Update after one week

Hi, It's been a week to remember....two wonderful blessings entered our lives last Saturday by the names of Jerald and James.

We've been granted our Foster Parent License.
After we live here three years we can adopt the boys, but in the mean time we are their foster parents. (We already have almost 14 months of that time requirement.)

James and Jerald have seen doctors. James had a bronchial infection which is getting better with the help of medicine and good nutrition. He is also gaining weight, smiles, loves to hear Ben sing to him, be rocked. Both girls are great at feeding him and playing with him.

Jerald has seen a surgeon. On Monday he will go to the pediatrician for a pre-surgery check up and then we can get the surgery scheduled for his shunt to be implanted.

He is a severe hydrocephaluc. Most of his brain on the CT is pushed against the skull - about 1.5 cm of brain shows on perimeter of skull area, the rest is fluid. We have seen the neuro surgeon who will do the shunt implant. He gives a 97% chance of success.

Hopefully within a week's time, barring any unforeseen health issues that would delay surgery, we can get a shunt put in and help Jerald's head clear off excess cerebral fluid. His head currently measure 4 inches bigger than a normal 2 month old child's head.

Please pray - pray for Jerald to go through surgery successfully, pray for the surgeon (Dr. James Soriano, M.D.), and pray for our family.

Want to know more about hydrocephalus? Go to Mayo Clinic's website: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hydrocephalus/DS00393/DSECTION=1

On top of appointments with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and doctors appointments, each of us got sick this week. We are suspecting that James shared his germs with us!!! First Kurt was down for 24 hours or so, the Mikayla missed 3 days of school. Kirsten and Ben came down with it at the same time and missed 2 days of school. Then I was sick Thursday night and Friday. After sleeping most of Friday I am feeling better today. Everyone had at least a 24 hour period of sleeping most of the time. It felt like the flu.

But here, a week later, everyone is on the mend. Ben is off to a birthday party today. Our friend Beth has been taking the 8p.m. - midnight shift of holding babies so we can sleep some. The boys are starting to sleep better through the night (at least 3 - 4 hours at a stretch before waking up to eat again!)

We thank you all for your prayers and support!!!

Aunt Beth holding the babies


Mikayla and James

Kurt and James

Kirsten being silly

Aunt Beth, Ben, and James



Quite a Week

Hi, It's been quite a week.

The two boys, James and Jerald came to live with us Saturday night.

On Tuesday morning Kurt and Mikayla woke up sick. We met with the Department of Social Work and Development to begin the foster parent process (DSWD)...

Wednesday Kirsten and Ben joined the 'fun' of being sick with their Daddy and older sister....We also had a home study done by DSWD. They have thanked us many times for taking these boys, especially Jerald. If we hadn't he would've ended up in a DSWD orphanage. Filipino couples will not adopt 'handicapped' children because of the expense involved in caring for them.

We took the boys to a doctor for check ups and have a neurosurgeon
to go see hopefully today. He normally has office hours on T and W but his receptionist was going to see if he could see us today. We are waiting for a text from her.

The boys are starting to gain weight, have bright eyes, are responding to our voices, and James is starting to get baby fat.
Both boys are strong.

Today Mikayla, Kirsten and Ben feel better but I'm keeping them home from school for one more day of rest.

More pictures to come soon!!!!!

For All The Blessings Of The Year.....

For all the blessings of the year,
For all the friends we hold so dear,
For peace on earth, both far and near,
We thank Thee, Lord.

For life and health, those common things,
Which every day and hour brings,
For home, where our affection clings,
We thank Thee, Lord.

For love of Thine, which never tires,
Which all our better thought inspires,
And warms our lives with heavenly fires,
We thank Thee, Lord.

We thank God for good friends, family, and calling us out onto the mission field.

Heaven on his mind

Ben has a very tender heart to the things of God. He thinks often of heaven and what heaven will be like when we get there.

This morning he announced to me, "Mom, I want to die when I'm a kid so I can go to Heaven."
"Why is that, honey?" I asked.
"I want to play with cool toys and play with God!"
"That would be neat to play with God, wouldn't it!?"

A month ago Ben rededicated his life to Christ as his personal Lord and Saviour. He had accepted Jesus as his Lord and Saviour when he was three but didn't remember the event so he asked to pray again 'now that I'm 6 so I'll remember. I love Jesus so much.'

Since then he has been asking more and more questions about eternal life, how to love Jesus in this life, and what heaven will be like.

(I really enjoy our night time routine of reading the Bible, studying the catechism, and praying together. He is a sweet boy and I thank God for him. We have many good talks together at bedtime.)

Cheri Keagy's song "Heaven's On My Mind" has been playing through my head all day since this morning's conversation with Ben.....

"If you see the light
Inside my eyes
I can't contain this inner peace
It's welling up inside of me
If you knew Him then you'd agree
And love Him too
Just the way I do

So glad to know
I'm gonna see my God in heaven
So good to be assured of my home
And if you need to know
The reason why I shine
It's because heaven, heaven's on my mind
Heaven's on my mind ........."

3 John 1:4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

Matthew 19: 14 Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."

A View from our Veranda on Christmas Eve Day

In the previous post I mentioned our neighbors had a pig tied up for their Christmas feast.

On Christmas Eve morning they hog tied and bled the pig to roast for their Christmas celebration.

We didn't go over to get close up shots as they would've felt obligated to share their pig with us. As evidenced by the pictures, they do not have a lot.

The people next to us are really nice. Most of the men are jeepney drivers and mechanics. Even though they are hard workers, the average take home pay per day for a jeepney driver is about 200 pesos (the equivalent of about $4.75 US).

Later that morning we took them all Christmas gifts of rice, toothbrushes, shampoo, coffee, and candy for the children.

Here in the Philippines the big Christmas celebrations usually start Christmas Eve at 10 p.m. with a big meal, party, a family reunion of sorts, and they welcome in the Christmas day at midnight.

Christmas day tends to be very quiet as most people are sleeping due to being up so late the night before.

Our neighbors behind us had games, a raffle, and dancing until 3:30 Christmas morning. The music was loud, the atmosphere fun!

Kurt and I were both surprised our kids slept through all the loud music. We, on the other hand, sat up in our sala for an hour or so drinking hot chocolate at 2 a.m., unable to sleep due to the noise!!!