Monday, March 26, 2012


Sorry that I am having to address this on my blog, but I have no other way of contacting you.  No, we were not able to complete our adoption, and no one is more upset about that than we are. Devastated doesn't even begin to cover it. I can guarantee you, any money donated to us was used for adoption fees/costs. Not ONE cent was used for any thing not adoption related. We paid $30,000 total for our adoption. I can tell you that approximately $27,000 of that came out of MY pocket. If you would kindly email me your address and name, I can get you a check out in today's mail to refund your donation. jackjujam at is my email address.

I will share something else that I intended to keep to myself. We donated a large amount of money to various foundations (such as International China Concern), several families that were in the process of adopting, as well as a couple of random people that needed help financially. We felt it was a way of "paying it forward" for the donations we received. We were not able to track down the handful of people that donated to us to refund their money. We thought the next best thing was to give it away to people in a similar situation, the orphan and the poor.

I will be looking forward to your email. If you could also tell me the amount of money you donated, that would be helpful. Like I said, I insist on refunding your money. Thank you so much for making bringing light to the way you feel. I hope it helps you feel better to have it off your chest.


I would say within an hour of posting my last entry, I knew what my decision was! We are going! I am so excited! Julianna is, too! She is such a good traveler and so "go with the flow",  I was never really concerned about her being able to handle it. My biggest concern was the logistics and having only been to China once, I wasn't sure how to work it out. Last time I went, I had someone take care of every detail and I was never really alone. This time, I will be on my own to some extent, so I just wanted some seasoned travelers to chime in!

Thanks so much girls! I knew I could count on you! I am going to be making our travel arrangements today or tomorrow! Count down is on! THREE WEEKS!

Now to address my "anonymous" friend that commented on my last post. It's funny to me that you said you have been reading my blog for a while, and "have never seen someone with so much doubt". Hm. I find this interesting. Clearly, you haven't been reading my blog as long as you think. Doubt is not really something I struggle with. I have a relationship with my Father built on trust.  In my previous post, I was merely asking if timing/transportation, etc, sounded realistic. I don't typically travel around the world alone with a 7 year old. I wanted to be sure that it was physically possible. Once I found out that I would make my already scheduled flight out of the country, it was a no brainer. I just wasn't sure if the timing could all be worked out. I have literally a 24 hour window. I have a flight leaving for Singapore scheduled early Saturday morning. So, I need to be in Hong Kong Friday night. I wasn't sure if planes, trains and automobiles (and crossing a border) could make it a possibility in such a narrow window of time. You also mentioned that I am "so blessed by this opportunity and don't even realize it"... I know a "few" people - such as my friends, my pastor, my family, my waitress at lunch yesterday, the guy in the Walmart check out, among countless others that would argue that you are wrong. See, that is also a part of faith - I don't "doubt" this is a huge opportunity and a huge blessing. One that I am incredibly grateful for, and have been preparing for, for some time.

Maybe you should find another blog to read - clearly mine ruffles your feathers too much. Good luck with finding that perfect person/blog though - there aren't many of us out there that do not have moments of insecurity or fear. Keep in mind that most bloggers (I would even dare to say ALL) are human and may momentarily have periods of doubt, despair, etc. You may have to reach deep down to encourage someone in a kind manner if you are going to comment. If you find you can't do that... feel free to keep your comments to yourself.

Saturday, March 24, 2012


I know most of my bloggy friends are adoptive mommies. I need help from you guys! Well, I need help from anyone that could consider the orphan rather than the inconvenience.

Here's the sitch:

I will be spending my time in China with the volunteers/workers of International China Concern. I have mentioned them in the past, but just as a reminder, they are a faith based organization that devotes their lives to special needs orphans of China.

They have graciously offered to allow us to travel to the orphanage and see the work they do, and love on the children (!!!!!!!!!). Be still my heart. Ok, anyway, here is the concern - we will be in Yangshuo. Their closest orphanage is in HengYang. It is a 6 hour train ride. My cousin, Shane, will not be able to travel there due to his speaking schedule. There will be two other girls with us (and Julianna, my 7 year old.). I am unsure if the two girls will want to go to the orphanage or not. I can go without them, if they don't want to go.

Here is where the advice needed comes in... the schedule would be leave late Thursday night to take the overnight train from YangShuo to HengYang. We would arrive in HengYang at 8:45 am. Spend the day in the orphanage and catch the speed train in the evening to Shenzhen. We would then have to cross the border into Hong Kong. So in a course of 24 hours, it would be two trains, work in a orphanage and cross the border.

Is this something that sounds reasonable to do alone? Will it be an ok idea to do if the other two girls accompany me? Or is it something that is just too much to try to accomplish in a short period of time?

I am worried that *this* is my chance - the whole reason I have been on this journey for 5 years. To care/love show Jesus to little ones that need it so desperately. My parents are adamant that this is ridiculous to even consider. Honestly, it hurts my heart that they can't see the big picture, but whatever.

I wanted someone's advice that has been to China. Someone that can be realistic, while considering my heart for these little ones.

Ok... Flood me with advice! PLEASE!

Thursday, March 22, 2012


Where did I leave off??? Oh yeah, the procedure and recovery!

I went to my "consultation" appointment on Thursday (the 23rd of Feb). I really felt "consultation" was a little misleading.  The "screening" was more what I thought the consultation would be like. The appointment on Thursday was 3 hours long. They did every test known to man. I have decided they need to rename their appointments - the first appointment should be the consultation. The second appointment, should be the pre-operative appointment. Too bad they didn't ask my opinion. LOL.

Anyway, I was really holding my breath during that three hour appointment because I was afraid the doctor would tell me that I really wasn't a good candidate. At this point my mind was made, and to turn back would have been so sad! Anyway, all went well that day, and he cleared me for surgery.

So the next morning, I got there at 9:30. I was told I was the first surgery of the day, so I wouldn't be there very long. They took me back immediately and began to prep me. The prep was really just rechecking the measurements from the day before, cleaning my eye area and putting in lots of drops. When I say lots of drops, I don't think your mind can truly fathom how many.  LOL. I felt like my eye balls would look like prunes when we were done.

Right before I went in the surgical suite, the doctor came in and "marked" my eyeball. Truly weird to think about. I guess it makes sense though... they do that for other surgical procedures. Anyway, next thing I knew, it was my turn!

I went into the surgical suite and got comfy on the table. When I laid (lied?) down, the technician game me two stress balls to hold. I have to be honest, that scared me worse than the procedure. I kept thinking, why do I need stress balls? And I going to be stressed? The doctor came in at that point and got started.

Initially, they taped my eyelashes down. Weird. Then they gave me more drops. They used this little retractor thing to crank open my eye and to prevent me from blinking. Let me say that this was the most stress inducing thought before the procedure. The thought of not blinking for any length of time freaked me out. I would "practice" not blinking before I went, and I never made it more than a few seconds. I couldn't wrap my mind around how I could not blink. I was also worried about seeing everything they did. Obviously, you are wide awake during the procedure, and the thought of "watching" it all completely unnerved me.

Well, I have to tell you not blinking is a non issue. They are using so many drops, you don't feel the need to blink. Never once did I think, man! I need to blink! Another thing that still seems odd to me, is I never really saw anything they were doing. I don't know if it was because it was so close or what, but other than shadows and a few colors, I couldn't make anything out.

Once he got my eye taped down, and cranked open, he cut the flap. I am not sure why he cuts the flap and other doctors create the flap with the laser, but it didn't seem to really make a difference. One person suggested the doctor was using an older method, but based on my research, that isn't the case. I guess it's just preference. So he used this little disposable blade to cut open the flap. He told me at this point, everything would go black for a second. Praise God he communicated with me, because that was a little scary. It went away after a few seconds though. Once the flap was cut, he positioned the laser.

Keep in mind that up until this point, there was no pain whatsoever. I mean none. No discomfort either. I could feel them doing stuff, but no different than lightly rubbing your eye. When the laser came on, I got nervous again because, well, because it's a freakin' laser. I could see a faint flashing red light and a morse code type sound. It literally lasted 30 seconds. Then it was done. DONE. One thing that may bother some people was the smell. It didn't bother me though, because I have been to the dermatologist enough to know what that smell is. It isn't a bad smell, just a burning smell. Ok, let's not linger there.

He then programmed the laser to the do the second half of my treatment. Remember the "double card" treatment? Once he programmed that in, the laser came on for another 30 seconds and it was done. They flushed my eye really good, put the flap back over, took off the tape and it was finished. It took literally 4 minutes from start to finish.

The right eye proved to be a little more difficult, but I don't know why. He explained it to me, but I didn't really understand. This time, it did hurt a little, but not because of the procedure. What hurt was the instrument used to create the suction (to keep your eye from moving). The suction itself didn't hurt, but the instrument hurt my cheek a little. That didn't happen on the first eye, so I really think it was a fluke.

Anyway, otherwise same process. Over in less than 4 minutes total. When they were done, they sat me up and walked me to the exam room. At this point, I could see pretty well as far as the acuity was concerned, but the quality was not good. Every thing was very cloudy. My depth perception was wonky too.

He looked at my eye really good, gave me more drops and sent me on my way. I was instructed to go home and rest my eyes for about 4 hours. At this point, I could see the eye chart around 20/40.

I was home eating lunch by 11:30. Like I said before, I was in the surgical suite no more than 10 minutes. While I was eating lunch, I was checking my email via my phone. I had no problems reading anything.  I took a 4 hour nap and felt great afterward.

When I woke up, things were still pretty cloudy. I could watch tv ok, it just wasn't great. Even though it was cloudy, I had NO pain or discomfort. When I woke up the next morning, I could see pretty well. I actually drove myself to the post op appointment. At that point, I was seeing 20/15 in the right and 20/25 in the left. My right eye was still cloudy, and as it turned out, it stayed cloudy for about a week or so.

I have to be honest, I looked awful. I had two huge red bruises on my eye balls. For about a week, my vision wasn't very stable. In fact, I was starting to get nervous. I really felt like my depth perception should have been better. Things like stepping off curbs and looking out over a distance was very... weird. I worried that it might be my new normal. Sometimes it would be very blurry, but then it would clear up. On Monday morning, I called the office. The tech told me that was completely normal and was expected.

I could drive fine, read fine, watch tv fine. It was just off - I can't really describe it. Well, on Monday a week later (10 post op days later), it was like night and day. I woke up and all of the issues were gone. The way the doctor explained it to me was like this - my brain had adapted to having my old vision. To change it drastically like that, my brain had to catch up. Kind of like getting a new prescription in your glasses, except worse. The worse your vision was going in, the longer it would take to stabilize. Makes sense. So 10 days post op and it was awesome. I mean really awesome. I felt like I was in a dream. It's been almost 4 weeks, and I still find myself reaching for my glasses!

With both eyes open, I can see 20/15. However, my left eye, which was the worst, is only at 20/25. I can choose to have an enhancement if I want. At this point, I am not sure. He said to give it 2 more months. It takes that long to really stabilize. We will see. 20/25 is still darn good, I think. As easy as the surgery was though, it would be a shame to not do it again, if it will make it perfect.

Sometimes, there is pain in the right eye now, but it is because I am not using the lubricating drops like I am suppose to. LASIK makes your eyes incredibly dry, so for 2 months or so, you have to use moisturizing drops a few times a day. When I forget, my right eye starts to burn a little from excessive dryness. Drops make it feel better though.

So that's it. I have had the best possible experience. I would recommend LASIK to anyone that is considering it. It has literally changed my life. Besides the obvious gift of SIGHT, I am more confident. I can do things I was unable to do before - like swim, watch 3D movies and actually wear the glasses, lay (lie?) on the couch and watch tv, wear sunglasses, etc...

If you are considering it, I would highly recommend it. Do your research though, and make sure you go to a reputable doctor. If you find a doctor that offers a two for one deal, or like a $500 per eye price, I would probably find another one. LOL.

The surgeon I used has a great, informative website. Maybe you could start there - Lots of good info!

So that is it. All done. All good. Best decision ever!

Just a little funny - Brad's vision is perfect. So perfect in fact, when we went for our physicals, the doctor asked him to read the smallest line he could on the eye chart. He said, "Um. Copyright 1995." PUNK. He could actually see the copyright on the very bottom corner of the chart. I swear that day, I wanted to punch him straight in the throat. Whatevs. Then, as if that wasn't bad enough, he said to me after my surgery, "Hm. Michele, do you think if I got LASIK I could read like 20/5? Or do you think I could see smells? How about see through time?"  I had to walk away. Seriously. What a punk. I told him he just felt bad now that I could see as well (although probably not as well) as he could. We now have contests in the car seeing who can read the road signs the quickest. Just for the record - I am giving him a run for his money! LOL!

Monday, March 19, 2012


In the fall, I began noticing that my eye sight just wasn't as good as it used to be (which wasn't saying much, honestly). I made an appointment with my doctor in December for an exam. My vision actually hadn't changed at all, so he told me that I didn't need to update my glasses. Y'all, I have worn glasses my entire adult life (20+ years). I longed for the freedom of wearing contact lens, but my astigmatism prevented me from wearing soft lenses. While they do make contact lens for people with an astigmatism, they didn't really offer much for people with an astigmatism as bad as mine.

*Pet Peeve Insert* I just have to add - when people say to me, "Oh, yeah, I have a BAD astigmatism!", while they were wearing the newest, coolest, extended wear disposable contacts. If your astigmatism is "bad", you can't wear soft contact lenses - and you most certainly can not wear the disposables.

Carrying on... So, I talked to my doctor about contacts. He told me that he could put me in soft lenses, but my vision would not be 100%. He didn't recommend them at all. He did suggest gas permeable lenses, but warned me, while it would correct my vision 100%, they are extremely uncomfortable and hard to get used to. I was determined, so I said I would give them a try.

So I get my new contacts, and I was blown away. My vision was so crisp and clear. My visual acuity was about the same as with glasses, but my quality of vision was drastically better. I didn't know what I had been missing for so long. I instantly fell in love with them and swore off glasses forever.

Until a week later... I got this weird "film" over the lens, that went away when I cleaned them, but came back almost instantly. It was as if I was looking in a bathroom mirror and some one turned a hot shower on. It gradually started to fog, until within minutes, it was completely covered and I couldn't see at all.

We tried multiple types of gas perms. We tried every solution under the sun. The only option after a month and a half of fighting the fog, was to go back to glasses.

It was heart breaking. I had to go back to vision that was not great, after seeing so well for a month (when it wasn't foggy!). No more cute sunglasses. No more pretty eye shadow. No more head bands. I was so sad.

After talking to Brad, I decided to go for a LASIK consultation. I had been told so many times that I didn't qualify, but I thought surely with advances in technology, I might qualify now.

I decided to use a doctor in my hometown, Charleston, because well, I am always looking for a reason to go home. I pack my kiddos up and we head down.

I had my screening and they did all kinds of measurements. When it was over, I was told that they did believe I would be a candidate, but I would require a "double card" treatment. Turns out, I technically do not qualify, however, there were ways around it. I actually was nervous because this "double card" treatment sounded kind of shady.

I came home from my screening and researched LASIK to death. The double card treatment is actually not FDA approved in America. However, it is ok in other countries. The jest of what double card means is they program the laser to correct half of your vision - like half of the prescription. When it's done, they re-program it to finish the prescription off. Basically, you are getting the procedure done twice. A lot of doctors aren't willing to do this - but a lot are. It is proven to be a safe way to "get around" the limitations of the laser machine. The doctor I went to has done 1000's upon 1000's of procedures, and a lot of them requiring the double card treatment.

The more I researched, the more I felt this was a completely safe procedure and the only way I would ever be a candidate.

So I called the office and scheduled my surgery! They were super nice and willing to schedule my 3 hour pre op appointment on a Thursday and surgery the next morning, so I wouldn't have to make two trips to Charleston.

So I was officially scheduled. All I had to do was wait for the big day!

Stay tuned for part two. The procedure and recovery.  In case you are wondering why I am blogging about this, it's because I so want to share about my experience. I want to journal it all while it's fresh in my memory. I hope that maybe someone will stumble across my blog that can benefit from my experience. When I was researching, I would have really liked to read a blog with first hand experience.

Also stay tuned for another blog post about my latest in-depth bible study from Shane Willard Ministries. Shane continues to blow my mind with presenting the bible from a Hebrew perspective. To truly understand the bible as it was written, you must understand the euphamisims of that time. I tell you, I have never considered this stuff before, but it opens the bible up in a way I never knew possible. I can't wait to share about the video I watched last night. Just to peak your interest, here is a quick summary:

The goat has left the building!

Now don't you want to come back and hear more? Believe me, you do! If you can't wait, check out Shane's website!


Probably not, eh? It's been TWO months since I blogged. I am a blogger failure.

Well, I have a lot to share and a lot that I want to record for myself, so I guess I better get busy. My main reason for posting tonight though, is to tell you guys that I am leaving for China in 4 weeks!

I know that seems like a long time now, but it will fly by! I will for sure be blogging about our travels. I am sure I will have tons to share. I am so excited I can't stand it!

So I will be back, soon! Like I said, there is so much I want to blog about!

I doubt I have any readers left, so it may all be just for the sake of journaling, but I will still be back!