Thursday, November 29, 2012

Our Story

So, I forgot to mention yesterday that I wrote a guest post on Tara's blog as well! 

It's all about our adoption story and likely has more details that I have ever written out on here. So, if you want to know more about how the buddy joined our family, you can read it over here at "Overwhelmed by Joy." :-)

Monday, November 26, 2012

A Guest Post from Tara at "Overwhelmed by Joy"

I haven't been nearly as good at blogging for "Adoption Awareness Month" as I was hoping I would. But, I've really enjoyed reading others who are more consistent than I am! One of these bloggers is Tara who blogs at Overwhelmed by Joy about their sweet baby girl adopted from Taiwan! I have really enjoyed reading about her and their story and I am honored to share the story of the first time they met Mary Alice! Enjoy! :-)

 Hello Waltzing in Galoshes readers! My name is Tara and I blog over at Overwhelmed by Joy. I am the blessed mommy of a precious girl named Mary Alice through international adoption from Taiwan. I wanted to share with you a little window into the story of our adoption. This is the day we met our daughter. Finally after almost 4 years of marriage, 3 failed adoptions and 1 miscarriage... I opened the door to the orphanage...or maybe Matthew did...I am not sure, it has been awhile... We walked through the door and I heard it slam behind me...a distinctive slam that I can still hear when I close my eyes and focus, the slap of wood against wood...the metal screen vibrating against the frame...the spring near the hinge springing back into place... The two men who came to pick us up slip in behind us but I am not worried about waiting on them...I have a baby to meet. I look around and see a room I have seen in countless first family photos; the couch, the piano, the pictures. The room is empty. For some reason I expected to meet her here so a little off balance I press on. Through the door into the kitchen/dining room. Everything is quiet, the babies are napping. Someone is sitting with their back toward me, they turn and there she is, I think. I think it is her but I question, she looks a little small...not quite like the pictures, she is pouring sweat. It is hot, isn't it? I wonder what I am supposed to do? Pick her up, study her face, remember this moment? Then I remember what a fellow adoptive mommy said, "Don't think about what you should do or what you are supposed to do. This is your daughter, don't pressure yourself to do anything in particular." All of these thoughts speed through my brain so quickly that I don't even register them until later in quiet moments once we arrive home. In a blur, she is in my arms.
She feels so fragile, so tiny and helpless. Not knowing quite what to do and starting to feel a little overwhelmed I hand her to Matthew. Yup, I get my baby and hand her off. She isn't looking at either one of us, in fact, she is looking at everything but us. Bev tells us, "She'll often ignore you in the beginning.." Good to know. (the only reason I know she says that is because I have it on video!) I watch Matthew awkwardly holding her and realize that he doesn't know what to do either and all the sudden the switch flips, "THIS IS MY BABY! GIVE HER BACK!" Thankfully I only yell that in my head but I swiftly take her back, hearing giggles around me as I start to reconnect with reality, there are at least 5 or 6 people sitting around watching this and one person filming it! Watching it back on the video, all I do is look at her and laugh kind of manically at everything everyone talking to us says. All I remember is thinking is, "is this real?" I snuggle her close and rock her for a little while and hand her back to Matthew so he can actually spend more than 30 seconds holding her and so that I can answer the increasing questions with some semblance of sanity. Shortly after I hand her off, Matthew gets the first smile. Mary Alice starts to get fussy (she is very late for her nap...they kept her awake to meet us) so someone kindly suggests that we head outside to rock her under the gazebo. Alicia thoughtfully took some pictures of us soaking in our first moments alone as a family of 3. This is the first time I allow myself to cry. The tears start jumping out of my eyes, down my face and right onto the face of my daughter. She is crying too so it doesn't really seem to bother her. I start to sing Christina Perri's song A Thousand Years, a song I had dreamed of one day singing to her, and she begins to quiet down. Her eyes and breathing begin to get heavy, as well as my tears. Matthew and I just keep looking at each other in wonder. We honestly had given of hope of ever arriving at this day. Alicia came out with lunch for us and Mary Alice perked up a little, just long enough to cry a little more and for us to sneak in a few pictures. What we didn't know is that one of the men who drove us up from Luo Dong was also adopted. He watched us snuggling Mary Alice from the kitchen and realized for the first time how much his parents loved him from the very second they met him. It was an emotional moment for everyone watching. Once Mary Alice fell asleep we brought her back into the kitchen/dining room and laid her down to take her nap. After we laid her down, Bev, one of the orphanage owners, suggested Alicia take us down to the lake nearby to get some ice cream burritos and to get some fresh air before Mary Alice woke back up. Ice Cream Burritos! I don't honestly remember much about that walk or the walk back. I don't think my feet ever touched the ground though. When we got back she was still asleep and this picture was taken:
I don't think I have ever been more full of joy. I was a mom.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

We have much to be thankful for this year! Just thinking back to a year ago... wow, what a difference a year makes! (Last year was rough as you can imagine.) What a miraculous and precious baby we are raising. However, no matter where you are in life and whatever you are going through, I hope you find these quotes meaningful. They sure to mean a lot to me, both currently and retrospectively. A friend shared them on facebook and they really hit home to me.

"Perhaps it takes a purer faith to praise God for unrealized blessings than for those we once enjoyed or those we enjoy now." -A.W. Tozer

"Those blessings are sweetest that are won with prayer and worn with thanks." Thomas Goodwin

Blessings to you wherever you are in life, whether a season of blessing or trial. May you feel God's love for you and be granted peace in your journey.

D, E & The Buddy

Thursday, November 15, 2012

6 Months!

So, I've been reading friends' blogs and they post monthly milestones for their babies. I don't know why it has taken me so long to catch on!

Weight & Length:Today was the buddy's 6 month check-up! He was 14 lbs 4 oz and 25in. He's still hanging out around the 10th percentile in both areas. So, it's good and normal that he's along the same growth curve, even though he's a little guy.

Sleeping: The buddy has been sleeping through the night since 12 weeks, so we're lucky! About a month ago we cut out the "dream feed," which was when we fed him after he went to bed for the night, but right before we went to bed, around 10pm. That has been SO nice!

I was kind of nerdy (but loving it) when I started moving his bedtime slightly later right before Daylight Savings, so when we gained that hour, he went to bed at 8:30pm and woke up at 7:30 and we didn't miss a beat! Wahoo!

This month he DID start rolling from back to belly in his swaddle, so he's been sleeping most of the night without a swaddle! (If he wakes between 6-7am we swaddle him and put him back to sleep and he usually sleeps until 7:30/8am.) It takes him a while to fall asleep for the night because he rolls around and talks to himself and plays with his lovey, but we think it's good for him to practice falling asleep on his own! It just takes about 10-20 minutes and is adorable to watch on the video monitor. :-)

I'm still trying to figure out a nap schedule for him. The problem is that his nap lengths are so inconsistent that it's hard to make them at the same time every day. I will like it when we get to this point. :) For now he takes 3-4 naps a day.

Eating: The buddy is still mostly fed from donated breastmilk. Our supply recently almost ran out, and when reaching out to potential donors we got such a big response! He (and we) are so blessed!
He also started solids! We're doing the Weston A Price method, which is good, but difficult as a working mom. It's kind of difficult for me to puree meats for him, etc.. I hope to get a chance to do this in bulk over Thanksgiving and Christmas break.

He started with egg yolk, but one time threw up his entire next bottle several hours later, so we haven't tried it again in over a week. But, he's doing GREAT with vegetables and a couple of fruits! He has been eating bananas, peas (I figured if we got him to eat those, he would then eat anything later on.. ha!), squash, sweet potatoes and now prunes! (And the prunes accomplished their intended purpose I might add... hehe).

Diapers: We still do cloth diapers except for the one day a week he's at dayschool/daycare or when I got to the bottom of the stack before doing laundry. We snapped up to the next level though, so they're bigger! He's still in Size 2 disposables.

Clothing: I think it's strange that onesies in the same size as other "outfits" seem so much smaller! He's mostly wearing 6 month and 3-6 month clothes, but some of the onesies of the same size are to small! So, I just did a large load of 9 month and 6-9 month onesies and other outfits I might start trying on him. :-)

Also, is there a difference between 6 month and 3-6month clothes? Is it based on weight? I'm still confused about this.

Personality: This kid has gotten SO happy, playful and interactive this month! He jabbers and laughs and is very ticklish. He is also very loud. Whether it's happy or upset sounds that he's making, for some reason he thinks he needs to shout. :-)

Milestones & Firsts: There are so many of these in his 6th month! Here's a list:
-Started making both a "b" and "g" sound.
-Plays around with his mouth and making mouth sounds, including blowing bubbles, making raspberries and sucking in his lower lip.
-Laughing at people making funny sounds and funny faces at him, and not just tickles- We just LOVE this guy's belly laugh!
-Rolls from back to belly now too
-Sits unassisted!
- Sleeps without a swaddle at night
-Started solid food (and therefore he now has formed turds in his diaper... hehe)
-He has started scooting himself in a circle when doing tummy time. He hasn't gotten onto all fours yet to start crawling, just scooting to get to more toys. :)

Prayer Request: I don't think most people include this, but I will! As of today the buddy has been with us for 6 months! This means that in our state any day after today his adoption can be finalized. Currently the adoption agency is legally his "parent" and we are his guardians. You can't imagine how much we want to change this so he's legally OURS! We are waiting for our lawyer to hear from the judge about what the date will be.

Not only do we want this to be soon just for our mental health, but also financial! If we finalize before the end of the year we will be eligible to get the Adoption Tax Credit. If not, we our out thousands of dollars we were counting on. It might seem easy to get a court date, but I've never done this before and there is only between 2-4 days a month that the court hears adoption cases so I'm getting anxious! Please pray that we are given a date soon and that all goes smoothly!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Called to Adopt?

Life is crazy right now. For various busy reasons (mostly being work) I've been away from the buddy for 10 hours both yesterday and today. :-( So, there are still bottles to wash and dinner to clean up from and it's practically my bedtime!

But, I still want to share a blog post that I read today and is meaningful to me. To be quite honest, I often think about how we'll build our family in the future. We always wanted 3-4 kids (and deep down I think I have always wanted more), so I wonder how we will build our family in the future and if/when we should start the adoption process again.

I truly want to take this time to just enjoy the buddy and his sweet, sweet, smiling and laughing self. :-) But, that doesn't meant that I don't wonder what the future holds for us and wonder if the next step for us would be domestic, international or foster adoption. This blog post I read today is all about discerning whether or not you may be called to adoption and I know I will refer back to it when decision time comes again. Whenever that might be.

Also, guess who turned 6 months old YESTERDAY!! AH! Time is flying!

Monday, November 12, 2012

More on Adoption Awareness Month!

I've been wanting to post about "National Adoption Month" this whole month! But, sadly I've pretty much been sick for the past month or so. BUT, I'm finally feeling better and wanted to offer some information and resources about adoption.

Here is some information about how you and your family can take part in adoption and orphan care, even without adopting a child. -

Wonderful website- "I Care about Orphans"

Also, here's something important for everyone to know. I can't tell you how many stories I've recently heard about families that have adopted, but also have their "own" children. I know these people are well-intentioned, so I can't blame them, but it does hurt my feelings a bit. As if the buddy isn't "my own" just because we don't share the same genetics? :/ Again, I'm not mad at these people and know they just have never been told correct adoption language. So, here's a link to the appropriate terms to use when talking about adoption!

That's all for today. More to come (hopefully)!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Today is Orphan Sunday!

Today is Orphan Sunday! I don't feel like the buddy is or ever was ever an orphan as he was carried by a loving mother who chose an adoption plan for him because she believed it to be the best for him. And he's been loved by us from the moment we found out about him!

But as an advocate for adoption, I can't go without mentioning the significance of today. As Christians, God has called us to take care of the widows and orphans and there is SO much more we can all do to help the plight of the 150 million orphans worldwide. Whether it's by supporting those who choose to adopt children without parents, adoption a child yourself, supporting organizations that help orphans, etc. the possibilities are endless!

I know I've been convicted today about my selfishness and focusing on my own comfort instead of on those in need. I sure need days like today to remind me that the world is a WHOLE LOT bigger than me and what's going on in my own life. So, please consider what you can do to help an orphan today, and really any day of the year! :-)