Friday, June 20, 2014

Gearing up for the next (and last?) removal surgery


 I look at my sweet girl and wonder "what will she look like with no nevi?".  
Her nevi make her "special".  They are what brought her to us.  Without God creating her in this unique way, she would likely be growing up with her birth family in China right now, never known to any of us.  God has a special plan for her to be grafted into our family, and He used the nevi He created on her body as a way to do that.  Now the last of her "spots" will be removed, forever erased, just leaving some scars and memories.  I'm not saying that I'm regretting making this decision for removal.  We certainly don't want her to develop skin cancer in adulthood or subject her to discrimination and bullying for choosing for her to look different than her peers (she'll go through enough of that by being Chinese!). She will still be the same girl we fell in love with when we saw her photos for the first time September, 2012.  She will still leave her mark on this world whether she looks different or not, because we are convinced that God has great things in store for our amazing Little Lady!
swimming in our pool
  I look forward to telling her stories of how she played with her knobs on her head when she was tired, ritually scratched her neck nevus when she woke up every morning, and first enjoyed my picking dirt out of the wrinkles on her cheek nevus as if I was relieving an itch that had been there for months.  When she asks about what people thought of her I will tell her stories of how those who love her never noticed them (they would even mention that fact on occasion) but strangers would ask the most ignorant questions sometimes that made me laugh after they left.  It will give me opportunities to share with her about how beauty is skin deep.  You know if someone cares about you if they look past what the world defines as beautiful and still love you for who you are.  Whenever she brings it up, I will always assure her that we (her forever family and true friends) have loved her just as much with her nevi as without them.   I hope she may carry this as part of her testimony of the wonderful grace that Jesus extends to all of us.  It is greater than any blemish, scar, or burden we bear in this life.  All we have to do is lay it at His feet, trust in His saving power through the cross, and then live a life free of guilt, fear, or insecurity.

Blueberry picking
Here are our plans for surgery #4: We will travel early in the morning to Nashville on Wednesday, July 2nd with a goal of returning late in the evening.  Surgery is scheduled for 12:30, just like with surgery #3.  Hopefully there will be less of a delay than last time, and we won't be the last ones to leave the outpatient department when it's over.  Dr. Chester, her plastic surgeon, plans to removed the second half of the nevus on the front of her neck, the remaining nevus on her cheek, and scrape the last couple tiny spots on the back of her neck as well.  If she is successful, this will be her last removal surgery!  This doesn't mean we are without the possibility of needing scar revision in the future.  I have seen many stories of children who, as they grow, scars become more noticeable on their faces and need some tweaking.  This may be years down the road, so we aren't too concerned for now.
This summer our Little Lady will turn 3 years old.  At that point, half of her life will have been spent in the orphanage and half with us.  I love the thought that pretty soon we will get to say she's been with us longer!

Camping at Reelfoot Lake
Recently we have received information to work with medical missions trips to China to help compile and add important, updated information for adoptable children in the orphanages there.  It is though Lifeline Children's Services, the agency we used to get Anna Faith.  They only go every 2 or so months, so timing it around the farm's schedule is pretty tricky.  However, I would love to go at some point next year using my abilities as a RN to assist physicians and therapists in helping families get important medical and developmental information with photos and videos of their children who are waiting to be adopted.  If you are interested in going on one of these trips, you do not need to be a medical professional.  They need people to take photos and help play with the kids as well!  If interested, check it out on their website http://lifelinechild.org.  It looks like an amazing, rewarding opportunity.  When I was attending their informational webinar, Kris told me to ask them "What if a volunteer is in the process of adopting again?  Can they still go?" I LOVE thinking about that. My heart is once again feeling the pull more and more these days....but it's still just thoughts, dreams, and prayers at this point.   In the meantime, I'm trying to keep my sanity intact as a "no drama mama" and enjoy these four wildflowers God has already given us!  Yes, we are still open to adopt again, and until God permanently closes that door, our hearts will be ready for whoever He wants to graft into our family next!

Please be in prayer for Anna Faith and our family July 2nd.  Pray we won't be disappointed if all the nevi can't be removed as planned.  Pray Anna Faith will be free from nausea and pain when she wakes out of anesthesia (we would love a repeat of surgery #3's effects), and pray that we will have peace as we wait.  Waiting for hours in that tiny holding room by ourselves is so hard!  Thanks so much!