Monday, August 25, 2014

An orphan no more

After six long years, my friend Suzanne walked out of the orphanage in Kyrgyzstan today with her daughter Diana by her side. Suzanne was matched with Diana when she was five weeks old and expected to take her home when she was just a few months old. But there was delay after delay, and then all adoptions were put on indefinite hold.

Suzanne and Diana at age 22 months (Magpie's age now) 

Suzanne never gave up. She went back to Kyrgyzstan to visit Diana twice. She lobbied U.S. Congress. She wrote and produced an advertising campaign video to gather local support in the Kyrgyz community.  And more recently when things were looking the most promising they have in years, she set out with friends to make a bunch of quilts to raise money to so that she and her four year old (adopted domestically while she was waiting for Diana) could spend several weeks visiting at the orphanage, and then hopefully get to take Diana home. 

With your help, Suzanne raised more than $10,000, funding both her own trip and that of several other waiting families. 

Here's what you helped make happen:

Mom and daughter, finally together forever

Leaving the orphanage for the last time, forever.
Diana is beautiful. And she remembered her mama from her mama's last visit to Kyrgyzstan two years ago. She will face many challenges from spending her first years in an orphanage, but what a wonderful day today marks - to have a family and a home, to have a family of her own, finally after all of this time.Thank you all again for your help - for your support of my friend Suzanne.

And Suzanne, your indomitable spirit - never giving up in what seemed like such hopeless circumstances - has just saved the life, and drastically changed the future, of a beautiful little girl. I am just bursting with happiness for you, for your family of three. What a turning point today marks. Diana is so so lucky to have you as her mom.


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Monday, August 18, 2014

The quick and dirty, comic and tragic: A catch-up post

I owe you all a major catch-up post. There's no way to cover all that has happened, but we are all intact, and Magpie is doing great.

The most challenging aspect of things the past several months is that my mom was diagnosed with early stage lung cancer (non-small cell adenocarcinoma,  which unfortunately is pretty scary news even in the early stages). After her diagnosis, she spent a month in the hospital after having a major post-procedure complication. It was so hard to see her so sick and really difficult to juggle my desire to be physically present with her, to parent Magpie, to maintain my marriage to some degree, and to function professionally. Fortunately for me, although my mom lives across the country, she happened to be here when she was diagnosed and therefore underwent her much-more-complicated-than-expected procedure here, so at least physically I could see her daily and offer my love and support. She is doing much better now and has been discharged home on oxygen. The goal of the procedure was to ablate the cancer, but the doctors are not sure and won't know for months whether it was successful. My mom has significant other health issues, so I am not sure what options remain if she still has residual tumor. It's been a tough time, and I am definitely concerned that I will be losing my mom, and Magpie her grandma, much, much  sooner than I would wish.

To give a whirlwind update on the rest of the immediate and extended family that I sometimes blog about, Will is doing well at work and health-wise. My sister got married to a wonderful man (yay!). She got pregnant almost immediately (double yay! Especially given our worries on that score). Unfortunately, she then suffered a mid-first-trimester miscarriage (major ugh and lots of sadness and tears shed by all). Incredibly, she seems to be taking it in stride, which is impressive, and she is hopeful to try again in the coming months. My friend S. who has been in the midst of long LONG-term adoption efforts internationally, whom many of you helped in her fundraising effort and quilt raffle, is less than a month away from hopefully having her daughter finally home after six long years of waiting. I can't post more details about it now, at her request and out of an abundance of caution. But amazing things are underway on that front, so please send all positive thoughts her way. I will post a much bigger update on this when I get the all-clear to do so. Life in academic medicine is continuing apace, and the good news there is that I'm getting promoted. Not to leave out the animal kingdom in this post, our boxer dog Moxie celebrated her fifth birthday this summer. Yay for boxer dogs! She is amazing and such a good "boxer sister" to Ms. Magpie.

And Ms. Magpie herself? She has been doing great. She's 21 months now and is talking up a storm, eating well, running, jumping, starting to engage in imaginary play. She is still tiny - I put her in 6-12 month Gap jeans the other day...and they fell down around her knees! Yikes! She weighs 22 pounds-ish I think, but is very slender... She is more and more fun each day - it is a joy to watch her and to interact with her, even though she is an intense little creature. She's also sometimes now demonstrating some of the "terrible twos" behavior, even though she isn't yet two. I'll do a whole post on her development in the next few days if I can. Other Magpie developments in the works: We are in the first few days of unexpected pacifier weaning. I will do an entire post on this shortly, so stay tuned on that. ... We are also in the preparation phases for potty training...mostly gathering books on the subject for Magpie and potty chairs and even a Potty Time Elmo that will be presented at the appropriate time (who ever would have thought such a thing existed?). As part of the psych-ops preparations for potty training, I am spending much more time talking about pee and poop than I ever imagined. Seriously, in my wildest dreams...

More soon. I promise.


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