For The Least Of These You Did For Me

Welcome to our family's blog. We are the Duryea family and we have seven children. You might be wondering why we chose this name for our blog. Well, to begin with we have three beautiful biological children and three beautiful children from China. I'll share our journeys to China to bring home our beautiful children later. For now, I'd like to share why we chose this name for our blog. The Lord showed me this verse when we were first seeking adoption. The Lord chose to grow our family through adoption. However, the Lord has also opened our eyes to the needs of orphans , especially in China. We consider "...looking after the orphans and widows in their distress..." James 1:17, as a way of life for us, a calling.

As I read through the many stories in our adoption agency's storybooks, there are countless stories that begin with "...after many years of experiencing infertility, we started the adoption process and are now a forever family"

If you are one of the countless couples that have experienced infertility, let me share with you the wonderful way of starting a family and at the same time providing a home for a needy orphan. God loves you and cares about you. "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. If you are feeling hopeless, let me promise you that the Lord hears your cries. If you haven't ever trusted in Jesus and put your hope in him, do it now. Your life will be better than you could ever imagine. I never planned or dreamed I would go to China (3 times) and have this wonderful family. My plans surely would have never been as wonderful as they are today.

I had endometriosis for many years, yet I was able to conceive and have three beautiful children. After Sarah was born in 1998, I experienced severe problems and had surgery. However, I was unable to conceive, probably due to the scars left by endometriosis. Like many of you I had emotional scars as well. Even though I already had three children , I still felt called to have a larger family. Many months, tears, and prayers later we considered adoption. I heard about the plight of baby girls in China and the one child policy that left them abandoned. As we were praying about this, David's family in St.Louis was having a first time ever family reunion. I knew this wasn't coincidence, because David's cousin, a single mom, adopted two girls from China. One was 5 years old and the other was 9 months. This gave us the opportunity to meet them and talk to his cousin about adoption. When we came home we saw an advertisement for an adoption seminar in our area. We attended and were ready to start the paperwork to begin our adoption for a baby girl from China. Our lives would never be the same again.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Nathan's Final Surgery

Tuesday, March 24, 2015 is exactly 3 months after Nathan's last surgery. It is the soonest he is allowed to have his final surgery. So, we scheduled it for this time so he can be free and clear to enjoy spring baseball and summertime activities.

This is his final surgery to repair the cleft in his aveolar ridge. The doctor will take bone from his left hip and graft it to fill his hole.

He may need surgeries when he is older, but he is finished for now.

We are so thankful to all the doctors and nurses who have taken care of him. We are thankful for everyone who has prayed and supported us during this long and unexpected process. We are thankful to the Lord, Jesus Christ who has blessed and chosen us to be Nathan's parents. We are thankful that we live in a country that has the most extraordinary health care in the world.

Our highest praise to our Lord, Jesus Christ!

Our hearts go out to the children around the world who do not have this opportunity and do not even have their basic health needs met.

They have never heard the gospel and that Jesus loves them.

Everyday 20,000 children die because of preventable health disease or starvation.

We live in the richest country in the world and yet we ignore the cry of these children.

 Easter is approaching and we will celebrate the death and resurrection of our Lord. As we read the Scriptures and contemplate our allegiance to our Lord, the question we should ask is the same question Pilate asked the angry mob, "What do you want me to do with Jesus?"

I ask you, "What will you do with Jesus?" What will you do as children die everyday because we ignore their cry.

What will you say when you stand before the Lord one day and he asks "Why didn't you do something? You're an American. I've given you everything!"" What have you done with your life?"

Chinese New Year 2015

Every Chinese New Year we celebrate with other families we traveled with to China. Our daughters are from the same orphanage, so the kids like to celebrate with their "China sisters".

We enjoyed having dinner with our friends and  reminiscing about our trip to China to bring home our beautiful children.

On Sunday we took the kids to see the "Pandas" movie at our science center's Omnimax Theater.
They thoroughly enjoyed watching and learning China's conservation efforts to save the endangered pandas.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Luke's Progress

We prayerfully made the decision last year to have Luke attend public school so he can receive the special services to meet all of his needs.
When we were adopting Luke we never knew there was a hearing impaired school about 30 minutes from our home.
It is one of the best hearing impaired schools in the nation. They are an oral/auditory language school.They do not use sign language.

Last spring we enrolled him in our school district so they could evaluate him and write an IEP.

They determined he should go to the hearing impaired school, but it's in a different school district. Thankfully, our district already had a contract with them and has several students attending there.

The people we worked with from our district and the hearing impaired school were wonderful to us. They went out of their way to make Luke feel safe and happy - from creating a social story about his school day to even visiting his bus and bus driver before the first day of school.

We have seen Luke progress in his speech in only the few months that he's been there. 

Remember Luke didn't receive his first cochlear implant until he was almost 5 years old and the second one was implanted about 3 months later.

When he started kindergarten in the fall he had only been hearing for about a year and he wasn't really saying anything at all.
Until that time he relied on his sight and sign language in order to communicate. We have to constantly remind him to rely on his hearing and communicate using speech. 
Formed habits are not easily broken.

Luke can now say: no, yes, bathroom, ipad, boy, girl, dog, mom, juice, pencil, scissors, glue, on, off, apple, boat, fish, flower, sun, I, the, and that.

He stills needs prompting and he will need many years of speech therapy, but we are so pleased and excited with the progress he has already made.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

More Surgeries For Nathan

This is Nathan Guochang. He's 10 years old and a very brave little boy.

Last August he had a bone graft for his cleft palate on his right avelor ridge.

Unfortunately, he has a very large hole. The largest hole his doctor has ever seen (and his doctor travels around the world helping children).

The bone graft became infected because his hole did not close all the way after the surgery. An infection can happen even if there is a tiny opening and that's exactly what happened.
So, we had many doctor visits to removed the infected bone. At least he didn't need to have it surgically removed.

So the plan was to schedule another surgery right before Christmas.

But there was a change in plans.

The week of Thanksgiving his doctor called to tell me that his hole became larger (probably due to the infection) and he will need three separate surgeries now.

So his first surgery was on Dec. 2, 2014. His hole needed to be closed before they filled it with bone again. In order to do this they grafted skin from under his lip and the top of this tongue. "Okay, a skin graft," I thought to myself, "that's not too bad."

But the tissue needs to stay alive and healthy.

This is where Nathan becomes a courageous little soul. Braver than anyone I know.

The doctors sutured his tongue to his palate in order to keep blood flow to the area, to keep the tissue alive and prevent infection. They also attached screws and rubber bands to his teeth in order to keep his mouth closed.

He had to remain like this for 3 WEEKS!

This means NO EATING! NO TALKING! He could only drink from a straw for 3 WEEKS during the Christmas season.

I don't know about you, but I would have gone CRAZY!

Not Nathan! He was a REAL TROOPER through it all! He never complained or cried about anything. He was so very patient!

The Lord really gave him such endurance and patience through it all!

On Dec. 23, 2014 (yes the day before Christmas Eve and 2 days before Christmas Day), he had his second surgery to release his tongue from his palate. HOORAY!!!  He was still on a liquid diet for 3 weeks but at least his tongue was free, he could talk again and he didn't need to drink everything from a straw.

His doctor said the flap they created to close his hole is healthy and healing.Thank you Lord!

So his final surgery is scheduled for March 24, 2015. They will graft bone from his hip again to fill in the hole, however this time his opening is already closed and hopefully will not become infected.

He shouldn't need anymore surgeries for a few years!

Thank you Lord for giving us such a WONDERFUL, PATIENT, and COURAGEOUS little boy!

We are thankful also for all the wonderful nurses in the surgery center and on the hospital floor who were very caring, kind, and helpful to us through all of his surgeries.

Monday, January 19, 2015

A Day at the Rain Forest

Since Luke had a day off of school, we visited the Rain Forest at our Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.
We visit the zoo often because we have an annual family pass to our zoo. The kids enjoy the many variety of animals in the zoo and rain forest along with the many other activities to do here. Our adoption agency, European Adoption Consultants, has their annual picnic here as well.

Here are some other pictures from last November ( another day off of school) . We had great weather that day esp for November. It's ironic that we had a huge snow storm just a week later.

Our zoo has a new carousel, Luke always has to ride the coyote. He loves any kind of dogs.
 The animal in the background is the Red Panda from Asia. 

Luke always has to visit the wolf lodge every time we visit.

Enjoying the unusually nice weather in November.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Change of Plans

The last few weeks have been crazy in our household.

Nathan had cleft palate/lip surgery on Aug. 19 and had to spend the night in the hospital.

His surgeon grafted bone from his hip to fill in the hole in his palate. He also had more repair on the cleft in his palate.

Nathan's plastic surgeon said he had one of the largest holes and clefts he has ever seen.

10 days after surgery Nathan developed an infection and some of his bone graft had to be removed. We're not sure yet how much was lost, but he will need more surgery to replace the bone that became infected.

While all this was happening, Sarah started her first year at Cornerstone Christian Academy as a junior. This is the first time she has ever entered a school.

During all of this, the supervisor from our school system called us with a chang of plans. They were now considering sending Luke to Millridge Center The School For The Hearing Impaired. It's only about 30 minutes from our home and is one of the best schools in the country for hearing impaired students.

We're grateful for everything our school district has done for Luke. Being at Millridge has been wonderful for him and is where God has planned for him to be all along. Just think of how far he travelled from China to come to one of the best schools in the country for the hearing impaired. We only live 30 minutes from the school!

Luke really enjoys school and looks forward to going everyday. He has a very small class of 8 students and that includes first grade. Everyone can tell he is very smart and will someday learn to speak. The former speech therapist developed a program called Phonics in Motion which helps kids learn their phonetic sounds by putting a motion with each sound.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Nathan's Upcoming Surgery

Nathan will be having surgery on August 19th. This is his second surgery of this year to repair his cleft palate/lip. He has a large hole in his palate, so they will be taking bone from his hip to repair the hole.

He also needs more work done on the cleft in his palate, so they will be repairing this as well.

Please pray for his surgeon as he skillfully reconstructs Nathan's palate and that the surgical site doesn't become infected. Please pray for the recovery as well. He will be on soft foods for six weeks after the surgery. We thank the Lord for His provision, and we're trusting Him with this surgery.