Saturday, April 18, 2015

Learning about our new normal

I stopped by the library the other day to pick up some books about Down Syndrome and adoption.  There aren't any (that I could find, anyway) that discuss both.  So I chose these:
Babies with Down Syndrome was suggested to me in one of my adoption groups.  It's supposed to be one of the best books to read when you're expecting a child with that magical extra gene.  We read My Friend Has Down Syndrome to the kids, and it was really good!!  I would like to find more children's books that have to do with sibling that have DS.  I'm sure they're out there...we just need to find them!
Bloom: Finding Beauty in the Unexpected is something that I started reading here and there when we would browse around Barnes and Noble.  I've read about half of it...I'll probably buy it at some point, I would love to own it.  The author, Kelle Hampton, does an amazing job telling the story of the birth and the first year of her daughter's life.  Nella was born with Down Syndrome, after a perfect pregnancy, labor and delivery.  Kelle had no idea she was giving birth to a baby with DS.  I would not recommend reading this book without tissues nearby.  Kelle explains how heart wrenching that first 24 hours was after giving birth to Nella.  Realizing that she wasn't the baby they were expecting, and how they had to grieve the baby they thought they were welcoming was heart wrenching.  One of my favorite parts in the book is when she wrote about the minutes after she had her.  This is what Kelle writes: "I will never forget my daughter in my arms, opening her eyes over and over...she locked eyes with mine and stared...bore holes into my soul.  Love me. Love  me.  I'm not what you expected, but oh, please love me." Gah! *tears*  Looking back, they wouldn't have it any other way.  (That's pretty much the only thing I've ever heard from parents of children with DS.)  Really though, this book is so good!  If you know anyone with DS, or even if you don't, please read this book!  You won't be disappointed, I promise!!  Kelle has a blog that I started following shortly after Nella was born.  She also writes about her family; her husband, her stepsons, her oldest daughter, Lainey, and their newest addition, Dash, along with Nella, of course.  You can find her blog here.

We've joined the Down Syndrome Guild of KC, we've contacted Children's Mercy Down Syndrome clinic, and we're getting in contact with more and more families of children with DS.  This is a whole new world for us.  One we know nothing about yet, but one that we are excited to explore!!  We just need our girl here with us!  asap!

Our First Fundraiser!

We're starting a silent auction this coming Monday at 32 Auctions.  Everything we make from this will go directly towards bringing Evie home!  If you have something you would like to donate, please leave me a comment!  We are collecting anything to put up for sale!  We plan on having more throughout the year, so stay tuned! 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The home study is done!

We had our last home study visit on March 19th, and were just informed a couple of days ago that it was approved!  Our lives are an open book...there is nothing that our adoption agency doesn't know about us.  If there were any secrets before, there are none now.
Our next step is to file what is known as the I800a.  It's basically an application that we submit to US immigration to receive approval to adopt a child from China.  This may be the longest wait that we have.  The approval for this takes anywhere from 40-90 days.  Once we get that approval in, we can submit our dossier (all the paperwork, info about us, home study, etc.) to China.  This is a big step!! It means the huge paper chase is essentially over with!

Our agency also just informed us that we can now request an update on her!!  We get to ask five questions, and request more photos and videos.  Narrowing our questions down to five was not an easy thing to do.  How do you squeeze "I want to know everything about her!  Just tell us everything!" into five questions?! So we went with the basics (her size, eating habits, sleeping arrangements, info on her foster family, and medical issues).  I think we get one more update before we travel, so we'll ask more specific questions then.  I'm really hoping and praying that we get a lot of pictures and an updated video of her!!

There are days when this process feels like an eternity, and sometimes it feels that we will never actually get there.  I'm sure I'm not the only one who has experienced this.  I was trying to compare it to being pregnant, and honestly, this wait has proved to be much harder than the pregnancy wait.   With a pregnancy, you get to watch your belly grow, you get to feel your little one moving around, you get to hear your child's heartbeat, occasionally get a chance to see him/her on an ultrasound screen, and you are always with your baby.  ;) The adoption wait is excruciating, mostly because you know your child is so far away from you, and there's nothing you can do about it.  Knowing that they are halfway around the world, being taken care of by someone else, wondering if their special needs are being's just a helpless feeling.  The only thing that makes it easier is knowing that God has called us to parent this sweet child.  We know she is in His hands, and there are no other hands I would rather her be in.

The kids are also anxious to get her home!  We talk about her daily, look at her pictures, and watch the video of her - anticipating the day when she is with us.  We wonder what toys she will like, which books she will love for her big sisters to read to her, how her big brothers will protect her, and how much fun she will bring to our family.  Sometimes Jett will ask, "Mommy, how many more days till Evangeline will be here with us?"  Too many days is what I want to say, but I just smile and tell him, "A little while longer."

We're going as fast as we can, sweet baby girl!!  We can't wait to hold you in our arms!!  Just a little while longer!