Monday, March 23, 2015

She was waiting for her family.

I have heard so many stories that have given me goosebumps in the last week.  Since we announced our PA with "Poppy"...so many people have shared their story with me.  If you too have a story about Poppy, please share!

This is my friend, Kassandra.

Her and I connected through a mutual friend of ours. She's been a big prayer warrior in my life, especially with Azlan.  Her sweet daughter even sent Azlan a note and gift after his surgery went wrong in September.

This is what she wrote:

It has been a while since I've sent a personal message your way, but when I read your post on No Hands But Ours, I couldn't wait until I could message you.  I was SO overjoyed to read your post!  As soon as I read it, tears streaming down my face,  I ran to get Emmerson to let her read it as well.  I wish you could have seen her face--It shown like the sun!  
Our family is currently in the beginning stages of pursuing an international adoption ourselves for which we are extremely excited and burdened.  We are feeling led to adopt a little girl from Asia or South America. Our daughter is 10, almost 11, and we are feeling led to adopt a child no older than her.  That said, we've begun looking through the waiting children lists and came across Poppy's photo and just couldn't get over her.  Even though she was a little older than Emmerson God just wouldn't relive the tug on our hearts for her, so we began praying God would show us "why."  We prayed that God would relieve our hearts from the conviction of bringing home a child 10 or younger or that He would give us peace that He had other plans for Poppy.  With tons of prayer and a TON more tears, we continued praying for Poppy, but with the renewed conviction that God had someone else planned for Poppy's life--a different forever family.  We have prayed for her every single day since finding her photo & reading her story, and since believing God had another family out there for her, we've been praying for her new family as well. We had no idea when we started praying for her we were praying for your little girl!!!  Now we know "why" God burdened our hearts specifically for her and we are SO happy!!! Although we've never met her, we love that little girl so much, and are so excited to be able to "know" the family God hand picked to love her and take her home to make her part of their family.  We had complete peace, but were still sad He hadn't picked us, but are now over joyed and also thankful not only for both her and your family, but also for the additional blessing (to us a little miracle) of being able to watch her be loved by her family through your FB posts etc and to have a small part of helping her come home to you.  You'll all continue to be in our prayers.  We'd still love to meet you someday, but even until then, we remain your friends in Christ.  SO excited for you!


So many stories of people that felt very strongly called to pray for this sweet girl but either were denied adoption for some random reason or felt they were not her family.  Just makes you sit back and smile...watching God move in your life as you choose to just simply be willing.  

I've read through hundreds of comments from concerned families about Poppy. Wondering where her family was.  Why was she not spoken for...? And every time I would sit there either crying or with chills. Because in that moment I knew...we were her family.  God was moving people to pray and then He moved us.  Someone said "it all happened so quick!" and you are right. It did. But He made Himself that clear...we couldn't miss it. 


Friday, March 20, 2015

Surrender.

Those of you that have followed our story know we believe our story is more about surrender than even...adoption.  Yes...it's about adoption. Totally. But God hasn't called each of us to adoption.  He really hasn't.

It's not an easy road.  It's actually... a hard road.  An amazing road..but a hard, bumpy, rough road...often for a few years. Maybe...longer.

This story that He's writing in our lives...is really about surrender.  And that is something each of us, as Christians, are called to.  His plan. His will. His way.  Versus our dreams. Our goals. Our ideals.

It's hard to make sense of surrender. It really is.  I've had many, many people say "no Janice, you LOVE children. This IS about your wish. You can't surrender to something you don't want.".  Respectfully...I fully, whole heartedly disagree. I do.

I do love children.  You may as well.  And you likely have 2! Or 3...maybe 4.  That was me.  I wanted 5.  That would be an amazing life.  So yes. I do love children.  We both do.

This is more.  This is about God calling us to something...beyond us.  Much bigger than us.  Something that we said "oh wait...no...no.." to first. Long before we said "yes".

Surrender is not defeat though.  No...it's not a glum faced, hunched shoulders...dragging our feet without joy....response.  No.  When surrender is complete...whole hearted...it's freedom.  It's knowing you are right in the center of God's will.  It's arms up!  It's peace.  It's faith.

It's jumping off the cliff because I know who's standing there to catch me.  It's not ignorantly jumping off the cliff to my death.  No...that's foolishness.

This journey is all about surrender.  Yes, orphans break my heart. And hopefully...they break yours too. Because it IS devastating.  Tirzah is 11 years old. She has been loved, adored every single day of her life. She's been hugged, kissed, cuddled and prayed with every single night since she was born.  Imagine not...? Imagine where only her basic needs were met. What happens in the brain...? How does that affect every part of her being?  It's so very sad.

As my friend Jenny Groothuis said "Children need mothers. Mothers who know who their God is!".  Yes.  They do.

But I'm not going to use this platform to push adoption.  Instead...I'll use it to tell our story and encourage you...to surrender.  To whatever He's asking of you.  You may already know what it is.  You may not.  But...ask Him.

If it's adoption...amazing!! One less orphan in the world because of your obedience.  If it's to work on saving your marriage instead of sabotaging it...that makes my heart leap!  If it's getting help for your addiction...to whatever it is...food..pornography...there's freedom in surrender.

He loves...that much.  He wants your pain. He wants your hurt.  As one of my favorite songs says "It's not love any other way".

Surrender...is freedom.

No we don't feel in bondage. We feel free.  Free because we know this is what God asked us to do. And though it might appear radical and crazy and illogical from a secular point of view...there's so much peace in letting God lead the way.

We don't know all of our new daughter's medical struggles. Yes they could be way more severe than we are being told.  We saw that with Taizi.  He was diagnosed with a cleft lip and palate! And deformed outer ears.  Oh...that was the least of his struggles! He's fully deaf, partially blind, cleft lip and palate, severe PDA of the heart, very mentally disabled and complete failure to grow with no reason.  Overwhelming...? Many, many days.  Regret? None.  Not one.  We obeyed God.  And now we see...this was about transforming our hearts.  This was about following Jesus even to 'the least of these'.  This was about...obedience.  Surrender.

Ridiculous Faith.  The step you need to take in your life may look like ridiculous faith to you as well. It might not be adding your 11th child to your family (11 age 11 and under)...but it's surrender.  It leaves you in the back seat...and God in control. And none of us like that feeling.

Surrender is stronger.  Obedience is better than sacrifice.  And He...He has proven Himself totally trustworthy.  Over..and over...and over again.  In my life. And in yours.

Take the leap.


Thursday, March 19, 2015

My all.

I woke this morning. Humming.  I know. It's kind of random but it gets my attention every single time. Especially when I realize what I'm singing and that I haven't heard the song in years!

This morning I woke with this. I actually couldn't figure it out...it took humming it to Dean.

I read it and smiled from ear to ear.  He gives such good gifts.

You are my strength when I am weak
You are the treasure that I seek
You are my all in all
Seeking You as a precious jewel
Lord, to give up I'd be a fool
You are my all in all
Jesus, Lamb of God
Worthy is Your name
Jesus, Lamb of God
Worthy is Your name
Oh, Your name is worthy
Taking my sin, my cross, my shame
Rising again I bless Your name
(I bless Your name)
You are my all in all
(Oh yes you are, yes you are)
When I fall down You pick me up
When I am dry You fill my cup
(You fill my cup)
You are my all in all
(My all, Lord, hallelujah)
Jesus, Lamb of God
Worthy is Your name
(Oh, Your name, Your precious name is worthy, Lord)
Jesus, Lamb of God
Worthy is Your name
You're my everything
The beginning and the end
The first, the last You are
The great I am
Jesus, Lamb of God
Worthy is Your name
Jesus, Lamb of God
(Oh, my Jesus, my precious Jesus)
Worthy is Your name


Read more:  Natalie Grant - You Are My All In All Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Ridiculous Faith.

How this all began. The story… we simply didn’t even begin to write. 
Dean and I went out for a date at Olive Garden. On this date I mentioned to Dean that I keep getting this strong impression about adopting an older girl. We talked. We laughed. We both agreed this would have to be from God simply because of the timing. 
As we were getting ready to leave, the family beside us stood up and their daughter was 11 yo and adopted from China. We had a great conversation with them. 
There are moments in this story… we called “God winks”. Then there are “whispers”. Then… there are “shouts”.
This was just a wink. A wink that got our attention… but in and of itself… didn’t say much.
March 1 was Sunday.
Sunday morning… like most Sunday mornings before it….we got up and began our routine of getting a family of 12 ready to go to church. When the children were all situated in their classes, Dean and I sat down with Izrael, Taizi and Nazara. Dean stepped out with Nazara to get a water. We were singing. While singing, I started to cry. Not cry…cry. It was a cry…that I wasn’t doing. The same kind of cry that I cried when watching Taizi’s orphanage video. A cry that I knew God was trying to get my attention. I sat down and started to pray. I remember saying “Ok God. I’m listening. What are you trying to tell me?” and instantly I heard His whisper. “Janice…this next step…this will take ridiculous faith”. I put my head in my hands and sat just processing. Dean came in and a few minutes later leaned over and said something to me. He then said “I’m really excited about this series we are starting at church next week”…and then showed me this:

unnamed

I jumped! I asked in a total shocked voice “where did you get that?” When I told him what had just happened while he was getting water… we both sat there stunned. 
This was a shout. God had totally gotten my attention. We were listening.
Ridiculous Faith. I felt like we had already done the ‘ridiculous faith’…but apparently…not yet.
I was doing life, everything was normal and I kept seeing this picture in my head of us all at the ocean. Playing in the waves and there was a girl with Tirzah. She was Chinese and there was something with her leg. She was limping. There may have been a wheelchair off to the side…I couldn’t get the full picture. Who was the girl? It was so confusing. Who was with us at the ocean? Why was I even seeing this? I just moved on. But something was nagging at me about a girl…and she was older. Tirzah’s age.
Later I contacted a friend who is adopting from Africa. My heart has always loved Africa. Ever since I was a young child. She put me in contact with her agency and I emailed them. They replied asking info about me and our family. I was in the middle of replying when I felt that still small voice just whisper. It wasn’t a shout. It was a whisper. “Janice…no. This is not where your child is…” and I stopped and erased the entire email. I knew. Not Africa.
On Monday I confided in a good friend of mine. She asked if I wanted to see girls about Tirzah’s age that were on waiting lists. I agreed. The very first one she send me I opened the picture and instantly started crying. That same cry. That cry that I knew. I knew this was her. It wasn’t a cry of “oh she’s beautiful she needs a family”… no it was a cry that was beyond me. I was definitely being moved. In fact, she sent me a number of photos of different children and though beautiful and precious… no… not one of them brought tears. I looked back at the first one and again…the same thing. Crying.
As I read more about her I was blown away. This beautiful girl was exactly Tirzah’s age. 2 months older. Yes we’ve always felt strongly about not interrupting birth order with our oldest but we’ve also learned age and developmental age are two different things. It was even more special to see her birthday is my mom’s birthday. 
Ahhh. How do you process all of this? I had just told 3 different friends within the previous 2 weeks that we were pretty sure we were done adopting. And here we were. Stuck in the land in between….not yet started building our house…we are so close. Sitting in our rental home for far longer than planned. And this…? The timing. I mean…the timing. It couldn’t be more…’off’. 
I had confided in another friend who said “Oh Janice…does the timing ever seem right?” and it reminded me of my sweet friend Jenny Groothius. How the one comment she made when God was speaking to us about Chazano and Zunduka changed everything. She said, “When is the timing right Janice? When is the perfect timing…?” and that stuck with me. God sees the bigger picture. 
And He also knows that in my timing…I can be independent. I’ll take care of it. I’ll provide. But right now…? We have to move. We cannot stay here. We are building our house… all arrows have pointed in that direction. We’ve seen God’s hand all along the way. And now we are to begin the adoption process…? Now…? 
As I’m wading through my thoughts that are as clear as mud…it hits me. Oh..’ridiculous faith’. It begins now. Stepping out when the timing is so off. So off that it forces us to depend on God. Can’t do this one on our own. (Mind you…we never have. Yet clearly that’s the hardest surrender for me.)
We were driving around on Tuesday and turned on the radio. I had never heard this song before. That might seem like no big deal… but we know all the songs. We listen to Christian radio a lot. This one… was a whisper. I couldn’t miss the message. 
Beyond Me by Toby Mac
Call it a reason to retreat
I got some dreams that are bigger than me
I might be outmatched, outsized, the underdog in the fight of my life
Is it so crazy to believe
That You gave me the stars, put them out of my reach
Called me to waters a little too deep
Oh, I’ve never been so aware of my need
You keep on making me see
It’s way beyond me
It’s way beyond me
Yeah, it’s out of my league
It’s way beyond me
It’s way beyond me
It’s way beyond
Anything that I got the strength to do
In over my head keeps me countin’ on You
I’m leaving the sweet spot, sure shot
Tradin’ it all for the plans You got
Is it so crazy to believe
That You gave me the stars, put them out of my reach
Called me to waters a little too deep
Oh, I’ve never been so aware of my need
Yeah, you keep on making me see
It’s way beyond me
It’s way beyond me
Yeah, it’s out of my league
It’s way beyond me
It’s way beyond me
You take me to the place where I know I need You
Straight to the depths that I can’t handle on my own
And Lord I know, I know I need You
So take me to Your great
Take me to Your great unknown
It’s way beyond me, w-way beyond me
It-it’s way beyond me, w-w-way beyond me
Ok. Ok. Yes…stars but they are out of reach. Ocean is just too deep. Beyond me. I’m listening. 
March 3 we had received Poppy’s file from the agency. As I’m pouring over everything and reading through the blurred lines and the unknowns…it hits me…this is an 11 year old that has no education. 
Whoa. Ok… I can do hard things. But… no education? 11 years old?
This was a big one. I told Dean. Every doubt is now filling my mind. Ok we just can’t do that. I mean…yes we homeschool our kids but starting from scratch? At 11? My stomach was in knots. 
When I woke March 4 I woke humming. I was humming a song that I couldn’t place the words to. I had business calls to do and I was so frustrated. Finally they came to me…”thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path…” by Amy Grant.
I googled the words. I haven’t heard that song in years. I love when God speaks through songs. Perhaps it’s the irony of it all. I can’t sing. I wish I could…but I can’t. And God has spoken many times to me…in the night… through songs. 
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet
And a light unto my path.
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet
And a light unto my path.
When I feel afraid,
And think I’ve lost my way.
Still, you’re there right beside me.
Nothing will I fear
As long as you are near;
Please be near me to the end.
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet
And a light unto my path.
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet
And a light unto my path
I will not forget
Your love for me and yet,
My heart forever is wandering.
Jesus by my guide,
And hold me to your side,
And I will love you to the end.
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet
And a light unto my path.
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet
And a light unto my path.
When I feel afraid,
And think I’ve lost my way.
Still, you’re there right beside me.
Nothing will I fear
As long as you are near;
Please be near me to the end.
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet
And a light unto my path.
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet
And a light unto my path.
I will not forget
Your love for me and yet,
My heart forever is wandering.
Jesus by my guide,
And hold me to your side,
And I will love you to the end.

(chorus)
As I read the words my eyes filled with tears. “When I feel afraid…and think I’ve lost my way…still you are there right beside me. Nothing will I fear as long as you are near…please be near me to the end…” Yes. Yes I was afraid. This was a whisper. A gentle, soft whisper to my soul. A whisper that said “Janice…I’ve given you a light…a lamp. I’ll never leave you. Don’t be afraid. I’m here every step of the way.” 
But still… no education nagged at me. How…? Who…?
Later that day on March 4, Dean took the older 5 kids to the grocery store. We had been talking about my great concerns about this education thing as he left. When he returned…he seemed different. He was beaming. He even asked if I wanted to know what happened on his way. Having no idea something had happened, I was all ears. He said when he got in the van, the christian radio station was on. It was the local one. In our experience… it’s just music. But as he started the van, the words came through the speaker system: “Here I was about to put a child into sixth grade that couldn’t read or write…”. He kept listening only to find out this was a lady’s story of how God called her to adopt this 11 year old boy… who had no education. He didn’t speak English… and couldn’t read or write. Dean sat spellbound through the story and there was no doubt… this… this was a shout. This was God in His graciousness… stepping in through our ‘yet again’ lack of faith and answering the specific concern we were battling. Letting us know… yes… even this. 
Ridiculous faith.
On March 5, I called a friend. Not an adoption friend… just a friend. But a friend of great faith. We talked through what had happened and what God was doing. She said something that resonated with me… “Janice…God has equipped you for this. He is calling you…and He has equipped you and Dean.”
I had to tell myself to stop. Just stop. Stop looking up her special need. Stop researching. There are holes in her file. There are gaps. But nothing is unknown. The God who was so clearly calling us to this beautiful, beautiful girl…He knows every part of her and her story… and ours. He has loved her from the very beginning. 
Late that night, Dean and I stayed up talking. One of the things we noticed is how on No Hands But Ours Facebook page… they had posted Poppy’s photo on March 1 at some point in the morning. 
This was the caption: “We first shared sweet Poppy with you last year. Sadly, she still waits for a family to chose her. Come see her updated pictures, she is precious!”
March 1… is Sunday morning. The morning that God had shouted to get my attention. When He told me this next step would take “ridiculous faith”. We didn’t know this post was made. But looking at it… it was a wink. Perhaps even a whisper. God confirming the timing. Nothing was coincidental. 
This was just a little reminder posted. Her info had been shared one year before, and someone was putting the word out there again. A whole year later. March 1. The day… God let us know… He had a new chapter for our family. (In hindsight we now know that this was also the day my friend had seen the post about Poppy. Nothing coincidental… God was orchestrating every piece of this story. When I asked my friend later about that she said “her face kept coming to mind for your family.” I love seeing how God used so many people to bring this girl home.)
As we sat talking we asked each other a few questions. #1: Do you believe God is calling us to adopt? We both answered a definite “Yes!”. #2: Do you believe God is calling us to adopt Poppy? Again, there was no hesitation on either part. The third question was more difficult… Is He asking us to do this NOW? Remember the timing was my biggest struggle. 
As we sat smiling at each other… both knowing the answer… neither wanting to be the first to speak… Dean looked up. There was a box in the recycling pile in our garage and it was mostly covered up…but one little phrase was visible “What are you waiting for?” This was a wink.  :) He looked at me and said “Yes. Let’s go! Let’s bring Poppy home.” 
We applied with the agency and LOI was sent March 11. We received PA (pre approval from China) today Wednesday, March 18. 
This story… really isn’t about us. Yes… God is using us in His story. But this story… is about her.
This is about answering the cries of her heart. This is about bringing Poppy home. As we have read through the many, many people who have prayed for beautiful Poppy, baffled why she has never been adopted… from the bottom of our hearts… thank you. I had goosebumps reading through the hundreds of comments of people who had committed to pray for her family to come forward. Thank you for praying for her. Thank you for praying for her family. For us.
A friend recently sent me a book that has been amazing. “When women say YES to God” by Lysa TerKeurst. This book brings so much clarity to hearing God speak. One of the things that impacted me the most is when she said “radical obedience really isn’t that radical. It’s Biblical. But we’ve gotten so far away from biblical obedience that now…it seems radical.” We are such ordinary people.
It is God that is doing extraordinary things with our lives. 
The moment we said “yes” I felt like a 100 pound weight came off my shoulders. I felt free. Excited.
Let’s bring our girl home.
Introducing our girl, ZhenAi Poppy. To tell you a little bit about our children, all 10 children have a ‘z’ somewhere within their name. All of their names are very significant, we didn’t make it easy on ourselves just picking pretty names. We focus a lot on the meaning. All of our adopted children have names from their native language as well. Once we said “yes” to God about adopting Poppy, I’ve had the word “treasure” constantly on my heart. When I looked up the translation of Treasure in Mandarin, it is “Zhen”. (pronounced: Gen). We thought it was beautiful, but something was missing. 

Ai is love. Together it is translated as Treasured Love. ZhenAi (Gen-Eye). Even though she has never known the name Poppy, hundreds of families who have advocated for her and prayed for her, know her as Poppy. 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

My favorite part of the day.

Is bedtime. Not because everyone is going to bed. No...no because we all sit around in the living room and pray.

And almost every time...Dean and I open our eyes and smile at each other from across the room.

Here's what it was tonight.

I prayed then Izrael. Who had to be prompted because she got really shy. But she thanked God for Mommy and Zihao.

Azahria prayed for Miss Kara (www.mundanefaithfulness.com) that she would feel better and that her kids wouldn't be sad.

Azlan thanked God for our family that we all love each other.

Zihao had to be prompted but was totally near tears by the end. I think he was really tired.

Chazano thanked God for Jesus. That we know Him and love Him.  Then he emphasized his thankfulness for our family.  All his brothers and sisters and his mom and dad that love him so much (yes I opened my eyes here and Dean and I exchange a look that says it all.  Oh how far we have come with our Chazano boy).

Zunduka loves to pray. He loves Jesus. He loves everything about the Bible. He just loves God.  That boy is one of a kind and I'm so glad he's ours.  Mine.  He thanked God for taking care of us, loving us and for Mommy and Daddy's amazing business that allows us both to stay home with the family.

Tirzah prayed for Miss Kara and another friend going through a cancer scare.

Zion's was so cute.  He prayed that Mommy would be an amazing grandma to his children one day. Yes that one got my eyes wide open! ;)


And I love this part.  Because it's been a lot of work to get to this point.

And I wouldn't trade it for anything.

They all go to bed warm, loved, content, protected, safe and at peace.  And I watch them...with a full, very full heart.



Sunday, February 22, 2015

Fears.

I know...we all have them.  Some of us more than others.

This one for me...is almost crippling.

I've only identified it recently...I thought I had a newer fear of flying.  Then the same fear creeped in...while in the mall at Christmas time.  Then again when Dean and I went to watch the movie Unbroken (please...watch it).

The same fear.

Obviously...couldn't have been a fear of flying.

So I really started to think.

What am I so afraid of...?

This fear...this crippling, life altering fear...is the fear of being trapped.

I find myself searching for the nearest exit when I'm in a store.  I felt pure panic being in the theater watching Unbroken. It was dark. There were people behind me.  I wanted to be in the back row but that was too far from the exit.

Flying.  I realized this when I thought about flying in Africa in a 4 seater plane, IN the rain...we were bopping around like a tin can. And...I was not afraid. What...?  But put me in a huge, way safer plane with 350 strangers and I'm gasping for air.

Who in their right mind would knowingly trap themselves in a tube at 30,000 feet with 300plus total strangers...? Especially...today?

I find myself analyzing everyone that steps onto the plane. I look into the cockpit as we get on the plane. Trying to see the crew.

We just flew to Florida.  I did amazing the whole way there and we had some rough winds on landing in Atlanta. Normally me and turbulence...yah.  But on the way home.  It was different.  I was so overtired.  I always go on little sleep but I was running on very little from the start of this trip.  We went to bed at 1am...got up at 4am for our flight. And yes while we landed in the evening...we were now 3 hours difference and we stayed up late.  Then on our time...were eating breakfast at 5am.  Maybe it spiraled from there.

On the big flight from Atlanta to Seattle it was 5 hours.  I couldn't see down.  Seeing down...is like sitting in the back row of the theater to me. Somehow it makes me feel a tiny bit in control.  It was thick cloud and the panic set in. I literally was shaking.  And combining that with fact I knew I had no way out for 5 hours...

:(

I was praying just to see down.  Somehow that would make it easier.  My mind was racing.

I opened my phone and read a Max Lucado devotional. It ended with this verse:

I, even I, am He who comforts you.  Who are you that you should be afraid?  Isaiah 51:12.

Well then. 

How's that for hitting you right between the eyes?

I do believe there's a lot of scary stuff out there. And in turn...a lot of people I have no desire to hang out with at 30,000 feet...with no escape.  

However.

However.

Who am I that I should be afraid...?

I'm not in control even when I can see down. When I am right by the exit.  If I did interview every person before they walked onto that plane.  

Dean looked over at me and said "Wow...what changed?"

Reading someone else's fear is always a little strange. Trust me...sharing it with the world is even worse.  Even though mine is something you may not relate to...we all have fears.  And in the end...they all do the same thing.  Rob. Steal. Destroy.  

Jesus spoke many, many times about not being afraid.  He knows us. He knows our weaknesses.  He knows me. He knows mine.  And yet He still says "Janice...no fear".  In fact, He goes further than that.  "Who are you...that you should be afraid?"

Ahhh.




Azlan's update.

Sorry this took so long. Honestly...I was waiting to give a full, accurate update.

It's now been 19 days post op.  And this journey could not contrast round 1 more!  

Last time with this surgery, in September, Azlan came home and looked great. No swelling at all. No pain at all. Perfect recovery. His stitches were falling out of his mouth at day 3 and 4.  The horrific smell started at day 3. Worsened daily. His mouth looked awful.  It was just awful. We could SEE the bone graft...as in all the gums had disappeared.  By day 9, it was all removed due to a serious infection.

This time was so different. Lots of pain. Extreme swelling. He was swollen all the way up to his eyebrow!  Crazy.  I called the hospital many times and each time they were a little baffled but hopeful.

We finally got an explanation for the swelling. That with all the scar tissue the dissection would have been very traumatic on the body.  Thus the swelling. However...to his eyebrow?









He got worse by the day. I was tracking it by photos as we went.  This is day 4 post op.





Day 5 was a whole new day. The swelling went down and we were so relieved!



Day 6.




He had pretty intense pain this time and that was really sad. With his extremely high pain tolerance...we have never ever heard him have a "10" in pain.  But he woke us a few nights in a row (sleeping in our room) barely breathing saying "it's a 10, help me...please help me" :( 

Most of his pain was in his hip where about an ice cream scoop worth of bone was removed.  He definitely could feel where the bulk of the grafting went, tight up under his nose.

Interestedly enough...at day 19 post op his mouth is still FULL of stitches.  Hmmm.  You would think it would have been a huge red flag that at day 3post op last time stitches were falling out in clumps!  

He is off all antibiotics and all pain meds. The doctor said he's definitely out of the scary infection zone period and now we wait for the grafting to take place.  Crazy that the new bone won't show up on X-ray until about 6 weeks post op! Until then we don't know what really happened.  However, things look amazing.  His mouth looks amazing and we are so thankful.


Thank you for praying for our boy.  The story of Azlan Honor is really just at its beginning.  Little did we know when we named him...the honor would be ours to walk this journey with our boy. 

Here he is on Valentine's Day.