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Friday, April 29, 2011

A special something in the mail today!

Today a special something came in the mail.....

A video taken of both the girls we are looking at adopting!!  It was amazing!  Each girl (Manasa- 1; Ramya- 4) had a separate video to give us a small 'glimpse' of where they are socially/developmentally. 

When I first put the CD in my computer I could not get it to work and I was SO sad!  Next I tried it in the home computer and it worked... YES!  David heard me watching it and asked what it was.  I told him it was a video of the girls.  I hadn't expected to watch it alone, I was just trying to see if I could get the thing to work, but then I could not get my eyes off it :).  David hollered at me from the other room, "Isn't that something we can do as a family?!?!?"  Oooops, yes, I suppose it is something we could, and should, watch as a family.  He brought the kiddos in and they both sat on my lap.  Madi lost interest quickly, but Conner insisted on watching the videos multiple times.  He asked us many, many questions about the girls, and got very excited when they would do something, like hold a rattle, or put a puzzle piece where it went.  I explained to him that we are only going to be taking one girl home with us.  He informed me it would be Ramya.  He always tells me it will be Ramya.  He even told me it would be Ramya after I told him she already found a family and we were looking to adopt Manasa.  I'd think this kid is just insanely insightful, but his next sentence was, "Well, we'll just bring home Ramya on Friday and Manasa on Sunday."   Maybe not....

We still have no idea if one of these girls will be ours, but it was amazing to get to see them, even if it was only for a few minutes.  It was reassuring and made our hearts melt, that is for sure!  Please continue to keep us, as well as each of the girls, in your prayers.  What a journey this has been so far, and it has barely begun!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Good Playground Lead

I *may* have found a great playground for us!  It would be coming from Cedarworks.  Though it is made of wood, they guarantee no rot or splinters for 10 years, and say the set should last at least 15 to 20, even in Phoenix, Arizona.  It would be made of Northern White Cedar, which they say is both long lasting and splinter-free without chemical treatments.  I am working with a guy there to see what they think would work best for Madi and our space, and so far, we are thinking something like this:

It's a bit more than I was invisioning, however, it would have ramps already and would not need a shade overhead, so it really wouldn't be more expensive than any other set we had to add a shade to or customize.  You can't see it on this photo, however, it would have a steering wheel and periscope on each level, as well as a little play telephone.  The tallest structure also has a rock climbing wall leading up to it.  I've forwarded the sketch to Madi's physical therapist and I'm anxious to see what she thinks.  I think it would work out really well!!

Friday, April 22, 2011

A adoption funding and garage sale update

Just in case you missed it, this was my update last weekend, after our first weekend of garage sales...

22,000 adoption fees to Wacap/Orphanage
-100.00 donation
- 1,000 garage sale
-8,000 tax return from '10 taxes
= $12,900 to go!

We will also get a tax refund most likely (This year the adoption credit was $13,000, and I know it will be extended to next year.  Here's to hoping it will be extended the year after as well :)) after the adoption is finalized.  That should help us pay the travel fees off of our credit card when the time comes, so that will be awesome and should take care of the travel.  We will also need a private lawyer, but we'll get there eventually!  Ok, so on to my update...

12,900 to go
-480 made at this week's sale
- 300 for an item I sold on e-bay (I have more items to list on craigslist and e-bay as well :))
= $12,120 to go

We are getting there!  We are excited and in awe watching everything fall in to place.  God is good!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Feeling a little better

We have three of our four home studies finished.  At the last visit, she got to see Madi sick and upset in my arms, but hey, that's life!  I suppose the plus side is that she saw my concern for Madi not feeling well and she saw me working hard to comfort her and help her feel better.  We will not be able to have another visit this weekend, due to Easter, nor next, due to her going on vacation, so we will get our final home study the week after and will probably be traveling to Tucson to meet our social worker there, since she lives there and does not have many families to visit down in Phoenix right now.  She said she will work on our paperwork so that she basically just has to finish up loose ends and send it off when we get our final visit completed.  I cannot wait, it seems like such a big step!

I called Dr. Zuniga's office about the medical records for Manasa and Ramya that I had sent him.  Manasa (the younger child) did not have much urology information on file, so there was not much to read over.  Ramya, however, had quite a bit of information as she had a VCUG some time in the past.  He said that based on what he read, he is not overly concerned about, nor all alarmed with, her kidneys or kidney function.   This was a HUGE relief for us.  While we understand that her medical reports are not kept up to date and she is not followed as closely as she should be, we were relieved to hear that he did not think any drastic measures would need to be taken when/if we get her home.  Conner has decided that we will be taking both girls home, however, that is not the case.  Even if we wanted to, India does not allow multiple children to be adopted at once. 

We are still praying that God makes it very clear which child we are meant to adopt, and we would greatly appreciate your prayers for this as well. 

Some pretty cool shoes

I just wanted to share the most amazing pair of shoes we found for over Madi's HKFOs.  They are called Skidders, and Madi gets the Mary Jane style.  They are stretchy like sock material, but have a really awesome non-skid bottom.  They are perfect for walking because they don't weight her down, but also give her plenty of traction so she does not slip. They are very stretchy so they go over her HKFO's easily.  The only draw back is they tend to 'stick' a bit on carpet.  Conner has a pair as well, but his are closed at the top (like a sock), not open.  They would also work well, but would make the feet pretty warm, so they would be better in the winter.  I joined their facebook fan page today and found a 20% off code if anyone can use it.  This is copied from their facebook page:

Shop at - use facebook discount code SKID20 and receive 20% off your order!

Hope that helps someone out there :).  Here's a picture of Madi wearing a family of dolls in her HKFO's and using her skidders (which are a tad big.... I always forget how tiny her feet are!!):

Saturday, April 16, 2011

A garage sale/ money update :)

Here's a little update on our garage sale and overall adoption funds :).  Granted, this price does not include getting 4 of us to and 5 of us home from India or private lawyer fees, or what we paid for our classes or to Oasis for our homestudy, but it's the biggest bulk of it.

First off....

We made another $280 today, so our grand total from our garage sale this weekend was just over $1,000!!  WOW!!!!  I am so in awe!

22,000 adoption fees to Wacap/Orphanage
-100.00 donation
- 1,000 garage sale
-8,000 tax return from '10 taxes
= $12,900 to go!

I know that seems like a lot,  plus we'll probably need about that again for travel and lawyer fees, but, considering our homestudies aren't done yet, we have only had one fundraiser, and we're still quite a way out from being able to bring our daughter home, I think it is AMAZING!  God has really blessed our venture thus far, and I know he will continue to.  Thank you for all of your garage sale donations and, as always, your prayers!!

Friday, April 15, 2011

The results of our first garage sale...

We'll go at it again tomorrow, then again next weekend.  After that everything will get packed away until October.  We're using the money towards our adoption, so I'm very, VERY, excited to say....

Today we earned.....



Tuesday, April 12, 2011

It's here!

Our grass matting!  It will be a while before we can install it, but it is here!

Monday, April 11, 2011

A great poem

I heard this today and thought I'd pass it on :)

I Am Going on a Journey

I am going on a journey,
Won't you come along?
I need someone to help me.
A person big and strong.

I'm walking on my journey
But my feet are very small.
Can you stand beside me,
And catch me if I fall?

At times when I can't keep up
With life and all its fears,
Can you put me on your shoulders
And wipe away the tears?

When the steps I take are not big enough
And it's hard for me to grow
I know I can depend on you
To let me take it slow.

I'm going on a journey,
Please, won't you walk with me?
I need someone who understands
The place where I should be.

I promise when the road is tough
And you want to turn back home.
I will hold your hand real tight,
So you won't feel so alone.

I'm going on a journey
I don't know where it ends,
But if we walk together,
We can always be best friends.
And when the journey's over
And we find where we should be.
I know that you will be so glad,
You took this path with me.

I'm going on a journey,
Please, won't you come along?
I need someone to guide me
A parent—big & strong.

Written by Sally Meyer

Sunday, April 10, 2011

How do you make the tough decisions?

My heart has been heavy and my mind has been spinning the last few days.  As I previously blogged about, Jo, from Wacap, contacted me to let me know that Ramya, the four-year-old little girl in India that lit our adoption fire was now back up for adoption.  Great, right?  Well, sort of.  When we heard that she had a family, we then agreed to pursue Manasa, the one-year-old girl in the same orphanage that also has spina bifida.  We started our home studies, we took our classes, we talked to families, and we started to prepare ourselves... to bring home Manasa.  Of course, since our home studies and the such were not complete, and because there is another family now looking at Manasa, we knew she may never be ours, but we started to plan, unintentionally but also intentionally. 

I talked to Jo on Tuesday and asked what we do in this situation.  We now have two little girls who could both really benefit from joining our family.  Jo was not sure what we do because she has never dealt with a situation like ours before.  We cannot take both girls because 1- We do not think it is a wise choice considering their medical needs and the age of our children and 2- even if we did, India will not let us.  I asked if we are going to have to choose and she said possibly eventually, but not yet.  How in the world DO you choose, though?  We have been praying that God will make it very clear what we are supposed to do and who we are meant to adopt.  Here's the kicker, though.  Ramya is older and has more medical needs, so it is more important for her to find a family that is prepared to help her.  The problem?  She has more medical needs, and quite possibly very serious ones. 

I talked to Dr. Zuniga, Madi's urologist, about Ramya when we first considered her.  When I told him she was already having kidney failure, he told me that we can do a vesicostomy and go from there.  Ok, no biggie, we can do that!  Then David talked to his mom (who is a nurse) and she started throwing out things like kidney transplants and dialysis, as well as a short life-span.  Whoa.  Now that is a little scary.  I mean, if it was just David and I, or my children were grown, I would take her in a second, and love her for every second, as long as I could, whether that time frame was 3 years or 30.  But we have young children.  How do you explain to your children that their new sister will die, sooner rather than later?  I mean, we all face death, that is our reality.  We all have had people we love pass on, but how do you go through that with your children, and do you CHOOSE to go through that?  And how do you pay for those kinds of medical bills and keep food on the table?  But, on the other hand, how do you let her die without knowing the love of a family?  How do you look at her little face and say no?  It is SUCH a tough choice to have to make.  We knew that at some point we might have to make a choice like this, but it is so easier said than done.  We may be getting ahead of ourselves a bit, because we do not know if those are things she would face, but they have really made us stop and think and have sent us in to a tizzy. 

Dr. Zuinga has all of Ramya's medical records and is reviewing them for us.  I asked him to not just tell me what we would do now if we brought her home, but also what we would do in two years if she continues to get UTIs and her kidney failure gets worse.  We pray God makes our choice clear, and we ask for your prayers in that direction as well.  We know the right choice is not always the easy choice, but we don't know what that means right now. Though we are not sure what God has in store for us, or for the two little ones in India, we do have peace knowing that He knows and He has a plan.... a perfect plan.

Our fun today at a Hope Kids event that took place at Bumble Bee Ranch

Thursday, April 7, 2011

An Amazing Story

This is such an amazing story about a man with spina bifida who was sent home to die as a baby, and is now 78.  There is ALWAYS hope!

When Bill Whatley was born in December 1929 with spina bifida, his young parents had no idea where to turn to get help for their first-born child.

At the time, little was known about the usually fatal condition. Few survived and those who did suffered from physical and mental disabilities.

But Whatley, who has lived in Huntsville since 1965, defied the odds. He is believed to be the oldest active spina bifida survivor in the United States at 78.

Whatley's parents spent the $1,800 they had saved to buy a home on his medical expenses. They traveled by train from their home near Ozark in southern Alabama to Mobile for his first surgery at age 5. The surgeon basically sent him home to die.

"My daddy walked 10 miles (from the train station to his home), carrying me on a pillow after my surgery," said Whatley, who was head of Huntsville Aviation for 30 years.

Whatley became the oldest of nine children and started school at age 7, being classmates with his younger brother throughout school. None of his siblings, many who pulled him in a wagon to school, suffered from spina bifida.

Whatley has myelomeningocele, the most serious of the three types of spina bifida, which has no known cause or cure. He is also a colon cancer survivor and was diagnosed with diabetes earlier this year.

But it hasn't stopped the personable Whatley from enjoying life to the fullest. He has been involved in many local organizations and civic clubs, from the Chamber of Commerce to Rotary.

He never forgot the sacrifice his parents made for him when they gave up money to purchase a home.

"I bought them their first home," said Whatley. "I think they made a good investment."

He raised $3,000 to help get a spina bifida office started in the Huntsville area. His main goal is to spread the news that the birth defect is no longer a death sentence for those born with the condition.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Enter the curve ball

I got an e-mail from Jo at Wacap to see how we were doing on our homestudy.  We are still in line for Manasa (the 1 year old in India) but another family is now interested in her as well, so it's a waiting game to see who gets their paperwork in first to be matched with her.  Here's the curve ball, though.  Ramya, the first little girl I posted about that is 3, is up for adoption again.  The previous family decided not to adopt.  I know nothing about why.  Jo thinks we would qualify and be good candidates and will contact me early next week with some updates on her.  Either child will need us to clear our homestudy quickly.  Ramya, because of her kidneys, and Manasa, because there are now a few of us looking to adopt her.  Now we are thrown for a loop but are trusting that God will make clear which child He has for us (and He might have a completely different kiddo in mind for us!).  I forwarded David the e-mail from Jo and we discussed it.  He asked a few questions about where we go from here, to which I said we just pray and get our homestudy done, as that really is all we can do right now.  He is very concerned for Ramya and wants to rush the homestudy, but unfortunately, that is not possible.

We could really use your prayers right now.  Please pray:

- God will clearly show us the child He has for us and will pave the road for that child to come home to us.

- Pray for a quick homestudy process (we need 4 total, and because Oasis is based in Tucson, we cannot have multiple visits a week).

- Pray for a judge that sees us as a good family to adopt and signs off on the adoption quickly.

- Pray for both of these girl's to be matched with families that can help them thrive and also pray for their health.

I wish I could express....

I belong to a forum called 'Spina Bifida Connection' that is comprised of parents of little ones with spina bifida, as well as teens and adults with spina bifida themselves.  It is a great support group where you can talk about anything you need to and get answers to any question need help with.  Many times moms who have just been told their baby has spina bifida come on for support.  It is the same story over and over again.  The doctors gave them a bleak outlook and are telling them they should abort, but they want to get more information first.  The crazy thing is, when I hear the specifics on their child, many times the level of their spina bifida and/or form is better than Madis.  Bleak.  Life is not bleak.  Look at Madi's life.  Does that look bleak to you? 

Today another mom posted that she cannot put her child through such a sad life and that she has decided to abort.  I am in tears, and I never cry.  It saddens me that the life of a child with a disability is not seen as valuable and worthy of life.  It saddens me that people look at Madi and feel bad for her.  It saddens me that people think that a baby with her condition should not be given life.  It saddens me that people see it as bleak and painful, and therefore, unworthy.  Yes, life is different, but who are we to judge that it is any less amazing or worthy? 

This is a great reminder of exactly why I keep this blog.  To bring hope.  Spina bifida may not be something we plan or wish for our kids.  Spina bifida may bring challenges, I am not going to lie, but spina bifida also brings love, hope, laughter, determination, and so much more.  Spina bifida brings life.