Monday, June 27, 2011

"yes, we have no bananas…"

Is anyone besides me familiar with that old song from the roaring 20's? If not, humor me and look it up here. (You don't know what you're missing.)

These days in the Searls' house, it would make more sense for the song to say "yes, we have gone bananas" since the news we received last week regarding our time line to bring "veggie baby" home. It seems very likely that we will have to wait until next YEAR to travel but only God knows! Maybe he's got another miracle up his sleeve for us. We're still hanging on to that thread – and hoping the whole sleeve doesn't unravel. 

Several weeks ago, we were totally surprised with the gift of a changing table, crib and mattress for "veggie baby"! Our house is small-ish and the future nursery is currently being used for a rec/TV room, so we had not assembled the crib yet since we had no where to put it...something must have snapped this weekend. Brad was apparently restless Saturday afternoon and decided to assemble the crib smack-dab in the middle of our living room. I came home from running some errands and walked in the front door only to be greeted by a fully assembled baby crib. It literally had swallowed up the remaining space in our living room. So, this morning I decided PJ should try it out. I'm not sure what Brad's plan for the crib is now, but we have family coming in 4 days and they are all too large to sleep in a crib. It does make a good dog cage though – very fancy indeed and much nicer than those horrid metal crates.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

baby blessings…

The last couple of weeks have been a little hectic but so full of unexpected blessings! 

I'll try to recap the events since my last post in a list form for easier reading. But first, check out this amazing photo of Seoul, S. Korea…

compliments of

1. We received "veggie baby's" first Well Baby Clinic from Korea. She is still noted as "cute and fine"…the terminology on their reports always makes me chuckle. Maybe it's just the translation that suffers because I would have put her in the "beautiful and devastatingly adorable" category.

2. Later, we received another blood panel report from last month which freaked us out because it stated that her phenylalanine levels were "markedly elevated" from the previous month. yikes!!!

3. The next day, we finally heard back from our metabolic specialist in town with GOOD news regarding the 30+ pages of medical info on her disorder. It looks like she has a milder form of PKU *praise the Lord*! And the "markedly elevated" blood levels were still within the "good control" range. (thanks for the unnecessary coronary - probably another result of lost in translation) Time will tell how strict we will have to be with her diet, but basically we will be monitoring her PKU through a vegetarian/vegan/gluten free diet…and NO beans, nuts or seeds. Surprisingly, there are a lot of foods that she CAN eat - just NOT the typical American diet - which is FINE by me! Here's to positive thinking!

4. God has been providing for us to bring home "veggie baby" through some totally unexpected ways. We received a brand new, beautiful baby crib, mattress and changing table - a completely unexpected surprise! And last week we received two very unexpected donations for our adoption expenses. One came from a church in Scotland who hosted a bake sale to benefit our adoption! The most amazing and humbling part is that I've never even met the members of this church - except for ONE member who was a roommate from my college years. Wow - what an expression of God's love. We were speechless!

5. My super talented and artistic sister has spent many, many hours refurbishing furniture and designing items to sell in support of our adoption. I can't thank her enough for the long nights and hard work she put into all of that. You are awesome, sis! 

6. My sister-in-law, the master crochet-er/seamstress, has also been feverishly working on market bags and crocheted creations to help bring "veggie baby" home as well. The items are super cute for babies, kids, AND adults (we both wear them). I will be selling these at the community garage sale this weekend in the North Main area (come out, all you garage sale divas) and at the Family Adoption Fundraiser that Julie Zimmer is hosting for us on August 6! (my family and friends are priceless!)

7. Finally, in regards to the uncertainty about the EP situation in Korea and not knowing if we will be able to bring our little girl home this year or next…it probably goes without saying that I have been praying for a miracle a lot lately. I usually end up praying myself to sleep about it and last night was no different. I asked God for peace (and a miracle) and told him I know he controls the situation and "the kings heart"…I think I drifted off at that point. So this morning I decided to read the "Proverb of the Day" and guess what the first verse told me - "The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turns it wherever he will" How cool is that to hear God respond like that! It is ultimately up to him when we will be able to bring our baby home and it's great to know that he is also in control of the EP situation in Korea! We are believing that we will be able to bring her home this year - maybe even before her first birthday.

There have been so many little blessings that I could probably write a book. I know I'm forgetting to mention something (which is why I need to post on here more regularly) but hopefully I've communicated enough to show my gratitude and awe.

So, what's next? More waiting and hopefully shorter but even more exciting blog posts in the near future…

Thursday, June 09, 2011

prayer request…

I never would have imagined a month ago that we would have already seen our baby girl's face (in pictures) and be waiting to bring her home! The shock has worn off now – it took about a month – and feelings of complete uncertainty have taken its place. The next BIG step that we are waiting on is baby girl's emigration permit (EP) from Korea. The problem (at least in my eyes) is they are running out of their EP's for the year - rapidly!

Please pray with us that our "veggie baby" will be granted her EP soon and that we will be able to bring her home this year! I worry about her PKU treatment as she gets older and starts to eat solid foods that her diet will be followed closely enough. Its pretty easy to monitor when she's on formula and rice cereal…which is helping me not to be worried as much for now.

oh the joys of "unconventional" motherhood. It's like we have a full time baby sitter - in Korea. I'm so thankful for her (second) foster family and all that they are doing for her to keep her healthy, safe and loved. It's sad that we won't be able to meet her first foster family from her birth city and thank them as well. Next item on my list is to send a care package to "veggie baby" and her foster mother. I plan to create a children's picture book for them so they can all have a glimpse into our life - our crazy photos, family and of course our dog-children!

Until then, I'm rejoicing over having a baby sans the stretch marks! Although, it does make me sad to know she is growing up on the other side of the world and we are missing it…

Thursday, June 02, 2011

our veggie baby

Because Brad and I cannot make a decision on our daughter's future "Americanized" name, from here-on-out, she will be referred to as "veggie baby" for the reasons to follow… 

Since veggie baby's referral several weeks ago, and learning of her special need, I have been talking to specialists as well as researching on my own. (what would I do without the internet?…live at the library!) 

In a nutshell, here's what I've uncovered…

1. In 1934, Ivar Asbjörn Følling published PKU as being a cause of mental debilitation in children. (Frightening!)

2. Phenylketonuria (PKU) is a rare metabolic disorder that prevents the normal breakdown of protein in the body which builds up in the blood stream and becomes TOXIC to brain tissue.

3. At least 1 baby in 25,000 is born with PKU in the US.
4. This metabolic disorder can be controlled successfully through a very strict life-long diet combining low protein foods and supplements and regular blood level monitoring. (enter the reason for our title, "veggie baby")
5. There are strains of PKU ranging from mild to severe. We are waiting to hear back from our specialist regarding the results of the medical records we have been provided.

6. We have a good resource of metabolic specialists and dietitians experienced with PKU patients in town, so we won't be left in the dark wondering how to care for her.

7. My first experiment with a low protein dish (potato salad) took an entire hour to prepare…ergo, I need to work on my speed in the kitchen. It DID taste pretty great though. Hope this kid likes potato salad…

8. I found an iPhone app for PKU families! It contains tons of recipes and data entry functions for keeping track of food protein consumption and blood level results. I love technology. 

9. The state of SC (if I am understanding correctly) provides the PKU formula that is necessary for proper growth and development at no charge to families. This is a huge blessing since the supplement formula comes with a hefty price tag. Thank you, Jesus!

10. I've been looking for an excuse to become more consistently vegetarian in my diet. Thank you, veggie baby, for making that possible. Go watch Food, Inc. if you are looking for a reason to cut down on your meat consumption.

PLEASE PRAY with us that our veggie baby will receive her emigration permit ASAP from Korea so we can bring her home and be able to monitor her diet, growth and development. The first year of life in a PKU patient's life is very important! We are hoping for a medical update soon since she is having her blood levels checked monthly in Seoul.