Friday, January 4, 2013

Gabriella Walks!

Gabriella was adopted from Guilin, Guangxi, China in July 2010 at the age of 3 years and 6 months old. She will be 6 in January 2013... just a few weeks after videoing her greatest number of walking steps (December 2012)

This is the link if you have trouble viewing it here:

When we accepted her referral from China, we were told she had an abnormal CT scan. That's really all we knew.

By the time we got her, she had been in a Chinese foster family for a year, so she was finally able to sit up and crawl... but, there were many challenges.

Gabriella could sit and crawl, but she would fall ALL the time... when we realized these falls (just from sitting) could literally take her life, we purchased a soft padded helmet for her which she wore for the first year home.

While the doctors had no suggestions and continued to do tens of thousands of dollars in blood testing, after her MRI, to find the root cause of her cerebellar atrophy, they came up with nothing but her diagnosis:

Diagnosis: "Severe cerebellar atrophy"

I knew within 6 months of Gabriella coming home that there was nothing "atrophying" in her brain. She was indeed getting better and stronger in our care.

So, in the follow-up appointment, our neurologist changed the diagnosis verbally to: "Severe cerebellar hypoplasia" ... basically, her cerebellum is not atrophying or dying.

Gabriella eats 90% organic food and takes a number of supplements each day. The ones I attribute her most significant help from came from Univera's Essentials drink and Metagreen capsules.

She has very limited wheat (only in her organic bars or pizza), no corn, soy, and minimal dairy (although she still ingests way too much dairy because we are lovers of cheese and yogurt).

We try to keep our diet as close to veggies, fruits, nuts and beans as possible.

While all this is good, and I believe it made a rapid improvement in her health while still in China during our adoption process, it wasn't what made the most significant difference in her ability to walk or not.

She gets physical therapy at school twice a week for up to an hour, but without exercising at home, that wasn't going to make much difference either. She loves riding her bike (with training wheels), exercising on her own, going up and down the stairs, and walking all over Costco several times a week.

Her AFO's have stabilized her ankles and have made a difference as well. Before them, she couldn't stand unassisted for even 1 second. After them, she could stand for a second or two.

What made the difference was coming before the Lord and fasting and praying and seeking Gabriella's healing in February 2011 when she began to stand from zero seconds to 4-6 seconds on occasion... by Christmas 2011 she could stand for up to 12-15 seconds on occasion.

Because I saw great growth over the year as a result of fasting, January 2012, I decided to join Jentezen Franklin's fast that he encourages his church to do each year for 21 days... I felt like I was supposed to fast longer, and so I did. And, God honored my prayers. Gabriella started standing that first week in January 2012 for up to 30 seconds... then a minute, then, two minutes, then 3 minutes... by February 6 (the final days of my 40 day fast), Gabriella stood for 6 minutes and 13 seconds...

See this post for more information:

Her miracles could not have come this fast through her potential hour of physical therapy in school each week... Her miracles came because the Lord heard my prayers... And, if He will listen to mine, He will listen to yours.

His word says in Jeremiah 33:3, "Call to me and I will answer you."

Hebrews 12:13 says, "Make straight paths for my feet so that what is lame may not be dislocated but rather healed."

Over 2012, Gabriella has taken a couple unassisted steps a handful of times. But in December 2012, she took 9 tiny steps... a miracle!

She WILL walk and talk, run and jump, hop and skip and play basketball... in JESUS name!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

First Trip to Disney World... lots of photos and a video!

On December 10th, Gabriella, Amaris and I hopped on an airplane to fly across the United States to visit some friends and then a bunch of princesses.

Gabriella was delighted to meet the princesses. She hugged everyone of them and introduced Amaris to them... she was so enamored with them... a requirement if you are a Fouts girl.

But, we never talked about Mickey and Minnie Mouse (outside of one little Minnie Mouse toy she was given), nor any of the other furry Disney friends... so, when Gabriella laid eyes on these characters, she was out of the stroller and sitting on top of my head (uh, literally... or at least trying to get there)... she was absolutely TERRIFIED of them... she screamed so loud that people could hear her if they were within a couple football fields of us in any direction... and, I am not exaggerating. My ears rang for many, many minutes after she had stopped screaming. I probably failed at being her understanding Mama at that moment...

Amaris, age 2, on the other hand, was already "cutting" past everyone else in line (seeing that I was pre-occupied with a screamer) and attempting to get photos and signatures of these same terrifying beings.

I am thankful for my nanny. Without her, I could not have accomplished this trip. When I hired her, I told her she had to do a few things in order to come to Disney World with me...

  1. She had to be able to control my kids and keep them safe
  2. Carry my drink and the girls
  3. Carry all of our bags, regardless of how many there were
  4. Carry Gabriella's walker, just in case she needed or wanted to walk
  5. Carry my little chair so that when we sat in lines, I could actually sit

Well, I am pleased to announce, she could do all that!

As we walked Disney World's Magic Kingdom, it was VERY clear, I had more bags than ANYONE in the entire park (again, I am not exaggerating)... I never once found anyone with as much stuff as me... but, I was prepared for just about anything. By the end of our trip, which was Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party and a breakfast with some more characters, I only had the princess backpack you see in the bottom of the stroller. So, I did learn to re-duce as the days went on.

Introducing... NANNY!
My magical assistant... AKA stroller.

Our first day, we were so excited because we were having breakfast with the princesses at Cinderella's Royal Castle. It was simply magical, but I was worried, because we hadn't yet seen a princess before.

So, we went into the Theater you see in the background and met Rapunzel, Aurora, and the most beautiful Cinderella you have ever laid eyes on. Later, we saw Mickey Mouse... our only furry critter Gabriella would ever stand next to... and, only once!

I thought Amaris was going to get in a Tangled mess when she grabbed on to her hair!

Princess Aurora...
Amaris' princess! 

Gabriella's princesss!

Once we met our favorite princesses, we were off to the castle!

It was time for our royal breakfast with Cinderella and her friends.

We took the elevator up... Amaris pushed the emergency bell 3 times... everyone in the whole restaurant knew we were arriving... not sure why the bellman thought he should tell her to ring it...
cause she didn't want to stop.

The girls were each given their very own wishing star!

They got their magical wands!

Within just a couple minutes of arriving (you can see that we only had our juice), 
Snow White (a princess they had never seen before and knew nothing about) was now at our table. 
Fortunately, she was a princess, and the girls were elated.

Snow White...



Our First Trip to Disney World YouTube Video: