a glorious awakening for us, if we survive the heavy winter ahead.



If you are wondering why we moved, allow me to explain/remind you;)

Raja is studying at a school up here called Westminster Seminary. Raja did medical school and residency in Psychiatry and is very passionate in the field of Psychiatry. However, in recent years he has been deeply impacted by the world of Biblical Counseling. There have been some neat partnerships over the last few years with Biblical Counseling and Mental Health across India. So we are here for at least 4 years for Raja to pursue a Masters of Divinity in Counseling. We are excited for the years to come and anticipate much glory and adventure along the way. Of course, we know there will be challenges and it will be an interesting season to balance family, school, and work. But we trust that our God began the work in our family and that He will be faithful to sustain us each step of the way. It has been an emotional year as we grieved those we love back in India, but we treasure the ability to be in touch with them and the rest we can have in His assurance that He was there long before us and will be there long after us. 








Adam has been loving life in Philly. To be honest, he has had a pretty tough year. I do not know that we have gone longer than a month without him being sick, however, he has been healthier and happier this last 1.5 weeks than in maybe 2 years? I am not even kidding. Like, he wakes up happy, he plays hard all day, and then he goes to bed laughing. That is NOT typical behavior that we can remember. We have been going out on outings and has ENJOYED them. That is huge and we are grateful. We have discovered amazing parks and trails and restaurants and all our boys are enjoying them too.  

One role that Elliot and Rohan have unknowingly found themselves in is the role of scouting. They are to Adam what Joshua and Caleb were to Moses. They scout out new places to evaluate if they would be a suitable place to bring Adam. For example, if the park has only "big kid swings"...we really can't enjoy that park as a family. We can take Elliot and Rohan but they, Elliot especially, is really sensitive to Adam's absence. He likes it when we can all be at the park together. So we try to find places that have infant swings that Adam can swing high in or the really cool large swings that Adam loves. 

(sidetone: I have this dream recently of helping create parks that are welcoming to people of all sorts of abilities...people like Adam who may have certain needs that limit their ability to participate at a standard playground).



 Anyways...it is fun to take these two little ones around the city to find new places. Today we discovered a trail that ended up at an amazing creek that we were able to go creek stomping and swimming in! It was glawwwrious. Clothes hung over a fallen tree and little boys in their skivvies throwing rocks and hollering and splashing and turning purple from the cold water. They had so much fun. And we decided it actually would be fun for Adam. As long as we can find a way to hike there carrying something Adam can sit in or on that would be comfortable to him...we really think he would like it because he loves being near the water. He loves the cool breeze and the sound of the water rushing. We are excited for that discovery for it is only a few miles from our new home.

So I will spare you all of my ramblings, but I did want you to know what is going on. There is a great children hospital up here called CHOP (Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia) that we have been in contact with for healthcare for Adam. If you can continue to pray for us as we adjust in this new season and as Raja starts classes, we would be so grateful. 

My next update will include an exciting development/opportunity for Adam up here that we are thrilled about!









Love to each of you.

shalom and goodnight.


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

"ordinary"

So it is now mid August and Adam has fully recovered from that hospital admission. Friends, it was bad. Thank you for your prayers. We got a call a week after he was discharged from the hospital informing us that the official diagnosis was Salmonella poisoning. I still do not know how Adam contracted Salmonella especially due to his intake being primarily thru a feeding tube still. All the rest of the family was healthy and did not show any symptoms of Salmonella. Anyways, it was scary. Adam was so very dehydrated and it easily took a month to gain his weight and strength back.

But he is back and we are thankful.

I wanted to share a portion of the blog I wrote nearly 2 years ago. I wrote it when I was doing a part of a series called "5 Minute Friday". We were given one word and allotted 5 minutes to write on that one word. The word was "ordinary" that specific week.

I am sharing this one again because the man, John, who I wrote about came over for dinner a few weeks ago with his family. I am still amazed at how Adam has brought a community around us. This man who we had met in an airport about 2 years ago has a daughter whom I met at a church function in Tallahassee. She came up to me and said "you may not know me but my dad met you at an airport..." and she need not say anymore. I knew EXACTLY who she was and I nearly started crying. It was a week after Adam's admission and I needed to be reminded of the words her father spoke those years before (that I mention below). So a few weeks after I met the daughter, we had her and her parents over for dinner. We were so blessed by fellowship with them and are amazed at how God always finds a way to make beauty from ashes. There are so many things i could write, but most of all I was just amazed at the goodness of God to use two children with severe diagnoses to mold families more into His likeness.  I am thankful to have been grafted in, and 2 years later, I still don't want out.

_________________________________________________________________

(originally posted October 11, 2013)

Sometimes I wonder,
I wonder at moments like right now, actually.
When it is 4 am and my Elliot has been up all morning and cannot shake the jet lag
His cry wakes Adam up from a much prayed for deep sleep nda both of these little ones are crawling around our house
As if it is broad daylight and the outside is not blanketed by a thick black foggy night quilt

I wonder it at moments like last Monday when we are sitting in the airport
We are the family that gets extra looks and we get questions and looks of concern
We are put into the category of "special needs family"
("Special Needs" was a group I always pitied and mourned for, until I was grafted in...now I realize the glory within and I never want out...)

I wonder it when Adam's ostomy bag pops open in the middle of the night
And we have to literally ask the Spirit for Himself
because I know nothing like
"love, joy, peace, and patience"
Is going o be the fruit of my flesh in that sleepy state

I wonder it when Adam is admitted with a fever and the tears stream forth in front of doctors...doctors who I think need to see a woman and mother of strength and not brokenness

I wonder it when we have to ask for hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay for my boy's surgeries
When there are countless thousands that have medical bills steeped high and I feel their pain

I wonder it when I hear comments from men wondering why we do what we do

I wonder "Why is my life not more ordinary?"
Why was my Adam born stained with things mortal
Why did Hands, pierced and divine, not heal him in his birth momma's womb?
Why does Adam have to grow up with a body, scarred by surgeries, getting stares and questions?
Why can't he be ordinary?

But then I remember that stranger in the airport,
That stranger, who is now a friend.
His comment comes to mind

He had approached us in the airport after seeing Adam's painting at an Art Festival
He shed tears as he spoke of his daughter who had passed away 2 years prior
And he shared of his 13 years spent loving and caring for her and her "special needs"
I saw his face aglow as he shared of this little one who he clearly missed so much
I did not hear comments of relief or resentment that she was not born "ordinary"
I heard a celebration of the life she lived and the ache within his heart as he missed her presence

And I remember how he said that after her death and when he and his wife had so much "free time"
(Meaning free from all the minutes in a day that may have been spent caring for her)
He realized that all those concerns that people had for them,
That they were "missing out" on ordinary pleasures
They were all empty concerns
Because he realized how much he came to know the heart of the Father
Through the "inordinary" moments
And then He spoke those words of Life, from the Word, Living
He said that he realized, after this daughter had passed away that it is really true,
"Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it."

I remember those words from the book of Luke
As I sit here in the early morning hours with these two boys
I look up and see Adam laughing
I realize all the extravagant blessings and love that have been showered on us thru this new season of parenthood

And I remember that actually, when we are His children
His Spirit is within us
So nothing is ordinary anymore
We are sons and daughters of royalty and divinity
And therefore we are not ordinary
Because no matter what our lives look like
The mundane and ordinary become glory when His spirit dwells


Friday, July 10, 2015

Adam in the Hospital

Adam ended up being admitted this past week in the hospital. 



I forgot how quickly kids can spiral downhill when it comes to hydration. We had a checkup on Monday afternoon and by Monday at midnight we knew things were bad. He could not hold anything down, like not even 3 ml of Pedialyte. It was scary. It was so very scary. We took him to the ER and he was thrashing in my arms due to how irritated and dehydrated he was. 


They did labwork and started an IV (kudos to the awesome nurse who got it on her first try in his arm...I do not think that has ever happened). As the fluids started dripping in and rushing to fill his depleted veins, Adam started calming down. He had a fever that evaporated simply thru getting hydrated again. Raja and I sat down in peace for the first time in 24 hours as we saw his little body stop fighting the pain he seemed to have been going thru. 



As the doctor came in a few hours later, she notified us that Adam would need to be admitted because he was dehydrated beyond what could be cared for in a few hours in the ER. He would need at least 2 liters of fluid over a few days. We breathed a sigh of relief knowing this was the best plan.



After 3 days in the hospital, Adam came home and he has not had an episode of throwing up since.

They think he caught a virus of some sort and it just took him down fast. They did a lot of other tests, speculating worse things. I thought maybe I had brought something home from work and passed it to Adam. But, alas, it was just a virus. And he is just a boy with a narrow threshold for immunity. So he got pummeled. But that boy is a fighter beyond on definition and he continues to amaze all of us.

I am sorry I did not update you all sooner. I honestly did not sit down to a computer since last Sunday evening. Now it is Friday. I did update people on social media thru my phone but have not figured out how to update the blog via phone. Pardon me, for I do value each of you who keep up with our family.



Adam is home. He is not himself, still, but he is healthy. He is still a bit irritable and sleepy. But I imagine he will be back with us soon, fully.

On an exciting note, we got a call from Childrens Miracle Network while we were in the hospital. Adam was nominated for a Miracle and our family gets to travel to Disney World for 7 DAYS with CMN! That is so exciting and I dont really know what to do in Disney for 7 days. We are waiting until cooler days and will plan this trip later in the year. 

We are so thankful for all of you who came by with meals and love. So many of you will never know how powerful your acts of love are to us. I feel like I have been in a season of receiving so much from others. In this season of a recent international move coupled with young children and one of them with special needs, we ask for a lot of help these days. I am humbled by so many of you and how you care for us in these days. Thank you.