I put in a request to the principal of our home school to take these three days off school.
My request was granted.
The laundry is completely caught up, ironing nearly done, all clothing now being packed for twelve people. Twelve, because Katie isn’t here to wear her clothes. Her packing is already finished, including her sensory toolkit. An illustrated post about that is in the works.
Packing for me involves thinking past the travel without laundry facilities, and into an indefinite hospital stay with Katie. Last time Dr. Friedman, Adam Boroughs and I had a conference call, they gave me the unexpected and wondrous news that the PICU at CHOP is not like the PICU in Hershey, with all the beds in one room, the requirement to call in to the desk for permission before entering, and a public family waiting area with a sleeping room that must be reserved by 4 pm each day.
The PICU at CHOP will be a private room. A private room! With a couch that opens into a bed! I can stay with Katie!
The orphanage donation suitcase is nearly full of diaper ointment and lovely warm small items. A friend has sent one hundred dollars which we will use in Katie’s country to purchase diapers for the orphanage.
A yummy supper was brought to us yesterday, with enough left over for future usefulness. Another supper is coming tonight. Two more for Wednesday and Thursday will go straight to the home of our friends, where ten of our children will be staying until Sunday, the 20th. My friend asked if they’d rather have brownies or apple crisp. And signed off our conversation with the words, “Go get your Katie bird! We’ll be praying.”
Hundreds of other emails continue to fly past my ears. If I call you by someone else’s name, or forget to reply, or miss typing errors, or hit Send with as-yet-unfinished sentences in the email, I truly hope you will understand!
~A friend offers mama’s milk for Katie, but they are thirteen hours from us, and could we meet them in Pittsburgh, four and a half hours to our west? But there’s another online friend, living near Pittsburgh, saying, “What do you need? Our hearts are wide open to help you. We are traveling to visit family in New Jersey and will be driving the PA turnpike past your county.” My brother lives near the turnpike exit and will be meeting them to pick up two large coolers full of liquid gold for Katie and storing it in his freezer until it is needed.
~As I watch my milk supply wane in response to the stress and sleep deprivation, I receive two other emails with offers of still more mama’s milk for Katie.
~Another mom writes about a “chance” meeting she had, “…of course you know I saw God working and took the opportunity to tell him about the plight of others, born just like my daughter…but born in a country where they are considered of no value. I showed him pictures of your beautiful Katerina. He was in disbelief. I could see his heart break open. He is now seriously considering adopting and saving a precious child from Eastern Europe…one with Down syndrome.”
~A dear friend just saved us about five hundred dollars that can now be used for another need. She is shipping us some expensive medications we need to have when we’re in Eastern Europe with Katie, and keeps dodging my attempts to discuss repaying her for overnight shipping.
~There are seemingly endless conversations about various health implications Katie could have, and whether or not to prepare for them, and if so, how. And these discussions are going in a couple of directions at once.
~Lufthansa’s Medical Office informed us, with less than a week before travel, “Regarding the medical clearance by the Lufthansa physician we confirm that Katerina has the travel authority for the flights from [Unmentionable] to Philadelphia.” (WHEW!)
~And in response to my informing them of which travel system we will be using, “…the child seat is approved by Lufthansa as you have already read on the Lufthansa website.”
~And, “Today we got your enquiry from our colleagues in the United States.
We would like to confirm that you can use our special service in Frankfurt. We can provide you a special room where you can stay during your transit time in Frankfurt. Our colleagues who pick you up at the aircraft arriving from [Unmentionable] will escort you to this room. They are already informed and confirmed your stay in the room.”
~Someone suggests that I take pacifiers along with us. I remember that someone else had recommended pacifiers long ago and it somehow missed the list and had been forgotten. Thank You, Lord, for jogging my memory.
~Someone writes to ask, “[We] would love to give some money to help other worthy families adopt little children with Down syndrome. Do you have any suggestions for us…? We are MOST interested, honestly, in giving toward people who are more ‘invisible,’ NOT the ones that dozens of people are already uplifting.” [That one was fun to answer; the family is always on the tip of my tongue.]
And oh my, this is just a tiny sampling of the offers of help, the experienced advice, the stories, the requests, the complex conversations that involve more than one person.
And then there is the constant weight of responsibility to be faithful to tell the story here on the blog.
When I get a few spare minutes here and there, and the house is quiet enough, I record another hymn on the CD I’m making for Katie. For when my not-very-strong voice gives out and I still want to sing to her.
I don’t last long at the singing, but that’s only because I can’t help but think about the words, and Katie hearing them, and something happens to my voice.
Safe am I, Safe am I,
In the hollow of His hand;
Sheltered o’er, sheltered o’er
With His love forever more
No ill can harm me, No foe alarm me,
For He keeps both day and night,
Safe am I, Safe am I,
In the hollow of His hand.
The house is very clean and so is the van.
Clean, that is, except for the kitchen floor. That will be scrubbed Wednesday afternoon, right after I give haircuts to the four little boys.
And right before Joe comes home from work, we kiss ten of our children and say our goodbyes. And drive them down to our friends’ home just in time for supper.
The thought of that moment makes me linger over the hugs and kisses I share with my little ones. Makes my eyes linger on their sweet faces. Can’t think about that too deeply, either.
It’s nearly time to leave the ninety-and-nine safe ones and go to seek the lost one.
We leave our house just after seven o’clock in the morning this Thursday, November tenth.