Friday, September 14, 2012

FDA Drug Safety Warning for African/Ethiopian Children

We are thankful to be able to work with the International Adoption Health Program at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.  During our visit this week, we were notified of a serious health warning for African/Ethiopian Children.

The FDA has released safety information relating to the use of codeine for pain relief, particularly after tonsillectomy and/or adenoidectomy for obstructive sleep apnea.  There have been 3 deaths in young children and 1 life-threatening respiratory depression following typical doses of codeine.  These children had evidence of a genetically inherited enzyme that converts codeine to morphine more rapidly and completely than usual.  The scary part is the prevalence of the gene in African/Ethiopian children is 29% verses 1-6% in Caucasians, African-Americans and Asians.

You can read the complete study here: ( )

If your doctor hasn't yet notified you of this, please make sure this information is entered into your Ethiopian child's medical file.  Our doctor advised us to NEVER give Ellie codeine for any situation/reason.  Maybe someday we can get genetic testing to see if she has the (enzyme) gene, but in the meantime, I plan to enter it into her file as a fatal drug allergy to ensure she is never given it, even in an emergency situation.  

Sunday, September 9, 2012


I cannot believe today marks ONE YEAR that we first saw Elliana's precious face.  September 9, 2011 is one day we will never forget.  

Referrals were pretty much at a stand-still and we were feeling so distraught over not having a referral yet.  We had waited for this child since November of 2009 when we first began the adoption process.  I remember thinking if we didn't get a call by noon that Friday, we were out of luck for getting a referral.  God showed up that day in a big way when we received a call at nearly 3:00 p.m. and our case manager began her sentence with... "I want to tell you about a little girl. . ."    Melt my heart!    

Ellie was 14 months old when she was referred to us.  She had been in the orphanage for nearly a year . . . waiting for final paperwork so that she could be referred.  She was considered 'too old' for couples who were interested in an infant... but perfect for our family, since Faith was about 7 months old.  I wonder about her paperwork hold up, etc., but then I remember God had this figured out WAY before we did!  We were so incredibly lucky to have gotten pictures of her from the time she was 3 months old -- all with our referral.  It's amazing to have those pictures of her -- especially for her baby book I'm working on.  

Faith is 19 months old right now and I am almost reduced to tears when I think of her being in an orphanage, without a family for this entire time .... Ellie was 20 months old when we brought her home and she had never had a family of her own.  But, to see her now, you'd never know it.  In just 5 months, she's come so far.

When we first visited her in December of 2011, we were told she wasn't social, didn't speak and preferred to be alone.  We were also told she really didn't like to play with her peers, was selfish, and seemed to be depressed.  We were told to have her hearing checked because they thought perhaps she may have hearing problems, which would explain why she wasn't speaking at almost 2.  Most of the pictures (although adorable) showed a very sad, very shy little girl who never smiled.  We knew when we met her, our journey was going to be far from easy, but we knew this was the little girl who God chose for our family.  

September 2011 Referral Picture of Geneme (Elliana)
July 2012

But can I tell you something . . . you should see her now.  She is speaking, she is singing, she loves playing with her peers, she smiles from ear to ear, loves to be where the action is, and she is super smart.  She just needed a family -- someone to love her -- someone to believe in her -- something and someone to call her own.   She is our daughter and she is forever.  

And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me.   Matthew 18:5 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Water Park Fun

I told you we've been busy.  Here's MORE pictures of a visit to a water park.  Ellie was 'Miss Independent' this time when it came to playing it the water.  Both girls had a wonderful time as you can tell by their smiles.  Both boys went too and took a friend.  Luckily, we were able to get a room that held eight (YES 8) people. It was a great mid-week break before football season began in our home!  

Faith loving the fountains

Ellie getting ready to go down the frog slide!

Faith going down the frog slide

Dylan helping the girls down the slides! 

No fear here! 
Dylan and a friend helping keep the girls under wrap! 

Party - Elmo Style

Here are MORE pictures of Ellie's birthday bash with friends and family.  It was a Elmo Fiesta Swim Party.  Although we had a few passing showers, we still got in plenty of pool time.  Ellie still prefers to hang in her own little inflatable pool.  Faith, on the other hand, is motoring around the pool in floaties.... I'm sure she'll be doing cannon-balls by next year.  Hopefully Ellie will be more comfortable around water next year too!  To Ellie, water is strictly for drinking and washing.

Ellie's personal pool 

Faith swimming away

Getting brave sitting on the steps of the pool 

The gang having a good time

Faith working on her back-float

Ellie getting really brave! 

Nana putting on Ellie's floaties

Yay, more cake! 

Uhhh.. yep, I think I like it! 

Happy Birthday Sweet Girl!  

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Jeremiah 29:11