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Do you shop at Amazon.com or know someone who does? Click on the link below, or any Amazon link in this blog, to help us earn Amazon Credit in order to buy therapy equipment! Anything you order off Amazon counts! Please bookmark Madi, Ramya and Deena's link and pass it on... every order helps! http://www.amazon.com/?_encoding=UTF8&tag=missmadi-20

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

For Those Who Asked to Donate for Our Adoption

I have to admit, this post has taken me a long time to write and I've been putting it off for a while.  Accepting money and help is something that I really, really struggle with.  I appreciate the hearts of those who have asked to give, though, and I am ready to admit it takes a village to bring a child home; not just financially, but with prayers, help, and support as well.  So, to our village, THANK YOU!

Here's the latest update on how you can donate, for those of you who have asked :)

  1. You can give a tax deductible donation through Wacap in our name, which would specifically be for Ramya.  If for some reason our adoption was not approved, the money would not follow us, but would stay with Ramya for the family that was approved to adopt her.  If this happened, we would be more than ok with the money staying with Ramya, since her having a home, even if it isn't ours, is extremely important to us!  Wacap said the easiest way is to mail us a check, then I can gather all the checks, write a letter that they are for Ramya and our adoption, then mail them all in at once. 
    1. Here is the response I got, with more information:  If you have several people that would like to donate money for Ramya’s adoption, it would be best if they could send the checks to you first and then you can bundle them all together and send them all to us. The checks can be made out to WACAP and should indicate on the check or in a letter from each family that this money is a donation for Ramya’s adoption. Then, when you bundle them together and send them to us, you can add a note that these checks are donations for Ramya’s adoption and that you are the family currently matched with her. Keep in mind that if for some reason your adoption of Ramya falls through, you will not receive the money since it would stay with Ramya for whichever family does adopt her. The people who make the donations should talk to their tax accountants for more information about how to apply this as a donation for their tax purposes
  2. You can give a donation to Wacap that is NOT tax deductible, but that would follow our family in the event our adoption with Ramya was not approved.  You can mail the check straight to them, but you would just need to include a letter that it is for our family.  Here's the info I got about that...
    1. If desired, the donator could write the check to WACAP and make it specific to your family’s adoption, regardless of which child you adopt. As long as you do complete your adoption through WACAP, this money will be applied to your fees, but the person who sent the money cannot write it off as a donation.
    2. The address is: 315 S. Second St. Renton, WA 98057
  3. You can donate through Paypal using the link below.  The money would NOT be tax deductible, and there are paypal fees (unless you give as 'personal' and 'gift', instead of as a donation), but it is an easy way to give!

Of course, you can also mail/give a donation directly to us.  If you have any questions, please e-mail me at jamie_lugo@hotmail.com.  For those of you who have donated items for our garage sale, donated your time to help us prepare/organize, are planning to donate, or who have prayed for us, THANK YOU for your support!  We love each one of you and are so thankful for you!

Our current goal is $10,200, due ASAP.  They have agreed to let us make a small payment, then send in more once our garage sale is complete.  Whatever else is left we will put on our credit card so that we don't delay the process.  Because we have already paid some of our fees, however, our overall goal is $30,000 and includes our trip to India to bring Ramya home.


A Leggy Update

Today Madi visited Dr. Segal, her orthopedic surgeon, for her 6-month check-up.  He said things are looking great!  I always worry about her hips, since they pop sometimes and she tries to w-sit a lot, but he said they were doing great.  He showed me some strategies for stretching out her "curly toe" and told me it was about time to get her HKFOs adjusted (again!).  He also said that her right knee is getting a little bit tight, so I am going to order her a knee immobilizer for her right leg as well.  She already wears one on her left leg at night while she sleeps.  Madi has decided that she loves Dr. Segal, so that is always helpful.  She didn't cry at all, and loved playing with him!  He is great with her too, which helps a ton.  Yeah for a good appointment!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Happy Three to Madi!

Miss Madi turned three on November 11th and we had her party the next day.  As I sat reflecting on all we've been through over the past three years, one thing really stuck out to me.  When I first heard about Madi's diagnosis, I wasn't sure what it meant.  I wasn't sure if she would be able to be born and live her little life.  I would pray and tell God that I could deal with anything He sent my way, as long as she was able to have life and know love.  It's an amazing feeling looking back at the three years of her life and see how much my prayers were answered.  Madi is such a determined, smart, and amazing little girl.  She can be pretty darn spunky too!  There is no doubt that she is full of life, and we feel so blessed to get to see her grow and develop in to the amazing little gal that she is!

I'm a little slow to get everything uploaded, but here are pictures from her special day!


The centerpieces I made....



 The cake Madi's grandmother, Grams, and Aunt Kim made for her...



Of course we had lots of good food (and by lots, I mean wayyyyy too much!)



A pinata, of course!



I love his smile...



Blowing out her candle...



She already insists she's 4!



We had lots of friends and family celebrating her special day with us....



Madi loooooved her presents!



Such a girly girl.....



Madi with Grams and Uma.... 3 generations right there!



Madi showing off her new Minnie dress from Grams


 And, yes, her wheelchair is still decorated.  It's too cute to take off!  I think we are going to make decorating it seasonally a new tradition!

Garage Sale Reminder... WE NEED YOU :)

Our garage sale is next weekend, December 2nd and 3rd.  We will happily take:

- Items to sell
- Bake sale items to sell (breads, jelly, cupcakes, cookies, muffins, brownies and more)
- Help to organize or run the sales (Really just on Friday, I think we have Saturday covered.  Even just helping set up would be HUGE!)
- People to come shop
- Prayers.....   we just got a bill for $10,500 in the mail, and I thought I'd have more time until that came around, so we're freaking out a tad right now

Thank you SO much for all your support!!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Our Spina Bifida Walk-N-Roll

First off, I want to say THANK YOU to everyone who donated and participated in our walk-and-roll for Spina Bifida.  I know Madi felt very special being surrounded by those those that love her.  Team Madi raised over $500 for the local chapter and we are so grateful for each and every one of you that donated!



Secondly, I want to say a bit about what I noticed at the walk.  Too often, I talk to moms who just found out their baby has spina bifida and they were told by their doctor that their child would have no quality of life.  It's absurd, absolutely absurd.  When I looked around at the walk-and-roll, I was taken back at all of the life I saw.  These kiddos were not just going through the motions.  They had a twinkle in their eye and they were genuinely happy.  They were full of smiles and laughs.  Their leg braces and wheelchairs didn't slow them down one bit.  They had a true love for life and they were inspiring to watch.  I am not saying spina bifida is always a walk in the park, nor am I saying that every person or child with spina bifida loves every little part of their life (who does!), but what I am saying is that these kiddos have an amazing spirit and love for life.  If you asked them, they would not tell you they had no quality of life, but instead, that they loved life!

We decided to deck out Madi's chair and it was a lot of fun!  I think we're going to make it a tradition and decorate it every season.  It sounds like a great tradition!

Here are some photos from the day...






From left to right: David (dad), Umpa (great-grandpa), Conner (brother), Uma (great-grandma), Madi (the little star) Papa (grandpa), Grams (grandma), Nathan (cousin), Jamie (mom), Kim (aunt), Grammy (grandma)



Taking a little break to run up the mountain


I did it!




This is own, Madi's friend.  They were showing off the rainbows on their arms.  Owen showed Madi how to pop wheelies at the last Spina Bifida Association party in December.


Madi's cousin, Nathan


Madi's great-grandma, Uma



Madi's buddy, Ezra






Dancing :)



It was a great day!!!

Yeah for Rifton!

Rifton read my post about needing a handle for our dynamic stander and sent us one that is technically for another piece of equipment but that they thought would work with her stander.  We got it today and so far, it seems like it will work great!  We have it on right now and I took a few pictures so you could see it (ignore the Halloween decorations... haven't gotten around to getting those down yet!!). 



We plan to test it out today so I will come back and update everyone on how it works.  It was very easy to install, though, so I was excited about that!  I've also been very pleased with Rifton's customer service. 

I took this picture of Madi earlier today (before the handle came).  She wanted to go out for a stroll in her stander, and for some reason, insisted on a helmet :).  It was cute!


Friday, November 4, 2011

Why I've Been M.I.A and an Un-Update on the Adoption

I've been in a bit of a funk lately.  I've sat down multiple times to write this post, and it just hasn't happened.  Tonight, though, I'm going to get it all out :).

On the 27th of October I got an e-mail from Wacap.  They decided to send Ramya for surgery to correct her renal reflux.  When they took her in, though, she had a UTI so they were not able to set a surgery date.  Instead, they were keeping her in the hospital until her UTI cleared up and were doing the surgery after that.  Our agency was told...

“We had problems getting a date for the surgery as her urinary tract infection had to be addressed and treated prior to the surgery. She is still in hospital and is convalescing well. I will send you the discharge summary as soon as we get it."


We still have not gotten a discharge summary, so I am not even sure if she has had the surgery yet or not, or if she is still sitting in the hospital waiting.  It breaks my heart thinking of her just sitting there, in pain, scared, and all alone.  It makes me want to cry.  Actually, I won't lie, I have cried.  I'm having a hard time thinking about it.  I just really want to get her home so that I can be there with her and for her, and be the one making the decisions for her. 

We have also had some delays with our dossier paperwork.  We had it all filled out and went to get our apostilles from the secretary of state.  More than half of our paperwork was missing some of the verbiage needed to get the apostilles, though, and it had to be fixed.  We went to the bank to talk to the guy who did most of it, and of course, he was on vacation.  We waited until he got back and just couldn't get him in the office.  I finally wrote all the correct verbage down myself, convinced that they would reject it, and sent David downtown (about a 30 minute drive) to try and get the apostilles.  Thankfully they gave it to him on all but two pages, which were our passports.  I had written the verbiage for written documents, not photos, on them, so they had to be fixed.  David drove back to the house, got our passports, and rushed back to get them corrected.  After getting those stamped he brought them home for me (I've got a good man :)).  We went to Staples that night to copy all the pages.  It took quite a while because they had stapled the apsotilles on the front of each of our documents, so we had to scan, turn, scan, turn, scan, turn, well, you get the picture.  It took a while.  97 pages later we were finished.  We got home and I opened my mail to find more paperwork.  I stayed up to work on it that night, so that it would be ready to mail with our Dossier.



The next morning we had my mom come over to take some family pictures of us in semi-formal attire.  The photos will be send to India along with our dossier.  I packaged up both sets of paperwork (the dossier and the new paperwork) and drove it to the post office to get it off to our adoption agency.  I sent it priority with a delivery confirmation in hopes of getting it there quickly and safely!


Today after the baby I watch left, I hopped on the computer to check my e-mail.  Let's just say I wasn't too happy.  There was an e-mail from our agency that basically said that CARA, the organization that oversees adoptions in India, is postponing all new paperwork/adoptions until the beginning of the year.  They were originally going to still work on special needs adoptions, but now they may even be halting those. 

Unfortunately this morning we received news from two orphanages that they had just received from CARA a circular advising that CARA will now not be processing cases of children with special needs prior to January 2012. 

I wasn't able to get ahold of our agency, as they were already closed for the day, so I'm not sure if Ramya's orphanage is one of the two in India that got word that adoptions are postponed.  I'm absolutely heartbroken and saddened that our adoption may, once again, be halted.  It's just not fair.  Our agency is going to write letter and fight it, and I will absolutely write one too if they will let me, but i feel so hopeless.  I know God has a plan, but this waiting is rough.  Right now, I'm praying for a miracle!!

We just payed a nice big adoption bill and I"ll post our fees so far, just in case anyone is interested.  We're going to start up some fundraising.  If you are local and have any goodies you don't want any more, send them our way!  Big, small, we'll take it all!  We'll be having a big garage sale in December for a fundraiser.  My friend Amanda is also hosting a thirty-one fundraiser.  There are great bags, lunch boxes, organizers, and other great stuff, all that can get personalized, that the company sells.  10%-15% of all sales goes towards our adoption.  You can check out more information here (http://www.aworthyjourney.com/2011/10/ready-for-some-christmas-shopping-join.html).  A few people have asked me to put a chip-in button on our blog so they can chip in towards the adoption.  I'm not ignoring this request, I promise, I just want to wait to see if there is a way to make donations tax deductible first :).
 
That's really it for now.  Please be praying that we can get approved in India quickly, without any more delays, so that we can be one step closer to bringing Ramya home.  Most importantly, please be praying for Ramya and that God's hand will protect her. 
 
 
Adoption Fees Paid:
 
Oasis Adoption Application Fee $75
Fingerprints $35
Court Fee for Fingerprints $62
Learning Partners Classes $149
Dr. Luberto- Physicals $65
Homestudy Fee $1,250
Birth Certificate Certified Copies $60
Apostilles Round 1 $36
Apostilles Round 2 $69
Apostilles Round 3 $6
First Round of Wacap Fees $6,050
 
Total So Far: $7,857.00
 
 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Gluten-Free Dairy-Free (GFCF) Delicious Crepes (and a Regular Recipe too ;)

My aunt and uncle gave me a crepe maker they were no longer using.  Of course, I HAD to try it out ASAP.  I am addicted to kitchen appliances, so I was very excited for my new toy!  I modified the recipe (found in the "Tibos Crepes from around the world" book) to fit our dietary needs.  I wasn't sure what to expect, but man, they were yummy!!   Here's the recipe and photos:

Ingredients (makes 15 crepes)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon buckwheat flour (I used ground flax seeds, not flour)
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter or oil (I used olive)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (make sure to use gluten-free)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (for gluten-free, I used 1/3 cup tapioca flour (gives it a good consistency), 1/2 sorghum flour, and 1 cup brown rice flour.  You could use any gluten free flour blend you like, though)
  • 2 1/4 cups low-fat milk (I used unsweetened coconut milk)
  • Skip this if you are making regular, but use this if you are doing gluten-free......  1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (not sure why I use this, but if I don't, things don't turn out right, and if I do, they do, so I use it!!)
  • Skip this if you are making regular, but use this if you are doing gluten-free...... 1 teaspoon xanathan gum
  • Fillings
In a bowl mix together the sugar, buckwheat flour (or ground flax seeds), melted butter or oil, water, salt, vanilla, and eggs.  Then, alternate adding the flour and milk, mixing well after each addition.

Follow your crepe maker directions for spreading and turning the crepes.  Cook each side for about 1 minute.



Fillings are fun, and you can vary your crepes a lot by changing it up.  We like powdered sugar, peanut butter (well, cashew butter) and jelly (these are GREAT to make in advance and put in the fridge to grab on the go or for a fast lunch), egg with veggies (cheese would be yummy too if you can eat it), honey, fruit, jelly, and so on.  Enjoy!

Not sure why this photo looks green in the middle.  It wasn't. Maybe it's steam.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Got Acorn Squash?

We get our organic produce through bountiful baskets to save money.  One week I got 3 acorn squash and I wanted to try something new with them.  I ran across a recipe for apple and acorn squash pie, yum, yum!!!  I had to modify it to make it gluten and dairy free, so I will post both the original and the modified recipes for you.  Try it, you will like it!

First off, if you are making your dessert dairy-free, make your sweetened condensed milk before you start your pie.  I found the recipe at www.godairyfree.com.


Dairy-Free Sweetened Condensed Milk (Makes 1 Cup):
  • 3 cups coconut milk (or soy or rice but we used coconut and it was reallllly yummy!)
  • 1/2 cup evaporated can sugar (or plain white if that's what you have)
  • Vanilla Extract (make sure this is gluten-free if you need it to be)
  • Salt
Add the milk and sugar to a sauce pan.  Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly (or just often, like me ;)), until the volume is reduced to 1 cup (this will take a long time!).  Add a few drops of vanilla to taste, and a pinch of salt.  Cool before using.  May be stored in the refrigerator.


Acorn Squash Pie Recipe (from www.thefreshdish.com)

  • 2 whole acorn squash
  • 4 tablespoons butter (we use a vegan butter so that there is no dairy)
  • 1 cup evaporated milk (I just used the sweetened condensed milk recipe since that's what I could fine and it came out really yummy!)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar (if you are using the dairy-free sweetened condense milk, reduce this to 3/4 or 1/2 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. cardamom (skipped this)
  • 1/4 tsp. cloves
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 granny smith or Macintosh apple
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  Cut acorn squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds with a spoon.  Put 1 teaspoon of butter in each half.  Place cut side up (I've always done it down, but it's better up I've decided :)) in a baking dish with 2 cups of water and bake the squash for 1 hour until it is tender when you poke it with a fork.



Scoop the squash out of its skin and puree it in a blender or food processor (I used a blender but also blended in my condensed milk to make it creamy and blend easier).  Puree until very smooth.  In a bowl, combine the squash, eggs, evaporated milk (or dairy free condensed) sugar, vanilla extract and spices together than mix until combined well.

Peel and cut the apple in to 1/4 inch slices.  Arrange the slices into a circle around the bottom of a well-buttered glass pie dish OR use a crust and just put the apple straight in to the crust.  I did not use a crust but it would have been very yummy and pumpkin pie-ish.  Pour the filling over the apples until it almost reaches the top of the dish.  Bake for 1 hour or until a knife comes out clean.

Let the pie cook for about 20 minutes before cutting and sering.  You can eat it cold or hot.  Topping it with ice cream or whipped cream would be very yummy too!  ENJOY!