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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

3 years, 1 month, and a day

Today this picture popped up on my Facebook timeline from 3 years ago.

3 years ago, today, I was packing and preparing to travel across the globe to bring Ramya home.  Ramya, a child I though I wasn't ready for.  A child I knew very little about.  A child who, literally, fell in our laps and lived in a country I didn't even know you could adopt from.  Yet, here I was, preparing to bring my daughter home.  I am so thankful God brought her in to our lives and am blessed to be her mom.  Our journey isn't easy, but I truly believe that through those struggles we receive the greatest joy. 
3 years ago I never would have guessed that I would be headed back to India, one more time, to bring home another daughter.  If you would have told me, I likely would have laughed.  Yet, God.   He had a plan that seemed overwhelming and hard at the time, but I can see now how he orchestrated each step to bring her home.  One month and one day ago, I walked out of the orphanage with Deena in my arms.  She is such a feisty, fun, and sweet little one.  She completes our family and I am so grateful she is in our lives. I can't imagine life without her!  In some ways it feels like it's just been a moment that she has been home, but in other ways it feels like she has always been here.   
Two beautiful daughters, brought home almost 3 years apart.  My heart couldn't be fuller!


Sunday, January 31, 2016

Dreams Deferred

David and I have had a dream of building a fully accessible house for our girls.  Last year we found amazing lot and started working toward our dream of building.  We had plans drawn up and hoped that within five years or so, with the help of my dad, we would be able to build.  Plans changed, life changed, and we made the hard decision to sell the lot because our house still hasn't sold and we had adoption and medical bills to pay.  We didn't expect it to sell quickly, because land moves slowly lately, but did feel that God was telling us we needed to try.  It ended up selling very quickly and even closed early; this Friday.  We are sad to let it go, but have peace about the choice.  We know God has big plans for our family and there's always the possibility things will change again in the future. If not, though, we are thankful for the many, many blessings in our lives, and we know everything will work out just how it is supposed to.


Saturday, January 30, 2016

Deena's Adoption Video

It was such a long wait to bring Deena home, and we are overjoyed that she is now in our arms!  Here is a video of our trip to India to bring her home. 


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Deena's First Orthopedic Surgeon Appointment

Last week Deena had her first appointment with the orthopedic surgeon.  After she came home with a fracture, I realized how important it is going to be for us to have an orthopedic surgeon close by that was a good fit for her.  I called our orthopedic surgeon in Phoenix, Dr. Goggins, and asked who he recommended here in Tucson.  He recommended Dr. Vincent  and we saw him last week. I am happy to report that we loved him!  He was very pro-walking, had great bedside manner, took his time talking to us and answering questions, and has other kiddos he sees with osteogenisis imperfecta (OI).  I also talked to him a bit on his approach with kiddos that have spina bifida and liked his answers.  I think I will be switching all my girls to him.

(In the waiting room)

Dr. Vincent recommended removing Deena's cast (she had accidently peed on it so we were planning on getting a new one), x-raying her to see where she was at with bone healing, and then re-casting or splinting once we saw how she was doing.  The x-ray looked pretty good and there is quite a bit of new bone growth.  He said we could splint or even keep the cast off all together, depending on what I wanted.  Because we are all still getting used to how to handle Deena, I decided a splint was the way to go.  That way she would have the support, but also a little more freedom and movement.  So far it has worked out really well for her. 

(Deena "helping")

We spent some time talking about our long-term goals for Deena.  Right now the plan is to go in again in two weeks and check how her bone is healing.  We will also discuss a plan of action for rodding surgery at that time.  She had two femur rods inserted in India.  They had decided she was doing well, though, and removed one of the rods.  Apparently once you insert rods it changes the way the bone grows, so removing them is not a good option.  Basically once you are rodded, you are often rodded for life he said.  The other rod is not in quite right, but it's also not terrible, so he recommends leaving it for right now and then modifying it in the future.  She will also need tibia rods. He wants me to research a bit on the types of rods, how the surgery is typically performed, and decide how many bones we want to rod at once.  He does not recommend rodding the femur and tibias at the same time, because he said there is a settling period after surgery.  He said we could either do one tibia at a time, and then the femur, or go ahead and do both tibias at once, wait a bit, and then do at least the one femur if not both.  He explained to me how he performs the surgery, what the typical hospital stay looks like, what to expect, and all of that good stuff.  He also said he believes Deena has OI type 3. 

I can tell that Deena is already feeling better because she wants to be up walking constantly.  Right now I just hold her, but I would like to get a walker for her soon.  The walkers my other girls use are a little big and bulky for her, so I would like to get her something different.  I am still working on getting her approved for insurance, though, so it will be a little while.  Until then, our days look like this...

In other news, Deena has officially started homeschooling and is doing well.  She has a pretty good attention span and enjoys doing her work.  I am starting her off very slowly, but for now, it's nice to be in a routine again.
Deena is really sweet and keeps us laughing.  She has so much personality!  She loves singing and dancing, which Madi is really enjoying.  She is doing well expressing her needs and her emotions, which I am thankful for.  She loves snuggling and is a momma's girl for sure.  She is such a blessing!


Monday, January 18, 2016

Our First Big Outing.... The Reid Park Zoo

Today was our first big outing.  David had the day off so we decided to try out the Reid Park Zoo.  It was really nice to get out and the kids had a lot of fun!  Towards the end Deena was feeling done and kept telling me she was ready to go home, but she really enjoyed herself.  Here are some photos of our fun!


Saturday, January 16, 2016

One Week Home

Whew!  This week has seriously flown by.  I can proudly say my luggage is all put away and I am mostly caught up on laundry.  Right now that feels like a pretty big accomplishment!   

When we adopted Ramya we had so much support in the way of help with the house every-other-week and meals every-other-day.  This time David had to go back to work the day after we returned from India and we aren't very connected in Tucson yet so life picked right back up very quickly.  We did have a few dinner gift cards to use, though, so we were able to order carryout a few nights, which helped.

Deena is adjusting really well and keeps us laughing.  She hates the bird and does not want it close to her, so that can be interesting, but I think eventually she will decide the bird is fun.  She mostly wants to be held or sit on my lap.  She likes me to be constantly within view and if I walk out of view I hear, "mommmmmmyyyyyyyy where arrrrrre yooooouuu".  I know the security is really important for her right now so I try to just stay close or take her with me if I need to leave the room. 

The other 3 kiddos are enjoying having Deena home.  Madi is constantly telling her that she's her best friend.  Deena and Conner really bonded in India and love playing together.  Conner told me that he thought he wanted a brother, but he's glad we adopted Deena and that he has another sister.  He's such a sweet boy and is so gentle and loving with her.  Ramya enjoys playing with her and enjoys having her home but is struggling the most with the change.  In general, I think Ramya just really struggles with her confidence and knowing who she is in this world, but obviously any time we go through change it spirals her again.  I see this divide with Ramya between what she defaults to and what she wants to be.  She wants affection, but pushes us away, sometimes quite literally.  It's like the desire is there but there's a divide and she just can't put that guard down.  She defaults to harsh words and intentionally pushing buttons, but seems like she doesn't want to act like that and knows it's not right.  She can be so very sweet too and I'm thankful for those moments. Any time there's change she stops wanting to eat again and uses food for control, even though she will say she is hungry and she likes the food.  I know she's had a lot of hurt in the past and I pray that one day she will be able to let herself fully feel love and joy; let herself see how special she is.  It breaks my heart that she is only 9 and doesn't have that childhood innocence.  No child should ever have to grow up feeling unloved or unworthy.  It saddens me that there are so many other children out there feeling that way.  For now we have been trying to give her extra love and time and have been talking a lot about how we will always love her, and how our hearts grow bigger to love Deena too, but that it doesn't change how we feel about her.  David took her out shopping with him today and I know she enjoyed her time alone with him.

Deena still prefers me but is warming up to David as well.  She asked him to hold her a few times this week and tonight she went over and cuddled with him.  She even gave him a few kisses and told him that she loves him.  It melts my heart to see them together!
Today we went shopping for some new pants for Deena.  I wasn't anticipating her coming home with a cast on, so many of the pants I had do not fit correctly right now.  I had some Gymboree bucks and was able to get her some new size 4T leggings with wider bottoms that will fit over her cast.  She did pretty well at the store and enjoyed running in to Bare Minerals with me because she got to put on some pink lipstick.  She also found a pair of sunglasses at Gymboree and was very excited!
Of course she's mastered the art of the selfie and my phone will never be the same again.  She loves taking pictures of herself!

Next week we start homeschooling and I think she will do well.  She is very bright!  This week we did a few science experiments from a kit the kids got as a gift for Christmas and she is enjoying them. 

Please be praying we can get her on our insurance before her first orthopedic surgeon appointment next month.  We need to start PAM infusions with her and she may need some rodding surgeries in her near future as well.  She also handed me a piece of her tooth the other day so I need to get her to the dentist ASAP.  We have some big expenses coming up and it would be really helpful to have her on our insurance!

A big "thank you" to everyone who has been praying for us and following our journey.  It really  means so much! 


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Finally a Video and Update

I officially have all of my luggage and can post a video of David and the kiddos meeting Deena.  It's not very exciting because David had the bird with him and couldn't meet us inside.  We were driving straight to Tucson after they picked me up and they had been staying in Phoenix.  David not only had the bird but also had our car packed to the brim.  The first thing we are going to do when our lot or house sell is get a bigger vehicle!  Without further-ado, here's a video of them all meeting for the first time.


Overall, the adjustment to having Deena home is going very well.  I would say so far it was a bigger adjustment to bring Ramya home then Deena.  I think that's partially due to their temperaments and how they did adjusting, partially due to us knowing what to expect, and partially due to the rest of the kiddo's ages.  Ramya is probably having the hardest time adjusting, which I expected, but she's doing much better.  Ramya has always seemed to struggles with her confidence and knowing where she fits.  There's something there, but she can't verbalize it.  I try to talk through it with her but she's not ready to talk yet.  It is always worse when we go through change or transition.  When Deena first came home I think Ramya was trying to show off, but was doing that by being very rude and harsh to Madi and myself.  It was starting to rub off on Deena so Ramya and I had multiple talks and things are getting much better there.  Ramya also still takes a very long time to eat, but that gives Deena and Madi some time to play and bond.  Deena was already very attached to Conner since he came with me to India.  

There's so much I need to catch up on around the house, but I'm trying not to stress about it and just to enjoy our time together.  The kiddos also enjoy "helping" so we have been slowly getting things put back in to place together.  

Deena is a very sweet girl and is already loving hugs and kisses and is already telling us she loves us.  If I get more than about 10 feet away I hear "mommmmeeeeeee, where are youuuuuuu?" in her cute little accent.  She likes playing, but also enjoys her snuggle time, being sung to, and having David or I play with her and the other kiddos.  Play-dough seems to be her favorite activity so far.  She has a spunky streak as well, but of course she wouldn't fit in here if she didn't.  Her favorite foods are noodles and pizza, which cracks me up.  She has a funny sense of humor and always has us laughing.  

In other news, I am working on getting her added to our private insurance.  We have an appointment with a new orthopedic surgeon here in Tucson in February to have her fracture and cast looked at.  I still will likely have her see Dr. Goggins, but would like someone closer to help us deal with any urgent things, like fractures, as well.  She also has an appointment with our endocrinologist in March.  I'm praying I can get her on insurance by those appointments since she will likely need a lot of testing.  We also plan on starting PAM infusions and those will be quite costly.

Thank you to everyone who has messaged or sent me a text to check in.  We appreciate your thoughts and prayers!