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.

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.