Saturday, February 18, 2012

Hanna Video

Here's some Hanna video for all those waiting to see this sweet chunk of LOVE!  :)

She brings us so much joy, we are constantly pinching ourselves.

Hanna Blowing Kisses

Tonight, we watched Mr. Popper's Penguins with the girls and at the end of the video a Vanilla Ice song came on.  Hanna LOVES to dance.

Hanna Dancing One

Hanna Dancing Two

Hanna Dancing Three

Miss Hanna says...THANKS FOR WATCHING!   LOVE YOU ALL!




Tuesday, January 31, 2012

When Life Doesn't Go as Planned.....some thoughts on the life of Joseph.

It's hard to believe that it is the end of January, let alone January 2012! My heart still skips a beat , when I think of  this time last year, I think of life day in and out, plugging away, trying to fit 'it all' in...(whatever it all is!) Most importantly,  having no idea that 10 days from this date a year ago, our lives would be turned upside down in an incredible way that we never would have imagined.



February 10, 2011 is the day marked down in our hearts when Hanna Grace became officially a part of our family.  I wonder whether God let the angels in on what was going on that day.  I remember distinctly that I had two precious friends over,that are like sisters to me, their babies had been busy being loved on by my girls. I think I had even joked with them about how great it was not to be in diaper mode anymore at the Weigner home.   The phone  rang, and I remember checking the caller ID.  It was a familiar number, but I couldn't place it, so I opted to let voice mail get it.  It wasn't until the number flashed again just after 5 PM, that I remembered who it was,  Welcome House. (our adoption agency)  Within a few minutes of Mark answering the phone, I knew without him saying a word, that it was a 'sibling call'.  I knew than, not knowing whose sibling it was, (Narae or Adah), or whether it was a boy or a girl, that I was instantly the mother of 5 children.  All in a few moments.....my life was changed forever.  That phone call started in motion, what is now history for us.  The pages of that chapter are some filled with heartache and uncertainty.  There's some stories about giants faced and the trip to Korea, Hollywood couldn't have written it better if they tried.  But most importantly it is  a history that points to a loving and sovereign God.  There were many gut wrenching late night reads on blogs, and boards....having a horribly sick feeling that truth could come from what I hoped and prayed would be rumors.  It was a CONSTANT battle to take my thoughts captive and cling to the goodness of God's plans for me, despite what was swirling around me, until that moment on September 9th, when I heard the words....Hanna is ready to come HOME!
   I remember many of those days, like yesterday because I wait with much anticipation with so many of the amazing adoptive friends, many that have waited much longer than we did for Hanna.  So many precious people that  I have met on this journey that are desperately waiting to hear those words.  They will simply just like the words that EPs have been submitted, that something is moving, anything.  I've watched as rumors and uncertainties, once again get credit from others and become facts.....such as ....NO EP's moving this month.  I'm waiting with them anticipating the days of January counting down, and now standing on the precipice of February 1st.  It's for these ladies I write today as I think of our journey.  I write for my friends that have lost babies as well.  Babies that they may never see their face this side of heaven.  Oh, my cyber arms have been around you and tears have cried on your behalf, as I pray that you sense God's arms around you, and not give up on His heart.  I write for friends that have seen life take unexpected and unanticipated turns, where it's easy to ask..."God could the timing have been any worse?".....and I write for what ends up being the source of it all...it's ultimately selfish you see, for I  write for my own heart.  Somehow when I write out my heart, my fingers type, my eyes read....somewhere in there my heart and my brain get connected a little bit more. As I go through life, I realize how much in common we all have.  It doesn't matter what continent we live in, whether we are wives or mothers......life can be a struggle but what encouragement we can find when we learn we don't walk alone.
  Today, I was reading in Genesis, all about the life of Joseph.  Funny how God likes to get our attention, because I also started to watch a series online by Max Lucado that is talking all about Joseph as well.  Today, my reading was focusing on when he was in prison. Many of you know the story.  He was the favored child, he had no problems letting his brothers know it as well.  So much so that they couldn't stand him and sold him into slavery.  God never left Joseph though, and once he was sold to Potiphar, we read that God was with Joseph in all he did.  Well, than the story takes another turn, from the 'seemingly favored' Joseph, that is in Potiphar's household to another crisis.  It would be easy to ask if God turned his head.  BUT HE DIDN'T.  Potipher's wife accuses Joseph of trying to attack her and the wholesome guy ends up in prison.  Wrongly Accused.  Why God? Joseph was doing what was right.  He was acting with integrity.   What possibly could be the plan in him being wrongly accused and thrown into another pit....another prison?  I wonder what thoughts Joseph had.  Yes, he had gone through heartbreak unimaginable, he had been betrayed by his own family, he lost everything....yet God had restored so much back to him, above all he could imagine.......AND THAN it's all gone...with one accusation.  I wonder what were Joseph's thoughts in prison?

      Well today, something caught my attention that I never really noticed before.  If  you are familiar with the story, you'll know that a cup bearer ( the man appointed to taste all the drinks to protect Pharaoh from poisoning), and the baker end up in prison because they had made Pharaoh angry.    These men both have disturbing dreams.  Joseph had been appointed to serve these men in prison, and it says they had been there awhile.  One morning Joseph comes in to do what no doubt was his regular job.  ( nothing like being in prison, let alone being a servant IN prison)  Well Joseph NOTICES that they are upset, and he asks them about it.  That just hit me like a brick in the head!  I know when I'm struggling, when I'm discouraged and feeling down or the world is against me, it's so easy to look INWARD!  I very well think I would have been in the corner of the prison having a pity party.  If I had accepted my job to do in that prison, I would have been easily focused on the job and not on what the emotional condition was of the people I had to SERVE.  If  I had gone through what Joseph had, one thing is for sure.  I would have wanted to put walls up around my heart 10 feet tall, and reinforced with CONCRETE.  I would have made them bomb proof.  I would have done my job, but I certainly wouldn't have CARED.   Yet here we see Joseph doing just that.....stepping out of the comfort zone....getting all touchy feely, taking time...investing himself....and caring about OTHER PEOPLE.    Why even bother asking them why they are upset, HELLO.....they were  in prison!  That might have something to do with it.   BUT JOSEPH....doesn't just assume.  He doesn't just get his job done.  He invests in people. He looks past himself, to see if he can help someone else.  If someone had reason to have a hardened heart it was Joseph.    Talk about life not being fair.....Joseph has gotten several short ends of the stick, but clearly when we find him here after much time in prison.....he is still a compassionate person.  He hasn't let life's circumstances harden him.   He could have become bitter, angry and mad, but he chose NOT to.  He invested in the lives of others, and because he was invested in people......God used his compassion to be the very tool that later freed him from  prison.  He showed compassion, and with that compassion he also gave testimony to the God he served.  For though he had no answers in himself to what was troubling those men, he did have access to the God that knew the answer and he wasn't afraid to call on him.  Kind of ironic don't you think.  He's trusting His God to reveal these dreams.....but yet here he is serving in PRISON.  He didn't let his circumstances change his perception of who he knew God was.  That alone blows me away.

     Than another thing that really touched my heart today, and tonight as I think of all my sweet friends waiting, and waiting and waiting.......  All Joseph asked the cup bearer for was that he would remember him when that man experienced freedom.  Not a lot to ask right?  But....the man forgets.  Again, my heart goes to Joseph.  I look at my Bible and under that chapter heading I read....(2 years goes by).  2 YEARS.................  2....... LONG........ Y.....E......A.......R........S.  I picture Joseph day in and day out.  Think of the excitement he must have had when the cup bearer was released.  I wonder if he gathered his belongings....cleaned himself up....all in preparation for his release that was sure to be imminent.  Right! I think of the each and every day.  Those first ones would have seemed like forever.  Every footstep he heard coming down into the prison....."would this be the man coming to bring freedom."  (no)  Another day...."Surely today, God!"    I wonder what other prisoners he saw come and go.  Day after Day after Day......with no one remembering him.  "BUT GOD! Isn't that why you sent that cup bearer down here.  I was faithful!  I gave you the credit! I trusted you... I even spoke truth to the man whose life would end!  SURELY GOD THIS IS YOUR PLAN!"  T...O....D...A....Y!!!!      Yet day after day after day....silence, SILENCE, SILENCE!

Oh, how my heart thinks to happier times for him.  Times when he was cuddled around his father's lap, listening to the stories of their Great Jehovah God.  Hearing about the God that had called their great grandfather from everything he knew to a new land.  Hmmmmm...just thinking about that now as I type, and  I wonder how many times Joseph recalled those stories, about going to a new land,  as he took step after step in chains away from everything he knew.  Those times with his father would have been priceless.  Think of the life of Jacob, and the mistakes he had made.  The greatest tool I've seen in my girls education is learning from mistakes.  I don't expect perfection.....I don't expect them to grasp all the concepts thrown at them.  I like mistakes, because it allows LEARNING to take place.  So I think of my heart with my girls, and I picture all the long talks that Jacob and Joseph must have had, and how important those times would have been to Joseph in those dark times. I wonder how much more determined Jacob would have been, if he knew the time he had with Joseph would be so short.  However, it was enough time to clearly teach Joseph something about his identity, about the God that Jacob served, and who loved Joseph, having an amazing plan for His life.  He clearly had taught Joseph a thing or two about trusting God's heart even when things 'felt' differently. Joseph knew a thing or two about dreams.  Remember he had a couple as a young man that were the very things that pushed his brothers to despise him so much.  One things certain though, Joseph knew who the author and the interpreter of dreams was. I wonder what conversations he may have had with God about his early dreams and the fact that Joseph was having a hard time seeing how a prison term fit into that plan.  I don't know if he questioned things.  I'd like to think so because I guess it would make me feel better in  my questions.  Another certainty though, Joseph knew His God, and Joseph was faithful.  He was a man of integrity.  He knew how to manage a household, and we also see that he ends up managing a prison.  He was faithful wherever he was placed.  So though, day after day came, without release, he had a choice to continue being faithful and trusting God's heart.    We see the clue where his heart was when we continue to read....2 YEARS LATER.......
    Pharaoh has his dream that none of his wisemen are able to interpret, he needs someone to interpret the dream.  2 LONG years later is when the cup bearer REMEMBERS Joseph. Talk about being a little late than never..... Do you think God had forgotten?.  ABSOLUTELY NOT.  He was in control the entire time. He had a plan.  He was teaching Joseph.  Much like his father would have taught him, God was using  life experiences to mold his heart.  You see, God had a plan.  He knew that he was going to use Joseph to save the current world at that time, and he needed someone that wasn't going to be full of himself when things went well, or someone that would forget where everything came from. He had to change the heart of that proud youngster that was thrown into the pit, into a man that could be entrusted with thousands and thousands of lives.   I'm sure those years in prison were foundational in preparing him to be the leader God had called him to be.  We know Joseph's heart is close to God when he gets out of prison because some of the first words out of his mouth give us a picture into what he had been taught.

                                                                   HUMILITY.

It wasn't about him, but it was all about God. It wasn't about his plan, but God's plan and HIS timing.   Oh, do you think Joseph would have had a reason to give up on God after all he had been through.  Sure he would.  Especially in our worlds standards, of name it and claim it.  If you don't get it, well it's God's fault than.  We never see Joseph blaming God.  We see simply a faithful and humble man.  He knows who is still Sovereign and in Control, and who is the source of all things.  It is His God.  That's My God, that's Your GOD.  A God who was just as much on His throne when Joseph was thrown into the pit by his brothers, when he was  put in charge of Potiphar's palace. God was still at work when Josheph was wrongly accused and thrown back into another pit, another prison.   God knew he needed a man that would follow HIS voice once He put him in charge of Pharoah's palace and second in command of  Egypt.  God had a plan.  Did it involve pain.  Yes it did. Ouch....we don't like to read that.  It doesn't feel good.  God is supposed to be loving and kind.  AND OH HE IS!   But just like I have to take Hanna to go and get some more nasty shots tomorrow, she won't understand the pain, but I know it's because I love her, and it's to protect her for her future.  She's only going to feel that pain, but than she'll also get to feel my arms around her to comfort her and soothe her.  She can push me away....but you all know what I'll do....  I'll CHASE that screaming munchkin down and hold her with all my might and whisper in her ear how much I love her.  Her screams are going to deafen us both for awhile no doubt and all in the room, but I know she'll calm down and hear my voice and accept my love.  As she gets older, I'll be able to teach her, to talk to her, to help her understand more the WHY, as she matures, but most importantly I pray that all the good times we have, day in and out will remind her that she can trust my heart.
    Oh how I wish my heart didn't grow weary so easily. I hated shots as a kid.  My mother couldn't tell me when I got them, because I would have run away.  I know now she loved me.  Oh, how quick I am to question God's plan. My knee jerk reaction is still to want to run from pain. I'm learning though to trust HIS heart.  I'm SO VERY FAR from perfect, and perhaps maybe I'm not running so far....for  I've got 5 miracles that tell an incredible  story of an amazing, faithful God, that remind me of His love....even when it doesn't feel good.
  Oh the WAITING ROOM.....it's not Pharaoh's palace that's for sure.  It's filled with uncertainty, yet expectation.  My  heart is  with those in the waiting room.  Tomorrow is going to bring many expectations....and I don't know what tomorrow or the next day will hold.  I DO know that we serve a God who is Sovereign and in Control and has a special plan for each of you.  He sees you, He hears you, He knows you and He is counting down the days with you when your days of waiting come to an end. ANd OH....my heart just get's thumpin' when I think of all those posts that will pour over the web.  That will be such an exciting time, yet that too, won't be the end of the story.  It will be the next part of your journey. Like I said to Adah tonight, just because we know have Hanna, she still has to make her bed!  To which Adah replies..."yah...and Hanna keeps messing it up too! "  Life keeps going.   For though Joseph got out of prison and had incredible years of abundance...they were followed by the years of famine.  BUT, because of what Joseph had learned about God's heart, his timing, that what God said He would do He would do....God used him to save the world.   My sweet friends, embrace what He wants to teach you now. If you have children waiting on the journey with you, don't be afraid to cry with them.  They'll learn a lot about CRAZY Love through those times.  At least I know if something ever happened to me, I would have 4 daughters that would be able to tell an amazing story to Hanna about how much she was loved.  I still look into that chunky cheeky face and try to figure out what God saw in me to entrust yet another life to my care.  Today, I was reading the 'infamous' Proverbs 31 with the girls, and the lists of things I'm not doing far outweighed the things I should be striving for.  Than I look at Hanna, and I'm reminded that God's not done with me, He's not done with any of us, and He wastes NOTHING.  Her story is one of such hope, but it's also one of great pain, and many uncertainties. I could say that about my life, about each of my girls lives, any of the lives of those of  you reading....we all have different stories.  I pray though, that like Joseph, I have no doubt he was a different man in the prison, than he was in that first pit he was thrown into..... I pray that I may be a different woman as I look at the different chapters in my life.  I pray that I would learn to be more compassionate, and reach out to others in pain instead of building walls because of it.  I pray I never waste a moment, to also tell my girls how much they are cherished , loved and designed with a heavenly purpose in mind.    I'm trying to learn to ask more 'WHAT God', instead of "Why."
    Whatever you face.....I pray that you may hear something in these heart ramblings.....may you be reminded  when you don't understand, when there seems no purpose in the pain.... think of Joseph when the days seem so long.  When you are afraid to hope, when you want to distance yourself from life.....trust God's heart.  Love deeply, love richly.    Keep faithful with what is simply right in front of you, and trust God's  heart is Good, and there is an incredible plan that is unfolding.....one day at a time.  Perhaps God is preparing you to 'save the world!'.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Conversation with Adah .....7 Years to the day that we saw her beautiful smile for the first time.



One of the things I LOVE about being a Mum and getting to be  home all day with these girls are  the special moments that God gives me during what most of the time seems like a type of controlled chaos...if not all out chaos as I get to just do life with my favorite people.  I couldn't even tell you what was going on, other than that I was in the kitchen doing ....'something that needed to be done'...and Adah came walking on by.  I happen to be reading one of the Duggar's books which was on the counter,(don't worry we aren't planning on 19 children), and Adah looked at the picture of the entire family.  She than continued to tell me...

'well that's a great big family Mummy, and Mrs. Duggar has certainly gone through a lot of  PAIN in having all those kids  Not me though.  I don't like pain, so I'm not going to have any children ...THAT WAY!"

  She than went on to remind me that she was going to adopt her children.  In that moment time stopped, because I knew it was one of those  moments I had the privilege  to speak into her precious heart.  I started to say first of all that pain isn't something we should be scared of, because sometimes it's necessary for really great things to happen.  I told her if I was afraid of pain, I never would have physically birthed Bekah, or Brienna.  Than I told her that I also never would have had her, Narae or Hanna.

She looked at me very quizzically and said.."I caused you pain? I thought only my birth mother had pain, since I came out of her tummy."

By that point I not only stopped whatever I was doing  but I got down on her level.  I first told her that there are all kinds of  pain, and the pain  I went through to get her was pain in my heart, that felt even worse than the pain of physically having Bekah or Brienna.  We talked about the 'pain' we all had as we waited to put our arms around Hanna.  Could she imagine not having Hanna?  What if we were afraid of the pain of another wait?

I also started to say that her birth Mum unlike me, had even more pain that I couldn't even imagine or have the strength to bear.

Adah's next comment came so naturally.
 She said...
"Her heart hurt, because she gave me away.... right?"

Oh how my heart broke in that instance.  First of all, because the way she said...'she gave me away' sounded so non challant.  We always talk to our girls about how their birth mother's made a special PLAN for them.  It just made my heart hurt, even though Adah wasn't taking it that way, but to hear her say those words, as if it was something so simple to do, like give away a toy.  I told Adah once again how much her birth mother loved her and that her birth mother is the bravest woman, I ever want to know.  The pain that it took for her to place her sweet baby in the care of someone else, and give us the opportunity to raise her is a pain that I'll never know.  I went on to talk to her about how thankful I am though that she was willing to go through the worst pain of all, losing a child, because it meant I had this precious little girl in front of me.

We than talked about how she didn't just make that decision once, but twice.

Than the most precious little words came out of her mouth as she said..."I really hope I can meet her one day, so I can thank her."

Yes, there were tears streaming down my cheeks by that point, and I said that I sure would like to thank her too because of her, I have Adah and Hanna too.  Than yes, I scooped up that lil seven year old and squeezed her til she could hardly breathe, as she quickly let me know!  We also than just took a few moments  to pray for her amazing birth mother, and that God would take care of her and comfort her heart, and one day that we might get to meet her.

Oh pain.....it can be unbearable.  It's something I don't like.  I cry like a baby if I stub my toe.  Bekah, has a high tolerance for pain like her Dad, but not me.  How many times do I try to avoid it at all cost, from the perspective that Adah talks about, totally forgetting that my most amazing blessings in life have come about because of it.

It reminded me as well, that across the world are two women that every day have a pain in their hearts that I won't fully understand.  Oh how I felt like my heart was being ripped past the point it could bear on our journey to Hanna this past summer. BUT, I had the joy of daily being in the presence of 4 miracles, all with different labors....but all labors that in God's perfect timing had come to fruition.  The day came when I was able to hold Miss Hanna in my arms and every day I now  get to wake up to a beautiful face that  calls ME, a blonde haired, hazel eyed Canadian....MOMMA.  She sees no physical differences....she just knows we LOVE her.  I get to enjoy the  giggling and squealing when I walk into her room in the morning and belly laugh with her throughout the day.   Her birth Mum has given up that joy, out of love like no other, and I have no doubt that every day her heart aches thinking of her and I wonder how many days, SHE HAS where she feels like her pain is something she cannot bear.  My pain did come to an end....her pain, the aches of her heart continue......

Oh how  I can never forget to pray for these precious women, and pray for a day that I can say with my girls.....thank you for your courage, to go through pain....because of it....I am blessed beyond measure.

Sometimes, we don't see the reasons for our pain.  We don't understand the circumstances we face.  Adah reminded me in her simple conversation that whether I see it or not....God is at work. The Bible promises me that He will weave masterpieces out of the worst circumstances.  To have to put your baby into the arms of a stranger, giving up all rights, not knowing if you'll ever lay eyes on them again,  is one of the worst circumstances a person can face, yet because two women faced this very excruciating pain, (not just once mind you) I have a beautiful family, my life is overflowing.     My girls birthmothers can't see their beautiful smiles, they don't get the blessing of tucking them into their beds at night, or the comforts and pure bliss of being covered in their hugs and kisses every day.  They don't see God at work in my life.  They can't see our masterpiece being created,  but every day is a miracle to me because of them.

So today, I'm thankful for a simple kitchen conversation in the middle of a very busy day, that reminds me that when I can't see through the difficulties, or I don't understand what God is doing..in my life, or others.....the TRUTH is that God is at work creating  a masterpiece.   I happen to think it will be a water color, because He promises to collect everyone of our tears, and I know I've cried plenty. Parts of this  masterpiece I will never see this side of heaven, but  I have to believe with all my heart that God doesn't waste any pain, and one day....I will see the whole thing, come together in the most beautiful mosaic every created.  I get to see parts of it now, and those parts already take my breath away.....I can only imagine the full work of art.


Friday, December 9, 2011

Home Sweet Home

Just wanted to give the blogospher an update that WE ARE HOME!

I'll write more later, but wanted you to know we are back and all the five Weigner princesses are under one roof.    So though we are home, life is probably even more busy, but anything to have the best recuperation possible for Bekah. 

Here she can get a good night sleep.  She is able to be outside for some fresh air whenever she wants to be.  (in the hospital she was not allowed under any circumstances to leave her room.).   She is able to do an inhaled antibiotic which she wasn't allowed to do in the hospital.  Sounds a little strange right.  Well the infection control of the hospital doesn't like aerosolized mixutres due to resistance with bugs in general, and that can cause more super bugs in the hospital and with cancer patients and those fighting other intense diseases that is the last thing they need.  So I understand it from their perspective, but am thankful here she is able to give a  fight from all angles against her bacteria.  The antibiotics going right into her blood to knock out the life line of the bacteria, or at least weaken it, and than topically with her breathing it in, to immobolize it's strength even more.

Maybe I can have April give a physicians description sometime for all the scientific heads out there.

So Bekah's schedule now consists of getting three different antibiotics during the day.  Two of them she does three times a day, and the other one she gets a large dose once a day.  Four times a day she also needs to do a nebulizer with several different therapies that are aerosolized, followed by different types of physical therapy to help knock out, shake out, vibrate her lungs.  Since the bacteria is getting weakened, Bekah needs to take advantage of really doing whatever she can to get it out of her body.  This isn't an easy thing, since she has thicker mucous and the bacteria isn't excited about leaving...this is a lot of work for Bekah.  For instance I do Physical PT on her which means that I cup my hands and basically pound on the girl.  I do several different areas covereing different lobes of her lungs, and after each lobe, she needs to take a deep breath and than I do a vibrating motion to help loosen the mucous even more.  Another type of therapy she has that she does on her own is the vest.  This is like an inflateable life jacket.  She puts it on, it fills with air, and than it shakes her and vibrates her at different levels.  Again, after each time she has to do focused deep breath coughs called 'huffing' (don't worry it isn't the glue type), both help her cough up the mucous.  The final form of Physical therapy is called an Acapella, and she breathes in and out of this device.  This device essentially seems to vibrate the air internally hoping to loosen some mucous and she needs to cough it up.  You can tell why it is so important now for CF people to have really solid nutrition and be physically active as much as possible, because you can imagine the energy this takes.  Take into consideration the fact that when most people are in the hospital they feel really horrible and don't want to cough it up.  So we are so thankful Bekah is so strong and feeling well that she can really have the energy to come at this full force for the length of time she is on the IV antibiotics.

So when I'm not on top of Bekah chasing her with Saline and antibiotic bottles, than I'm chasing her with nutrition shakes, eating options, yogurt with lots of probiotics...and when she isn't doing that, she's doing a nebulizer followed by physical therapy.  When I think of all that is being asked of her, and to know she is only 15 I am astounded at what an incredible girl of strength she is.  Mentally and physically. 

I'm going to get a picture up of the medication bulbs we use that have her medication in them.  For those that are really interested, maybe we can even get a video up, to scare all of you as I hold really big needles!  :)   Ha Ha Ha( evil laughter inputed here!)  Hopefully I won't drop one of these on my foot because it would REALLY HURT!   No I don't inject anything into Bekah with these needles, but it is for mixing one of her antibiotics.  It needs to be mixed right before it gets run into her system, so Mark and I get to be MAD SCIENTISTS, and mix up this particular medicine.  Seriously, MARK LOVES this part.  He gets a crazy grin on his face while he's doing it.  The CHOP home nurse got a kick out of it last night when she was here.

I have to say again how thankful I am for my husband.  The nurse said how rare it is for husband to be as involved as Mark is.  No doubt most people would think how can one person take care of five kids, homeschooling them on top, and all this medical schedule for Bekah.  The truth is ONE PERSON CANNOT do it!  We do this as a team, and I was reminded from the nurses comments yesterday what a treasure he is. I think she was even nervous at first about how I would function as I handled the middle of the night meds with Bekah and keep up with everything.  I looked at Mark and reminded the nurse... when I get cranky....he takes over!  :)   He always asks which time period he would like me to take, and most of the times the really LATE ones I'll do, because I'm a night owl...the early morning ones he gets....because he is an early bird.  So who knew that 17 years ago when we met at college, and God was drawing us together with all our differences, that they would perfectly complement each other for things like this.

Well of course in Karen fashion this ended up being longer than a quick update!  Ha Ha.  I'll get up some pictures of the mad scientist/pharmacist for all of you and maybe picture of our bedroom that has now turned into a pharmacy complete with medical waste!  ha ha.  No worries, this stuff is NOTHING compared to Hanna's diapers! Just LOTS of alcohol wipes and empty syringes. :)

I know some of you have had problems commenting on this blog.  I have done everything possible to change the settings, yet it still most people comment.    So if you want to send a comment, to Bekah, the other girls, the mad scientist or say hi to any of the animals....just email us at mweigner@comcast.net

Thanks for those that have written to say you are praying.  
We thank God for each one of you.   Off to the next thing in Bekah's schedule.  Wrapping her up in Saran Wrap after I have Lysoled her!  Ha Ha!

Love to all.....
Karen

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Life's Unexpected Detours.


Bekah saying Goodbye to her buddy for a few days.


No drugs, no fear, COURAGE!


When did she grow up?



First of all I shudder as I see the date of my last blog post, being October 4, 2011.  It's hard to believe that over two months have gone by since I wrote.  Two months with a precious miracle girl that joined our family and  she is now 16 months old.  We are coming up on the one year anniversary of that amazing miracle phone call and that incredible detour in life that had us driving on what seemed like the precipice of Mt. Everest!  Yet in God's perfect timing He got us to our destination, He took us through a week filled with one miracle after another, and we made it safely to our precious daughter and home again to be united as a forever family of 7.   It's not a surprise to me, that though I thought I had reached the mountain peak, God was just really preparing me for another detour, with some even bigger drop offs on either side.  Yet as I learned through Hanna, it's not about looking down, but looking up to where I'm going and the One that has me in the palm of His hand.

I still am trying to wrap my own mind around the fact that here  I am once again with a computer, typing in soon to be the wee hours of the morning while loved ones sleep.  The bed I'm on is pretty firm, the room a little too warm, yet this time I'm in the Western Hemsiphere and if I try to look out my window all I see is a row of windows and concrete looking back at me.  Sleeping soundly beside me is another one of my miracles.  What did I ever do to deserve such lavish grace.  It certainly isn't anything in me, but everything about a God that's crazy in love with me and each one of my girls.  Can it be 7 years ago, that I was in the same situation, yet the 'lump' in the bed, was much smaller, was much more dependant on her Momma, and was just beginning to really take steps of faith that would become her own.  Now that lump is bigger, it's longer, and it's hard to believe that the bed, let alone this room can contain the courage and confidence that are in her heart.  Yet, here we are back in one of the scariest places on earth for me, yet because of God's people praying, I can be totally at peace that we are once again, being held firmly in the palm of His hand.

So I'll back track a little for those that are new to our journey with Bekah.  Many of you I've met as we journeyed to get our precious Hanna, so a lot of things you are unaware of. When Bekah was 9 months old she was diagnosed with a genetic disease called Cystic Fibrosis.  It basically affects all the mucous producing glands in your body, and most importantly the lungs.  The mucous that lines Rebekah's lungs is extra thick, and so over time, and year by year bacteria can find their way into her lungs, and it's like a lifetime vacation for the Bacteria at their favorite resort and they are never interested in leaving.  When  Bekah was 6 years old, her lung function dropped to about 80% of an average girl her age, and that was when we had our first hospital ADMIT.  It consisted of a week in CHOP,IV antibiotics and seeing that she had pretty compliant parents, and knowing Rebekah really thrives best at home where she can enjoy the air and lots of activities they sent her home with antibiotics we could administer to her there.  Her lung function came right back up at that time, but 6 months later we were given a diagnosis that to me was scarier than her CF diagnosis.  She had cultured a bacteria in her sputum called Cepacia.  In the CF world, that basically cuts over 10 years off the life expectancy, and creates a whole new set of rules.  We were DEVASTATED.  I felt like I had done something wrong, that I hadn't done enough to protect my baby girl.  I had nightmares about the different nurses that were in and out of her room and not having much knowledge of infection control at the time, I felt like it was my fault.  There is no solid evidence that she picked it up in the hospital for she also could have picked it up in a natural environment.  This type of bacteria is really the mold that grows on onions.  Harmless to you or I, but to her lungs.....a slow lethal weapon.  I didn't even have to cut an onion to cry....all I had to do was look at one and I'd break out in tears because I felt like a failure.  I also remember that was the year we were putting in our above ground pool.  THere was the possibility she picked it up from the soil.  Why did I let the girl play in the dirt!  Not only was I crying over onions, but I was crying whenever I looked in the backyard, and that was probably when Mark lost the majority of his hair.  (it's okay to laugh too, because I have to laugh, yet cry at myself at the same time.)  It was a desperate time of wrestling with God.  We'd accepted her CF, but than to throw this on top of it.  I had a hard time with what God was asking of us.  At the same time we were going through this diagnosis with Bekah, my best friend who was a young mother of 4 was diagnosed with Breast Cancer.  I had a myriad of why's for God when I was in the mood to even talk to Him.  It was a dark time.......BUT GOD!  For He never fails me, that even in my darkest moments, His light shines through, again and again and again.  Even through my questions, He continually kept telling me to trust Him.  To trust His plan, and not just look at the labels that people place on things, but know He is greater than all of that.  Her lung function numbers were still phenomenal at that point, but the doctors wanted to try a course of strong antibiotics to see if they could try and eradicate the cepacia. There had been a few successful cases and we had a peace about taking as big a bang at this bug as we could.  They set up the IV's for her to be done right at home.  They knew the hospital wasn't the best place for a girl like Bekah to stay healthy, or to fight this bug, so they sent her right home with the IV's.  I can remember watching this strong healthy girl, just get sicker and weaker each day as we fed the antibiotics into her bloodstream.  Yet, here God had allowed my best friend to be going through her own fight, as we watched her body get sicker and sicker from the chemo.  They both were my hero's, and watching them fight, reminded me how so many times things need to get worse before they get better.  As a mother it was heartwrenching to be the one telling my girl to go through this yet knowing there was a purpose in it.  The lessons in those days for me were incredible as I once again saw the loving heart of GOd that allows trials and situations in my life that are ultimately for my betterment.  On day 10 of Bekah's round of antibiotics at home she developed a strange rash.  When you are dealing with IV antibiotics, you never want to take a chance on rashes, so we brought her into CHOP, and the decision was made to put her in the hospital for observation while she finished up her antibiotics.  This was the most terrifying thing being asked of me.  I was being asked to take my baby girl, and put her in the very place where she could have picked up this bug.  Cepacia also I learned had several different types.  Bekah had the better type, but because she was diagnosed with Cepacia.....she was put on a separate ward, near other patients with Cepacia.  They were just learning about the different types than.  THere was a young teenage boy that had CF that was right next door to her.  Everyone that came into her room was the enemy to me, and they were part of an army of things I couldn't see.  I'll never forget being in the bathroom just sobbing hysterically while looking at the blackand white  tile, because another person from the floor had walked into her room without gowns and gloves, and they were all over my little girl.I turned on the shower, I ran the faucet and flushed the toilet like crazy, all to my little girl wouldn't hear her mother's sobs.    I had NO CONTROL once again, but to beg God to protect my little girl.  Looking back on those days 7 years ago, I'm amazed I can be in here and be so calm now. ( and I didn't have any giggle juice) while she was getting her picc line.   I can still remember the anxiety of that room down the hall from where we are now.   I remember telling Dr. Allen, that I felt like he was putting a rabbid pit bull on the end of a chain and putting it right in front of Bekah and we were 'hoping' the chain would hold.  Well it did hold, and she didn't culture any new bugs from the stay.  We were disappointed to find out that the cepacia wasn't eradicated from her lungs, but the good side of that was I could stop just looking at onions and cry.  What would be, would be, and God was teaching me that though detours happen, I have to keep my eyes on him.  Since we took that detour, it led us for a season to be parent advocates for the  CF Center.  We were able to give parent feedback, and change the way things were done at CHOP.  Believe it or not, they like it when TYPE A's can come into the hospital because it gives them feedback how they can do things differently.  I am so blessed to have a sister, make it her life passion to fight this disease.  She is a CF doctor up in Canada and Bekah was her motivation.  She saw how Canada did things that were cutting edge in new areas, and she shared those things with me, that helped change things down here. I remember one meeting asking the CF director why we are having Cepacia patients seen on the same clinic day when clearly there are types that are different, and studies from Europe showed there was cross contamination of the different types in some cepacia patients.  Things didn't move quickly, but I type here today, knowing that there are no cepacia patients near Bekah now, and when she is in clinic, it is a day specific to her type of Cepacia.  I have no idea how much our voices played in that, but it was a season where we saw purpose in the detour God had placed us on.  Not to mention God was still showing He was in control and I couldn't focus on labels.  For despite her Cepacia, she her lung function acutally got better. 
   So fastforward 7 years.  Over the last seven years, Bekah has been doing a phenomenal job staying on top of her health.  Her lung function has maintained being at about 122% above an average healthy child her age.  She always is on top of her physical therapy and nebulized medications that she does 2 times a day.  This summer though her numbers started to dip, and it doesn't take much to catch the attention of her doctor and raise every nerve cell in his body.  You see, he has been taking care of CF patients for decades and he knows how unfair it is, and how it takes advantage of the slightest weakness, or opportunity.  When we came back from Korea Bekah's numbers were at the lowest point they had been in 7 years.  They were about 106%.  Still great numbers for a CFer, but for our Bekah...it was a sign something was going on.  All this time, I had been passionate in empowering Bekah to keep up with things to keep her self as healthy as possible.  Reminding her we all have challenges, we all have thorns, and these are BIG ones for Bek, but nothing can stop her from reaching for the stars.  She just needs to realize her CF care is non negotiable and needs to be a part of her routine even when she's feeling great!  We had just gotten back from Korea, and my heart just sank when I saw the numbers for I knew where Dr. Allen was going to want to go.  Though he gave Bekah several weeks to work on getting her numbers up,which I think were more for my benefit,  I know his passion and his fight against this disease is a fierce one.  He wasn't going to be happy without anything but the big guns. He told Bekah he wanted her to up her Physical therapy to 4 times a day, and we added a new inhaled antibiotic.  It's easy to write an order on paper, but it's another one when the patient actually follows it out, day after day, after day.  It definitely showed them she was committed to her health and it was a priority.  Th big guns, meaning the IV antibiotics,  I was ready to fight that with everything in me though, and Bekah was just ready to prove she could do what it took to get her numbers up.  It was in some of those nights where I was holding Hanna's hand while she fell asleep, or looking over the pictures of our trip to Korea, that I heard God's quiet whispers on my heart that Korea was a step I took and now He was calling me to take a leap.  Normally I would have fought, I would have cried, I would have thrown my fists up, yet how could I do that on a God that has proven Himself so faithful over and over and over again.  All I have to do is look at the chunk o' love and my heart is overwhelmed with God's love for me.  I knew too this wasn't just about me, but it was about giving my girl wings to fly.  She's always been a firecracker, and slowly but surely God's pried my tight little hands off of hers.  I've seen how God protects her in the craziest of places, and I know the spirit He has placed within her, He has provided the extra guardian angels to keep up with her.  I felt like God was lifting one of those last lil' pinkies off to say....I wanna let you see what this girl can do......and OH HOW in the last week HE HAS, and I'm not the only one noticing.
  Tears running down my cheeks again, as I think of the news that devastated Bekah on Wednesday last week, simply because she thought she could have done more.  Another teary ride home on the Schuykill Expressway  ( I really hate that highway), but we were together holding hands, and trusting God's heart that He had a plan.  Sometimes in life we can do everything 'right' and stuff still happens.  It's what we do with the 'stuff' that's important.  It's about where we fix our gaze, and hanging onto faith with a killer grip, knowing God's got it covered.  For you see, I knew that iphone being lost in Korea had a purpose.  It was for these moments to know that if God could be intimately aquained with all my ways that He cared about those precious pictures on that phone that was lost in a city of millions, to hand deliver it back to me.....He's still got us all in the palm of His hand.
  As we prepared for her visit, it seemed like we were all ready to have Bekah be able to come home again without being admitted, but in the final 10 seconds as usual per anything Weigner the game changed.  However, within minutes of the game change, God through some pretty incredible touchdowns to remind me he was in control. Dr. Allen called to tell us that he was about to sign off on the orders that Barb...(the nurse many of you had prayed for on Monday) had spent all day getting together.  I heard that she was so upset she had to leave the room and couldn't even look at Dr. A.  He told me though that he had a 'gnawing feeling' he just couldn't shake, and it was mainly around that 'strange rash' Bekah had developed.  She had been tested afterwards for drug sensitivity and she had none, but he just wasn't sure.  That's all he needed to say to me, and maybe the place where God needed to get me to in accepting this plan and submitting my heart.  Within minutes though a friend called not knowing anything about what was going on with Bekah to say....."I just wanted to call and see if you need me for anything."  Tonight she stayed with my babies at home, and will be helping the rest of the week.  GOD'S FINGERPRINTS....that nothing is a surprise to Him.
  I have had the most amazing experience to watch this 15 year old deal with situations I would crumble under, with no fear.  The one nurse in the sedation unit actually asked if Bekah would come back and give a seminar about how to go through a PICC line procedure the right way.    You see I've gotten so much precious time with this girl over the years,  time that has gone oh so quickly, and as she's grown and matured and spread her wings, I've watched the effect she has on other people.  I heard it today as time after time, people just said they were amazed at what an incredible young woman she is.  I have a TOTAL peace being in here.....not to say I don't want to get home, but it's not because I'm scared of the unknown anymore, or the bugs I can't see, but it's seeing a system that doesn't work in the best interest of Bekah, because she doesn't need people to hand feed her pills or remind her to do PT.  Each time I've gotten frustrated though, I'm reminded that there is still a bigger plan, and I have to trust God's heart. While I hear Bekah sleeping soundly now, and listen to the air movement, I feel like I can sense angels all around.  I think they are cheering her on even moreso than this Momma is, if that's even possible.  This is all, I have NO DOUBT, shaping her future.  I'm' not sure how, or why, but I just have that feeling.  The days ahead will probably be hard.  We very well will go through the issues we faced before in taking a relatively healthy girl and allowing her to feel lousy, so she can be even better on the other side. Bekah in working so faithfully with her treatments did get her lung function up to about 115%, but some changes on the cat scan were the final straw for Dr. Allen to say she needed to be in.   I pray these drugs can knock down the bacteria, and I have enough faith to pray that if God deems it, it can even knock out that cepacia too....completely!! I've got a different heart 7 years later though to say a little more trustingly...this is how I'm gonna pray, but God Your will be done.
  For you see 14 and a half years ago, I took a baby that only weighed 12 pounds at nine months old,  we were watching her get weaker and weaker with no answers, and my heart was weaker and weaker with each day.  I'll never forget getting on my knees and just putting her on our bed, and telling the Lord...she's yours.  I can't do this.  I don't know how to fix this....but YOU DO.  God knew and knows every little cell in her body, and most importantly knew all about her soul.  I remember as if it were yesterday praying with tears collecting on my knees, that God would give her a heart to Love him with all her heart, soul and mind.  If that meant a weak body, I prayed He would spare her life and heal her little body, but give her a STRONG FAITH.  For this life is just a prequel to what is to come.  AND oh the miracles He has done in her life.  The strength He has given, the faith that inspires me, and the dreams He has laid on her heart.He's given her a gift of physical strength to despite her labels.    I'm reminded of what a miracle her life is, as I talked to the nurses tonight and they say, I've NEVER met someone that has gone 7 years in between treatments.  Yes Bekah does an incredible job, keeping herself as healthy as she can, but it's God that's given her that fight....it's God that's kept her strong,  and oh how I pray that's what others see.
   So thank you for reading along if I've still kept your attention.  Thank you for the prayers for our girlie, our girls, for our family, I am overwhelmed as is Bekah with how many people are praying for her and loving on her and all of us.  I also reminded our sweet Brienna last night, that God has given her a spirit of nurturing for the things He has asked of her. When Bekah got Joey the Make A Wish horse so many people asked me what Brienna's thing was.  We all scratched our heads a bit and even Brienna.  She would say...well babies and little kids.  I told her last week, that  God gave her His wish as well, and blessed her with 'her things' in a 31 pd bundle of Asian cuteness.   Brienna doesn't fight CF, but she gets the other end of the stick.  The one that gets a boat load of responsibility and can too easily go unnoticed.  My heart is  sensitive to her, and I pray my words and actions display how thankful I am for everything she has taken on.  So much in her life hasn't been 'normal' because of the ups and downs of her big sisters disease.  Her unselfishness puts me at awe just as much as Bekah's courage.  How incredible are God's ways that though these two girls are both from the same genes...God has made them unique for the task He has prepared for each of them.

Well I'd better get some shut eye, for the road that is ahead.  Not sure what it will look like tomorrow, but I pray I keep looking up,  and not down at what might be around us.  For in the end.....the view will be worth it.

    Love you all my precious friends, and we'll keep you posted where the road turns next!

In His Grip and Resting,

Karen

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Journey Home...Part One.

It was so hard to believe on Thursday night September 22nd that our trip to Korea was coming to an end.  After false calls, a roller coaster of emotions, our baby girl was finally in our arms, yet we still had an ocean to cross to get home.  I blogged about our thoughts before leaving Korea, and how our hearts are forever a part of this special city, and resilient country that has been the birth place of three of our precious children.  It's funny now to think that our biological kids are outnumbered in the house, which means that the adoption love overrules!  I'll take that any day, since it's a constant reminder to me of God's unfailing love for me His child.

The night again for me was maybe a couple of hours of sleep since I had wanted to write about our final thoughts on leaving Korea.  Mark has mentioned several times to people what a miracle it was that I had the strength and stamina throughout the whole trip with such little sleep.    He had more sleep than I did, yet probably struggled more with lethargy and jet lag through the trip.  Something only God could do.  I knew how important it was to carry you all along with us on the journey to Hanna, and I just trusted the Lord to give me the strength to carry through each day, which He evidently did.


Friday morning we needed to be down with the Holt  driver at 7:30 in the morning, and Hanna was the last little girl up.  She had a peaceful night rest, and we knew that 7 in the morning would be early for her, so we let her sleep as long as possible.  I hated waking her up, because as I watched her sleep so peacefully, I knew she must be dreaming of everything she knew, yet when her eyes opened that crazy strange, blonde would be there and her world would be upside down! For goodness sakes, the woman dresses her for bed in rainbow stripes....who does that!?!

The girls were all excited about the trip home.  The sadness of the night before had melted into excitment to start our journey back to the big, big sisters.



For the first time Hanna was sporting her "Little Sister Shirt" on. Of course we have to use the word 'little' sister very sparingly, since she's not too far away from her big sister on the scale believe it or not!




Here's the last shot of the blonde with her sweethearts in Room 303 that changed our lives forever!

Our driver was right on time and waiting for us, because of course in Karen fashion I had to be at least 5 minutes late!  I had been a little nervous of the van ride to the airport, since it invoked not happy memories for any of us and really wasn't wanting to go through another grieving cry at 7:30 in the morning, but we were prepared to go with the flow, and Miss Hanna was WONDERFUL.  Did I say how very thankful we were to have the girls with us!  Hanna started to cry in the car, but nothing that a change of scenery and sitting on the lap of her big sisters didn't cure.





I remember the pictures we took of the airport before we left Korea with Narae, and to think of all the things that God had done, truly above all we could ever imagine.  Before I was standing with one precious daughter, getting ready to come home to be a family of 5, and now I was surrounded by three Asian daughters, to make us a family of  7.  I couldn't wipe the smile from my face, or the tears from my eyes, as I was so overwhelmed with how blessed we have been.  The journey to this point wasn't easy, but oh the joy that was in our arms, was worth every single moment.






Oh how I miss Asian hospitality.  Nothing like getting pulled out of a line that was enourmous, to go in the Happy Mom Service Line.  Americans could definately learn a thing or two from this part of the world about customer service. 


I definitely felt like Willie Wonka in The Chocolate Factory, holding a Golden Ticket with Hanna's precious EP.  These are so dear and priceless  at this point, that I will never forget what a miracle it represents.  If only the Korea government could see our family, and meet the families that represent all those that are waiting to give all their love to these precious children. 

And of course we can't forget Daddy in all these pictures.  As before though, he was so overwhelmed with all our luggage I was worried if we stopped too long, he would topple over!


These next shots are some of my favorite, as Hanna is just as content as could be looking over everything that's happening.  Maybe she was trying to ask for a window seat, or just concerned she would get enough to eat during the 12 hour flight.  The customer service of Asiana was over the top, and I  have nothing but rave reviews for this airline and their TLC!



Notice how lil' sis is holding big sisters hands.  What a picture of Love.  Adah's letting her know I've gotcha sis, and I'm never leaving you or letting go! This ride is taking you home....

Had to snap a picture of course of all the weapons not to have on a plane.  Thankful they didn't have a dirty diaper as one, or we'd be in big trouble!  Though I think that could easily be classified on a plane as a weapon of mass destruction for anyone that has been in close quarters with a 'stinky baby' and no where to go!  :)



Here's some final shots at the airport and our last moments in Korea! Even the ground in the airport is clean enough to eat off of....not that we did. Maybe that's why Hanna keeps throwing her food from her highchair while at home! :)






AND LAST but not LEAST, the final picture of the 5 WEIGNER's in KOREA!
Thankful for Daddy's long hands with the iphone to snap us all in!


This truly was the trip of a lifetime!  It's been about a week, and I still can't believe we have been across the world and back and that Hanna is in our arms.  I still can't believe what a miracle the last 7 months of our lives have been.  I look at the pictures in my room that I stared at for so many days, many times through tears, and I can still feel the tremors of my heart thinking that we may be caught up in everything that was going wrong.  It seemed like so long, yet to many our wait was so quick.  It's often said, adoption can stop time, and that it can.  To now wake up in the middle of the night and see the moon shining on the picture frame, gets my mind out of the sleepy haze, to realize that our precious girl is home.  I sneak inside her room ever so softly, just so I can look over the top of the crib and remind myself it's all so real.  She's not a sound sleeping girl like Narae and Adah were so I know to wake her up and rock her in my arms, will mean a night of partying will have begun for Hanna.  So for now, I just look through the crack in the door, and listen to her breathe, and take it all in.  For it's still so new, and my heart and my head are trying to catch up.  I than go over to the room across the hall where Adah and Narae sleep, pondering, treasuring things in my heart...than before going back to our bedroom, I stop in at Bekah and B's door.  I look in, I see how big they've grown, I ponder, I treasure and I thank God.  For I am blessed beyond measure.

I'll post more of our airplaine ride and the welcome at the aiport as well, in separate posts.  For now....a little girl....with dark brown eyes that disappear when she smiles, is calling and this Omma is going to get and give some lovin' and cherish every moment.

Stay TUNED............







 



Friday, September 30, 2011

Hanna's Homecoming Video

Happy Friday Everyone!

 It's so hard to believe that a week ago our family was united at the airport, and precious Hanna Grace has been with us for a week already.  I'll post some pics of our homecoming along with how well she has been doing this week, but for right now I want to share with you this video that was made of Hanna's homecoming.  Words truly can't do justice to the amount of  thanks we have for Leslie Ford who put the video together, and Lauren Quinty our family friend that was capturing our home coming with photographs, that surprised us by having Leslie at the airport.  We will forever cherish both the photographs and this video that are simply perfect to sum up our journey to Hanna.  God is a God of miracles, and His timing is not always our own, BUT His timing Is perfect!

Hanna's Homecoming Video

Blessings and Much Gratitude to all that Have Prayed us through this journey and continue to day by day.

May you see God's fingerprints all around you.

Karen