Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Please Storm the Gates!

We were thrilled to receive a quick response to our status inquiry from the US Embassy.  Here is what they said:

Dear DeVol family,

Thank you for your email. We have talked to the police officer three times and every time we are being told to call later. At this time the case is with the consular officer awaiting review of the file. We will contact you as soon as the officer makes the determination if the presented evidence confirms that the child is an orphan under U.S. Immigration law.

Adoption Unit
U.S. Embassy
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

On one hand we were very happy to get specifics about our case.  However, on the other hand we are very disheartened and nervous.  Please, please, please pray that when the consular officer reviews our case they will determine that Ezekiel is indeed an orphan under US Immigration law.  Please also pray that he (or she) reviews our case tonight!  The waiting is excruciating!!!!!  
If you are awake at midnight tonight EST (8am in Ethiopia) would you please take a moment and pray that as the consular officer heads to work he/she will:
1.  Review our case first thing
2.  Approve our case and clear us.

If you are not awake will you pray before going to sleep and also just remember Ezekiel should you wake up during the night?  Business hours in Ethiopia are from about 1am EST to 9am EST.  
Thank you all for helping us storm the gates of Heaven and ask God to work in hearts to release our son to us!!!!!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

All is Well:)

First I just want to thank everyone for reading this blog!  I cannot believe the number of people that have called, texted, or came up to us and said, "how'd the last pubs go?  You never updated the blog"  I didn't realize so many were quietly following!   So let me apologize for not updating sooner!  It won't happen again;)

Everything went great.  It was our shortest procedure yet.  From the time they gave me the numbing meds until they withdrew the needle was only 30 minutes!  AMAZING!  Also, the baby looked good enough that we are pushing the next pubs to a full 3 weeks so we will be back in on January 10th.  It's possible that if he looks good at that one we may even push to 3 1/2 weeks next time.  This pubs was also a huge success because it means the next one will be done at 28 weeks.  At that point the baby is no longer considered an "extreme" or "super" premie but just a premie.  Far less intervention would be needed were he to be born and the outcomes are much more encouraging (like 90%).  Obviously, we are still hoping he stays put for the next 11 weeks (they won't let me go past 37 weeks).  Best case scenerio we have 3 more pubs and then a baby:)  Time is flying!!!!!!

On the adoption front we are STILL waiting on the US Embassy.  We have no idea what the holdup is.  We haven't heard from them since they requested a phone number on the 16th.  We aren't sure what to think at this point.  We don't know if no news means they are just still waiting to talk to the officer, have decided they need to speak with someone else, are doing a full investigation, or are deciding whether to send our case onto Nairobi.  The possibilities are numerous.  We are, honestly, exhausted from checking our email several times a night not to mention the emotional strain of not knowing when our son will be home.  We sent an inquiry about our case today but I'm not sure we'll hear anything back (other than maybe a generic "your case is still being processed")  So if anyone out there knows someone who works in the US Embassy in Ethiopia feel free to give them a call and ask "When the heck are the DeVols' bringing their kid home?!?!?!?!"  It's starting to feel like a race between these two boys!!!!

So that is my "short" little update:)
Merry Christmas!!!!!!
I can't imagine that the holdup could be with us right?!?!?

Monday, December 19, 2011

PUBS Take 4

Tomorrow is our 4th transfusion.  I'm not as nervous as I've been about the others but it's still pretty intense.  There are some different things this time.  The biggest change is that now our little man is considered "viable".  At almost 25 weeks if he were born tomorrow he would have a chance of surviving.  His chances wouldn't be great and his chances of surviving with no major issues later in life are even smaller.  I did get a series of steroid shots that increase his chances should he be born.  Right now we are looking at about a 65% survival rate (with steroids, without I believe it would be about 45%)  Because he is now considered viable every PUBS has the possibility of ending in a c-section.  We are prayerful and hopeful that this is not necessary. Making it through this transfusion is HUGE!  The next transfusion would be at 28 weeks, which is considered a major milestone.  At that point a baby is a premie with about a 90% survival rate as opposed to a super-premie with much lower rates.  Each week, and subsequently each 3 week pubs round, that this little guy is not born is huge in his development.

Please pray for tomorrow!  Pray for a successful transfusion that does not result in a c-section!


Saturday, December 17, 2011


Guess what I did not see today?  The inside of a doctor's office or hospital!!!!  We had a really, really lovely doctor free Saturday.  We slept in.  We ate blueberry pie for breakfast (don't judge, pie for breakfast is one of the lovely little joys of life).  We built a gingerbread house (our first ever!)  Then the I did something with the girls I thought I'd never do (at least until they were teenagers) but I thought we girls needed a little chill time while Daddy went for a run.  So we got pedicures.  They LOVED it!  Lindsey had a meltdown when she messed up her snowflake designs but she eventually recovered and all in all it was really fun.  They both felt so grown up:)

Then we took our cute toes home and decorated our gingerbread house while lasagna cooked in the oven.

 Soon the children will be nestled snug in their beds and George and I will wrap some presents and watch Christmas movies.  We sooooo needed today and it was simply lovely!

Friday, December 16, 2011

But Wait....There's More

Someone said to me yesterday, "Your life!"  When I responded, "What?  You wouldn't want to be me?"  She responded, "No Way!" 

I don't want to complain.  I actually think I have a really good life.  I am sooooo blessed beyond measure and so thankful to God for the many wonderful things that I have.  We have a warm home, good job, and great friends and family.  I don't think anyone who has those things can really say their life isn't great.  Everyone goes through times of stresses.  Sometimes they're little (even though they feel big) and sometimes big.  Sometimes THEY JUST WON'T STOP COMING!!!  Really, none of the things we are going through seem too awful but when you stack them all together it just get's overwhelming!!!  Since we returned from Ethiopia (Nov. 7th)  here are some "fun" things that have happened:

~baby "surprise" has had 3 blood transfusions and I go into Philly twice a week for ultrasounds

~we've waited to be submitted to Embassy
     ~and waited
            ~and waited
                   ~and waited some more

~our washing machine completely broke and we bought a new one (while I really like my new washing machine picking out a new one was stressful both financially and emotionally(what if I made the wrong decision?!?!?!))

~ we were finally submitted to Embassy!

~ Christin broke her arm, bad.  If you haven't heard the story here's a quick recap:  First of all Christin doesn't (or I guess I should say didn't) get hurt.  EVER.  The worst injury she has ever had was a few months before when she fell and cut her knee and needed a bandaid.  Before that I don't even think she had ever really bleed, seriously.  She was standing on a little platform/shelf about two feet high.  She feel off.  I heard the bang and, "umm Mom??  I think I hurt myself" She was cradling her arm.  When I pulled up the sleeve there was no question that the arm was broken.  "Hey mom, you know have Kevin's arm used to go this way?  Well, it doesn't do that anymore"  (yeah, very Brian Regan)  The arm literally bent between the wrist and elbow.  I'm not easily squeamish and the image of her arm in my mind makes me feel queasy still.  A trip to the ER revealed both bones (radius and ulna) were broken.  Originally they were going to put her to sleep to set it but they decided to set it with her awake.  It was not fun!  Now she has a bright pink cast from midway up her upper arm down to her hand.  She is HATING the cast and says constantly that she wants it off, hates it, wishes she could go to sleep and not wake up until it's off. 

~late last night we heard that the US Embassy is reviewing our case but would like to talk to one of the police officers that was involved in Ezekiel's story very early on.  AWAA has been fabulous in RIGHT AWAY getting the Embassy the officer's phone number but we have no way of knowing when the Embassy will actually speak with him and if they will then clear us or want to talk to someone else.  So we wait some more.  At this point we won't be bringing him home for Christmas:(  but there is still hope for the week after Christmas. 

~I think there is a major holiday coming up too. 

I'm going to go take a nap now.  Wake me up when all my babies are here safe and sound, my eldest is cast free and I'm lying on a beach somewhere:)

God is good, all the time!  All the time, God is good!
On the plus side, Lindsey was a fabulous little cow in her Christmas play:)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Homeschool Confession

I have a confession to make.  I love reading (that's not the confession).  I read pretty fast to myself but feel like I'm also pretty good at reading aloud (also not the confession).  I really looked forward to sharing my love of books and joy of reading with my children.  I started reading to Christin right away.  We read Sarah Plain and Tall, Charlotte's Web, and even parts of Pride and Prejudice (my personal favorite) before she was 3 years old not to mention countless picture books of the highest quality.  So here is the confession:  listening to a 7 year old struggle through a book at the pace of a snail going backwards makes me want to stick tiny pins in my ears.  I HATE read aloud time more than any other time in homeschooling.  We can dissect sentences all day, sing a billion silly history songs, go through our whole Math curriculum and I'm great.  I love homeschooling!  But when it comes to reading time I just want to cry.

That's my confession for today.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Happy Birthday George and . . . .

Today was was my darling husband's 34th birthday!  To celebrate we went and saw The Muppets movie and then headed to PF Changs.  The movie is an absolute must see for anyone who was a child in the 80's (or raised one, or two, or three:) and loves absolute ridiculousness (the songs had me absolutely cracking up!). 

The whole day was also filled with much breath holding.  We were hoping to be submitted to Embassy.  Around lunch time we got an email that basically said, "we think you were submitted but the internet is down in Ethiopia so we can't confirm"  At this point I took a huge breath in and didn't exhale until about 10 minutes ago (in completely unrelated news I am dizzy and have a headache)  Since we were at the movies and out to eat we couldn't check our email (sidenote:  there is no where in the Promonade with free wifi)  Then just 10 minutes ago we got home and opened the email to find WE WERE SUBMITTED!!!!!!!!  Now we wait a week or two to find out if we have cleared or more info is needed.  We are praying like crazy that we clear next week and can still get Ezekiel home by Christmas (Please Lord, please Lord, pretty pretty please!!!!!!!!!)

So that was our day!  Super, duper fun!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

New Song

Yes I changed the music.  Yes, I have to turn off the music to look at my own blog without crying.  Yes you are crazy if this song doesn't make you cry.  Or maybe you just aren't human, or adopting a baby who's on the other side of the world, or pregnant :)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Praise God!

We had another successful PUBS procedure today.  While it was much sooner than we had hoped it was done at the perfect time.  The baby was anemic but not severely so and that's a very good thing.  It also only took 40 minutes, which is always great and the baby did very well during the procedure.  We learned some new information that I found fascinating.  Every time they do a PUBS the baby's blood becomes a little more diluted (less antigens aka the thing my blood hates) by the donor blood.  That means that just because it took only 10 days for him to become anemic this time that doesn't mean he will need a transfusion again in 10 days.  It's possible that he will (and that's why I will have ultrasounds twice a week) but they are hopeful that they can stretch them out a little more.  Right now the next one is tentatively scheduled for December 19th. 

We also meet with Neonatalogy today.  They discussed how things would look if the baby was born at 24 weeks and how we should proceed with steroids.  At 24 weeks, with steroids, the odds of the baby surviving are about 30% (admittedly not great but I keep thinking, "so you're saying there's a chance" (yes I did just quote Dumb and Dumber in the middle of a very serious medical post)) and the odds he has no lasting damage (neurologically mostly) is even lower.  HOWEVER, we were encouraged by the fact that with each week that passes the chances of healthy survival go up considerably.  Obviously we are praying this baby stays in the oven for 4 more months but just 6 more weeks makes a huge difference. 

Just a couple other things we are praising God for this week:
~  Ezekiel is healthy and happy but not walking yet (wait for us little boy!!!!)
~  A friend handed us $100 for travel expenses to Jefferson.  Since I'm going twice a week and then doing PUBS every few weeks that's wonderful!  (the cost of travel plus meals (we're there for a long time and then I'm forbidden from cooking the evening of the PUBS) really adds up)
~  Another friend gave me her PATCO card with some money left on it!  I took the train for the first time Thursday:)
~  Christin told me "she loves reading" and that she had read a chapter of a book in bed.  The chapters are very short but this HUGE for her!!!!!
~  We have really fabulous friends and family that are supporting us and praying for us

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Prayer Please!!!!

We had an ultrasound for surprise today.  At Monday's ultrasound he looked GREAT!  Today he was anemic again, already.  That means another transfusion, tomorrow:(  We are pretty frustrated about what that means.  First of all it means that if there is a problem or they are unable to do it there is nothing they can do since he is not yet 24 weeks.  Also, it means that we probably have a very aggressive form of anemia and these transfusions are going to be much more frequent (like every 10-14 days).  Please, please pray!!!! 

In other news we once again were not submitted to Embassy this week.  Praying for next Wednesday!!!

On the upside, my name was pulled for Shoprite's Touchdown prize.  So I get tons of food next Sunday for the Eagles game.  I may eat it all myself:)
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