Friday, March 21, 2008

good morning!

This is a normal weekday morning at our house... well, semi normal because when they saw me get the camera out they all wanted to be on ;) I swear, though, that the dance party happens whenever the music gets turned on...

So good morning from us!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

all night long

So last night I was in my bed ALL NIGHT LONG! Isn't that wonderful?? I met a mom there at the hospital (we were near the NICU) and she had been there for 6 months... can you imagine?? What would become of the rest of your family? Your marriage? Your kids? Your sense of normalcy?

I don't have anything thrilling to write today but I felt like I owed you all an update.

It'll be interesting to see what big P is like once he isn't in pain. I wonder if he's more playful, more gentle, happier...

Monday, March 17, 2008 times..

Where have I been? The hospital baby! GOOD TIMES! Miss Brasil is referring to it as a vacation. My question is, who doesn't want to sleep in a chair (see it?) in ugly Tacoma!?!So, here's the quick update before I ditch my five with me brova and head on back to the hospital. Went in to the ER on Saturday night (at children's hospital #2) and they legally had to let us in the door. The large infection under his arm (internal) was heading down his outer arm and I was tired of all the red tape.

Highlights of our stay:
-Yes he has epilepsy
-The bumps AREN'T tumors!! They're staff infections and totally treatable!
-So far has had one surgery and we're hoping that's the final one..

...more later....

Friday, March 14, 2008

too much talkie

If you know me, you know that one of my weaknesses is what comes outta my mouth. Often times I don't necessarily think before things fly out. Not sure why, but this problem has gotten worse ever since I got back home.

Yesterday we went to our scheduled appointment for Big P (at the surgeon, children's hospital #2) yesterday and the girl at the front desk wouldn't even let him in to see the doctor. Why? Because she wanted to see Big P's PASSPORT.

That's right.
Doesn't that make perfect sense?
I mean EVERY TIME that I take my children to see the doctor, I ALWAYS get asked to show their INTERNATIONAL picture ID.
Don't you?

"It's too bad that you noticed my kids are black."
(receptionist stands up)
"It's not that! We just -"
"That's fine. When can I schedule another appointment?"
(receptionist sits down and begins typing on her keyboard)

...Sure. I feel bad now. And little did that receptionist know that she's not the first person (or business) to ask me for WEIRD things upon seeing that my child/children's skin is darker than mine. Cone to think of it, Children's (1st hospital) did too... but at least they only asked for adoption paperwork. That's a little less obvious.

But COME ON FOLKS. Don't tell me that if I was AA or my kids were all pale that it would even occur to you that I might be bringing in some strange child off of the street and trying to give them health care off of our insurance...??? Honestly. The whole thing is bizarre.

Maybe we shoulda adopted from Russia!?!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

..ahh.. health care

So, I'm avidly against socialized health care - just so we're straight on that.

We're having a difficult enough time getting health care NOW for Big P and we have the best insurance, as well as close access to 2 different children's hospitals, on the planet. My little brother and I will go in circles on this one so I'll just stick to what's going on with Big P and leave the style of health care issue behind us.

So I've been making roughly 3-7 daily phone calls to children's hospital since Big P and I got home. He has large growths in a few places that are painful for him, as well as having "episodes" (I'm pretty sure they're seizures but not positive). Now, if I were a health care provider and someone walked in with an 11 yr old newly adopted child with major health issues, I would roll out the welcome mat and offer to help them with anything they need. In the least, someone could at least answer my questions about how to deal with a child who has "episodes" while he's having them. Is anyone in a hurry to help me? That would be a no.

Quite the contrary. So, fed up with watching our son live in constant pain, my husband carried him for a visit to our local ER. For a quick $25 (our ER co-pay) the doc performed a biopsy, a CAT scan, and got us an appointment for tomorrow at a different children's hospital (mary bridge) for surgery. So this morning I called the new hospital to see if Big P should not eat before his set appointment.
"Why shouldn't he?"
"Well... I am under the understanding that one shouldn't eat before surgery...."
"Uh... looks to me like the doc wants to see him before he makes any decisions."
"Even though the ER docs diagnosed him, biopsied him, and CAT scanned him last night?"
"I'm not the doc, ma'am. I'm just the scheduler."

I hung up the phone and tried to remind myself (as I have been trying to lately) that it's all in God's hands. I can do what I can do but regardless of what I do, it's all in God's hands.

Shortly thereafter, children's hospital (the 1st one) calls and says that no one has reviewed Big P's MRI yet but someone will eventually. Right now they're deciding at what meeting his case should be presented. Then, the docs will talk about the MRI and decide what to do from there.

God's got Big P since before the beginning of time. Before I ever laid eyes on him, before his biological parents considered his conception, before any of these docs was ever born. It was so easy for me to set Big P into God's care when he and I were in Liberia. After all, Liberia couldn't do anything for him so I didn't bother placing any hopes or expectations into their health care system. Rather, I hoped in America's. I hoped in God's choice of placing me in the US. I hoped that God was using that citizenship to bring Big P into our care, and thus our health care system. I expected that the docs here would quickly want to help us figure out how to discontinue my sons chronic pain and "episodes." I, mistakenly, hoped in the wrong thing.

So, once more, I put my trust in God as a last resort. I've got to quit doing this. Why isn't He my first option?

All that I know for sure is that this boy is God's child. God's got it.

Monday, March 10, 2008

here vs. there

So yesterday we had our first appointment at Childrens. And as I sat listening to the squeeks and knocks of the MRI, I conjured up this list of here vs. Liberia:

there's so much red tape, it's difficult to get appropriate medical care.
while there is no red tape, there's no machines/consistent electricity to give appropriate health care.

everyone spends/wastes money like there's an endless supply
everyone spends/wastes money like there's an endless supply

parents give children and over abundance of stuff and not enough responsibility
parents give children an over abundance of work and so so plenty responsibility

education is free and unappreciated
education is costly and savored

time is a valuable commodity that is used and pushed to its limits
time is an oddity of little importance

hearts seem almost hardened to the things that matter
hearts seem almost hardened to the things that matter

we make issues out of non-issues (paid attention to politics lately??)
the issues they face are over-experienced, thus ignored by the general population

And then I wonder... I wonder why we consider one better than the other... I mean, is it more like the lesser of two evils when we choose where to live? I tried to explain so many times to any Liberian who would listen that America aint that grand. Yes there are jobs here, yes we have lots of cars here... and yet... and yet it doesn't equate to a life closer to Christ. It doesn't equate to the things that truly count in this life. I mean, if God is real and we believe that with all of our hearts... if He's the whole point of our existence... then do these things count for anything?

Saturday, March 8, 2008

jacked it

I stole this from Southy, as usual... just par for the course, I spose.

You Are Cayenne Pepper

You are very over the top and a bit overwhelming.

You have a fiery personality, and you can give anyone a good jolt.

You can easily take things up a couple notches, no matter what crowd you're running with.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Many hands make light work

To all of you that donated to The Underwear Fairy, I just want to say thank you! She collected 750 pairs of underwear for orphans in Liberia and is even being featured on's success stories! And Ashley, I'm proud of you for giving your time for something as simple and as easily forgotten as this. I'm so glad we met, chica.

The young girl holding the twins cared for those babies and she alone carried them all over. The four girls on the left often came with us to the beach (the boy on the right followed us all of the way from the market, about 1/4 of a mile, and I can't remember his name). They either wore very little or very tattered clothing. Those gorgeous babies would wear soiled diapers for lack of money to wash the ones they had on. Babies, children, orphans, widows, adults, families, EVERYONE deserves to be clean... to have clean underwear.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

How to Make Plantain Chips (Liberian Style)


-Green Plantains (as many as you're hungry for)
-Salt to taste

1. I pre heated my oil first, about 1/2" deep on med/high
2. While that warmed, I began slicing the plantain. For *best* results, cut the suckers as thin as humanly possible. Have patience. If you're taking forever, turn off the oil and focus on this as it's a key to yummy chips.
3. Salt the raw plantains before throwin' em in. Now toss in the slices individually so they all have room to fry evenly
4. If a slice is turning the slightest bit tan, take 'em all out as the batch is probably done (you've cooked them too long if the veins on the plantain are visible - that's a no no - you've officially burnt the chips). I leave 'em in for around a minute-ish, just long enough to crisp them and watch the color change from pastey white to a yellow.
5. Throw 'em on a napkin covered plate and toss on some salt before the oil dries.
6. Enjoy (I was planning on sharing with the rest of the family but... well.. at least we had good intentions!?

Sunday, March 2, 2008

A morning with the US president

We left around 5:30am hoping not to have to foot it the whole way. Roads were blocked off and so we tried to get through in a vehicle hoping they would assume that we were the press... didn't work. We trudged along as the sun came up, nibbling on some nasty granola-type bars for breakfast. But we finally made it (around 6:30am and we posted right at the exit of Springfield Airport where Bush was landing.

The Liberian police harassed us for a while and so I argued back. Arguing with the police became kinda like a game to me after a while. What could I say that might make them back down, who could get louder, would they even understand me, could I get away without having to pay any fines, that kinda thing. They bugged us about moving back (even though we were posted before they even showed up that morning - it was just us, the wild dogs, and the UN troops) off the street. Then some guy with a southern accent (presumably American) yelled "THE BIBLE SAYS TO SUBMIT TO AUTHORITY!" and I physically ignored him while thinking, 'What about all of the Biblical greats that didn't do as the authorities asked them because the authorities were corrupt and wrong?'. And then the Liberian police heard the dude and they said, "See! Even that American knows that he should stand back from here!" I told the guy that it was because they feared him, not respected him. I told him that they made trouble where there was none in order to make a buck. He didn't like this but he then backed off.

Well, that's not all the way true. They went and got a secret service agent and she told us that if the Liberian police asks us to move back, then we should probably do that. You can bet that I didn't argue with her.

The roads were completely blocked off, not even the kids going to go to school were allowed to cross. They started just piling up on our side of the street. (Each school wears a different uniform and I thought the pink ones were pretty cute).
We sat for a few hours in the heat while more and more people crowded to watch Bush drive by in his limo. UN troops lined the street, probably about one every 15 feet, facing the neighborhood. Someone near us in the crowd had a radio so we listened as the announcer gave a play-by-play of what was going on in the air field. HUGE helicopters began circling the area, first two and then four. Soldiers hung out the doors with huge artillery, ready to shoot at a country that isn't allowed to bear arms.

Then over the radio we could hear a band playing the Liberian National anthem as Bush presumably did his thing with Sirleaf:

He drove by in a long line of cars, it was hard to tell who was going to be in which of the million cars. But, in the second limo, there was our president and his wife just waving away. And I swear to you, he did a double take when he saw my pale skin in a sea of Africans. We all shouted and laughed... it was a REALLY fun morning.

After the cars drove through, a group of us went to have a drink... it was 10am ;P Some of us had Coke, others had not-Coke.

Then, as we were walking back, this freaky "dio-devil" (that's what it sounds like, I have no idea if I spelled it right) tried to jack my flag with Bush and Sirleaf on it. He wore some leather gloves that were SOAKING wet and he petter my arm to get my attention before he jacked the flag outta my hands. It took me a second to come to my senses (I was staring at him and taking in the enormous amount of BO that came with him) and then I snatched the flag back (he wasn't the only one who tried to steal it from me).