Saturday, November 14, 2015

Skype Date with an Angel

This week has been so weird. First, I got a job offer to go and interpret for a week in Ethiopia for a research project. I desperately WANT to go, but I would be working daylight hours so I would not be able to get anything done for my kids, and would have a hard time even being able to make time to get away and see them. Plus, I can't go back to Ethiopia because I promised Micah that when I come again, it will be for court. And I can't break that promised and then leave him again. I have left him six times. I can't do it again. But I also can't go and NOT see him. So I can't go. I could try and see if I could stay an extra week to fight for him, but I found out some new information about his case and basically my being there would do nothing at this point. Or would it? It's so hard.....everything is SO hard. 
I turned the job down. Abe doesn't have that much vacation and I'd be losing money and it wouldn't help any of my kids. Plus I think I would die if I left my babies again. So no. 

Saturday, November 7th, I was feeling desperate to hear something about Micah's case. I texted my contact and begged for information. This person has only responded to me once since June 17th, the day they dropped Felecia and Matthew's case. I doubted I would get an answer (I have only texted, called, FB messaged, emailed, Vibered, and audio texted in Amharic thirty bazillion times), but I sent the text anyway. It was 7:01pm
I got an response less than five minutes later. The message was unclear and I texted back, asking if it would help if I was back in Ethiopia, to try and push things along. They didn't answer me. 
I was frustrated. Tired of sitting on my hands. Sick with the wait for my son. So I emailed the person that brought me to the government when I was in Ethiopia. This person is a powerful figure and there are a lot of details I can't share, but I sent a message begging for help. I appealed to them in every way I could, based on what I know about them and their personality. 
Hi _________!!!

I hope you are well. :) I am good....working a lot, and fighting hard for *Micah.

May I ask for your help? __________ (a head official) needs *Micah's region to send the papers so he can sign them. Can you help get him the papers? Can you contact anyone? Can you do anything? I know you have so much influence!!! And I know that you have a good heart and want the best for *Micah! And you are a Type A. You are a fighter, a persuader. You get things done. You love to be a leader. Can you help me? Please? Abakah (Amharic for "please")??? Please help me get my son cleared?

I'm begging, _______. Please help *Micah? Help me with the "impossible"? Someday *Micah will change the world and he will look back and thank you. Please ______? My friend?

Jegna Mari
I also sent a picture of my three tattoos (all in Amharic: Hero/Warrior, Strong, and the number 6 for all my babies) and a photo of me and Micah from March. 
When I woke up at 3am for work, I had three emails in my inbox....all from the person. saying they would do their best to help me. Even though I don't even know if they even CAN do anything, the fact that they ANSWERED me, and the fact that they seemed WILLING gave me such relief. Gave me a little hope. 
I went to work....and then at 6:14am they emailed me again, saying they were where Micah was and asking if I wanted to Skype with him. 
My heart stopped. I emailed back so fast that my fingers were tripping over each as I tried to type. I basically freaked out and said YESSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We set up the time and I punched out at work. I didn't even care. I ran into the break room kitchen and set up my phone. I added them on Skype. And then I clicked the video connect button. I couldn't even breathe. I was nervous and excited and about to cry from happiness and sadness all at once. 
The video connected and the person came into view. They waved at me and handed the phone off and suddenly Micah's face was looming in the screen. And I burst into tears. 
He was so beautiful. The internet was terrible and the connection was pixelated and delayed, but it was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. He didn't know how to hold the phone with Skype so it was just his head most of the time, but I could see that he was wearing a jersey and jacket I had brought to him from Levi. He was smiling and happy, but I could see confusion in his eyes. "Mom, where have you been? Why haven't you come back for me? Why is this taking so long?" 
Because he doesn't really sign, I couldn't answer his questions that filled his sweet eyes. I couldn't tell him that it's out of my control and that I am fighting every second that I am alive for him. That I barely sleep, and that I cry every day for him. Actually, I did tell him that last part. I used all the signs we had established in March and I gestured and acted out the rest. I told him I love him with all my heart and that I will come back. I WILL. That I will not leave him. That he is my son and I am his mom, and that will never change. I signed our "never let go" sign and he reached towards the phone to connect us in a single sign. I told him that every day I pray for him. Every day I cry for him.
I had to go back to work, but I was told I could call after. I raced home as soon as work was done and called again, and there was Micah's face, grinning and rolling his eyes a little when I hugged the phone like my life depended on it. He's such a teenager. :) 
 I showed him his pictures on our walls and the little pipe cleaner designs he made for us that hang in the livingroom. I showed him the Origami paper crane that we made together in March, and I kissed it. During all this, his eyes shone and I could see he knew. He was signing back, "ILY" and grinning, and I knew he knows he is loved. I introduced him to the dogs and taught him their sign names (and tested him on them) and he was especially excited to see Mowgli, because he didn't even know about him yet. Then I walked him around the house, showing him everything. He was so happy to see his room; he has pictures of course, but he was thrilled to see it live, and to see his picture on Levi's bureau. I showed him his bed and I could see his puzzlement at the 30 pairs of shoes lined up on it (waiting to be drawn on for his fundraiser project). I didn't even try to explain; I just looked at him, shrugged and laughed, and kept going. 
I showed him the paintings I had on hand that I have done for his fundraiser and asked him if he was still drawing. He LOVES to draw and I had brought him supplies before. He went to his room (with me getting seasick on the phone as we ran and bounced through the orphanage and courtyard) and he showed me his most recent work; a portrait of one of his roommates. I tried to get a snapshot off my phone, because it was amazing. He has gotten so much better! He is using shading and shape and making his work 3D and he is definitely going to be some kind of artist, graphic designer, or engineer. The child is incredible. 
We hung out for 40 uninterrupted minutes, and it was one of the greatest gifts ever. I cannot even tell you how grateful and happy I am and what a blessing and merciful thing it was for me to see his precious face after eight long months. I don't know when this boy is coming home or when I will see him again, but my heart is so, so thankful. He knows I love him, he loves us, and he knows he is mine. He knows I am fighting. 
I'm coming for you, baby. 
P.S. Please, PLEASE keep praying for him. I found out that his case isn't even the real problem; his region is closed and apparently his case is "guaranteed" but the region is actually investigating SEVERAL kids cases and wants to process them as a batch; and they won't sign Micah's paperwork or send it until the other kids clear too. I want those kids to clear of course, and I want them with their families, but it has taken me five years to get to this point and my baby can't communicate or go to school. And I just want him cleared. NOW. Especially if they are going to do it anyway. But God has other plans, or a way to work around the horrible disappointments that keep hitting us, so I am holding on. Honestly, it's easier after seeing Micah. I feel renewed. I feel grateful. I feel happy. 
Update on our paperwork: We got our I-600A clearance. I sent our dossier affidavit and power of attorney to the capital to be authenticated. As soon as those get back, I will be mailing out our dossier. And then our paperwork will be done and just waiting for Micah to clear. 
God, please bring him home. 

Saturday, November 7, 2015

And then it was my turn.....

And then it was my turn. 
I haven't posted a lot about being sick. I mean, it's depressing and not very fun. Plus then people feel bad for me, and I don't want people only viewing me as only sick. I deal with it and function as normally as I can.....there's nothing I can do about it so why dwell on it?
Long story short, I have been sick for many years. At first, I wasn't even sure. I didn't think too much of it. But it started progressively getting worse. Especially when we were in the adoption process for Levi and Z. But I didn't go to the doctor because being seriously sick could have messed up their adoption, and right or wrong, hell or high water, I was bringing my babies home. 
When Levi and Z came home, I got sicker. I ended up in the emergency room because of severe, random, and seemingly uncontrollable allergic reactions. You can read about that here:
Long story short, I have seen five specialists and many doctors. I have been tested and on guinea pig treatment plans for the past few years. I have tried all natural remedies and healing processes, and medication. A lot of what is wrong with my body happened because I work so much and never sleep and I understand that, but even if I had known what would happen and could go back in time to redo it, I wouldn't change anything. My kids needed to be home desperately, and I would give anything for them. And I did. Working 80+ hours a week for seven years and sleeping 3 (sometimes) less hours a night destroyed my already sick body. But I would do it again. In a heartbeat. 
Basically, here's what I am dealing with:
-I have all the symptoms of several autoimmune diseases, except joint pain, which is a major factor, so the doctors are hesitant to label me with anything. 
-My liver is not working properly; it's not filtering out toxins, so they are continuously cycling through my body. My body then tries to fight itself, resulting in severe allergic reactions to random (and ever-increasing) things: soap, metals, cloth, etc. 
-I have three hormones that my body is not producing: cortisol (critical for your brain), adrenaline (critical to deal with any shock, surprises, or need to a quick reaction), and progesterone, related to my mood among other things. I am currently in the 4th and final stage of adrenaline failure. Most people in this stage are bedridden. 
-Because my body has no adrenaline to deal with ANYTHING, it puts my heart at risk. So I am not allowed to work out, or stress (good luck) or anything that could strain my heart. Because it doesn't have a way to deal. 
-I have been getting vertigo. Fairly often. and migraines. Sometimes vomiting. Abe has had to stay home multiple times because I am in so much pain. I am literally out for a day or two at a time. 
-I had uterine issues last year and I will spare you the details but they are bad. I was told I needed two more surgeries for them, but to try medication for a year and see if it helped. 
-Because of all these issues, I am also pre-diabetic, have high cholesterol, and am borderline hypertensive. I have gained a ton of weight. Literally, like 60lb. Which is so sad, because my diet consists of chicken, fish, broccoli, tomatoes, spinach, egg whites, water, and an occasional sweet potato. So unfair. My body can't handle anything. It just gains weight no matter what because it's just not working. My thyroid is borderline underactive, and that's not helping either. I am just going to say here, thank God for Abe. I can't even say in words what he means to me. He always treats me like I am the most beautiful person on earth and he never criticizes my body or talks about when I was fit. He just tells me how beautiful I am and how blessed he is to have me, and how gorgeous I am. I freaking love him. This man the ultimate. 
Anyway, back to my story: I went on some meds for a year for my progesterone. Unfortunately, they didn't work, and the issues that are occurring put me at a super high risk for cancer. I was told (by a fourth doctor), that I should get an ablation to try and avoid cancer. Thankfully we were capped out of our premiums this year for medical insurance between all the kids and my many doctor appointments, so I went ahead and scheduled it. Ironically, it was scheduled for November 3rd, three years to the day since Levi and Z came home. 
I have to admit, I was a little nervous. It's scary to have to go under on the operating table when you don't have any adrenaline and you have a million issues. The morning of, I made sure to do my makeup extra nice. Technically the instruction sheet said no makeup, but last year (I am thinking of making double surgeries my own personal November tradition) they told me I could have worn makeup if I wanted to. So I took full advantage of it this year. Abe's exact words were, "Wow, you aren't going for subtle, are you?" Hahahaha! :) I am proud to say that I received many compliments on my eyebrows from the nurses. :) Actually, the very first lady to take me back exclaimed, "D*** girl, them eyebrows is SHARP! I just gots to touch 'em!" and then she proceeded to try to wipe one off! When it stayed put (thank you Anastasia Beverly Hills), she exclaimed, "What, are they tattooed on there???" #bestcomplimenteverrrrrrrrrrr

Several people remembered me from last year and everyone made me feel more relaxed. They were super kind, and we joked most of the time. They even let me have my phone right up until I went to surgery. My surgeon was the same person as last year and we laughed about my November visits. 
The surgery went great I hear (I was out, of course) and I woke up right after. Abe had told me that last time I took almost two hours to come out of anesthesia and this time I was determined to be faster. Apparently I woke up ten minutes after surgery. I wish I had slept longer; I was sick as a dog and in so much pain. I was determined to win the time crunch though. Abe kept rolling his eyes at me and being like, "Babe, SLEEP!!!" But I refused. 

It hurt really bad. Like, INTENSE. They did a D&C and then they did the ablation.....meaning they radiated my uterus. I'm just gonna say.........PAINFUL. I went home, and for the first two days I was in pain, but it wasn't unbearable. It wasn't unmanageable. I was only on ibuprofen, and I rested on the couch. Now apparently when you have an ablation, you basically get contractions. Which is why my abs feel like I worked them out for 500 hours (I wish I was getting a six-pack out of this :)). 
Thursday night, I fell asleep and woke up to the worst cramps in history. Sort of like waking up to a Charlie-horse, but way worse and in your stomach. I wanted to start screaming. I dragged myself to the bathroom where I cried like a baby and dry-heaved like I had the flu. I was pretty sure I was dying. Abe ran in and stayed with me while I suffered through a long and horrid night, where I hugged the toilet like it was a lifeline. I am just gonna say, it was hell, and I am super mad that I had to go through that and not get a baby in the end. Not that I want a baby at this moment, nor can I ever carry one now, but I wanted some kind of reward for that. Imagine going through labor contractions and cramps from Satan, except your uterus is all freshly burned inside. And the pain is so bad you can't stop throwing up. That was my Thursday night. Really fun times. 
I called my doctor and she said that it was pretty standard and to try and rest. So on Friday I took Z to physical therapy, and we went to an eye appointment for me, went to FedEx for a missed package, and then back to the optometrist. Then I cornrowed Z's hair (it was in a fro and pretty much on the brink of tangle-city) and basically collapsed. 
So that's the story of my surgery. Today was my first day back at work (2am-noon) and it's 8amand I am hanging in there. I have a Starbuck's passion tea lemonade (which is basically the only thing I have been drinking since Tuesday night.....pretty sure it makes up 75% of my body fluid right now) and I am 2/3 through my shift. 
Thanks for all your prayers and really means the world to us and we love YOU!