Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Coloring...not too sure


Isn't Elijah the cutest? I can't wait to cuddle him.

Voice of God

Elijah's passport photo

I wanted to write about something before I forget. It happened on Christmas morning.
Our family decided last minute on Christmas eve to spend the evening and overnight to Christmas day with my parents. The snow was coming down really heavy and the roads around here were terrible. The forecast was not great, but we didn't want to miss seeing my sister and parents. We decided instead of driving home late that night, to just pack everything up and plan a sleep over. Jeremiah and I ended up sleeping in the living room on an air mattress. I was having a hard time sleeping but had taken some NyQuil so it helped with my cold symptoms. I was dreaming about something having to do with Elijah, and I heard a very clear, loud voice say to me "ELIJAH WILL BE HOME SOON!". I woke up instantly and decided to pray. I wasn't able to fall back to sleep, so I stayed up and waited for everyone else to wake up.

Every day I go through doubt. I read things online; people waiting an obnoxiously long time for their children, in whatever stage of the process we are in. I hear of children's visa's being denied, of children dying or getting very sick in Haiti, I read about kids who are home and not adjusting well, and of families dissolving their adoptions. I believe that we are amidst a serious spiritual battle. We can not let the enemy win. I believe we must give this all over to God, and I certainly know all this waiting has taught me patience I have never had before. I try so hard to give this all over to God. I still doubt, worry and fret. I am sorry, it is so hard to not let my human nature (sin) take over. I pray again asking forgiveness for worrying and not having faith. I go back and forth with feelings of joy we are moving ahead, to feelings of fear and worry about what is to come. To tell you the truth, I think this is the hardest part of this whole adoption. Elijah is legally our son, and we are only waiting for a visa. Everything lies in the hands of the US Embassy. I've had adoptive parents tell me that once he is home, all of this will seem like a dream. Kinda like when you are expecting a baby, you count down impatiently for that baby to come into the world. When it finally arrives, the days of pregnancy is a blur.

Yesterday I sent out an email to the pastors of our newer church. Here is what I wrote...

Prayer request from the Smith Family.
Happy New Year! As you may know, our family has been waiting for our adopted son in Haiti for a year and a half. He is in the final stages and should be coming home very soon. We got word today that he is having an interview on Jan 14th to determine his orphan status. This is needed to receive a visa. He will then have a visa appointment and be able to come home. Please pray for this important step. Lately the US gov. has been very strict during this stage and have denied children their visas to be able to come home to their adoptive families. Elijah is 2 and 1/2 and was abandoned at a hospital in Northern Haiti when he was 8 months old. He really needs a family and is legally our son. We pray daily for him to come home soon. Thanks so much for your needed prayers and support! Feel free to pass this prayer request on to others as well.
Blessings to you,
Kimberly

The assistant pastor replied today with a nice email, copying it to about 20 elders and deacons. I am so happy to know we are covered in prayer. I feel encouraged.

HAPPY NEW YEAR! 2009 will bring a lot of changes to our family, I know it will be GREAT and BLESSED. I am going to trust that I heard God's voice on Christmas morn, Elijah will be home soon!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Another tooth


Samuel now has almost 5 teeth. He is slobbering like crazy. For several days now he begins his day by giving us a big wet open mouthed kiss on our cheeks. Too cute!

Birth Parent Interview

We got an email from PAP adoptions, and Elijah has a birth parent interview scheduled for Jan. 14! I am getting so excited but am also very nervous. Please please pray for Elijah and this interview. I am trying not to read all the negative things online, but there have still been children denied. This is the interview that proves to the US gov that Elijah is an orphan. There shouldn't be a problem since he was found abandoned at the hospital, unless the gov. decided they don't believe the papers. Oh, my heart! He could be home by the end of January! Getting things in order, finishing up his room, packing some things and getting clothes put away. Jeremiah's work is sending him to AZ the 19-23rd, so I hope the timing works out.
Thanks for your prayers and support everyone. Please let me know how I can pray for you.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Another baby...

Don't worry Mom, this is just temporary. Sarah, my friend and coordinator of MAT is going to Texas to help with a baby who has spina bifida. She is hosting a baby, Alfrelina, just ten days younger than Samuel. She is scheduled to return to Haiti to her mama on the 16th of Jan. Since Sarah will be leaving most of her kids at home, she is allowing us to help care for Lena while Sarah is gone, until Lena leaves for Haiti. I am excited to have another baby, Lena knows us pretty well and is super cuddly! Samuel likes her too, so it should be fun!

Birthday parties are being planned. Samuel turns 1 next week! I can't believe it. We will just have a small amount of people here for cake. I bet he will love it.

Christmas was wonderful. We ended up staying at my mom and dads for Christmas eve and day. We got a lot of snow, and we didn't want to be driving home Christmas eve on the bad roads. Samuel and my mom are forming a good bond, and she took him and Cori for two nights last week. He did great! Samuel's favorite gift was a xylophone/piano from my parents. He loves to bang on it and hear himself make beautiful music! We got him a police car, and some giant soft lego blocks. He liked to eat the paper, and didn't get the unwrapping idea, but I'm sure by next year he will be a pro!

We had a Christmas celebration service at church today since last week was cancelled due to weather. It was very moving and lovely. I was brought to tears several times thinking about how our Lord and Saviour came to earth for me and you. Merry Christmas everyone!!!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from our family. We wish you peace and happiness this blessed day!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Samuel's letter from Santa

Dear Santa Claus,

My name is Samuel. I am a boy and this is going to be my very first Christmas!! I live in the great city of XXXX. Of course, that's in XXXX, United States, but I'll bet you knew that!! This year I've been so good that I should be the angel on top of the tree!
Santa Claus, some things I might like for Christmas this year are: wagon; baby drum set; and, ball.

Santa Claus, I almost forgot to say... This is my first Christmas and I would like you to come to my house. I have been a very good baby although I have been sick. I have had 2 surgeries already. I hope you have a merry Christmas.
Love, Samuel

Santa's reply:

Friday, December 19, 2008

Merrrryyyy Christmas Samuel!!
Thank you for sending me your email all the way from XXXX! The Net sure is wonderful because now I can get emails from Bellingham and around the world in the blink of an eye. Even Rudolph gets emails... from pets! Why, here's Rudolph right now! HO!! Ho!! ho!! He just asked me to say 'Hi!' to you!

Did you know that the Northern Lights were shining particularly brightly when you were born Samuel? (I just happened to notice how brilliant they were that day). But I'll bet that your very first Christmas is going to be even brighter for everyone in your family now that there's a special little boy here to enjoy it with them! I also hear you've been a REALLY REALLY good baby boy. I know Mrs. Claus was really excited when she added your name to the Nice List for the very first time.

Let's see what you put in your letter for Christmas wishes: 1. wagon; 2. baby drum set and; 3. ball. HO!! Ho!! ho!! Those ARE good presents Samuel! We've been so very busy this year that I hope you won't be too upset with me if you don't get everything you want for Christmas.
Well, I better go feed the reindeer and polish Rudolph's nose with nose wax. Have to make sure everything's ready for the big day! Take care Samuel -- I'm really looking forward to seeing you in person for the first time this Christmas Eve. That's only 6 sleeps away (not including naps of course)!!
Wishing You A Very Merry First Christmas!
Santa

P.S. Why thank you for the wonderful hugs & kisses Samuel! Here are some extra special hugs and kisses just for you from everyone at the North Pole!

L's letter to Santa

Dear Santa Claus,
My name is L. I am a boy and I am already 11 years old!! I live in the great city of XXXX. Of course, that's in XXXX, United States, but I'll bet you knew that!! This year I've been so good that my halo is just a teensy weensy bit crooked!
Santa Claus, some things I might like for Christmas this year are:- Eldest, the Eragon book 2;- star wars action figure obi-wan kenobi the new one; and,- star wars action figure clone trooper the new one.
Santa Claus, I almost forgot to say... It must be cold up the in the north pole. How are the reindeer doing?
Love, L

Santa's reply:

Thursday, December 18, 2008
Merry Christmas L!
Thank you for sending me your email all the way from XXXX! HO!! Ho!! ho!! We get wonderful Christmas emails from boys and girls around the world but everyone at the North Pole sure gets excited when we get one from you L!

Jumping Jingle Bells, L, I can't believe you're 11 years old already! You're getting to be quite a big boy! I'm really glad you still wrote me though because I'm sure some of your friends have said things about me. Of course, I'll bet they never got a magic letter like this directly from Santa Claus himself! (*wink*) I also hear you've been a really good boy. (Of course, you won't mind if I do a little checking, will you? HO!! Ho!! ho!!). I'm glad you mentioned the reindeer because they're all outside playing reindeer games right now. Did you know you can even vote for which reindeer will guide my sleigh this Christmas?

Let's see what your wishes are: 1. eldest, the eragon book 2; 2. star wars action figure obi-wan kenobi the new one and; 3. star wars action figure clone trooper the new one. I think that's wonderful that you are interested in books. I love them too! Of course, the only book I ever seem to have time for is my BIG, BIG book of who's been Naughty & Nice. HO!! Ho!! ho!! Ah, the force is strong in you young L! Already know you that which you need. But beware of the dark side. Young Jedi, Elf Vader telling me that my father he is. But watching my favourite movies again has he been! Ho! Ho! Ho!

Oh yes, before I forget L, the elves really want you to visit my new blog! It is called Santa Claus' Christmas Blog. My blog is all about Christmas, life at the North Pole, and me, Santa Claus ! You can even write messages to me and see what others have written. I can hardly wait to see what you write!

Well, it's time for Santa Claus to go do his chimney exercises. Up! Down! Up! Down! Have to be in tip-top shape for the big night! Take care L and don't forget to come back and visit me here at EmailSanta.com on Christmas Eve!! And remember... only 7 more sleeps until Christmas!!
Wishing you a very Merry Christmas,
Santa

Letter from C

Dear Santa Claus,
My name is C. I am a girl and I am already 10 years old!! I live in the great city of XXXX. Of course, that's in XXXX, United States, but I'll bet you knew that!! This year I've been so good that I should really be on the 'Nice' List!!
Santa Claus, some things I might like for Christmas this year are:- nintendo DS, a blue one;- DS game: Spore; and,- DS game: nintendogs chihuahua.
Santa Claus, I almost forgot to say... i hope that rudolphs nose is bright and still as shiny as ever and is still red (NOT blue.)i hope you don't crash and i hope you have a succesful christmas. and i hope the elves don't get blisters and please let them have cookie breaks every once and a while.
Love, C

Santa's reply:

Friday, December 19, 2008

Merrrryyyy Christmas C!!
Thank you for sending me your email all the way from XXXX! I sure do love the Net because now I never feel lonely all the way up at the North Pole. An email from you, C, really makes my day!

Jumping Jingle Bells, C, I can't believe you're 10 years old already! You're getting to be quite a big girl! I'm really glad you still wrote me though because I'm sure some of your friends have said things about me. Of course, I'll bet they never got a magic letter like this directly from Santa Claus himself! (*wink*) I also hear you've been a good girl. (Of course, you won't mind if I do a little checking, will you? HO!! Ho!! ho!!). By the way, Rudolph came running when I told him that you mentioned him in your email! The elves are tickled you asked about them in your letter! They're all very happy and busy making presents right now. Of course, that's when they're not jumping into the present wrapping machine or telling silly jokes and singing songs!

Let's see what you put in your letter for Christmas wishes: 1. nintendo ds, a blue one; 2. ds game: spore and; 3. ds game: nintendogs chihuahua. Can I tell you a little secret? I love playing games on my Nintendo -- reindeer games that is! HO!! Ho!! ho!! They are a lot of fun aren't they! I guess that's why so many good little boys and girls asked for the same thing as you! I just wish there was room in my sleigh to give everyone one.

Oh yes, before I forget C, the elves really want you to visit my new blog! It is called Santa Claus' Christmas Blog. My blog is all about Christmas, life at the North Pole, and me, Santa Claus ! You can even write messages to me and see what others have written. I can hardly wait to see what you write!

Oops! I guess I shouldn't have had that last cookie because a button just popped right off my suit. I better go see if Mrs. Claus has any thread left! ho!! Ho!! HO!! Take care C and don't forget to come back and visit me here at EmailSanta.com on Christmas Eve!! And remember... only 6 more sleeps until Christmas!!
Love You Forever and Always,
Santa

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Letters to Santa


The kids emailed Santa this year on a site called http://www.emailsanta.com/
Dear Santa Claus,
My name is K. I am a girl and I am already 5 years old!! I live in the great city of XXXX. Of course, that's in XXXX, United States, but I'll bet you knew that!! This year I've been so good that I should be the angel on top of the tree!
Santa Claus, some things I might like for Christmas this year are:- my little pony;- mermaid barbie; and,- teddy bear.
Santa Claus, I almost forgot to say... I can't wait until Christmas. I want to give you some cookies and milk. I hope you are having a good time with the elves and hope they are good. Please help bring my brother home from Haiti too.
Love, K

Santa's response...
#1, Rudolph Way
North Pole, Canada
HO HO HO

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Merrrryyyy Christmas K!!
Thank you for sending me your email all the way from XXXX! The Net sure is wonderful because now I never feel lonely all the way up at the North Pole. I can get those wonderful Christmas emails any time of the year now, but it's always special when I get one from you, K.

Well bless my whiskers, K! I still remember bringing you your very first Christmas present and here you are 5 years old already! I hope you are getting excited about Christmas because I am really looking forward to visiting your home! Rudolph said he's really excited about visiting your home too! I also hear you've been a REALLY REALLY good girl. (Of course, you won't mind if I do a little checking, will you? HO!! Ho!! ho!!).

Cookies? COOKIES?!? Did you say cookies?! Yum!! You know, I get asked a lot what kind of cookies I like best. Of course, I love *all* kinds of cookies, but what I like the most is when you leave me the kind of treats that *you* like best. (That way it's like we're sharing them!).
The elves are tickled you asked about them in your letter! They're all very happy and busy making presents right now. Of course, that's when they're not jumping into the present wrapping machine or telling silly jokes and singing songs!

Let's see what you put in your letter for Christmas wishes: 1. my little pony; 2. mermaid barbie and; 3. teddy bear. HO!! Ho!! ho!! Mrs. Claus will be tickled to hear you like Barbie stuff as much as she does! She loves helping the elves make all the wonderful Barbie things. And I see you have some other great ideas on your Wish List. I guess you know there's only so much room in the sleigh though so I hope you won't be too upset with me if I can't bring you everything you asked for.

Oh yes, and please say "Hi!" to your brother for me! I always look forward to the elves' "Naughty & Nice" reports about your brother because they are always so very interesting to read! The elves even told me that they made something special for him already!

Oh yes, before I forget K, the elves really want you to visit my new blog! It is called Santa Claus' Christmas Blog. My blog is all about Christmas, life at the North Pole, and me, Santa Claus ! You can even write messages to me and see what others have written. I can hardly wait to see what you write!

Well, I better go feed the reindeer and polish Rudolph's nose with nose wax. Have to make sure everything's ready for the big day! Take care K and don't forget to come back and visit me here at EmailSanta.com on Christmas Eve!! And remember... only 7 more sleeps until Christmas!!
All My Love,
Santa

P.S. YUM! Those sure were some tasty goodies you sent me in your letter! I hope its okay that I shared them with everyone here. You should see how fast they disappeared! Oh, wait! You CAN! HO!! Ho!! ho!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Our Christmas Letter

We have had an extremely busy year. We are thankful for all we have and the health and happiness of everyone in the Smith home. We’ve had a lot of great changes, and would love to share with you what has been happening in our lives.

We have changed our place of worship and are now attending Faith Community Church. It is very close to our home and the kids are making new friends and are having fun going to AWANA. Kim helped with the Christmas play this year, and Jeremiah is hoping to join the worship team at the beginning of 2009.

Jeremiah is employed at the xxx; this is his 9th year now. He is on his 3rd year as a bicycle patrol officer. He loves being on a bike, giving him a different view of the city and allowing him to interact more with people. He is also busy with the SWAT team and the honor guard. He is involved with many other projects as well. He received a letter of commendation from the Chief for his work at breaking up a burglary and fencing operation in the area this year.

Kimberly is still a stay at home mom and is homeschooling the kids. She volunteers for an organization for the Medical Advocacy Team. www.medicaladvocacyteam.blogspot.com Her role is to find host families for international children who are ill and need to come to the U.S for surgery. It is a rewarding job to help children in this way. She enjoys working outside, gardening, playing with the kids and going on fun day trips with the family.

Jeremiah and Kimberly went to Haiti last spring to volunteer at Children of the Promise, the orphanage where Elijah is staying. They spent Easter there while Mickey, Jeremiah’s mom, was able to stay in our home with the kids. We also celebrated Elijah’s birthday early while we were there. Before we left home for our trip, we heard of a baby boy named Jean-Alex who needed brain surgery. The timing worked out perfectly for us to bring him home with us and care for him. Kim took him to Sacramento, CA twice for his two life saving surgeries that were donated by the surgeon and Sutter Memorial Hospital. He is doing well and receiving therapy in our home.

Loren will be 12 years old in March and is growing fast! He enjoyed playing soccer again this fall. He loves to read, play with legos, and is even writing a book! He’s a very smart young man. He is in sixth grade.

Corinn is 10 and is tall and thin. She loves art, animals, making people laugh, singing and helping in the kitchen. She’s compassionate and caring. She likes to play outside, and cuddle on the couch watching movies. She’s in forth grade.

Kylie is almost 6. She is a funny, sweet little girl. She loves to cuddle and loves her daddy. She loves singing, dancing, coloring, and everything most six-year-old girls like. She still only wants to wear dresses! She is in Kindergarten this year.

Elijah is our little 2 1/2 year old boy in Haiti. We have been working on his adoption for about 17 months now. He is legally our son, with the Smith last name. We are waiting for the last few steps before he can come home. He is a happy, cuddly, sweet boy. We can’t wait until he can come live with us.

We were blessed with an adoption shower by friends and were given some needed little boy things for Elijah. It was a wonderful way to celebrate adoption and the beautiful children God has brought to us.

We have had very cold weather these last few weeks. We experienced frozen pipes this morning for the first time we have lived here (4 years). Thankfully there was no damage. We still live in the country, on our 5 acres. We have been working hard around the place and have been remodeling our studio. Loren decided he wanted to move his bedroom out there so now he is living in that building, about 20 feet from our back door. He loves his bit of freedom, and it opened up his room for Elijah. We worked on painting and decorating it making it ready for Elijah. Hopefully he will be home soon!

We hope you and yours have a very Merry Christmas and wonderful New Year. May God bless you!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

MRI date

We have an appointment set for Samuel's MRI and shunt series. On New Year's Eve. I hope we get done at a reasonable time so we can get home and enjoy the holiday. Or... maybe we should stay overnight in Seattle? Hmmm.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Medical Appointment

Elijah had his medical appointment today. I haven't really heard the details, except they now require a TB test. I thought I had read this somewhere online. I guess COTP were surprised by this, and now Elijah and the other little boy will have to fly back to the doctors office in three days to get their injection site checked out. He will also have to fly to PAP for his birth parent interview, whenever that gets scheduled. Please pray that it does get scheduled soon. By the time Elijah is ready to come home, he will be a pro at flying on the "avion".

Another adoptive parent sent a nice report to us. She was there picking up their daughter. I am so grateful to know that Elijah is doing ok. She wrote this:

Very boy! He's maybe a little less verbally oriented than other kids might be, meaning he tends to act more than speak to communicate something. He also doesn't respond to verbal commands as well as others. I have to get down on their level and get them to look at my face to get their attention. He got really focused on something and would not be redirected by the sound of my voice calling his name alone. Only when I physically refocused him was it effective. Just something to think about ahead of time so you can prepare yourself. Elijah is very cute and it was fun to hang out with him. I know it seems like the end of the process is agonizingly long and then all of a sudden he'll be home in an instant!
Thank you so much Heidi!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Interesting Chiari info

Interesting posts on the Chiari yahoo group I'm on....

I found out in Sept that my daughter had 11mm. Her symptoms were getting worse and she had surgery Nov. 5, 2008.Two weeks later my middle child was diagnosed with 5mm.A month later my youngest son (10 yrs old) was diagnosed with 15mm.I am so desperate and dont understand what's going on. I haven't decided whether or not the other 2 should have the surgery but I am scared for them.I will definetly not let them suffer as bad as A. did.

Yes, my son was diagnosed with a 10mm herniation and syrinx, and had surgery in 6/08. My daughter was diagnosed with a 5mm herniation, and just had surgery on 12/8/08. They are my only two children. I've come across several other families now where more than one person in the family has been diagnosed.

Monday, monday

I missed boot camp today. I was up for several hours with a gall bladder attack. Problems with gall bladders run in my family. I got a Christmas letter from my cousin. She has older kids, and 2 of her girls had to have their GB's removed last summer. I know my time is coming but I have been puting off going to the doctor. I really don't want surgery. I just keep thinking that maybe if I am careful what I eat, I will be fine.

We mailed off the paperwork on Saturday and hoping it is delivered by Wednesday. Still no word on a birth parent interview. The medical appointment is tomorrow!

It is bitter cold here, and the house feels like it just won't warm up!

The advent candle lighting went very well and the kids were angels. I was nervous about speaking in front of everyone, but thankfully am gaining more experience since our trips to Haiti and sharing with the church. I made Jeremiah read the long portion of the script!

I'm not done with Christmas shopping, but we are getting closer. I am really laid back about it this year, but I feel like I should be running around. I haven't been to the mall since before Thanksgiving! The kids made some cookies last night and I will have them bring some to the neighbors today.

Stay warm everyone!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Random pics

Samuel at the hospital before his CT scan (and no food or drink for six hours, can you believe it?)
Jeremiah and Samuel
Sammy's new trick during lunch time (kids took the photo)
Grandma Nancy and Samuel
Samuel and Kylie at the playground at the Children's Museum
We did it! I was up past midnight working on all the paperwork, but it is done, and with Jeremiah. He is working overtime today, but during his break he will be taking it to Fed Ex.



We were expecting a huge snow storm to blow in yesterday, and it hasn't happened yet. I even went to the grocery store and stocked up, $280! That is the most I have ever spent at the grocery store (not counting Costco). I did buy a gift card for a gift for someone too. So we are fully prepared for anything. Maybe it will start snowing today. I would love it if it snowed, and then melted on Monday when we have to drive around and run errands.



We were asked to light the advent candle at our new church. This was quite an honor, considering we have only been attending for 4 months or so. We will go up, read some scripture, and light the candle. The kids will come up too, so hopefully they will be on good behavior. They did really well at the Christmas play. Loren had a speaking part and did great. Corinn was part of the stage crew and her and Kylie were in the choir. It is always so fun to watch programs like this, because you never know what the kids will do. During the 3 and 4 year old performance, a group of boys got into a brawl, resulting in one boy having to sit with the girls. Too funny! It brought back memories of Corinn chucking her Christmas bells into the audience and hitting the pastor's wife in the head!

Friday, December 12, 2008

More paperwork

I got an email from our lawyers in Haiti. They need us to get some more paperwork to them to complete his visa application. Thankfully the needed things are easy to get, the problem is we are out of ink on our printer...again! So, we need to go buy more cartridges, write a letter (still waiting to hear if it needs to be notarized or translated) and Jeremiah has to find his pay check stubs to mail in. We also need to fill out a few immigration forms. I am thinking we can get it done and Fed-Ex'd to Haiti tomorrow. It is quite expensive to send there, so I am bummed that we have to do this, considering we sent paperwork for his visa in Sept. too! Oh well, anything to bring him HOME! Please pray this won't slow things up. We are hopeful he will be home in January. Please let it be so!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Terrific news...

Elijah has his passport!! He goes for his medical on Tuesday.

I am so glad things are continuing to move. PLEASE continue to pray him home. It is getting closer now. Praise God. He will need to have his birth parent interview and then his visa appointment. I know things slow down during the holidays, but I have faith it will happen when the timing is perfect.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Back from Children's hospital

We had a long day at Children's.  Samuel had a CT scan and met with the neurosurgeon and plastic surgeon.  The neurosurgeon said an MRI should have been done today too, but after the fact.  So we have to come in again.  He said things look good, but can't tell for sure without the MRI.  He printed off some cool 3D pictures of Sammy's skull.  

The plastic surgeon thinks Sammy should have surgery in a few years, at age 3 or 4.  He will remove the artificial bone in his encephalocele site, and will take his real bone and construct part of his eye socket and nasal bridge.  Amazing!  He said he most likely will only need one surgery, and this will make his eyes look more uniform too.  

Samuel is tired, and is sleeping in his crib.  He did great, with no food until 11, and lack of sleep all day.  I am so glad he is a good boy!


Saturday, December 6, 2008

This weekend

Please pray that we will receive more good news very soon. Elijah's passport photos were supposed to be delivered to PAP last Monday. I am not sure how long it typically takes for a passport to be made. I don't know what is going on with the whole birth parent interview. Elijah can't have his medical appointment until he has his passport. I am feeling a bit overwhelmed, depressed, and worried. Pray for me and all of our health here as we are all sick with a cold.

I had another dream, this time very sad and tearful. In my dream I was told that Elijah had died. I was crying and so upset. Then I found out that Elijah was OK, but another child at COTP had died. So I was relieved, but felt enormous guilt that someone else was experiencing such horrible pain. I did dream that Elijah had a huge infected sore on his back, near his bottom. All of a sudden I woke up and felt like I just had to pray. I prayed for Elijah, for his health and well being. I prayed for all the kids living at COTP. I prayed for angels to surround the gates there and protect everyone inside. I prayed for adoptions to move. Praise the Lord that IS happening. Three kids are coming come very soon!!!

During Christmas time it is so hard for me to celebrate lately. It is hard to know of families struggling so hard during this hard economical time. This morning Jeremiah is in town doing Shop with A Cop. He does this every year, and every year I eagerly wait to here his report when he comes home. He usually has a great story to tell about the kids he shared his morning with. He is paired up with one or two kids, and takes them around Walmart to help them choose some gifts for the themselves and their family. They also pick out new winter coats and boots. The policemen and kids enjoy a nice breakfast together too.

Sorry for this random mix of emotions! Hope you all have a good weekend. The kids have their Christmas play rehearsal today and tomorrow is the big performance!

Friday, December 5, 2008

EEG

Samuel and Loren in October...

We went to the hospital yesterday for Samuel's EEG. We had to wake him up two hours before his normal waking time, so 6 am. He was wondering what I was doing to him! We were able to give him food and drinks like normal so that was good. The drive (about an hour and a half) was really hard. He kept trying to dose off and we would all do everything we could to get him to wake up.

The kids and Jeremiah dropped us off and went to play at the Children's Museum. Samuel and I went to the room with the tech. and she wrapped him up with some blankets like a burrito. She showed me how to hold him still with my body lying across him and my hands holding his cheeks. He did so well and didn't fuss at all. He liked to be able to watch tv! Then she applied 30 electrodes to his head and a few to his neck and shoulder. She did a few easy tests and then wanted him to fall asleep. This was the tricky part. Samuel is not a baby that likes to be rocked to sleep much. He just jumps and wiggles and moves around trying to stay awake. So I made him a bottle and sat on the rocking chair to give it to him. He started to babble and clap his hands, and touch the equipment. It took 20 minutes to get him to drift off. I thought that was pretty good, but the tech was not impressed! He also had a terrible cough which made it hard for him to stay asleep. So after a while she woke him up, took of the electrodes and washed his head down. She said she is not sure how the results will be with the sleeping test. She said he must not have been very sleep deprived. I assured her he was, it's just he is a sleep fighter!!! If we were at home and he was in his crib he would have been just fine!
So we have to come in to get our results when we meet with Dr. E. at the end of the month. Unless something is wrong, then they will call. I have a feeling everything is fine though.

Monday is the scheduled CT scan. PLEASE pray that his cold and cough go away over the weekend or we will have reschedule the appointments AGAIN!

Sunday, November 30, 2008



This is Faith.  This dog was born on Christmas Eve in the year 2002. He was born with 3 legs - 2 healthy hind legs and 1 abnormal front leg which need to be amputated. He of course could not walk when he was born. Even his mother did not want him.

His first owner also did not think that he could survive. Therefore, he was thinking of "putting him to sleep". By this time, his present owner, Jude Stringfellow, met him and wanted to take care of him. She was determined to teach and train this dog to walk by himself. Therefore she named him 'Faith'.

In the beginning, she put Faith on a surfing board to let him feel the movements. Later she used peanut butter on a spoon as a lure and reward for him to stand up and jump around. The other dog at home also helped to encourage him to walk. Amazingly, only after 6 months, like a miracle, Faith learned to balance on his 2 hind legs and jumped to move forward. After further training in the snow, he now can walk like a human being.  Faith loves to walk around now. No matter where he goes, he just attracts people around him. 

He is now becoming famous on the international scene. He has appeared on various newspapers and TV shows. There is even one book entitled 'With a little faith' being published about him. He was even considered to appear in one of Harry Potter movies.

His present owner Jude Stringfellew has given up her teaching post and plans to take him around the world to preach that 'even without a perfect body, one can have a perfect soul'.
In life there are always undesirable things. Perhaps one will feel better if one changes their point of view.

I hope this message will bring fresh new ways of thinking and that everyone can appreciate and be thankful for each beautiful day that follows.
Faith is the continual demonstration of the Strength of Life

Saturday, November 29, 2008

So Thankful

I am so thankful that Samuel is here with us. I am thankful that he is pretty healthy, and that he hasn't had any really issues with his development or his shunt. I am thankful that he is part of our family and that he fits in so well!

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. We went to my mom and dad's house and had a great day. Samuel had fun playing with toys, getting into things and rolling around on his riding toy. He missed the big Thankgiving meal though, slept right through it! He enjoyed some stuffing, sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes and gravy with a little bit of pumpkin pie when he woke up.

Lucky Duck

I don't believe in luck. I know that everything that happens only happens because of God. I did think it was funny however that I had the most strangest, real dream last night. I will not go into many details because it was so strange and disturbing, but it had to do with DUCKS. Weird, I know. So when I called Sarah this morning, I shared the crazy dream with her. She googled "dreaming of ducks" and here is what she found:

To dream of seeing wild ducks on a clear stream of water, signifies fortunate journeys, perhaps across the sea. White ducks around a farm, indicate thrift and a fine harvest.To hunt ducks, could denote displacement in employment in the carrying out of plans.To see them shot, signifies that enemies are meddling with your private affairs.To see them flying, foretells a brighter future for you. It also could denote marriage, and children in the new home.

So, I am not sure which one most likely matched my dream, but I am interpreting that my dream meant good fortune, journeys and a bright future! I am a lucky duck and here is why...

WE ARE OUT OF MOI!!! I got the email this morning. I am so happy to get the news. Now hopefully we can get through the rest of the process quickly. I am still concerned about the visa problem going on in Haiti. PLEASE join us in prayer for all the kids waiting to come home. Pray for the families that have waited so patiently for them. Pray for Elijah and his well being and health, and that he will be able to come home to us soon.

Bless you all~ happy late Thanksgiving. I am so thankful for my family and this great news!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Standing on his own

Almost...Samuel is getting braver and it standing all by himself for about 10 seconds at a time! I can't believe how big and independent he is getting. He did wake up early and I brought him into bed with me for some lovely snuggle time this morning. I love that!

The speach therapist came and we discussed our plan and goals for Samuel. We want to work on him imitating sounds, waving, signing a few words (but not overwhelm him) and communicate when he wants something or "up". I really like the therapist, and by the way, my pre-teen son thinks she is "hot". I just about fell over when I heard that and we had a talk about how that is not a nice way to describe women. Especially when they are about 20 years older than him!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The funniest thing




Samuel has been making the funniest faces lately. His newest one is his scowl. He did it the first time the other day when I told him no about something. He looked at me with this face....I laughed so hard I about fell over! He thought it was so funny too. Now he thinks it is just fun to do this and will almost make his scowl on demand!




The other thing he is doing is biting his four teeth together to make a grinding sound. It makes Jeremiah cringe, and I worry he is damaging his teeth. He likes to make this sound, and when you react he laughs! I wonder if it feels good on his mouth?



Saturday, November 22, 2008

Weekend update

We got a call from Children's Hospital about setting up an EEG for Sammy. He has to go to an appointment on Dec. 4 for several hours. He will be sleep deprived for it, and they want him to fall asleep during the tests. I am not sure how cooperative he will be, or how I will keep him from sleeping on the hour long car ride.

Sammy is having a speech therapist come to the house for our first consulation. She will be working on his communication skills and cognative skills. He is still delayed in these areas. He was on the waiting list for this program and I am glad it is his turn for services now!

I spent an hour yesterday playing with him and singing fun songs. It is so neat to see him interact with me and watch his face light up when he learns something new. He likes peek a boo, row your boat (he moves his body back and forth so well!) and 5 little monkeys (he likes when I hold his body so he can jump up and down on our bed). Some of the things he is working on is sign language. We are just working on two signs, milk and more. He sometimes tries to sign milk, and sometimes not. He is that way with waving bye too. It took him a long time to learn to clap his hands. It seems like he learns a skill, and then forgets it a few days later. Then he relearns it.

Samuel had his first official play date last Tuesday with my friend Josie's baby Matilda. Tilly and Sammy had a fun time together. He liked playing with her fun toys and watching her. Then at lunch he just stared at her!! It was funny. Then they played some more before nap time. He did really well. It really was a good chance for Josie and I to catch up, but I think that the kids had a good time too. They just don't play "together" at this age yet. Next time I think I will have them come to our house. I don't think Josie has been her yet. I have known Josie since I was a toddler!!

This will be Sammy's first Christmas and I am trying to figure out what to get him. We will also be celebrating his birthday on Jan. 4. My kids don't have birthdays so close to the holidays, the closest is Kylie, whose is in Feb. I am not sure if we will be having a big first birthday celebration, or just a small one with family. I feel like we have a lot to celebrate!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Cute photos


Samuel likes to listen to the guitar, and sometimes help play it!
Sleeping baby

Praying harder!!!

So, I am thinking the idea of having Elijah home by Christmas would take a miracle.  I am now praying that he is home by his birthday, April 7.  Please join our family in praying for him.  I have been reading horrible stories of families whose children were denied their visa.  Their legally adopted children.  The families have no choice but to leave their children there in Haiti, or live in Haiti for two years until they can apply for a different type of visa for their children.  I am praying the entire adoption process in Haiti will improve.  It is so sad that it takes soooo long for these kids to come to their forever home. 

I watched Extreme Makeover Home Edition last night on tv.  It featured a family who adopted 5 boys from Haiti and 3 from the US.  It was a great show!  They loaded up a few trucks to deliver toys and supplies to send to Haiti, plus blessed this family with an amazing new home.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

news

I cut Sammy's hair a few weeks ago...
We got another appointment at Children's on Dec 8!

I will post more cute pics soon.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Everyday life at COTP

Elijah spends his days at Children of the Promise like most other two year olds...

Hanging out with friends,
Going on walks,
Celebrating,
Taking a nap,
Potty training,
Brushing his teeth,

What a busy day!!!!

Cake again?









Oh, how I miss this boy!


I opened my email message eagerly too see a bunch of new photos of Elijah. I haven't heard anything about him in quite a while. This made my afternoon! Bittersweet.

Elijah looking really grown up and happy.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

National Adoption Month

November is National Adoption Month. It was in November several years ago when I first felt God tug at my heart about adoption. I was listening to Focus on the Family radio on a drive home one night and heard a moving story about a little girl who was adopted by the family being interviewed. I was moved, but at that time it was just an idea. Jeremiah and I continued to be open to the idea, and look where He has led us!

I remember opening the email from COTP with our proposal. I was so excited! The photo of Elijah loaded onto the screen. The first thing I saw was his little toes. I started to cry. I was so happy to see our little boy, one that I had inquired about in the past but was told he already had a family. I called Jeremiah and told him the news, we accepted the referral and then started to wait. It seems so long ago! I have learned and grown a lot since then, have endured a lifetime of heartache already. Seen extreme poverty in Haiti. Loved a little girl and let her go. Shared the experience of Haiti with my spouse and watched as he fell in love with our baby boy too. Worried, prayed, answered so many questions like "Any news on your adoption?", "Can you love someone else's child like your own?", "Can you afford another child?". Became very involved in an organization that has changed my life in numerous, drastic ways.

I remember being 6 years old and watching a infomercial on television for Compassion, World Vision or some similar organization. I cried and wept for the children shown on the show. I knew then at that age that I needed to do something to help. I didn't know what or how, I had nothing much to give. But I can see now that God had given me the gift of compassion to help change the lives of several little ones. God has put people in my life and by His hand has guided my path. It is truly amazing.

A great post from my friend Tanya's blog:

Did you know that November is National Adoption Month? Yep it is! I feel so incredibly blessed that God led us on this journey. I pray that more and more families open their minds, hearts and homes to children who might never know what it feels like to have a family.

If you do not feel led to adopt.... there are some things you can do to support others who do venture on that journey. Money is a huge thing, adoption is expensive. We took out a second mortgage on our house to pay for our adoptions...(thus we are STILL paying for our adoptions). I HATE asking people for money- hate it.

You can support organizations that provide extra care for children in foster care, orphanages, or children's homes.

Be supportive! Adoption is a very emotional journey. Be supportive of a birth mother who is deciding whether or not to place her child for adoption- and be supportive of people who are doing the adopting. There were many times while we waited that I felt very alone. Many people don't understand WHY we would feel the need to add more kids to our family. I am not sure I know the exact answer to that- except for where God leads- we try to follow. **And I am so glad we did!

Uh oh

Samuel has a cold. Normally it wouldn't be a big deal, but I called the hospital about his appointments at Children's on Monday. He would be going under anesthesia for his CT scan, and I was concerned about him being sick. The nurse I spoke to told me it would not be good to do this if he is sick or had been running a fever. So we decided to reschedule. I am bummed. I don't know how long we will need to wait to schedule a day with radiology, craniofacial and neurosurgeon all together. I guess it is better to be safe, but I hate to wait!!!

Friday, November 7, 2008

I'm sad

I haven't received an update or recent picture of Elijah in a long time. I am frustrated, sad and missing him a lot. I know that things at COTP are changing right now and I know that they are desperately in need of volunteers (short and long term). I wish so much that we could go there to help out and spend time with our son. Now that he is over two years old we are not allowed. I wish that rule would be changed. Or that he will be home very soon!!!!

It sounds like we do have to wait for Elijah's file to be out of MOI for a birth parent interview can be scheduled. So, please continue to pray that he will be signed out soon, and that the rest of the process will go SUPER quick.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

First Halloween


Sammy was a robot!! What a cute one too. We celebrated with friends and the big kids went trick or treating.

Monday, November 3, 2008

November already???



It has been raining for about three days, and we are inside enjoying the time together. Jeremiah is at work, I was in the kitchen making applesauce and potato chowder and now the kids are settling in to watch a movie. Samuel is ready for a bottle and nap...oh I can't believe he is 10 month old tomorrow!

We are so used to him being part of our family and can't imagine life any other way. I get questions and comments from friends and family asking how it is to have a fourth child around, how busy we must be, how we handle Samuel's medical needs. To tell you the truth it is more joy than hardship. I feel like once you add child #3, adding more to the mix is no big deal. We love having Sammy to snuggle, care for, love on and play with. The other kids are very helpful to me and are changing diapers (with the occasional whine) and making bottles like pros. The medical needs, while they could be considered severe, seem like no big deal to us either. It is just something we need to be careful of. We look out for warning signs that his shunt is having problems and go to doctors appointments. We will endure some more surgeries with Sammy too. We take him to therapy occasionally and have someone come here for infant massage. I really enjoy play group and the parent support group outings. I know that this is what God called us to do. I feel so joyful to be able to do His work!

Samuel is getting so big, wearing size 12-18 month clothing. He loves to crawl around and pull himself to stand on anything! He has FOUR teeth now! He is also getting more clingy to our family and cries and fusses when strangers hold him, or even friends we see often! He is eating more solid table food now and he loves it! I fed him some chunks of potato from my soup and he gobbled it up! He has such a fun personality and a great smile.

Kylie


My friend is pregnant with her 4th child. She and I have had a few discussions about baby names. She is REALLY into the meaning of the name, even more that the way it sounds. I am the opposite. I really think about how the name will sound, whether it is a little unique (especially with the last name Smith) and if the child is going to grow up hating me for it later!
So I asked her what Kylie means in her name book. She disgustingly said, "It means "boomerang!" All I could do was laugh. Today I was looking up names on the web and came across this comment:

The name Kylie, was derived from a Koori word meaning 'small boomerang'. It is actually in the dictonary and the meaning is common knowledge in Australia. I think that the meaning suits me well, because no matter how hard you try to push me down I will always get back up.. same characteristics as boomerang, if thrown correctly it will always come back.

How true and what a great way to describe Miss Kylie, our third child, and little princess!

Misc.

Random things going on around here:
* I joined Fitness Boot Camp with my friends and am starting week three!
* I have not gotten anywhere with Elijah's birth parent interview. Hopefully someone can get it scheduled soon.
* My kids are done with activities for now, except AWANA
* Winter weather is here, at least for this area. Raining, flooding and downpours, oh my!
* I have already cast my vote for tomorrow's election. Please remember to VOTE!
* We are enjoying a day in with hot soup and a roaring fire.
* I don't enjoy the darkness in the early afternoon, but it is nice to drive home from Boot Camp in the daylight!
* I am trying not to think too much about Christmas shopping and holiday madness. Keeping it simple this year is my goal.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Please Pray


We have been emailing back and forth between NLL (our lawyers in Haiti) and the US consulate. I was requested to contact the consulate to request a birth parent interview. We opted in to the orphan's first program, which helps do an orphan investigation at the beginning of the process, rather than the end. Well now NLL is telling me that we must wait until we are signed out of MOI for Elijah to have his birth parent interview. I am really confused and frustrated. I don't want to wait until the end, what if things get held up longer? Please pray with us to help speed things up. Pray for all the other children at COTP that have been waiting far too long to go home to their families.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Picking Apples


Fun at the pumpkin patch



We went to Boxx Berry Farm for a fun outing with Parent to Parent, a support group for parents of special kids. We had a great time with friends and the kids got to pick their own pumpkins. We had some snacks and a fun "train" ride!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Anxious

We have been hoping for Elijah to be able to come home before Christmas but I am not getting my hopes up. He is still in MOI and we have not heard any news. We did get some emails asking us to contact USCIS to request a birth parent interview. I am not sure why we had to request it, but we did. We have not heard news of an interview as of yet. Please pray that this will take place soon, and that Elijah will get signed out of MOI soon too! It is possible for a child to come home a month after getting out of MOI, but the average time is about 2 to 3 months. Meanwhile I have been reading a lot about adoptive kids' homecomings and things family's deal with during the first several months. Things I had not really thought about. I am a little scared! I am not sure how Elijah will do with the adjustment of living in our home, relating to his siblings and his environment, and to Jeremiah and I! He seemed like a pretty laid back, happy boy at the orphanage, but I wonder how it will be here.

I have his room all fixed up. I moved Loren into another room, and am giving Elijah that room. I painted a few of the walls and even put some of his clothes in the dresser. We are going to put a crib mattress on the floor for him to sleep on to begin with. Right now he is sleeping in a cot at COTP, so I figured a crib mattress would be the most similar to that. I still need to do a bit of toddler proofing, because I have seen Elijah climb!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Pictures from the wedding in Oregon

Samuel with Uncle Larry and Aunt Kathy

Samuel with us

Pictures from last weekend


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Trip to Seattle

We went to Seattle yesterday. We decided to take the kids to the Children's Museum. We went to the one at Seattle Center. It was really fun, with a lot to explore. We only covered about half of the activities, but will be coming back soon. Then we went to Children's Hospital. Samuel had an opthamology appointment. We were there for almost four hours! He was so good, and fell asleep at one point waiting for the eye drops to work and for the doctor to come in. The doctor was a kook! He was old and silly, but had some good news for us. Samuel has perfect vision and alignment! I was so glad to hear that he won't be needing surgery for his eyes at this point. He said they look crossed because of the bump on his face. I have noticed that they are starting to look better as he grows. Samuel has a blocked tear duct. There is nothing that can be done about that, since it is on the side of the encephalocele. Either his duct is misshapen, or blocked from the artificial bone. His eyes also don't always shut all the way, so we should start giving him moisturizing ointment at night to help keep them from drying out and getting infected.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Imagine...

Life in Haiti (from For His Glory newsletter)
Imagine, if you will, that you have six children and you are raising 6 of them in a single parent home. Imagine that your home is one-third the size of a one-car garage fashioned out of corrugated steel. There's no carpet or cement for your floor; rather, it's simply dirt that you try to keep as clean as possible. You have one double bed that you sleep on with most of your children, while the rest sleep on grass mats at your feet. That's if there is no gunfire. When there is, you all feel more safety sleeping under the bed.

Imagine, too, that there are days that pass that you cannot purchase a small sack of beans and rice to feed your children. You go out to the street market and purchase as many dirt biscuits as you can to feed you and your children. It's not enough for each person to have their own, but if the little ones get to half each, it'll at least stop them from crying. The only water is the river the pigs rifle through - it's where you have dumped your own chamber pots from time to time. You close off your mind and drink from the water because there is no choice.

This is the story of one of the birth mothers that had placed 3 of her children in the orphanage. Those 3 children are in the US now, leaving 3 still in Haiti. The situation for her is more difficult that we could imagine. We asked her, as we were visiting her home, if she was comfortable living in Cite Soliel. She responded saying that no one chooses to live there - it's when you are left with no choice at all that you end up in a tin house like hers.

One of the staff members of the orphanage knows a woman that has 6 sons. When the rains came, 5 of them drown. Her house is destroyed and her hope was buried with her children.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Blood work news

Samuel's iron levels were low, but the nurse called to say that after a few weeks and a recheck they are normal now! That makes me happy. Also, the other results (HIV, hep, and sickle cell) were all negative too.

Thank you


for your prayers. I truly felt them working. Even with my hormones out of wack due to that time of the month (I apologize if any guys read this!), I was able to remain calm and pleasant all weekend. My poor husband got an earful on the car ride home, but he didn't complain once. It really wasn't a bad weekend, and the wedding was beautiful. Samuel was passed around to all the great aunts and uncles and he was so good for us! I am glad to be home and get back in to routine. We are probably not going to be traveling again (except to go to Haiti for Elijah) until spring. I have realized lately how much I have become a homebody, maybe it has to do with traveling with 4 children?

Also, Samuel has started to say Mama all the time! I love hearing him say that.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Hep.

I have thought about this with people who are host families for the Medical Advocacy Team, but haven't thought about it with our adopted kids coming home. I read this on a yahoo group today:

IT was suggested to me by my doctor that anyone who was going to have
close contact with my son in the first months home get the Hep shots -
so my brother and his wife got them too.

I'd suggest that grandparents or any family members that will be in
contact with spit, poop or any other bodily fluids get the shots -
especially young and old people.


Children often don't show symptoms of Hep. and it is transmitted easily. I am going to look into my kids getting vaccinated. Jeremiah and I both have before traveling to Haiti. Maybe I should have grandparents get vaccinated too.

musical bedrooms


Samuel in his own bedroom tonight! We just finished remodeling our oldest son's room, and moved Samuel into his new room. Until now, he was sleeping in a crib in our large bedroom. It didn't really bother me much since he is such a good sleeper, until recently. Once he learned how to pull himself up in his crib, he wouldn't lay down. He would stand up, bounce, laugh, cry and stare at us for at least one hour before going to sleep. Tonight we laid him down, turned off the lights, shut the door and Samuel was out in about 10 minutes! Bliss.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Rude

Can I just say that I am so irritated with the lack of support and kindness by certain members of our family? I don't want to go off... just say some prayers for me please. I need patience, esp. for this weekend while we are at a family wedding and will be spending considerable amounts of time with these people.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Prayers Please


Please pray for Elijah's buddy at the orphanage, Isaac. He is also my good friend Sarah's little boy. It is so cool that they will be able to grow up together. So many times these kids are separated after they are home by thousands of miles, but Isaac and Elijah will be 10 minutes away from each other! Isaac is sick, and it must not be good, because they emailed Sarah to tell her about it. Most of the time we don't get news like this, probably not to worry us moms. I wasn't told Elijah had the chicken pox until we showed up at the orphanage! Most of the time there isn't much that can be done anyway. But I know that if we pray, God will listen and may heal little Isaac.