More big news, but first the bad news...
Dave and I have been looking into buying a house in the Dallas area. We have been researching (with a lot of help from Paula and others) schools, commute times/expenses, neighborhoods, cost of renovations, etc, but we unfortunately found out last Friday that because of our growing medical expenses along with our other debt (student loans, credit cards, car payments, etc.) that there is no way that we can be pre-approved for a house loan. This was a huge blow to me because we have never been denied for loans for financial reasons, or any other reasons before. I have always felt that we were good stewards of money, and that we were responsible. That is not to say that we never experienced rough financial situations; however, my gracious in-laws have always been willing to help out (though it was and has always been incredibly humbling to me to accept money, but I will be the first to admit that my pride needs to be knocked down a few notches at times. I am still learning that I can't do everything perfectly, and sometimes when life gets tough, one just HAS to ask for help.) At any rate, this news was difficult to take in, and it honestly made me angry, and when I get angry, I cry. I felt like all of the work I put in on my 'five-year-plan' of graduating with a master's degree, and buying a house, and getting a fence, and adopting a dog for my son (and future sons) and being able to provide for my family was for nothing. A complete waste of time. In 2 1/2 weeks, we would be homeless, and we wouldn't be able to buy a house and we wouldn't be ready for Emmett and Owen to come home from the hospital because what we can afford in rental property will be approximately half the size of our current home, and at best, we would be able to find a 2 bed/1 bath apartment in our price-range, and how were we going to fit 6 people into that, and we have to give up our sweet puppy-dog and cat, etc... Home ownership was a huge deal to me, and we had just given it up when we signed the contract for our house to be sold. Now for the silver lining: We are not giving up what we thought was important for ignoble reasons.
Dave put it into perspective for me: At this time in our life, we can choose a house, or we can choose our family. Which is more important? At this point, my pea-brain realized that my family is more important than owning a house with a fence and a dog. No one can take away my education, so all-in-all, I might feel like this is a set-back, but it is just a re-focus of what is really important in life: God, family, friends. The end. Stuff is only clutter, and can be gotten rid of.
So. We are onto plan 'b' - Renting. Downsizing. And doing so with a grateful heart. I will say, though, that finding a place to rent is the easy part of the process.
Now to the good news. The boys are 4lbs 12 oz and 4lbs 10 oz. By the time they are born, they should be just over 6lbs each! The maternal-fetal specialist said all is well, and we are now looking at delivering between 36 and 37 weeks! The high risk O.B. brought in a calendar and asked me to pick a date between the 17 and the 19 of July. We settled on the 18th of July. A few moments later, he came back in and rescheduled it for July 12th because the maternal-fetal specialist had serious doubts as to whether I would make it to 37 weeks! So, July 12th at 12:00 p.m. it is, which will be 36 weeks and 1 day. That is less than a month away! In addition, I am to begin weekly appointments to continue monitoring the boys. Dave and I have a care conference with a multi-disciplinary team tomorrow, and then I will be back next Thursday (June 21) for more appointments, and then again the following Thursday (June 27), and then we close on the house the next day (June 28th).
And then two weeks later, we are giving birth to our two special boys.
And our lives will never be the same again. :)
More big news, but first the bad news...
I have been asked by several individuals if there is a way that they can contribute or donate to help us make it through this very difficult time in our lives. My mother-in-law (Mom Carol) has been working very diligently with a team of individuals who specialize in setting up accounts for situations like ours, and they have set up two bank accounts with trustees. One of them is through a tax-deductible account, and one is for those who do not necessarily need a tax-deduction receipt. Mom Carol wrote a letter that she has sent out to many area churches with the information included at the bottom of the letter. So, I am going to include this letter in the blog to add a grandmother's perspective on Emmett and Owen's situation.
Dear Family, Friends, and Neighbors;
I find myself outside of my comfort zone, as I think about the words I need to share with you. My family and I are living with hardships that we thought would never be.
My husband and I, Dean and Carol Ezell, live in Sherwood, Arkansas. God added us to His church family many, many years ago. We presently worship with our Christian family in the Sylvan Hills area in Sherwood. We have loved and worked with this part of God’s family for about seven years now. We have four children: two born to us and two brought to us by our children through marriage, our daughter and her husband, Tris and Sarah (Ezell) Gale, and our son and his wife, Dave and Jenni (Tindle) Ezell. By God’s will, He has made us grandparents to four beautiful children; Ethan (age 6), Helena (age 3), Maggie (age 18 months), and Liam (12 months). Again, God’s will has most recently brought us two more beautiful grandchildren who are yet to be born (twin boys - still in their mother’s womb). This gives us a total of six grandchildren, four boys and two girls. Needless to say, we are very blessed parents and grandparents: four wonderful children and six precious grandchildren - but said anyway, with great thankfulness to God.
It was with the news of our coming twin boys that the testing began: testing of emotions, fears, wisdom and understanding (or lack of them), joys, and faith. When our son shared the news of twins, we were overjoyed. Some weeks later, we learned that they are little boy twins and again we were overjoyed. Very soon after that, Dave and Jenni told us that the twins are conjoined from the xyphoid process down to their belly buttons. It was at this moment of awareness about our newest grandsons that our emotions, our thinking, and our lives changed. What we presently know is that the twins share a liver and the small bowel. We also know that both babies have small heart issues that may or may not resolve themselves (may require reparative surgery) and there still may be other health issues that we won’t even know about until the time of birth. Even at this moment, I cannot get my thoughts and emotions around the bigness of this reality. All I have to hold me steady are family, friends and my spiritual faith. Now I ask you to think how much bigger this is for our children (my heart aches for them), parents of two sweet boys (Ethan and Liam) and, Lord willing, soon-to-be parents of two more little baby boys. God, please help our children and help us.
Jenni , mother to our baby boy twins, is keeping a journal of their lives from the moment they knew of their twin’s existence. She and my son have built an internet blog of these records and have made this history available to all of us. You can find and read her journal words at theezelltwins.weebly.com. My precious daughter’s forethought to make her journal public has both saved us from repeated emotional tears and has kindly helped our family and friends to understand this great change in our lives.
Now I step out of my comfort zone to do what I can do to help my children and grandchildren. I realize that I cannot change this reality. What I can do is to ask the Great Physician, God, to help us moment to moment.
To somewhat grasp the bigness of our reality, I can tell you that there is high risk of death in the delivery of our twins (for the babies as well as their mother for she is a Type 1 diabetic). If the twins survive birth, then there will be six to nine months for the twins to remain in the hospital before they will face separation surgery. There is also great possibility for individual surgeries for heart repairs in both babies, as well.
Our reality is too big for us alone, but my faith assures me that God has got this. So again, I do what I can do. I ask for your prayerful support and financial help for my children in regards to Owen and Emmett Ezell, our twin boys (our grandsons). We are thankful for any amount of money gift you can help us with (please refer to the enclosed instruction sheet for all donations). Presently, David and Jenni are packing for the move from Oklahoma to Dallas, Texas where the babies will be delivered and cared for over the next several years.
Thank you for whatever help you can give. May God bless you all.
Dean and Carol Ezell
Date: June 2013
RE: The Ezell Twins Fund Raising Accounts
Two accounts have been set up (with the assistance of Jim Akins Law Firm in North Little Rock, AR – tele: 501-834-2478) to receive charitable donations on behalf of Owen and Emmett Ezell (The Ezell Twins):
Account #1: This account has been set up with the Bank of America and titled “DAVID AND JENNIFER EZELL FAMILY SPECIAL NEEDS TRUST”. This account will accept all donations (but will not issue a receipt for your gift for tax deduction purposes). This account will serve well for smaller gifts being given.
Instructions: Write check to “Ezell Family Special Needs Trust” then send to:
44 Ridgewell Road
Sherwood, AR 72120
Account #2: This account has been set up with the Arkansas Child Fund Inc. for larger donations (i.e., corporate/business) that need a tax deductable receipt.
Instructions: Write check to “Arkansas Child Fund Inc.” then send to:
44 Ridgewell Road
Sherwood, AR 72120
Wow! A lot has happened in the past two weeks, and the timing couldn't have been better!
First thing is first.
My mother-in-law, who is one of the most compassionate and patient people I have ever met in my life, along with many of her co-workers and companions from River City Ministries Medical Clinic and Homeless Shelter in LIttle Rock, AR hosted a ginormous garage sale to benefit the ministry and the twins. And when I say ginormous, I mean it. was. huge. We had to borrow a neighbors garage because Mom Carol's garage/drive/front lawn was not big enough! On Thursday night, during set up, it stormed and we were under a tornado watch, which put us a little behind in gettiing things ready for morning, but we somehow managed to start selling things at 6:00 am. We had people coming in the house because it was still raining outside! By about 10 am, the rain had gone away, though the clouds had not, but luckily, the rain held off until mid afternoon. We shut down for the day, ready to reopen on Saturday.
Saturday turned out to be even more rainy than Friday, but they were still able to sell quite a bit of stuff! I did myself in on Friday, so I was not much help on Saturday, I mainly babysat my boys, and rested.
At any rate, the garage sale was a huge success, and the people that I met/re-met from River City were wonderful! They worked very hard to pull the event together, and I am so grateful to all of them! Needless to say, they are good people, with huge hearts, who willingly do God's work, and I am so thankful for their dedication and time! It was because of them and our God that the garage sale was successful!
Part two of the good news is that Dave and I got an offer on the house, and after a few rounds of counter-offers, we have a signed contract! This is a huge relief, as the twins will be here no later than 7 weeks from yesterday (June 6), if I make it to 38 weeks! I will be spending my days packing and packing, and more packing! (For those of you who are concerned with the moving part of the packing process, I only pack boxes, and Dave gets to move them to the garage when he gets home. Lucky him!)
We could not be more pleased about finally selling our house, though we are still feeling the crunch for finding a place to live once we get to Dallas. We close on the 28th of June (3 weeks from today), and next week, I have more appointments in Dallas! Dave and I will be house hunting next Friday, and hopefully, we will find something that will suit our growing families needs!
So, you ask, why in the world am I typing on the computer instead of packing?!
Until next time, God bless you all, and keep you in his grace!
One last thing -
Here is the website for River City Ministry, in case you have never heard of it. They do God's work in the Little Rock area, and good volunteers are always welcome!