Sunday, February 5, 2017

Mighty Moriah and Her Marvelous Spine

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made:
Marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. 
Psalm 139:14

Moriah just turned 10! The day was celebrated with all things mint green, which is her current favorite color. We recently repainted her hand-me-down desk with a fresh coat of mint. And we gave her a mint green bean bag chair, hamper and baskets to help her organize her things. We ate some mint chocolate chip ice cream, of course. She recently cleared out her play kitchen and lots of toys that she has outgrown and now has a more grown up room. Her current favorite things to do are listen to L.M. Montgomery books on CD and color complicated coloring pictures. Such normal ten year old things.

The next few months will be anything but normal, however, as we are finally going to address her congenital spine issues. On the day she was adopted, I commented to Andy that something didn't look right with her spine. There was just a weird little bump about half way down her back that shouldn't have been there. There was nothing in her file about spine issues, but we got it checked out when we got home. MRI's and CT scans and X-rays followed which revealed several significant issues with the way her vertebrae are formed. We have been in watch-and-wait mode for many years. That little bump has become a very large and noticeable hump which causes pain, loss of flexibility and discomfort.

Over a year ago, we were told by our surgeon (who also operated on Joshua's scoliosis) that the time was right for surgery. His next sentence was that he was moving to New York. We were in a quandary. This is a major surgery and the idea of finding a new surgeon was daunting and discouraging to us. We tried to convince our insurance company to let us travel to New York so he could do the surgery, but they wouldn't agree. We had resigned ourselves to switching surgeons and hospitals but really lacked peace about the whole thing. Late last summer we got an e mail from our surgeon (the one who had moved to New York) saying that he was moving back! We were so thankful. We hadn't even thought to pray that this would be a possibility.

The Lord has now worked out all insurance issues, allowed us to have the hospital and surgeon we are comfortable with and given Moriah enough growth and strength to move forward. So it is with great hope and courage that we have scheduled March 6th as the day she will be admitted to the hospital. She will spend a week in halo traction to give her spinal cord a little practice in being in a straighter position and then on March 14th she will have a spinal fusion with hemi excision. In plain English,  the surgeon will remove the misshapen vertebrae and replace it with a cage and polymer and use rods and pins to straighten the rest of her spine and stabilize everything. It will be a long surgery and her recovery will take an additional week to ten days in the hospital. We are hopefully the he will be able to get a lot of correction and she will have a straighter spine when he is done.

We are placing our hope in Christ. Moriah's name comes from Genesis 22:14. Abraham had taken Isaac up the mountain of Moriah to offer him in obedience to God's command. "So Abraham called the name of that place, 'The Lord will Provide' as it is said to this day, 'on the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.'" We have seen his provision for our precious girls through her ten years of life to this point and we trust that he will bring her through this as well. We are comforted by so many who have prayed for her through the years and we are feeling upheld by those prayers now.

Prayers for all of these kiddos would be appreciated.
All of this is rough on each of them in different ways. 

When we saw this sign in Greeley recently she had to do a little dancin'

The green desk freshly painted.
Craft kit to do in the hospital.

Mint green birthday stuff.

Lots of mint!

That unique spine as seen on a recent CT scan.

Sunday, January 15, 2017


Dear Joshua,
I know your birthday was a few weeks ago now. But these thoughts are still on my heart and I want to share them with you. You do not know it, but fourteen is a very significant age for many children in China. The reason is this: at age fourteen children who are orphans can no longer be adopted. Their future is a little up in the air. Some are allowed to stay on at the orphanage, but others have to find other arrangements. Can you imagine being alone in the world at the age you are right now? Those boys and girls do not have a mom and dad to help them with homework, buy their clothes, make their favorite foods or celebrate their birthdays.

I know that we love and serve a God who sees all things. He is in control of all things. Somehow, in His wisdom, he brought us together and we have become knitted together into this wonderful, mysterious thing called family. You are ours and we are yours for your whole life. What a wonderful and beautiful thing this is. I know you think we're annoying sometimes. We hassle you about respect, and working hard, and being kind. Guess what? We think you're annoying sometimes, too. But we love you so much.  God has caused this love to grow in our hearts through, and often because of, our struggles. It was not easy for you to join a family at the age of nine. You really had no idea what a family was supposed to be like. Not only that, but our language was strange to you and so was our food. Added to that, you had two major surgeries within your first six months at home. What courage you have shown! What amazing growth and healing you have experienced.

I hope our hearts will always be soft toward those boys and girls who have not been adopted. I pray that your story will somehow encourage others to adopt older kids who wait and wait for a family. It is hard for me to imagine what your scoliosis would be like now if you had not been adopted and had surgery. You would definitely be having big problems breathing and walking around. Instead, you're on the basketball team and your biggest worry is which color of basketball shoes you want to get! May the coming year be filled with new and wonderful experiences for you. May you grow in your faith and knowledge of God.

We are so thankful for you and the gift you are to our family. We thank the Lord for bringing you into our lives. Happy 14th, Joshua.