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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

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Celebrating Conner

When our plans to go to India got changed, I realized we would likely be in India for Conner's birthday.  I wanted to make sure to celebrate him, because he really is just such an amazing boy, so we decided to celebrate early!  He got to take his friends to Laser Quest a few weeks ago for a few games of laser tag.  He also wanted to eat at McDonalds (yuck!!) and decorate rice Krispy treats instead of cake, and all the boys loved it! 




 
 
 
This past Sunday all of our family went to Barro's Pizza to celebrate both David and Conner.  David's birthday was Monday, so we got to celebrate him, and the amazing man that he is, as well.  It was a lot of fun!  Conner wanted a "cat" theme, so we went with Grumpy Cat.  I think it fits our family well!
 









 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Ramya's Amazing New Bike

I am SO behind on blogging, and want to post about our exciting news before I leave for India!

A few months back I got a call from Athletes Helping Athletes.  They had given Madi an awesome hand cycle that she LOVES and uses all the time.  When they were reviewing the photos from the event where they gave Madi her cycle, they saw that Ramya needed a bike too, and wanted to know if she was ready for one.  I had been waiting until she showed interest in riding a bike, and of course, once Madi got hers, Ramya was ready!  They had me fill out an application and within the week it was on it's way!  Ramya was SO crazy excited! 

A few weekends back my parents drove their trailer to Tucson so we could bring the bike here.  My dad then assembled it (thankfully it came already mostly assembled), and she wanted to ride immediately!  She and Madi have SO much fun on them together!

We are so very thankful to Athletes Helping Athletes for giving our girls their bikes.  They bring them so much freedom and independence, and there is no feeling better than that!

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Monday, December 28, 2015

It's Amazing Watching the Details Unfold

I just have to share a quick story before I get to work making meals for David and the girls. 

Yesterday was a bit of a stressful day, thought it was also very productive.  I booked all of our flights, hotels, drivers, appointments, etc..., including making multiple calls to India.  There were some moments where I was frustrated and feeling it wouldn't get done in time, and that's when God showed himself in a HUGE way!

To start with, I spent about 1 1/2 hours trying to find our airfare online.  After finding just the right flights, reserving seats, calling the airline to confirm a few things, and trying to book it all, I got an error at the very end when I was trying to pay and book the flights.  I tried multiple times and every time got the same error.  I called the company again and they allowed me to book on the phone without any extra fees since I was having problems with their online sight.  I spent just about 2 hours on the phone trying to get everything down correctly, waiting on hold, and all the "usual" stuff.  I was feeling a bit flustered and was praying that I could get the flights I needed.  When we were finally finished I was giving the book price, and it was just about $2,000 LESS than when I was booking myself online.  I cannot explain to you why, other than to say it was totally a God thing, because she was booking basically the same flights, and was with the exact same company.  It gets better too!  My friend, Kariann, has been saving up to pay for her own ticket, even though I told her I would cover it because she is coming with me.  It's just something she wanted to do.  Then we had two family members give us unexpected money towards our travel fees. The new fees I was charged for airline, minus my friend's portion, are almost exactly how much we were given towards our adoption from our family.  That means all of our airfare costs are COVERED!  I'm so amazed!!! 

The next amazing thing happened when I was booking our Delhi hotel.  I wanted to book at the same hotel I was at last time because it was a great location, I am familiar with the area, they offer fair prices on exchanging money, and they offer free breakfast.  I tried booking through hotels.com and other travel sites but the hotel wasn't offered.  I then went through their site to try and book.  I meant to see if there was availability and accidently e-mailed the hotel directly, not realizing I was in the wrong area.  I found the correct way to check and put in our dates and information.  They showed no availability.  I checked again.  Nothing.  I checked some other travel websites again, and got nothing.  I started looking on hotels.com for Delhi area hotels but was feeling defeated because I was trying to Google map the distances to each of the places we needed to go, wasn't sure where anything was, wasn't sure what hotels would be nice, etc....  I took a break and checked my inbox.  I had an e-mail back from the hotel stating they had a room available for me.  I confirmed the number of people and dates, and they confirmed I could book a room.  I then called and confirmed again and gave them my credit card information.  Not only was I able to book a room, but the rate they gave me was just about HALF of what I was expecting to pay them due to what their posted rates where.  Amazing!  So not only was I able to book at the hotel I wanted, I even got a better rate!! 

There are many other expenses, adoption fees, and things we need to pay for, and honestly it's all going on credit card to pay off later, but there's even a plan there.  I checked our second credit card, the one we never use, and we have a 0% balance transfer rate for 12 months, and our credit line is just about how much our remaining fees for the adoption will be.  That means we have a full year to pay it down without stressing.  I hate, hate, hate going in to debt, but keep reminding myself that there's no better or more important way to go in to debt than by adopting my sweet girl, and I am very thankful we have been able to live debt free for so long.

So there you have it.  God had a perfect plan, and those most frustrating times in my day also lead to the greatest and most unexpected blessings!  I've been so disappointed lately in our house not selling and having financial frustrations and the such, and this was such an amazing reminder that God is carrying us through this time and will continue to do so.


 

Sunday, December 27, 2015

2 Hours on the Phone and $8,000 On Credit Card and....

We are leaving for India THIS Thursday!!  Ah!  Please send lots of prayers our way.  These next few days of preparation will be totally nuts for us!


 
 
P.S.  I'm holding my itinerary confirmation like that to cover up the reservation numbers and such ;)
 

Monday, December 21, 2015

Too Big Not to Share TONIGHT

I just got word that D's passport should be picked up today in India.  

What does that mean?


WE ARE GOING TO INDIA!!


Our tentative date is to leave December 31st.  I'll keep everyone posted as we get more details.  Please keep us in your prayers!


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Getting Settled In

Well, it's official.  We are in Tucson.  On Friday David drove in to Phoenix from Tucson and went to a concert with friends. Saturday we loaded up the rest of the things we needed, packed my dad's trailer full of the girl's therapy equipment and other larger items, and drove to Tucson again; this time to stay.  My parents came as well to drive the trailer, help us unpack our cars, and help us get a little more settled, which was very helpful.

Saturday was a hard day for me emotionally.  This has been the hardest and most challenging year that David and I have faced since getting married 12 years ago.  David has really struggled at work, our adoption has had so many delays, we had family members that we loved that passed away, there were seizures and shunt surgery, there was the stress of trying to prepare the house to sell, keep it spotless, and wait as it's on the market, we lived separate for a few months, there was financial stress, struggles with Ramya, and so much more.  I tend to just keep on pushing through life without stopping to let myself process everything, and I think it all hit on Saturday.  Suddenly things felt so final and that year of struggle finally sunk in. After lots of tears, a few phone calls with friends that understand and had words of comfort and wisdom for me, and lots of prayers, I came to a place of acceptance and peace.  Though I still do not love Tucson and I am saddened to move away from friends and family, I know that Tucson is where we are supposed to be.  Although I cannot change that fact, I can change my attitude about the move.  I am looking forward to seeing how God uses our time in Tucson and what these next few years bring for our family.   

 Our house has still not sold but we do have a few families interested.  We received an offer (long story there!) and countered the offer as it was very low, but still have not heard back.  There were two other families that loved our house and were considering putting in an offer as well, but both have to sell their houses before they can buy.  For now, we wait and keep praying it sells before we bring Deena home.  One thing I do not miss is having to keep it constantly spotless!

So far we do not have any updates on when we can travel to India to bring Deena home.  We were told they would apply for her passport on December 4th.  Normally passport wait times are about 4 weeks.  If that's the case, we should be traveling in the beginning of January.  We are praying there are no more delays and we are able to have her home VERY soon!  Her birthday is January 10th and I would love to be able to celebrate with her.

I think that's all for now!  A big "thank you" to everyone who prayed for our move.  We are getting all settled in and have already had a few fun outings.  Please continue to pray for our house to sell in Phoenix before Deena comes home.  Also be praying for safe travels to and from India, no seizures for Madi while I'm gone, and a smooth adjustment period for us all. 



 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

An Adoption and Life Update

First off I would like to apologize for being so quiet recently.  I have no excuse other than to say that we are dealing with a lot of hard "stuff" right now and by the time the day is over, I'm just plain tired!  Don't get me wrong, we have had so many moments of laughter and joy, and we are still so beyond crazy blessed, but it seems like life just keeps throwing us new curve balls.  Our amazing kids always keep us smiling though!



 

The last few months David has been in Tucson while I have been in Phoenix at our house with the kids.  We see each other on the weekends and Facetime often, but we don't love being separated.  We both have our routines, though, and things are going pretty smoothly, so I am thankful for that.  Madi did have a seizure a few weeks back when we were in Phoenix and David wasn't with us.  Thankfully my parents were able to get here quickly to stay with Conner and Ramya so that I didn't have to leave Madi's side.  We were in the ER until 3 am but thankfully her shunt and everything is working great! 

We are still trying to sell our house, so the kids and I have to keep it super clean and show-ready at all times.  We spend most of our days homeschooling at my parents house, in therapy, or out with friends, which helps keep it clean.  It's also been nice to see friends and family so much since we will be moving soon.  The kids are loving that part!  We are blessed with so many people we love, and we will miss these moments for sure!

 

We are praying for buyers soon so that we can sell the house by the time Deena comes home.  We are trying really hard not to feel discouraged because we are still within the average sale times in our neighborhood.  We are just both struggling because we put a lot of time and money in to making it look move-in-ready and felt like it would sell quickly.  We both have peace, though, knowing God has the perfect buyers out there and that they will come along at the perfect time.  Sometimes we have to remind ourselves of it OFTEN, but we do truly believe it.  My prayer always has been, and still is, that it will sell before Deena comes home.  We would love if you would join us in praying for that!

David was doing really well at work and getting his groove back and then he had this really crazy circumstance that totally knocked him back down.  We are worried about finances, especially having both a mortgage and a rent right now and with how much it will cost for us to bring Deena home from India, so I know he's feeling a lot of extra stress at the moment.  We ended up owing quite a bit more to state taxes than we planned on and haven't gotten our federal tax refund yet so we are just kind of scraping by until our house sells.  I know he is feeling defeated.  Please be praying for David and for peace that surpasses all understanding.  I fully believe he will get back on his feet; there's no doubt in my mind.  We are both working on trusting God during these trials and are praying that God uses our circumstances to strengthen who we are in Him.  We both feel at peace, even though we are feeling extra stress, and we are thankful for that. 

We were expecting to be in India (*we* as in myself, Conner, and my friend Kariann) this week or next to bring Deena home.  Our written court orders were received about 3 weeks ago and all that was left was passport, which takes about 2-4 weeks normally.  We just found out yesterday, though, that her passport hasn't been applied for yet.  They go on December 4th to apply, and then we have about a 2-4 week wait after that.  At this point it's not looking like she will be home for Christmas, which we are sad about.  We also found out that they did surgery last week to remove a rod from her thigh bone.  The doctor didn't feel like she needed it any more.  I think this is what I'm grieving the most over.  We were granted a full and final adoption, so legally she is now ours, but they did not tell us they were going to do this.  I'm worried she will get home and then need it put back in and she will have gone through all that for nothing.  But, most of all, I'm saddened that I could not be there to hold her hand and hug her through the pain.  I'm her momma and I can't advocate for her yet, and that is a really terrible feeling.  I cannot wait until she is home and I can be there for her.  She will never be alone again!  We did get her carseat and bed in (though she will sleep in our room for quite a while), so that was a lot of fun.  It was nice feeling like we were able to prepare for her and celebrate her a bit.  Even Hope thinks her new bed is super comfortable!

 

We have two more weeks of homeschool co-op and then we will officially join David in Tucson after that.  We have already said "good-bye" to our Church family, which was hard for us as we are very connected there and love our community so much.  We had our last attachment therapy session as well.  It looks like next week will be our last week for speech, occupational, and physical therapy in Phoenix too.  After returning home from India I will find new therapists in Tucson for the girls.  I would like to take a month off, though, when Deena comes home so that we can focus on our family for a while.  I will, of course, continue all of their therapy goals myself in the meantime.  I have always believed the biggest strides aren't necessarily made in therapy, though I think therapy is really important, but instead by practicing therapy goals throughout the week. 

Here we are "wrapping Ramya in our love" on our last day of attachment therapy...

 

I think that about sums up life for now!  Thank you all for following our journey and praying for our family.  Thank you to those of you who have come over to help me pack, have messaged me to check in on me, or have had us over to visit.  We love each and every one of you and appreciate you so much!  Please continue to pray for Deena's heart and her transition in to our family.  Her whole life is about to change!  Pray for a safe trip to India to bring her home, safety for David and the girls while they are here and Conner and I are gone, that everyone will remain healthy during and after the trip, and that Madi will not have any seizures while I am away.