Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Elijah's Forever Family Day

Today marks one year since Elijah left the orphanage. Some people call it Gotcha Day, and this might be controversial, but I am not a fan of that terminology. Many children who are adopted already feel stolen, or like they were taken against their will, and this terminology only reinforces those feelings. Anyway, that was a side note, but Elijah has been a Williams for a year!!

The first picture is from the third trip, when they picked him up, and the second and third pictures are recent. :)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Can's and Can't Yet's

I've got some lists...

Things I CAN do (that I wasn't able to do on October 16, 2012...not to say that I do them quickly or without adaptation...but I do them):
- breathe on my own
- feed myself
- get in and out of my wheelchair by myself
- wash my face and brush my teeth
- put on my own make-up (except for eyeliner and mascara)
- stay home alone
- stay home alone with Elijah
- dress myself
- make myself coffee
- change diapers (even poopy ones)
- use the microwave to fix E and I meals 
- unload and load the dishwasher 
- clean up after meals
- shave my own armpits and legs
- shower 
- use the bathroom
- crawl
- put on my own earrings
- and more

Things I cannot yet do:
- stand without balance help
- feel my right side
- walk (with a walker) without someone standing by
- get in and out of a car alone 
**Everything listed above has drastically improved
- laundry
- jump, skip, hop, etc
- drive 

Specific prayer requests for healing:
- for complete feeling to return on the right side
- that my balance will improve facilitating standing and walking 
- that these muscle tremors would go away
- tone in my arm, hand, leg and foot would decrease
- pain would decrease
- double vision would go away
- nystagmus would go away
- hearing would improve in right ear
- voice would continue to improve so that I can always be understood...tone, pitch, etc
- that my right hand and shoulder will regain more fine motor skills 
- that my right hand will regain complete mobility 
- increased coordination
- I'm sure there's more but that's all for now

Me walking last November....I don't have a current one, but just picture a lot less adaptation and assistance. Oh yea, and more weight on me (wheelchairs are not good for the figure)...

Friday, November 15, 2013

Bible Verse

"I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me." (Psalm 57:2, ESV)

Saturday, November 9, 2013

No Escape

I just wish for a moment of reprieve. What I mean by that is there is just no escape from the effects of the stroke. I can't escape by just watching TV or a movie, my vision (the double vision and nystagmus) is a constant reminder. I can't just go for a run, I can't walk without a walker...I definitely can't run. I can't read a good book or magazine, again, vision. I can't just go take a bath, my balance is terrible so I need help getting in and have to work at staying in a sitting position and not drowning. :) I can't just listen to music, my right arm and foot are in constant pain.

My therapists are always suggesting i do different exercising at home, and while I appreciate that, I can't even just sit and play with my son without feeling guilty that I'm not doing anything towards my recovery.

I say all this not complain, really, as always, I just want to be real. 

No escape. Boo. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Another "anniversary"

Today marks another anniversary of sorts. A year ago today I was in the ER, not predicted to live. I have been told by many doctors/therapists since that day after hearing what kind of stroke I had or seeing my scans, that I shouldn't be here or that I am very lucky. I beg to differ. I am VERY blessed that God saved my life that day.

But if I am honest I am also feeling...sorrow. Sorrow for what could have been. Sorrow for everything that has been lost.

As I reflect over this past year, I really started thinking. Thinking about the "what ifs", the October 16th's. God does not promise us peace or to ease our anxiety for the what ifs in life. He promises to give us peace for the moment. I am living proof of that. I can't worry about what the future holds or what things that I've missed out on this past year. Something I will need to be reminded of frequently. 

In Isaiah 26:3 (NLT), we find the promise, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, whose thoughts are fixed on You." 

I, again, leave you with a couple of pictures. Several are from about a year ago and another is from here recently. 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

A Year Ago...

A year ago today we were in a courtroom in Russia testifying why we thought would be the best parents for little Vanya. A year ago today (pending a 30ish day waiting period) Vanya became Elijah Ivan Williams. A year ago today we officially became Elijah Ivan Williams' Mommy and Daddy. Yay!

I leave you with some pictures that we took on this day..

Sunday, October 6, 2013


I am just so in love with my son. There is no way that I could love him more if he was my biological child. I mean, you hear people say that, but there's nothing like feeling it. He is seriously so smart, funny, cute, helpful, caring, empathetic...I could go on and on. It took us longer to form a connection (due to the stroke) but boy do we have one now. :)

I have thought on several occasions (and that's an understatement) how unfair this stroke was on Elijah. He has to wait for a lot of things, he is in the car a lot, he is still sleeping in a pack and play in our bedroom at night (because I move slowly in the wheelchair and his bedroom is far away and if the house caught on fire I want to be able to get to him)...anyway it's not "fair" to him in a lot of ways but a friend reminded me that God chose me out of all the women in the world to be Elijah's Mommy. There is a reason. She also shared the following quote with me from Mary Beth Chapman's book, "Choosing to See" (following the death of her 5 year old adopted daughter, Maria. One paragraph from the book that I want to share with you right now is from a time she is discussing the accident with her other adopted daughters and they are all crying together.):

"Its not fair, I know!" I said. "There are lots of things that don't seem to be fair, and they're so hard. But girls, God has asked us to do hard. It really stinks and I wish we didn't have to, but this is what our family has been called to. If we all stick together, we can do hard."

There isn't anyone I would rather go through hard with, and we are definitely going through hard, than who God has given to me as family.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Thursday, September 26, 2013

"Lift My Life Up" by Unspoken

You brought me this far
So why would I question you now
You have provided 
So why would I start to doubt
I’ve never been stranded
Abandoned or left here to fight alone hope your leading me home
So I’m giving you control

I lift my life, lift my life up
I give it all in surrender
I lift my heart, lift my heart up
You can have it forever
All my dreams, all my plans
Lord I leave it in your hands
I lift my life, lift my life up
Have your way in me
Have your way in me

If peace is a river
Then let it sweep over me
I’m under fire
I know it’s refining me
When I hear you calling out
I follow now wherever the road may go
I know you’re leading me home

I lift my life, lift my life up
I give it all in surrender
I lift my heart, lift my heart up
You can have it forever
All my dreams, all my plans
Lord I leave it in your hands
I lift my life, lift my life up
Have your way in me
Have your way in me

Take my life and let it be all for you
Take my life and let it be all for you

I lift my life, lift my life up
I give it all in surrender
I lift my heart, lift my heart up
You can have it forever

I lift my life, lift my life up
I give it all in surrender
I lift my heart, lift my heart up
You can have it forever

All my dreams, all my plans
Lord I leave it in your hands
I lift my life, lift my life up
Have your way with me
Have your way with me

Take my life and let it be all for you.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Letting Go

Letting go is hard and I honestly don't exactly know how to do it. How do you get over:

-Not packing/buying last minute thing/traveling to Russia for the last time/spending planned family time as a family of three in Russia/leaving the orphanage with my son/not saying goodbye and thank you to his caregivers and our facilitators/flying with him for his first plane ride/not being home with him on his first night at home...

- Maybe never flying again (because of the possibility of the cavernous malformation bleeding again)

-Maybe having only one child - not by choice.  

- I could go on and on but won't. 

I know that God gives true freedom. I know that God gives true peace. But I also want to be completely honest. This is hard stuff...

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Why Me?

From Girlfriends in God... 

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts’ (Isaiah 55:8-9, NIV).

Friend to Friend

There is nothing wrong with us trying to understand why the wounds of life occur; however, the Bible clearly tells us not to depend on or lean on our ability to answer the tough question…why.   “Trust in the Lord with all your heart,” the writer of Proverbs tells us, “and do not lean on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5). Don’t depend on your own mind to figure life out.

Ultimately, God is in control and His ways are higher than ours. God reminds us, “’For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts’” (Isaiah 55:8-9). Dr. James Dobson, in his book, When God Doesn’t Make Sense says “trying to analyze His (God’s) omnipotence is like an amoeba attempting to comprehend the behavior of man.” It is simply not possible.       

But one thing we can be sure of, “all the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful,” whether we understand them or not (Psalm 25:10).

Paul wrote: “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:12).

It may not be until we cross over from the temporal to the eternal that we understand the many “whys” of life. Until then, we must trust in the sovereignty of God.

No matter what we have gone through or what we will go through in the future, God promises: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand: “ (Isaiah 41:10).

God wants to know if we will trust Him no matter what our outward circumstances may be – even if it means death. Will we say with Job “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him” (Job 13:15)?

Let’s Pray

Dear Lord, There are so many times when something happens in my life and I simply just don’t understand. It is during those times that I cling to what I do know. You love me. You have a plan for me. All your ways are loving and all your ways are good. Help me to remember that song in my heart when the melody grows dim. In Jesus’s name, amen

Saturday, August 10, 2013


"Some people tend to believe that peace is simply the absence of problems, valleys and trials. Not so! Peace is a calm confidence that the Lord of the mountains is still on the throne - no matter how deep the valley may be. Peace recognizes Jesus walking on the water as He calms the crashing waves and stills the howling winds in your life. Trials become opportunities to trust God when peace reigns in a heart. That kind of peace can only be found in God. -Girlfriends in Gof

Monday, August 5, 2013

Bible Verse

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13 NIV)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

More to This Life

Its amazing how your perspectives can change. Where I once was worried about what I weighed, what I wore, what others thought of me...I don't want to step on any toes, so you fill in the blank. Those things are so petty now...first world problems, as a devotional I read the other day called them. 

Now I am concerned with navigating the wheelchair or walker well enough to stay alone with my son, the tremors stopping enough to be able to crawl, I'm trying acupuncture, essential oils, yoga..Im very different than the Lisa 9 months ago. 

I have a new appreciation for life. I don't have time for all the petty stuff...there are bigger fish to fry. The things that once would have gotten me frazzled...not so much.  There is more to this life. 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

A Bible Verse and a Devotional

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."  1 Thessalonians 5:18

And an excerpt from Girlfriends In God...   "Some people tend to believe that peace is simply the absence of problems, valleys and trials. Not so! Peace is a calm confidence that the Lord of the mountains is still on the throne - no matter how deep the valley may be. Peace recognizes Jesus walking on the water as He calms the crashing waves and stills the howling winds in your life. Trials become opportunities to trust God when peace reigns in a heart. That kind of peace can only be found in God."

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Eyes and Glory

Well...there is still double vision...but it's I really can't complain. This devotion seemed very fitting. From Girlfriends in God...

"The Israelites were saved, and Pharaoh’s army was destroyed - all under the watchful eyes of the LORD. God wanted to be glorified through a seemingly impossible situation. He wants to be glorified through the difficult situations that you face, too. If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31) When we stand with Christ, we stand with power. What Red Sea are you facing? Nothing is impossible with God. When you set aside your doubts and call on the name of the LORD, you can face the waters of your circumstances with a strong confidence, knowing that God is able and willing to do great things in and through you. Continue to follow the pillars of cloud and of fire of God's leading. You have a chance to bring God the glory of which He is so deserving!"

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

More Eye Surgery

I'm actually quite excited. I have eye surgery again this Friday.  Please pray that this procedure completely corrects the double vision and gets me back in contacts!! 

Monday, July 8, 2013

To Bring Him Glory

I've been thinking,...parenting is hard. Parenting a child adopted as a toddler is even harder. Parenting a child adopted as a toddler while being in a wheelchair, limited use of my right side and everything shaky is harder still. I say that not to throw myself a pity party, I say it because even in the midst of that I can still be joyful.

How? Because God created each of us with a different plan. We've been talking in SS about Job. How he was allowed to go through trials to bring God glory. We were each created not for our own comfort, but to simply bring Him glory. He has different plans for each of us, but the same purpose, to bring Him glory.

That brings me peace because I know I am just where He wants me.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Sovereign Over Us by Aaron Keyes

A reader sent this song to me...

Sovereign Over Us by Aaron  Keyes

There is strength within the sorrow, 
There is beauty in our tears 
You meet us in our mourning, 
With a love that casts out fear 
You are working in our waiting, 
Sanctifying us 
When beyond our understanding, 
You're teaching us to trust 

Your plans are still to prosper, 
You have not forgotten us 
You're with us in the fire and the flood 
Faithful forever, 
Perfect in love 
You are sovereign over us 

You are wisdom unimagined, 
Who could understand your ways 
Reigning high above the heavens, 
Reaching down in endless grace 
You're the Lifter of the lowly, 
Compassionate and kind 
You surround and You uphold me, 
Your promises are my delight 

Even what the enemy means for evil 
You turn it for our good, 
You turn it for our good and for your glory 
Even in the valley You are faithful 
You're working for our good, 
You're working for our good and for your glory

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


I have started (within the last couple of months) to have terrible muscle spasms on my right side, especially in my arm. Over the course of many months I have tried four medications, many of which have pretty serious side effects, with no luck. Muscle spasms/tremors remain.

We went to see a new neurologist today, just for another opinion (because the other neurologist basically said we were out of options) and, while being shocked at my medical records, at least gave us some hope in a new medication.

Please join me in prayer that this new medication will work and that there won't be any side effects!! I am so sick of effects my balance, coordination...I punch people all the time :) ...I'm just so tired of it (to put it mildly). Thanks ahead of time for the prayers!!

And again, just because I can...

Sunday, May 26, 2013

"Even If"

I write this not to say that I won't heal...who knows what the future holds...but even in the midst of the suffering I will still worship Him for who He is.

"Even If" by Kutless

Sometimes all we have to hold on to
Is what we know is true of who You are
So when the heartache hits like a hurricane
That could never change who You are
And we trust in who You are

Even if the healing doesn't come
And life falls apart
And dreams are still undone
You are God You are good
Forever faithful One
Even if the healing
Even if the healing doesn't come

Lord we know your ways are not our ways
So we set our faith in who You are
Even though You reign high above us
You tenderly love us
We know Your heart
And we rest in who You are

You're still the Great and Mighty One
We trust You always
You're working all things for our good
We'll sing your praise

You are God and we will bless You
As the Good and Faithful One
You are God and we will bless You
Even if the healing doesn't come
Even if the healing doesn't come

Sunday, May 12, 2013

My "First" Mother's Day

Mother's Day...bittersweet...

While it is my first with my child in my arms, it really isn't my first. Last year we had already accepted a referral and were almost on our way to meet our son and the year before that I was pregnant. This year, my baby is in my arms, but that doesn't take away the pain.

I ache for those women that aren't yet mothers but desire to be. I ache for those women that have lost babies. I ache for those women that have lost mothers, grandmothers, etc. I ache for those women who have placed their children for adoption. I ache for those women that don't have good relationships with their mothers. I ache for the children that don't have mother to celebrate with.

Please remember that it is not a joyous day for everyone. Please be careful with your comments. You never know what people may be experiencing.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Eye Surgery Update

Delayed update...eye surgery went well. I still have double vision, but it's much better (the images used to be diagonal and now they are vertical and much closer together). Side note: The doctor even came and prayed with us before surgery. Very impressive, and what a blessing! Therapy at the new place is going well. I finally start OT tomorrow, so now I will be back to doing all three disciplines each week (physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy). On a happy note, we just booked the condo for Elijah's first trip to the beach in July. We bought him the cutest swimsuit tonight! That's all for now, it's bedtime.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Eye Surgery

My eye surgery is tomorrow morning! Yea! Please pray that everything goes smoothly, that the surgery will be effective, etc. Prayerfully next time I post it will be much faster. Granted it will still be.shaky left handed... But prayerfully I'll be able to wear my contacts and there will only be one set of words..

And just because.,.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

"Need You Now" by Plumb

Well, everybody's got a story to tell
And everybody's got a wound to be healed
I want to believe there's beauty here
'Cause oh, I get so tired of holding on
I can't let go, I can't move on
I want to believe there's meaning here

How many times have you heard me cry out "God please take this"?
How many times have you given me strength to Just keep breathing?
Oh I need you God, I need you now.

Standing on a road I didn't plan
Wondering how I got to where I am
I'm trying to hear that still small voice
I'm trying to hear above the noise

How many times have you heard me cry out God please take this?
How many times have you given me strength to Just keep breathing?
Oh I need you God, I need you now.

Though I walk,
Though I walk through the shadows
And I, I am so afraid
Please stay, please stay right beside me
With every single step I take

How many times have you heard me cry out?
And how many times have you given me strength?

How many times have you heard me cry out "God please take this"?
How many times have you given me strength to Just keep breathing?
Oh I need you
God, I need you now.

I need you now
Oh I need you
God, I need you now.
I need you now
I need you now

Listen here...

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Bible Verse For the Day

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." (Psalm 139:13-16 NIV)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

"Already There" by Casting Crowns

"Already There" by Casting Crowns

From where I'm standing
Lord it's so hard for me to see
Where this is going
And where You're leading me
I wish I knew how
All my fears and all my questions
Are gonna play out
In a world I can't control

Oh, oh

When I'm lost in the mystery
To You my future is a memory
Cause You're already there
You're already there
Standing at the end of my life
Waiting on the other side
And You're already there
You're already there

Oh, oh, oh, oh

From where You're standing
Lord, You see a grand design
That You imagined
When You breathed me into life
And all the chaos
Comes together in Your hands
Like a masterpiece
Of Your picture perfect plan

When I'm lost in the mystery
To You my future is a memory
Cause You're already there
You're already there
Standing at the end of my life
Waiting on the other side
And You're already there
You're already there

One day I'll stand before You
And look back on the life I've lived
I can't wait to enjoy the view
And see how all the pieces fit

One day I'll stand before You
And look back on the life I've lived
Cause You're already there
You're already there
When I'm lost in the mystery
To You my future is a memory
Cause You're already there
You're already there
Standing at the end of my life
Waiting on the other side
And You're already there
You're already there

You are already there

Listen here

I'm Still Here

Well, I think I set a record for time between posts (not counting the Already There lyrics). We are staying VERY busy with therapy and, you know, this little thing called a two year old. It's really shocking how much time recovery takes out of the day.

I'm still doing rehab. I have been at the same place (HealthSouth) since October but recently (as of Wednesday) changed locations (SAMC Therapy Services - the Neurologist recommended pool/water/aqua therapy which HealthSouth no longer has). It was (is) a difficult transition but I think it will be good for a change. New therapists, new equipment...

Let's see...I'm finally having eye surgery to hopefully correct severely double vision and it will prayerfully help the strabismus (shaky vision) on April 12th. (They won't do the surgery for the first 6 months.)

I'm still in a wheelchair but can walk unassisted with a walker, it just looks rough and isn't very efficient. My right arm and hand are gimpy - lots of tone. My speech is still slurred. I now have seizures (small ones that were only detected on an EEG, nothing that I even knew was happening, but I'm trusting that my neurologist knows what she's talking about) so I'm on medication for that. I still can't feel my right side and my left side is still jumpy.

But I'm alive!! We've seen huge improvements since the beginning, just slow progress lately. It's not easy, I'm not gonna lie, but I am thankful to be alive.

Elijah is adjusting well. It's taking him a longer time to attach/bond with me but we've recently seen great strides. I've been able to do more and more for him lately, such as getting him out of his highchair and crib, playing with him on the floor, etc. I'm still his Mommy even though I have some limitations right now. He's grown taller but is having a tough time putting on weight. The boy does not slow down!! He had his 2nd birthday in February.

Um...that's it in a nutshell. That took me like 2 hours to type so it may be a couple more months before you get another update. Don't be alarmed. :) I will leave you with pictures of my cutie.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Final Trip to Russia

On November 13th, I (Barry) travelled with Lisa’s parents back to Russia after a very hectic and busy 30 day waiting period (see previous post).  It was very hard to have to go back without Lisa after looking forward to making the trip together for so long leading up to it, but I knew I had to get our son home no matter what.  After flying for a full day and losing 10 hours we arrived in Volgograd EARLY in the morning (middle of the night) on the 15th.  Based on our court decree we could pick up Elijah on the 16th, so we intentionally set up our flights to be there early enough to be able to visit him one day before taking him away from all he has ever known to hopefully ease the transition for him a little. 

The first hurdle we ran into once we arrived in Russia was that only 3 of our 5 suitcases actually made it to Volgograd with us, and one of the missing ones was Elijah’s, which had all of his clothes (except one outfit, since I did think about this possibility) and all the scarves that my mom hand made for gifts to give the caregivers at the orphanage and the workers that would be helping us.  Fortunately the two missing suitcases made it the next afternoon, so we had all we needed to go pick him up the next morning…so I thought.  As I was going through the clothes to prepare for the exciting morning ahead, I realized that the brand new snow suit we had bought Elijah a couple months before (it was in the 30s in Volgograd, and they bundle up the kids even when it is like 60 outside, so not having a snow suit was out of the question) was not in his suitcase.  After checking and double checking all of our suitcases, I had to accept the fact that it had been taken from the suitcase at some point while it was ‘lost’.  Soooo, we went out and bought a new snow suit at a place near our hotel, and once again I was ready to pick up our son the following morning.

Hurdle two came the next morning, and it was a big one.  We were getting ready, anxiously waiting for a phone call in the hotel room from our coordinator to let us know when she would be there to pick us up to go to the orphanage.  The phone rang and it was her, but she didn’t seem happy.  She said, “I have bad news, can you come down to the lobby?”.  We went down, and she said that the judge who had to sign the decree that day allowing us to get the documentation necessary to pick up Elijah, was sick, and there was nothing we could do until Tuesday! (This was Friday)  What a shock!  All of a sudden instead of getting to have my son in my arms for good within a couple of hours, it was going to be four days of waiting around.  Not to mention that we were scheduled to fly to Moscow on Tuesday evening because it was supposed to take a few days to process his passport information in Volgograd.  It was a hard four days, but we got to visit him each day except Sunday. 

Tuesday finally arrived and it was absolutely crazy.  Our coordinator and translator managed to get everything that was supposed to take 3 days done in a matter of a few hours (it did involve me having to pay the passport office lady an ‘expidition fee’ to get it done in the same day, which I was assured was normal in Russia).

We picked up Elijah a little after lunchtime, and even though it was hard thinking about him leaving all that he knows, it was the best feeling in the world to walk out of the orphanage gate with him, knowing that he would never have to sleep at the orphanage again. 

This is us leaving the orphanage!


We made our flight to Moscow just a couple hours after we picked him up, and everything there went much more smoothly.  He was a great flyer, and despite only sleeping about 1.5 hours of the 10 hour flight back to NYC, overall he did fine. 

Just when I thought we were in the clear and finally on US soil, hurdle #3 happened.  We only had a one hour layover in JFK airport, and we were going to have to go through immigration (with someone that we hadn’t left with), get our bags at baggage claim, go to another terminal in a separate building, recheck our bags, go back through security, and catch our flight.  Hard enough even if you aren’t in the worst airport in the world to navigate (seriously I don’t know how anyone who doesn’t speak English would ever get where they needed to go in JFK, because it was hard for us and we can read what few signs there are).  Anyway, we got split up in immigration because I had Elijah, so Lisa’s dad took all of our carryons with him, so I could carry Elijah through.  He just handed me mine and Elijah’s passports out of my backpack and went through another line.  When I gave the already disgruntled looking agent our passports and the packet of documents I was told to present when we entered the US, he flipped them open and his only words to me were, “Where is she?”.  I was at a loss for words, “What?” I asked, confused.  “Where is she,” he said as he flipped Lisa’s passport around and showed me her picture.  Lisa’s dad had handed me Lisa’s passport instead of mine (we had them both in the same bag with all our other important travel documents, and had left hers in there in case it was needed with me travelling without her).  So there I was at border control, with a Russian child, and someone elses passport…and not mine.  He seemed very angry, and when Lisa’s mom saw what was going on, and brought me my passport from the other side of the gate, it only made things worse, because then he said “why does this lady have your passport??”.  Even though I explained the situation, he said, “I can’t say that you’ve officially done anything wrong, but it’s protocol that we report all occurrences like this, so please come with me.” Great…now we’ve already burned half of the time we have to catch our flight, and I have to go to some back room and explain why I have someone else’s passport.  After another 10 minutes of hearing me talked about in third person among the guards, I got Lisa’s passport back, and we were on our way.  The flight was already boarding by the time we got to our gate, and we walked straight on and then it was on to Atlanta, and then to Dothan.  Elijah slept from the time the wheels left the ground at JFK until we got home.

We got back to Dothan on November 24th, and went straight to Healthsouth to see Mommy before we even went home.  We brought Lisa home the next day and we have been a family of three at home ever since.  It has been quite an adjustment for all of us trying to figure out the logistics of Elijah’s schedule and working out how we get everything done that we have to around the house with Lisa’s condition as well, and me returning to work.  Our families have been great about helping us, while maintaining enough distance so that Elijah can get attached to us. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Overdue Update…

A lot has happened in the last 2 months since our last post.  On October 16th, 2 days after returning from our second Russia trip, I had a stroke (hemorrhagic stroke in the pons area of my brain…to be exact). (Barry is typing this) I woke up around 12:15 am and my head was spinning and the right side of my body was tingling and going numb.  Then I got violently sick all of a sudden.  I got Barry to call 911 and he got me to the bathroom.  The paramedics got there quickly, but I wasn’t able to talk by the time they got there.  Fortunately we were at  home in our bed when it happened and we live across the street from a hospital, so it wasn’t but just a few minutes later that I was in the ER.  It was terrifying for both Barry and I (even though I was not responsive, I could hear everything that was going on, and could hear the doctor talking to Barry about if we had a living will or power of attorney). 

I stayed in the SICU for 3 days and then a regular room for 5 more days before being transferred to Healthsouth rehab hospital for the next month.  I am still in a wheelchair.  My vision is still double and jumpy.  I can’t hear much in my right ear, and even though I can move my right arm and leg there is no feeling in the right side of my body.  The neurosurgeon in Birmingham said that it was what is called a cavernous malformation that bled, and that there is nothing I did to cause it or anything I could have done to prevent it, and unfortunately nothing can be done to prevent it from happening again, except to pray that it doesn’t.  He said sometimes they don’t bleed again for years or decades, and sometimes never, but that he couldn’t guarantee that it wouldn’t happen again sometime soon.  Not the news we wanted to hear, because the original suspicion was something that you can take proactive measures for. 

Meanwhile, Barry and my parents left for Russia to pick up Elijah on November 13th.  (I’ll post later on 3rd trip specifics).  It was beyond crushing to not be able to go, especially because we knew on October 16th that I would not be able to, and I had a month to think about it.  Not to mention the worry we both had that our third trip might be put in jeopardy because of the situation.  So I’ll leave you with a few pictures of Elijah…

Here he is in one of the pictures they sent us when we got the referral.

Ivan Edited

Here he is on our first trip in May, when we met him for the first time at the orphanage.


This is from our second trip (after court) in October, playing outside at the orphanage, right before we saw the rainbow.


This one is from trip 3, after the 30 day waiting period.  He had just gotten his new Russian passport.  Doesn’t he look so proud of it?


And here he is now, back home in Dothan at the park!


Sorry it took so long to make a new post.  I’m sure you have heard the recent news regarding the ban on US adoptions in Russia.  Please keep the orphans and all the families affected by this new law, especially those who are currently in the process of adopting, in your prayers.