"We are going to focus on LIFE for Katya. I believe, one day, she will amaze the world."

Dr. Ben Carson on Katya Dueck

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Last night, we received our surgery date for Katya's cranial reconstruction. March 21st.

I have to admit that there are a LOT of mixed emotions with this. Some relief, some fear , ALOT of fear, a sense of peace down under the fear, resignation, determination, hope like a little flicker (hope that just maybe she will be able to learn to speak after the surgery! ? ! ), feeling sad that she's going to lose her beautiful hair for awhile when I know that her hair and wearing pretty hair things is important to her, feeling sad just because my baby is going to be going through so much without really understanding it and so many other things. Feeling the fear of the unknown--because no one knows how Katya will come out of this. Yes, we hope for the best--we pray for the best--but reality is NO ONE but God knows how Katya's brain and body will come through this surgery.

Being separated from my other children again feels hard to me too. There's concern about the costs coming on the heels of a long fall and winter with almost no work for Paul.

I am also concerned about being gone from Todd during his week of college finals when he really should have a little extra support and help from us, esp. as this is his first time to go through finals.

Yes, lots of mixed emotions. But I know beyond a shadow of doubt that God led us directly to Dr. Carson. I know God has His hand over Katya, and I know He knows exactly how all the details of all this are going to work out. Just like we had to choose to trust God and His purposes again and again up to this point, I know we will have to keep choosing to trust . . . As much as we love Katya, I know God loves her even more. I know God also loves and cares about our other children, and He will be with them while they are separated from us.

In the midst of trying to keep up with all we need to do on a regular basis PLUS with the extra things to be ready for surgery (paperwork, pre-op exams/labs, phone calls etc.), we also need to try to figure out how to prepare Katya for something that is so hard to communicate with the limited knowledge she has, as well as the language limitations. We are focusing on drawing up a list of important ASL signs that could be useful for Katya to know such as: Doctor, Nurse, Medicine, IPad, and so on. We will work on teaching her those signs ahead of time. And of course there is a request already for a Russian interpreter for her (hoping we can get the same kind gentleman we had last time! He was such a blessing!).

Above all, we will count on the prayers of Katya's friends . . . I know God is able to speak peace to her heart above and beyond what we can do.

Friday, February 10, 2012

My Sweet Katya

Charity took this photo last night. Constrast it, please, to this photo taken just a few months ago, while she was still in Ukraine. . . .

The photo above was taken the awful day we realized that Katya was in some kind of horrible pain if even the merest and lightest of pressure was put on her tummy. That weekend we asked people to go to prayer, and God graciously answered "YES" to prayers for Katya's healing! Never once has she had any further issues with her tummy. To God goes all the praise and honor!

And now a fun Katya story from today as shared on my Facebook:
Have to share a Katya story from just this afternoon after she got home from school. . . . Katya saw some strawberries on the counter and then she came and looked up at Charity to get her attention, then Katya signed totally on her own, "Fruit!"  as she walked back towards the berries!! We were so impressed and surprised, as we hadn't used the fruit sign with her for quite a while! She didn't have it 100% pat but close enough . . . we worked on having her sign "Fruit, please!" for her first piece, and then, "More fruit, please"  and let her eat up every last piece!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Katya's Garden!

Katya is a gardener. Yes, she is! In this bitter, snowy weather, she still manages to garden! Her garden is VERY important to her! Every morning she runs first thing after she comes down the stairs to check on it. Every day as soon as she gets home the first thing she does is run and check on her garden. When she's done with supper, the first thing she does is run and check on her garden! And every night after her bath is done, Katya checks on her garden the last thing before she goes to bed.

Yes, she's a very diligent gardener! Katya puts hours and hours into her garden every single day of the week, week after week, and it brings her much pleasure. She likes to get us to come and look at her garden while she points out items of special interest to her. Katya loves when we praise her garden.

You don't believe me?? Ahhh, thou of little faith! Just look--it's a garden! And it's Katya's! All hers. No one else's. No one but Katya touches her garden because we know it's so special to her.

Sometimes Katya changes her garden around. But the basic effect is always one of order, beauty, and careful planning.

Katya also built the sky-scraper beside her little garden. It's very tall. She pays attention to her sky-scraper, but it (of course!) does not require the time and attention that the garden does! It mostly sits there un-touched except for occasional maintenance. Every day, Katya plays by the window here.

Every day she tends her little garden with the care and precision of a master gardener.

Charity captured Katya's happiness with her garden when Charity braved the cold and went outside to shoot through the window.

Friday, February 3, 2012

No Koolaid for Me

I've been reading "A Thousand Lives--The Untold Story Of Hope, Deception, and Survival At Jonestown" by Julia Scheeres. Probably most, if not all, of my blog readers are familiar with the horrible tragedy perpetuated on the people of Jonestown by the "Reverend" Jim Jones. I was a young child when that outrage happened, and even though my parents tried to shield me from the ugliness, it somehow seeped out enough that I was aware of it in a basic manner.

As I got older and learned more details, I was always impressed that I should never become a blind follower of anyone here on earth. I have not always perfectly remembered that, but the basic truth has stuck enough with me that it has protected me from a lot of trouble.

Even though according to reports, the Jonestown people drank "Flavor Aid", *not* Koolaid, the phrase meaning to not swallow blindly the beliefs of a person or organization has come to be, "Don't drink the Koolaid". Basically it's another way of saying, "Don't check your brains at the door! Think--evaluate--be careful to fact-find Appearances could be deceiving!"

And in the world of adoption, "Don't drink the Koolaid" has a lot of revelance.

So, I say, "No koolaid. No matter how bright, no matter how pretty, no matter if it's all the colors of the rainbow--don't drink it!"

(For more info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Jones )