Saturday, April 19, 2014

Bye bye IEP

It was a Chinese Special Needs adoption.  

We didn't bother to review the file with an international adoption medical expert because we had no intention of saying no either way--and spending up to $500 for the consult just seemed silly.  Google was my friend, although some of the terms listed here didn't translate very well.  

Last month we reviewed his reports for his reevaluation prior to his PPT meeting and we weren't surprised at all.  

This kid does NOT have a special need.  

All of those scary terms from his Chinese file meant nothing.  

When we adopted him we knew it could have gone either way, and we were prepared for anything.  Finding out that other people realize how brilliant he is just happens to be icing on the cake.


Isn't that the kind of son that everybody wants? 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

We Said No

Take a look at this little princess!  Isn't she beautiful?

I've been thinking about her a lot lately.  Why?  Because we said no. 

In 2009, we picked Christian before we even settled on a country to adopt from. 

In 2013 we submitted our documents to adopt from China prior to having a child picked out.  When that is the case, at least in China, the family waits for THE SHARED LIST. The list comes out monthly-ish, and every family with a log in date without a match is on pins and needles, waiting for a call late into the night or the dreaded email indicating that a match has not been made that month. 

In April we were DTC--Documents to China, and received a LID--a Log in Date

In May, we waited anxiously for a call on the night that the shared list came out.  We got a call.  We ran to our computer to open up the documents.  We saw pictures of this little princess when she was a smidge younger, with the same little red cheeks and a beautiful smile. 

We read through her documents.  We wanted to say YES!  We didn't want to be one of those families with a match that we refused.  We had hours to make this decision, but we did have some concerns about our ability to meet her needs while working full time and having many other children. 

She is the first child that we had an international medical doctor review the file, just in case we were wrong and her needs could be met in our family. We really wanted to say yes but we wanted to verify some information and consider our ability to parent her. 

Ultimately, we said no... and saying no is really hard.  Saying no is even harder when I see that another family has not stepped forward, almost a year later. 

I want to see her find her family.  She really sounds like a lovely little girl!
-developmentally on track

She lives with a foster family and currently has a $3,000 grant available through her agency. 

If you are open to the need of spina bifida, please PLEASE consider this little princess!  Her needs are manageable!

Email me if you would like more information. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Our Red Thread Session. We tried.

After reading about Red Thread Sessions a few months after I brought Christian home, I knew I wanted to schedule a session after this next adoption.  Before we even had our kids picked out, I contacted Melanie at Moments by Melanie to see if she was able to tentatively book a session after our adoption was completed.  Melanie was very responsive and got back to me right away each time we connected before and after arriving home.  

If you don't know about Red Thread Sessions, it's an amazing group of photographers that donate their time to a recently adoptive family. 

Poor Melanie didn't know what she was getting herself into...just throwing it out there. I don't think she realized that we have other kids too, making us close to a mega-size family. I spent the morning getting the kids ready but of course didn't have enough time to straighten my hair.  Not 1 child fell asleep on the 1 1/2 hour drive to the location--and I was worried just by that fact. We, or course, were running just a few minutes late.  

Once we arrived we dressed the little kids as best we could.  It was about 20 degrees and we had to change them quickly so we could run inside for a quick bathroom break and I had to wipe noses x4..which started the screaming.

We wandered around the building trying to find Melanie...although she spotted us long before we spotted her.  We found an an awesome room that would have contained all...but since we did not reserve it we were kicked out.  

The madness started.   The little girls took turns screaming when they weren't screaming in unison.  Repeatedly.  Christian kept giving funny smiles and looking sideways. At least 4 kids had a cold in my opinion.  Maddie was a rockstar.  Eric kept asking for more individual shots so he could pose.  

At one point Jim and I just sat there and giggled because the entire thing was just so silly and going so badly.  I think that's when we got our sole family shot...clearly just keeping it real around here since half of the participants aren't even looking forward and only 3 of us are smiling/giggling. If you scroll down you'll see what mean.  

I'm not sure if a successful photo shoot is in our near future...

We regrouped, and continued on to our Panda Playdate.  Suddenly the kids were laughing, giggling, and having a ball.  Go figure.  Here are a couple of videos since the kids have been home for exactly 2 months.  Julia Mei is full of giggles and Jacob is walking independently.  WOW!

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

In the club {foot}

FYI if you are in the medical profession, I recommend that you don't say this to a parent: 

Huh.  I've never seen anything like that...  

As you look perplexed, interested, and confused.  

Or this:

I just learned about Amniotic Banding Syndrome in a class I took years ago.  I've never actually seen it.

It turns out that in addition to an extremely tight amniotic band on her leg, Julia Mei also has a severe club foot. 

The foot cannot be treated until we address the band.

Her band will require 2 surgical releases.  
The first procedure will release the front half, and the second will release the back half. 

About a month after the 2nd surgery, we will start the casting process.  Julia Mei will get new thigh high casts weekly for about 6 weeks.

After that we will schedule a pretty complicated surgery called a posterior and anterior release.  This is not all that common since most babies born in America will have casting done shortly after birth.   

She will have a brace at night for years...and multiple surgeries as we go along.  
Bones will have to be moved around.

Even so, there is no guarantee that any of it will work enough for her foot to be functional, and she still may face an amputation.

However this goes down, she is worth it.

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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

What should you do for a mama friend that recently adopted? Ideas here!

I get it.  You DON'T know why your friend is adopting. Is it infertility? Is it a religious thing? Why would she PLAN to adopt a child with special needs...and from another country when so many local kids are available? Doesn't she have enough children? You aren't quite sure what to say.  Or how to act.  Or how to ask questions without seeming rude.  If the child has an obvious physical disability, you aren't sure what to expect and how you will react when you see the child. might just avoid your friend for a while.

In case you are reading this and want to know what your friend needs, please know the following:  your adoptive mama friend needs you.  Now more than ever. Is she a first time mama?  Remember when you held that little newborn in your arms and you were excited, scared, exhausted and overwhelmed all at once?  Yup, she's there right now.  Add on to that a big case of jet lag and in so many ways...adoption is harder than coming home with a newborn baby. Does your adoptive mama friend already have 4 or 5 kids?  It doesn't make this time any easier in her life.  This is a tough transition on her, her newly adopted, and the rest of the members of her family. So please, please, please don't ignore your adoptive mama friend!

Here are some suggestions instead:

-call her
-text her
-bring her a meal...or 2...or set up a meal train {reread this particular suggestion please}
-wash and fold her laundry
-if she says she is cocooning...look it up and don't be offended
-write her a letter expressing how happy you are for her
-get her take out
-get her a spa gift card
-offer to babysit when she is up for it
-hang out at her house 
-ask her questions about her new little one
-ask her about the adoption process
-ask her what she needs
-clean her house
-walk her dog
-pick her kids up from school or bring them to their activities
-take her other kids out to play
-offer to go grocery shopping for her
-buy something special for the new little one
-get her chocolate...or wine
-throw her a baby/kid {adoption} shower
-take her to the movies when she needs a break can do what my friends did...and throw her a Chinese New Year Adoption Surprise Party!

  {Try to top that for your adoptive mama friend--I seriously dare you}

Decorated and ready to go
Dessert and drink bar
Egg rolls!
Do you see this handmade card?!
Make food that she likes--even if you have no interest in tofu
The food area
Handmade Chinese lanterns and fortune cookies
Don't forget the party favors
Oh yes...more handmade amazingness
Congratulate her on her good fortune!
These ladies went all out
Handmade.  Would you take the week off from homeschooling just to make all of these fantastic decorations?  My friend did.  She doesn't even have a Pinterest account and look what she did. 
More handmade love
Please translate what this fortune means...
A straightforward fortune
I suppose I should add this one in.
*feel free to warn your friend and not surprise her...
she might want to do her hair or put makeup on...
or get dressed for the day*
[Note:  I was dressed thank goodness}
Well wishes!
Handwritten notes!
Adoptive Mama= Happy Mama
The fun continues
The party was here
and these ladies are absolutely amazing
and I love them for putting so much thought and effort into this most perfect night.

I have been home for a month and this was my first night out without at least 1 child in tow.  It was needed. SO needed. 

If you can top this for your adoptive mama friend, please let me know what you did to support her!  Even if you did not top this, please consider any kind gesture of love and recognition that your friend has added a new one to her family.  She needs it right about now.  

Sending out a HUGE thank you for your love and support!!! You have clearly gone above and beyond and I am BLESSED! 

THANK YOU Bonnie, Kim, Karen, Erin, Sarah, Micheleen, Jenn, Julie, Jen, Dee, and Amanda

Happy Chinese New Year!

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