Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Lookey Lookey!

I am SO excited right now! I just finished checking my e-mail and was SO surprised to see we were sent two new pictures of Keliah, updated measurements and the orphanage's address so we can finally send our girl a package.

We asked back at the beginning of March for an update and didn't hear anything so I was actually giving up any hope of getting one and was seriously thinking of asking an outside service to get an update, pics, and sending a package, but didn't really want to spend the money.

She is so beautiful and I cannot wait to get her home!


Since we have several new followers, let me bring you up to speed on Keliah. I first saw her face last summer but didn't say anything to Matt because he was pretty adamant after we brought the boys home last May. So, I kept it pretty quiet but eventually started leaving little hints here and there that I really thought we had another daughter in China. He was not happy, and was certain we were done.

This is the picture I fell in love with.
Camp Tiger- Ming 208

So, a few months passed and I didn't bring it up again. I knew that Keliah was still available since I checked almost daily with our agency's list. In August, the kids started back to school and I simply could NOT stop thinking about her. I remember sitting on the couch watching some videos of her with a friend and I started tearing up. My friend asked me why I was crying and I said "because I know with all my heart and deep into my soul, that she is our daughter." It was about that time that I really started to be honest with Matt in that when I looked at her picture, I truly saw her in our next family picture. Of course, he thought I was nuts and reminded me again that we were done.

Fast forward to a few weeks later and I once again approached Matt about the idea of adding her to our family. This time, he did not say no, he did not say we were done, but he didn't say yes either. His response, "lets see what we can learn about her special need." That was good enough for me. I was on it.

Keliah was found at 4 months old and at 4 years old had surgery for a tethered cord. Her diagnosis in her file is tethered cord syndrome/spina bifida. I will be completely honest, this type of SN really did scare me (at first). Spina Bifida is such a broad medical issue. It can be very mild causing no problems, or it can be as severe as complete paralysis. We knew she wasn't paralyzed since we saw several videos from the agency camp she participated in. We saw her standing, walking, and even dancing (she told the agency she wants to be a dance teacher when she grows up).

Even though we knew she wasn't paralyzed, there are still several issues to consider with her medical issue. So, we asked for an update from the orphanage with VERY specific questions we wanted answered. They were very quick to get back to us, and we were able to send off the information that we had, and the info that we had just received to an International Adoption Doctor as well as local doctors who specialize in spina bifida. Of course they all started off with saying that they really couldn't give a 100% diagnosis without actually seeing her, but that from what they could tell, she would probably just have to be monitored to make sure the spine didn't tether up again. The adoption doctor even went on to say that she thought our biggest concern should not be her tethered cord, but adjusting into a family at such an "old" age. Well, that was obviously something we were more than willing to take on.

So, after a few more days of what ifs, we decided to do exactly what we did with Mylee, Drew and especially Jaxon's adoptions. We completely stepped out in faith and signed the letter of intent and sent if off the very next day, and got started on compiling our dossier. About a week later, we received our PA and were finally able to share our news with everyone.

When we first started our adoption journey with Mylee, we were pretty naive of the special needs we would consider, and those we would not even think about. Spina Bifida was at the top of the will not think about list. In our eyes, we already had three bio kids and didn't want to have to put them aside to care for a child with major medical needs. As I am typing this, I can't get over how shallow that seems now.

Mylee's special need was listed as clubbed feet. Matt and I didn't even really have to consider it much. We researched it and learned that it was a pretty easy "fix." Unbeknown st to us, Mylee's ortho needs were much worse than a series of casting to correct her feet. We still don't know if she truly had clubbed feet. And after surgeries, 10+ castings, and physical therapy, we still don't have a definite diagnosis. What we do have is one beautiful, spunky, smart, determined little girl that we love more than anything. Her special need does NOT define who she is.


I remember someone asking me once if we were angry because her needs were more than we thought we were getting into or if we had any regrets. Without hesitation I kindly explained to them that NO, we were not angry nor did we regret our decision to add Mylee to our family. I went on to let them know that there are NO guarantees in life and that any one of our biological kids could have been born with a medial condition. Was it because Mylee was adopted and we "chose" her that they felt like they could even ask those questions. Would they even consider asking those questions if it had been one of our bio kids? Why did they even think they could ask a questions like that? I don't think they expected the response they got, but hey, it's the truth.

So, our adoption path started out as a way to fulfill a dream I had as a child. I will admit that before we started on our journey to adopt, I had no idea how many orphans there were in the world. I had no idea the condition of the orphanages. I really didn't comprehend the impact of what being and orphan meant. I didn't even really get the role that God played in bringing Mylee home. And then my eyes were opened. I saw first hand what being an orphan meant. I saw firsthand the conditions of the orphanages, the massive amount of kids lying in their cribs not knowing what it feels like to be loved, hugged, or even touched. My eyes were open, and because of that, we have been blessed beyond measure to not only turn a dream into a reality by bringing Mylee home, but I cannot imagine our lives, and our family without Drew and Jaxon. Because my eyes have been opened, Matt and I have been able to step outside of what we thought our comfort zone was and look at special needs that we would not have even considered 3 years ago. Because my eyes have been opened, we are adding one more blessing from God to our family ~ Keliah Faith...

Don't forget, there is still plenty of time to get in a chance to win the iPad 2, cover, and iTunes gift card. We will be sending our final documents to our agency next week and would love to send in a check as well so our dossier can go to China. The sooner we get our dossier to China, the sooner we can bring Keliah home. She has been in the orphanage for exactly 9 years this month, lets not make it too much longer.

So, instead of buying one of these on the way to work,

or going through here on the way home,

Think about this face, and what that $4 or $5 could do to change her life...

january update 2

If 263 people donated only $25.00, we could meet our goal. If only 131 people donated $50.00 we could meet our goal. I know that more people than that read my blog every day. The clock is ticking, the countdown has begun. After working for almost 8 months, the time has come to send in our paperwork to China so we can be that much closer to adding one more child of God into our family.


Tara said...

mandi, i can't believe you got new pics!! is she still about emma's size?

thanks for sharing!

i want to place an order from you next time we get together...

Jolene said...

Our Dalton has Spina Bifida and the only concern I had was his quality of life as an adult...I spoke with many adults with SB who deal with incontinence and they said that its a moot issue for them. They lead completely productive active lives and we'd be dumb to not adopt him! All fears aside I too know we have a daughter in China...so far my husband is saying no. But I do know that we have a daughter there...Lord only knows the timing though!

living4him5 said...


She is so beautiful!!! I can't wait for her to be home with her forever family. PRAYING you exceed your goal. One way or another, she's coming home and I'm Praising the Lord!

Amy <><

MJ said...

Hi I just followed your blog and donated $25, I hope I can be entered into the drawing please!!!!!

I'm praying for your family and sending you much love!

(I found your blog through other adoption blogs I also sponsor Jenna at new day :).)

Jean said...

New pics!! Yay!! What a day maker!! She is beautiful and will be a wonderful addition to your already wonderful family!!

God Bless your journey!!