Monday, June 29, 2009

Prayer Requests....

So... a prayer request or two for you mighty prayer warriors....

A couple of weeks ago - right after returning home from Ethiopia and in the middle of my stomach illness - I discovered a lump in my right breast. After a sonogram revealed a complex cyst that was one inch in diameter my doctor suggested having it removed. I had a surgery consultation today and it was determined that I will have surgery on Wednesday morning to get the lump removed from my right breast. It's probably nothing but still have to go under to get it done... boo! 

But that's not my biggest prayer request... this one is.... Right after that surgery consultation this morning we got a phone call from Gracie's doctor.. It seems - from her basic lab work - that Gracie may have "homocystinuria" which is a metabolic enzyme disorder that is genetic and would require a specific diet her whole life - not to mention a very specific formula for her infant years. During the phone call the doctor ordered us to go to Christus Santa Rosa hospital immediately to do a second round of labs to be sure the first lab reading is true. I'm praying that is was not and that she does not have this. We'll find out Monday (a week from today) what the results are.  If she does have this we will be meeting with a metabolic endochronologist (spelling?) to do further testing and learning and then we would also need to meet with a nutrutionist and change Gracie's formula immediately. The endochrinologist talked with our doctor today and was very encouraging saying that if we change Gracie's diet she will avoid most of the other problems associated with this disorder. That is good to know because when I googled "homocystinuria" online today it was a bit scary siting dislocation of lens of eyes, skeletal abnormalities, intellectual challenges, and problems with connective tissue/muscle development, and heart problems as just a few of the problems that can arise with this disorder if it goes untreated.

It's been a long day, but we are well. We watched so many other families in the hospital with severely disformed, sick or mentally handicapped children with much more of life struggles to manage than we are facing at this point. We know that we were chosen for Gracie and Gracie for us. We know God heals. We know God gives endurance and strength and wisdom. We know he takes weaknesses and combines his strength to it. We know he works all things for the good of those who love him. And we know we love Gracie and would have taken her in to our family even if we had known this in advance.

Lastly - Gracie also had a chest xray today because her TB skin test came back positive enough that the doctor just wants to be sure its not there. She has no symptoms, but by tomorrow we should know 100% if she really has TB or not. I really don't think she does. But if she does, she will be on antibiotics for 6 months or so.

We appreciate your prayers this week as I face minor surgery and we all wait for more concrete news regarding Gracie's health. 





Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Gracie's First Doctor's Appointment

This morning Gracie and I were out and about by 8AM for her first doctor's appointment. I am so mad at myself for not making that appointment BEFORE we left for Ethiopia because once we got home, we had to wait a whole 10 days before we could get her in. And today we found out she has raging ear infections in both ears that I did not realize she had. Poor thing has been so laid back and tough, but has had to be in so much pain. I can't imagine how she has been so pleasant and smiling so I'm really excited to get her fully well so we can see just how happy and wonderful she can fully be!


The doctor really took time to talk through everything. It was a long appointment as we discussed her medical history - the little we know - and her previous malnutrition. By the end of the appointment the doctor had given her 4 vaccination shots - 2 in each leg, 1 tb test in her left arm, and a heel prick to take blood for some basic lab work. She was not too happy about all that, but did well considering the trauma along with already inflamed, painful ears. Poor thing! The doc also wants us to go to Methodist Children's Hospital soon so we can have some more intense lab work done to rule out any parasites and other infections. We want to make sure we've checked everything so we can get this sweet baby well!

But my, my how this girl is growing... she weighed in today just under 12 pounds! WOO HOO! She was 11 pounds and 14 3/4 ounces. Awesome! And she is also 24 inches long. 

She is getting stronger and stronger everyday. But the doc did suggest we get her some physical therapy just to give her a head start on catching up. He said to call Easter Seals because they will come into our home for free to help her. I'm calling tomorrow to see how that works.

We will go back to the doctor on Thursday for the doc to see her TB test area. Then in 3 weeks he wants to measure her weight again and in 6 weeks we'll have another check up with more vaccinations. 

We started Gracie Lu on antibiotics today and also some other medicine for her "thrush" and he also gave me a plan for her diaper rash that could also be a yeast infection. The girl is so happy that you would never know she is in that much pain.

I think I am getting well - at least I have felt much better today. I had mild diarrhea (I know - tmi!) from the moment we landed in Houston. Then on Friday I threw up and the diarrhea took a turn for the worse for 24 hours straight. Throwing up ended, but diarrhea did not - so now that's being tested to make sure I didn't get some parasite or something from Ethiopia. We'll see....

We're all doing well despite the illnesses (and the dirty house!). God has been so good to us!

 


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Life With Gracie and A Special Father's Day!

We have been home just over one week and what a week it has been. Among the challenges of jet lag and getting an infant on a schedule who is also jet lagged and well... just plain old sleep deprivation, I (Cindy) got a stomach bug that left me throwing up and suffering from severe diarrhea for 24 hours... and it is still causing some trouble even today... so that was a pretty big set back! However.... Gracie is already on a schedule (she eats EVERY 3 hours - day and night!) that works for us and her for now... until the doc. tells us to do something different. She wakes around 6 AM for her bottle, then has wake/play time and then a nap that starts about an hour before her next bottle, but doesn't last the whole hour just yet... we're getting there. Billy had to take on ALL the feedings during the 24 hours I was sick. He was SUPER DAD! And he also woke up the next morning with a great appreciation for my getting up for the previous nighttime feedings and is now totally taking on 1-2 feeding a night for me from now on - WHAT A SWEETIE!

Life with Gracie is wonderful. Libby has really adjusted well and is so much happier now that we're home. The Lord has shown us some great ways to tackle a few of her issues and it seems to be working so far. I'll probably share more about that at another time.

I'll let the pictures speak for themselves except that I have to share one more thing... Billy is amazing! Though the last month has probably been the hardest in both our lives, we have pulled through it together. We're on the same page and he has been so supportive, encouraging, hopeful and helpful the whole way. He was celebrated greatly today for being such an awesome dad and husband on this special Father's day! We gave him a card with both our girls sweet footprints in them. Then we took him out to lunch. We gave him permission to buy a used jeep if he can find one he wants. And we went to the pool to cap off the night. I am so blessed by Billy Foote. The thing that keeps swelling my heart for him today is his long drive to visit Gracie's birthmother on the same day we arrived in Ethiopia after DAYS of travel. He was such a great daddy and husband to do that! And also his wonderful care of Gracie when I was sick. He never complained and just took over for me. Love that man!

Libby was taken care of by my friend Cristie and I am so thankful for that! We may have lost our minds if we had to handle her when I was throwing up. She did not understand why I was sick. She had never seen me like that before and she wouldn't leave my side...so the Martines stepped in and took her out for a great play day. Thank you Martines!

Thank you also to all my dear friends who have prayed and who have brought us meals over the last several days and more! Thank you all so much for your TLC!

Okay - enjoy the pictures.... (including Gracie's first swimsuit... so cute!) Oh - and I just realized that I can't find the pictures of Gracie in the Moses basket that Billy's parents shipped to us... it might be on Billy's camera... so I will try to find those tomorrow and share that too!

Libby loves on Gracie after her bath. Libby is turning into a great big helper...especially at bath time.
I love how she sleeps. So peaceful!

A picture of jet lag

And more jet lag....

and more jet lag...

Look how tiny she is next to Daddy!

She smiles often!

Such a cutie (sorry the last 2 are sideways.. oops!)

She learned how to pull the toy quickly to get the music on. 

Resting on her leaf.

All lotioned up and shining - with a bow, of course.

Sweet Sisters!

Daddy and his girls.

She is growing closer and closer to Billy as I am having to attend to Gracie so much. Daddy is FUN!

The morning of Father's Day... I just love that top on her!

Family Photo at Houlihann's where we had lunch... yum!

Aren't they all so cute together!

Father's Day evening at the pool... just relaxing as a family.

One of my favorite photos of Gracie so far. Her face is starting to clear up from all the chicken pox. Isn't this swimsuit the cutest! (Thank you Elissa!)

As soon as I put the hat on she cried her eyes out.... I don't blame her!

Pretty Libby in the pool.

Floating with Gracie.

Me and my girls!

Sun Bathing Beauty.

So kissable!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

We're Home!!!

We are home. We walked in our house sometime after 10pm last night. Our last flight was delayed, hence the late arrival home. We had a wonderful group of friends meet us at the airport upon our arrival with balloons and signs and flashing photography. We know and we feel that we are loved and we know that Gracie Lu sense's that too. She just smiled at everyone last night.


We had a rough night due to jet lag. Gracie didn't sleep much at all since our night here is her day back in ET. Libby slept from midnight to 5:20 AM. But we will push through the jet lag in time. Gracie's chicken pox are - for the most part - looking better. Now she just has a cold with green mucus so she sounded like a snoring puppy when she did sleep last night. Hopefully we can get her in to see the doctor early this coming week.

Billy and Winky, the beautiful Moses basket arrived and Gracie Lu is taking her nap in it right now. I will try to call you today sometime.

We are going to take the next few days to figure out Gracie Lu's schedule and get over jet lag. We're going to relax and enjoy some private family time, just the four of us. I am already loving it!

We pray all our traveling buddies made it home safely. We will try to be in touch with all of you soon!

I plan to share some more about out trip to ET, but I want to take my time to think it all through and jet lag is muddling up my mind right now. There are many things we saw and experienced in ET that have stirred my heart in one way or another.

I want to thank all of you for praying us through the last month or two of our lives and particularly the last 12 days. Without the grace of God and your prayers on our behalf we would not have survived with such peace and determination and hope. We would have buckled under all the pressure and been depressed or angry. But no - we are, even in the midst of trial and exhaustion - full of joy.

We have such love for all of you. Gracie is beautiful. Libby is doing great so far and seems very happy to be home. We are incredibly blessed.

This post is not the end of the story. It is only the beginning!

Blessings,
Cindy

Friday, June 12, 2009

Headed to Houston!

Computer is almost out of juice and plane is boarding. Just wanted you
to know that we made it to Dubai and stayed overnight. Now we are
getting on the long flight to Houston! We'll be home soooooooon!

Cindy

--
Billy and Cindy Foote
Billy Foote Music, Inc.
3531 Hilldale Point
San Antonio, TX 78261
817.371.0689
www.billyfoote.com
www.myspace.com/billyfooteband
www.followthefeet.blogspot.com
www.adoptingaria.blogspot.com
www.libbysong.com

Headed to Houston!

Computer is almost out of juice and plane is boarding. Just wanted you
to know that we made it to Dubai and stayed overnight. Now we are
getting on the long flight to Houston! We'll be home soooooooon!

Cindy

--
Billy and Cindy Foote
Billy Foote Music, Inc.
3531 Hilldale Point
San Antonio, TX 78261
817.371.0689
www.billyfoote.com
www.myspace.com/billyfooteband
www.followthefeet.blogspot.com
www.adoptingaria.blogspot.com
www.libbysong.com

Headed to Houston!

Computer is almost out of juice and plane is boarding. Just wanted you
to know that we made it to Dubai and stayed overnight. Now we are
getting on the long flight to Houston! We'll be home soooooooon!

Cindy

--
Billy and Cindy Foote
Billy Foote Music, Inc.
3531 Hilldale Point
San Antonio, TX 78261
817.371.0689
www.billyfoote.com
www.myspace.com/billyfooteband
www.followthefeet.blogspot.com
www.adoptingaria.blogspot.com
www.libbysong.com

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Around the town in ET


Only a few things to mention today. We chose not to visit the orphanages that AW partners with. It was a hard decision to make as we would have loved to go, but we just needed a slow family day before tackling travel tomorrow. We walked down one of the main streets in town today and took a few pictures, but it is really hard to get pictures of the people because most ask for money and if you do that for one you end up with a lot more that want the same thing. We took pictures instead of a few markets and street scenes.

Bonding with Gracie is going beautifully. She is so precious. I left her today to take a nap. When she woke up Billy was trying to console her. He changed her diaper, walked around the room with her, but she wouldn't stop crying. I woke up and when I held her she calmed down. I think she is really bonding with me since I have been doing all the feedings. Billy has been a HUGE help with Libby and so we've just been keeping that going knowing that when we get home he wants to do some bonding with Gracie too. We just need Libby to feel secure so Billy is giving her a lot of attention. 

One sad story (but we know it will be okay): When Libby wakes in the morning she is always so excited to see me. She runs to me and calls my "momma bear" and kisses me and hugs me. This morning I heard her wake so I picked up Gracie and ran into her room. Her face was full of excitement until she saw that I was holding Gracie and her face totally fell to sadness. She is doing GREAT with Gracie during the day - loving on her, telling her stories, entertaining her - but that was a moment when she just wanted momma. She never said anything about it - I just noticed it. so we've been working hard today to reassure her that she is loved.

The pictures above include scenes from our walk around town and also some of the artwork and baskets we purchased at other markets.

Tonight - the packing begins!!!!! We are all very excited to get home and not so excited about how long it will take to get there. We have a few things to do tomorrow - including getting our visa/paperwork stuff (can't even remember which paperwork it is, but its important!). Then we have to be at the airport by 5:30PM and the traveling begins. Please pray for us - for strength, endurance and joy!

We can't wait to see our friends at the airport when we arrive! I think I posted our itinerary in another post. I'll have to check on that. I don't know if I'll have another chance to post after tonight. Our layover in Dubai is only 9 hours and it is in the middle of the night so I probably won't be able to.

We'll be home soon!!!
Cindy

--
Billy and Cindy Foote
Billy Foote Music, Inc.
3531 Hilldale Point
San Antonio, TX 78261
817.371.0689
www.billyfoote.com
www.myspace.com/billyfooteband
www.followthefeet.blogspot.com
www.adoptingaria.blogspot.com
www.libbysong.com

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Adoption Day!


Gracie is ours! Fully, completely, sealed deal! Today was our embassy appointment, which was successful and which seals our adoption of Gracie 100% both in the eyes of the US and Ethiopia. It has been a done deal in our hearts and in God's plan for much longer than that, but now it is official. There is not much to tell about today other than that - which is wonderful enough!

Libby was fabulous again today. Gracie is teaching us what she wants/likes through her expressions and occasional tears and we are still very tired. That about sums it up.... so.... all I have left for you tonight are photos - which actually are probably posting before this message (I don't know since I can't see the blog)...I digress....Billy is not in any of these photos because he did all the picture taking today. I'll try to get some of him tomorrow. 

Oh wait - one more thing - the Portilla family has court in the morning. It is their 2nd. court appointment to adopt a precious girl that I got to meet this week. Please pray that they pass so they can travel soon to get their girl!

Tomorrow we have the option of going to visit the orphanages that AW partners with. Gracie was at one of those orphanages for about 1-2 weeks. But I think we may stay behind and do some walking and picture taking around the town. When we were in China we had much more time to do that so we had pictures of the people, markets, food, buildings, etc. This is a much shorter trip and if you want to take a picture of the people - they expect you to pay them which then causes a gathering of people wanting to make a buck and be a model for you - LOL! But we are going to try. One reason is that the poverty here is really unexplainable in words - even photos don't show the magnitude of it. But in our photos so far, you haven't really seen any of that. The lush garden you saw in one photo was a tiny little piece of land on the AW transition home property. No where else does it look like that.... people are begging, blind, starving, crippled, homeless, hopeless... you just have to see it with your own eyes to have any true perspective of the reality of poverty here. Maybe we will capture a thousand words in photos tomorrow. 

Ok  -done for real now!
Love and Blessings,
Cindy Foote
--
Billy and Cindy Foote
Billy Foote Music, Inc.
3531 Hilldale Point
San Antonio, TX 78261
817.371.0689
www.billyfoote.com
www.myspace.com/billyfooteband
www.followthefeet.blogspot.com
www.adoptingaria.blogspot.com
www.libbysong.com