Monday, December 29, 2008

Tom and Jerry

I was thinking today about how much Kerwin loves Tom and Jerry. He just sits and laughs and laughs. It started one day when we rented a Tom and Jerry video for him. We thought he would enjoy it because it's all action and no dialogue. He watched it over and over again. Then we realized that it was on TV on a regular basis so we started DVRing it (I loooove DVR). I will have to post some video of Kerwin actually watching the show. It's so cute.

We had a great Christmas. We visited with both sides of the family and we are now enjoying a few days at home before we all go back to school. It is so nice that Mike and I have the same breaks (for the most part) as Kerwin. It makes things so much simpler.

I am still feeling great. I am sleeping great and taking full advantage of my time to rest before baby gets here. Baby has been starting to get much more active and I can feel [her] quite often now. The first time I felt [her] kick was at Kerwin's school Christmas party. They had the music going really loud for the kids and I was sitting still watching the kids play a game and I finally felt something. I had been waiting for a couple of weeks thinking it should be any day. So I was ready for it. I go back to the doctor in two weeks. They will do another ultrasound and hopefully we'll be able to see the heart this time and get some confirmation on the gender.

Hope you had a great Christmas. We are looking forward to a blessed 2009.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Kerwin in the paper

Early on in our adoption process, a friend of ours from church, Andy Olsen, approached us to ask if he could write a story about Kerwin and our family. He was not sure exactly what would come of the article at the time. Andy followed us to Haiti last summer and has spent many hours with us documenting Kerwin's first year and a half with our family. Now Andy and his wife Erika are working for Northwest Haiti Christian Mision in various capacities. Tomorrow the article wil come out in the Lexington Herald-Leader. It will be a three-part series on the front page running Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. So check it out if you can get the paper. If not, you can see the article at

It's a girl???

I went for an ultrasound yesterday and as best they could tell everything (brain, internal organs, weight, heart rate) looks fine. Now onto the imiportant stuff. Unfortunately, our new little one was being unccoperative already. She (we are calling her a she) didn't really give us a good view of the parts but the tech seemed to think that it was a girl. I'm going to have to take her word for it because my untrained eye was having a hard time telling that it was even a baby. The heart was also difficult to see so they want to do a follow-up ultrasound next visit. So hopefully we'll have a better view next time. For now, we are registering for pink and will start to consider girl names. Yeah!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Top 10 Ways to Raise A Psychologically Healthy Deaf Child

Our sign language instructor gave us this list at our last class. I thought it was good information for us and perhaps for those who support us along our journey.

Top 10 Ways to Raise A Psychologically Healthy Deaf Child
10. Educate yourself on issues related to hearing loss. Find someone who will give you unbiased information about all options.
9. Find a communication method that your child will clearly understand. Use that communication method whenever your child is present.
8. Seek support from family, friends, and professionals to deal with your feelings about your child’s hearing loss.
7. Assume your deaf child can do anything a hearing child can do. Help your child learn to be his/her own advocate.
6. Teach your child about your family, values, and culture. Involve your child in all family activities.
5. Look for and praise your child’s strengths, efforts, and positive actions each day.
4. Teach your child about personal safety, body parts, appropriate touching and ways to ask for help.
3. Introduce your family to deaf adults and children who will be positive role models for you and your child. Include your child in social activities.
2. Participate in your child’s education. Ask your child’s teacher for ways to enhance learning at home.
1. Balance firm and consistent rules and consequences with unconditional love, respect, and acceptance.

By Lisa A. Marshall, Ph.D.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving in LA

I have arrived in LA to visit my sister for the holiday. Mike and Kerwin will be celebrating at home with his family. Mike's dad came down to stay for a few days with Mike and help pick Kerwin up from school and take care of him. We have been talking via the web cam each night. It does not work nearly as well as a video phone which we are going to have to break down and buy pretty soon so that Kerwin can use the phone. To see what I've been up to check out my sister's blog at

So far we saw a huge Christmas tree lighting at the Grove complete with real "movie" snow and a flying Santa that narrowly escaped about three major mishaps on the way down. Completely worth going to just for that. Besides that we were looking at a little TV screen (couldn't get closer to the stage) and the sound was awful so that you could only hear the singers and not when anyone was talking. It was hosted by Jon Lovitz so we just guessed what he was saying all night. Natalie Cole sang one song but the rest of the music was unremarkable. Well actually one of the groups was remarkable because they were so horrible. Yesterday I visited Rachel at work. Tyler was also working on the set of the show Bones. Tonight we will go to a Lakers game (Tyler my brother-in-law is a HUGE fan). And then tomorrow we will have our Thanksgiving dinner. I am hoping that one of my roommates from college who lives out here will be able to join us. She and her husband have a little baby boy who I have not met.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

What a difference a year makes

Kerwin is continuing to make progress with his physical therapy. I was just thinking the other day as he was standing with his ankles and knees (close to) straight that putting a before and after picture beside eachother would be truly amazing.

January 2007 at the mission
Look at those poor little feet.

Late Summer 2007 at the Visa Lodge
See how he would try to pinch those knees together for balance.

Tonight in Kerwin's bedroom

It wasn't until after his first Botox injection (May 2008), that Kerwin was able to stand up without holding onto anything for the first time in his life.

Now he is able to start and stop walking without falling, walk backwards, walk side to side, go up one step without holding on, and jump the tiniest little bit.

Thank God for this country and the opportunities we have.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

One Year Anniversary!

So here is our one year anniversary post as promised. Tomorrow Kerwin will have his second Botox injection procedure for his legs. Thankfully, this time he does not have to be casted following the procedure. We are hopeful that the results will be as good as the result of the previous injection which really helped his walking.

But in celebration of all the wonderful events of the last year, I will provide a year (or so) in review through pictures.

Kerwin at 2 years old
Our first family picture - October 2006
Barbara Walker - Miracle Worker
Summer in Haiti 2007
Grandpa Red Car visits
Aunt Rachel visits
Grandma Green Car visits
Kerwin gets his visa!!!!
Kerwin's first day at home.
We all watch as UK beats #1 ranked LSU
Second family picture
First Halloween
First Christmas
Seventh birthday
Spring break in California
Kerwin at summer hippotherapy
Vacation at the Outer Banks
Kerwin and Rolgard at the ball field

Well there's a quick trip through the last year or so. Of course there is tons that I left out. We are just so thankful that God has allowed us to be Kerwin's parents and we are so thankful for all the blessings we've received in the last year and a half. We have had INCREDIBLE support from family and friends. We have experienced bonding with Kerwin like we could have never hoped for. Kerwin has made great strides physically, emotionally, developmentally, and academically. And we have grown in faith and in numberous other ways over the past several months. Thanks to everyone who is reading this blog and who has cared about our family through this season of our lives.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Pictures from the pumpkin patch

Here are some shots from our trip to the pumpkin patch on Friday afternoon. Kerwin gets done with school at 1:00 every Friday. Mike was on fall break and I was off work that day so we took the afternoon and went to an orchard about an hour from our house. It was such a beautiful afternoon and we had such a good time. We picked tons of apples (Jonagold) which I didn't even know if they were for eating or cooking but they have been great for both. I've made two apple pies already (my first attempt at this) and they turned out pretty good. I am thinking about tackling applesauce next. Kerwin loved the play area. They had huge slides, a corn maze, a rope maze, John Deere big wheels, a swing set, a dirt climbing mountain, and "rat race." Enjoy the photos!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Can you believe this?

Check out this kid playing baseball. Is this amazing or what. I can't believe tomorrow is October. Kerwin came home on October 13th. Be watching for a big one-year anniversary post!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

And baby makes four!

...Five if you ask Kerwin because he counts the dog. Yes, we are expecting our second child. I am due around April 21st. I had my first OB appointment Thursday and everything looks good. I am feeling fine too. I am more tired than usual but I haven't really been sick at all.

Kerwin hasn't gotten into the whole baby thing yet. I think he is getting used to the idea but I don't think he will completely understand what's going on until closer to the time.

Kerwin had his first baseball game of the Fall league today. He played the whole game without his walker. He fell down a lot but he enjoyed the freedom. Rolgard and Erin are both helpers for his team so he is very excited about that.

For those of you who don't know who Rolgard is I should probably explain. When Kerwin lived in the orhpanage, Rolgard worked there in several capacities. He was kind of the guy in charge (made up the schedule, solved the problems those sorts of things). He also worked directly with the kids each day. American physical therapists and occupational therapists would come down on short term mission trips, work with the kids and then write treament plans for them. Rolgard would spend time with each kid implementing the plans that the therapists had written. The kids loved him. He gave them lots of one-on-one attention which they crave and he was the only male working there so he was kind of the father-figure for them all. So of course, Kerwin loved Rolgard. He was the only person Kerwin felt really attached to at the mission (in my opinion). Fast forward to this summer, Rolgard with the help of Erin, our friend we met last summer at the mission, has been accepted at Bluegrass Community and Technical College with plans to transfer to Jefferson Community College next year to take their Physcial Therapy Assistant program. This will allow him to work with special needs kids in the future with a background in physical therapy without having to go to school for 6 or more years. While he is attending BCTC he is living with my parents in their downstairs apartment. Kerwin has had a great time getting to hang out with Rolgard again. It is truly amazing that God has worked out all the details in this process.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Happy Birthday Daddy!

Daddy and Kerwin being "silly".

I've been looking back at previous blogs to see what was going on a year ago. Last year today my mom arrived in Port-au-Prince to spend two weeks with. Apparently in the excitement I forgot to acknowledge my husband's birthday. So this year I want to be sure to do it right. Thank God this year we will all be together for it as well. My inlaws are coming down to visit today and we are going out with my parents to eat before the UK game which I am going to with the guys (except for Kerwin who is staying with the Grandmas).

I could never have asked for a better father for our son. How important it is for Kerwin to have a loving, present, and involved Daddy. I am so happy that we have taken this journey together. I love you, Honey!

For a special birthday post here is a list of the top 10 things Kerwin and Dad do together.

1) Play baseball, football, basketball, soccer, golf, and anything else you can do with a ball.

2) Go to CiCis Pizza.

3) Go to softball practice.

4) Watch UK football on TV. (Mike watches and Kerwin plays until they make a touchdown and then jumps around and celebrates).

5) Go to the playground.

6) Read books.

7) Do homework.

8) Kerwin helps Daddy do anything from coaching softball to pumping gas.

9) Get icecream. (Kerwin always gets vanilla).

10) Play games.


Saturday, August 23, 2008

HIV Facts

This is not a typcial post for me, but for some reason I had a thought this morning as I was getting out of the shower. We committed to Kerwin knowing about his CP and hearing loss. However, we did not know what other issues we may have had to deal with but we he was ours no matter what. In the process of the adoption he visited several different doctors and had blood work drawn. Even though we didn't suspect anything to show up, we were so relieved to see HIV negative, Sicle Cell negative, and a host of other negatives. However, today I let myself think "What if?" And then I thought about other orphans living with HIV. Will they ever have the chance to be joined with a loving family an be given all the opportunities that parents fight for for their children? Well tonight, I came across a blog that I had never seen before and here this woman was copying a post she had read on the blog of a family who had adopted a child with HIV. It was suggested that each person who saw the post should tell two more, so that more people will be educated about the truth about children living with HIV. Please help educate others about this misunderstood topic.

But isn't HIVContagious?

HIV is a very fragile virus, and there are very specific ways that it is transmitted. HIV is only transmitted when the virus enters the bloodstream. This only occurs through sexual contact; through the use of contaminated needles or other sharp instruments, or receiving a transfusion of HIV-infected blood products; and from a mother who is HIV-infected to her child during pregnancy, childbirth, labour and delivery, and breastfeeding. HIV transmission does not occur with normal household contact. It is not transmitted through tears, saliva, mucous or other bodily fluids. It is considered a "communicable" disease - meaning you can't simply "catch" it. In addition, when an infected person is on treatment, the levels of HIV in the blood are brought so low that they are considered undetectable - meaning the possibility of transmission - even through contact with blood, semen, or vaginal fluid - is that much more remote.

Aren't these children going to die after their families bring them home?

Many people don't realize that the prognosis for children on treatment for their HIV is excellent. They are expected to live long, normal lives. In fact, in the west, HIV is now considered a chronic illness rather than the terminal disease it used to be. Sadly, this isn't the case for those HIV infected children living in resource-poor settings, where 50% of infected and untreated children are not expected to live past the age of two.
Is it true that you can have HIV and not develop AIDS?
Absolutely! There are over 30 medications approved by the FDA for the treatment of HIV, and more are in development. These medications bring the levels of the virus so low in the body that the virus can be considered undetectable in the bloodstream. Patients receiving treatment for HIV can expect to live long, healthy lives without developing AIDS.

What about all of the children who don't get adopted?

We recognize that adoption is only a band-aid answer. It is one small piece in a big puzzle - we are working to provide holistic HIV+ orphan care through our Hope Houses launch in Ethiopia.

What if I catch HIV from my child?

Many people don’t know that HIV is a very fragile virus. As soon as it leaves the body, it begins to die. There are no documented cases of HIV transmission through casual household or school contact. HIV+ children can (and do!) share cups, baths, pools, dishes, bathrooms, etc.! In addition, when children are on treatment for their HIV, the amount of the virus in their bloodstream can be brought so low that it is considered “undetectable” – meaning the amount of the virus in the blood, even through contact with blood, has been brought so low that the possibility of transmission has become even more remote.

What if my other children touch her blood?

Most households with HIV+ children find that this was one of their initial worries and, in fact, becomes not much of a worry at all once their kids are home together. There are very few activities where the blood of one child would enter the bloodstream of another child. Families simply train their children never to touch another person’s blood or “owies” and practice universal precautions in their homes (using gloves when dealing with blood, covering all sores with a band-aid, etc.).

What if no insurance company will cover my child?

Here’s the great news! It is a legal requirement that all adopted children be added to group insurance plans without pre-existing condition clauses in all 50 states! And many states also require that private insurance plans do the same! In addition, all 50 states have funding programs that will assist with the costs of HIV treatment within specified income guidelines. For specific information on your state's programs and insurance requirements, please request our State Fact Sheet for your state.

Here's the address to a blog devoted to bringing children with HIV home to their forever families.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Good day in Haiti!

Hi everyone,

The LCA group went to Ansefoleur for VBS today and then we walked through a voodoo temple. We rode in the back of a pickup truck for about an hour. VBS there went really well and we had a good day. Many of the kids came back and played with the children in the baby orphanage and special needs orphanage this afternoon.

Yesterday we all rode a sailboat to Tortuga Island for a VBS there (only 1 person threw up on the boat). It was very hot over there, but the kids there seemed to enjoy our VBS.

Tomorrow we will be going to the mission's main orphanage in Port-de-Paix (about a 45 minute drive). Continue to keep us in your prayers.

Mike Haake

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Hello from Haiti!

The LCA team has made it safely to Haiti. We had a long, but good day riding the bus across Haiti yesterday. This morning we went to church and did our VBS program at children's church. Everyone is doing very well and having a great time so far. Tomorrow we will be riding a sailboat to Tortuga Island to do a VBS there.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

So what's happened since the last time I blogged

We've had sporadic internet use since the last time I blogged so that and a lack of motivation on my part has led to about a month hiatus but I'm back. The main thing that has happened since I last wrote is that Kerwin now has his casts off. He had them removed this week and there does appear to be a good bit of benefit from the Botox. He is able to get quite a bit of dorsiflexion as my PT friends say. Now we hope to maintain that flexibility with stretches and the wearing of his braces. He is actually having to readjust his walking, yet again, and is still having a bit of trouble getting used to walking with the casts off. By the end of the six weeks, he was walking so well with the casts on that I thought that walking would be a breeze once they were gone. However, nothing with this(leg) process ever seems to make sense to me. Kerwin is now enjoying baths again (he's in the bath tub right now at my mom's house) and we are looking forward to swimming soon.

Kerwin has been doing hippotherapy (therapy on horseback)for the last few weeks and loves it. His favorite horse is name Shaker and he tells everyone that he gets to ride forward, backward, sideways, and standing up. He also gets to stand up and pet and groom the horse and then feed him some carrots at the end of the session. It is a great program and so peaceful in the therapy barn. It's also really great for him physically. He has to work very hard to sit up straight and stand on the horse. Last week we were really excited because his classroom teacher and her daughter came out to watch him. He has been asking about seeing her ever since school let out.

Kerwin went to two weeks of summer school/camp. He enjoyed it but came back tired, hungry, and grumpy everyday. To tell you the truth, I'm kind of glad it's over. Mike is staying home with Kerwin and doing some tutoring as a side job. I have been working some PRN this summer but I am also enjoying a much more relaxed schedule.

We are getting ready to go to the beach this weekend. We can hardly wait. I think Kerwin is going to love the beach. He enjoyed the sand so much at the Santa Monica Pier this spring. I think he'll enjoy this so much more because he will have buckets and shovels and can really build stuff with the sand. We will probably also go fishing off the pier, crabbing, golfing, and see the local sights. Hopefully, I'll have some great pictures to post after vacation!

Our friend Andy Olsen has been working on a story for the Lexington Herald Leader about Kerwin and our adoption process. It is supposed to run some time in July. I will try to let everybody know what day it will be running as soon as I find out.

A beautiful day for flying

The whole group before flying

Kerwin with headphones on

Mike actually flying the plane... AHHH!

Our house...If you've been there maybe you can find it

So yesterday I was a party for ARK Rehab, a company that I do some work for. One of the owners of the company is my friend Monica who was the one who invited me to go with her to Haiti on a short term missions trip several years ago. It was on that trip that I met Kerwin and after that trip that God called us to adopt him. So Monica will always be special to us. So anyway, yesterday we were at this picnic at the local minor league baseball team park and she asked us if we wanted to go up flying tomorrow in her dad's plane. We didn't have anything else going so we did. We had a wonderful time. Kerwin loved it and Mike even got to do the take off. He did not do the landing, thus I am here writing this blog. We got to see all of Lexington, downtown, the UK football stadium, the Legend's baseball stadium, and we even flew over our house. It was actually very easy for us to identify it since it was so clear and we were down so low. I could even see our white car parked in front of the house. I was the only one who got airsick and I spent the last half of the flight trying not to lose my lunch. I'll know better next time...Dramamine! But is was a beautiful day and a great memory. Thanks Monica and Louis!

Kerwin working around the house

We spent last weekend up in Northern Kentucky with Mike's family. Saturday, I helped trim up the doors at Mike's grandmother and great aunt's house. They had some new carpet put in the but the guys never came back to do the doors. So instead of hiring someone else to do it, Mike's dad and I cut them off ourselves. Well, Kerwin really wanted to help so we let him clean the dust off the doors after we sawed them and help carry them back inside. Then after dinner on Sunday, I went to work on a chair at their house. It had several layers of upholstery on it and the last one was looking kind of ratty. So I helped take of the ripped fabric and put the chair back together again. Well, Kerwin wanted to help with that too so I let him put all the screws back in. He loved it. He learned out to hold the screwdriver steady with one hand and turn it with the other. He was so proud of himself for helping.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Kerwin Running

I wanted to put up a video of Kerwin running with some kids at the UK baseball game. I have written about how well he was walking before the casts were on but I hadn't uploaded any video. Those of you who saw Kerwin in the orphanage will be amazed at his progress. And this is just his walking. I will have to put up some other video of him telling a story. He's signing so much now.

(I have no idea why this posted the video twice but it took forever to upload so I'm not messing with it.)

Doing better

I just read the previous post and it sounded like I was despairing. I guess I was a little. Well I just wanted to update everyone to thank you for the prayers and let you know that Kerwin is doing much better now with his casts. He is walking more normally now (albeit slower than before). His spirits are back up and he is more like his old self again.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Quick Update

Just a quick update on Kerwin's procedure. The day went great. He did wonderfully, the procedure went well and we were done by lunch time. While he was recovering a UK basketball player (Ramone Harris) came through the hospital and signed his cast.

Now we are dealing with the casts. Kerwin HATES them and wants them off and we have six more weeks. He is more sedentary and is crawling a lot. He walks really slowly when he actually walks. Most of the time he "bunny hops" with his walker rather than actually walking. I think it's just really hard for him to drag those casts around. I know he feel heavier when we pick him up. But he just isn't his old self and it is breaking our hearts. It would be better too if we could say we are 100% sure that this is what we should have done and it's definitely going to be worth it in the end but now I'm not even sure of that. Please, we would really appreciate your prayers for us in this time.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Another first

Okay this one is a weird one. Tonight was the first time in 11 months of being together that I cut Kerwin's toe nails. Due to his previous situation of no shoes, lots on concrete and lots of dragging the tops of his feet along the gravel and concrete, he had really stunted the growth of his toe nails and just had stubby little filed off nails. However, since he's been home, I have begun to notice growth. Tonight as I was putting his leg braces on for bed I realized that they (the nails) were very long and desperately needed cut. Hence, another first.

On a slightly more important note. Kerwin goes in for his Botox leg procedure tomorrow at Shriner's Hospital. He is very excited about it. I think we may have overplayed the coolness of the casts and underplayed the inconvenience of them a bit too much. I hope he is not disappointed when he realized what a pain they are going to be. I'll update more tomorrow after the procedure is over and we get home.

Also my grandma is coming in tomorrow from Pennsylvania. I am very excited about her staying with us for a few days.

More to come...

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Our brush with celebrity

On my brother-in-law's blog ( he keeps a running list of celebrities he brushes shoulders with while living in LA. Typically this is not an issue for us but while touring the Warner Brother's lot while on vacation, I did happen to see two stars who I am very familiar with. One is John Stamos of Full House and more recent, ER fame. I and my mother-in-law are huge ER fans so this was a BIG DEAL! He was extremely nice and immediately came over to shake Kerwin's hand and to talk with him. He asked if we wanted to take a picture and he didn't really have to twist our arm too much before we agreed. Then after that excitement who should drive by but Kelsey Grammer of Cheers and Frasier. He was shooting a WWII movie on the lot and i was definitely not given permission to take pictures of him. There are very particular about what you can and cannot take photos of at the Warner Brothers lot. They actually lock you camera up while you are riding the little cart so you can't take pictures of anything unauthorized. That's why Mike's dad had to go sprinting back to the cart to retrieve the cameras so we could get the picture with Stamos. Anyway, the WB tour was great, I recommend it. Our guide was Tanya from Australia. She was cute and fun. Oh, and I we also toured this museum on site that has a whole floor dedicated to Harry Potter. It had lots of props from the movies. I'm a fan of the books so that was fun for me.

Pictures from WB...

This is were the monkey "Marcel" on Friends shoots his movie with Jean Claude VanDamme

This is the barber shop from Adam Sandler's upcoming movie. The premise sounds ridiculous like all of his movie's I guess. I'm actally a bit of a fan.

Us and John.

Us on the Friends couch.

This is Luke's diner from Gilmore Girls, another one of my all time favorites. FYI - When this picture was taken, Kelsey Grammer had just driven by dressed as Patton. Ha!

More pictures from Cali

Santa Monica Pier

Playing "Chicken" with the waves

Kerwin being Kerwin

Driving the cars at Disney...very serious business

The obligatory Mickey picture

More Disney...