Posts Tagged ‘Mid Michigan Dental’

Foreign Exchange Student Fills Life With Joy

Laura Jafri

Laura Jafri

Life Can Be Overwhelming, But…
There are so many things in life that can be rewarding. Life is so busy and can pass us by like a blur. In my own personal circumstances, I feel very overwhelmed with the demands that my life presents. I have five young children who are very busy. Most of my time is dedicated to running them around and making their lives “go.” Add to that, two children with special needs. That, in and of itself, is a full-time job. Children, marriage, and having my own business make my life very busy and stressful. Despite all the stress, these are also the things that make my life feel fulfilled.  

People may think that I’m crazy, and maybe I am. It seems that I always take more on. One of those extra things that I took on this year was adding another child to our family. In February, we had a foreign exchange student from Sweden move in with us for six months. We didn’t know what to expect. Who would it be? What would they be like? What kind of changes would it bring to our family dynamics?

Welcome Home
We welcomed an 18 year-old Swedish “daughter” to our house in February. None of us knew what she would be like. It was a bit of a risk considering that it’s a six month commitment. She was nervous and we were anxious. I can’t imagine being 18, traveling half way across the globe and moving into a stranger’s home. She also didn’t know what to expect from us — what a brave move on her part!

Getting To Know Our New Daughter
We spent the first few weeks getting to know each other. She seemed quiet or nervous; I can’t imagine being her. It is incredible to me how attached I have become to her already, just after two short months. Our instructions were to treat her like she was one of our own children. It hasn’t been hard at all. She is such a wonderful person and has brought such an amazing experience to our family. We take her to school, pick her up and take her to all of her soccer practices. I go to her games and I find no difference for how passionate I am for her as I do for my own children. 

She isn’t that shy, nervous girl anymore. She has fit into our family like a glove. We have so much fun with her. I can’t imagine missing one of her soccer games. I love her and worry about her as if I have known her forever. I am already dreading having to give her back.

Open Your Heart
There are many organizations that offer this type of opportunity to Owosso families. Our exchange student came to us through the Owosso Rotary Club. It is something that Ayaz and I had always wanted to do. When the opportunity came up this year, we were excited to do it. I’m so glad that we did. Maybe we got lucky with such a smart, kind and wonderful student. For us, she has been a wonderful addition to our family.  I truly love her and I’m so glad we did this.  I highly recommend people consider taking in an exchange student. It has been so rewarding for all of us to love and learn all about her. I know that I will be crying on her graduation day and I can’t think about the day she’ll leave. 

I wanted to share with you how amazing this has been for us. I really recommend it to the right people. If you open your home and your heart to a child, it is amazing the rewards you get in return. 

Disclaimer
The views expressed in the posts and comments of this blog do not necessarily reflect Memorial Healthcare. They should be understood as the personal opinions of the author.

Comment Policy
All readers are encouraged to leave comments. While all points of view are welcome on Memorial Healthcare’s blog, only comments that are courteous and on-topic will be posted. All comments will be reviewed and responded to (as needed) within three business days of submission. Participants on this blog are fully responsible for everything that they submit in their comments, and all posted comments are in the public domain.

Linking Policy
This blog may contain external links to other sites. Memorial Healthcare does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of information on these Web sites. Links to particular items in hypertext are not intended as endorsements of any views expressed, products or services offered on outside sites, or the organizations sponsoring those sites.

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Advocate & Raise Awareness Every Month

Laura Jafri

Laura Jafri

There is always so much talk about breast cancer during the month of October.  This month of awareness has almost come to a close for another year.  It’s really important to remember what we learned during the month of awareness.  We should always remember and put into action the tools that the awareness movement has taught us.

Every October at our office here in Owosso, we change all our exterior light bulbs to pink and hang a large pink ribbon on our chimney.  It looks so nice and makes us feel good to know that we are raising awareness with such a simple change.  The staff at our office wear pink breast cancer awareness shirts as well.  

This year it felt a bit different for me personally.  Two weeks ago, I discovered a lump in my breast for the first time in my life.  The feeling was one of instant despair.  My heart sank and I was filled with fear.  I cried every day despite the fact that I was trying really hard to distract myself.  I had many friends that were concerned for me and they encouraged me to think positively.  

My mammogram was scheduled for October 26th.  It seemed forever before that day would come.  When I went for my appointment, they did the mammogram and then they informed me that I would need an ultrasound as well.  This frightened me but I understood that it was important to double check and to compare the two tests.

I left with no answers, just more questions and fears.  They said that I may hear back from my doctor next week.  When you are in any circumstances that are stressful, the waiting for answers seems to take forever.  It makes it so difficult to think of anything else.

I received a call from my doctor’s office today.  The were calling about an unrelated matter.  My husband asked them if they had the mammogram results yet.  They did.  The mammogram and the ultrasound both looked normal.  Wow!  I can’t believe it.  It could have been so different.  There are so many women that hear terrible news.  I feel so blessed that my news was good.  However, it makes me feel even stronger for those that were less fortunate.  

I will keep advocating and raising awareness.  We all need each other.  We need to be strong for our friends.  We need to step up and do what is right and help our loved ones so that they can conquer their battle with a friend by their side.

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Disclaimer

The views expressed in the posts and comments of this blog do not necessarily reflect Memorial Healthcare. They should be understood as the personal opinions of the author.

Comment Policy

All readers are encouraged to leave comments. While all points of view are welcome on Memorial Healthcare’s blog, only comments that are courteous and on-topic will be posted. All comments will be reviewed and responded to (as needed) within three business days of submission. Participants on this blog are fully responsible for everything that they submit in their comments, and all posted comments are in the public domain.

Linking Policy

This blog may contain external links to other sites. Memorial Healthcare does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of information on these Web sites. Links to particular items in hypertext are not intended as endorsements of any views expressed, products or services offered on outside sites, or the organizations sponsoring those sites.

 

Stay Strong

Laura JafriLife takes us in so many directions. The way we react to life’s dealings is the key to remaining somewhat sane. 

GROWING UP
My life was somewhat sheltered as a child. I grew up in Toronto, Canada, with a stable family. We ate dinner together every night, and more importantly, loved each other very deeply. We kissed good morning, goodnight, hello, and goodbye. Both the males and females in the family openly shared our love for one another. It may be because I grew up in an immigrant Italian family where showing affection is a part of the culture.

MEETING MR. RIGHT
Then came the day that I started University. The very first day of orientation, I met my now husband, Ayaz. He was smart and good-looking, but I wasn’t looking for anything and neither was he. He grew up in a totally different type of family life and in an extremely different culture. Within days, there was no fighting the chemistry and love that was already growing between us.

 MARRIAGE
After a six-year relationship, our two worlds collided when we got married. Our families tried hard, but the differences in us were overwhelming. The first year of our marriage was very difficult. I was a Canadian, living in a country (United States) where I could not work and knew no one.  He was a resident at a nearby hospital but I rarely saw him; he was always on call. After his one-year obligation at the hospital, we moved to Owosso (Michigan) for a job opportunity. Our original plan was to work a few years and move back to Ontario to be with our families. 

OUR FAMILY BEGINS
Shortly after moving to Owosso, I discovered that I was pregnant. Ayaz worked hard and my pregnancy progressed beautifully. At the end of my eighth month, I asked for an ultrasound. My doctor didn’t think that it was necessary because everything was going great. He agreed to the ultrasound and found something wrong with the baby’s stomach area. He then referred me to a neonatologist in Lansing. Within a few weeks, I had a high-level ultrasound and the doctor asked everyone to leave the room. He looked at us and said, “There is no compatibility with life, you are this child’s life support system, without you it will die.” Reality slapped me in the face.  I was still pregnant and standing over gravesites to choose his, while he was still moving and kicking inside of me.

Our son, Adam, was born August 1, 1996. He only lived 1 hour and 10 minutes. We had to plan his funeral while breast milk leaked from me. Our funeral director warned us to be there for each other. He told us that 95% of marriages end with the death of a child.

The next few years were filled with much despair and also joy of new births. We had Joseph one year later and Sarah one and a half years after that. Sarah was quickly diagnosed with severe autism. Once again, the experts warned us that 80% of marriages end when there are children with special needs. Since then, we had Noah, suffered two miscarriages, Aaron, another miscarriage and finally Jacob. Jacob was also diagnosed with autism, milder on the spectrum than Sarah. It was at that time that we decided to become American citizens — I could never leave Adam behind.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
What did I learn from all of this? Life is not easy. It is very easy to let the chaos take control of you. I have a firm belief in God and that is where I draw my comfort. The other thing is that I have an amazing husband. None of this has been easy for him either. When I was weak, he was my strength. When he is weak, I am his. We love each other and although stress can constantly test us, at the end of the day we have each other and five of the most amazing children in the world.