Thursday, April 30, 2009

Thankful Thursday

This being "Thankful Thursday," I have so many things to be thankful for today and all days. A couple of weeks ago Matt and I were so worried he was going to get laid off again. As many of you know, our economy is not in the best shape right now and with Matt being an Electrician, he works only when there is work to be done. Right now in the town we live in there is not a whole lot of work to be done. Anyway, instead of getting laid off he was moved to another job where he was told he would be getting some overtime! Well, the overtime was only for a day, and then we were once again not sure if he was going to have a job or not. He called me on a Friday to let me know that some of the guys were being moved to other jobs and others were being laid off, but that he still had not heard what was happening with him. When he came home from work that afternoon I was expecting him to go right to the computer to file for unemployment. Instead he said that he was told he would be working until Wednesday of the next week, and that they would let him know then what was going to happen.

I kept telling myself that if he did get laid off maybe it was just a sign that we are not supposed to move forward with this adoption. As much as I knew in my heart this is what I wanted, my mind was telling me that maybe He had other plans. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and that just because I/we want something, doesn't mean it is in His plans. So, I as I knelt in Church on Saturday evening, I prayed and prayed that He would once again give me a sign that we were in fact traveling down the right path. And that this is the path that He has laid out in front of us.

~THE SIGN~

Monday came and Matt made it through the entire day of work without anyone telling me not to come in the next day. Tuesday came and every time the phone rang I was apprehensive to look at the called ID afraid it was Matt telling me he was laid off. So, when the phone rang that afternoon, I checked the caller ID and guess who it was? Yep, Matt. But not to tell me that he was getting laid off, to tell me he was going to be working about an hour and a half from here (in another state), and that this job was in major overtime. Our prayers were answered and then some. Not only did he not get laid off, he is working at least 50 hours a week right now. This weekend he will be working 12 hours on Saturday (time and a half) and 12 hours on Sunday (double time). This job and the overtime is supposed to last through May. Praise God! After doing the math, and if this overtime lasts as long as he has been told, we will have enough money for the USCIS, the dossier authentication fees, and the CCAA fees.

Jesus replied, "What is impossible with men is possible with God." Luke 18:27


We have faith in the Lord that He will carry us through this journey just as He did with Mylee. The journey of adoption is full of leaps of faith, moments of worry, lots of waiting, but the gift of having that child placed in your arms is nothing more than a miracle from Him. He has walked beside us to bring all four of our children home and there is no doubt in my mind that HE is walking beside us to bring our fifth home.

We talked with Drew on Tuesday night through SKYPE. All I can say is that I cannot wait to get him home. I let Gabe stay up to talk to him as well. Gabe told Drew that he was going to share a room with him. Drew asked if we had cars and was so excited when Gabe told him we had lots of cars. He has such a personality and it is pretty obvious that he is going to fit in so well with our family.

Drew also got the care package we sent him soon after we talked to him on their Wednesday morning. Below are some pictures of him going through what we sent as well as sharing with his friends.

~ENJOY~



















Make sure you turn off the music on the side before pressing play on the video.
video

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Friday, April 24, 2009

April Update

One of the perks of Drew being at New Day is that once a month we will get an update on how he is doing along with a picture. The update is written by his foster mom...

First I have to tell you the wonderful news that Jeremy has now been matched with his adoptive parents! They have named him Drew so any future updates you receive or pictures on our website will have his new name as Drew. Drew is very healthy during this month. He has a good appetite too. One day he was so happy because his elder foster brother bought him two clothes. He put on the new clothes as soon as he got up and asked his brother: “Who is more handsome, you or me?” Then his foster dad asked Drew, “Please tell us who is more handsome.” Drew answered: “Brother is handsome, but I’m more handsome than him!” We all laughed at such a cute thing he said! Drew always tries his best to help with some house-hold things, such as feeding the rabbit, cleaning the rooms and so forth. He often says: “I like helping mom. I want to be a good boy!”


How cute is that? First of all, I don't know what his foster brother looks like, but Drew is one handsome little boy. And those cheeks! I know I've said it before, and I will probably say it again, but I cannot wait to get my hands on his cheeks, they look so squeezable and kissable. I also love that he likes to help keep the house clean. Maybe he can teach his brother's and sister's a thing or two about cleaning. LOL

Have a great weekend and enjoy the beautiful weather we are going to have.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Catching Up

It's been awhile since I posted. Things here are so busy right now. I am trying to get through the rest of this semester with a little bit of sanity left. I only have a few more weeks of classes left, but with finals coming up, I am stressing just a bit. The good thing is that once this semester is over, I will be done with math! I am math illiterate unless it has to do with figuring out the percentage off a sale item. That I can do without any trouble. Go figure.

While studying for finals I am also trying to get all the paperwork together and organized for our home study and dossier. Our home study is done, they are just waiting on our clearances from when we lived in Virginia. Hopefully that will show us soon so our paperwork can be sent to USCIS for review and so we can get fingerprinted.

Saturday Matt and I attended our required second time around adoption class. This is something new that the new Hague treaty requires. I have to admit, it wasn't too painful. In fact, there were alot of interesting couples in our class.
Gabe and Emma went to the lake with G'ma and G'pa and Blake stayed home with Mylee while we were gone. Saturday was a beautiful day so we were pretty happy that we were done with the class by noon.
On the way home Matt started talking about the fact that once we get Drew home we will have pretty much outgrown our mini van. We currently have a Chrysler Town and Country, and although I love it, we are already outgrowing it. Being that Blake is so tall (he is 12 and is 5'7), there is very little leg room for him. So, when we got home we picked up Blake and Mylee and went to some car dealers to see what our options were. We looked at some bigger SUV's as well as full size vans. As much as I hate to admit it, the full size van would probably be the logical choice for our family. With 5 kids, 3 that are already very tall for their ages, there just was not much leg room in the SUV's. So, I am not sure what we are going to do. We were just looking on Saturday and may look again this weekend. We are in no hurry (yet), and I refuse to have our payments go up. If it means we are packed in our current can like a can of sardines for awhile, then all I have to say is I hope everyone is showered and wearing deoderant.

Sunday was a yucky day weather wise. It was cold and raining. I headed off to Indianapolis with Gabe and Mylee for Mylee's cast change on Monday. We spent the night at my sister's Sunday night and the kids really enjoyed playing together. It was so hard for Gabe and Mylee to get to sleep, so 6:00 a.m. came pretty early for all of us. We had to be at the hospital at 7:30 a.m. and Mylee was taken back around 9.
I opted NOT to give her the Versed this time. If you remember from previous posts, Versed is a drug they gave her to relax her so she wouldn't be scared. She has been there enough times that she is pretty comfortable with everyone and the nurses are wonderful. I am so glad I did not give it to her this time. By the time we went back to the recovery room she was already eating and drinking. By not having the Versed, she was able to come out of the anesthesia faster and easier.
All in all, things went well and we were on our way home by noon. She is now sporting a super fun pink cast and we go back in a couple of weeks for x-rays. If the x-rays look good, then the cast will come off and hopefully she will not need anymore. Dr. Loder did say that it is okay for her to walk on it and that he wants her to continue therapy so we don't fall behind.



Just before they took her back





In the recovery room



DREW NEWS

Since getting PA and being able to share our amazing news with everyone, I have also been able to form some friendships with other parents adopting from New Day. There are some pretty amazing kids getting some pretty amazing parents soon. I also received a couple of e-mails from complete strangers regarding Drew. The first was one from a lady who had spent last summer in China on a Mission trip. She spent some time at an orphanage in Inner Mongolia (this is where Drew was before he was moved to New Day). She also new of some people who spent time at New Day and who had tons of pictures to share with me of Drew and some of the other kids at New Day who are getting families soon. I haven't posted the pictures yet, but you can count on seeing them soon.

The other lady who contacted me by leaving a comment on one of my blog posts. She said that she was trying to get in touch with me because she and her family were Drew's sponsors. I e-mailed New Day right away and let them know so they could put us in contact with one another. Angie and her family have been sponsoring Drew since last November and receive monthly updates along with pictures. She has sent him three care packages (Christmas, Birthday, and Easter), and has tons of pictures from them. She graciously shared the pictures and updates with me. Below are a few of the pictures she sent.

Opening Birthday gifts from Angie and family.




Opening Easter gifts from Angie and family



I finally got around to sending a care package to Drew from us. As you can see from the picture, I sent quite a bit of stuff. I have been able to find out that he LOVES cars, books, candy, and phones. So, that is what we sent along with a couple of short outfits, photo album with pictures of our family, house, and his room, sunglasses, puzzle, and a CD player I found on sale at T*arget for super cheap. I did not want to leave the other kids at New Day out so Emma and I stopped at the Dollar Tr*e one night after her dance class and picked out several items for the other kids. We sent water balloons, water guns, jump ropes, and some fun hats and sunglasses. I mailed everything last night (all 16 lbs of it) and was a bit shocked when I heard how much it was going to cost to ship to China. It's quite possible that the shipping was more than the contents of the box. But, the pictures of him opening it will be priceless.



Oh, and by the way, if you look at the top right hand corner you will see a new button. Amy and her family are trying to raise money to bring their adorable son Sammy home. Amy is giving away some beautiful Vera Bradley bags and purses. So, if you get a chance and have a few bucks to spare, I know they would appreciate any and all the help they can get. Sammy is also from Nanjing (like Mylee) and Amy is one of the mom's who attends out mom's night once a month. I can't wait for Sammy to get home so he can start coming to the play groups.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Pictures

One of the nice things about having Drew at New Day is that once or twice a week there are new pictures of him on their Web site. It has become a morning ritual of sorts for me to check their site first thing in the morning. It is so exciting to see not only his picture, but those of all the kids. To know that he is being cared for, loved, and exposed to so many wonderful activities is going to make the wait a little easier (I hope).

These pictures were taken some time this week. The first one is from when they were making pizzas. From some of the other pictures we have received of Drew we know he likes to eat so I am sure he was thrilled with making pizza. The other pictures were taken when the kids went on nature walk.

Enjoy...


















Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Simple Math Problem (of sorts)

Blake




Plus






Equals




So you are all probably wondering how this happened. Well, Easter Sunday after a delicious dinner prepared by my mom the kids went outside to enjoy the gorgeous weather. Blake was riding his Ripstick (skate board), and Emma and Gabe were riding their bikes. My niece Riley was out there somewhere as well. Anyway, Mylee wanted to do the skateboard too so Blake was holding her while he was on it. Apparently Riley walked in front of Blake and he tried to stop so he wouldn't hit her. He fell on his back still holding Mylee. He immediatly brought her in as she was screaming. After a few minutes she seemed fine however she would not put any weight on it. I should probably mention that she had just started walking again and was scheduled for her first therapy appointment Monday. Matt and I looked her over, there wasn't any swelling that we could see, so we just assumed that maybe she had pulled a muscles or bruised the top of her foot.
By Monday she was still not wanting to walk on it, but was crawling and scooting everywhere. I cancelled her therapy appointment thinking she was too sore to try anything and re-scheduled it. Tuesday she went to school like any other day. I did send a note to her teacher letting her know that Mylee was not willing to walk and to let me know how she did at school that day. After school Mylee's teacher sent a note home letting me know that usually Mylee is ready to go, go, go, but not today. So, I decided we should probably get it x-rayed.

Before taking her to the doctor here I called her orthopedic doctor at Riley to see what they suggested. He wanted me to take her down there for x-rays since that is where all her records are in case it was in fact broken. I was able to convince him to let me get the x-rays done here since I did not want to drive two hours for an x-ray that I was certain was going to show nothing. Boy was I WRONG!. Tuesday evening I took Mylee to the ER where it was determined that she does have a fracture. When I talked to Dr. Loder's nurse she told me that if she had broken it not to let the doctors here do anything since they are not familiar with her.

You should have seen the ER doctor's face when I told him he could not put a cast on her. He looked very confused. I explained to him what was going on and that her orthopedic doctor wanted to be the one to decide how to treat it considering everything that we have already been through with her legs and feet. So, we left the ER with an ace bandage, and x-rays in hand.

This morning Mylee and I took off to Riley thanks to my neighbor Lydia for watching my daycare kids. The whole trip to Indy Mylee kept saying "I go see Dr. Loder, no more casts." As soon as we walked into the clinic, the nurses could not believe we were back especially after I told them all how this happened. Dr. Loder walked in and Mylee said "Hi Dr. Loder! No more casts!" The nurses were cracking up. Unfortunately as you can see from the pictures, poor Mylee is back in a cast. And that isn't even the worst of it. We have to go back on Monday so he can put her to sleep and re-set it.

Mylee has a VERY high pain tolerance and that is why we were certain she had not broken it. Dr. Loder gave her some medicine to help with the pain while he set it. I have to tell you, I have never felt so much heartbreak for one of my kids as I did today. She cried, and screamed so much that she was sweating by the time they were done. I did not want her to have to be sedated nor did the doctor, but the pain medicine they gave her was obviously not working. So, after all of that, the doctor was not satisfied with the way the food was set, so we are going back on Monday. He will sedate her this time so he can get her foot positioned to heal the right way.

She seems to being doing much better now. She is not complaining at all of it hurting, so hopefully we can get through the rest of the week and weekend with no more accidents. The good thing is that it is only a partial leg casts so she will be able to continue therapy on her right leg and left knee. Please keep her in your prayers.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Introducing...



Sorry for the delay in getting pictures posted, with the Easter weekend things here were a little crazy. I will be posting pictures from the festivities later this week. But for now, it is all about Drew. As you can see by his birthday he is only 24 days younger than Mylee. I always thought is would be so much fun having twins, I'll keep you posted on how it all works out.

As you all know by now Drew is living in Beijing and is part of the New Day Foster Home there. Shortly after sending in our LOI for him, I contacted NDFH by e-mail and introduced myself and explained to them that we had just sent in our LOI for "Jeremy" (that is what is name was at the foster home)> Anyway, the staff there are incredibly nice and so helpful. Within 24 hours after e-mailing them I had responses about how they were so excited that Jeremy was getting a family. I was also told that as soon as we got our PA to let them know so they could set up weekly phone calls (more on that in a bit), let us know where to send care packages, and the name that we would be giving him so they could begin calling him by that name. This story of ours just keeps getting better and better. Never in a million years did I think that we would be able to have contact like this with our son who is half way around the world.

Anyway, more about Drew. He was actually born in Hohhot Inner Mongolia. He lived in the orphanage there until he was 7 months old which is when New Day took him to live at their foster home. After several life saving surgeries, he was placed with a foster family this past December. Drew is described as a character, full of laughter, and very excited about getting a family. He was telling everyone yesterday that he was getting a family and showing them our picture. As you can see from the pictures, he has the most lovable, kissable, squeezable cheeks I have ever seen. I simply cannot wait to get him in my arms.

As for the phone calls, we will be able to call Drew every week on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. which is 9:30 p.m. China time. Last night was our first call to him and not only did we get to call him, but New Day got SKYPE so we were their very first SKYPE call. We could see each other, and they could hear us, but their microphone was not working, so we could not here them. So, they had us keep SKYPE up and call using the phone which worked well too. In our first care package to them we will be sending a microphone for back up in case the new one they get stops working. He was pretty shy at first, but once he figured out what was going on, he became quite talkative. He sang his ABC's to us, and when asked where his eyes, nose, ears, etc. were he was able to point them out. He was able to tell us that is favorite color is yellow. He also kept calling us Mama and Baba and blowing us kisses. There were times when he would get so excited he would start kissing the phone as well. About half way through the conversation he yelled something in Chinese which was translated for us. He was saying "buy me toys!" So, we showed him a pack of cars that we were sending and he seemed very excited about that. We talked to him for about 20 minutes before he had to return to class.

Once the call was over, Lauren (one of the interns) got on the phone to talk to me. She said that Drew is very smart and loves to raise his hand during class to answer questions or give them new ideas. Since he just turned three, he doesn't know very much English, but now that he is three he will be taking English class twice a week.

Enjoy the pictures, I am off to work on a list of things to send him and his foster parents. I think the post office is going to get to know me pretty well over the next few months.

I almost forgot, the director from New Day sent me a video of Drew when he found out he was getting a family. The girl he is with is Lauren, she is the one I talked with on the phone last night.

Thanks again to everyone for leaving comments, or e-mailing us about this incredible journey we are once again embarking on. It is with your love an support that we are going to make it through this. And we are very excited to have all of you follow along to see His plan played out




















My Montage 4/13/09



Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Lamb of God

I know I promised pictures, but right now there is something more important I feel I need to share with you.

I just finished watching a video posted by a friend that literally brought me to tears. This is probably one of the most powerful things I have ever seen. For many of us Easter is a time filled with chocolate bunnies, egg hunts, jelly beans, Easter Bunnies, and overflowing baskets. But lets not forget the the real reason we celebrate this day...






A Mother's Love

Friday, April 10, 2009

Faith, Up Close and Personal


Pictures are coming, I promise.

But first I wanted to share what happened today. As you all know from the previous posts, the large subsidy that was placed with this little boy is no longer and option. You also know that WACAP was able to award him with a $2000 grant to help cover some of the expenses. Yesterday after Matt had a chance to read my posts from yesterday he and I were talking about how we were going to come up with the almost $6000 that was going to be due once our dossier was being prepared and also for agency fees. Our home study was just done on Wednesday, and depending on how long our background checks take, we may need to have that money ready within the next couple of months.

Stressed does not even begin to explain the emotions right now. I feel like I have a ton of bricks in the pit of my stomach. I had to run some errands last night and while I was gone, our case manager called and talked with Matt. She wanted to let us know she was able to go to bat for us and get the grant raised from $2000 to (are you ready for this?) $6100! Of course Matt called me right away to let me know news. I could NOT believe it.

This morning I called our case manager to make sure that Matt heard her right and in fact he did. I asked what exactly that meant and she said that basically the next $6100 that would be due is covered by this grant. To say that our prayers were answered is a major understatement. Coincidence, or FAITH? I think we all knew had His hands in this. This is just another instance that validates to Matt and I that we are in fact on the right path.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Faith (Part 4, Just the Beginning)

"The One who calls you is faithful, and He will make it happen" I. Thes. 5:24

If you are just stopping by, you may want to scroll down to the April 8th post to start from the beginning.

Once we submitted our LOI, we were told that it could take anywhere form 4-6 weeks to hear a response from China with our pre-approval. What? Our case manager also said that the pre-approval are coming in at about two weeks though. Okay that's more like it.

So, while we waited we filled out tons of paperwork, faxed and e-mailed even more forms. On Monday I was doing some much needed cleaning when I heard the phone ring. I went to answer it and saw WACAP's number on the caller ID. Could this be the call we have been waiting for for two weeks? I answered the phone trying not to sound overly excited. It was our case manager and she wanted to know if we had receive the e-mail she had sent to us on Friday. I explained to her that we were at the hospital with Matt's Grandma, but I don't think we got any e-mail from them. I think I would have noticed. Anyway, what I thought was going to be a joyous conversation about us getting PA was quickly turned into one of complete disbelief.

We all know how badly our economy is hurting right now and because of that, the donors that helped with the funding to help reduce the costs of some of these SN kids was having to back out because of the economy. At that moment I remember going over to the chair and sitting down with my head in my hands. This could NOT be happening. But, it was. She then went on to say that this particular child was being given a $2000 grant towards his adoption fees. I know I should have been grateful, but $2000 would not even cover a plane ticket. Okay, now what? She did say that they had already heard back from several families that were having to pull their applications due to the lack of funding. I told her this is something that I would obviously have to talk to Matt about, but that we would probably be pulling out as well.

As soon as I got off the phone with her, I quickly went over what the costs were going to be now with out the help from the donors and knew in my heart, that this journey was over. I was crushed. But, looking at the numbers and knowing that there is no way we would be able to finance another adoption without the help from WACAP's donors, I had my answer.

Once Matt got home he asked like always, "how was your day?" I couldn't even tell him, so I just handed him a copy of the e-mail our case manager had re-sent. I watched him read the letter as I folded laundry and once he was done, I waited for a response. Nothing. Not a single word. Matt is more of the quiet, think everything through type, so I was not too surprised when he kept silent. I wasn't sure what to do, so I continued doing housework. Finally after about 20 minutes, Matt spoke. This is the conversation that transpired...

Matt "I really think he looks like a Drew, don't you?"
Mandi "Matt, there is NO way we can do this. Trust me, I have gone over and over the numbers and there is no way we can afford it."
Matt "I know this is going to sound korny and cliche`, but hear me out please. This is what you are supposed to do. For whatever reason, you have been called to adopt. We are NOT giving up now."

Mandi "But the money is simply NOT there. The only way we were able to afford Mylee's adoption was because you had tons of overtime last year and some side jobs. This year we are lucky if you get your 40 hours in. It's not going to happen."
Matt "Faith, that is what we have. We had it with Mylee, and we will have it with this adoption. Now, where are the papers I need to sign so you can get them mailed off."



As I showed Matt where to sign, he looked over at me and said "FAITH."


"God does not call the equipped, He equips those that answer the call."
~Mother Teresa



Faith Part 3 (only one more, I hope)

"Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring our endurance and steadfastness and patience." James 1: 3

If you are just now getting a chance to read our blog update, you may want to scroll down to the April 8th post to catch up. Happy reading....

So, I waited and waited and waited for what seemed like forever when in reality it was only a couple of days. During the wait to hear back from the doctors I was still researching any and everything regarding his special need. As most adoptive parents know, the medical reports we are given are pretty vague in some cases. His was no exception. He medical file indicated that he had multiple special needs (5 to be exact), some of which I could not find much information on. On Tuesday nights Matt leaves work and goes to teach a class to new electricians. So, after getting the kids settled into bed, I decided to see if I could find any more out about his medical needs. It was so frustrating to me that I was not getting much information.

So, as I sat in bed with my laptop doing searches on one of his needs in particular, I decided to look under Google Images. But first I asking God to give me some type of sign that this was indeed our son, and that his medical needs were not more than we could handle. Are you ready, because this is where it starts to get really exciting...

After spending about half an hour looking at page after page of images, I was just about to log off for the night and get some much needed homework done. I told myself to goon to the next page and then I was done. I was at the end of the page and just about to close out of the screen when a picture of an Asian boy caught my eye. I clicked on his picture and began began reading the information on him. I got about half way through it before I realized that the little boy I was reading about was the EXACT same boy that we were considering adopting. How could this be?


This precious little boy had many medical challenges – a rare and dangerous umbilical polyp, a heart disease, a lung deformity, and two other issues of sensitive nature. He came to the foster home on October 26, 2006, and at the time, we did not know about his heart or lung problems, nor did we understand the severity of the umbilical polyp. The heart problem healed without surgery, but he needed 4 other surgeries to treat his other medical challenges. To look at him now, you wouldn't know that he has had such a long road! He is a happy mischievous little boy, and a source of much laughter in the foster home.

The above information is more than what was in his file, but I also found information regarding each and every surgery and how each one was as success.

What I didn't realize when I clicked on to his picture was that it redirected me to another website. I was searching the site of a place called New Day Foster Home located just outside of Beijing. By this time I was overwhelmed with everything that I was reading and seeing. I was still trying to figure out exactly what New Day was when it hit me, this WAS OUR SON. At that moment I felt this huge amount of emotion come over me and I just started crying. This was the feeling I was missing with the previous little boy. I was experiencing the exact same set of emotions as I did when I first saw Mylee's picture. I didn't know what to do. I knew I couldn't get ahold of Matt so I called a friend who is also a fellow adoptive parent (in fact, her husband and I traveled together to her our daughters last May). Tara was in just about as much shock as I was when together we figured out what New Day is. New Day Foster Home is just that, a foster home, with a twist. Their mission is to provide life saving surgeries for orphaned children throughout China. Once these children receive the care they need, they are then taken back to New Day to live until they get a family. Once they reach a certain age, or when the New Day staff feels they are ready, they are then placed in a local foster family so they can get all the feelings of having a family. The children that live with foster families attend pre-school five days a week at New Day and go home at night with their "families." How cool is that?

Okay, I can into more detail about New Day later. As soon as Matt came home I explained to him how everything had played out earlier that night. Together we read through his medical information on New Day's site, and sifted through tons of pictures and even watched a couple of videos of him. I asked him what he thought and he said, "send in whatever amount of money you need to to lock in his file, he is our son. But, please don't get your hopes up until we get PA. I don't want you getting hurt like before. And we both know that until we get PA we are guaranted anything." Have I mentioned before how much I love my husband?

So, the very next day, I waited for confirmation from our pediatrician as well as from the international adoption specialist at Riley before I submitted out LOI (letter of intent). On March 20, 2009 we submitted our LOI and our pre-approval packet to WACAP to adopt this little boy.

Faith (Part 2 of ?)

Before reading this post, you may want to read the April 8th post to get you caught up.

Sorry, I know I said in my earlier post that this was going to be a two part story, but there is just so much to share, that I am going to have to break it up. I am hoping to have the whole story up here by the end of today.


To say that I was devastated is putting it mildly. As I was on the phone with our case manager, I was also in the middle of packing to take Mylee back to the hospital for her sedated cast change, Matt was just getting home from work, and the kids were getting off the bus. I was only half listening as she suggested that we look at a couple other files she had. I remember her saying that she would e-mail me what she had and that on Friday a new list of kids would be added to the list. At this point I was just ready to get off the phone, I was so tired of looking at files of kids, and get on the road. Matt was just walking in the door and immediately asked if I had sent in our LOI. I explained to him what I had been told from our case manager and he too was upset.

As my friend and I drove to Indy I kept telling myself that as upset as I was, the important thing to remember was that he was going to have a family, and that he was not meant for our family. I knew from our journey to Mylee that this was all in God's hands and He had a plan for us. Maybe it was to adopt again, maybe not. The one thing I was sure of was that I had faith and absolute confirmation that He was in control.
At the same time I was "grieving" that we were not going to be his family, a part of me was also relieved. I remember the first time I opened Mylee's picture, I knew without a doubt she was our daughter. But with this little guy as much as I wanted him to be ours, I just did not have that same connection. I even spoke with some other adoptive moms of boys thinking that maybe it was because he was a boy. Whatever the reason, there was nothing I could do about it now.

After vowing NOT to look at anymore files for awhile, Matt and I did decide to move forward with submitting our paperwork and getting our home study updated. A few days later it was Friday, and I remembered what our case manager said about getting updated lists of waiting kids. All morning I literally forced myself not to go to their site. But by mid afternoon, my curiosity had gotten the best of me. I logged onto WACAP's waiting kids list and began scrolling down. There were few new faces on there, but mostly girls or kids with special needs more than what we felt we could handle. (We were certain that we wanted a boy around 3 or 4 this time. With an eight year age difference between Blake and Gabe, we really wanted a boy closer to Gabe's age). About half way through the list I came across a little boy that was about to turn three and was just adorable. I quickly read through his short bio and called our case manager at WACAP. I expressed my interest in him and she said that based on the information we shared with her about what special needs we would consider, that he was probably too much for us to handle. I was content with that and told her not to worry about it.

All weekend long I could NOT get this little guys picture out of my head. He was absolutely adorable. And although I did not know the extent of his special need, I felt that I just HAD to review his file. So, after discussing it with Matt, I e-mailed WACAP on a Sunday evening asking for his file (I wanted it to be in their inbox first thing Monday morning). In my e-mail I explained that although she felt we were not equipped for his special needs, I had this overwhelming need to pursue his file. Words cannot express how strongly I was being pulled to this little boy.

On Monday afternoon(they are 3 hours behind us), I received an e-mail back saying that she had attached his "short file" and that she would have his entire file pulled and e-mailed to us later that day. I opened the file to two very large pictures of him. Have I mentioned how cute he is? Anyway, as I read his file over and over, I was not finding a whole lot that would indicate that what the agency had suspected was one of his special needs. Later that afternoon I received the whole file which stated that he was in foster care in Beijing, that he was about to turn 3, and listed several medical issues that he had/has. He had several issues that I was not familiar with so I Googled those that were foreign to me. I was waiting for this big red flag to pop up to confirm that he was more than we could handle. Nothing from what I was seeing. I called Matt and work, shared with him the information I was able to get and he said it was okay to gt his files sent to some doctors. That same afternoon I sent his medical file to an adoption specialist at Riley Children's Hospital, our local Pediatrician, and to some family and friends who are in the medical field. Then I waited....

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

FAITH ~ How We Found Our Son

"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase."
Martin Luther King Jr.


These past few months have been a roller coaster ride for me in many ways, and it is that roller coaster ride that has affirmed my faith in God. Let me give a little recap. When we began the adoption process for Mylee, we had enough money in our account for the application fee and the home study. That. Was. It. We had no idea how we were going to finance the rest of the adoption. We called on our Church, our families, and any other community organization that we thought may be able to help us. With every turn we were hit straight on with a brick wall.

For those who know me well know that when I get something in my head there is no stopping me. For years I had dreamed of adopting a little girl from China. That seed was planted long ago even before I met Matt. But with obstacle after obstacle, I felt like this was a sign that in fact this was NOT our time. I shared these feelings with Matt and he was quite upset that I was willing to give up so easily. It is just not in my nature. The word Faith was brought up several times in our conversation. Matt kept telling me "have faith, if it is meant to be, our faith will see it through."

It is moments like that that I love my husband the most. This was my dream, not his. But because he knew how much adopting from China meant to me, he was the one who pushed me forward and said "this is what you are supposed to do, don't look back now." And for that, I am so grateful because I cannot imagine our life without Mylee in our family. From the moment I saw her picture to the moment she was handed to me, I knew she was my daughter. As with all of my children, I have an incredible bond with her and a heart that is overflowing with love. Mylee has been home with us now for almost eleven months (has it really been that long) and she is truly a blessing.

I was certain that our family was finally complete. Or was it? Shortly after returning home with Mylee I could not get this nagging feeling that we were not done building our family. The more I tried to push these thoughts out of my head, the stronger they got. I remember thinking I was crazy because of the conversations I was having with myself. "There is no way I can handle 5 kids, let alone the cost of another adoption." I really tried hard to bury these thoughts deep within my head, but He wasn't allowing it.

I love blogging and following other blogs, especially those who have adopted from China. Not only is blogging a way for us to keep family and friends in the loop of what is going on with our kids, but it also a bit therapeutic for those of who have adopted. Anyway, one of the blogs that I really enjoy is about a family with four biological kids and their four, soon to be five kids adopted from China. Stefanie and her husband have managed to adopt four SN children from China in the last four years and are currently paper chasing for their beautiful daughter Vivi. I e-mailed Stefanie privately and asked her to please fill me in on how they could financially afford FIVE consecutive adoptions from China. I wasn't sure she would reply. I mean come on, would you reply if a complete stranger wanted to get nosy about your finances. So, you can imagine my surprise when she did reply. She simply told me about an agency that awards certain special needs children with large subsidies to cove all or almost all of the cost of adoption. After reading her e-mail I quickly high tailed it over to WACAP's site.

To say I spent a reasonable amount of time on there would be a lie. In between my homework, the kids' homework, making dinner, cleaning, and any other task us domestic engineers do on a daily basis, I was checking WACAP's site for newly added kids. One afternoon while the kids were napping I came across the cutest little boy. Something about this little boy caught my eye, was it his eyes, his chubby cheeks, or the smile that went from ear to ear? Whatever it was, I remember looking at his picture several times a day. I kept this to myself for several weeks before I tested the waters with Matt. I approached him in a joking manner one day about adopting again. He was pretty straight forward with his reply, "NO." I knew by the way he said it there was really no need to further the conversation anymore. A few more days passed and I was still looking at this little boys picture. I waited until just the right moment and I brought it up again. Again, Matt said "no, I am not ready, we don't have the room for another child, nor do we have the money for another adoption." I couldn't even get him to look at the little boys picture. Then, one afternoon while the kids were outside playing Matt brought up the subject of adopting again. This is what he said, "I think it is me being stubborn more than anything, and if God is calling you to adopt again, then who am I to stand in His way?" I was really shocked that Matt was saying this. After discussing it some more, he wanted to see the picture of the little boy. As soon as he saw his picture, he chuckled and said, "he is cute, go ahead and call the agency tomorrow and ask for his file."

Not wanting to waste any time, I e-mailed the agency that night so they would have my request first thing that morning. We got his file and did not see much in there that raised alot of questions, but sent his information to our pediatrician and to a specialist that dealt with his special need. Within a couple of days we were e-mailing our letter of intent along with other pre-approval information to our agency. Now all we had to do was wait to see if China would approve us to adopt him. The very next day we got a phone call from our case manager saying that unfortunately for us someone else had sent in their paperwork before us so this boy was no longer available. I think at that moment time stood still.

Faith Part 2

To say that I was devastated is putting it mildly. As I was on the phone with our case manager, I was also in the middle of packing to take Mylee back to the hospital for her sedated cast change, Matt was just getting home from work, and the kids were getting off the bus. I was only half listening as she suggested that we look at a couple other files she had. I remember her saying that she would e-mail me what she had and that on Friday a new list of kids would be added to the list. At this point I was just ready to get off the phone, I was so tired of looking at files of kids, and get on the road. Matt was just walking in the door and immediately asked if I had sent in our LOI. I explained to him what I had been told from our case manager and he too was upset.

As my friend and I drove to Indy I kept telling myself that as upset as I was, the important thing to remember was that he was going to have a family, and that he was not meant for our family. I knew from our journey to Mylee that this was all in God's hands and He had a plan for us. Maybe it was to adopt again, maybe not. The one thing I was sure of was that I had faith and absolute confirmation that He was in control.
At the same time I was "grieving" that we were not going to be his family, a part of me was also relieved. I remember the first time I opened Mylee's picture, I knew without a doubt she was our daughter. But with this little guy as much as I wanted him to be ours, I just did not have that same connection. I even spoke with some other adoptive moms of boys thinking that maybe it was because he was a boy. Whatever the reason, there was nothing I could do about it now.

After vowing NOT to look at anymore files for awhile, Matt and I did decide to move forward with submitting our paperwork and getting our home study updated. A few days later it was Friday, and I remembered what our case manager said about getting updated lists of waiting kids. All morning I literally forced myself not to go to their site. But by mid afternoon, my curiosity had gotten the best of me. I logged onto WACAP's waiting kids list and began scrolling down. There were few new faces on there, but mostly girls or kids with special needs more than what we felt we could handle. (We were certain that we wanted a boy around 3 or 4 this time. With an eight year age difference between Blake and Gabe, we really wanted a boy closer to Gabe's age). About half way through the list I came across a little boy that was about to turn three and was just adorable. I quickly read through his short bio and called our case manager at WACAP. I expressed my interest in him and she said that based on the information we shared with her about what special needs we would consider, that he was probably too much for us to handle. I was content with that and told her not to worry about it.

All weekend long I could NOT get this little guys picture out of my head. He was absolutely adorable. And although I did not know the extent of his special need, I felt that I just HAD to review his file. So, after discussing it with Matt, I e-mailed WACAP on a Sunday evening asking for his file (I wanted it to be in their inbox first thing Monday morning). In my e-mail I explained that although she felt we were not equipped for his special needs, I had this overwhelming need to pursue his file. Words cannot express how strongly I was being pulled to this little boy.

On Monday afternoon(they are 3 hours behind us), I received an e-mail back saying that she had attached his "short file" and that she would have his entire file pulled and e-mailed to us later that day. I opened the file to two very large pictures of him. Have I mentioned how cute he is? Anyway, as I read his file over and over, I was not finding a whole lot that would indicate that what the agency had suspected was one of his special needs. Later that afternoon I received the whole file which stated that he was in foster care in Beijing, that he was about to turn 3, and listed several medical issues that he had/has. He had several issues that I was not familiar with so I Googled those that were foreign to me. I was waiting for this big red flag to pop up to confirm that he was more than we could handle. Nothing from what I was seeing. I called Matt and work, shared with him the information I was able to get and he said it was okay to gt his files sent to some doctors. That same afternoon I sent his medical file to an adoption specialist at Riley Children's Hospital, our local Pediatrician, and to some family and friends who are in the medical field. Then I waited....

Faith Part 3...

"Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring our endurance and steadfastness and patience." James 1: 3


So, I waited and waited and waited for what seemed like forever when in reality it was only a couple of days. During the wait to hear back from the doctors I was still researching any and everything regarding his special need. As most adoptive parents know, the medical reports we are given are pretty vague in some cases. His was no exception. He medical file indicated that he had multiple special needs (5 to be exact), some of which I could not find much information on. On Tuesday nights Matt leaves work and goes to teach a class to new electricians. So, after getting the kids settled into bed, I decided to see if I could find any more out about his medical needs. It was so frustrating to me that I was not getting much information.

So, as I sat in bed with my laptop doing searches on one of his needs in particular, I decided to look under Google Images. But first I asking God to give me some type of sign that this was indeed our son, and that his medical needs were not more than we could handle. Are you ready, because this is where it starts to get really exciting...

After spending about half an hour looking at page after page of images, I was just about to log off for the night and get some much needed homework done. I told myself to goon to the next page and then I was done. I was at the end of the page and just about to close out of the screen when a picture of an Asian boy caught my eye. I clicked on his picture and began began reading the information on him. I got about half way through it before I realized that the little boy I was reading about was the EXACT same boy that we were considering adopting. How could this be?


This precious little boy had many medical challenges – a rare and dangerous umbilical polyp, a heart disease, a lung deformity, and two other issues of sensitive nature. He came to the foster home on October 26, 2006, and at the time, we did not know about his heart or lung problems, nor did we understand the severity of the umbilical polyp. The heart problem healed without surgery, but he needed 4 other surgeries to treat his other medical challenges. To look at him now, you wouldn't know that he has had such a long road! He is a happy mischievous little boy, and a source of much laughter in the foster home.

The above information is more than what was in his file, but I also found information regarding each and every surgery and how each one was as success.

What I didn't realize when I clicked on to his picture was that it redirected me to another website. I was searching the site of a place called New Day Foster Home located just outside of Beijing. By this time I was overwhelmed with everything that I was reading and seeing. I was still trying to figure out exactly what New Day was when it hit me, this WAS OUR SON. At that moment I felt this huge amount of emotion come over me and I just started crying. This was the feeling I was missing with the previous little boy. I was experiencing the exact same set of emotions as I did when I first saw Mylee's picture. I didn't know what to do. I knew I couldn't get ahold of Matt so I called a friend who is also a fellow adoptive parent (in fact, her husband and I traveled together to her our daughters last May). Tara was in just about as much shock as I was when together we figured out what New Day is. New Day Foster Home is just that, a foster home, with a twist. Their mission is to provide life saving surgeries for orphaned children throughout China. Once these children receive the care they need, they are then taken back to New Day to live until they get a family. Once they reach a certain age, or when the New Day staff feels they are ready, they are then placed in a local foster family so they can get all the feelings of having a family. The children that live with foster families attend pre-school five days a week at New Day and go home at night with their "families." How cool is that?

Okay, I can into more detail about New Day later. As soon as Matt came home I explained to him how everything had played out earlier that night. Together we read through his medical information on New Day's site, and sifted through tons of pictures and even watched a couple of videos of him. I asked him what he thought and he said, "send in whatever amount of money you need to to lock in his file, he is our son. But, please don't get your hopes up until we get PA. I don't want you getting hurt like before. And we both know that until we get PA we are guaranted anything." Have I mentioned before how much I love my husband?

So, the very next day, I waited for confirmation from our pediatrician as well as from the international adoption specialist at Riley before I submitted out LOI (letter of intent). On March 20, 2009 we submitted our LOI and our pre-approval packet to WACAP to adopt this little boy.

Faith Part 4...

"The One who calls you is faithful, and He will make it happen" I. Thes. 5:24

Once we submitted our LOI, we were told that it could take anywhere form 4-6 weeks to hear a response from China with our pre-approval. What? Our case manager also said that the pre-approval are coming in at about two weeks though. Okay that's more like it.

So, while we waited we filled out tons of paperwork, faxed and e-mailed even more forms. On Monday I was doing some much needed cleaning when I heard the phone ring. I went to answer it and saw WACAP's number on the caller ID. Could this be the call we have been waiting for for two weeks? I answered the phone trying not to sound overly excited. It was our case manager and she wanted to know if we had receive the e-mail she had sent to us on Friday. I explained to her that we were at the hospital with Matt's Grandma, but I don't think we got any e-mail from them. I think I would have noticed. Anyway, what I thought was going to be a joyous conversation about us getting PA was quickly turned into one of complete disbelief.

We all know how badly our economy is hurting right now and because of that, the donors that helped with the funding to help reduce the costs of some of these SN kids was having to back out because of the economy. At that moment I remember going over to the chair and sitting down with my head in my hands. This could NOT be happening. But, it was. She then went on to say that this particular child was being given a $2000 grant towards his adoption fees. I know I should have been grateful, but $2000 would not even cover a plane ticket. Okay, now what? She did say that they had already heard back from several families that were having to pull their applications due to the lack of funding. I told her this is something that I would obviously have to talk to Matt about, but that we would probably be pulling out as well.

As soon as I got off the phone with her, I quickly went over what the costs were going to be now with out the help from the donors and knew in my heart, that this journey was over. I was crushed. But, looking at the numbers and knowing that there is no way we would be able to finance another adoption without the help from WACAP's donors, I had my answer.

Once Matt got home he asked like always, "how was your day?" I couldn't even tell him, so I just handed him a copy of the e-mail our case manager had re-sent. I watched him read the letter as I folded laundry and once he was done, I waited for a response. Nothing. Not a single word. Matt is more of the quiet, think everything through type, so I was not too surprised when he kept silent. I wasn't sure what to do, so I continued doing housework. Finally after about 20 minutes, Matt spoke. This is the conversation that transpired...

Matt "I really think he looks like a Drew, don't you?"
Mandi "Matt, there is NO way we can do this. Trust me, I have gone over and over the numbers and there is no way we can afford it."
Matt "I know this is going to sound korny and cliche`, but hear me out please. This is what you are supposed to do. For whatever reason, you have been called to adopt. We are NOT giving up now."

Mandi "But the money is simply NOT there. The only way we were able to afford Mylee's adoption was because you had tons of overtime last year and some side jobs. This year we are lucky if you get your 40 hours in. It's not going to happen."
Matt "Faith, that is what we have. We had it with Mylee, and we will have it with this adoption. Now, where are the papers I need to sign so you can get them mailed off."



As I showed Matt where to sign, he looked over at me and said "FAITH."


"God does not call the equipped, He equips those that answer the call."
~Mother Teresa



Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Monday, April 6, 2009

Snow, really???



This is what we awakened to this morning...SNOW!!! I have to admit I was pretty shocked. I stayed up to watch the 11 o'clock news last night and was a bit surprised when I saw that we were under a winter weather advisory until Wednesday. To be honest, I truly did not think that we would have snow, and if we did, that it would not stick. So, you can imagine my surprise when I saw snow on the ground this morning. But again, I guess I should not be too surprised, we do live in the Midwest and the weather is pretty unpredictable.

On another note, this weekend was pretty busy. Friday evening was spent in the emergency room. We got a call from Matt's cousin that his Grandma was being taken to the hospital for a possible stroke. With Matt's dad and aunt on a cruise for spring break, all the cousins rallied together to get things taken care of until Matt's uncle could make it up. The good thing is that although she was having a stroke, she is doing well. According to the doctors, she got to the hospital just in time. She was able to get a medicine that stops any further strokes from happening. We were able to see her before they moved her to ICU, and she seemed to be doing okay. She was taken to ICU and is still there while they wait to have an MRI done to see exactly what happened and to what extent.
Please keep her in your prayers, she is a truly amazing woman.


This was taken about a month ago at their 60th wedding anniversary


The rest of the weekend was spent paining, cleaning, and reorganizing. I think the spring cleaning bug has hit. Last weekend we painted the whole downstairs including all the trim. This weekend we painted the upstairs trim and the upstairs family room. We did not change any colors, just freshened the rooms up a bit. I have also been cleaning frantically in preparation for our final post placement visit for Mylee. Not that we live in a dirty home, but once I am able to get everyone in the "mode," I have to take advantage of it. So, while I painted, I had the kids washing walls, doors, and of course their rooms. Mylee and Gabe were probably the most cooperative. They were both eager to help in any way. Blake and Emma on the other hand were not. But, by the end of the weekend, the house is in pretty good shape. Now, my only goal is to tackle the mountain of laundry that accumulated over the weekend.

I have had several e-mails from people wanting to know the details of what Matt and I are doing for our anniversary. Unfortunately, I am still unable to share any of the details, but I promise as soon as everything is in place, I will post about it.
Until then, you will just have to be patient and keep those guesses coming. So far, no one has guessed it.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

They're Off!

Mylee's casts are FINALLY off! Praise God. We took off yesterday morning to Indy for her appointment and she was SO excited. When I got her up yesterday morning the first thing she said was "I go see Dr. Loder, no more casts." She knew this day was coming and could not wait. All way to Indy she kept talking about getting her casts off, seeing Dr. Loder, and of course getting new shoes. The shoe part was my fault because I told her the other day we could get her some new shoes. And since Mylee does not forget anything, she had to continually remind me that hse was getting new shoes.

The casts casts came off without a hitch. Since this was Mylee's tenth set of casts, she probably could have taken them off herself. In fact, several times while the nurse was working to get them off, Mylee did interject her opinions on how to get them off. She is too funny. She was so giddy while they were being taken off and kept telling the nurse, "no more casts."

Once they were off Dr. Loder came in to take a look at her legs. He said they are still pretty stiff, but that we need to get therapy going and they should start to loosen up. As of right now we don't go back to see him for a month, at which time he will evaluate the progress she has made. I did ask him how he thought things looked and if he thought this did the trick. His response was that we will just have to see what happens after some therapy. To be quite honest, I did not see much of a difference, but he said that with the therapy, everything should loosen up with time.
Mylee is quite sore right now, but that will also get better with time. She is unable to walk due to the pain, but she sure does try. She is back to walking on all fours (which is what she did when we first got her). This is something we are NOT encouraging, but is hard when she wants to get somewhere and I am unable to get to her fast enough. We are not worried, because knowing Mylee, she will be walking in no time.

Thanks to everyone who has walked this path with us. Your thoughts, prayers, and support have been so appreciated. Mylee still has a long journey ahead of her, but with family, friends, and God in her corner, we are certain that no matter what the outcome, she is going to continue to thrive and blossom.

Enjoy the pictures and video!








I absolutely LOVE this picture.