Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Get that kid

Charles here. I just want to say how excited we are to be bringing "Joel" home, and how humbled we are by everyone's support. Diane Sawyer did a piece on another family adopting through Reece's Rainbow last night, so while the traffic on RR has made Joel's donation total intermittently unavailable, it's exciting to see the organization getting so much attention.

The financial part of this process can get a little confusing for me, so I'll try to clarify the situation as best as I know how.

The estimated cost of performing an adoption from Joel's home country through Reece's Rainbow is $24,000. Joel had about $3,000 in his account at the time we claimed him on Reece's Rainbow, and at that time RR set us up with our own account to collect money for his adoption. That fund has $3,400 in it now. So we have a total of $6,400 raised, meaning it will cost another $17,600 to adopt him.

People have asked us if we're planning to put our own money toward the adoption, and it's a fair question. We put some money into Joel's fund before claiming him (i.e., some of Joel's $3,000 is ours), and we've been paying for adoption-related expenses so far, like the home study (part of the estimated $24,000). We're not allowed to donate anything to our own fund; it's being used to cover expenses we'd have to pay for anyway, so allowing us to donate would be like giving us a license to launder our money tax-free.

But we definitely have skin in this game, and we have every intention of covering the difference between the cost of the adoption and the amount we end up raising. The reason we're doing fundraising is that right now, $24,000 is beyond our means to cover. So is $17,600. We could wait until we save enough money to go get Joel, but the sooner he gets better medical care, the sooner he starts learning English, the sooner he gets a loving family, the better off he will be--physically, emotionally and spiritually. We're not asking you to pay for our whole adoption, but we are asking you to help us get within striking range of affording this. Just get us close enough, and we will go make this happen.

I'm sure we can raise the money. We have faith in God's provision, and we have faith in our family and friends: a crack team of compassionate and generous people. I want you to know that you don't have to donate, and we can still be the best of friends.

On the other hand, time is of the essence. And you know my wife is going to be putting Joel videos and posts online for the next 30 years. It will probably be nice to watch them and think to yourself, "I was on the team. I helped that family go get that kid."

Thank you to everyone who has donated so far. We don't even know who you all are yet, but your generosity is hugely appreciated. Let's go get that kid.


People have asked how to mail in checks in order to bypass the Paypal fees and the site being down.

Donations made by check can be made payable and mailed to:

Reece's Rainbow
PO Box 4024
Gaithersburg, MD 20885
Please clearly write that it's going to Joel for the Wesley Family!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

My last Christmas without you little boy

My dear son,

I love you. Some mommies love their children before they ever meet face to face,  when they are still growing in the womb. I started loving you the same way--before we ever met face to face. Some mommies have ultrasound pictures that are black and white and blurry. I am luckiest of all because I get a full picture in color! Some mommies feel kicks and jabs from the inside as little hands and feet push around. I feel little kicks and jabs to my heart as I fill out months of paperwork and invite social workers into my private life. Still I love you. I love you like any mommy loves her son. And I love you more than every other mommy in the world could possibly love anyone. Just like every other mommy in the world tells their sons too.

I have learned this Christmas, this last Christmas without you hopefully, how little control I have in my life. I don't fear miscarriage since you're not in my tummy. I fear something worse. The unknown. The lack of control. Things that could happen. Things that have happened. And someday we'll talk about it. When you'll understand.

But I'm learning, my sweet little love, I'm learning to trust. Because God loves you. And he cares. And he allows. And he steps in. And he conquers in powerful displays. And he conquers behind the scenes. And he laughs. And he cries. And he knew all along.

That I'd be your mommy.

Even though anything can happen, I'll always be your mommy.

I promise to love you. Because you are a blessing. You are important. You are valuable. And I promise to tell you that. All the time.

Through bonding issues, through feeding issues, through potty issues, through body issues, through surgeries, through parasites, through dietary supplementation and growth issues, through stretches, through misbehavior not even you'll understand, through grief, through culture shock, through self soothing, through violence, through daily therapy, through counseling, through new smells, through sensory issues, through screaming fits, through sleeplessness, through pain, through stress and through possible things that happened to you in the womb... and once born, I promise to love you. I promise not to leave you. I promise to be your mommy.

Because you are loved. Because you are important. Because you are valuable.

Merry Christmas baby. You don't know it, but I'm coming.

Your Mommy

Friday, December 23, 2011

What just happened?!

What just happened?! I was sitting here minding my own business when all of the sudden WHAMO! Down went another financial barrier! That's right! Someone just put $1,000 in our son's account!!!


I'm flabbergasted! That's amazing! I even refreshed the page a couple times just to be sure. Did that say a two or a three? A three! Seriously? Yes!!!

Merry Christmas! Only 18 more pesky bills to go! Let's destroy them!

PS: I've changed this blog around a bit and added a picture of the little boy we're all rooting for up top. Its giant size makes it a can-see-up-your-nose picture. But I liked how his little fingers are pointing at the posts below as if to say, "Read this yo!" :)


Oh my goodness!!! Another dollar barrier bites the dust!!! There are only 19 bills remaining! Each bill represents $1,000. When they're all gone my baby's ransom is covered!!!

Thank you so much for helping us! I did not expect such an out pour of love so quickly! We feel so touched by your generosity! So so touched!

Last night I dreamt about all the barriers standing in our way. (Which in dream land included not only money and waiting and paperwork, but also a giant rat maze/pin ball game.) It was so... much. And I woke up this morning just feeling a bit overwhelmed. But when I saw our grant page this morning... and saw it was at $2012... the date I hope to bring home our son... that reassurance that this next year of work will be rewarded with our child... it was like magic. All that pint up stress just melted. You guys really lift us up when we're weak! Thank you! Thank you! God bless you!

It's so easy to look at all those taunting dollar bills and worry about our son.

Let's torch those suckers! :)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Our first $1,000!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wow! What a great start! We're really feeling the love! Our first $1,000 already! Wow.

So instead of doing real work I instead wrote out 21 little dollar bills which stand for the 21 thousand dollars we need to raise to bring Joel home. (I'm trying to make this huge amount seem smaller.) Every time we take one bill out by raising $1,000 I will draw another of these pesky $ disappearing (in this case EXPLODING!) off our list! And my art just gets better!

(PS: No it doesn't. Stay in school, kids.)

Now for the Q and A!

"You say you raised $1,000, but it only says $870 on the sidebar of your blog. What gives?"

Our sidebar dollar amount is updated every hour instead of automatically if I remember correctly. So it just lags behind a bit. (UPDATE: It lags behind a lot. It's been several hours. Maybe it updates twice a day?) (UPDATE AGAIN: Whoops, I forgot to hit the refresh button. There we go! False alarm, it works. Looks like it updates about once an hour.)

"Hey weren't you given the estimate of $24,000 for this adoption? Why are you only raising $21,000?"

Answer! It will cost us $24,000, BUT Joel already carries a $3,000 grant.

"How did he get $3,000? Voodoo?"

Actually we have been doing fundraisers for him for the last eight months. Remember the first one we did? We were so thrilled to raise $640! That seemed like such a huge amount! Then remember when a donor stepped up, contacted me and said, "We can do better!" And that donor matched donations up to $2,000 then gave a $500 bonus! And at the end of that blog post I wrote a letter to Joel's future mommy... which turned out six months later to be me. So... I'd read it to myself in front of a mirror but that might be awkward.

Yep awkward.

"Wait, you've been raising funds for your adoption all this time? How come I'm just finding out about this?!"

That's the zany part! We weren't planning on adopting him ourselves! We had lots of excuses for that! Please. Can you see me with two kids in wheelchairs running over my toes?! What about the medical expenses! Or the time it takes to do therapy everyday! We believed the lie. And I'm not saying everyone can and should adopt (and I will throw rocks at people who say that), but I'm saying we could and we closed ourselves to it. Until this little boy broke through that is.

"Why doesn't Joel's $3,000 get added to the Wesley grant?"

The $3,000 we raised before we committed to him stays in Joel's adoption account, and will never show up in our Wesley account. When we fly over and get our baby, then we'll get Joel's full grant. This protects Joel in case an adoptive family bails out for health, eligibility or other reasons.

So lastly, before I run off and do a happy dance, I just want to say a big thank you! We have gotten phone calls and emails and Facebook comments from our wonderful friends and family supporting us. And that's been backed up by donations in our account! Wow. I'm so full of love. This is the kind of humanity I want around my kids! Thank you so much.

Here's to you! And the first $1,000! And to the second!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

This boy's ransom

We are legit! We have officially moved to the Reece's Rainbow website! Check out our family's page here!

Notice I have added a donate button to this blog. That's because this boy's ransom is around $24,000. Yeah the first time I read that number out loud I laughed hysterically too. Go ahead, I'll wait.


Feel better? For as crazy as that number is, the reality of needing it is a weight on our hearts. Just keep in mind, right now we ARE this boy's parents. Not "want to be" or "hopefully" but ARE. In our hearts he is our son. And we are separated by stupid things like money and paperwork. We need help. We can't do it alone.

All donations are tax deductible IF you go through Reece's Rainbow by clicking the DONATE button in the upper right hand corner.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

U and EE and birth country

Eep! So I just found out some privacy rules. For the sake of our adoption I have removed any reference to my son's birth country. So I am using my super uncrackable secret code of "U" and "EE" and "birth country" instead. :)

For those of you who want to know which country/area I'm talking about, please leave a comment with your email and I will fill you in. For now my son's birth country cannot be public or "googlable" so as not to jeopardize the process.

Please keep this in mind when sharing our adoption news on public forums like Facebook or blogs!

Thanks so much!

Monday, December 19, 2011

The secret is out!

My blog is going public today!

The big secret is out: We're adopting!!!

And that adorable newborn baby (who is now 14 months old) in the picture above is our new son!!!!!!!

Quick info: We are calling him by his alias "Joel" until his real name is revealed. He is in another country (U). He has no family and lives in a baby house, which is an institution setting. He faces an adult mental institution in a couple/few years. He is being rescued by us because he is our son and we love him. His ransom is high. :(  He has arthrogryposis like our daughter. He is cute! WE ARE BEYOND EXCITED!!!

And for those of you who said I was his Mama. FINE YOU WERE RIGHT. <-- Now print that and frame it because I'll only say it once. ;)


Sunday, December 18, 2011

My husband's love

Last night while I was doing dishes my husband walked up behind me, held me from behind, kissed me on the neck and whispered, "I love our kids," in my ear.


What's in a name?

My family asked me about this so I want to be clear and let everyone know: "Joel" is not my son's real name. My son has probably never heard the name Joel in his entire life. It's a code name given to him by Reece's Rainbow so that his identity is protected while he's shown to prospective parents. They could have called him "Number 613," but that would have made him a slab of meat. But out of respect Reece's Rainbow gave him a human name. We do refer to our son as Joel when talking about him, but when he comes home he'll have a different name.

Q: Does he have a name given to him by his birth country?

A: Yes. I'm sure it's beautiful!

Q: You don't know what it is?

A: Nope. I don't know that we'll even learn it before we make our first trip to U. (Two trips total.)

Q: Will you choose to keep his birth name?

A: We don't know. It depends on what it is and how it comes across in our culture. Some people choose to make their adopted child's birth name into their US middle name. But unless we change our minds (which we might), we're settling on whole new first and middle names. And of course he gets a whole new last name: ours! His cultural identity is important to us, but being a part of this family with our name is most important to us.

Q: What names are you leaning towards?

A: It changes depending on the day. We may keep it a secret and reveal it as part of a fundraiser. We have learned to stick to names that are easily pronounceable. (Sorry Laelia.) Let's just say for now all the names I come up with are awesome and all the names Charley comes up with are not as good as mine. ;)

And that's a problem because I promised my husband he could have the final say in his son's name. :)

UPDATE (12/19/11): Charles decided on his son's name. We will reveal his name in our first fundraiser for him that will happen after the holidays. Stay tuned! Exciting!

ANOTHER UPDATE: We just found out our son's birth name! We can't share it for privacy reasons, but it's cool to know! (We're still going with Charley's name.)

His little kiss

My son's little red mark on his cheek is straight from God. He is sealed with a kiss. I first fell in love with hemangiomas after seeing a little guy named Easton who has one on his forehead. He's the cutest thing! Now I get my own little AMCer boy with a strawberry mark! I must have done something good in life to deserve this blessing! And my son has a stork bite across his face just like his big sister, my beautiful daughter. He's perfect. He's just perfectly and wonderful made. Every inch of him is beautiful. I love him.

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.

Psalm 139: 13-18

Friday, December 16, 2011

I'm Going To Be His Mommy!!!!!!!!!!!



I get my baby!!!!!!!!!

Today "Joel" moved onto the My Family Found Me page on Reece's Rainbow. Today my little lost baby boy is claimed!

By ME!!!

Day before yesterday we were grieving we couldn't have him. Yesterday we got the green light. Today he moves onto the best page in the world! What a roller coaster ride!!!

If you don't get how big a MIRACLE this is then you don't know my story. I've wanted this guy for a year. A looooooooooong year. We just couldn't do it. One night I cried the whole night into my husband's chest. We spent weeks talking about Joel's future. But for many reasons we got a big loud and clear NO. And that night in August I wrote this blog post.

I told my husband it felt like I was giving my son up for adoption.

My family wisely told me to advocate for Joel, but to not drive my husband crazy about it.

Then we embarked on an adoption journey to save "someone like Joel." We prayerfully pursued a Home Study. What we didn't realize was that once you sign that application, the Home Study people start CALLING YOUR REFERENCES!!! Let's just say our references were surprised. :) Then they started calling me, "You're adopting?!! Congratulations!!" And we were all, "Um, we're seriously considering it." Oops. Well we started the Home Study in July and finished it in late October. We were in no hurry. I wanted to adopt Joel, and we had many many more discussions about him, but we still didn't think we could handle epilepsy. I mean they wouldn't write "convulsive disorder" on an orphan's rap sheet unless it was a big deal, right? Maybe it was code for grand mal seizures! Even just a little seizure every now and then would be hard. I was willing to take him anyway, but I couldn't do this alone. I prayed for God to take that one little condition off of Joel's description so I could have him. But it wasn't budging.

Then on December 14th, last Wednesday, I had no peace about anything. I sent yet another email to Andrea and called my husband at work in tears. "He's my son," I told my husband, "I'm so sorry I feel this way because I know he has a condition that we don't feel we can handle, but we're both willing to adopt and we both are willing to take on a child with arthrogryposis from an institution, how much harder can a little convulsive disorder be?!" 

My husband promised to pray about it. Later that night we talked again. Charley threw around wild ideas about trying to get someone over in this boy's birth country to stop by the baby house and see how bad the seizures or brain damage was. We even asked Andrea if there was a chance that one of us could fly over and see him even though I have no idea where that money would have come from. These, my friends, are the signs of insanity. ;) We were just going nuts.

The same day (Wednesday) I wrote on Facebook, "ALL I want for Christmas is for this little boy's mom to call me and say, 'He's mine! I found him! Sorry it took so long. No need to have a heart attack worrying about him anymore. I got this one.' Is that too much to ask?"

I was heartbroken. My friends were NO HELP! (Hehe. :)) They were saying, "What if he's yours? What if you're meant to have him? Wouldn't he fit perfectly in your family?" I wanted to say, "I KNOW HE'S MINE AND YES HE WOULD FIT PERFECTLY IN MY FAMILY! BUT WE CAN'T!!!" (I'm laughing out loud as I write this. Laelia just asked me what was so funny. :))

Then THE VERY NEXT DAY we got the email from Andrea. (See previous blog post below.) No seizures. Green light. Go go go!

And then TODAY we went out and notarized and faxed Reece's Rainbow the paperwork they needed. I actually just walked in the door from doing that. I sat down at my computer to look at his picture when I realized Joel moved to the My Family Found Me page!!! (They don't waste time!) 

Then I jumped on Facebook and saw my friend Julia had posted Joel's picture and said, "MY DAY HAS BEEN MADE!!! THANK YOU TO WHOMEVER HAS CHOSEN TO BRING THIS SWEET BABE HOME!! Alexis Wesley did you see this??????"

(No where does it mention who is adopting Joel.)

Tracey also celebrated and tagged me. She has been more convincing this year than she knows. There were a couple things she said to me at the AMC convention in Kansas City that have stuck with me all these months. I can't wait to tell her! 

I can't wait to tell everyone!

We were going to wait to announce our adoption until after Christmas when we could tell our family in person, but I don't know how much longer I can hold out! I'm jumping up and down and my heart is exploding in my chest! I've waited a year to call that child mine!


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Joel is our son!

Introducing my son!

I have found that there are three stages in every great work of God: first, it is impossible, then it is difficult, then it is done." ~Hudson Taylor

See that little boy up there? He's MINE!!!!! We're committing to him! I'm balling my eyes out! I keep telling his picture, "You're mine now kiddo!"

And it's weird as I look at his picture because I have ten kagillion pictures of my daughter, but only one of my son. (I love saying that... my SON!)

This is one of the greatest days of my life! I have to tell you all about it. The whole day was the BEST. DAY. EVER.

And I will tell you every detail because I want it saved in writing for all eternity!

I woke up early to put Laelia on the bus. I then put in a few hours of work. Then I got my company Christmas/Holiday present... an iPad!!! The iPad is going to be so I can face chat with my boss who is Deaf and uses American Sign Language (I can't call on the phone), but I can also use this with my daughter's occupational therapy! And the money we have been saving to buy one of these for Laelia can now cover our next medical trip to Philadelphia on January 29th! That money covers the rental car, food, gas and our part of the Ronald McDonald House bill! (Surgery itself is covered by Shriners.) WOW! What a blessing!

Then I went to Laelia's school. I brought her crutches with me and Laelia showed off walking without a gait trainer to her school friends for the first time! Laelia's teachers and aide were amazed and the crutches (aka walking sticks) are going to school with her from now on! That was a magical moment.

Then I took Laelia to the muscular dystrophy clinic (even though she doesn't have MD but she qualifies because of her myopathy) and she showed off her skills to her California doctor. He was super encouraging! He could not believe she's only been walking for two weeks! He gave us great ideas on her next wheelchair and shoes. They also gave her a bear and she named it after the doctor. Then my four year old tried to convince the doctor to let the bear take over his work and he should crawl in the bag and have Mommy carry him home with us. "No one will know because you have the same name." :) It was fun!

Then I went home to my husband because he got to work from home today! And I had his full attention since I was holding an iPad in my hands. :) His eyes were fixed to the shiny piece of technology as I rattled on about my school trip and clinic visit. He looked like a kid in a candy store! So much fun! I think that's the most attentive he's been in our whole marriage. Hehe. ;)

Then my husband ran off to plug the iPad into our computer to activate it. So realizing I was going to lose my computer (and most likely my husband) for several hours I asked to check my email really quick before he got busy. I had an email from Andrea from Reece's Rainbow.

Now the only reason we had not committed to that little guy pictured above before now was that besides having institutional "issues" AND arthrogryposis, he also had convulsive disorder. We didn't know if "convulsive disorder" would be something he grew out of, required daily medication for or if it was code for grand mal seizures. I have spent a LOT of time researching how to live with seizures, but my husband did not feel we could handle seizures and the ever-present fear of brain damage from a bad one. Then we get this email from Andrea!

"Hi Alexis, I just talked to Serge today.   He spoke with the orphanage director and Joel does not have any seizures.  He is not on medication or anything like that.  He probably has/had some stiffness or jerky motions because of his limb issues that may have been interpreted as 'epileptic', but our understanding is that he is a typically developing child with arthro."

She went on to say there are no guarantees and anything could happen, but I could barely see her words because of the tears. It was the last answer to prayer, the last hurdle before committing to him.

God worked it out so that my husband got the news at the same time I did as he knelt beside me (iPad in hand). He was right by my side. I turned to him and he nodded. I started to write back,

"Hello Andrea, CAN WE COMMIT TO HIM PLEASE?!!! Consider him OURS! Put him on the My Family Found Me Page. Mine mine mine mine mine mine mine!!!"

There was more to my immature (typical) email, but it was at this point that I turned to my wonderful husband and balled loud tears into his shoulder. They hit me like a punch to the gut. I just cried and cried loudly. (I have said this before, but I DON'T cry pretty.) Then I turned back to my email and started to write, "Sorry I got emotional" and then realized Andrea didn't see that! Haha! No need to apologize. I deleted those lines and finished by saying, "What's the next step?"

Instead of throwing me a party, Andrea sent me lots of paperwork. Oh well. :)

With tears of pure joy streaming down my face I realized that my friend Chelsea was standing at my door! At that very moment! I opened the door and just started blubbering, "I have a son! I have a son!" and hugging her. Chelsea looked so confused as I accosted her while blubbering and leaking tears everywhere. Eventually I was able to communicate clearly. God not only planned my husband to be at home by my side when I got the news, but my friend was walking up my driveway that very moment as well!

Laelia asked if I was happy or sad because I kept crying. I explained that I cried when she was born and I cried at my wedding and sometimes I'm silly and cry when I'm so so so happy. Then I gave her ice cream for lunch. :)

I'm just so happy. I'm excited and shaky and worried and, and, and it's wonderful!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Left to die

Baby left to die in EE

This little six month old baby has hydrocephalus, which is when fluid builds up in the head. A simple shunt to drain the fluid would save his life. He won't get it. He is slated to die any day now.

He may have died while I wrote this post.

Here's the sick thing: His country has the means to save his life, but won't. They don't save children with disabilities who "have no future."

Did you notice the hole in his head? The pressure built up so much it burst. He's in extreme agony.

Read the whole story here.

Many times I see pictures of babies with special needs in EE lying down in cribs looking sleepy. They don't cry so they're not in pain, right? Wrong. They don't cry because crying doesn't get them help. The simple act of being cared for after you cry helps develop trust and security in children. When this doesn't happen because care givers only touch a child when proping up his bottle or changing his diaper (maybe once or twice daily) then a host of lifelong psychological issues can happen to that child. Attachment disorder is a terrible thing, and when you see pictures of babies lying down in cribs in any institution you're watching it happen.

Here's another baby in a crib in EE.

This baby has untreated arthrogryposis. That means that his joints are stiff and there's no one to stretch them to see that he has full function later in life. Without treatment he won't be able to meaningfully use his arms or legs. Treatment works the best during the first year of life. This baby turned one last October. He needs rescue so badly. I wonder if anyone comes when he cries. I wonder if they drug him to keep him quiet. I know it happens. I can't imagine a worse fate than neglect and loneliness at the hands of people who don't consider you fully human. With his epilepsy he's so helpless. I've blogged about this little bundle before. The need is real.

I started to add more pictures of different kids we've been praying for and giving to who are lying in cribs in EE to spread awareness, but I'm just an emotional mess now and have a full day of work ahead of me. Just know there are many more.

And now that we've starting this adoption process to save one of these children suffering in an institution, I've started to feel this need in my gut.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Whoever receives this little child in My name receives Me

I started a new Bible study recently. Okay not really, but I've been reading this blog. :) It just reads like a Bible study with subjects from real life. First off, this blog started after a mom had a baby with Down Syndrome. I read through her words and remembered my own grief when I heard the term "special needs" applied to my own baby. I remember my heart breaking when I walked by handicapped parking spots. (Now I hunt them out with glee as I park up front.) Then as I kept reading her words the grieving ends and the joy begins. (As is typical. :)) Then eventually this family decides to adopt another child with the same diagnosis! It's like I'm reading my own story.

Only not.
Because I pale in comparison to this mom. Reading her blog made me hurt for a closer relationship with God like this family has. To quote their blog:
When God opened our eyes…
…to the fact that children with special needs just like our Verity who are born in Eastern Europe are sent to understaffed and underfunded orphanages until at some point during their childhood they are transferred to adult mental institutions–places an average American wouldn’t put a dog–where 80% of the children who are transferred die within the first year…unless they have Down syndrome, then the percentage jumps to 95%…
…and then opened the door of adoption before us…
…and then opened our hearts to wholeheartedly loving this child who needs a family so much…
…we could have exercised our choice, closed our eyes, closed the door, closed our hearts, and replied, “No way!”
We wouldn’t have been saying “No” to just another option from our range of options.
We would have been saying “No” to the calling of our Master. (http://theblessingofverity.com/2011/06/eyes-wide-open-part-one/)

She shares my desire to save a child from "being tossed like refuse into a third-world mental institution." And they eventually do. But I feel like I have a long way to go on a personal level before our second child comes home. And I'm making steps towards that personal relationship with God, even though I already feel like I speak too much Christianese. Not helping adorable blog! :)

First off I need to stop worrying. I worry about money. Blog doesn't worry about money. Blog is near poverty level and doesn't worry about money. God provides. Now I need to believe that, only really.

I need to wait on God's timing. I'm really impatient. Sometimes blog seems impatient and I inwardly smile. :) I want this child in my arms now now now! My husband (bless him) made me wait. He had to be sure. He had to make sure he could provide. Bla bla bla. Man logic. Go figure. :) But I don't wait well.

I need to use my time wisely. I waste time. I am lazy. No more! (I did well today. :))

And lastly I need to trust and listen and be open.

Jesus even says, "Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me." So if I'm planning on welcoming a child into my life, I need to treat him well! And that means giving my all.

Monday, November 21, 2011

My muse

Laelia loves the orphan. She prays for a list of orphans every single night. And if I skip a name she will add it. She asks for a brother some days and a sister other days, but she always asks for one without a mommy or daddy. She calls the orphanage overseas the "baby hospital." She knows what a tummy baby is and those come "from their mommy" but if they don't have a mommy they come from "the baby hospital." She wants to save one who is lost. She has an incredible heart. She's my muse. And she's my encouragement as I continue this long, hard process.

The goal in mind

My husband and I seriously discussed adopting a child with many issues today. It was exciting and terrifying at the same time. The more I thought about it the more discouraged I got. I'd be giving up a lot. It would be hard. My poor back... And the way this child looks in the picture... just lying in a crib... it's too much. Part of me wants to hide the picture away and go back to a world where this kind of neglect doesn't happen to children.

But it does. And that's why we're doing this in the first place.

So today I'm keeping my mind on the end goal. I'm taking one day at a time, but my eyes are fixed on the prize.

Here's the prize.

That's what I wait for. That's what love can do. The picture of the child we're looking at now will not be the same as when my love hits them.

Here's the prize.

Not the same as before. Loved. Wanted. Saved. Not sad anymore. That's what's coming.

Here. This is the prize.

When starving becomes fed. When fear becomes love. When terrified becomes quiet.

And there's so many. So so many. With the same story. The same before and after pictures.

Then when I look at that goal, and those who have gone before me, my puny courage kicks in. There's a purpose. My goal is not pictured in this little one's face yet. But in that little face there's a promise, a possibility and a great big bundle of potentiality.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Starting an adoption blog

Here's my adoption blog! Ta da! Although it's a private blog no one can see, so if anyone is seeing this now then that means we've commited to a child and made this public! How exciting! I'm a Mommy of two! Yay future us!!!

*ahem* But since right now we're still a family of three, I'll continue.

This blog is pretty much for all the things I can't talk about out loud--an outlet so that my adoption plans stop slipping out to strangers at Target.

I feel like it's the first trimester in a very long pregnancy. Usually in the first trimester you don't announce anything because that's the most dangerous time for the baby in your belly. For my "first trimester" I am keeping quiet because there are so many unknowns. But it's been well over three months since beginning our Home Study and I'm getting ansy.

We started this process back in July! And we did counseling sessions to talk out how this would affect our family. And we prayed like we never have about anything. And God didn't give us more information than the next step. So we have been at this one tiny step at a time. And that's so oh oh not how I do things. I like to know everything in advance and have the money to do it up front. Please and thank you.

I guess I should put out there that I have zero fertility issues and my daughter's condition is not genetic. Adopting kids with special needs from insitution settings is a great need and one we're willing and able to fill. That's all.

I could go on and on and on about institutions overseas, but I do that often enough so I won't here. (*cough* links *cough*)

So where are we now? We just finished our Home Study a few weeks ago, which is the first step in the adoption process. Pretty much our lives were an open book that just got flipped through a couple times. We had interviews in our home, had three close friends write reports on us with our strengths and flaws, and had to produce paperwork on everything from where we've lived the last ten years to vet reports on our cats! Plus fingerprinting. Plus school reports. Plus copies of birth certificates and marriage license. Oh and we also had to take five online classes! We passed. F..I..N....A..L.L.....Y!

Right now the only thing we're waiting on is finding our child so that we can get a placement agency. Then there's the dosier process that I don't know enough about. The plan is to find our child on reecesrainbow.org. We are looking at boys and girls, but more at boys since they are typically less likely to get adopted. We were told in our counseling session to look at kids younger than our daughter so we don't mess up the birth order for whatever reason. We did look at a six year old briefly. I emailed about him and was told another family was getting him. Lucky kid.

So what am I doing right now? Right now, every morning, I go on Reece's Rainbow and cross my fingers. I've typed one word into the search engine so many times that it auto finishes it for me: arthrogryposis.

While there are many conditions that would get a little kid thrown into a torturous institution in EE, the condition we're most familiar with is arthrogryposis. (It's a beast, but it's the beast we know.) We've decided not to look at children with multiple diagnoses. And I have to remember I agreed to that every time I see that sweet little baby with arthrogryposis AND convulsive disorder. Or that darling little girl with arthrogryposis AND a small heart condition from not being stimulated enough and enlarged ventricles in her brain (which wouldn't affect the function of her brain). Or that little guy Laelia's age with AMC and vision problems. I want so bad to make them mine. Ugh!

Now I say we're only looking for one diagnosis of AMC, but it's not like AMC would be our child's only diagnosis. If that makes sense. A child who spends their first couple of years in an institution has special needs just from being there even if they were born typical. We look forward to teaching our child how to trust, bond with his or her parents, make connections in his/her brain by being out of a crib and touching things, eating, swallowing, adjusting to different smells and noises, culture shock, second language learning, etc. And then on top of that do treatment for AMC including casting, daily stretches and surgeries.  

All that is the real reason I changed jobs to stay home. It will be a bonding process that may take a year before I can leave the house for a girl's night out again.

So right now I wait. And I pray that God puts our son or daughter into that darn website I check everyday.

In the meantime I've been contributing to a blog about arthrogryposis adoption. None of my co-bloggers know I'm adopting or that I've even done a Home Study. Is my first trimester over yet?????