Thursday, September 30, 2010

One Less

Several months ago singer/songwriter Mark West posted about his new album and how he wanted it to be about real lives, real stores, real people. He asked that people write in sharing their stories so he could get inspiration. So, I immediately joined several other adoptive families in sending in our story of adoption. This morning as I was checking through some of the blogs I follow, I was pretty surprised to see that Mark West had used the stories he received about adoption and has written a song. The song is titled One Less, and I cannot think of a better title.

One Less by Matthew West (The Story Behind The Song) from emicmg on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

On The Road Again

Mylee and I are headed to Indy again today. Monday she had her post surgery check and the doctor said everything looked really good. He put a plaster splint on her leg after surgery so we were not able to see anything until he took it off. Honestly, I was a bit taken aback at the amount of bruising on her leg. It is pretty much entirely blue, but Dr. Havlick assured me that all was well and despite the bruising, it looked great and she could resume normal activity except taking a bath.

She was determined to go back to school yesterday and hobbled down the hallway step by step. Her leg is still sore, but she managed to get through the whole day and is actually walking pretty good today.

So, today we are going back to begin our once a week injections. Basically, she will be put to sleep while they insert fluid through a port under the skin. I am told this is very painful and that is why she needs to be put to sleep. We have to be there at noon and the procedure starts at 1:30 p.m. Mylee was not happy this morning when she realized she could not have breakfast this morning. I tried to explain to her why, and she wasn't getting it so I told her that on the way home we would stop for ice cream. That did the trick, and she is okay now with waiting to eat (we will see how long that lasts).

Please pray that all goes well today and she is not in too much pain. She is one strong little girl, that continues to amaze me every day.

Now, I must comment on Matt's post from Monday. Isn't he just the greatest? I am so lucky to have a husband that "gets it." And to answer several questions and e-mails, no we have NOT started the process to bring another child home however, we ARE int he process of getting things in order so we can. In other words, YES, we will be adopting again, but just not yet. Trust me, as soon as we begin the process, you all will be the first to know.

Monday, September 20, 2010

From the Grouchy Old Man

It’s Monday the 20th and the Grouchy old man is sitting at home with the young kids while ‘Red’ makes her trip to Indi for more doctors and follow-ups wit Mylee. I sit here watching Andrew play, sing, dance, destroy a Lego creation, roll himself up in a carpet that Mandi would be having kittens about, get into a pillow fight with an imaginary opponent, and … well … be a happy, wonderful little boy I have been allowed to call my own. While watching this entertainment that no amount of money could ever pay for (… and I mean it… this kid is hilarious!!!) I seem to have come to a revelation that maybe needs to be pointed out to every foot dragging male (because lets face it boys…. We drag our feet most of the time) out there. If we are meant to be fathers, we should be fathers.

You see… I am the typical, ‘… wait … I know that look … What is on that computer … (oh no!!!!) … what are you looking at … AWE CRAP … AGAIN?’ kind of guy… I use every excuse in the book…

‘We can’t afford it’
‘We don’t have the room’
‘We will have to take things away from some of the other kids to bring another one here”
‘Wait… aren’t we just moving the kid from one orphanage to another?’
‘I tell you what … we can sell the house… move in the country and buy a chicken farm… put rooms in the barn and … (Just kidding…)’

Being an introvert most of the time, I tend to be quiet, chew on the thought for a while, pray on it a lot and heavily, and wait for a clear thought.

As I was praying about the ‘just one more … until the next one more … ‘ argument my wife was throwing at me to see if it would stick… I heard a conversation on the radio.

(Sorry, after the proofread there seemed to be a lot of ADD things that popped up in here… bear with me) For those that don’t know… there are some really cool apps for iphones that allow you to listen to radio/talk shows on your phone…

But this Radio program was about large family’s. It was a Program written for Catholic audiences that discussed the benefits and hardships of a large family. The gist of the program was the recurring thought: ‘have as large a family as God will give you. You make sure you do it while being responsible. Being responsible parents, being responsible Christians, being responsible for your kids, to your kids and above all ... to God.’ Being responsible… (little devil on the left shoulder rubs his hands in anticipation) ya… That’s my way out……

The more I thought about it… the more it hit me in the chest…. It’s my job to be responsible… So if im not being responsible… im not doing what im supposed to do….


Well “the now what” goes like this:

I am a father, a husband, and supposed to be the faith leader in our home… (I fail more then succeed at this… but through forgiveness and persistence I hope to do better) … As all three of these, if we are called by God to have another child biologically or otherwise, I cannot be the one to say no. I cannot be the one to say, ‘sorry god… not this time… I have my own plans.’

(ADD point) a good country song: ‘If you wanna hear God laugh, just tell him your plans.”

If we are called to bring more children to this family, it falls to me to be responsible, to provide, to work for and with every available ounce of muscle (of heart and of strength) to make sure I, and our family is ready.

Too me… being responsible is always being ready. We as fathers need to make sure that we are ready to fallow our Heavenly Fathers guidance. We need to follow his will. Even if it hurts my own plans.

Being Ready:

Being ready means, Religiously – in the face of god, are you ready for what is being handed to you? Financially, Relationships, Family Structure, Communication, Your Standing before God? Be prepared. It’s your job, DAD.

Religiously – not gonna tell you about that. That is personal, It is based on principle, and is not a thing within my paygrade. If you need help in this area … talk to God. (Really … Talk to him … he corners the market on Faith, Hope and all that stuff)

Financially – get the books in gear. Keep them in gear. Dave Ramsey is my hero!!

Relationships – are you and your family structurally ready? Are you communicating enough? Are you honest about the things and places and deeds? Even if it hurts.

Family Structure – are you placing the REAL prioritied in the correct place? Are you putting computer games and late night poker sessions above your family and it’s functionality? What is highest in deeds, your family or yourself or God?

Communication – (ADD story time) When I was in the Army there was this acronym (in know big surprise, the Army has acronym’s) for leadership. At that time it was the 4 factors of leadership. They were the Leader, the Lead, The Situation, and Communication. You had to have all four to be able to lead and above all … yup … COMMUNICATION. Communication is the key. Communication is also applicable to yourself and implies honesty. When communicating in this fashion we as the DAD’s have to be honest to ourselves, even if it hurts, before we can require honesty to and from others. This, in my view is the hardest thing I have ever done. I mean really… have you ever lied to yourself to keep the anxiety down? Have you ever just said… “ignore it… it will take care of itself” when that little voice say’s “you idiot … you know the mark that is gonna leave when that problem comes to the surface?” Communication .. at least in my not-so-humble opinion… is probably the biggest and first step for us DAD’s to move forward. (I could write a book on that word alone……..)

So, Mandi… when you read this… you will either get mad cause the Grouchy Old Man kijacked your Puter, or you will be happy. Don’t know…. Will have to see where the cards lay out.

Regardless, to all of the blogging buddies of my wife… you all are messengers and Angels sent by God to influence to Cold Hearts of us Grouchy Old Men. Thank you. And keep up the good work.

Matt Yager
THE Grouchy Old Man (Just ask Red... She'll tell ya)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Forever Family Designs

Forever Family Designs is open for business.

Forever Family Designs is a blog I created to help families who are in the process of adopting. As a been there done that adoptive parent, I know too well how difficult it can be financially. So, to help alleviate some of that burden, and give back to the adoption community, I am doing blog makeovers and donating 100% of the funds to adopting families.

Matt and I have been so blessed by the adoption community and their support in helping us bring home our boys that I wanted to come up with a way to give back and say "thank you." Forever Family Designs is just that. Not only will I get to do something I really enjoy, but I am also helping to make a difference in the life of a child, and the lives of a family.

For complete details of how you can get a blog makeover, please visit my new blog, Forever Family Blog Designs. Oh, don't forget to spread the word by grabbing my button.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

She's A Trooper

Mylee is doing fantastic. So fantastic, that we didn't have to stay overnight in the hospital. Yeah for my girl! We are however, still in Indianapolis. We didn't get to leave the hospital until after 4:30 and the further I drove, the more tired I was getting plus the main freeway to home was closed due to a car accident. So, I called Matt and we decided for Mylee and I to stay in a hotel for the night. Honestly, I am SO glad. I really didn't want to drive home, I am exhausted!

Mylee is sleeping now and really doing well. She is in pain, but the meds are working wonders. I am supposed to give it to her every 4 hours even throughout the night.

Thank you all So much for all the kind words, thoughts, and prayers. We appreciate them so much.

Mylee Update

Dr. Havlik just came out with an update. Mylee is doing great, the expander is in and she has a brace on her leg to keep it protected. She is still in recovery so I will not be able to go back for about another half hour.

I will update more as soon as I know more.

Prayers Please

I just wanted to update everyone on Mylee. I would have posted about this earlier but we have been dealing with insurance so I wanted to be sure everything was a go before posting. Anyway, Mylee and I are at Riley Children's Hospital.

Dr. Loder did an excellent job with her precious surgeries and her knees are bending great. However, her ankles are not. Her right ankle is okay but her left is very tight. Dr. Loder is going to cut the tendon in her left ankle again, stretch it, and recast her in November. Before he can do his surgery, she has to have an expander inserted to "grow" skin because the her ankle is so tight, there is not enough skin there for him to close it after the November surgery.

So, today she is having an expander inserted into her left knee. They just took her back and she was in good spirits. She has been very excited to have this surgery because the Cosmetic surgeon told her he was going to put a balloon in her leg. Just the thought of a balloon was enough to excite her. Of course she needed to know what color it was going to be. So, she asked if her balloon could be pink. She is too funny.

The surgery will last about two hours. Because she has so much scar tissue and is missing muscles and tendons in her ankle, Dr. Havlik is not sure exactly how they are going to put them in. Basically, once they get in there, they will figure it out.

Mylee will have to spend the night in the hospital tonight and we can go home tomorrow. But, once a week for the next 7 weeks we have to come back so she can have fluid injected into the expanders to stretch her skin. From what I understand, this is a pretty painful procedure and she will have to be put to sleep every week (not happy about that) to make it more comfortable.

So, please pray for Mylee that everything goes well today and she is in as little pain as possible. She is a trooper. She doesn't let much get her down, and she has such a great spirit about her. I don't know many adults that could go through all that she has and is, and come out smiling.

I will keep you posted as soon as I can. Thanks so much for your thoughts and prayers, we really appreciate them.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Tables are Turned

I have been completely amazed by the adoption community. When we began the process to bring Mylee home we had no money (well, we did have the application fee), and had NO idea how we were going to come up with the amount we were going to need. We were new to the whole adoption thing, we didn't really "know" anyone who had adopted, and to be quite honest, we were terrified of the unknowns.

Not long after getting the ball rolling, I began to research adoption online and started coming across these things called blogs. Honestly, I had never heard of these and really didn't want to start one. It was actually Matt who put our first blog together, I just snuck in, redesigned it and pretty much took it over. We waited 9 months from start to finish for Mylee, and I honesty think those were the longest 9 months of my life. I read all I could about what to expect, the different special needs, joined a couple of Yahoo Groups, and became completely engrossed in blogs of others waiting to bring their children home, those who had already brought their children home, and those who were in the process of going back to bring another child home. I remember thinking to myself, there was no way I was going to go through the roller coater of adoption again. I was certain I was going to be content with just bringing Mylee home.

But, the one thing that amazed me the most was how supportive and giving the online adoption community was. Once I became comfortable, I began leaving comments and even contacting others through their personal e-mails answers, suggestions, and any advice. I just could not believe how willing to help someone could be to a complete stranger.

Then, I watched as people began having giveaways to raise money for their adoptions. I could not believe the amount of money that was being donated within the online adoption community. There were a few giveaways that raised over $10,000! I was completely blown away.

With Mylee's adoption we did not have to ask for help. We were completely dependent on God and He definitely showed us that it could be done. With Drew and Jaxon's adoptions, things were a little tougher. I had already decided I was NOT going to ask for handouts as some have so kindly put it. But, after talking with a couple of other adoptive parents, I realized that I was going to have to set aside my pride and ask for help. So, as many of you know I put together an awesome fundraiser (it took me about 3 months to get it all together), with prizes donated from others who get the whole adoption process and why it is necessary. We were able to raise over $6000 from our blog giveaways and most of that money came from complete strangers, all over the world. We had donations coming in from Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, Germany, and all over the US. It was absolutely amazing and so humbling to know that there are people out there who get it.

I am so thankful for all those who helped us bring our boys home whether it was monetarily, prayers, or words of encouragement. We are so thankful for every penny, every prayer, every word. We are blessed beyond words. The tables are turned now, it is our turn to give back.

I have decided to do blog makeovers and give 100% of the money I make to families who are working so hard to bring their children home. I am in the process of creating a new blog just for blog makeovers. But for now, if you are interested in a blog makeover just contact me at and I will get all the info to you.

Right now I am dividing the profits between 2 families that are desperately trying to bring their children home. Lori is mom to 2 boys and 2 beautiful girls from China. She and her husband are in the process of bringing home an older boy from the same orphanage as their oldest daughter. Lori is currently selling t-shirts from Show Hope to help raise money.

Connie is another amazing mom to almost 9 kids. She and her husband have opened their doors to 5 Chinese treasures. They just announced a couple of weeks ago that they are paper chasing for their 6th treasure, Kasisi Joy.

So, for every blog makeover I do, I will divide the funds equally between Lori and Connie. So, with fall upon us, how about a new look for your blog and help two more children be united with their forever families.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Black and White Wednesday ~ The Olden Days

I know I haven't posted much lately, but once I get my act in gear and a good schedule going I promise my updates will be more frequent. But for now, you will just have to settle for today's post.

I stayed up way too late last night trying to find the perfect picture for Black and White Wednesday, but after the conversation I overheard this morning between Gabe and Emma, I just had to share it.

Wednesday mornings are a little more laid back around here because the kids have a half an hour delay for school. It is actually kind of nice because we get to sleep just a bit longer than usual. Anyway, I usually let the kids watch The Disney Channel in the mornings while they are getting ready to leave. This morning I came downstairs and Blake had already taken over the T.V. and was watching something on the History Channel about outer space and space travel. They were going through different eras of space travel and talking about the different planets. So not my cup of tea, but Gabe and Emma weren't complaining so I just let them all watch it.

Once Gabe and Emma finished getting ready for school they went into the kitchen to eat breakfast. I was getting their backpacks ready for the day when I heard a conversation Emma was having with Gabe while they were eating and still watching the show on the T.V.

Emma: "Gabe, you know that is from a long, long, time ago, like the olden days?"

Gabe: "Yeah, I know." (because Gabe knows everything)

Emma: "No Gabe, I mean the really, really olden days, like from the 1900s, like 1980 or 1985, ancient times."

I had to really try hard not to laugh out loud. She was dead serious and I didn't want to embarrass her. But seriously, 1980, the olden days???? Ancient times??? Come on, I was only 6 then. I remember my dad (who was born in 1929) talking about the depression, the price of bread, and always hear him say "back in my day." Those were the olden days. Never, and I mean never did I think I would hear the 80's referred to as the olden days let alone ancient times.

So, I guess I really am getting old. I guess I never really though of 35 being old, but when my 8 year old daughter refers to the 80's as the olden days, well, I guess I better just break out the walker and call it a day. Seriously though, I remember my dad telling us (or us teasing him) about having to walk 10 miles in the snow, uphill just to get to school. I think it's about time Miss Emma gets a story like that. Olden days, I'll show her olden days.