Thursday, November 19, 2015

The prayers of a little girl.

I tell this story...because it's even though it was such a 'small' was a big way.

And I tell it with the sensitivity that many many heartfelt hearts...go seemingly unanswered.   And you and I...this side of Heaven, will never know the answer to why that is.

This is a story...about a prayer that was answered. Though was big.

To one little was very big.

Tirzah turned 12.  There was only one item on her wish list for the last year.  We stopped talking about it. She had stopped talking about it. But it was her #1 wished for gift.

A kitten.

We have not been an 'animal family'. Yes, we have a horse. But...indoor pets...not so much.

I grew up with a siamese kitten and determined if we ever had a would be one with fun, spunky personality like siamese.

For Tirzah's birthday, we found an amazing family with new 6 week old siamese kittens. In fact...we decided to go for an 'afternoon drive' for these kittens. The people became friends.  We sat and visited with them, with all of our children for over an hour.

During the hour...Azlan fell in love with the feistiest one there.  No surprises in that connection! :)

After looking at me with those eyes and me knowing he has the money in his intentions of going to China...we decided he could buy one as well. So Tirzah got on for her birthday and Azlan bought one with his money.

The names were decided. Moe and Joe.

By the time we got home that evening...Azlan was quite sick. The next day I took him to the pediatrician to find out he was having quite an asthmatic reaction and needed an inhaler.  She said it was highly unlikely this would go away and to not give him treatments sooner than every 4 hours.  Well by 2 hours after treatments...the child would be wheezing, red face and barely able to catch his breath.

We knew it wasn't looking good.

By the second night, Tirzah knew as well.

I went up in her room to find her snuggly Moe and Joe, two tiny 6week old kittens. She was sobbing. Her face was red, puffy, swollen.

As I laid down beside her, stroking her hair...there was little to say.  I had honestly never seen her so emotionally distraught.  She finally spoke up:  "Have you ever had your absolute dream come true...only to have it ripped away two days later?"  Now ... you would have to know Tirzah.  She's all about her siblings and of all her struggles...selfishness isn't really one.  I told her I completely understood and was so sorry for this happening. She quickly looked up at me and said "it would take a miracle wouldn't it? A total miracle for Azlan's asthma to be gone? Because he's getting worse and worse..." She stopped and told me how she's praying for that miracle b/c she would know it was God and nothing else.

I actually cried with her. It was a simple prayer. Not life altering. No disease. No death bed. Just a simple, sweet prayer...from a hurting little girl.  In was a non issue.  To her...? In that moment...? It was a big one.

She wanted a companion. Not a dog.  Tirzah's a reader. Loves crafts. Books. Quiet time. She wanted a sweet kitten to hang out with.

When I came downstairs, I thought "God...that would be such a sweet prayer to answer. A big one...? no. An important one from your vantage point? Not even close. But...for her...a big one."  Her faith will be tested in this big, wild world. There's no doubt.  This...this would be so much to her. Right now.

Dean ran to the store and got a filter for the air return that helped w/ pet dander. We both knew that wouldn't cut it.  This wasn't sneezing and puffy eyes. This was quite extreme asthma.  One hour after treatments I could hear his wheezing across the room.  :(

Well at 7 am the next morning, I ran into his room to find him still sleeping. I laid my ear by his chest to listen and there was no wheezing. Remembering the night before he had come into our room at 4am barely able to catch his breath, I went downstairs thinking he probably just had a treatment before Dean left the house.

I called Dean at 9...he said "no...I listened to him when I left and he sounded perfect!".

He has not had wheezing or a treatment since.

That is now over a week ago.

I have friends much more experienced with pet issues than I. They all agree. Asthmatic reactions to cats...don't go away.  Especially extreme ones.  The pediatrician had told me "please prepare your children...for rehoming your kittens".  We did decide to rehome Azlan's. And we did that quickly.  I apologize...publicly...for my lack of faith in doing so.  I thought "if he can't play with him, sleep with him etc...he paid for him...then we mind as well move on".  And we did. Azlan was fully on board with the decision.

But Tirzah...? Tirzah had that heartfelt...sweet prayer from a breaking 12 year old heart...answered.

And she will tell you with a sparkle in her eye.

Monday, November 16, 2015


As of November 10th, we are officially LID! Now the count down :)

And...we got beautiful new pictures of our beautiful girl.

Yes in one she is crying. We were also given videos and we can see why she's crying in the video (big thanks to my brother and his wife who interpreted it for us!).

We are doing as much as we can to bring this beautiful girl home.

Isn't she stunning?


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Do not become...weary.

Today this verse has played over and over in my head. It has been a few months since I read I will take it as a whisper from God.

I need it today. not become weary. Do not become weary ... in doing good.

Have you ever done something for a long time and you just grit your teeth and get through it...then as soon as there is hope of things changing...light at the end of the find it so hard to keep going?

Yeah. That.

Like when we moved into our small rental home very, very temporarily...but it dragged out much longer than we thought.  And we did it.  Without complaints.  Until now.  The house is almost done. The light is at the end of the tunnel. We can see the end...and's so very hard to be ... here.

That's where I am with Taizi. feels even harder.  We still have a very long road ahead to get help and care.  No prescriptions can be given quite yet.  Whether I agree with it or's the way it is.  SO yes, he still woke with new bruises on his face this morning and he has been hitting himself ever since we left Children's on Monday.  It's a process. And now we get to the back of the line.

And's much harder now.  Now that I know I'm not crazy and that his needs are it's much harder to wait.  

Do you relate with that at all?

Something I've realized in writing my thoughts for you all to that though our circumstances vary greatly...often the same lessons are being taught.  Whether it's being stuck in the land in between in your living arrangements...your job...your marriage...

Do not...become weary in doing...good.


But...I am.  I am weary. I am... tired.

When Taizi threw his breakfast on the floor for the fifth time this morning... and I calmly pointed for him to get down to the floor to get it...and he's shaking his head and limbs and hysterically laughing the whole time...and whacking himself so hard I'm ducking to not get hit....then he dumps his water on him and me...


We are on minute 55 of just trying to get food into him this morning....


I fall back to my knees. My head in my hands.  Just...sitting.  

In that moment...I hear a soft, gentle whisper of a good Dad who loves me so deeply.

"Oh Janice.  Do not...become weary. You are doing not allow yourself to become weary..."

Suggesting somehow...that I have control over it.  Hmmmm.

Or do I?

If He says "do not..." then surely I have control over it happening or not...right?

I smile. Perhaps only inwardly.  Put my shoulders back...remind myself that I can indeed do hard things. Even this.  And I can do it...without becoming weary.  I can be whole hearted. Not robotic.  No. A whole hearted do-er.  

My brain rapidly searches for things to be thankful for. They won't be related to breakfast. Not today.

But...I did walk into his room as his pajamas and blankets were thrown out of his bed and the diaper was inevitably next.  And it was full of explosive diarrhea. SO yes. I am thankful I walked in in THAT moment.  Just before the next step happened.  I can choose thankfulness there.

As I sit reading Galations over hits me that someone else needs this message today. don't have a Taizi.  But are weary.  And you feel yourself giving in.


Hold on.  

Help is coming.

And if you cannot see it...please...please just go walk in your front door and look up.  Look up into the sky.  It's so very big. And suddenly you see how very small you and this situation is.  If God can keep all of that in situation is not too big for Him.

Yes. Yes I do that...lots.  In my despair...I look up.  

Psalms 121:1.  One of my favorites. 

I look to the hills...where does my help come from? 

Do not become weary in doing good. At the proper time, we will reap the harvest if we do not give up.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Small gifts.

I have learned to really tune in to the details in life and try to recognize the gifts. So easily easily overlooked.

For's the gift of a precious little 2 year old girl that potty trained herself.  I couldn't miss this gift if I tried. I dread that task. I've done it many times and to hear your little girl say "I have to go potty" and put her there and have her go...well...yes.  All morning she has done that.  On her own.

Our days are filled with small gifts. Things we will someday look back on and only hope to remember. The little things that made us smile. That made us look toward Heaven and whisper..."thank you, I needed that".'s a small gift but in my life of juggling 'hard things'...but I take it as a kiss from Heaven.

Monday, October 26, 2015


Ahhh. Today was THE day.  A day I forgot about until I was reminded by the Children's Hospital recording but...nevertheless, we made it. :)

We were in the van before 5am with all 12 of us. It was dark, the children were all excited and off we went.  And as we did, we smiled to each other that the kids are excited to do these mundane days with us.

We arrived at the Autism Clinic for our 9am appt.  I went in with Taizi. Dean stayed in the waiting room with the other 9.  (My job was much harder, we both agree on that one! :)

We first saw the speech pathologist. Then the behavioral psychologist. Then the psychiatrist.

Each one was amazing.

Taizi was Taizi.  He bit me several times. He grabbed my hands to bite my ring.  He head butted me multiple times. He kept banging his head HARD on the arm of the chair over and over and over. He hit his face with closed fist  many many times.  He sat gasping air, spitting, crossing his eyes and shaking his arms and legs.

Several times the doctor yelped as I was about to get my jaw smashed with his head.

He was not in distress. He was laughing. Semi crying.  Chewing his tongue. Just being Taizi.

All through the discussions they were watching closely.

Then we got to the last doctor. She was really sweet. I never know the responses I will get...IN Seattle...when they find out we have 10 children. But this team? They were so wonderful.  She kept saying "I really feel I just want to get to know you...and see how you can be so amazing".  Amazing, huh?  Sigh.

Just yesterday I was feeding Taizi and he was spewing his food everywhere and then proceeded to dump his water everywhere...while going frantic with his arms and legs and almost wacking me every few seconds.  Tirzah was there watching and I was smiling. Like...a forced smile. She said "why are you smiling Mommy?" I told her I've learned that I can indeed do hard things but now I'm trying to focus on doing hard things...with joy.  She said "oh that must be very hard. It looks like you are forcing your smile" I assured her that I was but I'm sure that if I force it enough, it will soon become natural.  She smiled.

After several hours in these appts we were told to go for lunch and come back in 1.5 hours. I came back alone to meet with the behavior specialist.

They could not figure out why it took us 3 years to get in to this appt and I assured them the craniofacial team has many frantic recorded voicemails and conversations of me begging for help.  Of waking and seeing more large purple bruises on Taizi's body and begging...for something to help.  They were more than sad to hear, for no known reason, there was zero urgency to get us help.

In fact, when I last spoke to his team I told them our other children feel we are not getting great medical care. I love the team...but really.  She asked why and I said b/c they have seen for 3 years their brother who is extremely sleep deprived and very "self injurious". we are.  And as hard as I pushed...I'll have to trust the timing b/c it was NOT for lack of effort. And...maybe even emotionally charged begging.

In the behavior doctor's words: "Taizi is globally delayed. His file is extensive.  He is also PROFOUNDLY mentally delayed and PROFOUNDLY Self Injurious".

Ok. Let's just pause for a moment.  I feel like a huge weight has been lifted just in hearing that.

I wanted to cry.  I felt...validated.  That I wasn't crazy...after all. Yes, he's cute. DOn't get me wrong. But I'm not from a 'medical family'.  I don't have experience with 'mentally delayed' individuals and I've always felt my feelings were tainted by the fact that it's me.  Even Dean has felt that his delays are mild  and very manageable.  Now...that's coming from extensive experience working in an institution for the mentally handicapped.  (Let's not get angry at my choice of words...there is nothing condescending about my words is simply what the institution is.)

Today to hear top professionals in this field state that Taizi should have been at their doorstep THE DAY he was first seen @ Children's for intensive therapy and help.  Made me want to cry. For many reasons.

I try to live focused on "no regrets".  No, I'm not perfect. Yes, I fail.  But I can't go back and think what if someone took me seriously and got us here sooner. They didn't. And I tried. Hard.

Even on his file it says "mother referred child, no doctor referral". Lovely. It's really not the case but perhaps because I was the one insistent on this's appropriate.

We were also told that Taizi's behavior issues are the very very hardest to treat.  As they are "sensory" 98% of the time. In other words, he's not mad, not having a fit, but he injures himself because it feels good.

So much of this behavior was enforced 3.5 years of living in a crib in an orphanage.  Since he is NOT atypical, and has loss of 2 senses (full deaf and partially blind)...combined with profound developmental was much more significant.  A "typical" (Healthy) child could be "loved out of these behaviors" whereas Taizi...cannot.

Let's just go back to that. 3.5 years in a crib, shaped this child into who he is today.  If born into our family would he be typical? NO.  Definitely not.  Not saying that at all. Just saying it was compounded by his very rough start to his life.

So here we are today, in what the doctors referenced as a very "rich environment".  Full of warmth, love, lots of happy, healthy children...but Taizi still has very self injurious behaviors.  You can put him in a room full of toys and he will probably still stare at his fingers and cross his eyes and hit his face.  No amount of color or fun will pull him out of it.

They could not believe we have gotten him eating. Real food. I was told that is very very very difficult to get a child with Taizi's level of disabilities to eat. Table food. Well...many of you remember me blogging about the hours of screams we endured to get here but here we are.

They were shocked. Saddened. And really in total disbelief that he has not been getting disability services.  That we have no help. No home care. No therapists coming to our home.  Nothing.  They said he qualifies for every service at every level.  Full care.

I smiled as I told him my motto is "I can do hard things". He said "is that how you've talked yourself through this?" I smiled he said "this isn't hard...this is intense. And we can't believe you've done it for 3 years".

At least I know by "hard things" ... I wasn't exaggerating.


The plan.

Immediately: sleep study.  Based on his loud snoring and his breathing they witnessed in the office they believe he may have something significant that is interrupting his sleep. (You have no idea how many times I've suggested this and been shrugged off).  They want that done ASAP.

Then they have prescribed meds for sleep but under the care of his cardiologist.

Then meds for just calming him.  Often given to children with profound mental delay.

Then hooking us up with full care disability services in our home once we move in a few months.

Then an intensive 20 week program with this team. Where we will come every week for several hours one day and do intensive behavioral therapy. For 20 weeks in a row.

From there they will hook us up with local behavioral therapists that will come to our home and work together with this team.

When I asked why coming back here for 20 weeks vs local care (only because I know others will ask me that), he said "because this is profound, profound self injurious behaviors and that calls for the best of the best in therapy and I'm it".

Now you see why I feel lighter today.

For three years I've carried the burden that maybe I was just weak. Not strong enough.  Not cut out for this job enough.  That's not it at all. Taizi is not slightly delayed. This is very significant and he needs intense medical help.

So thankful for today.

Friday, October 23, 2015


Big news this morning!!

We are now DTC today!! Meaning our Dossier (huge pile of paperwork) is TO CHINA!

All documents are authenticated and this pile is now on it's way to China! This is a big step!

What is next? In a week or so we wait to hear we are Logged In.  We call it LID or Log In Date.  Meaning it's now entered into the system and the countdown begins for a LOA (Letter of Approval).

We needed a LID of December 15th or we were going to be in trouble with ZhenAi's filed but we are now months ahead of schedule!  So we are doing great.

Our last Chinese adoption, our LOA wait was 77 days from LID. This time they seem to be running really fast.  We will see. We are told it's about 4-5months after LOA to travel.  Honestly, April would work really well for us.

We were just awarded a matching grant of $4000! So we are starting a big holiday Facebook auction on Monday to raise the funds. If you are friends with me on fb, you can be invited to the auction.  Feel free to add me. (Janice Procopio Walker) and send a little private note saying you follow my blog :)

We have just requested a photo update of ZhenAi, hopefully we get one.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

"I can do hard things" ends tomorrow!

This fundraiser ends tomorrow! Click on the link below to see all styles, colors, sizes and prices! All proceeds go to bringing ZhenAi home.