The Thomas Crew

The Thomas Crew

Monday, July 28, 2014

Cochlear Implant surgery


Gavin had his cochlear implant surgery exactly 3 weeks ago. He recovered great and was back to his normal self the day after surgery. It's amazing to think how far this little man has come in the last 18 months since coming home. Today is activation day! Some refer to today as their child's hearing birthday. It's a very important day as Gavin's implant will be turned on for the first time. More videos to follow :)

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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Thomas Family Secret

Adoption has changed me more then I ever imagined. It has changed the way I think, feel, love and how I see the world. I knew that Gavin's journey would bring changes but I had no idea how many. It hasn't been easy. Ok, in all honesty it has been HARD, hard work. With that hard work comes change and understanding. Patience comes from hard work. I have reminded myself many times that God never said it would be easy. So why in the world would we do it all over again......... Yep you read that right!!! Because Gavin is absolutely without a doubt worth it. Children need a home where they are free to run, play, laugh, cry, scream and more then anything be Loved. They need to know that God loves them. Children are a blessing and I will take as many of those blessing as God thinks we can handle. I know that I can handle way more then I give myself credit for. God shows me that everyday :) I'm pretty sure you have figured out the Thomas secret by now :) Drum Roll...............

We are Adopting!!!!!!!! The Thomas Crew is growing again!!

This time we are doing things a little differently then last time. We are adopting from the United States. There is a few reasons why we have choose this route. One of the main reasons is costs. It is extremely expensive to adopt internationally. There is a part of my heart that has a big desire to do that again but it is simply not feasible. We have chosen to adopt through the foster-adopt program, which is free. We have already completed our fingerprints and are deep into the paper pregnancy. We have been assigned our social worker and are working on the homestudy. We are filled with excitement to see Gods plan for our growing family. This program is very different then when we choose Gavin. We will be matched with a child this time. Our desire is to adopt a little girl younger then seven because of our family dynamics. So there's my secret.....it's sure to be a wild ride!!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Proud Wife

Yesterday was a BIG day for the Thomas family! Andy was promoted to Gunnery Sergeant. We are so proud of him and everything he has accomplished in the Marine Corps! The Military lifestyle is not always the easiest but it is without a doubt a very Honorable position for my husband to stand. It has been amazing to watch him grow into the strong dedicated leader he is today. Here's to another 3-8 yrs my love :)  Semper Fi!

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Easter

It is Holy Week! Let us all remember why we celebrate Easter and the biggest sacrifice of all! I hope you have a wonderful Easter with your family.
 
 







Monday, April 14, 2014

Very hopeful day!

Hello prayer warriors! We had a little change of plans in the pre-op room and decided to try and remove the device all together instead of exchanging it. He has been doing so well and this device is really only supposed to be a temporary fix. Last time we removed it he then went down hill fast so my prayer is that he will now tolerate not having it. So now I wait for him to be out of the OR and back in recovery. Then we will return in a few days for lab work. Hopefully they will stay stable and that's all! If not then he will have surgery again next Wednesday to replace the device.


Procedure day

I don't think you ever get used to signing consent forms for surgeries. I probable should have kept tract of how many times they have taken Gavin into surgery since he has been home. I was counting until last year when I found myself in the ICU watching him on a ventilator wondering how in the world did we get to this point! That's when I lost tract. That's when surgeries and procedures took on something else. I remember when Kaitlyn had ear tubes placed. It was a big deal and I was scared. It was terrible hard watching her wake up in recovery. That was so minor compared to Gavin's stuff but as a mom nothing is really minor. Gavin does really good now until it's time to go to sleep. He is very aware of what's happening and I can't blame him for his outpour of anger at that point. Usually when he wakes up he has another device/tube of some sort. If I was him I would be angry too. We are very thankful for his portAcath device now which allows him to have medication easily before going into the OR for the mask. We check into Radys in a few hours for a outpatient surgery. I think he is already well aware as I stopped his formula last night and haven't fed him his normal breakfast this morning. It should be an uneventful day hopefully and we will be back home tonight. Prayers always welcomed for no problems!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Cochlear Implant

I have been thinking about writing this post for a few weeks now and just haven't been able to gather all my thoughts. So It may still be a little disorganized :) For the last 3 months behind the scenes in the Thomas home we have been going through the very long process of evaluating Gavin for a cochlear implant. A very personal decision that we felt like we needed to make with no interference from the outside world. When we stared the process I had no idea if it was best for Gavin. Actually during the developmental eval I was asked multiple questions regarding our thoughts and desires for Gavin. One of the questions asked was "On a scale of 0-10 how confident are you that Gavin should get an implant"? I was very honest in my answer when I said "Five" what followed was a very surprised look on the psychologist face. You see we started this process with no expectations, I felt like we needed to look into every possible option for Gavin. Gavin is deaf and no device, no hearing aid, implant or therapy will change that. Thank goodness it won't change that because we love Gavin just the way he is. We also want Gavin to be happy. If that means no hearing aids or a cochlear implant that's Ok. Through this process we learned so much more about Gavin then we knew before. He has an amazing potential for speech. His vocal tone is different then children that have been deaf their entire life. I have always thought that Gavin was hearing earlier in his life. From all the assessments it looks like he most likely was not born deaf. Even with his hearing aids he wants to talk but can't hear enough tones to fully communicate. He still holds toys up to his ears eagerly trying to hear. For these reasons and many more we decided to go through all the testing and evaluations. We had our final meeting last Thursday which was intended to look at the devices and make some hard decisions. I have been praying for direction for weeks on this hard decision. This is actually one of the hardest decisions we have ever made.  There is a major controversy in the Deaf community regarding implants. To be honest I understand some of it but not all of it. I understand that they do not look at being deaf as a disability. I don't look at Gavin as disabled because he is deaf. The part I don't fully understand is why hearing aids are acceptable but not an implant. I have read way more articles and blogs then I need to :) and I just continue to pray we make the right decision for Gavin. The final decision will be made in a few weeks.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Update on Kidney

It's been busy busy in the Thomas home. This week Gavin had some more testing done. He had a MRI, CT scan and a echo done. The specialist have been trying to put together all the missing pieces of Gavins medical problems. The records we received from Bulgaria are simple not complete or fully accurate. In order to fully understand Gavins future medical concerns we have to first determine what caused all these problems to begin with. Whether it is genetic or not has been a big question for the Genetic specialist. There is a lot of speculation of a few syndromes that could be the reason for Gavins problems but we wont know for sure until all the testing is back. Hopefully we get some answers to these questions to help us plan for the best future for Gavin. We are also in the process of planning another surgery for Gavin. He currently has a stent in his ureter. The stent device is supposed to be a temporary fix. But last time we removed the stent his kidney swelled and we had a 6 week hospital stay that followed. So instead of removing it the urologist will just continue to exchange it with a new one every few months. Gavin has been doing so well it's way past do to be exchanged. In January after we got back from Make-A-Wish we removed Gavin's leg catheter bag. I was pretty positive that this was going to cause his renal function to get worse but we had to give it a trial run and see how he would do. We have been so surprised to see him now 3 months later without the leg bag and actually doing better. He is now fully toilet trained except at night when we have to decompress the kidney. I wonder if he will continue to stabilize out for another 6 months? Only God knows what's in store for Gavin. Gavin's donor is still in the screening process. She is actually pretty far into it now. She will see the psychologist next week and then its time for all the scans. I think the scans are a hard part of this process. Many times it's when problems are identified that the donor had no idea about. As anxious as the entire process is, we have to continue to trust that everything will work out, exactly how it should be. I should knock on wood NOW but we have settled into a nice calm stretch. His first year home was one hospital stay after another. It's so nice to just have him home and stable!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Children are a Blessing

All I ever wanted growing up was to be a nurse and a Mommy. My mom was a wonderful mother to my brothers and I. She loved having little kids around and if you ask her today she would tell you "It was the best years of my life"! Some days I wonder what I have gotten myself into! Life with five small children is never boring, never. It is also never calm, unless they are asleep. It is never clean, especially with a Tyler around. But all that aside I would not change it for the world. I cannot imagine a clean, calm, quiet home. I love the constant entertainment, constant laughter, constant laundry and dishes and more then anything the amount of love in our home. I cannot imagine my life any other way. I sometimes imagine what life will be like when all these little people grow up and leave. I often look into their eyes and wish I could freeze time. I can't freeze time but I sure can make the best of ever moment with them. I pray that God will continue to send blessings our way. I know a few of you may think I am a tad crazy but look at these faces. How could you not want a few more :)

 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Gavin's Gotcha Video

People ask me all the time what the orphanage was like. It was a very surreal day. I go back to that day in my mind often. Just like how you replay your child's birth story over and over again in your mind. I remember at one point thinking "Is This REAL"? Are we really standing in this orphanage across the world picking up our son. It took us 13 months, start to finish to get Gavin home. Here is a look into Gavin's beautiful day of freedom.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Serving Others

Service to others..... I have been thinking about this a lot lately and what it actually means. Scripture is very clear that we should go out and serve others. That we should be his "Hands and Feet".  How often are we called to do things that we never follow through with? Personally I know I ignore most of my callings on a daily basis. Though we say that we trust him, I often wonder if we really do. A few weeks ago I was out with the kids at the library. On our way out we noticed a older women sitting on a bench. You know that feeling when you see someone in need and you look away to avoid eye contact. Why do we look away? Is it because we are too scared to do something. I have been working hard to teach my children to follow their hearts, to show kindness. To help others in need and put everyone else before them. This lesson is very difficult for children. Children are born innocent but also selfish. On that day we didn't turn away. We drove over to the taco bell and returned with lunch for that women. The children then said "Mom there is more people here hungry, what can we do". This is what I call setting the seed. Children learn by example. I could give them 100 lessons on service but showing them what service looks like is a life long lesson. As you all know I am a strong believer in adoption. I believe that there is a family for every lost orphan. A treasure just waiting to be found. Gavin has taught our family more then I could give in "lessons" in my entire life. My children have learned more about selfless acts then most adults will ever understand. I had no idea that the adoption of Gavin would change my heart on so many levels. The joy that comes from my dear little prince lights up a room.  Adoption is hard work! None of it is easy but God never said that serving others was easy or convenient.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Missing in Action......

Missing in action... It's been a few weeks since a update. Gavin has been doing pretty good. Last year was such a rollercoaster. One hospital stay after another. This year has been calm and steady for now.  It seems that he is doing a lot better with his urinary devices and stent. I think we have also found better antibiotics for him that help prevent infections. He is changing and growing emotionally every month. Gavin has developed both emotionally and developmentally at super speed. In 14 months he has come so far. From emotionally starting at a 1-2 year old level to now getting dressed on his own and getting on the bus to school every day. It is amazing to watch him develop past his 2 year old brother which was at one point his "twin" and now Tyler is his "little brother". Gavin is developing into a typical 7 year old little boy. He has a best friend that he spends lunch, recess and most Thursday nights with :) He loves to play outside on his scooter and has even learned how to ride his bike without training wheels! He could barely navigate stairs 14 months ago. He is now drawing monsters, his name and numbers on paper. He was making scribbled lines 14 months ago. He was using both hands when he came home and he has now picked a dominate hand, and I am proud to say he's a lefty. I feel like we are making strives in our attachment problems. I have reached out for help from his teachers and family friends in this area. We are trying to teach him that not everyone needs hugs and kisses. This is difficult for Gavin because he simple loves everyone. In order for us to bound though he needs to be able to recognize there is difference between his family and everyone else. We continue to work on our Mother-Son relationship. Yes I have been missing in action....as for facebook, I am fasting from facebook :) Observing Lent this year was a personal conviction for myself. I felt like I needed to reconnect with Jesus and spend more time in his word and less time on other things. If you need to contact me send me an email Lindsayandandy@hotmail.com and don't worry I will be back soon :)

Friday, January 24, 2014

Military family needs help!

The Military life is different then the civilian world. It's always been different. It's not like the show Army Wives but it is a unique community. With this community comes strength and support like you could never imagine. We all have a very similar cause and that cause is to support our husbands. It is hard for me to explain the feeling of that last hug and kiss before they board a plane to war. That emotion is something you never forget as a military wife. As hard as it is, it brings us closer. It separates us from the outside world.  It's a community made out of trust and support. I have made lasting friendships at every duty station we have been to. We have moved 6 times in 12 years. Yep that's a lot of work! But never without support. This post has to do with support. Military support! I came across a post last week by a women collecting shoes! Oh yes another shoe collector but she is collecting shoes for another cause. The post was in a military resale group. It immediately caught my eye "Collection shoes to bring our children home"!! Yep that's my kind of military wife. Let me introduce you to this wonderful family committed to saving two orphans. They hosted a little boy from the Ukraine and have decided to trust God and move forward with adopting him and his sister. Now this is no easy task. Adoption is very expensive for any family but for a military family it is near to impossible. They have trusted God that he will provide the $35,000 to bring these children HOME! You may be asking "How can I help with that amount" Please remember when we were trying to bring Gavin home. It took us $23,000 to rescue him. We raised half of that cost with fundraising. Every single penny that you give adds up. Really if you break down the cost of adoption over 300 people it's not a lot at all. That would be $116 per person. Or if we divide it by 600 people it would be  $58. I know that even $58 is a lot but there is other ways to help too. Donations of $5-$10 add up very fast!!  Donate shoes, donate items to auction, share share and share, and Pray. Sharing is so important to fundraising. People really want to help if you give them the opportunity but you have to share the stories. So here is where you go to help:
You can win a iPad mini here IPad
You can donate shoes-- bring them to me!
Or you can give here: Donate

Lets help this Military Family bring these children HOME!!


Exciting news

We are excited to announce we are moving forward with a new donor. They have started the process for screening to see if they are a match for Gavin. It takes 2 weeks after the blood test to see if the donor is a good match. We are planning to have that blood test done early next week. We are excited and ready to see what God has planned for Gavin's journey! We are also excited to announce that the garage sale brought in $2820 WOW what an amazing blessing to our family. We have put all donations into a medical fund for when transplant time comes. You have no idea what a relief it is to no longer worry about the financial part of everything. God bless you!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Lost for words.....Prayers needed

I'm not sure where to go with this blog post. I have actually been thinking about what to write all day and yet I'm stuck. Even with all the thoughts I have backspaces this post over and over again....
We got bad news today. The kind of news that you rewind in your head over and over again. We found out this morning that Nina is not a kidney match for Gavin. I'm not going to go into the details as to why because I feel like it's too personal. I do ask tonight that you Pray for Nina. Pray that she knows that we love her. Pray that God will comfort her heart and calm her fears for Gavin. Pray that she knows just how much we appreciate everything she has done for our family. Nina is a wonderful, generous, beautiful women. I know her heart is breaking as she wanted to give this gift to Gavin. I feel like we are feeling the same pain and loss tonight. Please add both of our families to your prayers as we work through this and continue to Trust God with the future.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Selfless Acts of Love

Fundraising can be really exhausting at times and then your reminded that people want to help. God continues to show me through this storm that he is in charge. He continues to send angels to calm the storm and give us much needed rest. I am blown away by peoples generosity and love. This past weekend I met some of the kindest and selfless people I have ever met. Their selfless acts are a wonderful encouragement to show love to strangers. They weren't all strangers though. I found out Gavin had a very special friend at school. A best friend...  A friend that doesn't see renal failure, orphan or deaf. Just a child that sees Gavin! That loves Gavin for the fun loving, crazy child he is. She said "Gavin just wants to play and run"! With the help of her family, friends and the community they put on an amazing garage sale for my special little prince. Watching him and his best friend run around and play just reminded me what love can do.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Shoes!!

We met our goal for our shoe drive that ended this week. We collected 1815 pairs of shoes!! Which equals $1179 towards Gavins kidney fund!! AMAZING. We had shoes come from 5 different states. Thank you everyone for your support and prayers! With every fundraiser comes new friends. I am so thankful for how many people we have been able to impact with Gavins story. It is so special when complete strangers come forward and help. God is so good!



Update for Kidney Donation

It's been a busy week for Nina and Gavin. Nina had to have some more testing done this week. All the test were normal and we thought just maybe she was finally done. Almost Done,  looks like they now want one more test to make certain that she has the best kidney for Gavin. She will be having a kidney biopsy hopefully next week. After the biopsy is done we wait for those results and hopefully the final stamp of approval! Nina has been through so much these last few months. All for my Bulgarian Prince. She has such an amazing heart. I wish I could be there every time she goes through another painful, annoying test. It's going to be very difficult for me come transplant time to not be able to hold both of their hands as they are wheeled of into separate operating rooms. Unfortunately we found out their surgeries will be done in separate hospitals 20 minutes away from each other. Gavin also had a few appointments this week. We met with the surgeon that will be placing his hemodialysis catheter. We went over the risk and procedure. Seems pretty basic to me and Gavin has so many medical devices right now, one more tube won't make a difference :) He also had the last of his transplant labs done. He has had a port-A-cath device for about 4 months now that is wonderful. I just numb the skin prior to us leaving and by the time we get to the hospital his skin is numb and ready for them to use the device in his chest for lab work. He will be keeping that device long after transplant. As he will need lab work frequently for a long time.