Monday, May 31, 2010
Heart contents by Maria at 10:52 PM
Almost two years ago, we had to make a decision to turn down the referral of the sweetest baby girl in the world based on medical information we had at the time. We made a choice not to pursue the adoption of her and to seek another referral. We came home broken hearted and numb. I've gone over the reasons in my mind over and over and wondered if I would make the same decision if given the same information again, and I think I likely would. Hindsight's easy -- it's walking through the trench that's hard. I had to protect what was my then family, and my heart because honestly, we thought if we brought this child home with what we thought she had, she was going to die very early and we didn't feel like we could handle that.
Fast forward a few weeks and we received a phone call from our agency indicating they had sent her records to a specialist in the US who indicated she was not sick, after all. Much scrambling (and sincere disbelief) followed as we attempted to talk with this specialist and to have this little one's records reviewed locally and then make another heart-wrenching decision about whether to accept this little one as our daughter.
It ended up being a huge (and I mean huge) leap of faith in the God that had brought us so far. We had to believe that He knew what was best for our family and would not take us somewhere we could not handle with His help.
And in doing so, we, our extended family and our community received the blessing of Ellie.
How will I tell her in a few years? What words can I use to convey how it was and why we had to make that decision? How can I make her fully understand that God's plan for her life would not be deterred even by our interference in His plan? Will it make her doubt our love for her -- which is fully whole and inclusive and sometimes takes my breath? Will it make her feel less loved? I will do anything to make her understand that we are imperfect humans, imperfect parents, who sometimes make really bad decisions and are scared to trust God -- even when we have no reason not to -- and that it wasn't about her.
I look back and realize the sheer miracle of her becoming our daughter when she did. We turned down her referral and God said, "Nope -- she's yours." Had we accepted another referral while in country, chances are HUGE we still wouldn't have them home. Had we not been offered another referral while in country, we would not have a child from Kyrgyzstan as Ellie and several others were the last children out before the moratorium took place. I don't know why we were so blessed. It certainly isn't for any reason or actions on our part; it's simply a blessing from God.
For anyone who wants to refer back to those posts from then, they are here and here. Reading back through all of that still makes my heart hurt. I still feel the pain; I remember the pain that tears, sobbing, words, nothing could abate. I remember thinking I might never get through this. I sat on the phone with my friend Iris and just couldn't even talk, I was hurting so badly. It was one of the only times I saw my husband break down and sob. The pain was so bad. I'm glad, honestly, that we recorded what we did of the experience because I know it will be invaluable to Ellie one day, but to me, it's still really hard to relive -- even knowing the outcome.
Putting Ellie to bed tonight was just a little more special. She likes to rub my arm and face. She likes to talk, talk, talk about whatever we did that day or what I tell her we are doing tomorrow. Tomorrow we are going to a park to meet another Kyrgyz friend. She kept saying, "Charlie? Park??" I kept telling her she had to go to night night first. I thought she was almost asleep when she popped up and said, "CAKE???". I said that I didn't think we'd have cake tomorrow, so she replied, "I-cream?" (aka ice cream). I told her that yes, I thought we might have ice cream. She laid back down with a smile on her face. She has such a sweet, sweet spirit, filled with determination, spunk and independence. Today at dinner, she was doing something and we all laughed and I thought, "She has brought such laughter to our family. She was the missing piece." Our family feels complete now. I am so thankful that God was in charge and that we were able to trust Him and step out in faith.
Heart contents by Maria at 9:52 PM
You'll notice our "family tree" is gone. One half of it had died and was leaning precariously toward our house so we had to have it cut down. Since it was where we always took pictures, I decided to keep the stump for pictures -- ha! I suppose all our pictures henceforth will be sitting down.
We had a nice family time with my parents and Kevin's mom yesterday to celebrate Memorial Day. We ate (way too much) and napped and played. Then today we went to see Shrek 3: Happily Forever After and hit a few sales at Children's Place, Gymboree and at the mall at Hollister and Aeropostale. How is it the kids have great clothes and Kevin and I are still wearing clothes from 10 years ago? *smile*
I hope each of you had a peaceful, happy Memorial Day and took some time out to thank those who made this possible for us.
Heart contents by Maria at 9:43 PM
Thursday, May 27, 2010
I just got an email that Huggies is making Huggies "Denim" Jeans diapers. Honestly, I'm not sure how I feel about this. At first I thought -- HOW SILLY -- but after some careful thought I see endless possibilities from this idea -- different colors, different styles -- on and on. They were initially released in Israel.
They have apparently already been released in China as well as a news post there indicates, "Huggies, under the giant company Kimberly-Clark, certainly knows something about the fashion industry. It has produced Limited Edition Huggies Nappies with Denim Designs, combining disposable diapers and a pair of jeans for baby. These diapers are hippie style, with double stitched back pockets and a leather style patch. Baby girl designs have butterfly and flower motifs, and light blue, yellow and white stripes for boys."
As one blogger said, they are the baby’s main clothing piece and sometimes the only piece of cloth during summer, so why not give them the look and feel of cloth?
They are limited edition currently being sold at Wal*Mart for $20.97 in sizes 3, 4, 5 and 6.
Heart contents by Maria at 8:38 AM
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
OBAMA TO SKIP ARLINGTON ON MEMORIAL DAY
President to "Vacation" in Chicago Instead
(summarized from The Foundry, written by Rory Cooper)
This weekend, President Obama will skip Memorial Day services at Arlington National Cemetery, and instead he will take his family to Chicago for rest and relaxation. During a time of war, it is extraordinary that the Commander in Chief of our Armed Forces would choose not to be at Arlington on this solemn occasion.
At the start of the weekend, the president will travel to Louisiana to survey the response to oil spill; only his second trip to the region since the disaster over a month ago. And on Monday, the president will deliver remarks at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood, IL. In between these duties he will spend a “casual weekend with friends” and then fly home in time to make a White House tribute to Paul McCartney on Wednesday evening.
Sending Vice President Biden, the man who told Brussels two weeks ago that it, not Washington, should hold the title of ‘capital of the free world’, in his place does not excuse his absence, and will likely give little comfort to those stricken families who expected to hear from their Commander in Chief. President Obama shouldn’t just be at Arlington on Memorial Day, he should want to be there.
I'm all about family and spending time with them on holidays, but I'm not the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!!! I do not have AIR FORCE ONE at my disposal. Could he not make a trip there -- make an appearance, a show of support for those who are defending him and the country for whom he is President? He is, after all the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. This IS Memorial Day -- a day to remember all who have sacrificed so much to make our country what it is.
I'm glad to read, however, that he WILL make it back in time to the Paul McCartney tribute on Wednesday night. Really?
I feel SO COMFORTED that Biden will be there. Not. Especially not after his comments in Brussels. What a joke.
Holy cow. I ask again. What has this world come to?
In honor of all who have given so much, let ME say, "Thank You." I would gladly give up any of my time on Monday to be at Arlington in the President's stead.
I hope you all enjoy this video.
Heart contents by Maria at 10:33 PM
What I didn't bet on, however, is the fact that she and a couple other little girls would get in a dirt/sand throwing contest. I think Ellie lost. She came out SO COVERED in dirtthat her hair was GRAY. She immediately took off her shorts AND diaper which I had to throw away because it had about a cup of dirt down in it. We put her shorts back on her and used a "Butt Wipe" (the phrase one of her little five-year-old friends used -- as in, "Do you have any Butt Wipes to clean Ellie up with?") to clean her face and hair as best I could.
It was ugly.
Here she is reading her "All About Ellie" book before the incident. (The pix aren't great as it was after dark).
Here's the "after".
The hairbow started out BRIGHT orange and blue.
Pictures just can't do justice to how gray this girl's hair was.
Heart contents by Maria at 10:14 PM
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
I remember all of us ... falling in love.
Heart contents by Maria at 11:14 PM
Last week I made Josh a doctor's appointment to talk to his doctor about a referral. Under our insurance we are not required to get a referral from our primary care doctor, but I felt like since she was his doctor and had provided his care (since he was born), we should discuss it and form a plan for action, get her input on who to see and so on. Josh also wanted her to look at his thumb that he jammed a few days ago to see if it needed an x-ray.
I thought my appointment was at 10:30. Both Josh's and Ellie's doctor's offices regularly call the day before the appointment to remind you of the time/appointment. I didn't get the call, but thought for certain I had made it at 10:30. We arrived, signed in and sat down. Two other children were there and they were called back to see different doctors while we waited. About 15 minutes later, someone called me up to the front desk. Josh had gone to the restroom at the time. She told me that our appointment had been at 10:15 and that since we were late (15 minutes), that our doctor's would NOT be able to see us and her schedule was full and she could not work us in. She made a point to tell me that she asked her (the doctor) and she couldn't see us. HUH??? And did I want to reschedule for another time. I know I stood there for 2 or 3 minutes just staring at her. In actuality, I was trying to decide what course of action to take. What I wanted to do was jump up and down and throw at tantrum, tell her how far I'd driven, how much time it had taken me, how I couldn't miss more work to come back, how I was ONLY 15 minutes late, ask why I didn't get a reminder call, ask why she couldn't see me if no one else was waiting and just go ballistic. Knowing that was not the best course to follow I said that I supposed I'd have to make another appointment. As she pecked away on her keyboard I said, "Wait. No, I don't want to schedule another appointment. I was simply coming to get a referral and I don't need the referral, I can do it myself." She wanted to know if I wanted her to make the referral for me. Uh. No. I told her no, that I could do it myself.
I met Josh coming back in and told him that the doctor couldn't see us.
NOW... keep in mind. Everyone before me on the sign in list had already gone back. There was NO ONE ELSE in the waiting room. No one had been called in to see her during the entire time we were there. She knew the appointment was simply for a referral -- and she COULDN'T SEE ME????
So, I made a decision. We are changing pediatricians.
Not once in twelve years have I ever been late to or missed an appointment. Many times, however, in twelve years, I have had to wait extraordinarily long times for the doctor to make it in to see us -- LONG past our appointment times. Never once did I complain about that wait. But let me be 15 minutes late one time and that's it, can't see you. What if Josh had been sick -- would we have been turned away then? I'm certain that I don't want to pay for that kind of service any longer.
Josh now has an appointment next week for a physical with Ellie's doctor. We will now have one doctor caring for both of them. Honestly, it will be a LOT easier for me. I like Ellie's doctor and their practice a hundred times more than I do Josh's former pediatrician's practice. I like the fact that there is care seven days a week. I like the fact that I can get prescriptions filled right on site. I like the staff there. I like the fact that there is a nurse I can call to answer routine questions -- who will answer when I call and I don't have to wait for a return call. I just find they are more patient friendly. Personally, I'm pleased it's worked out this way.
I'm sorry that some doctors now feel that a patient who is late one time by fifteen minutes is too much of a burden to fit into their schedule.
And while I'm on the subject (it's been a long day), I visited MY DOCTOR four weeks ago. At that visit, I was told I would get a call within two weeks to schedule a procedure I need to have done . I'm still waiting on that call four weeks later. Go figure.
Tomorrow will be a better day.
Heart contents by Maria at 10:53 PM
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Today is a special day. Two years ago today you all left to go see our little Ellie that we are all so blessed to have in our family. She is one in a million and we love her so much. I have had her on my mind all morning thinking of how she will grow up knowing Jesus and how much He loved her to find her a home that she can be taught all about Him. I will never forget the fears me and your daddy had when all of you got on that plane that day. I just left it up to God to take care of you all and bring you home safely. He has answered so many prayers for us all.
I love all of you so much
Two years? Really? I went back and re-read the days surrounding the trip and the "Meetcha" Day and cried. I'm such a tender-hearted wimp. This little girl has been SUCH a blessing to our family. I look at her and think of all she's been through and see her sweet spirit, her laughing smile, her determination and know that God blessed us beyond measure.
Heart contents by Maria at 11:39 AM
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Ellie began talking about the party last night and telling us she was going swimming. I wish you could "see" the hand movement that goes with "swimming." She throws both hands out straight behind her like she is "swimming". It's a riot! The first words out of her mouth when she woke up were "Dora" [swimsuit] and "swimming". She was dressed by 8:30 for a noon party.
I went to get my hair done this morning (I'm now a poodle, by the way -- NO, there will be no photos) and then hit the $1 flip flop sale at Old Navy (where I stood in line longer than you do at Christmas to buy FLIP FLOPS -- yes, flip flops). When I finally GOT to the party, she STILL had not been "in" the pool. Apparently, she was not liking all the boys in the pool because as the afternoon wore on and more kids left or went over to the water slide, she eventually ventured in. Every kid there tried their hardest to get her into the pool, but Savannah was the one who finally succeeded. She refused to wear her floatation/life jacket thingy, but I felt safe because she was always surrounded by two or three kids at a time and I was standing right there. She got out on a float and had the happiest smile in the world.
By the time we left around 5:00, she was exhausted (as were we) and she went to sleep by 7. She's made a lot of noises tonight -- not really waking up, but talking or crying out, "Mama". I think she's probably exhausted and reliving her fun day in her dreams.
Josh is a bit "lobster-ish" looking, but it's not like I didn't TELL him to put on sunscreen and send it with Kevin. Josh just was "too busy". I suspect he'll be looking like a gingerbread by tomorrow.
Photos of the fun.
Ellie chose to wear her Dora bathing suit and was very fond her her hot pink hat.
The first attempt at getting in with Josh was a "no go". She yelled, "MAMA!!" and wanted out.
Baseball team cake
All the kids enjoyed ice cream cones.
Ellie enjoyed hers the most -- as you can tell. Her recent favorite thing is "I-cream" and "Chok-lit"
Daddy and brother got her these "eyes" (what she calls them) before the party. Surprisingly enough, they have a princess crown on them. *sigh*
Ellie wanted to go down the water slide -- until she got over to it, and then she decided no. The older kids had a lot of fun on it though.
Savannah finally convinces her to get into the pool -- but she would only go sitting on the float.
Once she was in, though, you can tell by her face she was certainly enjoying it. These kids all just spoil her rotten.
Love this one.
She finally let the birthday boy pull her around in the pool for a little while.
And the boys, doing what they do best. Give them a ball and they are happy for hours!
We had a fun day!!
Heart contents by Maria at 9:40 PM
Friday, May 21, 2010
Anyway, we were there and a little girl, her mom and grand mom came up. They saw Ellie and wanted to come over to meet her. Their little girl is from China and Ellie just TOOK to her and they played and played and played for the longest time. It was just instantaneous for both of them -- so sweet. So, she and I exchanged contact info so we could go play in the park one day. Ellie heard the park comment and the lady asked if she'd like to go play in the park one day. ELLIE, however, thought she meant tonight. She got in the car and kept saying, "Park, Park". We tried to tell her it was dark and we would go another day. BUT... when we got home, she burst into tears and was crying, over and over, "Park, park, park". Poor baby. I tried to explain it to her, but instead I ended up trying to change the subject to the pool party she is going to tomorrow.
Because of that story, we had to go in and find her bathing suits. It's a shame that she only had SIX to choose from (six???? what was I thinking???). She picked out the Dora bathing suit that she got for her birthday, a hot pink hat, a hot pink cover-up and her Dora flip flops. We put it all in her Dora beach bag with her Dora beach towel and I thought she was ready for bed. OH NO. Girl had to try on ALL SIX bathing suits before she was happy. Then, she wanted to sleep in one of them. One of our friends (who reads this blog and will get a kick of this story) has a little girl who LITERALLY wore her bathing suit for a year. She wore it under everything she had on -- winter and summer -- for fear that she would be at a pool and not have her bathing suit. As Ellie climbed up into bed with her bathing suit on, not wanting to take it off, I said to Kevin, "Looks like we are going to have a Torin on our hands." He laughed and said he was thinking the same thing. FINALLY I got her to take it off and put on pajamas. She is SO ready for the party tomorrow!! Lord, I hope I am!! It's a combination birthday party for one of Josh's friends/baseball team party. It's scheduled to be four hours. I suspect Ellie will require leaving for a nap LONG before the four hours are over.
Heart contents by Maria at 9:26 PM
The kids had fun playing on the playland, eating ice cream and then playing in the grass outside. Josh and I caught some really cute pix of AP and Ellie holding hands. I'm sure AP's mom got some cute ones too. Check out her blog in a day or so to see.
I smile when I look at these next photos because there is no "identifying" location markers. These girls could just as easily been in their native country of Kyrgyzstan playing out in a field as they are in the US. It's amazing that these two cuties came from the same orphanage in a TINY country thousands of miles away and ended up only a couple of counties apart. I'm so glad they have each other as friends -- and that A. and I have each other as friends. These are just the SWEETEST pictures ever. So girly ...
Josh took this picture and with a little cropping, it turned out as one of my very favorites!!
Heart contents by Maria at 9:14 PM
Spent $73.81 out of pocket (3 trips), and got
(3) Kashi crackers - $.49
(18) Whiskas cat food BOGOF - $.30 each
(2) Cheese Nips - BOGOF - $1.25/2
(2) Smuckers Syrups - $.99/2
(2) Fruitable juices boxes - $1.32/ea
(6) Capri sun boxes - $.75/box
(18) Vitamin waters - FREE
(1) Box Blue Bunny ice cream sundae cones - $1.99
(6) California Pizzas - $.50/ea
(1) bag Contessa frozen meal - $3.99
(1) 6 pk Danonino yogurt - $.99
(6) Nesquick chocolate milks - $.66/ea
(1) Gallon milk - $2.67 (no coupon)
(2) Tony's pizzas - $.17/ea
(10) Cans Alpo Dogfood - $.24 ea
(2) Cans Pedigree dogfood - $.45 ea
(1) Spray n' Wash - FREE
(1) Pert 3 n 1 Body Wash/Shampoo - $.65
(1) Digiorno Pizza - $.50
(1) Can Reddi Whip - $.99
(1) Vick's Vapo Rub - $2.49
(1) 4 pk Starbucks Frappicino (my treat) - $3.99
(1) Juicy Juice (carton) - $1.25
(2) Bags Cheetos - $.99/ea
(1) 4 pk Charmin - $1.69
(1) bag Werthers - $.99
(2) KC Masterpiece BBQ Sauce - Free
(3) French's Honey Mustard Dippiing Sauce - Free
(1) Cantaloupe - $.99
(1) Pedialyte and (1) Pedialyte box Powder - $4.15/both
(1) Muir tomatoes - Free
(2) Dole 4 pk fruit parfaits - $2/both
Savings was $162.43!!!
Heart contents by Maria at 7:07 AM
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
I've reminded him that instead of practicing basketball every single day this summer that he can now go to 4H camp, we can take a vacation, we can continue our summer tradition of free summer movies. I'm not sure it's a consolation or not, but it's what I have to offer. *sigh* Again, parenting = hard work. My heart hurts for him more than he can ever know.
I got this message from a friend via email. I read it as soon as we got home and felt like it was a direct message from God. I will share it with Josh later tonight.
The Position of Power
"Good sense makes a man restrain his anger, and it is his glory to overlook a transgression or an offense"(Proverbs 19:11, AMP)
Every day, we have opportunities to get upset, be frustrated, or get offended. Maybe you had plans that didn't work out, or someone was rude to you at the office. Maybe you were doing something that should have taken one hour, and it ended up taking three. Life is full of inconveniences; but even though we can't always control our circumstances, we can control our reactions to those circumstances. I heard somebody say, "Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond."
We should always go out each day with a positive attitude, full of hope and expecting God's favor. But at the same time, we should recognize that most days are not going to go exactly as we planned. Remember, we were created to live in peace. Peace is our position of power. If you get stressed because you got off schedule, or got upset because your child wouldn't eat his breakfast, or frustrated because somebody offended you, what you're doing is giving away your power. Instead, make the decision to release those offenses and disappointments so you live in peace and move forward in the power and victory the Lord has for you!
Father in heaven, today I release every care, concern, offense and disappointment to You. I choose to keep the peace that You have given me knowing that with You my best days are ahead! In Jesus' Name. Amen
Heart contents by Maria at 3:35 PM
Monday, May 17, 2010
For those of you who have told me that you've clicked over and read my friend Lori's blog and who have asked how she is doing (yes, Lori, I sometimes talk about you at the ballpark, the grocery -- where ever friends ask about you!!), click over and see her recent post.
I think you will be as happy about it as I am. Congratulations my friend. Remember, we all continue to pray for "double" the blessings to rain down into your beautiful life!!
Heart contents by Maria at 9:23 PM
Say a little prayer for him tonight if you read this. I know I have all day long.
Heart contents by Maria at 9:03 PM
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Today after church, Josh and I went into town to get some things for Josh and Kevin took Ellie home. On the way out of church, Ellie said to Kevin -- plain as day, he says -- "McDonalds".
Then when they got there -- you KNEW he would take her, right?? -- he asked what he asked whether she wanted hamburger or chicken nuggets. Her reply, "Toy."
Heart contents by Maria at 5:53 PM