Wednesday, December 19, 2007

My Family

This is our Christmas card photo. It was a bit windy that day but it turned out great. Can you believe that was taken in December? Welcome to AZ. We have to drive 2 hours north to play in the snow but I don't mind a bit. No shoveling driveways or getting my car out of a snowdrift. What's the flip side? Well, summers of 110+ Oh well, that's what pools are for. =-)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


We got new pictures of Max! I just cannot believe how cute he is!! I am sad missing out on time with him. Hurry Serbia Hurry! Our documents have been sent to the Orphanage Ministry Officials to get Max ready for the adoption and approve us. The international adoption attorney is still out on paternity leave and won't be back until January now. But, at least they sent everything to the orphanage without waiting for him. So, what now? Who knows? One month, two, three? We are ready whenever.

Today is my daughter's 6th birthday. (With Max, we will have 3 December birthdays!) She is so excited and is telling everyone, "Happy Birthday!" She is such a ball of energy and has never met a stranger. I know she is going to light up when they sing to her at school today. Happy Birthday Tia Bug!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Bittersweet day

Today is my oldest son's birthday. (Wild Angel #1) He would be 9 today. It is hard to believe I would have a nine year old! He passed away when he was 13 months old from pneumonia. He is the one who opened doors into a life we never knew we could have. He is the one who required the most care and yet always had a smile. It was a great smile--you know, the kind that just lights up a room. Every year I buy Christmas flowers to put on his grave on his birthday. It never gets easier. I am always fighting tears in the check out lane wishing the flowers were for anything but a grave. This morning I went to the cemetery while my kids were at school. I started for the cemetery feeling good about the day. My sister called on my way there and we began to talk about how much we missed him and what he would be like now. That was all it took for my waterworks to start. I am happy knowing he will never have another surgery (he had 15) and knowing he is with my dad and others we love. But, oh how I miss him! I don't really know how I survived except to say the sun kept coming up everyday and I had no choice but to function. I was given a lot of strength through the first few months thanks to everyone's prayers. He brought so much joy and love into our home. He is an amazing person and I can't wait to see him again. Happy Birthday Braxton! We love and miss you!!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Isn't he a doll?!

I am finally able to put Max's picture on our blog! Now you can see how adorable he is. He will fit right into our family. He is ll months now. I am sad he is growing up without us but I know I will still be privileged to his first steps and many more firsts. That is something I will treasure. I am just happy to share him with you.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Not yet

We got an e-mail a few days ago from the orphanage facilitator/physician. Apparently, the attorney in charge of International Adoption is out for "a few weeks" for paternity leave. GREAT. So, even though our paperwork is translated, it is stuck on his desk until he returns. Once he gives the OK, it is passed on to the Orphanage Ministry Officials. And we continue to wait. SO, I guess we are not going to Serbia anytime too soon. Bummer. The only positive is that it is nice to plan Christmas knowing we will be here. It will make life a bit harder financially next year because we won't get our money back in April now. Oh well. I will just plan my "due date" for the end of January and go from there.

Max was sick with the flu last week which is always worrisome. But he is doing good now. A few days ago, he had his psychological evaluation to determine his development levels. They wanted to have new, updated info to give the officials when our paperwork gets to them. The physician said, "he was so good. He needs a forever family ASAP so he can start Early Intervention." She is such a wonderful woman.

I am glad he is not (and NEVER will be) in a institution there. My heart was broken as I looked at the recent articles and photos of Serbian Institutions. I am glad God can see the big picture, because it is an awful life here on earth for some children. I told one of my friends that I just want to adopt 50 children and open my own home here to give them better care. The truth is that the change needs to start with community awareness there. If the only choice being presented to women there is abortion or orphanage, they do not have the supports in place to help parents raise their children at home and in public schools. Perhaps, I should bring 50 parents and physicians here to see how much love our children bring and how amazing they are. I bet showing them my 5 year old who can read, would blow their minds!!! Oh, how I am blessed. My children are truly the reason I breathe everyday. All 3 of them have taught me SO much in such a short time. I look forward to my future with them (Max included)!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Translation begins

After 2 full weeks our paperwork finally made it to Serbia.  It is being translated into Serbian right now.  The Social Worker for Max is starting his paperwork today to get him "cleared for adoption."  It could take a month, 2 months or even 3.  We'll see.  We got new pictures of him and I can't believe how much he has changed from 7 months (the last pics we had) to 10 months!  It really makes me wish I was there seeing the changes.  His hair has grown in and he looks so much older.  I can't wait until he's ours so we can post pictures of him.  He is really tiny but in his pictures he looks very proportionate, not skinny.  At 10 months old, he is only 12 lbs, 12 oz.  We can fix that.  My 3 year old is an eater and he will show him how! lol 

The facilitator/physician at the orphanage asked us to bring books on Down syndrome.  She said the orphanage is getting more and more children with DS.  She wants to learn more about it and teach her fellow physicians.  I think this is a great teaching opportunity.  I hope it helps some of the doctors realize having a child with DS is not gloom and doom.  (As they typically tell parents.)  We have so many friends who were told about their child's diagnosis in very unpleasant and out-dated ways.  Maybe, over time, things will change in Serbia and more therapies and opportunities will become available for our kids.   I would love to see the number of children with disabilities coming into the orphanage decrease in the future.  And NOT because of abortion but because more moms and dads have the supports in place to raise their children at home.  I don't know how to convey my appreciation for the life I am blessed with.  My children are amazing, wild and crazy sometimes, but amazing. =-)  I would never change them! 

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Bye-Bye Dossier

Today was a big day! I finally got to mail my dossier (paperwork with every detail of your life) to Serbia for translation and approval. Now we wait. And wait. I am very optimistic though. I feel so strongly about this process that I can't help but think it will move quickly. It has only been 3 months since we decided to adopt. So, even 6 more months would be a normal pregnancy. Heck, at this point I would still be throwing up everyday!! =-) So, our goal is to be holding him on Christmas morning with our 2 other angels there and I'm quite sure our first angel, Braxton will be there too!

I am going to enjoy my waiting time too. It is always fun to get the nursery ready and get all the clothes washed and ready. We are reading up on Serbia and what sights to see while we are there. I want to make a nice scrapbook of our journey so Max has that forever. Our 5 year old is getting excited too. She knows "baby Max" is coming around Christmas time. I still haven't figured out how I will get the strength to leave them for 2 weeks. We'll save that worry for later!

Thanks to everyone for all your support! Saturday is our big Buddy Walk! I am so excited. We have such fun every year meeting new families and catching up with past friends! It will be a great day.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

CIS Approval !!!!!!

We got our approval letter from USCIS (Immigration)!!!! Hooray! We've been in the Bahamas and Orlando for the last 2 weeks. It was SO fun! The kids loved the beach and Sea World and Disney! And now we come home to such great news. We will have our Dossier together and ready to be sent to Serbia by Tuesday. Hopefully the wait will not be TOO long now. I am definitely optimistic about getting Max before Christmas!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Adoption Certified

We got our AZ Court adoption certification today!!! Our paperwork is on the way to USCIS! Things are moving along. I am ecstatic!!!!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

News about Max

We got Max's medical records yesterday. I was SO excited to see how much information we received and even more excited to hear how he is doing and how much he is loved there. He has NO health problems (pretty rare for kiddos with DS). He is cooing and loves to be held and to eat! Yeah!! He has good head control and has been receiving Physical Therapy for 3 months now. I was so surprised and happy to hear that. Sometimes I think of him laying in his crib, not exercising his muscles and not getting enough attention. Now, I feel so much better knowing he is eating well, socializing, playing with toys, and getting therapy.

I was sad reading about his birth parents. They are a young couple, newly married. The pregnancy was their first. It was planned and she received good care during her pregnancy. After giving birth, she was told her son had Down syndrome and she and the family decided to leave him at the hospital. It breaks my heart. I know it breaks hers. I just wish she lived in a place where children with disabilities are not shunned and put away. I hope to be able to let her know that Max is going to be taken care of and loved. My heart truly goes out to her. I pray that she will feel comfort in knowing he will have everything he needs. I only wish she could have kept him to feel his love and see how beautiful he is. But, I know he is meant to be with us now. It was good to know more about Max and his life. I am READY to bring this little guy home. (I think I've said that before.) Patience has been a trial of my life =-)

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Learning about BONDING

We went to an adoption class last weekend through our home study agency. It was specific to International Adoption. It was very informative and I thought I would share a few things we learned to help anyone else who is adopting. The most important thing for me to learn was about bonding with our new little one. The teacher explained that children living in orphanages see so many faces/caregivers in a given week, they do not associate one person as the one to meet their needs. Therefore, she recommended having you and your spouse be the ONLY two people to hold, feed, change, dress, bathe and put the child to bed for the first 3-6 months. No sitters yet. She said if you have family coming, let them help you with the housework, the other children, and preparing meals but that they should not care for the new child. Another adult may hold the child if they are going to be part of the child's DAILY life and parenting team.

It was suggested to hold and carry the new child as MUCH as possible. Skin to skin is best, especially when feeding a bottle. For the rare times he is not being held, have him in the same room with you. Sleep next to him for the first 2 weeks or so. (Bed sharing is not recommended due to accidental deaths.) Your face should be the last face he sees as he falls asleep as well as the first when he wakes up. She said if others comment that you are "spoiling" your child, then you know you are on the right track!! You have to make up for lost time and help him experience cause and effect. When he cries, pick him up, EVERY time. Be ecstatic when in a few months your child cries when you are out of sight. You will know he is bonding to you when he doesn't want to go to anyone else and shies away from others. Don't push him to be "friendly to everyone" for a while. (There is plenty of time to love others after he feels safe with you.)

Other suggestions included lots of singing, baby massages, rocking with him, eye-contact, and of course one-on-one play time. Be careful not to overstimulate your new child. For a few weeks think quiet, calm, gentle cocoon. We learned a lot of good information about parenting skills and travel too. It really was a great class. I hope some of the info helped others too. So, if you see me from January to June with a little cutie attached to me you can know that we are bonding. It is more involved than I originally thought but I can't wait to get to know and love on Max. Time just can't go fast enough.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Home Study to Court

Hooray! Finally, our home study write up is complete and on it's way to the court. We should get our adoption certification in about 3 weeks. (Step #4) Then, the paperwork goes on to the USCIS for HOPEFULLY only a few weeks and then on to Serbia. We just can't get him here fast enough!! We have decided to name him Max. No middle name yet. I look at his picture everyday on our shelf with our other family pictures and he is already part of the family. The kids see his picture and know baby Max is coming at Christmas time. They both have "the more the merrier" kind of attitude about life so, I think they will adjust well. Keep sending good thoughts our way so we can get Max home soon!

Saturday, September 1, 2007


This is day one of our blog. Here's an introduction to our family. (The Reader's Digest version.) We have been married for 10 years. We have given birth to 3 amazing and fun children. All 3 of our children have Down syndrome (trisomy 21). Our oldest passed away at a year old. He would be 8 now. Then we have a 5 year old daughter and a 3 year old son. We are now adopting a beautiful little boy from Serbia. He also has Down syndrome. He will be about a year old when we get him home. We are about one month into the adoption process.

So, the biggest question: Why adopt a child with Down syndrome? The geneticist says we may have a 50/50 chance of having a child with DS with each pregnancy. (No one knows for sure.) So why not just have another baby?
1. I hate being pregnant. I am SICK all the time and can't take care of my children the way I need to.
2. We would be too worried to have another biological child. Unfortunately, we know all too well, the health problems that can come with DS. We also know that we could not handle losing another child or having a child who needed to "live" in the hospital over and over.
3. Most importantly, this is just right for us. We get the opportunity to get a child out of an orphanage and show him his potential. We can provide services he would never receive there. We already know the in's and out's of therapy etc. and we are ready to LOVE this little boy!