Jan 26, 2012

A Year In Review...

So, I am thinking, since I didn't get to blog about things as they happened throughout the last year, I would like to do a series of posts ...A year in review, and touch on specific moments, events, milestones etc. The things I didn't get to write about because the going through it was enough to keep me busy a million times over.

What do you think?

I have started with Ava's birth story...finally...it is tough. I don't want to say it wrong, or leave things out, and there's just so much to say. Pray for me as I work to share our story, that it may bless others, and show you all that having a child with Down Syndrome is one of the greatest gifts you can receive. It is such a blessing. Though the road we've been on and continue on is not always easy, it is so worth it. With the Lord's guidance and hand on us. We will walk on..we will get through anything that comes our way...of that I am sure. God is good...All the time!

Keep Looking Up!

Jan 25, 2012

Some Ava Goodness.

Here's an awesome video of Ava "standing" / balancing with the ball for help. I was SO excited for her. She is getting so big, I'm so proud of her. This is for those of you who may not be on fb, and missed it.  Enjoy!

I have also found that working with her later at night after her big sisters are in bed can prove to be pretty awesome. The one-on-one time, the quiet...it all just works together to allow her to show of some of her amazing skills. Haha Last night When her sisters were not laying down, I ant and got her out of her crib to be with me while they calmed down.  She showed me that when there's a wall nearby she can stand!! WOO HOO! I will post pictures and video of that, when my phone decides to cooperate with uploading. I will also then be able to post the video I got of Ava in the ball pit yesterday! What a Riot! Can't wait to share that one!

Bye for now.

Keep Looking Up!

Jan 19, 2012

Oh Be Careful Little Ears...

So today, I had to take Ava for her follow up appointment with the Audiologist.

The appointment went well, but the results were not so good.

She responded well when the lady talked to her through the speakers, looking in the right directions, babbling in response. She even said "Hi!" When the lady said "Hi Ava" to her through the speaker.  I had to work hard not to make noise in excitement over that.

She wasn't responding to the softer sounds though. She did sign more to me when the sounds stopped. It was quite cute, she grabbed my hands and did the motions.

On a side note, she does that now, there are certain signs that she can't quite get her hands to do yet, so she grabs mine and does it. It's really cute when she grabs my hand and brings it up to my mouth, and back down, then up again. I say "oh, you want a drink" haha Then if you don't go get one quick enough, she grabs your hand again and brings it to HER mouth. "C'mon mom...is this not obvious enough. lol

Back to the appointment. She then checked inside her ears, and found that there is still fluid sitting in her ears. So we will now have to go see an ENT. She has had fluid sitting there since November according to the Audiologists records, that doesn't mean it's constant, but both times she's seen her she has had it. So, we need to do something to fix it, before it causes any hearing loss.

Ava has little ears, with very tiny ear canals, so it is easy for fluid to be retained in her tiny ears.
Please pray for her as we go see the ENT on Feb 1st, and see what they think the next step should be.

The way the audiologist described her hearing is as if she had a cold and can't pop her ears. I personally get so frustrated when I have a cold and feel like my head is stuck in the clouds, and can't clear my ears, so i feel bad for my precious Ava hearing everything as if she has ear plugs in.  No wonder she yells so loud sometimes. haha

Keep us in prayer, especially Ava as we try to resolve this issue. We are thankful for the good health God has given her so far. We are also hoping to be able to see the cardiologist soon too. We know that her fourth hole hasn't closed up yet, because her Pediatrician can still hear the murmur. But we are praying that it continues to heal like the others, and won't need surgery.

Thankyou all for your continued support of us and Ava. We are so thankful for faithful friends.

Keep Looking Up!

Jan 17, 2012

A BIG Announcement

You all know our thoughts on adoption. Our thoughts on children. We would love to have more, but it probably isn't the best idea for me to physically bear children any more. We are not ruling out the possibility forever, but at least for years to come...it's a  "maybe someday" thing.

So no...I am not about to announce that I am pregnant. ...You can relax. haha

We have always wanted to adopt, and even though I thought the idea was more realistic after all the trauma and complications with Ava, I have wrestled with the thought over the past year. Over the last few weeks/months, Joey and I have talked more about it seriously.

I was even half way through filling out a free application with Lifetime Adoption Agency. (who are awesome btw)

Then I had a thought...

I should look at Reece's Rainbow.... I had looked on there before, I had seen people's blogs talking about the children on there. I read a blog about a family that had their own child with down syndrome, and adopted another from RR. I truly felt like, Wow...I could never do that. Those people are amazing!

I saw the story about Mia Kareen going around the web, and remembered seeing Kareen on RR before she was adopted. My heart was suddenly opening more to the possibility that we could do that too.

So...I went over to Reece's Rainbow. I thought everyone that's adopted from there talks about how they were looking at the children and one just stood out to them. I went there to look fully expecting to pray for those children, feel bad for them, worry over them...and move on from the website. Back to filling out the application with Lifetime. Which by the way is kind of a go between between birth mothers and adoptive parents, you normally get matched and get the child at birth. How awesome is that, it is also domestic, and much cheaper and simpler than international adoption.

So I scrolled through the little boys. Of course. Lol... We have three girls already, we need some more manliness in our house. haha I kept thinking, nope no one's standing out to me. And then I saw him... ( I even get that heart gripping feeling just writing about it now) Jaxon...I scrolled past him, and then back up. I clicked something random, and went back... I closed the window, and then the computer...there was no going back. I know now that it was one of those life-altering moments...when everything changes forever and there's no changing it.

I thought, can i ignore this...Does God really want us to adopt a special needs child from Reece's Rainbow? I could not get Jaxon out of my head all day. Meanwhile Joey had no idea I was even looking, or seriously thinking about it.

After He got home from work, I thought again about Jaxon. I thought, there's no way Joey's gonna want to do this. But I kept thinking about Jaxon, so I went into the desk/computer where Joey was studying. I simply said,  " I want to show you something..."

I took over the computer and took him to the link where he could see Jaxon. I went to walk away and he started asking me questions about the orphans, what happens to them etc. So I explained a few things, and left him as he began his research. :) (I love my husband)

In the next couple days, we heard a sermon on adoption. It was not directly about adopting, but about the correlation between earthly adoption, and the adoption we have being chosen by our heavenly father. This was too obvious for me to ignore.

The next day we heard more preaching and I don't remember exactly but there were some verses in there that made me think, and ponder more on this adoption thing.

Later that night Joey came to me (he caught me staring at Jaxon's picture on my computer. lol He said, maybe we should seriously pray about this. (even though we both were already praying) I said, "Really?" I was surprised. His response was, "well this is obviously something that is weighing on both our hearts, and it's not going away, so we should at the very least pray about it, and we'll see what God does from there"

Over the next week or so, I was on a roller coaster. Ups of feeling confident that god was calling us to this, downs of other things in life weighing me down, ups of things going good, downs of doubt when seeing the true cost it would take to bring this little boy home...reaching for faith to know that if this is what God is calling us to, that He will provide the funds. Searching for the strength to know that we can do this, we can raise this precious boy as our own, because God has called us and will give the grace, the strength the presence of mind to do it well.

On the same night that Joey had said we should seriously pray about it, I saw a status update from a friend. A fellow mom to a precious little boy with that magical extra chromosome. It said, "God doesn't call the equipped, He will equip those He calls" That just spoke volumes to me...especially facing the decisions and choices that we were facing. Then in reading the comments, she mentioned that they felt God calling them to something, and to pray for them. I felt such a strong "feeling" that they were being called like us to adoption of a special needs orphan. Where would this idea come from you ask...well. I'm assuming it came from God, because I emailed her and basically told her I would pray for them, and them poured my guts out about our thoughts of what God was calling us to.... And you know what. She wrote back and said that's exactly what she was talking about and how awesome it is that God would put it on both our hearts to ask each other (she was gonna write and ask me, but I got to her first) HOW AWESOME IS THAT!!

Not only did God see fit to give us a friend that will be hopefully taking a similar journey at the same time....but He gave us both that "feeling" of knowing that's what the other was thinking.  I am so thankful for my special mommy friend. She has blessed my heart so much in these last few roller coaster weeks!

Pray for their family as they seek to adopt! They are going to be such a blessing to a precious child!

As for us...

I have begun emailing with the right people to find out about the program for the region Jaxon is in. I was waiting to be sure that he is available for adoption to "announce" our plans to everyone, and Today I got that email.

The region he is from is also supposed to be a "blind region" where you adopt without prior knowledge of medical problems. But I was able to receive some information on him, and we are pretty excited to move forward. Please pray for us as this is a long hard process.

It requires a lot of faith! it requires a lot of money, which also means a huge leap of faith for us....and lots of fundraising. it requires lots of paperwork, lots of questions, lots of anxiety...for me the anxiety is not knowing if they will accept us. I'm confident that God will give us what we need, He will provide the way and the means to get His will done...I fear them saying, sorry you can't adopt him. But that's just me in my weak flesh I guess.

Pray for us. We need lots of prayer and support through all this.

I know there are plenty of people out there that would question, "why not domestic adoption" why not adopt a child with special needs here?" etc "but it costs so much" and on and on...

All I can say to that is...you'll have to take that one up with God. I was not looking for this, I was not expecting it. I was more than ready to begin a domestic adoption, it would certainly be much easier to adopt from here, less travel, less expense, less lifelong needs (if adopting a typical child) and the list goes on. BUT ... God has called us to this. There have been so many things confirming this to us, that I can't even begin to list them...I told you a few, but there are so many little things that only my husband and I would see or see as significant. It just tugs our hearts, and we truly are not taking this lightly.

We see how hard this could be, we know the costs...we are fully trusting that God has called us to it, and He will bring us through it. It is not something we can walk away from now. There is no turning back. Some people may not understand it,  but we know the Lord's will in this matter, and to ignore it would be much more trouble than the things we think will be hard going through it. Think Jonah and the whale.... I don't plan on going through some belly of the whale lesson to decide to obey God.... I hear ya Lord!

On that note...
We were driving somewhere, and on the radio we started to hear the story...again of Mia Kareen...I had never heard it on the radio before...I slowly turned to Joey and grinned...he was looking right back at me with a big smile on his face. I couldn't believe it. Here we were talking about all the things to do with this adoption, what we could/couldnt do etc. and this came on the radio. I said, "OK God I get it." Joey and I both just gave each other that look, like I guess we're doing this.

Since then, as I said I have been emailing back and forth, finding out the steps we need to take to begin, what the whole process entails. etc.

We came before our church last week and asked for prayer in the matter, and on the way home pretty much settled it. We are fully committed to bringing Jaxon home.  I knew in my heart that I wanted to bring this little guy home. I was already afraid that I would be too attached and they'd say, "he's not available for adoption anymore" But I have to let go and let God, if God wants me to get attached only so I will pray for Him...then that's ok. It would be hard, but I have to trust God wholly in all of this...it is a step of faith each day as thoughts come and go through my mind. I am constantly having to surrender it all to God.

I will leave you with a picture of "our" little guy. Please pray for him. I think about him many times a day, and pray for him, wonder how he is doing etc. Pray that the process will go smoothly, and pray that we will be successful in raising the funds we need to complete the process.

As for now we are asking for you prayers as we get started. We will be updating ad we get further in the process, and let everyone know about donations and fundraising etc. We thank you all for your constant support of us as we have gone through so much since having Ava. We thank you for trusting that we are following the Lord, and we thank you for all the encouragement that has been given.

Pray for us as we begin this new journey. It will not be easy, but God will see us through it.

Also feel free to take a look over at Reece's Rainbow. Not everyone can adopt a child, not everyone is called to do so, but there are many ways to help. You will see children waiting for families, those that are in the beginning stages, those that are almost home. It will touch your heart for sure. And most of all....pray for these orphans. They will be institutionalized at about 4-5 years old if not adopted. They do not deserve to live this way, because they are different. More on this another time.  Keep us in Prayer! (The money that is donated to Jaxon on RR is given as a grant towards adoption fees etc. )

Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. ~James 1:27

Keep Looking Up!

Jan 14, 2012

A Poem I came Across...

I saw this somewhere as I was browsing the internet...I thought it was good.

Here it is.  I'm not sure who wrote it.


You weren’t like other children,
And God was well aware,
You’d need a caring family,
With love enough to share.

And so He sent you to us,
And much to our surprise,
You haven’t been a challenge,
But a blessing in disguise.

Your winning smiles and laughter,
The pleasures you impart,
Far outweigh your special needs,
And melt the coldest heart.

We’re proud that we’ve been chosen,
To help you learn and grow,
The job that you have brought us,
Is more than you can know.

A precious gift from Heaven,
A treasure from above,
A child who’s taught us many things,
But most of all- “Real Love”