Saturday, December 12, 2015

A Story To Be Told

So here's the long difficult story. I've been compiling this post in my head for quite sometime now. So many of you ask "Why are there so many pictures of Coco?" "Where's Livvy?" "Why doesn't she have her own Instagram page?" I've been a Mom for 19 years now and when I carried that beautiful blond haired little girl over the threshold into her new life I had no idea the heartache in store for us.  Our journey began when we boarded that flight in Kiev Ukraine at 6:00 am on Tuesday.
We didn't land in Sacramento until 10:42 Thursday morning. That's almost 48 hours and Livvy screamed 47 of them. Nothing we did consoled her. She hated the feeling of our arms holding her. She wanted nothing to do with us. She would literally peel our hands from her body. Our saving grace was that we had first class tickets donated to us so we had room to lay a blanket down at our feet and let her mindlessly rock to sooth herself. At sixteen months old she weighed only thirteen pounds and had the muscle tone of a one month old. I was secretly relieved to not hold her because it broke my heart to feel her malnourished  tiny body.  Even more heartbreaking was that she'd rather be on the filthy airplane floor than to be comforted in my arms.
I was sure at the time that this was all simply because her whole world was turned upside down. She was mourning the loss of the only caregivers she had ever known. Orphanage #5 was her home. Her comfort. She was treated well there. I won't go as far as saying she was loved, but she was cared for. I will always be grateful to her nannies for sustaining her life.

 As the hours slowly ticked by in that airplane, I felt helpless. I have comforted 5 babies before Livvy.  Each one had their own very unique personality but I always knew what they needed and I knew at the end of the day everything would be okay. Each night, as I watched their eyes close I marveled in the miracle of motherhood.  It  was different with Livvy and I knew it right from the start.  She never allowed herself to find peace with anyone or anything. The only time she seemed to be "happy" was when she was alone in her crib rhythmically rocking.  To this day she has scars and frequent open wounds on her forehead. These are a result of the never ending battle against those demons that force her to find comfort in banging her head on her crib, the floor or even the concrete on her school playground.  It's devastating.
The months leading up to the glorious day of Livvys freedom were filled with such hope. I could not wait to scoop her up in my arms and rescue her from the place that held her prisoner for almost two years.  For months after we came home, 
there were always the same excuses..... "She is still emotionally recovering from orphanage life." "She has so much lost time to make up for." "She'll turn that corner soon and become more like Chloe."  Don't get me wrong, she has come so far. She's thriving in school, she is slowly learning to communicate, and most importantly she's learning how to be appropriately comforted. When I walk into her room in the morning, I am greeted with the most beautiful smile. When I pick her up she snuggles in and lays her head on my shoulder. It's a brief moment in time but I soak in every second! She's learning to love and be loved and that's a huge milestone for her.

 Livvy has recently been diagnosed with Autism and along with that diagnosis came a few answers but there are still so many questions I have that I'm afraid will remain locked away.  I so desperately want to reach in and pull my beautiful baby girl from that body that holds her captive. She's trapped in there. I see glimpses and although they're fleeting they're all the fuel I need to keep reaching for that miracle.  

We have a very long road ahead with Livvy and I know it will be filled with potholes, fender benders and plenty of road rage but I wouldn't change it for the world. She is perfect and she is mine.

Like I have said 1000 times before, I don't blame Olivia's birth parents for leaving her at that hospital. They gave her life and because of that and the heart wrenching decision they made to walk away from her, my life and our family is complete.

Although I started this post months ago, the urgency to get it done became apparent when I learned of one my favorite adoptive family's plan to add a beautiful baby boy to their magnificent family!
Baby Noah is about 7 months old and because he was born with Down syndrome in a country where most see imperfection as curse, he was abandoned.  He now waits alone in an orphanage crib. He's one lucky little boy though because little does he know he was destined to be a prince in house of 6 gorgeous princesses (7 counting his amazing Momma:) The Cox family was the very first adoptive family that I followed start to finish.  Sweet Mia's face is forever etched into my brain. I watched their Fairytale unfold right in front of my eyes and it was one I will forever hold in my heart.   It's my mission to help the Cox family rescue their Prince.  

Even though it was out of my control, I will always feel tremendous guilt for not getting to Livvy sooner.  With each passing day in that orphanage she slipped farther and farther away.  I will always wonder, what if I just fought a little bit harder?  I'm sure it would have made a huge difference in her quality of life today.  I never want Kecia to have those what ifs.  Noah needs to come home and my Livvy Girl is going be his guide.

Please join me on this mission! Let's get baby Noah home! Here is Kecia's blog:
Kecia is a captivating writer and they are having an awesome Christmas giveaway!  Make sure you go way back and see Mia's story.  You'll never be the same.

Feels good to blog again! Maybe I will dedicate this as Livvy's place to shine... That's what she does best. Shine.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Happy Birthday Olivia❤️

 As I sit here and watch this beautiful blond haired blue eyed almost 3 year old proudly toddle herself around her glorious world,  a piece of my heart breaks.....  Her name is Tatiana and tonight, I feel very close to her.  She is Olivia's Mother. I know many of you will correct me and tell me that I am her Mother but Tatiana is the one that carried her, loved her and nourished her for 38 weeks.  She gave her life and loved her enough to courageously walk out of that hospital on February 9, 2011, alone.   She knew Olivia needed more than she could give her and only the heart of a true mother could go through that much hurt.  It's because of this, I will forever share my cherished role as Olivia's Mother with this amazing woman.  I have had the very special privilege of being in contact with Olivia's birthfather and I'm comforted tonight by the fact that he knows how much she is loved and that she will be celebrated over the next two days like the princess she was born to be!   Olivia's parents wanted her.  They loved her.  They gave her the name Olga.  They baptized her and devoted her life to Jesus.  They gave her away not because she wasn't perfect.  They gave her away because they did not have the means to care for her.  They knew of the hopes of international adoption and held tightly to their faith knowing God would step in.  And he did just that!

Olivia will be home 2 years in May and continues to bless us with her unimaginable joy!  Tomorrow we will celebrate her 3rd birthday (2nd birthday home) and we are going big!   So a huge HAPPY BIRTHDAY to our beautiful Livvy Girl and a giant THANK YOU to all of you who helped us rescue this angel and bring her home!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Big Plan.....

As we say hello to our home here in Kaiser for the very last time the true meaning of "bittersweet" is so clear to me. These walls surprisingly hold only the most beautiful days for our family.  Days filled not only health and healing but the most incredible feeling of love.  Love that lurked far beyond the fear and agony watching our beautiful girl go through some of her darkest of days...And she has had her fair share!

Very early on in this terrifying Cancer journey it was difficult to see this "Big Plan" that everyone spoke of.  How in the world did a plan so grand take the most beautiful perfect child and physically destroy her?  Not a day went by that I didn't beg him to come up with something different.  An altered plan, one that didn't involve the pain and heartbreak of Chemotherapy and it's wicked side effects.

As the hundreds of days in the hospital (yes hundreds) ticked by, each brought with it a refreshing start, a new beginning for us..  A mouth sore would heal, old bruises started to fade, a new hair could be spotted growing in and probably the most incredible of all, new lifelong friendships were forming!

Our family has grown over the last 7 months and we will never ever forget the love, support, compassion and incredible care that you all have given us.  Our hearts are full!  Thank you Kaiser Roseville for saving our girls life and providing us the strength we needed to get through each and every day...  We love you!


  Miracles were happening all around us and Chloe was responsible for all of them!  When anyone made the decision to walk through those double doors into her isolation suite, little did they know that they had just been sucked into a world that would change them in ways they never knew possible.  She radiates happiness and it's contagious!  She demands people to see nothing but beauty.  I love that tucked underneath  all the amazing chub, camouflaged within her, is an extra chromosome!  She allows everyone the opportunity to fall madly in love with everything about her.  The fact that she has Down syndrome (and Cancer) does not define this girl!  Chloe has taught us all how to look beyond what is so very visible on the outside and see what it means to have a soul so full of joy not even the most toxic poison could darken it...

 Chloe has been the inspiration for so many people, this tiny girl is changing lives!!!  We have people running marathons biking 100 miles around Lake Tahoe, losing weight, restoring their faith in God, adopting orphans, one sweet lady who has been following along on our facebook group has even quit smoking because of Chloe!  There is even a blood and bone marrow drive in Chloe's honor this coming April!  How awesome is that?  Gods perfect plan is all beginning to make sense...  Because of my sweet girl, lives will be saved!  He knew Chloe had it in her to fight like a soldier and be the change in the world he needed!

This chapter of our crazy lives is coming to a beautiful end.. We thank you all for all everything you have done to help us along the way!  The meals, the childcare, the carpooling the shoulders to cry on and most of all, the prayers! Our beautiful Chloe Bea will be home for good in a few weeks and what a celebration that will be!  See you all on the other end of the Cancer journey...  The SURVIVORS end!!!

Here's a few more pictures of our last weeks home together!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Olivia's Fairy Tale

With all that's going on these days it's very easy to get seriously sidetracked but hidden between her sisters chemo treatments and blood transfusions the most amazing Heaven sent angel girl exists..

 With God as her editor, Olivia has written her own beautiful fairy tale and we feel abundantly blessed to be the main characters. I could never put into words the complete joy this miracle girl has brought into all of our lives. Thinking about the last 5 months of our lives, one would think that our days have been consumed by the agonizing fear that only a cancer diagnoses could bring but honestly, because of Olivia, only continued faith and hope occupy our thoughts! This entire fiasco was perfectly planned and it started with the birth of Miss Chloe Bea. The timeline of events from the day of her birth leading up to these seemingly endless hospital days were orchestrated by God with the most impeccable timing. Had Chloe not graced our family, our hearts would have never lead us to Olivia. Had Chloe been born with the "perfect" number of chromosomes, our hearts would have never led us to Olivia. Had we discovered that Chloe's mutated cell was producing those defective platelets just one week earlier, our hearts wouldn't have allowed us to move forward with Olivia's adoption and this amazing little girl...

...would still be alone.  The thought of that breaks my heart.  Nothing about the last 28 months of life for the Herrington family is a coincidence. The good, bad, and the ugly; it was all part of a heavenly fairy tale with the most glorious of happy endings... Olivia's story has touched endless lives and sharing her with the world has proven to be an inspiration for many more Fairy Tale endings...  Enjoy her incredible beauty...

As for Miss Chloe, what can I say?  She's doing great and spreading happiness throughout the world, LITERALLY!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Happy Halloween:)

Happy Halloween!  It truly was a happy day.  A tad nontraditional but happy none the less.  Surprisingly, there was not one single moment of sadness today.  Sure, it stung a little waving to my tiny gnome through the window as my elevator door closed, but catching her 2000th kiss and seeing her smiling eyes peek above her mask made it all okay somehow.  Chloe is  my strength, my rock, my complete and total sunshine.  She is the reason that I am able to catch my breath every morning as I drive into that hospital parking lot.  I learned from Chloe early on in this seemingly impossible journey that not even something a huge as cancer stands a chance in Hell when it comes to the joy that this beautiful angel spreads.  She is contagious, addictive, unbelievably unforgettable and her wicked dance moves are not be reckoned with.  She has danced her way into the hearts and souls of pretty much every staff member at Kaiser. From the house keeping crew to the oncologists, she has truly changed lives... Including mine.  Her spirit cannot be broken so I have no choice but to hang on and ride out the storm with my girl and ya know what????  It's proven to be the most "perfect storm".  Scary and completely unpredictable but absolutely perfect all the same.  Believe me, I have had serious words with my main man upstairs.  I have thrown myself on the floor of that hospital room on several occasions and pleaded with him to find some other way to execute his "plan".  Any plan that involves his most perfect creation violently vomiting blood can't be a productive one.  Right?  Honestly, I haven't even come close to being able to answer the, "why my Chloe Lord", but I have made peace with the fact that Chloe is exactly where she needs to be for exactly the right reasons.  I'm confident that it will all be crystal clear soon enough and I'm willing to wait... So is Chloe!

She is doing great!  She handling the Chemotherapy like the warrior she has always been and she is blowing everyone away with her strength.  Round 3 is starting on Friday and on Monday we will be officially halfway there!  Sadly it looks as though we may be in the hospital through February but that's okay.  We are doing just fine!

Miss Livvy Mae is absolutely amazing!  She is growing up so fast and reaching those milestones like a rockstar!  She will be cruising around in no time and I don't even want to imagine life with the two of them running through my house!  I can't wait!!

Halloween took on a whole new meaning this year...  Witnessing Livvy enjoying her very first Trick or Treating experience tonight was an incredible gift.  Wow!  Think about her last Halloween:(  I did and it brought tears to my eyes.  Happy tears!  My sweet, sweet cheetah Girl!

 Hopefully I'm getting back into the blogging groove!  Time will tell:)  I do have a Facebook page called Chloe's Corner that I do daily updates and post TONS of pictures on.  Please find us and join in!  

Monday, October 8, 2012

A Quick Update

Let me first apologize for falling of the face of the earth.  Life these days in our newly discovered world of cancer is extremely time consuming.  As most of you know (at least those who still wander back to my blog) our precious Chloe Bea was diagnosed with Leukemia while we were in Ukraine.  She is currently going through intense Chemotherapy.  We are in an isolation room in the hospital for the next 5 months:(
 She is amazing and handling the chemotherapy like the warrior princess we all knew she was!

Now for Miss Livvy Mae!!!  To say she is thriving would be a huge understatement... She is absolutely the joy of our lives!  3 months ago she couldn't hold her head up without support and today she is crawling around the house and getting into everything!  

 Chloe and Livvy are the best of friends and we cannot wait for the day when we bust her out of this hospital!


I promise to try and update again soon..