Adopting Grace

The journey to bring our little girl home

Browsing Posts tagged surgery



This is going to be short because I’m tired, but just wanted to let everyone know Leeza made it through surgery just fine. Her shunt looks good so far and the doctor said he didn’t find any surprises today (always good when you’re talking about a brain!). She is in ICU for a day to make sure she’s responding alright and is not so happy that her hands are all taped up to prevent her from ripping out her IV and monitors. She’s also not going to be happy when she sees what they did to her hair. Dr. Menezes heard that she was concerned about them shaving her head so he tried to be conservative and left some curls around the front of her face…everyone else will be able to see the big bald spot, but she probably won’t! She did great through the whole thing and is resting pretty well right now. All in all, it’s been a good day full of lots of blessings from God. My favorite part was watching her heart rate in the recovery room as Philip told her he loved her. Each time he said it her rate would increase. We all know it’s important to tell our kids we love them, but to see her responding to it on the monitor was cool.

We Made It!


After a last minute scare about another infection we found out last night that Leeza is fine to have her shunt surgery on Monday! I’ve been keeping the kids isolated except for church and occasionally the library and Leeza’s been on 2 preventative antibiotics to get to this point so we’re pretty excited to have made it this far. She will have a shunt placed from her brain to her abdominal cavity to relieve the pressure of all that extra fluid in her brain. She’ll be staying at University Hospital for 3-5 days after the surgery and we’ll be juggling kids between the 2 of us, some family and several church members. Thank God for family (bio AND church!)!

Other than that we’re staying busy with normal preschool stuff…Kas is cutting all 4 molars and learning to walk this week, Grace has an on-again-off-again relationship with potty training, Leeza suddenly loves books and Josiah is continuing to learn to read and mastered zippers this week. Philip has been Super Dad (as usual) and my claim to fame this week is that I got a carrot, 3 peas and 4 edamame in Leeza. And we all survived horrendously cold temperatures without any frostbite or falls on the ice. Not too shabby!

Can I Applesauce?


Leeza celebrated her first Christmas and New Year’s at home and was, I’m afraid, pretty confused. However, with all the  cake, family and presents involved it didn’t seem to bother her one bit and she had a great time! She understood that we kept telling her it was Jesus’ birthday, but since ‘baby Jesus’ is a small toy in the nativity set to her I can see where that would be a bit hard to understand. She kept giving us a ‘my parents are so confused’ look and telling us it was HER birthday. Despite not really knowing what was going on she had a blast wearing her new tu-tu, pink satin gloves, playing with Cooties, eating fun treats and enjoying her Daddy being home so much. She got to spend her first real holiday with family and has spent the last several days wondering where they all went and telling us her Nanny and Sadie are ‘silly hooses’ (silly gooses).

She’s been home about 2.5 months now and while it has not been as smooth a transition as I’d hoped for, we’re starting to see some real progress. In the midst of all of her medical issues and her still trying to figure out our family it’s easy to lose sight of how far we’ve all come. She now goes to bed and nap as easily as any of the other kids, eats most of what I feed her, can be left in a room alone without panicking, will sit fairly still during reading time, will play games with the other kids and is learning to be obedient. She’s starting to try to write her name and is beginning to focus enough during school time that she’s learning her shapes and how to recognize a pattern. Her English is continuing to grow, which is great, but it’s the odd phrases she comes up with that we enjoy the most. My favorites right now are ‘I like-a snizzle’ (I like snow) and ‘Can I applesauce?’ She is fascinated with the word applesauce and obviously thinks it means something else because she adamantly tells me that jar of yellow stuff in the fridge is NOT applesauce.

We got a new date surgery date for January 24th and are in the process of making sure she will be infection-free so it’s not postponed again. I am now on a first name basis with the PA in Urology at the University and talk to her more than my own husband some days. With a lot of work, medication and prayer she should do her pre-op on the 21st, have surgery the 24th and spend the next 5 days in the hospital as her shunt is adjusted and the pressure in her brain is monitored. One of us has to stay with her around the clock during this time so we would really appreciate prayer as we try to figure out child care for the other 3 kids for the week.

Here We Go


We had Leeza’s MRI session today and found our her hydrocephalus that ‘didn’t require surgery’ (according to doc’s from her country) DOES require surgery and fairly quickly. The fluid in her brain has caused the cavities in her brain to become incredibly large, which in turn has misshapen her skull (which we knew) and not left much room for her brain to grow. Had this been corrected early on the needed shunt would not have been too big of a deal, but because it’s gone on this long she will require a special shunt that can be adjusted as the pressure in her brain changes. A regular shunt would allow the pressure to change quickly which would cause brain damage. So, we go with the programmable shunt and a week-long hospital stay later this month. All this has to be done before we can schedule the back surgery, which will be sometime early next year.

All of this includes risks, but oddly enough I don’t think either of us is really conerned about it right now (and Leeza has no idea what we’re saying so she’s fine with it all!). Without the surgeries she faces certain brain damage and a shortened life. And it’s all totally out of our control. But God knew she would need this. He put us within 45 minutes of the only pediatric neurosurgeon in the state and one of the best in the country. He covered 100% of her adoption expenses (through His church) so that we aren’t totally scared of the medical bills we know are coming. He scheuduled this first surgery during the time that Philip’s whole company gives them a week off each year and when family might be more able to come help. And he brought her home in time for so much damage to be prevented. In fact, with this shunt we have a very good likelihood of seeing substantial improvements in cognitive abilities. While it’s certainly not what we had planned for our Christmas break, it is what God had planned. So, here we go!

Quick timeline of what’s coming soon:

1. Orthopedic evaluation next Friday

2. Court date to readopt Leeza in the US, Dec. 23rd

3. Shunt surgery,  Dec. 27th

4. Back surgery 3-6 months after shunt