Wednesday, August 20, 2014


WOW...I've taken quite a sabbatical, so to speak, but I am back in full swing. Kids are doing well. Josh's is a little over 1 year post surgery and doing fantastic. MaeLynn is also a little over a year post cochlear implant and we are floored at how well she is doing. All the kids are getting older, blossoming and we continue to move forward.

Currently, Phil and I are having a wonderful mini-vacation in a secluded cabin along the Hood River in Oregon. We are given this luxury because in less than a week, Phil will be deploying for a year. Yes, being a military family we've been through this before, but it is never easy. Over the past month, he has had to give up his command as the Headquarters, Headquarters Joint Base Lewis-McChord Commander, leave us for a month for another military school, out-process from JBLM and now leave his family for another 12 months.

Leaving his Command was very difficult as he felt it was one of the best jobs he has had yet in the Army. He was very loved by his soldiers and recieved numerous awards, praise and Kudos from his leaders. One being that the Commander over all of Joint Base Lewis-McChord wrote in his ORB (Officer Records Brief) that he was the best Officer at Lewis-McChord...quite the accomplishment. This put him in the top 20% of all officers in the entire military, not just Army. Very proud of my man.

Now, as we prepare for his absence, I'm getting me and the kids back to a more rigorous health schedule as we adopted once before. Phil admits his poor eating habits have not helped to continue our once thriving practice, but he does admit he is always willing, though his love for food makes him always weak.

Thus, my next latest and greatest project will be starting up wheatgrass again and growing Moringa. There is a plethora of information found on the web regarding this amazing tree, so my hopes is that I will be able to cultivate at a level that our family needs without spending the 100s of dollars that would be required each month to buy the powder, drink, pills that so many health food companies require for their product. I will be posting my success or failure of this project on here as I more to come

Friday, August 10, 2012


Our vacation to Salt Lake City was interesting to say the least. Our two china babies stayed home with Grandma, while MaKayla, Amornthep, Hana, Brandon, and our friend Elena Hamel, set out for SLC on Friday, 8/3. It was fairly uneventful our first few days. We stayed the night in Boise with Elena’s relatives and pulled in to SLC Saturday afternoon. Having had no sleep the night before, since I slept with Brandon, Elena was nice enough to take the children swimming. It didn’t last too long due to Brandon’s over stimulated brain (can’t blame the three-year old being stuck in a car for two days). Elena grabbed KFC and then we all hit the hay.

Sunday was more eventful as we toured Temple Square. It has been a while since I’ve been in Salt Lake and though Temple Square has not changed much, the surrounding area has. I am always amazed at how much this whole area has grown, from SLC, Park City, Provo and Orem. I remember you use to be able to drive from Provo, or even Park City without seeing a whole lot of anything. Now as you drive, there isn’t any space in between the cities.

Temple Square was nice and we were able to get two different sisters to sign for Amornthep’s sake. I was really impressed with how much Amorn does know regarding the gospel. I’ve been quite worried that he hasn’t been able to pick up a lot since it is not always easy for us to sign during church. But, his comments to the sister missionaries indicated otherwise. I should have known because this little boy is truly brilliant. The sisters fell in love with him…who doesn’t…and kept saying they wanted to keep him. He is going to be a hit with the ladies when he gets older and quite the charmer. Elena has also fallen for his charms and anxious to paint him since she is quite a talented artist.

We were able to tour the conference center which I have never seen before. Unfortunately, the heat was pretty intense and when we were on the roof, Brandon kept saying it was too hot and he didn’t look so good. Thus, I got him out of the sun and was sensing he was getting heat stroke. I had to force him to drink, which he refused (a sign of heat exhaustion), but he was really starting to worry me. Therefore, we got in the car as soon as possible, cranked the AC, and off to Park City. Here is where it gets somewhat comical, though to Elena and I, quite stressful.

We arrived at our condo, which was on the third floor, and the place had no elevators. After hiking all luggage upstairs, not an easy task, I walked in and was hit with suffocating temperatures. I asked where the AC was and she said they did not have AC. NOPE, NOT DOING…so we hauled everything back down to the minivan. NO AIR CONDITIONING, IN UTAH, IN AUGUST? This was not acceptable, especially with Brandon having heat stroke/exhaustion. So, Elena and I are now stressed and both on our laptops frantically looking for a place to stay. Luckily, I was able to get us at the Doubletree Suites in Downtown SLC. Not bad as it did have a separate room from the main area that Elena and I can close off from the little ones. The breakfast was quite plentiful, warm and yummy. The kids enjoyed the pool, which was warm and inviting. Overall, I was pleased and it was not a bad price for all six of us due to our military discount.

Monday was vedge day. I wanted to make sure Brandon was completely over his heat issue before we ventured out again. We stayed in the hotel for most of the day, but early evening we ventured out to the Lion House Pantry and had dinner. I was VERY fortunate to take the children to meet some very dear friends that I have not seen in years. They were my second family when I attended BYU and were there for the ups and a few downs of my early 20s. It was great to see Mom and Dad Bruner and their two daughters, Emily and Autumn. They all looked and sounded very well, and it felt as if the years never separated us.

Tuesday we went to Provo/Orem to tour BYU. First we stopped at a food storage facility called Self Reliant, which sells Thrive freeze dried food. Elena had packed some of this food for our trip, which consisted of freeze dried strawberries, mangos, pineapples, yogurt pieces, etc. IT WAS VERY YUMMY and the kids wanted more. So, I promised them we would stop at their headquarters in American Fork so that I could pick up some more for our trip home. Their main lobby was full of samples for just about everything they sell and the kids just went to town. I was amazed at how yummy the freeze dried meat was and all the kids fell in love with the freeze dried sausage. But of course, I purchased a number of yummy treats, including freeze-dried ice cream sandwiches, and then off we went to Provo.

Unfortunately, the kids just didn’t seem to be quite intrigued as I had hoped. I showed them my old stomping grounds and took them up to the bluff under the “Y” so they could get a nice view. Hana did ask some general questions about college, but for the most part they were more interested in the ice cream I promised. So, after the quick tour we went to the BYU creamery.

We then went to Doterra headquarters to pick up our orders and I was able to chat with some nice girls in the front office. They asked me how I felt the oils were doing and I shared a few of my personal experiences. After we left we went to Sandy, where we had dinner and a nice visit with Phil’s cousin, Deborah Burris Neilson. She made a wonderful dinner and the kids had a great time playing with their chickens, climbing their playhouse and just being kids. Unfortunately, I started to get quite a headache and by the time we reached the hotel, I was too tired and in too much pain to do anything else. Elena took the kids swimming while I bathed myself in oils and tried to get relief. It did come eventually

Wednesday, due to my previous heat exhaustion, we stayed at the hotel again to vedge. Elena ended up taking the children swimming twice and also did the girls nails and such. I think Elena liked the quiet time as well. Later that evening I went to a meeting in West Valley where a Nurse Practitioner presented on Candida. It was very intriguing and I was able to speak with her one-on-one regarding MaeLynn and her Eczema condition. She felt that she was detoxing and that due to her age and the fact that her liver and kidneys may not be able to handle the overload, that her poor skin was getting quite a dose of toxic waste. As the Candida dies, it lets off toxins in abundance and if we are not taking a lot of fiber and probiotics, our bodies have severe reactions. Thus, this explains MaeLynn’s poor circumstance. Later that evening I contacted WrayBeth to share this information. However, she told me that she started to see her skin getting better and that she also switched from Castor Oil back to the Coconut Oil. So, hopefully we can get this under control.

Thursday we went to the Gateway Mall where the children enjoyed playing at the Children’s Museum. Elena and I enjoyed the store called Betty Paige and I was able to pick up a cute sailor dress. We ate at a Thai restaurant and then went to the hotel to await the arrival of another dear friend and his family, Ken Limb and his wife Katie and their children Joshua and Janae. They arrived around six and we all went swimming. We had a grand time and I thoroughly enjoyed the ability to catch up with so many friends and family during our stay.

Today we started for home and currently in Boise once again at with Elena’s relatives. We will arrive home tomorrow and I know we will all be very excited to finally sleep in our own beds, minus Brandon who wants to swim some more. I think had I just rented another hotel room and let them swim, they would have been just as happy. All in all, though hectic, hot and busy, it was a nice week to get away, enjoy the company and bond.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


The day before we left for our SLC vacation, I took MaeLynn to Seattle Children’s Hospital for her audiology test. She was amazing and her tester was so impressed with her ability to stay on task, be consistent, and well behaved that she was very confident the test was extremely accurate (not bad for a two year old).

Unfortunately, the results showed that her BAHAs are not doing much good as she indicates a loss of moderate to severe. In many areas she came back worse than Amornthep before his cochlear implants. However, because her Cochleas do not indicate any damage, and she does hear normal in some ranges and frequencies (but these ranges and frequencies are in areas we normally don’t detect anyway), Seattle’s policy is not to do a cochlear implant. I asked her then what other choices we have to improve her hearing and she said the BAHA is her only option. But, unfortunately, it is already programmed at full capacity. It does give her a little more vibration to hear better, but compared to normal hearing and even what Amorn hears with his imploants, it is so subpar that it is practically nonexistent.

Thus, she said we just have to come to terms that manual language will be her only language (ASL). I have no problem with ASL because we use it every day, but what I do have a problem with is that she can’t hear a horn honk, or have any type of hearing awareness for safety sake. One of the things I told Seattle when they were fighting me to implant Amorn was that if he could hear a horn honk and it would save his life, then to me that would be success. That comment was what finally convinced them that my expectations were not unreasonable and they went forward with the implants.

In MaeLynn’s case, I asked her audiologist why the cochlear implant team feels that keeping normal hearing, even though it may be practically non-existent, is better than cochlear implants that can amplify one’s hearing to normal? This viewpoint makes no sense to me. She completely agreed with me and not being on the cochlear team, is frustrated with this policy. She said she was going to speak with the team and hope that since we are already a cochlear implant family, they may overlook their policy; however, I should not get my hopes up. She suggested I write a letter to the team explaining my case, but I personally think a phone call is in order.

Once again I must go to battle with Seattle. If she lived in a deaf community, I feel she really wouldn’t be disadvantaged. But, the fact remains she lives in a hearing world and, therefore, all her friends and associates will be hearing and very few will know sign language. At least Amornthep now has the choice to sign his whole life, or work on using his hearing and vocal communication with the aid of the cochlear devices. He is working really hard right now to speak as he desperately wants to talk with his friends at church and school. With MaeLyn, I fear she will feel left out with her peers because she will not have the choice to try to communicate with her hearing friends. She will only have sign as her communication and most everyone we know does not know sign language. I pray they will either let me know some other alternatives, or work with me to provide her the best possible outcome!

Saturday, July 28, 2012


I have actually been using the essential oils now for a few weeks. However, they were small samples given to me by loving and dear friends. Yesterday was the day my very own oils finally arrived. I decided to purchase the FULL OIL KIT as I felt it was worth the investment due to the number of oils required by my family. Of course, as you read about all the different oils and their properties, you can't help but say, “Wow, that could work for such and such,” or, “I could use that on…” So, I just felt it best to get all the oils, even if they are not on my immediate list of “must have” oils identified in our Zyto scans. I just figured the oils not being used right now may show up on later scans and/or will surely come in handy down the road.

Along with the Full Oil Kit, I also ordered two Vitality packs. These are basically your vitamins, minerals and cell rejuvenation (energy). I got two packages because a few people needed to be on them. I also ordered the Deep Blue Rub because that was the rub that completely took me by surprise right after I rubbed it on my feet to help alleviate my broken tail bone pain. Also, Phil asked me to send him something to help him with his aches and pains after his workouts. I added the Phytoestrogen pills because both Hana and MaKayla needed to be on them. Along with my kit I also received some freebies and I ordered the Lotus diffuser in order to get the oils in the air for all to breath. This technique is great if you have a fussy child and they are not being cooperative (which I have not found to be the case). This way they are breathing in the amazing healing properties of these oils without realizing they are doing so.

Thus, today was the first day we used the oils as prescribed by our Zyto scans. I also used the Lotus diffuser and used elevation blend. The kids kept running up to breathe it in and WrayBeth really loved the smell. I found her frequently going over to the diffuser and taking it all in. Interesting to note that this blend is known to give you elated feelings of joy and really helps those who suffer from depression. WrayBeth has suffered her entire life from depression so I thought it very interesting that she was really drawn to this blend, more so than other oils I have diffused over the past few days.

Below is a list of what each member in my family is using so that we can start with a baseline:
Kathy: Vitality pack (3x/day); Geranium, Basil in veg cap (1x/day)
MaKayla: Deep Blue blend as needed; Peppermint, White Fir, Marjoram, Rosemary, Frankincense, Cinnamon in veg cap (1x/day); 1 Phytoestrogen (1x/day)
Hana: Whisper blend; Wintergreen, Cypress, Cinnamon, Fennel in veg cap (1x/day); 1Phytoestrogen (1x/day)
Brandon: Cassia, Helichrysum, Melissa, Peppermint, Ylang Ylang, Fracionated Coconut Oil (FCO) in 5 ml roll-on bottle used throughout the day as needed
Amornthep: Breathe and Ylang Ylang rubbed on feet and chest; 1 Microplex (1x/day)
Joshua: White Fir, Clove, Thyme rubbed on neck, feet and chest throughout day as needed
MaeLynn: PastTense blend and Thyme used on her eczema; 1 xEO Mega and 1 MicroPlex (1x/day)
WrayBeth: She is using the Vitality Pack and oils she feels she needs throughout the day. I do not monitor her use of the oils like I do the children

Of course, only being half-way through the day it is too early for extensive feedback, but the one person that both WrayBeth and I noticed an immediate response is Brandon. I would have to say this blend, which I put together based on his Zyto scan recommendations, seems to be working better than the Peaceful Child blend. I still plan to make the Peaceful Child blend, but I’m going to watch how he does on this for a few days. We noticed he has been VERY calm, does not scream or fight as much, responds quietly when asked a question and has even pointed out things that he must do that is part of his daily routine (he normally always puts up a fight). For example, right after lunch he politely and with clear pronunciation asked if he could be excused and then said, “I need to go potty first before I go for nap time.” WrayBeth looked at me with pure joy in her eyes. Also, he was outside playing and Grandma had called him to the house. Almost EVERY TIME we do this he throws a tantrum. However, today he did not and came right in, looked up at grandma and asked her what she wanted. He has not been as physical with the other kids and his responses seem to have more thought behind them. He has not fought me once to put this “new” oil on him and seems to like smelling the oil, more so than the other oils I was using on him. Therefore, I’m expecting really positive things from him. But, of course, it is still too early to make any definitive judgment.

I will continue to keep you posted on how we are doing. But, based on our past two weeks and from what I’m seeing in Brandon already, I’m really excited. On a side note, I have been using OnGuard blend on his eye pustules and they are all almost completely gone. He is looking great!

Thursday, July 26, 2012


I have been asked by a number of associates from Doterra that I keep a record of the extraordinary benefits that my family has and will find as we start our journey back to health by using essential oils from Doterra.

Almost two weeks ago, a dear friend from my church, Teresa Peers, was visiting when I mentioned I was experiencing horrific allergies. I have suffered years and years with allergies and tried everything, but to no avail. Either the drug knocks me out (which is impossible when you have six children), or doesn’t work at all. Teresa looked up at me and said, “I’m going to come back tonight with something I’m sure will help.” She then asked if I knew anything about essential oils. Admittedly, my first reaction was that they are great for stress, aromatherapy, but really…ALLERGIES!? I had gone to a naturopath a number of years ago and she had given me some lavender oil to help with my stress, but it was only for aromatherapy, not to ingest. And, in all honesty, I didn’t feel it made any difference. Therefore, my view of essential oils was more toward the negative.

Michelle Frink, another fine sister from my ward, had also been talking to me for a while about how amazing these oils can be for all kinds of ailments. Unfortunately, with the adoption and surgery, timing was just off and I didn’t take the time to look further. 

That evening, just as I was ready to retire, there was a knock at the door. There was Teresa with her vials of oil and some vegetable capsules. She started to put drops of lavender, lemon and peppermint in to the vegetable caps. At this point I realized she was expecting me to swallow that “stuff.” Now I was a little perplexed. I thought oils were for aroma or to rub on for massage purposes. I NEVER thought you could ingest them. My therapeutic lavender oil that was given to me by the naturopath even says, “DO NOT INGEST.” So, you can only imagine I was a little nervous as I was expecting a foul aftertaste, or worse, to be poisoned. But, I knew Teresa wouldn’t allow any harm come to me and at this point I was willing to try just about anything.

So, with deep faith in her stewardship, I went forward and tried the “stuff.” I really didn’t expect anything to happen right away and believed that if they did work, it most likely would take a few days to build up in my system before ANY benefits would occur. Elena, her daughter, did warn me that I might feel a coolness in my chest area due to the peppermint. 

WELL WHAT DO YOU KNOW!? After only five minutes, not only did I feel a soothing coolness in my chest, but my itchy and watery eyes and itchy throat and skin subsided. WHAT? After only five minutes? Can it truly be possible? I was dumbfounded…but very impressed. I then mentioned to her about the other conditions of my children, particularly my daughter’s severe eczema.

The next day, here shows up Teresa again with some more oils, fractionated coconut oil, and a few books for me to read. Again, I was touched by her kindness and immediately started to do the research. I started to use the oils on MaeLynn for her eczema and was really blown away. I was floored at how immediate her relief was and within hours how the look of her skin seemed to improve. Okay, that’s two for two. I devoured her book about the health benefits of coconut oil, as well as her book on oils as a whole. Now I’m starting to get convinced there is something to this. I started to research the web about Doterra, the company, and about all my various health conditions for me and my family. I was particularly interested in why THEIR oil worked and this therapeutic lavender oil didn’t. Well, I soon found out (I won’t go into the details here). 

During my investigation I came across some videos about a blend that a women put together called Peaceful Child. This blend is supposedly able to do wonders for children with Tourets Syndrome, ADHD, ODD, OCD and a myriad of other mental health issues. I was so anxious to find out more so I emailed Teresa to ask if she had even heard of this blend and if she knew if it worked.

Sure enough, that following Sunday, here comes Teresa and do you know what she had. A large 10 ml bottle of the BLEND; I WAS SO TOUCHED. To me, that oil was like gold. I was ecstatic and immediately rubbed it on my two children with ADHD, MaKayla and Brandon. The ride home from church was beyond amazing. They were quiet and less agitated. 

Over the past two weeks I have made other observations that have amazed me. The first time I tried to put oil on Brandon, he fought me. But ever since, he actually comes up to me and asks for “his oil.” I have been given samples of some oils and have used them to diffuse in the car and the car rides have gone SO MUCH SMOOTHER. The kids are quieter and more patient. When I rub "Serenity" blend on them at bedtime, I don’t fight them to get to sleep anymore. Last Sunday, MaKayla was about to have a meltdown during Sacrament meeting. I started to get really nervous because once she passes a certain point, there is nothing that can calm her down. I saw my dear friend Michelle sitting in a pew across from me. I asked her if she had some “Deep Blue” on her person and, of course, she did. This particularly blend is what came up in MaKayla’s Zyto scan as being the blend she is most in need of at this time. I had her breath the blend and within seconds, she immediately started to calm down. I asked her five minutes later how she felt. She said she was still angry, but she remained calm for the remainder of the meeting.

Brandon has had small, pimple-like bumps around his eyes. Every time you pop one, five more appear. This has been going on now for months and months. When speaking to the doctor they said that nothing really takes them away, NOT to pop them and give them time. Unfortunately, they were getting worse and one in particular seemed to be infected. I started using the oils and the VERY next day, the severe one on his eye popped. Now, just five days later, they are all almost gone.

Last Wednesday, another friend from our ward, Kaye Coatney, came to our home to give us Zyto scans. MaKayla was given a small sample of “Deep Blue” since that is the blend that is most effective for her right now. As she was smell testing all of Kaye’s oils, she seemed automatically drawn to “Deep Blue.” A few hours later she had her social therapy class. I had her take her sample oil and during the 30 minute drive she kept smelling it and telling me it smelled like candy. After her therapy, the social workers meet with each parent for about 5-10 minutes to discuss how therapy went. Once her therapist pulled me aside, she immediately said, “MaKayla did really well today. It was the first time I really noticed her focused, and on task. So much so that I heard her make a statement that it was impossible for anything to keep her still, yet I noticed she was awkwardly forcing her leg to jerk like it use to. Almost as if she was aware that she was calmer, but NEEDED to act the part so was forcing her leg to jitter. This really impressed me. What have you been doing?” When I told her I’ve been trying to wean her off her meds she gave me that look of terror. Then I continued to tell her about the oils that we JUST started and she got really intrigued. 

On Thursday I went to another Doterra class. I informed the ladies that two years ago I broke my tailbone and the doctors have tried every pain medication possible, including Lydocain patches, but they are not working. They now say I most likely will need surgery. The ladies suggested I try “Deep Blue” on my feet, since it may be too sensitive to put directly on my tail bone. Within 5 minutes, for the first time in years, I could no longer feel the pain. I was even able to sit all the way back in my chair, which I can’t remember doing for ages. I started standing and sitting over and over again to test the pain in my tailbone and they all looked at me strange. I then yelled, “Where did it go? I’m not kidding, I can’t feel the pain anymore.” Of course they were all elated, and OH BOY…so was I.

Personally, I have yet to have a severe allergy attack, and I’ve only taken two pills, three times just two weeks ago. I’m sure that if I was outside more, I would need to take them more regularly, but thus far, my allergies have been under control. Also, I’ve noticed that I have much more patience with the kids. Even my mother-in-law noticed and made a comment. I’m not flying off the handle as much and don’t get as tired as easily. 

With all the conditions and issues that my family has, I think that we will be yet another great testimony to the amazing benefits of these oils. I will give a brief description of each of our children and their health issues for those of you that may not be as familiar with our family and background. Each of my children are adopted and each all have very different backgrounds.

1.  MaKayla was adopted in the states at 3 days old. We were told that she had a high risk for Fetal Alcohol due to her mother’s excessive drinking all the way through her eighth month of pregnancy. It was so severe that in her eighth month the judge ordered her to rehab. Though she seemed healthy when first born, we were advised to watch her once she reached school age. Sure enough, she exhibited learning disabilities and has social and emotional issues. Though she was diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol at a young age, her ADHD was diagnosed a little over a year ago. She has a difficult time in social situations and has a very difficult time staying on task and managing her emotions. Obviously the hope is that we can completely get her off her medication and help her improve her focus, learning and social interactions, along with managing her emotions.

2.  Amornthep was adopted a little over two years ago from Thailand. Health wise he is amazing as he has yet to have come down with any illness, let alone a sniffle. He has Waardenburg syndrome and is deaf. He was implanted with Cochlear Implants last year. He does show orphanage behavior, such as shadowing and extreme fears. His Zyto scan focused on his ability to stop and breath and learn to be a kid again. This makes complete sense since he was one of the few kids that was healthy (other than being deaf), so the orphanage workers always asked for him to assist and do a lot of chores. Therefore, he has a VERY HIGH desire to please. Almost to point where he is more under foot than anything. Our hope is that through the use of the oils, he will learn to relax a little, let go of some of his fears and realize that it is okay to be a kid.

3.  Hana came to us 1.5 years ago. Her tale is rather a sad one. While in Ethiopia she watched her mother die from a horrific disease. That very day she and her two brothers were separated and taken to an orphanage where she has informed us that it was quite abusive. Later, she was removed to another orphanage, where she said the treatment was a little better but was soon adopted. She, and her two Ethiopian brothers came to the states to live with her new family. Unfortunately, after seven months they felt she was not a good fit for their family and felt she needed to be readopted by another family. How devastating, especially since they were going to keep her biological brothers. You can only imagine the trauma of losing her mother, then her brothers, and then feeling rejected by her adopted family. Interesting to note that in her Zyto scan, everything was centered around her ability to heal from abandonment and loss of mother and working through issues with her mother. When she received her scan, it really brought tears to my eyes for the amazing accuracy. I realized that the oils are not just for physical needs, but the oils truly help us emotionally heal. However, she is a fighter and a really sweet girl and doing wonderfully. I believe the oils will truly help her heal and move forward.

4.  Joshua came to us just this past December. You can read our amazing experience on a prior post regarding how we just knew this little boy was to be our son. He has Levlo – Transposition of the Great Arteries and Severe Epstein Anomaly (60% regurgitation). We were very aware of his serious heart condition. China did not do any surgeries because they truly believed he would not survive. Well, we are proving them wrong. With the miraculous abilities of Dr. Hanley out of Stanford, the hand of God, and the powers of the oils, our hope is that we will see his recovery from his surgeries be much faster, and eventually be able to control his blood pressure without medication.

5.  What can I say about Brandon. Brandon is our little challenge. He came to us when he was just 4 months old. His early life was already full of heart ache. He was conceived through a rape situation so during those four months it was very difficult for his mother to bond with him. Right out of the hospital he was kidnapped and then after one week left on the steps of the police station for who knows how many hours (they suspect at least 12). Once reunited with his mother, she and her then boyfriend, now husband, moved from place to place and oftentimes he slept in a pull out drawer as they had no baby furniture. But, out of the grace of our Lord, she realized she just did not have the means to continue to care for him and asked her aunt if she knew of anyone who could adopt him. Our lives have only been enriched with our little Brandon. However, he does carry a lot of anger from his past and he also has been diagnosed with ADHD, ODD and possible schizophrenia as it runs in his family and his birthmother has been diagnosed. Obviously, I think you all know what we are hoping to gain from the oils for our little Brandon.

6.  MaeLynn also came to us from China this past December. She is also deaf and has Microsia/Atresia (She has no ears). She came to us with severe orphanage behavior. Although she was two years of age, she acted as if she was 11 months. She couldn’t eat with any utensils, could barely walk, obviously had no form of communication and was dealing with such post-traumatic stress that she didn’t make a sound for days. Then when she finally did, all she did was cry and cry. She has flat head, which was caused from being left in her crib all the time while in the orphanage, causing her head to develop a flat side. She also has severe eczema, which we believe is caused due to her liver and kidneys most likely not developing fully, just like her ears. They develop at the same time as the ears develop in embryo, and most with her condition show abnormalities with their kidneys and liver. Therefore, her body is not able to get rid of the toxins appropriately and it shows with her severe eczema. We hope that the oils will help heal the past orphanage abuse and help her with her eczema. Also, as she is learning a language, we hope the oils will instill within her confidence.

As you can see, we have our hands full and are hoping wonderful and great things with the oils. Come back often as I will do my best to post our progress. Though I’ve been given a few oils for sample, I have ordered the full oil kit and it should be arriving any day now. Once it does, I will post what I have each of my children on and how well the oil is working. I am very excited and based on the success I’ve seen thus far, I truly believe we are going to see some miracles occur.


It has been quite a long time since I have updated this blog. As many of you may know, Joshua had his first surgery of two major surgeries in May. What was supposed to only be two weeks ended up being a good month-long stay. Unfortunately, right after his surgery, less than 24 hours, our poor son crashed. I was called around 2:00 AM by the nurse stating he was having a hard time settling down after the surgery. I drove back to the hospital to do my best to comfort him. Apparently he contracted a viral infection and his temperature was off the charts and they were doing everything they could to bring it down. His surgery required a band to be placed around his ventricle in order to strengthen it before his second surgery, called the duo switch, which is scheduled for January.  With every increase in temperature, the heart has to increase its work load by 11% in order to fight off the infection. Unfortunately, with the new band placed around his ventricle and the extra work required by the heart, the output was just too much and his little heart gave out and stopped completely. 

Around 5AM, while I was helping him sit up in order to breathe easier, he slowly brought his hand up to try to remove the oxygen mask. Within seconds, while I was looking down at him to stop him from doing so, the room was filled with doctors and nurses. I had no idea what just happened. I was still cradling him when, before I knew it, I ended up in the back corner of the room. The tiny room in the PICU was now crowded beyond capacity with hospital staff. I just stood there, trying to figure out what was going on. Nothing was registering with me until after about 10 minutes there was a slight part between staff and I could see my son, lying there limp, lifeless, breathless and blue.

At that moment I knew exactly what was going on and I grabbed my phone and left the room. I immediately called my husband who had left a few weeks earlier for Army Captain's Career Course in Missouri. He was going to be there for a good six months, but now the whole paradigm had changed. He heard my voice and how frantic I was but was quiet. After I told him what was going on, I pleaded with him to say something. He just didn’t know what to say. Soon after the doctor came by, sat down with me and while Phil was on the phone told us that he had crashed but that he was breathing now and seemed to be out of the worst. I asked if I could go see him but she said they had to paralyze him and were still working on him and to wait a good ½ hour to an hour. We breathed a heavy sigh, thanked her, and Phil commented that he needed to go to the gym to work off some steam.

About ½ hour after this, I kept peering through the PICU windows as my son’s room was right at the end. I became more confused as it seemed more and more doctors and staff were rushing to his room. I was under the impression he was doing better, but the situation seemed to be getting worse. Just as if the doctor read my mind, she walked out of the PICU door and said, “Kathy, it doesn’t look good. His heart has stopped completely and we can’t get it to beat on its own. We have to do emergency surgery.” Of course she saw the fear in my face but also knowing she had to be as honest as possible, put her arm around me and said, “I’m so sorry, but really, it doesn’t look good.”

With that, she walked over to the elevator to keep it open for transport. In that moment, pure fear enveloped me in a way I never experienced. The PICU doors flew open while I saw a doctor on top of him trying to keep his heart pumping with NUMEROUS doctors and nurses surrounding his gurney. They were screaming to the other doctor, asking if the elevator door was open. She yelled yes but they couldn’t hear her and kept requesting a response. Suddenly I blurted out, “YES…IT’S OPEN…GO!”

In those seconds from the time they moved his gurney from his room to the elevator, I had a most personal, sacred and intense learning experience that I will NEVER forget. Of course, as a mother, I was in shear panic. But, in that intense state, I suddenly heard a LOUD voice, as if standing directly in front of me, bellow, “IT IS NOT ALWAYS ABOUT YOU!.” Of course, this immediately took my mind off of the fear as it completely caught me off guard. Soon after, the voice became calmer and then continued to teach me what seemed like a million years worth of knowledge. He continued to explain that not all of our trials that we experience are suppose to be completely for or about us. That there was a doctor there that needed to learn something so critical and important in order for him or her to help another individual sometime, someday, somewhere and that only Joshua and his condition would be able to teach him or her what they needed to know. He went on to explain that Joshua had agreed to this before his earthly experience and then, he gave me a crash but yet profound course on how we are all so interconnected we, as mere mortals, have NO IDEA. That it is not just happenstance that we just bump in to that person in the elevator that we may never meet again. That somehow, for some reason, in ways we cannot comprehend, we are all so very connected that he is in so much more control than we can ever realize. There are honestly no human, mortal words in any language that can truly detail the knowledge that my Heavenly Father blessed me with in that fragile, terrifying moment of my life.

By the time the elevator doors closed, I was as calm as I could possibly be. I had already come to accept that if this little boy was to be taken home, then it was not in vain. That there was purpose. And, if the Lord decided that his life was to continue, it is NOT in vain, there is purpose. I truly was enlightened, and with that enlightenment, came peace.

A few minutes past as I reflected on what just happened. I then started to call Phil but, of course, he was working out so was not able to get a hold of him right away. In the meantime, I called family to inform them of the dire situation Joshua was in and requested prayers and fasting. Finally, I was able to get a hold of Phil and told him, “Phil, you need to come out here because either your little boy will have passed away, and I will need you. Or, if he survives, HE will need you.” He remained very quiet on the phone and then said, “I’m on my way.”

Seven hours later, dressed in a tie, he walked out of the San Francisco airport. I look back on this with such awe and respect for my husband. During that whole trip, he had no idea if he was going to find his son dead or alive upon arrival. I can’t even imagine the fear and torment he must of went through. Nonetheless, knowing that regardless of his son’s condition, he had to give him a blessing, he dressed in his Sunday best so that he could immediately administer to him a priesthood blessing.

We had previously arranged with the local Bishop of our church to meet us at the hospital. Around midnight, there he was and Phil and he immediately gave Joshua a priesthood blessing. Of course Joshua was not awake and would be kept asleep for a good week following in order to allow his heart a time to rest and heal. After a good week, they had to go back in a third time to tighten the band in order to lessen the regurgitation on his heart. But, three surgeries and one month later, we walked out of Stanford Hospital with our little Joshua. 

Since we have been home, he has not had to go to the ER once. He is doing VERY well and is the happy, fun-loving boy that he has always been. His second surgery is scheduled for January and this will be much more risky and severe and we have been told that we will be at the hospital for AT LEAST one month. Luckily, Phil will have just returned from Missouri by then so he will be able to man the troops during my absence. Of course our hope is that with time, his heart will be as good as new. He won’t be able to ever participate in competitive sports, but for the most part, and per Dr. Hanley, he should be able to have a long and normal life after these surgeries. Of course, we cannot forget the will of the Lord and how deeply grateful and full of love I am for a loving Heavenly Father to allow us more time with our beautiful son and to also bless me with life-lasting wisdom that will not only stay with me during my sojourn in this life, but for all eternity.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


It has been exactly one week ago that we flew home from China. What a whirlwind of a week between Joshua's medical issues and Christmas. Unfortunately, Joshua was not doing well from the trip and we had to immediately take him to the ER Thursday morning. They ended up transporting him to Mary Bridge due to his complex heart situation and he ended up in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit for a few days. He acquired pneumonia caused by the trip and his poor heart, thus they needed to keep an eye on him. The good thing, however, is that we were able to get his heart condition reviewed early as they performed an EKG, Echogram and various other tests and X-Rays.


An area of advice I would like to give upcoming adoptive families; research and study as much as possible on your child's special needs. This preparation and knowledge will arm you with more than just knowledge. It will provide you peace and an aura of calm that you will be surprised will come when you run in to the "kinks" that most likely will occur with their condition. For example, the hospital normally does not allow parents to transport with their children or relative in the ambulance. This is because they are usually highly stressed and overcome by their child's condition that they often panic, causing danger to the patient during transport. However, the nurses were so impressed with how calm and collected I was, they allowed me to ride along. I explained to them that I was very prepared for his severe heart condition and knew he would most likely be in emergent care soon after our return to the states. Thus, nothing was of a shock or surprise to me. Also, when the doctors discussed his condition, they were also impressed with how much I had prepared myself and with the knowledge I acquired regarding his condition. They too were amazed at how calm I was as they told us the serious nature of his condition. It is VERY true that with proper preparation, panic and fear can be decreased dramatically.


Just as we were informed, his heart condition is very complex. And, we now know why China did not perform any surgeries. However, if he had been born in the U.S. his condition would not be so severe as it would have been caught early and surgical procedures would have been done. Nonetheless, we have met with no less than six cardiologist and cardiothoracic surgeons and all of them have told us his condition is found in less than 1% of the human population. It is so complex that they don't even know how it occurs during the development of the heart and they said we will know more about this condition than most doctors due to its rarity. In a nutshell, He has Levo Transposition of the Greater Arteries (L-TGA). On top of this already complex condition, he also has what is called Epstein Anomaly, which causes over 60% regurgitation and has caused his heart to become the largest they have seen in a child his age. His heart has become so large that it is covering almost his entire lung area. Without corrective surgery, they give him a mortality rate of less than 2 years.


We have met with two specialists both from Seattle Children's Hospital and Mary Bridge. The consensus is that we can talk to 30 doctors and all will give us differing opinions due to the rarity of his condition. The main question for the doctors is what "problem" do they repair first that won't exacerbate the other heart issues? Thus, due to such complexity, the physicians at both Mary Bridge and Seattle have agreed that his case be presented to several top pediatric heart surgeons in the world that are located at the top 5 pediatric hospitals such as Boston, Sanford, Ann Arbor, Pennsylvania and Houston. They feel surgery in the Pacific Northwest would not be beneficial for his case.


The current plan is to proceed with a heart catheter, which will be done on Monday, January 9. This procedure will give them more information on his lung capacity and particulars of his heart. This is a mandatory procedure before any surgery is performed. The results of this will be included in their report where we will wait to hear back from the doctors at these hospitals along with the cardio teams at Mary Bridge and Seattle Children's Hospital. Once they have met and discussed their finding, they will sit down with us to present our options and we can decide where we want to go for his surgery. Their hope is that they can perform the first of a number of surgeries in February, if all goes well.


The good news is that we were able to have him home by Christmas Eve and we had a wonderful, active, full, loud and joyous Christmas with the entire clan of 10. MaeLynn, just as I suspected, took a few steps back upon arriving home. She is very clingy and overall just seems miserable. But, if you feed her she becomes happy as can be. But, her neglect from the orphanage and the newness of the situation has taken its toll. However, with each day her whining seems to decrease as she is starting to get use to this rough and tumble crowd. We are confident with time this little girl should blossom. Grandma is definitely enjoying being able to cuddle with her as that is all she seems she wants to do. I pray that in a few days, the MaeLynn that started to blossom at the end of our China trip will once again arise. Next Thursday is her appointment with the cranial-facial team at Madigan Hospital, where we will begin her journey to the hearing world and reconstructive surgery for her ears.


I have received amazing support from my fellow adoptive families and Bloggers. I cannot begin to express my gratitude for the advice, solace and emails of support I have received. You have made this journey so much easier as you held my hand during times of panic and stress, as well as cheer for us during times of joy. For that I thank you all.


Now for my tips/advice to those preparing their adoption journey to China:

1.      The Victory Hotel was fine, but I suggest you try to get a room in the West Building. The buffet wasn't bad, but the food never changed and we got tired of the same breakfast every day. However, we heard the food was better and rooms bigger in their West Building.

2.      Do not get a room any smaller than the Business Suite (DO NOT mistake business room for business suite). This room accommodated both my husband and I and our two toddler children just fine. It had a separate room for our bed and both children preferred sleeping on the floor with just blankets and pillows.

3.      If your child is not an infant, I recommend you NOT pay extra for a crib. I have heard from other families that their child was terrified at the site of a crib. I know our daughter would have probably freaked out, especially knowing she lived in a crib and I can only imagine it symbolizes a prison to them.

4.      We had the Victory arrange for a van to take us back to the airport. We expected to pay around 70 USD, but come to find out, it was free and part of our cost to stay at the Victory. Thus, check on this option as it could be part of your room cost and it is much more convenient than cramming your luggage in a small taxi.

5.      The beds are hard as nails. I felt like it was no different than sleeping on the floor. Get use to it as there really isn't a way around it as that is the standard in China.

6.      In the Business Suite we had a fridge but no kitchenette so don't plan on cooking your own meals unless you get a hotel that specifically has that option.

7.      You HAVE to meet Judy who owns her store called Judy. She is located around the corner of the Victory's East Building. You pass the 7-11 and continue down until you see her store on the right (just past the park). Her laundry fees are the cheapest and she is VERY personable. She gave us little freebies as well.

8.      We highly recommend you go to the Safari Park. Don't waste your time or money at the other zoo. The Safari Park is huge and we only got to see half of the park, but worth every penny.

9.      Take a small card with you with the hotel's address in China wherever you go. Taxis are pretty cheap. Take at least one evening to tour the Pearl River and city at night. They do an amazing job at lighting their cities in China, it is a camera haven.

10.   DO NOT TAKE A TAXI THAT DOES NOT HAVE A METER. We made this mistake when we first were picked up at the airport. We paid 400 Yuan, even after dickering, whereas we would have only paid 150 Yuan with a meter taxi. They will be aggressive as soon as you leave the baggage claim in the airport to catch a taxi so make sure you ask them before you even follow them if their taxi has a meter. They took us all the way to the other side of the airport and even though we kept asking, "where is your meter," and dickered with them, we just didn't feel like walking all the way back through the airport to get another taxi with all our luggage. So learn from our mistake.

11.   We found that there really aren't too many "deals" in China. We did get a great price on pearls at the pearl market, but that was about it. You can always dicker, but considering the quality and that they see you coming a mile away, you don't really get a whole lot of savings buying items in China. Phil had pajamas and I had a traditional Chinese dress tailored. They do it quick and it shows in the quality. We most likely would have paid the same with better quality in the states. Nonetheless, it was fun to get done.

12.   We ate at the Orient express on Shamian Island, which is a French restaurant that has original train cars. Not a bad place to eat. Service wasn't great, but the food wasn't bad and a nice change.

13.   You will hear a lot about Lucy's. The food wasn't bad, but nothing to rave about. There is a children's park next to the restaurant which is a good place to let the children play and get their wiggles out.

14.   We brought our double stroller and it was the BEST thing we did the whole trip. If you are only adopting one, you can use strollers that many stores offer free of charge. But, If you are adopting two, I highly recommend you bring a double stroller. We got stopped so many times by the local Chinese as they thought it was the coolest thing they've seen.

15.   We went to the Beijing Road/Grandview Mall. Beijing Road was not very long and didn't seem to have anything special or unique for sale. However, it is the oldest part of the city and they unearthed parts of the original road built over 2000 years ago. They have glass over these portions and they are fascinating to see. However, the shopping experience was poor and the Grandview Mall a waste of our time. We spent more time waiting for the elevator than shopping.

16.   The Pearl/Jade Market is fairly close to Shamian Island, about a 15 minute walk, and that was a lot of fun as there is more to see and prices are much better.


If you have any questions, feel free to contact me directly. Thank you all for following our journey and I pray you all had a wonderful Christmas and will have a very festive and Merry New Year!!