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The day before Brandy's surgery in Los Angeles, we had many appointments to go to. Near the end of the day, one of the doctors told us to go out, relax, and eat a good meal since the next day was going to be a bit stressful. He was telling us about all the different neighborhoods that offer ethnic foods like Greek, Italian, Chinese, etc. I asked, "What about Ethiopian?" His eyes lit up. He quickly told us about Little Ethiopia, a small neighborhood west of downtown and south of Hollywood (Fairfax Ave and Olympic Blvd). I told him our reasoning for wanting Ethiopian, which lead to a conversation about our adoption.

We ended up eating at a restaurant called Messob, which was a real treat. Brandy's mom, dad, and brother had never had Ethiopian before. They really enjoyed it. It was quite amazing to see an entire neighborhood draped in flags of green, yellow, and red with store front windows and signs covered in Amharic.

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It's been eight months.  14 months since we started our dossier paperwork.  American World has told us from day one that we should expect to wait between 7 and 11 months for a referral.  So I don't know why we're surprised that it has taken this long.  Except to say that one family once got a referral after waiting only six months and I took that to mean that we were guaranteed to wait only four or five.  I was wrong.  They were right. 

So, we'll continue to wait.  We are still number four (tied with two other families) on the waiting list.  We don't have our On Deck email yet, but hopefully it will come soon.  Hopefully we'll see some referrals this week and some court and embassy dates scheduled too.

Here are a couple of blogs of families who are in the process of bringing their children home.  Proof it does actually happen!

http://www.grantfamilystepsoffaith.blogspot.com/

http://druckenmillerfamily.blogspot.com/2011/03/we-passed-court.html

 
 
First of all, I would like to say, "You're welcome" to the Linton Halmark and WalMart, for they have surely seen an increase in sales of Thinking of You and Get Well Soon cards. 

Second, I have a heinous confession. 
When we first announced that we were going to adopt we got the perfect reaction from our family and our close friends.  They were excited and supportive just like we expected them to be.  But back about eight months ago, when we first started spreading the word about our adoption beyond our little circle and trying to raise funds with our blog and our iPad raffle, Logan and I were completely deflated by the lack of response.  I am ashamed to say that it felt like outside of our little circle- no one really cared. 


At the same time, Logan and I were following a blog of another adoptive family.  We'll call them the Walkers, but that wasn't their real name.  The Walkers had a fancy blog, a logo for their adoption and lots of pictures of "Team Walker".  About 50 people in matching Team Walker t-shirts giddy to show up and pose for group pictures at each of their wildly successful (we imagined) fundraisers.

Logan and I were discouraged.  We did not have a Team Wade in matching t-shirts.  We were getting about 15 blog hits a day.  We were selling exactly 0 iPad raffle tickets a day.  We started to feel a very un-Christian resentment of Team Walker and their stupid t-shirts and their ridiculous logo.

Now by the time in February and March of this year when we were in the middle of the ugly business of telling the world about my tumor and my surgery, we had let go of these earlier feelings.  But we hadn't forgotten them enough to not be surprised by the swell of support that was  starting to grow.  We started getting cards from people we hardly knew, offers of help from everyone we did know, and we started eating our words and feeling very silly about the way we'd felt a few months earlier. 

Now, I sheepishly recognize that there is a Team Wade.  There always was.  Team Wade is a tremendous force.  Team Wade will empty the stores of Thinking of You cards.  Team Wade will fill your kitchen with foods so good you won't stop eating for days.  Many members of Team Wade will fly across the country.  Team Wade has so many members that we could never afford matching t-shirts.  Team Wade covers so many states that it will never be together for one group photo. 

Now I know, that the sweet little Ethiopian daughter we dream of, will one day be a sullen teenager.  And some day, like her parents, will imagine that no one cares about her.  But I want to tell you- future daughter-  as Team Wade is finishing up with me, I can see it turning its gaze toward you.  Team Wade is going to rock the Indianapolis airport when you arrive.  Team Wade is going to surround you and support you and love you the way they have surrounded, supported, and loved your mother.  They will be there forever, whether you can see them or not. 

Team Wade is waiting for you. 
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We are heading home in the morning!  I had one last appointment today to make sure that the incision is healing up alright and Dr. Friedman cleared me to go home.  I can not say enough about Dr. Friedman and how wonderful he is.  I have two heroes now: Dr. Alan P. Ladd and Dr. Friedman.  Dr. Ladd did River's surgery at Riley and he was equally as wonderful and as personable as Dr. Friedman.  God bless both of these men.

We did some sightseeing yesterday and a lot of sitting by the pool today.  Sitting here right now I feel great.  It is really hard to imagine that a week ago I was barely shuffling around the sixth floor with a physical therapist. 

We can not wait to get home!

 
 
Hello everyone!  I'm back!     And the crowd goes wild....

Thank you so much for checking in on me!  I am feeling so much better every day.  Each morning I wake up feeling better and able to do more.  Today I had my stitches removed, walked to a restaurant, sat by the pool and didn't even take a nap.  So progress is being made!  

I am so thankful to all of my caregivers.  There are so many of them.  Logan has been the best nurse a girl could ask for.  Mom and Dad are taking care of us and of River and have put us up in a suite at the Marriott.  My "sisterwives" (Lori, Tonia and Amanda) flew River all of the way out here on Monday.  I feel like the most well taken care of girl in the world.  

I have begged Logan to create an artists rendering of my face after surgery, but he flat out refuses.  I'm definitely not putting an actual picture up yet.  I could throw up a picture of Popeye, but that would just give fuel to a few to many members of my family.  So I'll just have to explain.  The left side of my mouth is working to some extent.  I can talk, eat, drink and sort of smile.  I can't wrinkle my nose on the left side.  I can open and shut my left eye and it's (finally) blinking in time with my right eye.  My left eyebrow is yet to do anything.  

It's all temporary and it really is getting better each day.  They can't give me a timeline as to when it will all be back to normal, but it will happen eventually.

I am just thrilled that it is all finally over.  To think that this all just started a week ago is amazing.  It's been wild.  Since the beginning, the words "brain tumor" and "brain surgery" have seemed so embarrassing to say out loud- like such an overstatement.  But now, on the other side, I can say that I had brain surgery.  I feel (and look) like I had brain surgery.  I had a brain tumor.  But I don't anymore!  I could not be any happier.  
 
 
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Brandy was released from the hospital around 10:30 this morning! Her balance is great, she's been walking really well with great stability. She's going to be taking it easy this next week. We have some follow-up appointments to go to before coming home - one of the appointments will be to get the stitches removed. We're so glad to be on this end of the surgery. Thank you all so much!
 
 
Brandy is doing excellent today. She has been talking to us all morning. She just took two laps and did some exercises with the physical therapist - knee bends, etc. One of the doctors informed us this morning that the tumor was benign, which they were almost certain of before it even went to be tested. It's nice to have that confirmed, though.  Thanks again for the thoughts and prayers. The goal today is to keep doing laps and exercises. She's in great spirits and glad to be up and moving. If all goes well, she should be released tomorrow. 
 
 
Brandy has been up walking multiple times today. The doctors are very proud of her progress. She even got dressed in pajama pants and a t-shirt (she was glad to see the hospital gown go). She's drinking Sprite, eating Jello and pudding, and has kept everything down. It's been a successful day for her recovery. 
 
 
Brandy's doing remarkably well today. She sat up and ate some orange Jello for breakfast. A few minutes ago the physical therapist stopped by and took her for a lap around the 6th floor. She did great. She kept a steady pace the entire time. Right now she's sitting up in the chair and eating more ice chips. Nausea is still a problem, but she's keeping medicines and water down which is a plus. They're encouraging me to walk with her every hour. I'm pleased she's making this kind of progress so quickly!