Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Here's the follow-up letter from Smile Train regarding the awards:
Hi, I got back from Hollywood at 2am last night and my ears are still ringing from Sunday night when they announced… …“And the Oscar goes to… Smile Pinki!” You could hear the deafening roar and wild cheering from Hollywood to Bollywood and everywhere in between. This is a great moment for all of us who are part of Smile Train… and the “cast” of The Smile Train consists of more than a million people. It’s a great moment for our incredibly hardworking and dedicated, TINY staff of 43 people who do the work of 200 people! For all the members of our Board of Directors, Board of Governors and Medical Advisory Boards who have spent many years keeping The Smile Train on the right track. For our 1,200+ partner hospitals that are on the front lines every day providing more than 300 free cleft surgeries EVERY SINGLE DAY! For the 5,000+ surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists, speech therapists, dentists, orthodontists, social workers and other healthcare workers who through their hearts and their hands give each and every one of our patients the safest and highest quality care possible. For our 1,000,000+ donors and supporters who have been so generous and kind and loyal. None of this would have ever happened without their donations.
Most of all, this is a great moment for the millions of children in the world who are suffering with clefts. Waiting and wondering when and if anyone is ever going to come along and help them the way we helped Pinki.
With all of this massive publicity and exposure, good will and good wishes, we will be able to help MANY more children MUCH FASTER than we ever dreamed.
And we aren’t just going to help MANY more children… we are going to help ALL of these children.
To all of you who have helped make The Smile Train possible I say thank you, thank you, thank you.
This Oscar is for you.
And for all those millions of kids with unrepaired clefts out there who are waiting for help, I say hold on.

The Smile Train is on the way.
All the best,
Brian Co-Founder/President
P.S. To see the Smile Pinki trailer, please check out our web site http://webmail.west.cox.net/do/redirect?url=http%253A%252F%252Fwww.smiletrain.org%252Fsite%252FR%253Fi%253DSEPwNNL_Bx8vR8CAA1EdFg...

Sunday, February 22, 2009

And the winner is....

Smile Pinki won an Oscar tonight for Best Short Documentary!!
This is so exciting and makes me hope that Smile Train will get more publicity and therefore more money which means more surgeries for these kids who need them.
Thanks for watching!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

All Aboard the Smile Train!!!!

This email came to me a couple days ago and I HAD to post it. So many of you have donated to Smile Train in honor of Jordan (no money goes to us - it all goes to Smile Train for children in developing countries to receive surgery) so I had to let you in on this exciting thing. For Jordan's first birthday we wanted to raise money for an organization that would repair clefts for kids who can't afford it. We discovered Smile Train and chose them over all the other organizations because 100% of the money raised goes to children who need it. No overhead, no organizational or corporate fees. 100% goes toward the surgeries. I totally fell in love with Smile Train and their staff as I dealt with them setting up the fundraiser and even afterwards. I've lost track exactly now but in lieu of gifts we (our wonderful friends and family) raised more than $2,500 for Smile Train in "honor" of Jordan. That means that in Jordan's name there have been 10 children whose lives are changed forever! I can hardly write about it I get so excited.
I recently got an email from one of the staff members who went on a missions trip to help with surgeries and I got chills - I want to go so badly and I want to take Jordan with me to talk to the families and to relieve their fears and allow them to meet Jordan and to see photos of her experiences, recognizing that it's not a curse or a cause to be ashamed or to hide your child away. Someday I'm hoping that would work out but for now I'll keep reminding all of you readers that there is a great need here and you can always donate. We have two friends from church, Alison and Cheyenne, who still regularly donate in Jordan's name. I'm so touched every time I get a notice that they donated again.
Please check out the link to this documentary that's up for an Oscar and let's pray together that it wins in order to get more awareness out.
Here's the recent email about the documentary:
Believe it or not, this Sunday night, an 8-year-old girl from a tiny village in India may win an Oscar for The Smile Train.
Smile Pinki, a film about The Smile Train, may just win in the documentary short category.

Little Pinki, the star of the film, has flown all the way from India to the U.S. so that if we win, she can go up on stage and show the world her new smile as she holds the Oscar high! She would not only be the youngest person to ever win an Oscar, but also be a shining symbol of hope and inspiration for millions of children who are suffering with clefts. Desperately poor children who have been crying themselves to sleep at night for years, as they wait and wonder if anyone is ever going to come along and help them.
If you get the chance, please try and watch what may be the most important moment in Smile Train history: Sunday night on ABC, at 8:00pm EST. They tell us this category is shown on TV early in the broadcast which is good because Pinki has to be in bed by 9!

Watch out Angelina and Kate Winslet - Pinki and her new smile may very well steal the show Sunday night. She was in our office yesterday in New York and everybody on our staff fell in love with her. We are so proud that she will be out in Hollywood representing The Smile Train and helping raise awareness for all the children who need the surgery she waited six long years for. Doctors and nurses from more than 1,000 Smile Train partner hospitals in 75 of the world’s poorest countries will also be watching and rooting for Pinki.
You can watch a 3 minute trailer of Smile Pinki right now at our web site www.smiletrain.org and you can also register to find out where you can view the movie or get a copy of it.
If you want to help us, please forward this email to all of your friends and colleagues and ask them to watch the trailer and watch the broadcast too. The more people that watch the better! And what a great way to introduce folks to the work we do.
For years we have been telling donors like you how miraculous this cleft surgery is and how it totally transforms the lives of the children who receive it.
But that being said, the story of Pinki just takes my breath away.
Question: How does a little girl living in desperate poverty in rural India, who didn’t own a pair of shoes when we met her, end up in Hollywood walking the red carpet and getting on stage in front of hundreds of millions of people?

Answer: She takes a train.
Thank you for helping us help Pinki and the hundreds of thousands of other children whose lives have been changed thanks to The Smile Train.
None of this would be happening without your support.
All the best,

Brian Co-Founder/President


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

We're Home!

Here we are in recovery - it was really nice to have Noah there for an easy surgery. He was so sweet and when she was crying after surgery he kept rubbing her head and even offering her his new Lego jet. He was concerned but not consumed and he was able to help by carrying her suitcase and comforting her so I think it was a GREAT idea for him to be there.

Waiting during surgery - my mom reading a book. Shan's parents have been there for every surgery but they were both really sick today so they couldn't come. I'm sure it was hard for them and we missed having them but hopefully they'll be better soon and can come visit.

Shan playing Legos with Noah while we waited.

Jordan with the baby Vicodin starting to take effect. :)

She kept asking for Noah and he was so happy to see her when he got to wait for a bit with her before surgery.

Wow - we're home and eating lunch. I can't believe how quick and "easy" that was. Doctor Jones was able to leave some of her fibula (shaving the bone graft off the leg bone rather than taking a section of the bone) so it will grow back together quicker and will be less painful. He also said that the thumb worked out better than expected and he hopes she'll have a bit more mobility than he thought originally. There are small pins on the end holding the new bone to the small chip of old bone then a pin going straight through the entire length of the thumb. She's in a splint thing that is half cast half bandage with her fingers poking out. Her leg is in a cast from her toes to her knee. She did great during surgery and also recovery. We were warned that toddlers, typically between two and three get quite angry and aggressive when they're coming out of anasthesia but she did well. At first she did great but then got a little made but holding her and rocking her helped. She really does best as long as she's being held. They gave her a local anasthesia for the hand and leg and also sent us home with a prescription for Tylenol with Codeine. She'll be in the most pain tonight into tomorrow. She's on the couch watching t.v. and about to go down for a nap...along with the rest of us. :)

Monday, February 16, 2009

T'was the night before...

Okay the kids are in bed, things are set out and this is the earliest I've been almost ready for bed. Usually I'm heading to bed around midnight to get up at 4. I'll give you the scoop then get to bed.

The surgery is set for 8:15 tomorrow morning (Tues 2/17) and should only take an hour and a half. She'll recover for a little while then we'll go home. Yes, you read that right - we'll go home. If all goes according to plan she might make it home in time for lunch. Isn't that strange? It's outpatient and that's the way it goes but we're glad because it's one less day of insurance co-pays and less chance to be exposed to the germs that live in hospitals.

Tonight the anesthesiologist (spelling?) called to check in with us. He asked if she is healthy. Shan told him about the cold she got this week - he talked to us a bit about it, asking lots of questions and said that he'll have to assess her tomorrow and decide if he'll be able to do the surgery. It really was a minor cold - no fever, no chest issues, typical 3-5 day pattern for the common virus. Regardless, he sounds quite conservative so we are praying that we will be able to go through with it, safely of course.

My mom took us to dinner at Cheesecake Factory tonight so the kids got to run around at the mall and play on the playground. They had a total blast and it was a great night. Thanks Mom! :)

Every surgery seems to take more of an emotional toll on Jordan and I can already see it. She was really weepy tonight and kept saying "No owie!" in the bath and pointing to her foot. She understands what is going on so as she gets older each surgery gets harder. It's also more sad to me (us) each time because we know that it's hard for her to have to sit on the couch for another six weeks after just being done with three months in a cast. We just feel sad for her I guess. Noah also seems really clingy tonight and actually followed me out when I was putting the car seat in. He kept asking where I was going, where I was taking Jordan and why he couldn't go with me. That's not typical of him - he's been keeping his eye on us all night. It'll be good for him to go tomorrow and see that it's no big deal.

As you go to bed and wake up please pray for us to be able to have the surgery as planned. Pray for wisdom for doctors as they decide the type of splint/cast to use and as they do the surgery. Pray for the best outcome physically and for Jordan emotionally. Tonight as she was in bed, upset she asked to pray again. I love seeing her find comfort in talking to God and I pray that these experiences will be a time of God drawing her to Him so that she will learn out of habit to trust in God until she repents and fully puts her faith in Him. Also pray for contentment on our part regardless and for us to bring glory to God during stressful times.

We'll post tomorrow afternoon during naps some pictures and updates.

Thanks everyone!! :)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!!!!!!!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

My Cup Runneth Over

I've been reading and re-reading a little book called A Gospel Primer for Christians Learning to See the Glories of God's Love by Milton Vincent. It's a short little book that reminds us the gospel is something we must preach to ourselves as Christians daily rather than something we share with unbelievers then forget about. I was recently struck - actually knocked over by something in this book (okay so I'm exaggerating a bit here but it was a big aha moment). :)

Page 47 Thankfulness Enriched by Relief

"The more absorbed I am in the gospel, the more grateful I become in the midst of my circumstances, whatever they may be.

Viewing life's blessings as water in a drinking cup, I know that I could discontentedly focus on the half of the cup that seems empty, or I could gratefully focus on the half that is full. Certainly, the latter approach is the better of the two, yet the gospel cultivates within me a richer gratitude than this.

The gospel reminds me first that what I actually deserve from God is a full cup churning with the torments of His wrath. This is the cup that would be mine to drink if I were given what I deserve each day. With this understanding in mind, I see that to be handed a completely empty cup from God would be cause enough for infinite gratitude. If there were merely the tiniest drop of blessing contained in that otherwise empty cup, I should be blown away by the unbelievable kindness of God toward me. That God has in fact, given me a coup that is full of 'every spiritual blessing in Christ' and this without the slightest admixture of wrath, leaves me truly dumbfounded with inexpressible joy. As for my specific earthly circumstances of plenty or want, I can see them always as infinite improvements on the hell I deserve.

When I look at any circumstances that God apportions me, I am first grateful for the wrath I am not receiving in that moment (The empty part of the cup never looked so good!!). Secondly, I am grateful for the blessings that are given to me instead of His wrath. (Life's blessings, however small, always appear exceedingly precious when viewed against the backdrop of the wrath I deserve.) This two-layered gratitude disposes my heart to give thanks in all things and it also lends a certain intensity to my giving of thanks. Such a gospel-generated gratitude glorifies God, contributes to peace of mind, and keeps my foot from the path of foolishness and ruin."

The bold sentences are ones that particularly stand out to me. This section of this book has not left my mind all week. The scriptural references throughout it are:

Revelation 14:10

Psalm 75:8

Psalm 116

Psalm 23:5

Ephesians 1:3

1 Thessalonians 5:18

Philippians 4:6-7

Romans 1:21, 22, 28, 29

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I'm Still Here

Jordan with her new shades (although we were at South Coast Plaza they are NOT designer :) ).

"Man it will sure be nice when I have my new thumb so I can get this candy out!"

Noah with his candy necklace ever so serious and Jordan being her usual silly self.

Sorry it's been so long since I've posted but here's the latest:
Jordan's next surgery is set for Tuesday Feb 17th (this coming Tuesday) at 7:15. They will confirm the time soon hopefully. My mom is flying in as usual for the week, I think Shan's parents are going with us for the surgery and I am pretty sure we'll let Noah join us while we wait this time. We are trying to let him be as involved as possible to give us the chance to make it fun for him rather than scary or something he's removed from. At the same time we are trying to be sensitive to the fact that he is only 3 1/2 so we limit some of the things he knows. We'll take his favorite donuts and a movie for the laptop. Amazingly this surgery is outpatient so we're hoping to be home by naptime. Strange.
Dr. Jones will take a small piece of bone from Jordan's fibula (spelling??) - the outer, lower leg bone and he will pin it to her thumb. Right now the thumb on her right hand has the lower bone up to the first knuckle. Beyond that she has a tiny chip that is not really attached to the other bone, it's floating near it. Because of this her thumb bends all directions with no stability, as if it were just skin. Hopefully this bone graft will stabilize and lengthen her thumb so she has a pincer grasp. There is a decent chance that the bone won't take and pretty much a guarantee that the bone graft will wear away after several years and have to be redone. How many times can it be redone? I'm not sure but I'm guessing not too many. I really have no idea the long term results. All we know is that by roughly three years old the brain decides what works and what doesn't so the timing is good for the surgery now.
This is Jordan's fifth surgery in two years and we expect another ear tub surgery and another face surgery by the time she's three (seven surgeries total by three years old). Each surgery seems to get more difficult even though they are less severe. The first two included multiple surgeons and every limb and her head but she was a baby then so the emotional aspect didn't come in to account as much yet. She is now quite fearful of doctors, she understands that a surgery is coming up, she gets weepy and emotional approaching surgery and afterwards struggles more with the limitations (no walking etc.). In the same way with Noah, every year she becomes more and more a part of our family and we grow more in our love for her and appreciation of the way God created her and the gift that she is to our family. Although we trust in God's plan for her life it still gets harder to again face the risks of surgery and to see her through the recovery.
You can pray for us if between now and then and we'd be so thankful:
- Pray that Jordan would get over her cold and be healthy enough for Tuesday.
- Pray for my mom as she was recently diagnosed with Cataracts (on top of another problematic eye disease she has struggled with) and also for her this week as she deals with the loss of her brother-in-law (her sister's husband died). On top of that she has a stressful job that she will be trying to focus on a bit while she is out here for the week helping us.
- Pray for our trust in Lord before, during and after surgery.
- Pray for God to uphold Jordan and to use trials to draw her and Noah to Him, eventually for them to come to repentance and faith.
I'll post more as it gets closer to confirm the details.
Thanks for checking in after my long absence. :)