This little blog of ours is constantly proving to be very powerful and much bigger than an outlet for my emotional ramblings! When we began our CaringBridge, it was in response to the overwhelming outpouring of support and concern for our family those early days at Riley. It was a way for us to communicate what what happening medically with our little gal. It became a way for us to document those days and capture our raw emotions as we shared it with you all. Not only that, but it served as way for you to communicate your prayers and words of encouragement to us. I still remember sitting on that couch in the ICU with Chad each evening, reading your comments, humbled by your messages. There were so many beautiful words from friends, family, friends of friends and people we have, nor ever will, meet. We were amazed by how Elena's story was touching peoples' hearts all over the world.
I'm still amazed at how Elena's story continues to spread, reaching people across the country. Just a couple weeks ago, I was in tears over a recent comment on the blog from someone, who knows someone, who knows my Mom. I can't express how much it means to receive those comments and to know that one more person is rooting for Elena. Gosh, that girl is LOVED!
This week, a package arrived on our doorstep with an adorable knit hat, just in Elena's size. It was from a family, who heard our story, that runs an organization called Fishies of Hope. The family honors their son's life with this project. I can't think of a more beautiful way to honor a child than to share hope with another family whose child faces difficult circumstances. We often underestimate the meaning of letting a person (even a stranger!) know that someone is thinking of them. We also received a heartfelt note from them. They wrote, "The world is watching your faith as God leads you down this path. You are an inspiration to families everywhere." Gosh! It made me realize that this blog is so much more than just a little blip in the internet-universe. Elena's life was changed in an instant and because of that, she has touched the hearts of so many. We share her story of resiliency, our story of faith and hope. This 'lil blog has helped show us that no-way-Jose are we alone! Not only is God present in our every day lives, but so are all of you! We honestly feel your prayers. We thrive on your encouragement. God is using Elena to touch your heart, and in turn, use you to comfort ours. Wowza! That Big Guy, he really does know what He's doing!
I love being able to share with you what exciting progress Elena continues to make. Slowly but surely, many of your/our prayers are being answered. Lately, Elena has been on an upward swing. Just in the last month, we've seen big improvement in her vision. She has been looking at lots of different colors (she used to only look at black/white and gold). When she looks, I feel like she is REALLY looking and is able to sustain her glances longer than the 1-2 seconds she had been doing. We've seen her trying desperately to touch the objects we show her too. I know she WANTS to touch things, but struggles with "motor planning" which basically means her brain telling her body (arms/hands/legs) what exactly to do and how to move. It'll come. She'll get better. We're already seeing improvement. She's learning to understand us better too. She knows what to do when we ask her to "look at Mama or Dada". She understands the words "bites", "hands", "drink", "stand-up". Even though she can't communicate verbally with us, she shows us that she knows what we're asking of her. She was up on all fours the other day! I was so wishing she would just take off across the floor, crawling! It is just so exciting for us to see her achieve these "inchstones". Every little new thing she does is a miracle in itself. We're just so darn proud of her!
I will end this marathon post with a few prayer requests. We often get asked about "specifics", so here ya go!
-Pray for continued improvement in her vision, this is HUGE in her development! And so painstakingly tedious for us to work with her on.
-Pray for continued motor improvement, especially with her arms/hands
-Pray for her hip. Hip dysplasia/dislocation is very common in kiddos like Elena and the tightness of her left side is already showing some potential issues with her left hip. We'll need a miracle here to prevent future hip surgeries/complications.
-Pray for head growth. Elena's head grew 1/2in at her last Pediatrician appointment after a year of nothing (YAYAYAYA! and it wasn't her hair!). Keep it growing!!
This is one amazing little girl I have. We are so, so very thankful for her and her life. Chad and I were talking the other day that it honestly feels like we love her immeasurably more every single day. She is so special. I can't wait to tell her one day about all of YOU, who have loved her and prayed for her every step of the way. Thank you for continuing to follow our story and for continuing to think of our family. We are forever grateful.
Elena got her 4th Haircut today and STILL had enough for pigtails :)
Elena and Daddy are playing a game we use to get her to work on eye contact...this night she thought it was hilarious :)