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.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Another Surgery for Luke

We have wonderful news about Luke. We just went to see his ENT surgeon last week for his check-up and he says Luke is ready for his next surgery on his other ear.

On August 26, 2013 Luke will have surgery on this right ear to remove the old implant and replace it with a new one.

I didn't expect it to to be so soon, but since Luke is doing so well the doctor would like to do it right away. The goal is to get him hearing in both ears as soon as possible. He is 5 years old now. It is very important to do this while he is young, so that he will learn to talk and be accustomed to sound.

Please pray the insurance company will cover his surgery costs. The cochlear implant will be FREE! It is amazing that the surgeon "went to bat" for us and convinced the manufacture to give us the second one for free. Our God Is AMAZING! God can do more than we ever ask or imagine.

A BIG THANK YOU to Luke's surgeon, Dr. MEGERIAN,at University Hospital's Rainbow Babies and Children for all you have done for us.

Happy 1st "Gotcha Day" Luke

One year ago today we were united with Dang Fengzheng to become a forever family. We were so excited and blessed to have you as our son. We can't imagine how scared you must have been to meet us. We sent pictures of our family to you in order to help you understand, but communicating to a deaf child about what would be happening to him must have been nearly impossible. It is difficult for any child to understand the how and why their world is being turned upside down, but can you imagine what was going through Luke's mind?

By the way, he had already been abandoned when he was 2 years old. He had already adjusted to a new life, and now he would be taken away from everything he was accustomed to and loved.

Thankfully, we have a God who can do more than we could ever ask or imagine. His specialty is changing the impossible into all kinds of possibilities. That is what he did for Luke. At first Luke didn't want anything to do with us but, after a half an hour or so he actually allowed me to pick him up and hold him. That's our God! I believe he whispered in his deaf ears that he was safe and these people loved him.

We are thankful to everyone who prayed, loved and supported us. We thank you and we love you for all you have done for us.

We thank all our family and friends who gave us financial support. We thank you for answering God's call.  

We also would like to thank our adoption agency, European Adoption Consultants, and especially Uncle Zhou, Chris and Karla for all you have done for us. We couldn't have done it with out you. Also, a big thank you to Adoption Family Legacy for the grant and loan you gave us. You are all a blessing and very special to us. We love you.

A huge thank you to the director and all the caretakers of the orphanage, and especially Levi for your wonderful care of Luke. He wouldn't be so well adjusted and bonded to us if it wasn't for your love for him.
May God richly bless you always for your love and kindness.

Today, Luke has become a sibling to his brothers and sisters. They play and have lots of fun together. We can't imagine our lives without him.

Also, we will never forget all of the families we traveled with. We love you and will never forget you. You all have a very special place in our hearts. It was wonderful to see Jim, Beth, Scott, Lisa and their little ones at the EAC picnic this year. We hope that we see all of you again.

Update on Luke's Cochlear Implant

Today Luke had his third mapping session. He'll have one more in August and he'll be finished for awhile. He is doing well with his new processor, keeping it on all the time. It will take some time before he learns to talk because he needs to process language. It's the same way a baby learns to talk. He is receiving speech therapy every week. His wonderful speech therapist is leaving for another position, so next week will be her last week. She is very special to us (she's originally from Hong Kong) and we wish her God's blessings.

Luke will probably have his other surgery this year. I was told the doctors' feel he is progressing nicely and should be ready to have the other implant put in this year. We pray again for the insurance company to approve it. It would be beneficial for us to have it done this year.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Luke's First Cochlear Implant Surgery

                                                        Monday, May 13, 2013

Today begins the start of a brand new life for Luke. Today is the day of his cochlear implant surgery.

We had to be at the University Hospital's Surgical Center at 6:45 am. Luke was the first surgery of the day which I was very thankful for since he was not allowed to eat or drink anything. How do you explain to a deaf child that he is not allowed to eat or drink? Thankfully he was very good the entire drive there.

We knew Luke might become upset when they started to prepare him for surgery because of the way he reacted to the sedation he received for the CAT scan. Well, as soon as they put the ID tag on his wrist and I started dressing him in his gown, he started to throw a temper tantrum. I don't know if he remembers something from his past surgery or if he was just scared. Either way we understand that this is a very natural reaction.So, the anesthesiologist had me carry him up to the restricted area and than he carried him to the operating area kicking and screaming. 

After only two hours the surgery was completed and is a success! They had two representative from the manufacture at the surgery also. They also turned on the implant to make sure it was working properly. It does work and Luke will be hearing as soon as his incision heals and the audiologist turns it on again on June 13, 2013. This will be a special day for Luke because he will really hear well for the first time.

The surgeon also said that he could see from the CAT scan that his nerves are alive and his cochlear is not deformed. His deafness could be genetic or could have been caused by a drug used to fight infection but can cause deafness. It was once used in the US in the 1940's and 50's.

On a previous post I mentioned the way God had ordained our meeting a young waitress who had cochlear implants at a Steak and Shake restaurant while we were praying about adopting Luke. When we came home from China we had our first visit with the ENT. He told us about his first cochlear implant patient and how she was going to college and is even a waitress at a restaurant. When we told him that we met her he couldn't believe it. We told him that this was God.  We believe that God encourages us by bringing people into our lives. In every step of Luke's adoption we have seen God's hand bringing us through and being with us.

Well, we were telling this story to the post-op nurse after Luke's surgery and some how it quickly was communicated to Luke's surgeon who happened to be preparing for the next surgery. He quickly came out of preparing for surgery to tell us that the young waitress we met was his patient too. He put in her second implant on the other ear. Everyone is so amazed at Luke's story and is in awe of God's hand upon this little boy.

Just to let you know that Luke is doing very well in his recovery. The next day after his surgery he was playing and back to his normal self. You wouldn't even know that he had major surgery the previous day.We are so thankful that God has given our nation such wonderful technology and the best healthcare in the world. We are also thankful that God has led us to use our resources to help a deaf orphan to have the miracle of hearing.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Audio Adrenaline - Kings & Queens/For The Least Of These

A New Life For Luke

We have exciting news about Luke concerning his cochlear implants.

 In March, we had a appointment with the head surgeon of the audiology department at University's Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital. The team of doctors have been wonderful to us since we brought Luke home. They have been meeting together every month to discuss his case and to decide the best care for him. Unknowing to us, the head surgeon had been discussing Luke's case with the manufacture of the his implant. As I already mentioned in an earlier post, only 5 of the 12 electrodes in the implant are working. We don't think he can hear enough. So, the doctor has asked the manufacture to replace the implant that he already had from China. They have agreed to replace it for free.

On May 13 he will get a new cochlear implant in his left ear. The doctor has decided it would be best to implant the left ear first (the one without an implant) because they cannot turn it on and put on the speech processor until the incision heals. If we started with the right ear than he would be without any hearing (even the little that he has) for awhile and he may become very upset that we took away his hearing. They will replace the right ear 6 months after the first surgery.

The surgery is outpatient surgery. No stay in the hospital is needed. Amazing!

We are in awe of how God has lovingly directed our paths and is taking care of all the details for Luke. The doctor also said we have very good health insurance which covers cochlear implants. He also said he will be our advocate for Luke.

After much discussion about the surgery, he asked me if I knew any family history about Luke. I explained that with all of my children from China, I don't know any of their history. They are all abandoned. He said," What do you mean by abandoned?" I explained where and why children are abandoned in China while being respectful to their culture. (America is not perfect, we have legalized abortion) (An abortion doctor is being tried right now for killing babies who were born alive).

So our wonderful doctor said, "It's like he's getting a new life."  I said, "Yes, you are right he is getting a new life."

Luke is getting a fresh start on life. How wonderful it will be for him to be able to hear. We don't know if it is the first time or if he was born with hearing, but he will be given the gift of hearing. We are so grateful for our wonderful Lord who love us and has led us to a wonderful team of doctors at Rainbow Babies and Children Hospital. To the wonderful team of doctors : We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all of your love care and concern for Luke.

Our hope and prayer for Luke is that he will one day know and love our wonderful Savior, Jesus Christ, who deserves all of the glory. That will be A Brand New Life for all of eternity!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

I know it's been quite a long time since we wrote anything. So let me give you an update on Luke.

We met with the team of doctors at University Rainbow and Babies Children Hospital to discuss Luke's options and cochlear implant.  Once the doctors were able to determine which type of cochlear implant Luke had, they contacted the manufacture to see if we could get an outside processor for it so we would know if it works and if he can hear.

A representative from the manufacture was very helpful and glad tocome to visit us at the office with the software. Once they hooked up the processor they were able to program it in order to give him sound. Now every month we visit the audiologist in order for her to program the implant. This is called mapping. We want to reach a level that is comfortable for Luke.

The only problem we discovered with his implant is that only 5 of the 12 electrodes are working. Now we have to determine if  that will be enough for him to hear and discern speech sounds.

In December Luke received a hearing aid. The hearing aid is on loan from the manufacture. Just like the implant we need to decide if he is receiving enough sound in order for him to discern speech sounds in order to talk. Also, our insurance company requires a trial period of hearing aids before allowing implant surgery.

We have the hearing aid on loan to us until April 30. Then the doctors will need to make a decision if they should put an implant in the other ear. From what I have read about people who are profoundly deaf (which is Luke), they can not hear enough with a hearing aid in order to learn language. We're quite certain that we will need to put a cochlear implant in the other ear.

Luke is doing very well with bonding and attaching to us and the other children. It seems like he has always been part of our family. He fits right in with all the kids. He loves to play outside even when it's cold or gloomy. He is very good at letting us know what he wants.

He is also very smart and is learning his colors, shapes, and numbers. He is also learning how to write and recognize his name. We are teaching him new signs, but he sees a speech therapist who specializes in cochlear implant patients. We all want him to start learning to rely on his hearing and training his brain to recognize sounds.