Teens, Technology, and the Internet

PARENTS OF TEENS – Most students in school today are using an electronic device such as a notebook or laptop to study or do homework. I love technology and have worked in the field for years, but I am also aware the dangers that exist for the innocent and untrained who are given boundless privileges to reach content that isn’t suitable even for any adult. I hope this post stirs up an awareness of the reality our children face as well as to offer encouragement.

The truth is that 100% of children and teens who access the internet have the potential to see explicit content at any moment. Most have already encountered pornography by the time they reach junior high. This breaks my heart and motivates me to take a stand to protect this generation. We cannot be naïve to think that just because our kids are "good kids," they wouldn’t look at that if given the opportunity. What kind of activity happens on your child’s mobile device when they are away from home or in their room at night? What about that tablet they got for Christmas that has a web browser and a multitude of web apps that connect to your home Wi-Fi? What about an Xbox that has a web browser and a YouTube app? Where does your child go? How about when your child rides the bus to school and views content on another student’s device? We can’t just assume they are making the right decisions or just hope they won’t stumble.

Do we hand over car keys to an 11 year old and release him or her to take it for a spin and figure out how to drive on their own? No, we want them to be trained, responsible, and prepared for that privilege. The same thought process should apply when we buy that new iPhone or Android tablet. We as parents should evaluate whether our children are ready for the information super highway. Provide your child with clear expectations of their use of the device they’ve been given. Also, have a discussion about pornography along with music and video games have explicit content or mature ratings. I believe that what we allow our eyes to see and what we hear can impact our heart, relationships, and lives. Once in our hearts, there will be an increased desire to fall deeper into sin. Scripture tell us that “from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man unclean” (Mark 7:21-23).

The truth is that there is an enemy loose in this world who wants to kill, steal, and destroy us and our children. Though technology is great, it is a vessel that the enemy can use to lure us in for the kill. Pornography is an epidemic that will impact our child’s behavior, how they respond to authorities, their pursuit of God, the husband or wife they become one day, and the way they respond as a parent.

I fear for those parents who aren’t aware of what their child can do on electronic devices. I certainly am concerned if you don’t care or just “trust” them. If you love your child, you will protect and educate them. I want to encourage you to stand in the gap for your child, defend their innocence, and gain victory over the battle that is present and ongoing. If you are on board for this effort, there are really 2 approaches.

APPROACH 1. LOCK DOWN – This is simply protection mode when your child is younger and you want to prevent them from accessing inappropriate content. This could also be used if your child has messed up and needs to have access limited.

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For PCs (Microsoft Windows):

· Establish a Microsoft Family Safety account (https://account.microsoft.com/family) and link their computer accounts to their family account with Microsoft.

· On the computer, only use Microsoft web browsers. Setup your child’s Windows account with Standard permissions so they cannot install new apps or browsers.

· Within Microsoft Family Safety, only allow them to access websites you have “approved” for them. This will prevent them from reaching any site except for those you’ve defined.

· Within their Microsoft browser (Edge or IE), make it easy and bookmark those approved sites.

· If your child requests access to a site, you can add it to the approved list and bookmark it.

Microsoft Family Safety Screenshots

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Mobile Devices / Tablets

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· Setup a Pin or password that is required for installing new apps. Don’t allow anything to be downloaded or installed without an app store password. With this, your child will have to come to you for permission to install the new app. Research and learn what the new app is about before you just install it.

· Inactivate web browsers (ie, Safari) from being used at all.

· Remove video streaming apps such as YouTube that provides the capability of accessing any video content.

· If video apps are desired, try something like Netflix where you can see activity of videos accessed easily.

APPROACH 2. ACCOUNTABILITY – This approach is for teens up to adults who have been prepared or trained on appropriate internet use, but just need to be held accountable. We are currently using this approach with our 13 year old. It has been a process for him to reach this point, but as a parent, you know when your child is ready after some lessons have been learned and many discussions have been had. There can be some aspects of approach 1 brought into this as well. For instance, you may decide to still block YouTube and/or Facebook until your child has passed a time period in the accountability phase with little issues.

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This approach typically involves a regular exchange between the parent and child regarding the child’s progress. Accountability focuses more on monitoring another’s activity and responding when there are incidents.

There are some solid organizations that have developed software for accountability, but some have flaws. X3Watch and NetNanny are popular products in the internet accountability space, however when I used them, I felt that they lacked some controls, features, and didn’t do well with recording all the locations my child travelled while using any device. Covenant Eyes (http://www.covenanteyes.com/) seemed promising to me, but it was quite expensive. I appreciate this company as they approach this from a spiritual perspective and ministry. They are tackling the root cause.

For PC Users, Microsoft has developed their Family Safety platform to record websites visited along with application usage. This option has a nice web interface, but I still feel it isn’t catching all the detail of my child’s time online. Maybe this will improve with time. It can limit and monitor the amount of time a child use’s a device.

I wanted to be sure I was collecting all activity and being presented with regular communication relative to my child’s internet usage. I came across Qustodio (https://www.qustodio.com/), which can not only block pornography and accurately monitor activity, but it can monitor time spent on social media and track text messages and calls. So far, I have been impressed with the product, which is free except for the social media and text/call modules. Typically it is an annual fee that covers any family member and any device, which is very affordable.

PC Users – The agent will be installed at the computer level and will run for any Windows user who logs in. The only thing I’m not certain about is whether it will differentiate activity among different children. You can add new children to your account, but it seems that the software was designed to apply to a specific child per device. My recommendation would be that if you have a computer or tablet that everyone shares, place it or require that it be used in an open area such as a living room, assign the device to an adult in Qustodio, and monitor activity. If there is concerning activity being reported, then you can have a family discussion to address it. The Qustodio agent can be seen in the Windows taskbar, but it cannot be stopped without one knowing the Qustodio account information used to login to the family web portal.

Mobile Devices – There is an app for Qustodio that you need to install on your child’s device. Search for Qustodio in the app store on your child’s device, download, and install it. I honestly haven’t used this yet as our 13 year old as he doesn’t have a phone yet. Side note – just because all of the other kids have a smart phone doesn’t mean your child has to have one. Provide one when you are both ready.

I did install Qustodio on my own mobile device and feel that it does what every parent needs it to do in the accountability situation. You will have to go through the prompts and indicate which child this is for or add a new child after verifying your Qustodio account on the device. There will be an app that appears on your home screen after installation. This can be deleted, but the “Configuration Profile” remains running in the background and cannot be stopped without the main Qustodio account information. There is a constant VPN connection established with Qustodio servers for activity and location data to be shared up to Qustodio servers for you to be able to see your child’s activity in the family portal. The constant connection also will allow you to locate your child and lock down their device if needed. You may have to watch your mobile data usage to ensure this doesn’t eat up your allotment of shared data.

Regardless of your platform, you will receive daily reports about your child’s activity. Be sure that you review these and regularly discuss the findings. Rewards would be a good idea to present a child who has made it through a week with a clean history. Don’t be quick to judge or inflict harsh punishment immediately upon finding a result. Have an even tempered and open discussion with your teen allowing for feedback from them about their activity and choices. Here are some screen shots from Qustodio for you to review followed by my closing remarks afterwards.

QUSTODIO SCREEN SHOTS

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CLOSING REMARKS

I’ve given some practical ways you can protect and train your child as they encounter technology through the Internet. I urge you to take the next step and adopt some of these practices or applications. I am concerned about the state of kids’ hearts today and their future if they are consumed by the dark cloud of sexually immoral content. Again, consider the web as a city with busy highways, streets, alleys, and corners. There are a lot of good roads to travel, yet there are some dark and dangerous alleys that our children can stumble down. The reality is that once travel that path, they can get trapped. Take a stand and redeem the situation. It’s not too late.

I can make myself available to answer any questions you have or need help setting up any of the software or monitoring tools. Most importantly, be in daily prayer for your child and God’s protection over their eyes, ears, and hearts. Find me on Facebook or email (john@wiggsworld.com).

Surgery Scheduled

Our reason for posting Juan Pablo’s journey has been to allow friends and family to remain updated with his progress and to share specific prayer needs.  Emily and I desire to be as transparent as possible while allowing the story of God’s love in his life to be told understanding that his consent has been given for the content shared herein.

Just 3 months ago, Juan Pablo underwent surgery to insert skin expanders below his jaw line on each side of his face.  We remember how brave and confident he was just before anesthesia.   We, of course, were a little scared, but trusted God would deliver him through the surgery.  The time between the updates received from the OR nurse as to the progress of the surgery is still fresh in our minds.  The Lord, who was near to JP at his infant accident in Guatemala, had also been faithful to inspire this procedure and deliver him through it.  After being in the recovery room for a couple of hours, he was transferred to a private room in the burn unit.  While there, he met a couple other children who had been burned and saw the equipment used to treat patients with burns.  I believe he connected the devices and mechanisms to the need of severely burned skin just like his.  God had connected us to Riley Children’s Hospital to learn of this new procedure and surround us with experienced and friendly medical staff.  JP was comforted alongside by his Mama and Papa, grandparents, and of course brother Sam, who is seen below about to bite into his brother’s IV tube.

100_3577 JP and Sam together after surgery.

We knew Juan Pablo was progressing along when he was able to keep down food and prop up his hands to play video games provided by the burn unit.  Just like being at home!

Before being discharged, he wanted to take a picture of himself without the bandages to see his stitches..

100_3605 Upon arriving home, he rested by the company of his best friend Mala…

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Due to the delicacy of the expanders, Juan Pablo has been restricted to only light activity.  We agreed that it would be difficult to harness his 8 year old energy level, but thought that having the surgery during the winter season  would be the safest.  Each week, a visit with the plastic surgeon would be necessary to fill the expanders.  Since the initial surgery, we’ve gone to Riley about 12 times to have JP’s expanders filled a little each time.  He has done so well during each of the appointments, which consist of medical staff evaluating the expanders, then inserting a small needle through an internal port of each expander.  A syringe of saline is given in various amounts up to the point that Juan Pablo is in pain.  A helpful tool that has been used during the expansion visits is an iPad loaded with tons of games.  As JP receives the injections, a Child Life Specialist sits with him and the tablet to shift the focus of the pain through the distraction of a game.  Everyone was surprised how quickly he was cruising up the levels of the games he played.  No shocker to us, but I have a feeling he’ll be asking for one of those for his next birthday.

We’ve had a couple scary moments just weeks after the initial surgery.  Juan Pablo’s neck began to swell.  The first time this happened, we took him to Riley’s ER when an on call surgeon drained the excess fluid from his neck and tested it to find that it was not infected, but only that his body was probably just responding to the new foreign objects present.  Outside of this, JP hasn’t had any trouble except for some pain after receiving the injections.  We’ve trusted the Lord’s presence with our boy through one of the biggest moments of his life.  Our prayer has been consistent in that God’s best for JP would be done, he would continue to have a compassionate heart, and the testimony of what Jesus Christ has done in his life would speak of His goodness and love more than ever before. 

With Juan Pablo’s consent, here are some pictures of him from the past months since his surgery, which shows his progress:

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So, now we are ready for surgery, which is scheduled for Tuesday, March 22nd at 11:30 AM.  During this surgery, the new skin that has been expanded over the past several months will be stretched up and set in place of the scarred skin located just below his eye line, around his face, and down to the chin.  We are all excited about this change for Juan Pablo.  He is especially ready to get the expanders out and comments often that he is excited for his new skin.  God led us to JP because of his burns and we will miss that about him.   Our response has always been that we love him and see beauty just as Jesus sees him.  Though the outward appearance will change, his heart and identify as a special child of God will remain.

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Here are some specific ways you can be praying:

  • Wisdom and guidance for the surgeons, nurses, and other medical staff involved in the surgery.
  • Comfort from the Holy Spirit in Juan Pablo’s heart before and after the procedure.
  • God’s will and absolute best for JP
  • Perfect peace for myself, Emily, and our entire family as we release and commit everything to the Lord as we trust Him
  • Little to no pain for JP as he awakes in recovery
  • The healing process would be quick and effective.

Buckner Today Article – Bringing Home Juan Pablo

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An article was recently compiled by Buckner friend, Jenny Pope, which was published in their Buckner Today magazine (Winter 2011 issue).  We were interviewed while visiting the Buckner campus last fall during a family vacation.  It was JP’s first trip to Buckner in Dallas.  The article accurately details our journey to adopting Juan Pablo to the miracle of coming home as a family. 

To view the article in PDF version of the magazine, click the link below and go to page 33:

http://www.buckner.org/downloads/bt-winter-2011.pdf

The web version of the same article is located at:

http://stories.beafamily.org/index.php/2011/02/juan-pablo/

 Haiti Update: One Year Later

Road to Surgery

It’s hard to believe that five years ago, we first set eyes on our future son at an orphanage in Guatemala.  It was the scars on his face that God used to move our hearts toward adoption.  When Jesus asked, ‘who would I choose’ for your family, we unanimously agreed that it was Juan Pablo.  Not only did we pursue him for the calling, but fell in love with JP’s kind, compassionate, and playful heart.  We knew that the road ahead wouldn’t be easy to care for a child with this special need, but would trust the Lord to be faithful to provide wisdom and direction for his future needs. 

When JP was a baby, he suffered burns of up to 80% of his body from an accidental explosion about which we know very little.  We believe and share with our son that Jesus was with him during and after the accident and it was a miracle to live through this in a 3rd world country.  Early treatment consisted of skin grafts to daily application of ointments on his face.  We knew that by choosing to follow God’s plan to adopt Juan Pablo, there would be decisions to make in regard to treatment of his burns.  Upon arriving to the United States, we arranged for a visit with the International Adoption Clinic at Riley Hospital in Indianapolis to assess JP’s overall health. Our consulting physician referred us to a plastic surgeon who specializes in burns.  From that meeting, we learned that as Juan Pablo ages, his jaw will have difficulty growing and the skin on his face will not stretch with his growth.  We have noticed this already in his difficulty opening his mouth and his smile pulling down skin beneath his eye.  The surgeon informed us that we would have to do something for Juan Pablo in the next couple of years.  We were pleased to hear that there were other options that were less invasive and would look better rather than taking additional skin grafts. 

After absorbing the information, we prayed for months asking for wisdom to make the best decision possible for our son and the timing of it.   The procedure we have chosen consists of expanding skin by inserting a balloon like object in the neck, which will remain there for up to 3 months.  The reason for the neck as the location is because it most closely matches the good skin on his face.  Each week, we will drive to Indy for the surgeon to evaluate the skin expansion process and fill the balloon as needed.  At 3 months, the expanded skin in his neck will be pulled up to his cheeks and chin while the scarred skin is removed.  The first part of the procedure to insert the skin expander(s) will take place on Tuesday, December 14th, 2010.  We felt that winter would be the best time to begin this process since JP can’t be as active usual.  The more invasive surgery will take place in March and he will probably need a couple more surgeries in the future. 

Over the past 6 months, God has been preparing us and Juan Pablo for this procedure.  We chose Juan Pablo because of his burns and fell in love with his face.  We will forever remember Juan Pablo as when we first met him.  A change in his appearance, however, will not change his compassionate heart nor his infectious laugh and smile.  We pray that as his appearance alters, his testimony of God’s grace will remain and motivate him in the work the Lord has prepared for him in the future.  We ask that you lift up JP and us in prayer over the next several months as we respond by faith to the giant of surgery and its journey. 

“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians12:9)

Samuel’s First Laugh

Most wouldn’t believe it, but we witnessed our baby’s first laugh at less than 2 weeks old.  We were so lucky to capture it on video!  We could listen to it for hours :)

Samuel Michael Wiggins

A journey that began nearly 4 years ago has brought us to the richest point of blessing in our lives.  Early in our young marriage, we tried to have our own children, but had suffered 3 miscarriages.  We accepted God’s perfect will through each of those painful moments and heeded to the promise that the Lord had given.  When God closed the door with our first miscarriage, He opened our eyes and hearts to Juan Pablo.  After the second one, we felt that God said that not only would He be faithful in bringing JP home, but we would also bear witness to fruit from the womb in a newborn child.  As disappointing as it was, we endured a third miscarriage while holding fast to the word of promise that God had given us. 

On December 9th, 2009, God delivered on His first promise as we welcomed home Juan Pablo Wiggins to the United States.  That will be a day we will never forget and couldn’t imagine any day greater.

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Many friends and family followed us through that 3 year battle.  The support received from close family and friends at airports, welcome home parties, and the Christmas season was truly a remarkable and joyful one for our new family. 

All through that excitement, another child was patiently awaiting his big moment in Emily’s tummy.   On July 30th, 2009, we heard our new baby’s heartbeat for the first time via an ultrasound.  In all other pregnancies, we never made it as far as to hear the heart sound.  We rejoiced on that day to hear different.  The months had gone by and we prayed for the hand of God to continue making and molding this gift in the womb. 

 

Here’s a 4D shot taken on August 20, 2009 of the little life at only 10 weeks old that was taking shape.  How amazing!Scan10001

On October 11, 2009, we had another ultrasound and found out that were going to have a boy!  The projected due date was March 11, 2010.  We were open to either a boy or girl, but were excited to finally know what the baby would be.  Not long after we knew that we were having a boy, we chose his name: Samuel Michael.  In the Hebrew language, Samuel means “heard from God,” which was a perfect fit provided that we “heard” from the Lord that He would give us this child.  In addition, of course, we relate the name to the prophet Samuel from the Bible whose mother Hannah had no children, prayed  to God for a son, and God granted her request.  The middle name “Michael” stems from my father’s first name and my middle name. 

The baby survived a rough month in Guatemala with us as God was faithful to continue the work he had started in his life.  Juan Pablo learned on our last trip that he was going to have a baby brother.  We knew he would make a great big brother through his compassion and care of the young ones in his orphanage.  Since arriving home to the US, JP watched his mommy’s stomach expand to make room for the growing baby and would pay close attention with us when movement was seen from Samuel kicking or getting hiccups. 

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During the month of February, we were supplied with all the items needed to care for a baby through baby showers and gifts given by many close friends.  We were thrown a total of 3 baby showers:

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Feb. 5, 2010 @ Maryland Community Church       Feb. 12, 2010 @ Jay County Library (Friends/Family)in Terre Haute.

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Feb. 20, 2010 @ Jay County Library (Church)

We had organized and assembled all our gifts at home in preparation for the baby’s arrival.  Juan Pablo helped daddy put together the bassinet.  We felt that we had a decent plan in place the moment Emily would go into labor.  The baby was to be delivered at Marion General Hospital (John’s employer) in Marion, IN, which is an hour away from Portland.  Our hope was that Emily would not go into labor while I was at work, which would mean that I’d have to drive an hour back to Portland, then back to Marion.  In case this happened, we had a few family members on standby to shuttle Emily to Marion.  I prayed that she would go into labor at night so that I could be the one to make the drive. 

As we drew closer to the due date (3/10/10), our OB physician, Dr. Seward, gave us his availability in early March and wanted us to think about induction in case the term date was met.  We both preferred to wait for labor to begin naturally without any intervention, but were also considering convenient dates for the doctor and family who could be at the hospital.  On a routine doctor visit Wednesday, February 24th, Dr. Seward checked to see how far Emily had dilated.   The nurse had mentioned something about swiping her membranes, which would help speed the labor process along in 15% of women.  Again, we were planning to stay natural with the process and didn’t consent to the procedure, but later learned that it was done.  Afterwards we agreed that no matter what happened, Samuel would begin to come in God’s timing. 

Around 12:30 AM on Monday, March 1, 2010, Emily woke me up stating that she had lost some fluid and had been having regular contractions.  We weren’t sure what to make of the fluid since she had lost small amounts in the past, but she claimed that the contractions were different than the Braxton-Hicks ones she had experienced in the past.  The fluid amount wasn’t quite what I would have expected.  I always thought that when the water breaks, the fluid would drown us in the room.  Emily hadn’t slept at all that night and had little to no sleep days before.  We decided to go on to the hospital in case this was it.  Thankfully, she had her hospital bag packed beforehand to pick up and go when the time came.  With much excitement, we spent an hour and a half preparing for a trip and stay in Marion.  Juan Pablo was still sound asleep on the bed below us.  We called Kim, Emily’s mom, on the phone to share the news.  She came over to the house and remained with Juan Pablo until later in the morning when he would awake to no parents. 

I loaded up the car and snapped in the baby’s new car seat.  A fresh cup of coffee and some snacks weren’t necessary to keep us alert on that early drive.  Thoughts and discussions about what would happen next and the possibility that our family would grow in the next 24 hrs was plenty enough to motivate us during the hour commute.  I always envisioned driving at top speed to the hospital with Emily in the back seat pushing the baby out.  Maybe that’s just a guy’s perception of the moment, but it wasn’t like that at all.  It was so much smoother, but I still managed to drive faster than the highway limit :)  We arrived at MGH around 3:30 AM and Emily was admitted to the Labor department.   She was escorted to her room by an emergency paramedic on a wheelchair.  Emily was assigned to room #7, which we were shown previously after a birthing class.  A couple nurses started preparing the cleaned room for a birth mother going into labor.  I couldn’t believe this was happening! 

100_0386 The contraction and blood pressure monitors were attached and Emily was checked for dilation size by a nurse.  She was only measuring to be 2 cm, which was the same as her last doctor’s visit the week before.  We thought she would have been further along given the contractions experienced prior to our arrival.  Nurses wanted to keep her on the monitors until later in the morning when an OB doctor would arrive to check her again.  It wasn’t until around 7:30 AM that Dr. Swan visited and found that Emily was still showing 2 cm.  When he heard that we were from out of town, he didn’t want us to go back home to wait, but rather stay in the hospital and over the next 4 hours, walk down the halls within the labor / delivery area to help the baby drop down. 

We had an interesting conversation with Dr. Swan as we shared our story of JP, the baby, and how God was building our family.  We connected with him as we learned about his faith, adoptions in his family, and a recent mission trip to Haiti.  Since our regular OB physician, Dr. Seward, wasn’t scheduled to be at the hospital that day, we considered to remain with Dr. Swan for the delivery.  Dr. Seward, however, has been with us through miscarriages and all the way through the current pregnancy.  He had shown such kindness and support that we wanted him to be the attending physician.  Plus, he always told us to page him to the hospital at any point labor began.  

We did as Dr. Swam had advised and walked for 45 minutes back and forth through the halls.  We walked by the Nursery and saw the newborns and it suddenly hit us that we were going to have one just like them.  While on a walk around 12:30 PM, we just happened to run into Dr. Seward in the hallway, who had stopped by to see one of his patients.  Just minutes before that, I told our nurse that we wanted Dr. Seward to be made aware that Emily was at the hospital.  He was surprised to see us and mentioned that he had no idea that we were there.  We quickly brought him up to speed on our situation, so he told us to head back to the room and he’d be in to assess Emily.  He saw the same rate of progress as indicated hours earlier and asked about breaking the bag of water (induction) to help the baby along.  In addition to this, he recommended pitocin to increase the frequency and strength of contractions.  We chose to go ahead with both since if we waited, it could be hours, if not days, for delivery.  Dr. Seward’s strategy is to quickly deliver a baby while giving the most comfort to the birth mother.  In many ways, we have always favored this, but at this point we were up for anything.

Kim and Hannah joined us at the hospital just before lunch.  Kim stayed with us in the room and Hannah, who was declared a labor coach, bailed after seeing a small measure of blood.  We both knew she wanted to be there, but the in room experience isn’t for everyone.  Marion General still had an active visitor policy due to the H1N1 season.  This restricted visitation access to parents, grandparents, and labor coaches.  Because of this, Juan Pablo and other family members would have to wait to see the baby until we left the hospital.  Emily was on a liquid diet since her admission and would receive meals of juice, broth, and liquid dessert.  Settling her appetite was least on her mind as she remained in pain as contractions came.  On the contraction monitor, we watched as the magnitude reached 50 on a scale of 100 and repeated every 4 minutes. 

Pitocin was administered around 4 or 5 PM, which began working as intended.  Emily’s contractions were more frequent and painful.  Emily had suffered through kidney stones, which is the most pain she had endured physically.  I knew she was a tough woman, but the contractions were difficult to bare.  She agreed to the epidural, which was given at 6 PM.  The anesthesiologist was excellent through the procedure, but worried us a bit when he openly expressed concern to rush back to the OR.  Evidently he had a patient in Surgery who needed attention, but ordered the nurse to respond to pages he received while inserting the needle into Emily’s back.  I stood right in front of Emily and held her hands and she went through the process.  Though the application would be painful, the long term relief was going to be well worth it.

Dr. Seward came back to the room shortly after the epidural to find Emily to be calmer and progressed to 3-4 cm dilated.  He said that 10 cm was the magic number and she should increase 1 cm each hour.  Being after 6 PM and given that information, we anticipated that the baby wouldn’t come until the early hours of March 2nd.  Emily passed the next couple of hours with the lights out while catching up on rest.  Contraction strengths were now regularly reaching 75/100 every 2 minutes.  The pitocin was definitely doing its job.  Kim and I stayed at Emily’s side while eating take out dinner in the dark.  Emily, Kim, and other nursing staff were excited to have the season finale of The Batchelor tuned in on the tv in our room.  I was either updating friends on Twitter or looking for techie items on Ebay while that was on :)  Bill, Emily’s dad, arrived around 8:30 PM to join the delivery crew.  We were just kicking back with some coffee waiting for the hours to pass before delivery time. 

It was at 8:57 PM when I stepped out in the hallway to call my boss at work to give him an update.  The call was ended at 9:06 PM as I was interrupted by a nurse who was calling me back to the room.  I walked in and found that tables with surgical tools and other supplies had been wheeled in around Emily’s bedside.  It didn’t really process at first and I couldn’t have imagined what happened in just 9 minutes when I stepped away with the lights out.  Dr. Seward came in and suited up as if to delivery the baby.  Next, I found myself holding up Emily’s left leg on one side of the bed while looking across at Kim who was holding the other leg.  At intervals, Dr. Seward asked Emily to push as he sat at the end of the bed.  The time had come, I thought.  It was really happening!  Could I be a new dad in just minutes from now?  Dr. Seward applied pressure and requested more effort from Emily.  I looked at her face as she held her breath, pushed, then exhaled.  She did so well and I was so proud of my wife.  I noticed Bill off in a corner listening in on what was taking place.

Dr. Seward announced that he could see the head, but I still had no sight of it due to my angle.  With the next push, black hair was seen and plenty of it.  The doctor began to twirl the hair and jokingly commented that the girl had a lot of hair.  We reminded him that we were having a boy :)  After another round of pushing, half of the baby’s head was out.  Finally, another minute later, Dr. Seward had Emily reach down and grab Samuel to pull out the rest of the way and lay on her bosom.  I was mesmerized by this living being still blue, messy, and attached to his mother by a cord.  Tears were rolling down Emily’s face at the sight of her new baby boy.  I couldn’t stop smiling.  I was given a pair of surgical scissors to clip the umbilical cord. 

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Emily was able to hold Samuel for a short period before nurses took him for vitals, which were done right in the room.  Here are the baby stats:

Name: Samuel Michael Wiggins

Birth Date: Monday, March 1, 2010

Birth Time: 9:31 PM

Weight: 6 pounds 13 ounces

Length: 19 inches

Hair: Black

Eyes: Black

 

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There were 2 proud parents and grandparents standing in the room that night.  I couldn’t get over that we were witnessing another of God’s miracles with our very eyes.  Our cups had been filled to overflowing with blessing that He would choose us to be parents to this innocent precious child.  Samuel was given back to Emily for his first feeding.  We were surprised how he latched on perfectly. 

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Here are some expressions from Sam after being swaddled….

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Next, Samuel was given his first bath during which he cried at first and was happier during the drying phase…

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Sam was soon taken to the nursery, which is when Emily was assigned to another room.  The day had quickly passed and we had surpassed a full 24 hours since we first started getting ready back home.  After an hour or so, our baby was returned to us in our room on a metal cart and in a clear plastic tub.  He was so beautiful and peaceful. 

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We slept a few hours through the early morning hours on 3/2 before being awakened by Dr. Fox, a pediatrician from the visiting group.  Dr. Jim Orrell (Emily’s uncle) also stopped in that morning and those to follow on his morning rounds through the hospital.   After breakfast, we were called to the nursery to have the baby’s picture taken for posting on the MGH website.  I’d say the picture was beautiful.MGH_Studio_3-2-10

Kim returned later in the morning, but left around lunch time to pick up Juan Pablo.  JP had spent the night with grandma and grandpa McAbee and had been hanging out with uncle Tyler and kids that morning.  We had missed our other son and wished he could have been with us, but understood the policies enforced by the hospital.  The closest we could get was to bring Juan to Marion where he would stay in a hotel with Kim and grandma Darla and grandpa Mike Wiggins , who were making their trip up from Terre Haute.  Mom and dad made it to the hospital to see their new grandson.  I could see the delight in their eyes as they spent time with Samuel..

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I left with my parents to check in at the Hampton Inn and spend time with Juan Pablo.  We had reserved 2 connecting rooms so that JP could easily access both grandparents via the central door.  My dad and I swam with Juanpi in the pool for a couple hours while grandmas Kim and Darla talked and watched on outside the pool.  It was another miracle to see my dad in the pool as he had been suffering physically for over the past year.  The Lord had touched him so that he could make the long trip and swim!  We played with an assortment of pool toys and games.  I remember escaping the the hot tub nearby and watching as my dad would play and instruct JP to swim. 

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It reminded me of when he taught me many years ago.  The swim definitely made up for lost time over the past day and a half, but I also wished that Emily could have been there also.  I knew it was temporary as we would be able to go home in a day.  We ordered Pizza Hut for dinner and ate together in the lobby of the hotel.  After leaving JP, I knew that he would share in a great time of bonding with his grandparents that night.  Kim later shared how Juan kept racing back and forth between rooms to check on everyone.

At 8 AM on Wednesday 3/3, Samuel was taken from us to have a circumcision performed.  Though the procedure is fairly routine, we were concerned for our little one.   We prayed for the baby during that time as we waited.  An hour later, we received a positive follow up from Dr. Emily Barrido, a pediatrician doing the circumcisions that morning.  She was pleased with how well Samuel did during the procedure without letting out a cry.  One of the nurses told us later that she let him suck on her finger while that was going on.  A half an hour later, we heard a page over the intercom for Dr. Emily to return to the Nursery.  At this point Samuel hadn’t been brought back to us, but was still in the Nursery.  I walked down to the Nursery, but couldn’t see Samuel nor Dr. Emily.  In my mind, I was sure everything was fine and there wouldn’t be any way the doctor would be called back for our baby.  Later I learned it was just the opposite. 

With a higher number of babies in the nursery, a nurse decided to check in on the circumcised babies 15 minutes earlier.  I think that alone was the Spirit moving to the cause.  The nurse found that Samuel had been bleeding, so Dr. Emily was brought back to the nursery.  Typically when babies cry, the bleeding intensifies, so a nurse put her finger in Sam’s mouth to limit crying.  They tried a stick of silver nitrate to clot the blood, but that didn’t work.  Finally some foamy substance and gauze were built up around the affected area, which sustained the bleeding.  As a precaution, a nurse held the baby’s legs apart so that he wouldn’t kick it and cause irritation.  This sounds routine, but at the time, we were terrified and immediately began to pray for healing.  The scariest part of the news was that the doctor had never seen this happen except in 1 other child of thousands of procedures performed.  In the case of the other child, the baby was transferred to Riley and this is why all of the doctors and nurses were on such high alert.  A series of blood tests were ran again Sam’s blood to rule out hemophilia and other related disorders.  One of the tests required an adult size tube to be filled.  This also wasn’t something that was done often to a newborn.  Praise the Lord, all blood results came back normal!

We had many prayer warriors lifting up Samuel that morning/afternoon as we requested prayer to friends on Facebook.  Praise the Lord that He answered and held little Sam’s body together so that it would heal.  We were allowed to sit in the nursery while he was held for observation.  All of the nurses at MGH are wonderful, but two in particular were exceptional in their care for our baby and us that day.  April held Sam’s legs for 5 hours during which time we chatted and she was careful to keep an eye on our baby.  Debbie was the other who saw our issue through from beginning to end.  She did a wonderful job of communicating information and keeping as as calm and comfortable as possible. 

Sam had to remain in the nursery most of the day on that Wednesday and was going to be held overnight for further observation.  Emily was scheduled to be released since she only has to remain in the hospital for 24 hours.  The staff allowed her to stay in the room as a guest and no longer a patient, so we didn’t have to change rooms.  Later that evening, Sam was allowed to return to our room because of his great progress.  We were so thankful that the situation didn’t worsen.  After all, didn’t we endure enough with the adoption of Juan Pablo?  Here’s a shot of the little guy after returning to our room the night of March 3rd.  We sure had a lot of hugs and kisses to give.

100_0511Thursday, March 4 had arrived, which meant we could finally go home pending all was still well with Samuel.  The pediatrician assured us that the circumcision was still healing normally, but would need to continually be treated at each diaper change.  The doctor ordered for the baby’s discharge, so we began to pack our belongings.  It took some time to organize our stuff after being in that place for 4 days, but we wrapped up within an hour while receiving some final instruction/questions from a nurse. 

Here’s a picture of Samuel sleeping early Thursday morning (3/4) ..

100_0514 …..And a picture after receiving news that we could go home.  So happy!

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We dressed Samuel in going home outfit, which was a doggy piece with a hat and dog slippers. 

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Daddy strapped Samuel into the new car seat after which he and mommy were escorted to the car….

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We were heading back home to Portland where we would be joined by Juan Pablo, who was ready to meet his new little brother.  Bill, Kim, and JP were waiting to welcome us home.  As we pulled onto our driveway, I could see JP’s excited face at our living room window anticipating our arrival.  As we stopped, the new big brother walked out across the gravel in his socks to open the back door of our car get a visual of the baby.  He got a quick glance, then we all moved inside. 

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We were finally home! 

We handed baby Sam over to his big brother for the first time….

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Juan Pablo was just as excited to celebrate the occasion with a traditional bubble gum cigar:

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Later that evening, we had more close family members visit to welcome and celebrate our new addition.   Aunt Hannah

Christmas Friendly Shopping

For a great resource of stores who aren’t conforming to the world by removing “Christmas” this holiday season, stop by on by Stand For Christmas, which is a ministry of Focus on the Family.

Juan Pablo Visitors

For those wanting to be directed to the blog site we’ve established for the adoption of Juan Pablo, simply click our picture in the right hand sidebar.  You can also reach his site at http://juanpablo.wiggsworld.com

Friends back to Guatemala

Our friends, Jody Elslager along with Nate and Rachel Brown, have traveled back and forth to Guatemala for the past several years.  They have a passion for sharing God’s love to orphans and are ambassadors of the foreign eXchange ministry at Maryland Community Church.  Yesterday, the 3 of them arrived back in Guatemala along with Pastor Scot Longyear and Shawn Wallace.  I’m especially excited to see Shawn, a good friend from TH, making his much anticipated first visit to meet the children we love so much.  Please pray for all of them as they will be carrying out God’s work that He has planned for them this week. 

Since each are avid bloggers, they have their own websites where you can follow stories from their journey along with pictures and video.  I’m sure you’ll see Juan Pablo on some of their posts :)

Here are the links to their sites: Shawn, Scot, Nate & Rachael, and Jody

While I’m Waiting

The song “While I’m Waiting” by John Waller is in the new movie Fireproof.  If you haven’t seen it already, grab your spouse and watch it. 

Although I feel that I have so often failed while waiting, I am striving to wait as they say in this song. 

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