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Sunday, September 20, 2015

Great News Today!!!

Today we got to chat with our sweet gal in India.  It was so wonderful to get to see her smile and beautiful face!  We had already put the kiddos to bed before they called/skyped, but Conner and Ramya weren't quite asleep so we brought them out to say "hi".  Madi on the other hand was totally out and is a challenge to wake up, so she will have to chat with her next time.  This was the first time Conner and David got to see Deena, other than in pictures, and also the first time Ramya has gotten to see her and chat with her since we brought her home.  We were all very excited!!!

Mary, the director of the orphanage, also had great news for us.  She said that our adoption is complete and they are just waiting on written orders.  After they get written orders, they will apply for her passport.  It takes about a month for passport so it looks like we/I will likely travel in November!!  AH!  I'm so excited!

Please start praying for a safe trip, wisdom about who should go, and a smooth transition bringing her home. 


Saturday, September 19, 2015

Our Disney Day....

Yesterday was Disneyland and the kids had a BLAST!  Unfortunately we thought we would beat the crowd by going in September, but apparently we went on "Dapper Day" and it was crazy busy!  People had amazing costumes on and that was fun to see, but the crowd and waiting times, well, that part wasn't so fun.  We still got in most of our favorite rides, though, so I'm not complaining!
The girls had to start the day with the castle and princesses, of course.  Just after walking in to the castle area we were nabbed by a cast member.  They took us in a special side entrance and we got to see all of the princesses right away.  The girls were seriously in Heaven and it made the day so memorable for them.  They couldn't stop talking about it! 

Princess Mulan and Princess Tiana
Just look at those smiles....
At some point in time, Madi put down the pink fan you see above and lost it.  She was so upset.  We went to lost and found but they couldn't find it.  We filled out a report, though, because she was very concerned about it.  I called today and it had been turned in!  She was SO happy!  I really didn't think we would see it again and I'm so glad it showed up.
Conner's favorite part of Disneyland was, of course, the rides.  The girls went on quite a few, but their favorites are still it's a small world and teacups.  Conner, on the other hand, rode all the big rides and kept going back for more!
Why yes we did get matching Star Wars shirts....

Don't let her face fool you, she really did love the ride....
We met up with my Aunt and her granddaughter (my second cousin???).  Conner hit it off with her immediately and they were ride buddies the rest of the day
The girls loved the parades.  They were all new and the girls got so excited.  Madi blew kisses to all of the characters and they both danced throughout the performances.  The fireworks were, of course, amazing too.

This morning we woke up and ended our trip with a character breakfast at Storyteller's CafĂ©.  They were amazing about accommodating the kiddo's food allergies and they had so much fun getting to see the characters.  There was, of course, lots of dancing too.  Not a day goes by that we don't dance!  Even Conner was happy to see the characters, so I count that a success!
They brought the girls autographed photos from two princesses and told them the princesses had made them a special dessert.  They were super excited!  Conner was also very excited because they gave him their strawberries.

Disneyland can be a bit tricky to navigate when you have extra things to consider, but there are a few things that make it so much easier for us that we are very thankful for.
  1. There are bathrooms with cots in the nurses office to help with potty stuff and clothing changes.  They will even give you a disposable chuck if you ask for it.
  2. Each dining area offers gluten free options and will accommodate other allergies as well.  All you have to do is request to talk to a chef. 
  3. Although there have been many policy changes due to the misuse of accessibility lines and the such, the staff really does go out of their way to help assist you and make your park experience enjoyable. 
We had so much fun and cannot wait to go back next year as a family of 6!!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Our House is On the Market and We Ran Away

This past month has been crazy with multiple curve balls and working crazy hard to get our house ready to list. 

As I previously posted, we decided to sell our house and free up the equity to help pay for a big van, travel fees to bring Deena home, medical bills once she's home, and to help take financial strain off David.  After making that decision, David's boss asked us to relocate to Tucson so that they can work more closely together.  We do not know what we are doing yet and been praying like mad for wisdom and discernment about the possible move.  David will be spending October in Tucson to see how it goes but the kiddos and I plan to stay here in Phoenix.  We recently learned Deena will likely be coming home in November, though, so we need to decide soon.  It is very important that we are settled either in Phoenix or Tucson in a rental before she comes home. 

We already had a California vacation planned before all of these "extras" were in the works.  We had decided the best thing to do would be to work our booties off to get the house ready and then list it the day we left on vacation. 

In order to get our house ready we needed to get down to a minimal amount of things in the house (and get them moved out in to a storage unit), get new paint and carpet, fix some landscaping, and re-do our travertine floors.  We also had to temporarily re-home our pets so that our house showed better.  We had to move out of our house and in to my parent's house temporarily due to paint and carpet fumes.  We moved back in when those faded, but then had to move back out due to the fumes of re-finishing the floor.  I homeschooled at my parent's house and the therapists came there for consistency for the kids.  When we weren't in therapy, at appointments, or homeschooling we were at our house working like crazy.  Many nights after I put the kids to bed my mom would watch them on the monitor for me so I could go back and work at our house.  It was nuts, we didn't sleep much, and we were beat, but we did it.  Our house looks amazing and went on the market Wednesday.  We've had a few showings and are hopeful it will sell quickly.  It would be amazing if it sold within 30 days so that it sells before we need the funds to travel and bring Deena home.  It would also help us avoid multiple house payments, since we need to be settled in a rental before she comes home.

Yesterday we ran away and headed for California.  We already had a week booked in Carlsbad, but needed a few nights in Anaheim for Disney/ California Adventure.  We considered skipping the parks to save money, but wanted to get one last "hurrah" in before life got even more crazy when Deena comes home.  I was so crazy busy, though, I hadn't spent much time looking for a hotel.  By the time I could, all of the Disney hotels were booked and many others were pretty full.  We decided to look on for a place we could share with my parents, since they were also heading to Disney, and found a great little place 6 miles away for cheaper than we could have gotten two hotel rooms for, which worked out great!
Today we spent the day at California Adventure.  It was, sadly, pretty busy, so we didn't get to ride as many rides as normal, but the kids had a blast!  Here are some photos from today....

Madi wanted to sit this one out...

Poor Conner was starrrrrving, even though he had already eaten  multiple times that morning, so he decided to make funky faces in all the photos....

David's face here is amazing....

72 pounds?  Eh, piece of cake ;)

Tomorrow we head to Disney and then we head to Carlsbad to rest up and relax.  We have a lot of sleep to catch up on and are looking forward to some down time.

Please join us in prayer that our house sells and closes before our Deena comes home.  Thank you!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Some Big News and Big Prayers

First off, I am typing this update on my phone because my computer is not working so please excuse the extra errors.

I got great news today.  Apparently they got a judge in the hall that does adoptions in India and the judge saw/ruled on our case.  It seems our next court date was set for September 16th, and it seems that will finalize our adoption.  Usually there are three dates but it seems that ours will get finalized in two!!!  Amazing!!  After that date we will wait for the paperwork to go to the orphanage.  At that point in time they will apply for her passport, which should take about 30 days.  Once that is complete I/we (not sure who yet....  The kids want to go but we worry about Madi's seizures
and I need to talk to her neurologist first) can bring her home.  It looks like it could be October or at least by November.  I'm so so thankful we are in the final stretch!

Please join us in praying for wisdom and discernment as far as who goes to bring her home and also for safe travels, and no seizures for Madi while I am gone or while we are there together.

The other big part of what we need prayers about we haven't shared with many people yet.  David's boss has asked us to relocate to Tucson, where he is.  Tucson is about two hours away from where we live.  David had already been planning to spend October and November in Tucson, but I had planned to stay here in Phoenix with the kiddos and he would travel home on the weekends.  Then he would come back here and stay in Phoenix after those two months.  When they asked us to move we decided the kids and I would  still stay here and he would still go for those two months.  We planned to pray like crazy and then decide at that point if it was beneficial/important for him to be there or not.  If it was, we would move there in December after homeschool co-op ended and I got through this current round of doctor's appointments.  That's not a possibility now because we need to be settled either here or there before Deena comes home.  So that means we sell our house (we had already planned to do this...  Read the last post for details on why) and move in to a rental to be settled before she comes home.  We just don't know where to settle.  We have our friends, family, church, doctors, therapists, and co-op we love here.  I also strongly dislike Tucson and said I would never live there (I'm learning to never say never).  On the other hand, though, I'm seeing God open doors for us to go there, and I want to go if that is what we are supposed to do.  I've done some research and they have great doctors and hospitals so I could confidently transfer care.  We are also thankful it's only a two hour drive.  The idea of not being close to our family and friends is really hard though.    I'm not even sure how we would go on dates because I don't know how I would be able to trust someone to watch the kiddos with their medical needs.  On the other hand it would give David some emotional support and his boss would be able to teach him so much.   There's just so much to consider.

I will keep everyone updated and really appreciate your prayers during this time of transition for us!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

This Girl Cracks Me Up!

Madi is such a little performer.  She loves putting on "shows".  Today she dressed up like an angel and sang "Hark the Harold Angels Sing".  I think we need to work on the lyrics, though, because she said, "God and sin, restaurant style", ha!!


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Lots of Change at Our Casa


We've been busy.

I know I say that all the time, but this time, we are extra busy.  So much has happened in this past month it's just been crazy!

This month we lost two men we loved; my uncle and David's grandfather.  We had family in town for David's grandfather's service and spent lots of time with them (we love spending time with family... it's what I call a "good busy").  This month we also made a really big decision.  We decided to sell our house as quickly as we can.  It was a hard choice to make, but we believe it's a very important one.

David has felt a lot of financial strain between him struggling with trading this year and our upcoming adoption.  We still need a van that will fit 3 wheelchairs and a 4th kiddo.  We also have travel fees to bring Deena home.  On top of that, we will have a lot of medical bills coming our way when she does come home.  Our house is up quite a bit from where we purchased it so selling and renting for a bit would free up the equity we have in our house and reduce a lot of stress for David.

Since our ultimate goal is to build an accessible house one day for the girls anyhow, we are hoping to not need to spend the equity and, instead, to be able to use it towards building when work turns around for David.  

For now, we are packing, cleaning, and prepping.  There's a lot of work to be done around here to shine up our house and empty it enough to look nice to sell.  There's also been therapy and homeschooling and the rest of "life" stuff, of course, so life has just been a little extra busy.  

We unfortunately have no news on our adoption.  We are still waiting for our first court date.  Though the wait is hard, we are praying that our house sells VERY quickly so that we can find a rental, move, and get settled before Deena comes home.  

Please join us in praying for a quick sale on our home and a nice rental that will suit our family well.  If you know of any houses for rent with at least 4 bedrooms (4 and a den would be amazing) on our side of town, please let us know.  

Thank you for praying for our family!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

We Are Alive!!

I know things have been really quiet on our blog lately, but we are alive and well!

Unfortunately there is no news on our adoption, which is really the biggest reason why things have been so quiet.  I have a child on the other side of the world that I've only spent a few hours with, but that I love more than anything.  I've advocated and fought for her for over two years now.  No matter what I do, though, I cannot get her home faster.  It stinks.  My heart and mind always feel like they are tugged in two different directions.  Life here happens quickly as we are busy, but Deena is always in my thoughts.  I think about her, pray for her, dream about bringing her home, and then meet the disappointment daily that we are still waiting with no news.  I try to be optimistic and patient, knowing that everything will happen in God's perfect timing, but it is still just plain hard.  Our court date June 16th never happened because after their month and a half summer break there was still no judge.  To this day, there is still no judge.  We need about 3 court dates and are still waiting for our first.  I'm praying it can happen soon and really wish I had the power to speed it up.  I will say, it's a great way to (attempt) to practice patience.  

Other than that we have been enjoying our summer.  We don't take full summers off but do the "extra" fun stuff we run out of time for during the year.  We have studied lots of fun topics like planets and fossils and have also done many fun artsy things.  We also do lots of reading.  We recently went to the Museum of Natural History for the first time and the kiddos really loved it.

At the beginning of the month we participated in the walk-and-bowl for spina bifida with the Spina Bifida Association of Arizona.  It was their first year doing the event and we had a blast!!

We have a pool and have been doing a TON of swimming.  The girls are not yet swimming independently, but they are getting close!  They all love being in the water and it's great therapy for the girls.  Conner got a snorkel, goggles, and flippers a few weeks ago.  He says that he is practicing for Hawaii, though we have no plans to go to Hawaii in the near future :).  We would really love to go there one day though!

The girls both got the HKFOs fine tuned and those are fitting great.  Madi also got her new AFOs to wear when she is in her wheelchair or just relaxing at home.  Our hope is to keep her left foot stretched out a little better to help her with standing in her HKFOs.  She calls them her "pickle braces" because she requested green like a pickle.  She is pretty proud of them and has been tolerating wearing them pretty well!

We all got summer cuts and I also got my hair colored.  The girls LOVE getting their hair cut.  Ramya decided to go shoulder-length and Madi chose to keep hers longer.  They both look adorable!

As I shared in my last post (like a month ago, ha!!!), I had been feeling in a bit of a funk since Madi's last shunt surgery and had decided to do a 7 day juice cleanse.  I successfully did my 7 days and have been drinking a green smoothie for breakfast every morning since then.  I am happy to report that I have a lot more energy and am feeling much better.  I have also been making it my goal to work out daily.  I missed two days over the past 3-ish weeks because I was sick, but other than that I have been sticking to it.  As a mom of kiddos with special needs it can be really hard to make time for yourself, but I also know it's important I keep myself healthy so I can stay strong for my girls.  It helps me manage stress and that's pretty huge!!  

Tonight on the treadmill... not amazing because I am not a runner so I just walk fast on an incline, but hey, it's something!  Every day I am able to do just a little bit more.

I think that's really all there is to report for now.  Please be praying  that a judge will be assigned to the hall in the Bangalore court this week and will hold our first court case promptly.  Please be praying for all of us while we wait, as well as for sweet Deena.  David's grandfather, John, is also very sick and he will be entering hospice tomorrow.  We haven't been able to visit him yet because we have all been sick (especially David who was sicker than I have ever seen him before.  Thankfully he is on the mend and almost completely better now).  Please be praying for him, David's grandmother, and the rest of our family during this time.  Please also be praying for David as he is still struggling to get back in to the swing of things at work.  I know he is very discouraged and it's been really difficult.  He's such a good trader but he's just going through a funk.  Things just really seem to fall apart right before you adopt.  It happened when we adopted Ramya too and it's just not so fun.  We do know we were called to adopt Deena, though, and trust that we will get through the hard times while we wait to bring her home.

Thank you for all of your prayers!