Saturday, October 30, 2010

This has been a very trying week

I wanted to write something, just to say "I'm still here". But, I cannot write in detail what has happened this week.

I would just like to ask for prayer. We have come up against a lot of opposition this week. We have one document that is needed for our dossier, but are unable to find somebody to sign it.

So, please, please pray. Right now, I am unsure whether we will be able to adopt. And I am having a really hard time with it. I have not been able to do much, just thinking about losing our little girl. She needs a mommy and daddy.

We will definitely not be able to submit this year.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Does she resemble Malika?

This is a picture of Malika. It is hanging on our wall, and I noticed, it looks a little like Priscilla. What do you think? It would be so neat if she looked like us.

Where we are

So many people have asked lately where we are in the process of adopting, and when we will be getting Priscilla.

I am not completely sure, but I will do my best to tell you what I know.

Friday, we will be done with our home study.

Right now, we are waiting on getting a fingerprint appointment with USCIS (US citizenship and immigration).

We will have to send a copy of our home study to USCIS and wait approval.

We are almost done with our dossier (this is all the paperwork we will send to Eastern Europe), but we can do nothing with this until we receive approval from USCIS.

As of right now, I am unsure whether we will submit this year or next year. I have been working very hard to get everything in place to submit this year. We still have a chance, but it is looking slimmer everyday. After friday, it all depends on how fast USCIS gets things done.

Priscilla's country will only be accepting dossiers until December 1, then they will take a break until February sometime, I won't know the date for sure until December.

If we are to submit now, we have to have everything mailed over to EE by the middle of November, and hope they will get everything translated and submitted in time.

From what I understand, if we submit this year (which would be close to December 1st), we would not travel to get Priscilla until January or February. If we are unable to submit until next year, we should travel sometime in April (of course, this is just a guess, we won't know for sure until closer to time).

My hope the whole time has been to get her before her 2nd birthday. So, if we are unable to go until
April, we would still be able to bring her home by her birthday. I would love it so much if we were able to get her earlier, but I can do nothing else at this point except wait.

Hope this makes sense to everyone. If you have any questions, just leave it in the comments and I will try to answer them.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Thursday, October 21, 2010


I am going to attempt to write about something that I don't have any personal experience with. I have only read about it. Most of what I have read comes from Adoption Parenting: Creating a Toolbox, Building Connections by Jean McLeod and Sheena Macrae, this is the huge textbook we were required to read for our home study. At first, I did not want to read it, if you saw it, you would understand. It is 503 pages long! Anyway, I did read it, and I am sooo glad that I did, it has been a huge source of information on adoption. I highly recommend it, don't be turned off by the size, though, because you can skip around, or just read what pertains to you.

Anyway, maybe you are wondering what it is I wanted to write about. It wasn't the book, if that is what you are thinking. I want to write about post-institutionalized children, and Post Adoption Depression Syndrome (PADs), yes it is real!

Like I said, I don't write this from personal experience and I am not an expert on it, so if you do not agree with me, please say so.

I have several reasons for wanting to write on this. First, it seems so many parents adopt and then realize they have gotten in over their heads. They just didn't understand the magnitude of problems children have from living in an orphanage. Or they are not willing to work it out. A friend told me tonight that she knows of a family who adopted a 6 year old earlier this year, and are now looking for someone else to adopt him. I do not know this family and cannot assume things about them, but it is just so sad. Sad for all involved, sad that the parents thought they were getting a child that would be so grateful to have a home, to find out that he isn't, and that he has problems too big for them to handle.  Sad that the child is once again being rejected. This isn't the first time this has happened, remember the story of the little boy being sent on a plane back to Russia?

Another reason to write about it is, another family who recently adopted wrote a post and said it wasn't all sunshine and rainbows and she wasn't sure if she should write the truth, because others come back and they have such rosy things to write about. I hope that she does not feel alone, because that would be the worst thing to happen. For everyone to be following along your journey, even donating, and praying, and then you bring your children back, and it is HARD! Not at all what you expected. Your children don't want anything to do with you. One minute they want you to hold them, the next they are screaming and spitting at you. Or maybe they are just super clingy and won't let you do anything else, but hold them.  And then, having to live all of this silently? That is just too much to ask of someone.

I hope that, when we bring Priscilla home, that our friends and family will surround us and be there for us. EVEN if we say we don't know what we are doing, and this is way harder than we expected.

Before reading the book I mentioned, I really thought that it would be dreamy to adopt. That we would become mommy and daddy to a child that didn't have one. I thought she would fit into our family so well. Really, I didn't think she would be any different than our other children. Then I started to read other blogs, and got scared, because some of their children didn't even know how to play. My whole fantasy came crashing to the ground, but it is a good thing that it did.

I did not even think about her loss. And her grief. Yes, she will be getting a family, but she already had a family. And I will be taking her away from the only home she ever knew. Even if it isn't the best home, it is a home.

For every 6 months in an orphanage, a child will be delayed 3 months. And this is for typical children. When we adopt, I think we expect them to love us, we love them, afterall. We have even been praying and looking at their picture for months. But, they have never been taught to love. They don't know what a mommy and daddy are. Except for the many caretakers they had. Will we be like that? Will they think that any friends or family that come over will be the next person to care for them? We took them away from the people, and the smells and the sounds they knew, will someone else come take them away again?

They have no idea how to attach. Because it is a learned thing. Maybe that is why there are books on attachment parenting. When parenting a child who has been in an institution you have to parent completely different. "A securely attached biological child who hasn't been abandoned by a birth parent, would never believe that his mother would ever permanently leave him, for any reason. And primal loss will always be a deep, dark possibility for our internationally adopted children, because the unthinkable did happen to them." -Jean Macleod

Children in an orphanage won't have continual interaction, sometimes they pick up bad habits, just to entertain or comfort themselves. There could be numerous habits, such as rocking, head banging, picking at themselves. They also have to defend themselves from other children and maybe even sometimes caregivers (hopefully not:(. Some habits from that could be hitting, biting, kicking, spitting. They are forced to eat quickly, and even young babies have to learn to feed themselves or not eat. Some children may even be looked over, so they don't get enough to eat. They may have many eating issues because of that.

And don't even think that by adopting an older child, you would be by-passing the waking in the middle of the night. I've always thought children in orphanages would be great sleepers, not sure why I thought that. But, they are still children, they have more issues and fears than most children. They may wake often and cry out in the night. They have learned that no one will come to their aid at night, and that may cause even more fears. Children who are adopted should not be left to cry at night. The ultimate goal is to build attachment with your child, and you cannot do that if you are not meeting every need that they have, even if it is not one they even know is a need. Like getting hurt, they may not come to you for comfort, because it was never something that was done, so they don't know it is a need, but it is.

I could go on and on, of issues that post institutionalized children will have, but I will let the experts do that. :)

Now, something else I learned was Post Adoption Depression Syndrome (PADs). It is much like the baby blues. One reason for it, is that you put all your thoughts and time into the adoption, that the actual child and life were forgotten. And when you spend so much time building trust with the adopted child, you become worn out and stressed. Just as with post-partum depression, it is best to enlist help.

I don't write this to scare anyone away from adopting, only to inform. I hope that this will make people all the more inclined to adopt and love the correct way for that particular child. I hope this will make someone want to adopt a child and show them what love really is. And to teach them that even though their situation was hopeless, that they themselves are not hopeless. 

It may not go this way for all children, we are hoping and praying that Priscilla will have a wonderful caregiver who truly loves her and that she will not have to go through these many issues. But, if she does, we will be ready. And we are in this for the long haul. You won't be seeing my baby on an airplane back to her birth country :)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Pray for the Cornish's

Please pray for this family. They will be leaving in 4 days to go and adopt their little boy and hopefully Aleksa, whom they were unable to adopt 2 1/2 years ago. Please pray that the orphanage director would truly believe they want and love Aleksa.

Meredith will have a chance to speak to the Embassy in Eastern Europe about Down Syndrome and how we raise children with special needs.

You can read their blog here.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

little girl

I had a dream the other night, about a little girl. She was about 4 years old. She was all alone, nobody wanted to be around her. There were people in another room hanging out and enjoying life, but she was in a room all by herself. I went in to see her, at first she didn't want anything to do with me, then she warmed up to me. I knew there was something different about her, she couldn't walk, looked very normal, but clearly was behind emotionally and physically. When I left her, she cried.

The next morning, I couldn't get her out of my head. I was thinking maybe she was a real girl, so I went on Reeces Rainbow to look for her. I knew she didn't have Down Syndrome, so I looked on the "other angels" listing. I didn't see anyone who made me think of her. Not sure why I had the dream.

But, I fell in love with this little girl, she reminds me so much of Malika. I think it is the short hair and the crossed eye. Isn't she beautiful.

I asked about adopting her too, but she is in a different region than Priscilla. They said it would be very costly to adopt two children from different regions. If it were only the money, I wouldn't even care, but it would be time consuming too.

I actually fell in love with many of the children, crying after reading about them. One little girl in particular, reminded me of my little friend Lauren, she has arthrogryposis. I cried when I read about her, because it said she was typically developing cognitively, and the only thing affected was her body. Can you imagine, being a prisoner in your own body? It doesn't seem so bad if you have a family to love you. I so wish we had a huge house, I think I would take many of the children. 

I want this little girl so bad, maybe we will go back for her. This process is so hard, I have said when we are done, I don't want to do it again, but after seeing this sweet little girl, I would. 

Her name is Lynne, you can read about her here, she is about 1/4 way down the page. 

I hope she will have a mommy and daddy soon.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

More alike than different

This is an awesome video. It has brought tears to my eyes. I knew that people with Down Syndrome were capable of living independent lives and that they were the same as us, but that they just learn slower. But, this has made it more real.

Next time you see someone with Down Syndrome, treat them with respect and don't look at them as though they are different. Just treat them as you would anyone else.

Today, my friend, Judy had a yard sale and donated half of the money she got from it to us. And we had another bake sale at the yard sale. We made close to $300. I am so excited, because we have raised almost $9000. I was hoping for $10,000 by December. It looks like we will make it. Yay!

Judy gave me two cute little dresses for our little girl. I cried when she gave me the first dress. It is a beautiful pink toile dress with a matching baby doll outfit. I cried because my first thought was that she could wear it for her 2nd birthday. And we wanted to get her a baby doll for her birthday. ( I know it is so early to be planning that far in advance, but I just can't help thinking about it). The second dress is so beautiful too. It is a purple velvety dress with matching tights. I am going to use it as her gotcha day dress. I will post pictures of it, after I find a matching bow. For those that don't know, Gotcha day is the day that they are ALL YOURS to take home. I can't wait.

We also went to the Buddy Walk. It is an organization that brings awareness about Down Syndrome. They raise money to give out new parent packet to new mothers of children with Down Syndrome. How awesome is that!

We met a wonderful family at the walk. We were walking next to them and started talking to them, and then ended up eating lunch near them. They have 4 children, their 2 1/2 year old was born with many disabilities. The Doctors told them he would probably be paralyzed and blind, but he isn't! He is in a wheelchair, and is learning to wheel it on his own. They gave all the credit to God. I keep meeting all these wonderful families who have children with special needs. The amazing thing is that most of them are Christians.

Today has been a wonderful day, but a little sad too. I have been watching Justus walk and play and realize that Priscilla is the same age as Justus, and I am missing out on this time in her life. Oh how I wish we could get things going faster. Please pray with us that if it is the Lord's will to get her sooner, everything would fall into place.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Our Yard Sale

We had our HUGE yard sale/ bake sale this weekend. I have to say it was a huge success! We ended up making $1670! I am so excited we did so well.

We put so much work into it. I have literally been busy every minute of the day for the last two weeks. We sorted and priced things, made signs, emailed people about the bake sale, emailed about getting yard sale stuff, picked up yard sale stuff, cried because I was so stressed, baked things for the yard sale, set it all up, and then took it all down. It was so much work, but I had the most wonderful people come and help me. It is times like this that I know without a doubt that I am loved.

So, thank you to all of my wonderful friends and family for giving of your time and stopping your lives to help me out. Thank you to my friends who are moms that stopped everything and brought your kids to come and help. A special thanks to Dee, who came not once, but twice this week, with all her children to help me. And thank you Mary, Linda and Becky, without you guys, I really could not have done it. You have been wonderful. They stayed up most of the night friday, setting up, and then got up early the next morning to finish. And thank you to my mom and dad and my brother, Nick. Thank you for loving our little girl that you haven't even met, that you would give so much to help us. I found out later, that Nick loaded, and unloaded the van, not once, but twice, to take things to the thrift store after our yard sale. And I can't forget my wonderful husband, and our friend Keith, they both stayed up all night friday, watching the yard sale stuff.

I could go on and on. So, if I did not list your name, don't think I didn't notice your hard work. I did.

I really enjoyed the bake sale part of our yard sale, since eating is one of my favorite things to do. :) I'm not sure how much money was from that part, but I think a good portion came from the bake sale. Thank you to everyone who baked. Everything looked so wonderful. We had a table of about 10 feet, FULL of baked goods, and more to fill up later, and most of it sold! I really did not expect that. I thought most would be left.

Here are a few pictures. I wish I had taken more, but it was a very busy day.

I can't believe all that stuff was in our garage. There was more on both sides, too, I just couldn't fit it all in one picture. 

Here is a picture of me with the two girls I was a nanny for. I love them so much. I think of them as my own. 

Lauren was so wonderful, she passed out flyers and greeted everyone. 

I think this one might  embarrass Hannah :), but I love it, she's so cute, and it really shows her personality. She was in charge of  the bake sale. Everyone commented on how grown up she was. Can you believe she is only 11?

Some of our yummy looking baked goods. 

Look at all that money! This is my dad, he was in charge of taking all the money, he's a great sales man too, he actually got people to donate even more money. 

One more of Justus checking himself out in the mirror. He's so cute.

We are almost halfway to our goal of $25,000!  Look at our fundraiser thermometer. 

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Like a child

I am just filled with such love for my sweet baby girl today. I look at her picture, and see such beauty in her eyes. Today, we had our huge yard sale ( pictures and update to come), on the way to the yard sale Malika said we were going to make money to bring her sister home. Then she said with such passion " she is going to be BEAUTIFUL". Oh the innocence of a child! I wish that I could protect all of my children from the many ugly words, stares and questions that are sure to come. If only people would see life as a little child does. 

Jesus told us we needed to humble ourselves like a child, and if we didn't we would not enter the kingdom of heaven.(matthew 18:3). Children don't see color,race, or disabilities, they see the person that is before them. Why do adults see the imperfection before they see anything else?

"The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7

When I think of a child with down syndrome, I think "child". I don't think "disability". I have had so many people question my ability to care for a child with a special need. Not because I am not capable, but because they see a hard life before me. I don't see it that way. Sure, there will be hard days and hard moments. But, I see a life filled with love. I do not want to get to the end of my life and wish that I had traded in my "easy" life for one that was what God wanted. I want to give every ounce of energy, love, sweat and tears to be ALL that God wants, Now! 

God never promised us an easy life, he didn't promise us a life without hardship, he didn't promise us a life filled with only happy days, just read the psalms. But, one thing we are promised is that God will walk right beside us every step of the way. I don't know about you, but it is the hard times in my life that draw me to the foot of the cross.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

What is Down Syndrome?

This month is Down Syndrome Awareness month, and there is a challenge for bloggers to blog something new about Down Syndrome every day of this month. The challenge is called 31 for 21. The 21 stands for Trisomy 21, people who have Down Syndrome have a third copy of  chromosome 21, rather than 2. 

I don't really have time to blog everyday, but I do think it is a very neat thing to do. So, I may blog some about it, or take excerpts from other blogs. I think we will all learn something from this. 

The following is from this blog

The name Down syndrome comes from the man who first described it, Dr. John Langdon Down.  There is no 'S' after Down in Down syndrome because Dr. Down does not own the syndrome, it is just named after his last name of Down.

There are three types of Down syndrome: Trisomy 21, Translocation Ds and Mosaic Ds. 

Trisomy 21 means the person diagnosed has three separate copies of chromosome 21 in every cell of their body. 

Translocation Ds means the person diagnosed has three copies of  chromosome 21 but the third copy of the 21st chromosome is attached to another chromosome instead of being separate.

Mosaic Down syndrome means there are three copies of the 21st chromosome is only some cell lines throughout the body and not in others.  Some people with Mosaic Ds have the third copy only in the blood line and not in the skin, marrow, brain, etc.,  while other people may have the extra copy in the brain and bone lines and not in the blood, muscle, etc.

Down syndrome is nothing to be afraid of.  It is simply a medical diagnosis with symptoms that may need attention like any other medical diagnosis.  People who have been diagnosed with Down syndrome do not 'suffer' from it, they are just regular people living with a medical diagnosis and thriving through life with it.