Monday, June 22, 2015

Surgery Day

(In a nutshell, we are home from surgery and all went well! If you want a play by play, here goes...)

5 am Wake up call

508 am Realize we slept thru wake up call-Frenzied rush to kitchen to brew coffee (Maslow's hierarchy of needs, clearly)- Raj quickly wakes Adam to give a quick pre procedure bath-I load up the car and mix the coffee

6 am Mimi (my mom) arrives to be with Elliot and Rohan until VBS starts at 9

625 Raj drops me at front door with Adam (I check in and breate a sigh of relief that we were not late and did not get a call from Baptist Health asking for "the parents of Adam Paulraj who was scheduled to arrive at 6:30"...not like that has happened before or anything...cough cough)

645 They call us up to sign paperwork, Adam is sleeping on the chair next to us completely unaware of what is about to happen

655 We wake up Adam from his quick nap and discover his ostomy bag has leaked everywhere due to diarrhea (sorry, this IS a somewhat medical blog AND our son's bowels have a different exit strategy than the bowel function will inevitably appear here and there). Raja takes Adam into the men's bathroom, bathes him the sink, and redresses him (exactly what was done at 5:08 repeated). I eye two men before they walk in, try to give them the stink eye or some weird facial contortion as a way of warning them from going did not work...but the bathing situation in the sink DID work and they quickly returned back to the waiting room. haha)

700 We get the call from Baptist Health asking for "the parents of Adam Paulraj who was scheduled to arrive at 6:30". I try to explain to them that we have already checked in and are in the waiting room...but a "sticky situation" has come about (pun intended) and we were tidying Adam up before walking back into preop. They happily agree that our actions were necessary.

713 Pop a wheelie on Adam's bike as we rush back into preop for our 730 surgery

715 Meet all the doctors again, sign consent forms, explain that the arm bands really won't stay on Adam's hands, and no it will not work on his ankle either

730 Watch Adam start to drift on into dream land happily, say a prayer with him, and kiss his little head before they wheel him back

745 Find aunt gerri in the waiting room with venti lattes and scones (be still my heart) and remember we only had coffee thus far (maybe Maslow's hierarchy was right...I always remember that once my stomach is funky and dizziness sets in)

820 Get updates from my mom of my one child who refuses to eat and my other child who ate everything in sight back at home. 

930: Get an update from the OR that 1 surgeon has finished and the other has started, all is going well

the way Abba God has used this man to heal parts of my heart are many...the way Abba has helped this man to radically love and heal boss man Adam...leaves me speechless.

1030: surgery is OVER! Doctors come out in cycles and explain their part of the procedure.
ENT was able to successfully remove the cysts on the backs of Adam's ears and nose. He also cleaned out lots of (let's say) "stuff" from his ears and placed a tube in the ear that did not have a tube from a previous surgery.
Craniomaxillary was able to remove the cysts they were working on and tell us they think this will help Adam a lot. He says how privileged he felt to have God bring his path together with Adam and what a stellar kid he is. I think my mom had tears in her eyes listening. I was really encouraged by his sincerity.

1100ish: go back to the recovery room and start to settle the boss man. Per usual, once Raja holds him his respirations calm down,his blood pressure drops, and his heart rate drops in half because he loves his dada so much. We turn on familiar David Nevue piano music and slowly start giving him pedialyte until he can hold down a whole bottle.

Noonish: Free to go! We dont have to be admitted at all! Adam is good to go home today! woohoo! 

i insisted on a balloon from the kids cart. 
 200 Arrive home and proceed to fall asleep (me, Raja, and Adam)

345 Wake up and take Elliot and Rohan to neighborhood pool where Elliot is taking swim lessons

600 Swing by pharmacy on way home from pool for Adam's meds

630 Get home and Uncle Jennings (my brother) shows up with burgers and shakes! Glory Glory Hallelujah! We all eat and share stories from our day. Jennings stays thru story time where we read our current top read family book

730 Little boys in bed and we settle in for a long evening nap.

Adam is now happily resting at home and we are all breathing a little easier;)

Thank you all for your prayers. We are humbled and grateful at His continues faithfulness over Adam's and our lives.
And these two rascals had an awesome day.  The past 2 days elliot has been saying "one day adam get trach out and Adam come to SWIMMING POOOL". I dont know if he had dreams about it or if it is just a thought he has. Nonetheless, it is really sweet and I like to dream of such things too...whether or not it happens this side of heaven or not. Love these boys.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Just in case you thought I knew what I was doing....

I have absolutely no idea.

Just in case you thought I must be real special or called or compassionate in order to raise a boy like Adam...

I am not.

Just in case you thought that because Raja is a doctor and I am a nurse, that we know what to do when Adam is sick...

We don't.

Good gracious we have no earthly idea.
But we know the One Whose idea was earth.
It was once just an idea in His infinite, holy mind.
And He SPOKE it into being.
This earth that contains oceans depths we still have not was once just a thought in His mind.
This earth, it was an idea in His mind that He brought into existence.
And our Adam, whose body befuddles the most studied of doctors...
That same Creator of earth wove Adam's disfigured body into being in a little lady's womb in a tea plantation in India nearly 5 years ago.
It was the state in India where 50,000 women die due to childbirth and pregnancy related causes every year.
I ache for that young girl whose body swelled with Adam and who now is without him.

It is a tragedy and a privilege, indeed.

Lately I have been confronted with how little I know in caring for Adam well.
So in case you are tempted to think I have it all together...can I spare you the silliness of that thought?

Because lately I have been seeing how the people around me are showing me how to love Adam well.

Like a friend today who stopped over to bring zucchini bread and reminded that it is ok for Adam to lay on his pillow like this in the middle of the playroom while all the kids are playing around him. Then her sweet little girl says "shhhh...this baby is seeeeeping". I squinty-smiled back tears as I realize it is ok. Adam is Adam. He is battling a lot of sickness these days and he has minimal ways to comfort himself.

Just let it be.

Maybe it would help if I share a story.
A few weeks ago, a best friend of mine came over for dinner with our family. She brought a guest as well. Best friend has been around us and Adam many times. But her special guest was going to meet all of us for the first time. So I was being...ergh...obnoxious and wanting everyone to be on their best behavior (always a bad expectation).

Now Adam has pretty much been sick eight of the last twelve weeks. Fevers, vomiting, cyst infections, coughing, etc, etc. That night was a sick night for him. But I wanted our new guest to see and meet Adam and know how awesome he was.

Basically, I wanted Adam to justify his existence by proving that he was capable of sitting at the table with us.

I did want our new guest to meet Adam in his bed with a humidifier going and his face planted in a pillow. I wanted him to know that despite Adam's diagnosis and fragile body, he was worthy.  It was bad, folks. It lasted about 3 minutes before we took Adam off his chair, let him go back to bed (poor guy), and he proceeded to crawl back into the kitchen and lay out flat on the tile floor (always what he does when he has a fever because it cools him off). Best friend and guest immediately explained how it is ok and I saw that look in best friend eyes screaming, in love, "it is ok JESS...let Adam be".

So I quieted me anxious heart and we enjoyed a meal.

Later that evening Raja and I were talking about the evening and I started to realize the slippery slope I go down when I do things like I had done.

Adam has no need to justify his existence.

His existence is justified because He was made by a Holy God. And made in His image, despite all the flaws our human eyes see.

I got to thinking...if Elliot was sick and throwing up...would I make him come sit at the table? No.
If I was sick...would I come to the table to justify my existence? No! I would lie in bed grateful for a chance to rest and know that I am loved despite my sickness.

You see, I mostly know this Truth. But I forget it every day. I long for people to know all the cool things Adam can do, instead of letting them know that Adam is the cool thing.

His life is a living breathing miracle simply because God breathed life into his lungs.
His life has value simply because of being created by hands, Holy.

So today I am thankful that I have friends and family that help remind me of this. I am thankful for girlfriends that come over for book club and say its ok for Adam to lay flat, without a shirt on, on the kitchen floor so he can cool off. I am thankful for relatives who let him scoot around the house on his pillow wherever he finds comfort. I am thankful for each of you who remind me in emails and comments of all the beauty you see in Adam. And I am thankful for Adam who continues to cuddle me and give me high fives despite me being such a ridiculous mama sometimes.

Most of all I am thankful for my Abba God who saw fit to fill one mama's womb across the world with this little boy only to place him in my feeble arms and bleeding heart. Because thru him I am coming to see myself and this world so much more clearly. I am seeing ways I try to whitewash myself and my life and the lives of those around me. Adam is teaching me to be real and to love without abandon.

Most of all, Abba God is teaching me that He has no expectation of us when He invites us to the table. All He asks of us is to come.


P.S. Adam has surgery next week! Monday, June 22nd at 7:30 am Adam will have surgery to remove a dermoid cyst in his sinuses. Friends, this could be a game changer of a surgery. This is the first surgery we have waited so long for and we really think this could improve his health in big ways. At least every 6 weeks, this cyst in his ear, nose and forehead swells up, gets infected, and he gets high fevers with it. So he is on antibiotics nearly every 8 weeks. If this cyst can get uprooted and out, there is potential for great things. Please be praying.


We are going to continue with the tradition we did in 2013 surgeries!

On Monday, we invite you to wear a newsies cap and/or a bandana and share your pictures thru social media. You can share on instagram, pintrest, FB with the hashtag #prayforbabyadam and tag our family @jessicapaulraj

You can also email us at

We were amazed 2 years ago at all the people who joined in and we will be so thankful to hear from each of you.

with love so deep,

Jessica for the P's

sweet picture of adam and elliot passed out together.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

On Mothers and Mother's Day

The longer I am on this journey of motherhood, the harder it becomes. Just sayin.

I became a mom nearly 4 years ago. I had been married for 6 months at the tender age of 24. It was an unexpected beginning. There were not 9 months, stretch marks, or those awful leg cramps in the middle of the night to prepare myself for my firstborn. There was just a text message from my husband (while I was teaching my 2nd year nursing students about the labor process) about a baby abandoned in our little mission hospital. I remember being confused and a bit cautious.

I remember not wanting to meet this baby, because I had met so many before that I thought needed my (long term) mothering, and it was not so. There were those 14 girls in a home in North India that I cared for as my own. My heart ached for them all the day long, no matter how much time passed. I missed putting them to sleep at night with the same lullabies my mom had sung to me as a girl. I missed hearing them rehearse each of the songs and sing each other to sleep on that rooftop in that dry, dusty town.

            I have been hesitant to share in years past how much I longed for those 14. I would day dream of the mother-daughter bond we would have and it reeked of glory in my imagination.  But my mothering of them, it was temporary, because those girls, though growing up in a system and apart from their parents, either thru death, addiction, or poverty, were not to be mine. I could fight it, and I did for a time, but in the end Abba God softened my heart.  He allowed me to see that He gave me a mother's heart for them, and that I was called to love them fully in those moments, but that they were not to be mine. Ultimately, they are His, as are all our children. But even in a non eternal sense, they were not my daughters and they never would be. Adoption was not an option and it was not what He had in store for me and them. He called me to foster love in those days. And He calls me to foster love in these days. He calls us to foster love all of our days, no matter what tomorrow holds or what our role in a person's life is.

Then there were the 3 street girls whom my friend and I went and searched for. We sensed His leading and we risked it all to find them, convinced His leading meant they were ours.  His leading didn't mean a rescue and adoption by us, but it did mean hundreds praying on behalf of these 3 little ones, unknown and unseen by the millions surrounding them every day.  It meant that their faces and names would not be forgotten by countless ones around the globe.

There have been more. There were people that took refuge in our home for periods of time that I thought I could call my child and there were children I heard of who needed a home whom I longed to bring into mine.

Yet none were to be mine. My heart started to harden and I could not bear the thought of meeting this baby in need of shelter. Because, surely I was not the one called to be his mother.

But I went down and met Adam.  And Jesus came down and met me there. He showed me a glimpse of how all those other children whom He had called me to foster love into, were woven together to prepare me for this one. This little boy who was disfigured beyond anything my nursing textbooks were teaching me and my students. This little boy who had needs beyond what I thought I was capable of caring for. This little boy who was very different than what I intended to invite into my family.

I thought I was brave. But Adam, he taught me how to be brave. Adopting him has been the most challenging and most painful journey I could have imagined. It has led me into waiting rooms and forced fundraisers and it has brought me to my knees.  I have felt death so very near and I have felt the sting of confused glances and hurtful comments. I have questioned how much pain one could go through and I have ached for Heaven and healing in ways I never knew earlier.

But I have found that whatever it is that makes us ache for Heaven, it is good.

And I was reminded it took a painful cramping and dilating and tearing of flesh in order to birth our Messiah...and it then took (His) tearing and piercing and cruel death to birth our redemption.

For there is a chasm in this life. There is this dividing wall of hostility from our infinite sin. And for those divisions to be reconciled, in order for us, far off, to be brought near, the labor of pain is required. The tearing of flesh to birth a Servant King and the tearing of flesh to kill Him to bring us back.

Pain is unavoidable in order to see Life.

I read of single mommas longing for a companion, yet trudging thru the trenches of raising children, fostering more, adopting others in. I read of mommas having to part ways with their earthly family far to soon, yet boasting in His goodness all the way Home. I know mommas losing their littles and having to bury their own and my heart nearly falls apart. I read of ladies, with momma hearts, who long for a child but keep on journeying as a childless mother and my soul longs for them. I know of mommas who give their child up to another to raise, and suddenly their milk comes in and the longing of their bodies cannot be satisfied though they know what they did was good.

I thought motherhood was scrapbooks, themed birthday parties, mini-me's running around the house, and family camping trips. But those are but the fringes.

Motherhood is all of us, the hemorrhaging woman, desperate and full of wanting, reaching out to touch Him. Being a mother is all of us, bleeding and trembling, reaching out in our labor and our our fostering and our adopting and asking Him who did the greatest labor on two splintered slabs of wood, on our behalf, to heal us and help us.

Motherhood will look different for us all. For me it started with adoption of a child who will know suffering to a depth many of us will not.  It then introduced me to a boy who burst into my world in a wild, rushed frenzy of a labor and has been keeping me in a frenzy ever since with his wild natured ways.

But in those moments when I cannot keep up, He teaches me to look UP to the One who KEEPS me.

Because, momma, none of us can keep up.
But we can all look up to the One who keeps us.

And then motherhood birthed me this little 10 month old who came late and long and heavy. Inductions and tears and pounds heavier than his brothers, this little tub teaches me to ascend in praise even when plans do not go my way.

Motherhood aches and makes me labor and sweat and toil with emotions I never knew before.  And stories surround me daily that only show me more of the toil. They show me that  the contractions and the pushing are only the beginning of the labor, sweat, and pain it takes to raise a child.

So, mamas, and not mamas. We are all in this together. I know what it is to long for a child, only to find out that they are not yours.  I know what it is to long to be part of a rescue, but to see your part be so much different than you wanted it to be. I know what it is to raise wild ones and fierce ones and sick ones. And I know it is hard.

But let us just stop trying to keep up and let us keep looking up.

Because He is the Author and is the Perfecter.

So if you are in a part of the story that seems unnecessary or futile, know that it is not. Each of these moments roll into minutes that stretch into hours that expand into days which yield weeks, months, and years and ultimately a lifetime. So whomever you find yourself with in this moment, love them deeply. Foster love in the truest sense and trust that even if the tomorrows are seeming different than you would like, true love casts out fear. Be steadfast and firm, for your labor, from Him, is never in vain.