January 31, 2012

The Big Shriner's Parade

Saturday was a perfect day for a parade! The weather was absolutely beautiful! Laura loved riding and waving to the crowds, from the Shriners Children's Float. We also got to visit with many of the wonderful Shriners before the parade even began. I must say, the clowns were my very favorite part!

This is "Lucky", he says he raises money for children by selling "duck tape."

Laura really liked Lucky!

Laura posing with big brother, Eric, Cassie and Mr. Donkey

So, if some "Clown" asks for your daughters hand in marriage, and she accepts the big, fat "diamond ring" does that mean she's engaged?! : )

"Mr. Ben, will you drive me to my next appointment at Shriners Hospital?"

Shriners Speech

I was invited to share our story with the Shriners in New Bern on Friday night. Boy was I nervous to get up and speak in front of about 400 people! Here was my speech:

Shriners Speech
I’ll never forget July 4th, 2010.  That’s the day I met our youngest child, our daughter, Laura Faith.   Laura had short brown hair and great big brown eyes.  I looked into those eyes, eyes I now call the color of pumperknickle bread.  There was no way I could leave this child, no, she was the one!  This girl needed us! Laura was 3 ½ years old and had been waiting in the orphanage for her Dad and I to come find her, adopt her and bring her home.   She’d been waiting all her life for us.  I couldn’t wait to bring home this special little girl.  Couldn’t wait to love her and give her a normal life.  Her Dad and I wanted to give her the love of a family and something else that many of us take for granted, the ability to walk.  Actually, not only walk, but run and skip and jump and dance!
July 2010
Immediately after bringing Laura home, we contacted Shriners in Phillidelphia, PA.  We knew Shriners were the best!  Shriners accepted Laura’s complicated medical condition.  Just 2 ½ months after arriving home with Laura, we got a phone call saying there was a cancellation for surgery the very next day and did we want to take it.  You bet we did!  Less than 24 hours later Laura was having a tibial ostonomy and a symes amputation of her deformed right leg and foot.

Jan 8, 2011
Two days after surgery, our Princessa was trying to smile as we left Shriners Hospital.
Fast forward 9 months from the day we met.  Fast forward to April 4th. I’ll never forget April 4th, 2011.  That’s the day Laura tried on her first prosthetic leg.  “I'm AMAZING” she sang, at the top of her lungs, as she walked for her very first time!

Trying on her leg the morning of April 4th
Later that day...
April 4, 2011
Here we are now, another 9 months later, one outgrown leg later, here we are on leg #2 and facing one last surgery.  In April, Laura will have knee fusion surgery in Greenville, SC.  This surgery will enable Laura to have her knees line up. Her prosthetic knee and her left knee will one day line up and she’ll be able to walk even better.  Not only will she walk but she’ll run and jump and dance.  She’ll dance for joy, not only because she has a normal life, with a family to love her, but she’ll dance because the Shriners made all the difference.  The Shriners gave her the surgery and transportation to the surgery so that she could have a normal life.
Ben and Peggy
Two of our wonderful Roadrunners!

I say thank you Shriners, thank you Roadrunners, thank you, to each one here, who helped make a difference in the life of our little pumperknickel bread, brown eyed girl.
April 4, 2010
Leg #1
Sept 7, 2011
Leg #2

 The speech went well. Laura even got a standing ovation durring the part where I talked about her walking for the first time. : ) Wish I could have shown them the video above.

Laura dancing w/ Crystal after our speech

January 29, 2012


Our daughter is BEAUTIFUL! Anyone who sees her, knows this. What they don't know is she is as FEISTY and CHALLENGING as she is BEAUTIFUL- now that's FEISTY! Actually, that's a nice way of putting it. This girl can drive you crazy sometimes! Yes, we sure do love her but Oh my can she be CHALLENGING!

I read that you can subtract one month of developmental age for every three months the child spent in an orphanage. This statement actually explains a lot to me. This information might explain why this beautiful girl does some inappropriate for her age stunts!

Laura spent 47 months in an orphanage. 47 months! Now, I know she was loved by most of her caregivers. I know she was loved by what I saw and by how she treated her baby dolls when we brought her home 15 months ago.

Memere holding baby Katya

 It was so cute to watch Laura tucking in and kissing her baby.

November 2010
I know Laura had at least one very special caregiver at the orphanage. I know this because Laura still talks about her. Laura even asked to go visit her caregiver so she could show her the new leg she has. I am so thankful for the caregivers God put in Laura's life before we adopted her. I am thankful because I've heard a lot of stories where the kids weren't so fortunate.

Despite having caregivers who loved Laura, it still doesn't change the fact that Laura was in an orphange for almost 4 years. Laura was in at least 2 sections of the Baby House aka orphange. I know there were at least 11 other children in her group. There were 2 adults and 12 children who resided in a section of the orphange. Their section consisted of a sleeping area, a bathroom, a walkway/locker area and a play room where they spent most of the day as well as ate meals that were brought to them from the kitchen on the first floor. The children were also allowed to go outside for a minimum of 15 minutes a day unless is was raining or they had snow.

All I'm trying to say is, she didn't spend her first years of life in a normal family setting. She probably wasn't held as a baby the way I held the boys. She might not have been rocked as long or sang to like the boys were. Dinner time was not a family event but just time to eat... and then the food was taken away. Perhaps she was even hungry at times. I don't know what it was like. What I do know is Laura has some issues with food. She asks what the next meal will be just as soon as she's finished eating the last meal. And don't even try to take away her plate or rush her, Laura will scream if rushed. She also will say she's hungry every night before bed, even if she has just finished a large meal.

Laura's favorite foods are coleslaw, pumperknicle bread, yogurt, cheese, soup and tea. The orphange reaked of cabbage soup. Such a strong odor that hit us in the face every time we visited the orphange in July of 2010. The children ate cabbage soup twice a day with dark bread and snacked on a yogurt drink called keffir. I'm not sure what else they ate. I do know she ate a lot of the above. I know the children ate a lot of eggs as babies too. In fact, the babies were spoon fed eggs instead of drinking formula from a bottle. Laura is not fond of eggs....

Eating some Yummy soup
 December 2010
Being Thankful
May 2011

So, Laura spent 47 months under a different set of circumstances. As Grandpa H like to say, "Not wrong, just different".

Laura is a survivor. She used her skills at being cute to get what she needed. She learned to be feisty and be cute to get attention. She didn't live in a family and didn't learn what that was like until she came home to us, her forever family just 15 months ago.

Dec 2010

So, when Laura is naughty or doing something not age appropriate, like cutting her hair......for the third time, drawing in a book.....yet again, drawing in MY hardcover novel, taking a pen and marking up the wallpaper in a hotel room, peeing on herself instead of telling me she needs to use the restroom, smearing something yucky on the bathroom wall, taking her shoes and "drawing" on her bedroom wall with the soles, drawing on the roof of my SUV, stabbing holes in the wall, stuffing the toilet paper roll down the toilett, emptying the entire containor of shampoo, bubble bath into the tub....again, putting tooth paste in the soap dispensor, painting the counter, refusing to get dressed, throwing yet another huge temper trantrum, spreading teeny tiny game pieces all over the house, taking my lipstick out of purse and spreading it all over her face and then lying to me about it, spreading my make-up all over her face and my bathroom, sticking her tongue out at her brother (wait, that might actually be age appropriate) then maybe I just need to pateintly love and correct her and not take it personally. Afterall, she's emotionally only 3 1/2 years old right? So, I'll try and remember to  be patient with her. I will also praise her when she IS good right? Philippians 4:8

Is someone rolling their eyes at me?

To tell you truth, I think God made her the way she is for a reason. Maybe it helps to be a little feisty, a bit challenging and of course being beautiful can't hurt. Maybe all these traits help her get through some of the difficult things Laura faces in this life.

Miss. Attitude

January 18, 2012

Shriners Trip #11


 Front view

Side views

Laura will have knee fusion surgery in April. Her femur and tibia will be fused and growth plates removed to form a thigh bone. She will wear an external fixature for 8 to 9 weeks.

Definition: External fixation is a method of immobilizing bones to allow a fracture to heal. External fixation is accomplished by placing pins or screws into the bone on both sides of the fracture. The pins are then secured together outside the skin with clamps and rods. The clamps and rods are known as the "external frame."
Some of the advantages of external fixation are that it is quickly and easily applied. The risk of infection at the site of the fracture is minimal, but there is a risk of infection where the pins are inserted from the skin into the bone.
I'm not sure what it will look like.

Thankfully, her hips are class A and look good.

I am currently researching on this.....hope to add details soon....

Mother Daughter Weekend

Shriners Hospital

My Mom, sister and niece met Laura and I in Greenville for the weekend. We went the hotel pool, dinner, museum and they came with us to Laura's appointement at Shriners hospital.