Question: Is everything okay? Where have you been?
Answer: I’ve been up in the attic, enjoying the prosaic, biannual task of switching to the next season’s clothes. And the attic is–finally!–back in a decent state of organization. Too late to impress the poor lady who came to appraise our home two weeks ago. <grin>
Having the blog and related email account go completely down gave me a little break from the computer, but now that Joseph’s given the okay, I’ll have to beg your patience! If you’re waiting for an email from me, it should come–Lord willing and the creeks don’t rise!
If you still haven’t heard from me by the end of next week, could you please re-send your note? Thank you for understanding!
You may have noticed that some photos are missing from earlier blog posts. They will have to be replaced manually, a time-consuming job that will happen as Joseph can manage it. If you need photos for a presentation, and cannot find them on the blog, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The end of our family’s endurance marathon is in sight.
Joshua finished with his temp job a couple of weeks ago, Daniel’s last day at his temp job was yesterday, and our academic year also comes to an end next Wednesday, the 25th. Unless God has a different plan, we’ll have more breathing space after that.
It has not been an easy time! But God faithfully sent just the help we needed to enable us to stay the course, just as He promised to do. There’s a blog post in the works to give you a little glimpse of how He’s been doing this.
We’re grateful for how perfectly He timed our transition/hibernation time with the cold weather. Now the warm weather is returning, and Katie’s ready to go places! Today–her first Musser family field trip!
[Note: To those of you who mentioned the lack of photos of others in the family--they're coming...]
I have so much to tell you about our two little sweet morsels, but since it’s not as urgent, it too will have to wait.
Katie especially has been bursting into bloom over the past couple of weeks. We are watching the real Katerina come to life!
Okay, I’ll leak one small piece of news. She’s now wearing size 3T and counting! Remember that she wore a size 12 month and was smaller than Verity when we brought her home?
The towering effect isn’t quite so obvious in this shot~
Note Katie’s hand~
Now for some news…
…sad news first…
Sweet Harmony is no longer available to be adopted internationally.
She’s still available to be adopted within her own country, and someone there will be advocating for her. As long as she is not adopted, God will be faithful to keep His promise to be a Father to her.
Another adoptive mom wrote to me, “We’ve been told that Harmony is in a good place, nothing like Eastern European institutions, and will be well cared for. [Her country] has a Christian group home for aged-out kiddo’s with special needs and we are praying specifically that Harmony will be chosen to go there after her schooling is finished if she is not adopted locally. Lots of hope left! God has not forgotten Harmony and neither will we.”
We are grieving with friends of ours who lost their two-year-old baby girl, “E,” in a tragic accident. The sorrow is nearly overwhelming. This precious girl and her mom (and big brother with an extra chromosome) first came into our family’s story over two years ago, when “E” was a tiny infant. Her family is trusting in the faithfulness of the Lord, but it will be a long and painful road to walk.
Question: How much money was raised in the April Hidden Treasures auction?
Answer: Amy Rainey reports that when all the money is in, there should be over $3000–a record for the Hidden Treasures auctions. Thank the Lord for again blessing the efforts of so many kind helpers!
Amy has announced the recipient family for June–the Booth family adopting little Makayla.
Question: Did I see some new children from Pleven on Reece’s Rainbow?
Answer: Yes, you did! According to the latest information I have, there are six children from Pleven who are available for adoption and do not yet have families committed to them.
Six more hidden treasures waiting to be found…pray, pray, pray that the Help of the helpless would send families to love them and commit to adopt them!
“Gabby” turns three years old this year~
“Mickey” turns five years old this year~
“Sam” turns five years old this year~
“Sarah” turns six years old this year~
“Alyssa” turns nine years old this year~
“Shawn” turns ten years old this year~
Question: What’s the new Chip-In button all about, the one that says, “Nurses/babas for Pleven?”
Answer: The children in the Pleven baby house have two urgent, immediate needs that we can help to meet.
1) Specialized formula and people who are willing to carry it to Bulgaria.
A thorough explanation of the needed formulas can be found at the bottom of this post. If any of you have extra, unexpired cans of special formula such as Vivonex Pediatric, Elecare, and Neocate, and are are willing to pay to ship it to a traveling family, please email Shelly Burman at email@example.com, and she will connect you with a family who is traveling to Bulgaria.
Also, if you are planning to fly in to Sofia, Bulgaria, at any point during the months ahead, please email Shelly at her email address above.
2) Nurses and babas to ensure that the formula is being administered properly, and proper care is being given to the children according to Prof. Lilova’s instructions. One Heart Bulgaria, the non-governmental organization who has agreed to help us, provides close supervision and accountability for the nurses and babas they hire.
They can put nurses in place as early as the end of this month if the funds are there. A nurse costs $175 a month, and a baba costs $125 a month. Are you part of an exercise group? A mom’s group? Bible study group? Sunday School class? The list could go on and on. This would be a great way for folks in your group to pool resources and make a big difference!
The nurses/babas fund goes through One Heart Bulgaria, and 100% of what is given will go directly to pay the salaries of nurses and babas for Pleven.
These are URGENTLY needed, as it is imperative that expert help is right there to see that each child is fed the proper formula in the way prescribed by Prof. Lilova. As soon as there is enough in the fund, One Heart Bulgaria will hire two nurses for the top floor of Pleven, and then expand from there.
Question: Does the donated formula have to be high in calories?
Answer: My friend Dr. Elizabeth DeHority answered this one thoroughly:
“First of all, I think I’d not call it high calorie. It’s not any higher in
calories than any other formula unless you mix it to make it so. The doctor can
prescribe the very best calorie per milliliter ratio for each child, and these
powdered formulas can be perfectly adapted for each child’s needs.
Children with long term, severe malnutirion are often unable to efficiently
digest and metabolize many foods. When a child comes to the US and is treated
for profound malnutrition, they are usually fed IV for quite a while at the
beginning, with oral or tube feedings starting very slowly. Unfortunately, that
is a luxury these children don’t have. The next best thing is carefully
monitored feeding with very specialized formulas. Formulas such as Vivonex
Pediatric, Elecare and Neocate are called “elemental diets” because each
ingredient, the proteins, fats and carbohydrates, are broken down into the
smallest, simplest possible elements. They are also manufactured under the
strictest controls, just like medicines, so every gram has the absolutely
accurate amount of each component.
The malnourished child’s body has to do NO WORK to digest these formulas. 100 %
of the ingredients can be absorbed and used for metabolism, healing and growth.
Because the doctors know exactly how much of the formula is going to be able to
be used by the sick child (100 %) it is possible to very precisely prescribe the
exact amount needed each day, or even each hour.
Refeeding hypophosphatemia is a truly frightening syndrome that can happen to
anyone who has malnutrition and then is given calories. Obviously, these
children are at higher risk than, for example, you or I would be after a crash
diet or being sick for a while. Therefore, it is essential that when they begin
to be fed, that they are fed carefully and with the utmost precision.
These highly specialized metabolic, elemental formulas are perfect for this
situation. They are not recommended by the World Health Organization for
treatment of starvation because they are amazingly expensive, and in countries
with many starving children, they can’t be found at any price. But they are the
very best enteral (meaning “using the gastrointestinal system”) feeding option
for children who are very fragile.
Another question I’m often asked is this: Do these children need to stay on
these special formulas once they’re home? Probably not. Once they are stable,
safe, and growing, the very most healthy option is eating real food. Sad to
say, a certain percentage of these children may never be able to eat enough
regular food to be healthy and grow. They may end up needing to be tube fed
long term. Children who have an underlying enzyme deficiency or are missing a
large portion of their intestines may require a lifetime of these elemental
formulas. But most children who continue to need formula can, and should,
eventually be on a formula that’s as close as possible to real food. Each
child’s doctor will make that decision as the child heals and grows.”
~Dr. Elizabeth DeHority