Sunday, January 31, 2016

So totally worth it

Happiest day!!!!!
We got a few updated pictures of baby Noah this morning and I am in LOVE! 

To see current pictures of my boy is such a blessing!!

They were taken yesterday before his nap. Wish I was kissing his cheeks as he laid down for that nap

His dark hair and dark eyes are so beautiful and I can't help but stare into those eyes and feel him looking straight at me

His petite little features with his tiny button nose and beautiful almond eyes took me back to my breezy babe! 

And that cute half smile made my heart burst! As if he knows this picture was being taken for his mama! 

His mohawk hair kills me and reminds me so much of Kyra as a baby. She had the same crazy hair on top. 

How crazy is this resemblance? 

So funny! And even both in green sleepers ha ha. He is meant for us!

Oh sweet precious little babe, we are getting so close to coming for you and picking you up from that crib! We can't wait to see those petite little features in person , kiss those little cheeks and let you feel loved! 

Lots and lots of love!
From the first picture I saw of you I felt such peace and these new ones bring the same feeling. 

Your big sister bought you this shirt with her own money 
And these new pictures of you help remind us all why we are doing this ..... They remind us that at the end of all the papers, time, stress, worry, fears, doubts, and money is this sweet little face of one of Gods most precious souls .....waiting ....

Waiting to know that he IS worth it all! 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

The reality is...

Lately I have been thinking a lot about the reality of what's going to be happening in our family in the next few months...

The reality is we will be adding a baby to our family and our babies are almost 4, we are finally out of the diaper phase and yet we are starting it over now. I had sold every baby item I owned (except one crib) and now we are starting over.

The reality is we don't have a car big enough to fit us all anymore

The reality is this adoption process is hard and draining , but having a 7th child, and a 3rd child with Down syndrome will also be hard. My life is going to get harder. 

Before we committed and we were praying for the answer to this question of whether or not we should adopt this little boy, I think we knew long before we realized it but we were hoping that along with our answer would come proof that it would be easy, 
but the reality is that's not how faith works.

Most of the time during this process I wish the paperwork and the waiting was not an issue and I could just jump on a plane and go scoop up my boy . a momma that is thousands of miles away from her boy and can't do anything about the care he is receiving while he waits is so hard. 

I wanted to pack my bags and be in a plane and scoop him up that instant. 

The reality is that so many children live in these circumstances and don't deserve to. 

As I looked at Mia last night in the backseat of the car singing her heart out to a song on the radio, and giggling, I cried.
I cried because she was living in these very circumstances and Her reality was weeks away from being something very different .

This decision we have made to adopt again , wasn't the easy choice, and 
doubts and questions arise both from within myself, as well as from others, wondering why we would do this when we already have our hands full? 


The reality is there is a child who needs more. 
A child who needs a reality that he deserves , 
A reality that includes more then crib walls  
A reality that gives him life. 

So as we walked into this office today to get our fingerprints for our USCIS approval 

I was filled with emotion to be checking off one more big step to changing baby brother's reality forever. 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

One step closer

The last few weeks has been stressful waiting for our home study to get finalized so when I saw the fed ex truck pull up I nearly knocked him over at the door ! 

In this fed ex envelope is one of the biggest pieces of the dossier, our home study . It means we are a big step closer to our boy! 

I immediately dropped everything and ran one copy of the home study to the post office to be overnighted to uscis (US immigration approval ) . The US approval is known as the "golden ticket" because it's the last document people are usually waiting for before their entire dossier can be submitted in country . 

The same day we got our home study in the mail, we received some horrible news about another little boy. Our cousins lost their 2 year old boy to cancer after just two months of the diagnosis . To say we are all heartbroken is an understatement .

As I woke up the next day I was so sad for them and my heart just hurt so much as I held my little ones tight. 

As the twins got ready for preschool they came running in and said they wanted to take Noah's picture for show and tell and my emotions got the best of me 

Thinking about  what this life is really all's about family. 
Our cousins little boy was blessed to have an amazing family for his short time here on earth and he will now get to be with that family for eternity. 

And as I ached and cried for this little boys family, I felt an added measure of meaning to what I was doing in this adoption journey 

Family is the reason we are working so hard to get to Noah, 
and why this pile of documents is precious cargo, 

because it will allow a child to have the love of a family ....forever

Every time I go to the capital I get emotional .... But this time I felt an added level of emotion and an increased testimony of family. 

This building is a symbol of freedom 
and knowing the documents I carry inside to be apostilled are literally passage for a little boys freedom, 
just brings tears and butterflies all at once. 

as I ran around to the capital collecting my documents ...(.23 of the needed documents were sent off today In hopes that the team in his country can begin translation now and then when the last pieces come in the next few weeks we can send those over and then it might make things go smoother and hopefully get a travel date sooner.)

And sending them on their way to Noah's country , I did it with tears in my eyes .... And with two little boys on my heart, one in heaven and one in a foreign country. It's about the love of a family. 

That's what it's all about .

In one of Elder L.Tom Perry's last LDS general conference addresss he said "let me close my bearing witness ...and my last 9 decades on earth fully qualify me to say this...that the older I get, the more I realize that FAMILY is the center of life and the key to ETERNAL happiness"

It's about family . 

Everyone deserves the blessing of a family. 

Baby Noah , you deserve a family 
And your family prays for you every night.
Your dad is praying for you to feel an added measure of love while you wait for us. 
Your sisters are praying that you are safe and protected .
Your mom is praying that you are healthy and warm. 

We are all praying for you to know your family is coming as fast as we can. 

Monday, January 11, 2016

It's a process

Everyone always asks questions about the paperwork process and when we will be going to get Noah and how it all works so here is the lowdown on the general process .

We officially committed to baby brother in  mid November but that really only matches you on this side of things. As far as his country is concerned you are not matched with him until your entire dossier  (that's what the entire paperwork packet is called ) is submitted to their government ....hence the urgency to get it all done ASAP .

Well ASAP is a very hurry up and wait term within adoption paperwork. There are times when I am able to move things along on my end and when I can I do so with extreme urgency , but there are also many other parts that require government officials, doctors, notaries, people at the capital to apostille , social workers and agency people to wait on. 

The dossier is compiled of lots of documents including info about home ownership, medical docs, passports, employment docs, lots of petitions to adopt, a home study , government approvals of different kinds , fingerprints , background checks, various forms that have to be completed very specifically and then notarized and reviewed and then each document is taken to the capital to be apostilled (basically a seal of approval and certification that costs money lol) 

So where are we in this "paper pregnancy "? 

We are done with the majority of the paperwork (awaiting approval to be apostilled ) and we are now done with the home study visits (the home study takes the longest to accomplish and is the keystone to the dossier) and are awaiting reviews and final draft of the home study . I am super anxious about this step because having the home should done is a huge piece of the puzzle! So my stress and anxiety level is high this week trying to await finalization . As soon as we have the final approved draft in hand, we send that to the US immigration approval (uscis) and we wait for what they call the "golden ticket" because once that approval comes through then the dossier can be completed and mailed to Noah's country for submittal . The golden ticket takes a few weeks to come back so we are still a month or so away from having the dossier complete. Once the documents are all ready to go, we take them to the capital here and get them apostilled (a big fee for that process ) and it takes them a few days to get them done. Then we will pick them up from the capital and mail them to his country . Once the country reviews and submits the dossier, then his file is matched to ours and they give us an appt date to come to their country and accept the referral for this child. That is our travel date! Usually the travel date is about 4-6 weeks from when the dossier is submitted but as with everything in this daunting paperwork , there is never a for sure timeline, so prayers help 😊😉.

Once we travel there are plenty more papers to deal with but the dossier is the big one because it gets us a travel date to meet our boy!!!!

We have run into some stressful hold ups and new unplanned fees the last few days so please pray things come together quickly and we can submit our dossier in the next month!

We just have to keep remembering that at the bottom of the work pile is a little boy counting on us to keep jumping the hurdles for him! 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Is this real?

Sometimes in this process you start to think, is this real? Is there really going to be a child at the end of all this?Are we making the right decision by doing this? Does he really exist outside of this one picture that I stare at over and over?

You want to just blink and have him in your arms but so much of the process takes time that is out of your control , So in an attempt to feel closer to him somehow, to feel like he is real, and to try and do something while you wait , you start making preparations for him here.

You begin thinking of ideas for rearranging the house by making preparations to clear out the office that will be his room,

You start buying an outfit or two (we have zero boy clothes in this house ha ha) while trying to guess how big he might be and what season you will actually get him in. Just knowing that this outfit will be his very own makes you cry because you know that he currently has nothing to call his own. The clothes he currently wears are not his own, but shared among many others 

You start thinking about what baby items, bottles and toys you need to prepare to take when you travel,

You talk about what you might name him,

And then you buy him his first baby blanket 
and you hold it to fulfill your need to hold 

All the while, continuing the piles of paperwork while waiting on government documents and getting more and more anxious.

And then, you receive tender mercies that whisper,YES this is real and YES you are on the exact path you are supposed to be on right now, so just keep pressing forward . 

Like I have said before, around every corner of doubt and worry comes claiety and peace. It may come through another random donation , or a sweet message of encouragement from a friend or even stranger who has become invested in this path, It quite often comes through a song that makes you burst into tears and each experience overwhelms you with the feeling "YES, this is real and YES you are right where you are supposed to be"

This voice spoke loudly the last week as we were blessed to receive a tiny bit of info on baby brother. I thought I was going to jump through the roof ! It was not much but when you know absolutely nothing, it feels huge and it definitely makes him feel real to know that someone you are in contact with has actually seen him!

(Unfortunately We are not allowed to share the info publicly until a later time though)

And then if that wasn't enough, you are miraculously blessed with two newborn pictures of him, given through means and threads that only God could orchestrate. (We can't share those publicly either so I will share the rest of that cool story later )

He is real, and he is waiting,

and each paper we complete is bigger then a document, its one step closer to his life beginning FOR REAL!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

His sisters

When I first came upon Noah's picture my heart stopped and I thought "wow he looks like he could be mine, he even looks like some of my other children's baby pictures. " 

I quickly pulled out Kyras baby book and found this picture of her that looked so much like Noah. And my heart felt another connection 

Years ago, after we had adopted Mia, Kyra would often ask us, or beg us ha ha, to adopt a baby brother with Down syndrome . We of course laughed and said "no way"! And told her that would be something she could do later in her life when she was having kids of her own because we were not going to be doing that ...... I guess we learned never to say never !
 Cause Kyra is getting that baby brother she prayed for years ago. And he even looks a lot like her in this one picture we have of him. 

Knowing that having siblings with Down syndrome will affect our other girls differently later in life we brought Kyra and Adrie into our decision making early on. They are older then they were with Mia and we wanted their input and feelings on this matter of adding another child with special needs to our family. They were part of our prayers and decision early on with baby B back in the spring and were devastated when that didn't work out. Kyra even left me a note when I was so upset about why that little boy wasn't able to be ours, it read "sometimes the lord will trust us to press forward with faith in him and press forward ." 
At the time , None of us knew that pressing forward in faith would lead us here. 
so when I saw Noah's picture I showed Kyra and asked her if she thought we were crazy to even consider such a thing? She didn't hesitate for one minute and just said "no it's not crazy, it's awesome! "

She quietly supported our decision making process while praying and finding her own answers to this decision. Any time I would tell her I just didn't know if we could move forward with it, she would remind me of how strongly I had felt about it and that I could not in good conscience walk away from those feelings , no matter how hard it was to move forward. She went to the temple with her friends one day and came home and told me she felt the spirit of the Lord very strongly there that day and that she knew this was the right thing for us to do. 
After we made the final desicion to committ to Noah we sat Kyra and Adrie down to tell them and she just started crying and said " from the first time I saw his picture I knew he was supposed to be my brother , "
And she patiently waited and prayed that we would feel it too and make the decision that she knew was right. 

Adrie had her own personal answers to Noah as well . She prayed on her own and One day while listening to a song she felt the spirit of the lord like she never had before when asking if this was something our family should do. 

Here are two girls who carry different responsibilities then most kids their ages  having the dynamics of two sisters with special needs , and instead of being resentful about that , they are proud and  they are enthusiastically on board with adding another . 

And although my littlest girls don't fully understand what all of this journey is about , nor do they even realize that Bree and Mia are different then any other sister, but they too jumped for joy when we told them we were going to bring this little boy into our family because he didn't have a mom and a dad, they even sleep with his picture awaiting the day they can shower him with love too. 

So much for my initial worries when Bree was born of how her diagnosis would affect her sisters ?

So if you ever worry about how a child with special needs might affect your children and your family....don't!
Bree and mia have taught, and continue to teach my other girls things I could never have taught them. 

Little did I know how incredibly influential for good this little girl would be on her siblings 

And that positive influence would lead to the immediate love and acceptance of this little girl who needed them

And now they are willing and excited to open their hearts to another sibling who needs them,

A little prince who has no idea how great it's going to feel to be loved by a bunch of princesses . 

A boy who thinks he is alone but really he has 6 older sisters praying he is safe until he can be in their arms forever.