4/30/2010 11:09:00 PM Edit This 4 Comments »
First I'm happy to say Lexie has been back to her old happy self most of the week. She's had a couple of days where she didn't want to go to school and really cried while I was leaving. But the teachers assured me that she stopped crying a few minutes after I left and everyday when I pick her up she's been her usually happy chatty self.
Here she is after church helping me get ready to plant flowers in the pots out front. As you can see she's even getting her color back.

She was taking the planting very seriously. They've been learning about plants and how they grow at school so she was telling me all about it. Did you know plants need sun, water, dirt and worms to grow?
We went out to celebrate a successful day of school and to bribe her to take her medicines by going to Mickey D's. This picture just cracks me up! Such a silly girl.

Now you may be wondering why I've called this post Backtalk. Well it's not because Lexie has started back talking me but it's to celebrate my younger brother Todd Quast who has a horse, Backtalk, running in the Kentucky Derby tomorrow. Here is Lexie wearing her Derby hat in honor of her Uncle Todd.

If any of you are racing fans then be sure to catch the Derby Saturday afternoon and if you're a betting person put a little something on Backtalk. A little birdie told me he has real heart, loves to run on a sloppy track and has a good chance at his Run for the Roses.

Better Days!!

4/21/2010 11:03:00 PM Edit This 5 Comments »
First I must say thank you to everyone for their outpouring of love and concern. I have a wonderful family and terrific friends who helped me through this tough couple of weeks but it is truly heartwarming to know how many "virtual" friends took time from their busy lives to check in on Lexie & I and to send their thoughts and prayers our way. Thank you kind friends - you really helped.
And here is the results of all those thoughts and prayers!! My Princess Lexie Lou had a great day today at dance class (unlike last week where she sat in the corner for 20 minutes crying until I took her home.) She was so excited to show all her friends and Ms Tanya her new "dance tutu" as she calls her leotard. Children really are amazingly resilient! She even remembered most of the routine they will be preforming at the end of June. Here's a little preview:

How cute are they? As you can see Lexie's now lost 4 pounds off her tiny little frame bringing her back down to 31 lbs. She hasn't been this weight in almost 2 year. So it's ice cream for breakfast for the next couple of months!
Lexie even went back to pre-school for half a day today. They were terrific with her making sure she drank a lot and watching everything that she ate. She can't have anything that could re-open her scabs like chips, cookies or toast - nothing rough. They were so diligent they didn't let her have a mini cupcake one of the mom's brought in for her daughter's birthday. They did save if for Lexie and I let her have it on the ride home. So we are going to keep positive thoughts and hope that we live a simple boring life for the next 10 days until she is completely healed.
Thanks again for all your support - ice cream for everyone!!!!

The Worst 30 Hours of My Life

4/19/2010 01:39:00 PM Edit This 12 Comments »
Well this simple routine surgery for Lexie has become anything but routine. All of last week Lexie seemed to take one step forward and two back. Never really getting back to normal but I still managed to get a enough liquids and food down her to keep her from being dehydrated again and ending up back at the ER. So Mom headed back home on Wed but on Thursday I decided to take Lexie into her pediatrician to see what they thought. I was told everything was normal but to keep pushing fluids.

Then Friday morning she woke up and drank about 4 oz of milk for the first time since the surgery and ate oatmeal for breakfast and in general just seemed more like herself. I breathed a sigh of relief and thought finally she's on her way. I took her with me on an appointment to review an investment property for a client of mine. It was a couple of hours and towards the end she said her tummy was hurting her. She'd been drinking a lot of water so I thought she was just feeling full. I took her straight home and put her down for her nap.

About an hour into the nap Lexie woke up crying and complaining that her throat and tummy hurt. I noticed a drop of blood on the pillow so I picked her up and felt her stomach heaving. I ran her into the kitchen where she throw up about a pint of blood and black clots. I have never been so scared in my life. After calling 911 she throw up even more blood two more times. She even had it coming out of her nose. I truly thought she was dying since I still don't know how so much blood could come out of that tiny little body. My kitchen looked like someone was murdered in it. It seemed to take EMT forever to get there even though I think it was about 10 minutes.  I remember one of the paramedics (there were 4 of them and 2 ambulances) said when he came into the kitchen "all of that is from a tonsillectomy?" Blood was everywhere and there was just so much of it. My poor little baby.

After a horrifying 45 minute ride in the ambulance to Mary Bridge Children's Hospital, where she had the surgery, with the paramedics taking three tries to get an IV in her tiny arm (which had already had two IVs in the last 10 days so they had to go in  under her wrist) at least she had stopped bleeding by the time we got to the ER. I felt blessed that the same doctor who had seen her in the ER last week was on duty and knew her case. After a couple of hours in the ER with IV fluids and running tests they decided to have her stay overnight to see if she would continue to clot or if she'd need to go back into surgery. I was actually relieved to stay since I didn't want to go home and have it happen again. She was upset about being there and being hooked up to everything but she eventually settled in. A good friend Lisa went by my house to pick up some stuff for both of us and her husband Scott kindly drove my car in so we wouldn't be stranded. All of which helped make the night more bearable. Of course things still couldn't go right since her IV blew around 1:00am. They first tried to put it back in the same vein but then had to take that one out and try to put another one in. After 3 more tries with her crying hysterically the whole time I asked them give her a break. So they waited about a half an hour then brought another IV nurse in and she finally found another vein after her second try. It was so hard to hold Lexie down while she was so upset and look into her sad scared eyes and tell her this was going to make her better. She was such a trooper and so brave even if she did cry.
Finally Sat afternoon the on-call surgeon said Lexie seemed to be healing so he agreed there would be no more surgery right now unless she starts bleeding again. He stressed that there were no guarantees that she wouldn't start bleeding again and if so he wanted her back in an ambulance and they'd take her right to OR. But in his experience he really felt she should be fine. Once her blood levels started raising again and her blood was not quit so anemic they sent us home. That was the worst 30 hours of my life.

I'm taking her back to see her original surgeon today and I should have a better idea of what to expect over the next 10 days. They said because she tore the scabs off on Friday that it will probably take another 10 days until they are completely healed. I just pray she doesn't bleed any more or she'll have to go back to the OR and we'll be starting all over again. Needless to say, Lexie hasn't let me out of her site and to be honest I don't want to let her out of mine. I will NEVER forget the image of her and all that blood. Here are the clothes she was wearing. And that's just what fell in her lap. Amanda who takes care of my dogs when I'm not around and whom I called from the ER, kindly clean up the blood in the kitchen so I didn't have to come home to that.
And here's the back of the jeans. I was covered too!

Lexie's started doing a lot of doctor roll playing since we returned home which she's never done before. She found a long tube from one of her toys then got a sticker and stuck it on my hand saying "this isn't going to hurt honey" like the nurses did. Then she went and got the play blood pressure cuff that came along with her doctor outfit. She put it on my arm and said "now I'm going to take your blood pressure. It's going to give your arm a little hug." Boy was I surprised that she even remembered the term blood pressure and that she knew what piece of equipment they used on her this weekend to check it. Even at this age they really retain so much. She hasn't talked about the blood or the ambulance ride yet but I have a feeling it will come sooner than later. I also talked to her about going back to school tomorrow if the doctor says it's okay and she is was very clear she didn't want to go. She started tearing up said she needed to stay with Mommy. Ahhhh. It's been over two weeks now so it's going to be hard no matter what. Luckily her teachers are great and they've been checking in on her so we'll work it out I'm sure.

So that was the worst 30 hours of my life. I can honestly say I've never been so scared or prayed so hard or known that God was with me more, than those 15 minutes from when she first throw up the blood to when the EMT showed up. I was alone with my desperately ill daughter and yet I was so blessed to have had Him beside me to helped me stay calm when Lexie needed me the most. Then during my long night sitting next to Lexie at the hospital, I realized that I should always listen to my Mother's instincts (GOD) since I KNEW something wasn't right even though the professionals all said it was normal. And that no matter how alone I am that I'm actually NEVER alone. God is always with me and He will keep telling me what to do if I will just listen. So I'll keep my heart open and listen to what God needs me to do. And I'm praying that I never have to call 911 again! But if I do, I know that I won't be alone until help comes since God will be with me. I believe that is the lesson I was meant to learn this weekend. Now I'm also going to believe that God has big plans for my little girl and I'm going to be positive that she's going to do nothing but get better from now on!
Here she is Sunday morning eating her ice cream cone for breakfast! What a way to start the day!!!


4/16/2010 12:41:00 AM Edit This 4 Comments »
HERE is the Face of The Truth - A Happy, Well Adjusted Adopted Child!
Anyone who has adopted a child and sadly most of the rest of the world has heard about Torry Hansen, the Tennessee woman (I refuse to call her a mother since her actions are the exact opposite of how a mother should behave) who returned her son, Artyom, to Russia. The Joint Council on International Children’s Services has asked parents of successful adoptions (which is the vast majority of International Adoptions) to blog about their experiences to show the world that Torry Hansen is not representative of adoptive parents in the United States for the "We Are The Truth" campaign. Truer words were never spoke. Certainly WE - Lexie & I - ARE THE TRUTH of a family brought together by International Adoption.
Almost 3 years ago my mother and I boarded a plane to Aktau Kazakhstan to meet, bond with and adopt my daughter. I had of course done a tremendous amount of research on the process of international adoption, what to expect during my two month stay in Kazakhstan, and what kinds of adjustments and issues to expect from the institutionalized child I would be bringing into my life. Any intelligent person entering into this kind of special, life long relationship would of course find out as much as possible from other families who have gone through it as well as all the expert advice that is available on line. And even if I hadn't done the research, my adoption agency not only required me to take specialized classes on the subject but the amount of paperwork required to finally get on that plane is truly staggering. No one could actually bring a child home without at least some knowledge of the issues these children have faced, especially the older ones, the problems they may have adjusting to their new lives and the resources our country has to help families deal with these issues. There is no conceivable reason why Ms Hansen and her mother felt the only solution left to them was to return this child to Russia like their was a return policy on adoption. Torry Hansen should be held accountable for her actions without question but the children still living in orphanages and baby houses around the world should not. We can't let this tragedy for one child turn into a travesty for thousands. 
But the goal here is to remind the world that MOST adoptions, international and domestic, are successful as certainly Lexie and mine is. For too many years to count, I have wanted to be a mother but life never seemed to work that into it's plans for me. But finally I decided my child couldn't wait any longer so I set about making my life long dream of being a mother come true. After learning how well the Kazakhs take care of their orphaned children, I felt confident that one of those children was my daughter. Here's one of the first pictures taken of that baby who was put into my arms at 12 months and 8 days after her birth to a woman who couldn't raise her but knew in her heart that someone else could. I am so grateful for the courage and love she had for our daughter.
As you can see she was confused and frightened of the strange person holding her that looked, sounded and smelled different than anyone else she'd ever encountered in her short sheltered life. Quickly she learned to trust me and soon this was the face that greeted me every day for our visits at the baby house.
After 6 weeks of visiting her two times a day, standing in front of a Kazakh judge teller her why I should be this child's mother and what kind of a life I could offer her in the US and waiting for all the paper work to be completed we where allowed to leave the baby house on July 4th 2007 as mother & daughter - what a magical Independence Day that was for us.
Two more weeks in Almaty Kazakhstan to complete the paperwork and meet with the US Embassy and we were finally on our way home to our real life as a family. I can honestly say we are both blessed to have each other. Lexie is my daughter in every sense of the word. She is the light of my life and I couldn't be more blessed to be her mom. She's smart, funny, sensitive, stubborned, creative and one of the most social children I have ever met. She never meets a stranger and loves to make people smile. And how could you not smile at this face?
Here are a few more truths about Lexie and adoption. When I returned home with Lexie I took her to the International Adoption Clinic in Seattle and discovered that she had TB. It was Latent TB, thank the Lord but clearly she had been exposed to someone who had Active TB in the two little rooms where she had spent the first 14 months of her life. Here in the US it took 9 months of a pill a day at the total cost of $18 to cure her of it. That's right $18. In Kazakhstan I was told she had all her shots and had no serious illness. If she had not been adopted, she very well may have died from something so easily cured here in the US. Another truth is, within a year of her being adopted she was having chronic ear infections. Here in the US Lexie had a 5 minute operation and she was hearing better and infection free. Just 10 days ago Lexie had to have her tonsils & adenoids removed and another set of tubes put in her ears. The TRUE is, none of these procedures, which are considered routine here in the US, would have been done to Lexie if she'd not been adopted. International Adoption saves children's live, both emotionally and physically. We as a country simply can't let one persons actions cause other orphaned children to suffer needlessly. There are families waiting today to bring those children home to better, safer, healthier lives with loving parents and opportunities those children would never have if they aren't adopted. It breaks my heart to think what would have happened to this little face if I hadn't adopted her. Lexie has so much to give to the world but without international adoption she would have been just one more of the hundreds of thousands of forgotten children.
Lexie IS the face of a successful International Adoption.

Princess Patient

4/11/2010 09:28:00 AM Edit This 3 Comments »
Here's my little Princess patient wearing her new princess Aurora gown, complete with gloves, necklace and purse - the hat is all Lexie. THANKS Jon & Teri. It made her smile and dance for a little while. I even got a little water down her by bribing her with it!!
Thanks also to everyone for your great advice and comments. It's helped to know I'm not the only one to have gone through this. I don't know why I expected Lexie to sail through this but clearly I did. She's such an agreeable little girl even when she's been sick in the past, I just figured we'd do a little snuggling on the couch, eat some ice cream, do a few craft projects and then she'd feel better. But she's really just not been herself and hearing a very firm NO from her or having medicine spit out at me has been a big surprise. Even my mom, the mother of 5, has been stumped over how to get her to drink or take her meds let alone eat. So it's been a week of challenges. But we saw some progress yesterday with her having a little more energy and drinking & eating more. Unfortunately she woke up about 5 times last night choking and coughing so I think the scabs are starting to come off which they warned me about. The doc said just when you think she's getting better this happens. So I think we'll have a few more days of yuks around here and then I hope I'll have my happy little Lexie Lou back especially since Mom will be heading back home this week and I need to get some work done. I'm going to stay optimistic and hope for the best!!!
Hey I was wondering from any of you Moms that have gone through this - did your kids voices sound almost drunk and did they hold their mouths differently? Lexie has been holding liquids or what little food I can get down her, in her mouth for sometimes 10-15 minutes before I can get her to swallow. And even when she doesn't have anything in it she holds it like she does. And she's also been speaking very little. She'll point to things or grunt and this is little Ms Chatter Box of Washington State here. I've been reminding her to use her words or not giving her what she wants until she actually asks me for it. I'm just wondering if other kids have had these issues.

Thanks again!!!

A Trip To The ER For Lexie Lou

4/07/2010 11:41:00 PM Edit This 8 Comments »
(Lexie Easter morning the day before her surgery)
I'm afraid Lexie's recovery from the surgery is not going as well as the surgery itself. Monday night she woke up screaming and crying. After an hour of this I called her surgeon who said it was the anestesia still wearing off. I also told him Lexie had refused to take the pain meds and her antibiotics. He said as long as she didn't get a fever, which would indicate an infection, than not to worry about either of them even though they would make her recovery faster and less painful. But keeping her hydrated with any kind of fluid was the most important thing. I'm afraid Lexie didn't want to do any of the above. For the last 2 days Mom and I have tried tempting her with Popsicles, shakes, soda, chocolate milk, cookies, candy, fruit, whatever her little heart desired with VERY little results. Then I tried threats of going back to the hospital if she didn't at least drink. She'd cry and say "no Mommy, I don't want to go back" but if she sipped at all it was just the tiniest bit. I have to say you can not reason with a 3 going on 4 year old! We even tried forcing it down her or tricking her. That just got things spit in my face or she'd just clamp her jaw tight or choke on it. None of it worked and it just made me feel terrible and it showed a stubborn side of her I didn't know existed. So she's had maybe 3 oz of water or juice on Tue along with a little chocolate egg and  a couple of bites of Mac-N-Cheese and today maybe 2 oz of water or juice and that's it. The nurse from the surgeons office has checked in both days and today she said if she hadn't had at least 16oz of fluids by 2pm I'd need to take her into the ER for IV fluids. Sadly I waited until about 5pm without any luck so we headed off to the ER in Tacoma where she had the surgery at the children's hospital. We just returned at 10:30 pm and it wasn't fun plus my poor baby has already lost 1 pound! Needless to say Lexie was scared to death and it took myself and 2 nurses to hold her down while the 3rd nurse put in the IV. I'm not sure who was crying more me or her. But about a half an hour into the fluids Lexie was perking up and asking for water to drink and a Popsicle. Then one of the nurses gave mom some bubbles for her to blow in the room and Lexie was laughing and having fun. It was nice to see my sweet happy Lexie Lou back.

So thank you everyone for your prayers and good wishes. It's been great knowing so many people have had us in their thoughts and prayers. And Mollie I took the princess books with us to the ER and once she started feeling better we were looking for all the hidden princesses. It was a great way to keep her calm and her mind off the needle. Thanks again! Now I just hope she'll keep on drinking and eating and taking her meds. If not then I'll remind her about our little trip tonight and hope it scares her into it! I know it scared me. It's the New Scared Straight Program at our house!

Lexie's Surgery Went Well

4/05/2010 11:00:00 PM Edit This 9 Comments »
Just a quick post to let everyone know that Lexie's surgery went well. The surgeon said that her tonsils were extremely large so I'm glad they are out along with her adenoids and there was fluid behind both ears so again glad the tubes are in. But recovery....not so much fun. She threw up the 3 red Popsicles they gave her in post op in the car on the way home and has refused her pain meds and anti-biotic. Clearly it's going to be a long night and an even longer week. But as a friend of mine said - sleep is over rated.

Thanks for everyone's prayers and good wishes!