Welcome to our new home! Please take a minute to look around… “About” chronicles Emerson’s journey, in short and long versions… “Photos” tells her story in pictures… “Home” is where you’ll find current and past journal entries… and if you click on the double arrow at the top of the page, you can sign up to follow this blog & receive email notifications when I post a new entry.

I hope you love this new place as much as we do, it’s been a work in progress for a while now! We are so thankful to COTA (Children’s Organ Transplant Association) for all their support over the years, but are making the transition now to a new phase in this journey – from life during transplant to life post-transplant. We’ve had a good year & Emerson has compensated well for all the varied health conditions she battles, but we know an event that tips the scales could change everything. Here I’ll chronicle the ups and downs of her on-going journey &, hopefully, give meaning to the importance of organ donation – without it there would be nothing to write.

Summer for us was busy and included many trips to the mountains, a weekend at Cedar Point, time at the beach in Michigan, and a week in Hawaii! Eme also participated in a ‘Special Rodeo’ (think Special Olympics, with horses) & won a medal for her performance in barrels – a highlight of her summer for sure!!


We continue to travel to Omaha monthly for IV infusions, blood draws, and appointments with the transplant team and other specialists. We’ve been doing it for a full year now & I’ll be honest… it’s tough. We’re certainly thankful, though, for this season of stability (something is working!) and the 3+ weeks at home between every visit.

In current news, Emerson just celebrated a birthday – 8 years old! WOW! Every year is a party we weren’t supposed to plan… a milestone we never thought she’d reach. Every year we stare a little longer and listen a little closer, so thankful for another year to watch her grow.


And in other big news – Emerson started school, attending half-day Kindergarten twice a week! She loves spending time with new friends, but isn’t so sure about the learning aspect of it all. She struggles with the work, which I suppose comes as no surprise given all she’s been through, but everyone at school has been wonderful in welcoming her into the classroom and helping her to stay focused and on task. She’s attending Tuesdays and Thursdays, as tolerated, but tires easily and will likely transition to homebound instruction through the height of flu season. Even now, though, the widely publicized out-break of Enterovirus D68 has us on heightened alert.


The decision to send Eme to school wasn’t made lightly. As always, we know a “normal” childhood illness can be dangerous for Emerson and we tread carefully when putting her into environments with other children. We know too, though, that Emerson is very social and that she craves interaction and input from other children. With that knowledge, we’re confident it’s the right decision for her… regardless of what happens. Emerson fought very hard for the chance to be a little girl!

Thanks for following us here! And if you’re new… Welcome! We appreciate all the love and support more than you could ever know 🙂


22 thoughts on “Welcome!

  1. As a fellow liver mom, I have followed U and EM for many of years, and seeing all the recent pictures of em and reading the improvements and accomplishments Em has made bring tears of joy to me. I pray that Em will continue to beat all odds like we all know she will. We love u Em and Ericka, and ur handsome sons, we wish u all the happiness u all deserve. Please know u r a true hero Em!!!!

  2. I am just thrilled to have an update on Emerson….she looks so beautiful and I am so thankful that your family is together. There have been so many times when I was beginning to lose hope…and just as that would happen, this sweet little girl would surprise us all and bounce back. Thank-you for this beautiful site, and especially for allowing us to continue to walk with you during this journey! Love, hugs, and many prayers to all of you!!!

  3. So wonderful to see Emerson enjoying the “normal” kids stuff, yes she has worked very hard for these moments. Can’t wait to continue to follow her here. Thanks for always keeping us updated.

  4. Wow. I can’t believe how she has grown up over the past year. She looks wonderful. I’ve been following for a long time now so happy for all the progress she has made.

  5. I’m so happy to watch you grow! You are amazing Eme!

    Martim’s mom, from LF

  6. I too have followed you all as a family since Emerson was about 2. To see how she has grown and the achievements of you all as a family warms my soul as well as my heart. Love thoughts and prayers as always….

  7. I am filled with Joy with the new pictures and the updated information. Em has grown so much and is so beautiful and healthy looking. I have followed you since Em was around a year old, prayed for you, cried with you, gotten angry at all she has had to face and shared with you each bit of joy along the way. You are an amazing woman Ericka and have been a wonderful advocate throughout this journey.

    My husband had a lung transplant in 2010 and I had already learned so much regarding the transplant world that I understood the ups and downs better.

    I cried tears of joy reading the new blog today. Many prayers continue for you, your sweet family and all the medical team that works hard to keep Em healthy. Blessings, Linda Brazel

  8. Eme has changed since I saw her last picture. She’s growing up & is beautiful as ever. I’m so glad that I can continue to be a part of this. What beautiful family xoxo

  9. Hi Erika, I remember when Eme was just 2 years old and things were really rough for you all. I cannot believe that she is now a beautiful 8 year old girl. You’ve had some tough decisions to make over the years and you have obviously made the right one’s because look at what a vital, gorgeous, happy little girl Emerson has become. Continue to go with your heart when it comes to making decisions on Eme’s behalf because you’re her mommy and you know her best. Your family should be so proud of all you have accomplished and for giving Emerson the wonderful life she has. God bless you all!

  10. Thank you for sharing the new blog with each of us who has followed Eme through the years. Yes, her picture of turning 8 did bring tears to my eyes. She (and each of you who love her so dearly) is a miracle and a reason for HOPE! Love and Hugs to each of you ( Emerson, Mom, Dad, brothers — without your tremendous support and LOVE she would not still be here today).

  11. I am so happy to see her looking so good and being able to attend school. God is good. Continuing to pray for you and your family’

  12. Lovely blog and a wonderful update. You could never have seen this from a few years ago. God is good.

  13. Eme is looking so grown up and so beautiful! 😊
    I love this new “home” and look forward to continuing to follow your sweet girl. xxx

  14. Wow–that’s all I can say. Eme looks so good! Beautiful web site, beautiful girl, beautiful family. My love & prayers for you all.

  15. Happy 8th Birthday Eme! I have followed Eme’s story from the beginning of the first transplant and all I can say is that God is good. Ericka you are an amazing mother! Love all the pictures and can’t believe she is 8, she looks so grown up. Blessing to you & your family and God watches over you and your family. Hugs for Palmdale, CA

  16. Erica, Jan and I are so happy to see your little miracle sweet heart and her updates. Emerson is an incredible girl. Continued blessings.

  17. HAPPY 8TH BIRTHDAY EMERSON!!! WOW! I have been watching Emerson since April of 2007 and am so happy and excited for her and your family – what she has gotten to do this past year! Just amazing!!! HOPE, FAITH, and the power of prayer!

  18. How good it is to hear about Eme and the family again! Since I am not on Facebook, I was a little in the dark as to how things were going these past months, though I never stopped praying for all of you. Thank you so much for including me on the new site and sending your WONDERFUL “summary” with your impressive writing. Your words on “how to live” are so perceptive and helpful for anyone. Eme is just beautiful, as is your whole family. I love all the photos and look forward to reading about and seeing your new adventures! Prayers, thoughts and hope, Annette W

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