Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Photo-a-Day 29 Peace

What a fitting end to photo-a-day for a month.  Last night was a peaceful night.  The kids slept well, we slept fairly well and everything is going great.  Can't wait to get home, though. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Photo-a-Day 28 Forever

Sorry it's blurry - just pretend you're looking at it through tear-filled eyes!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Photo-a-Day 25 So many boys

Esen's playing basketball right now - with about 100 other 5-7 year old boys.  It's crazy to see them all out there together in their little jersey shirts!  When did he become so grown up?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Photo-a-Day 21 Skin Testing

I didn't have my camera with me today so this is (quite obviously) not Marissa's arm.  She saw her new pulmonologist/allergist today, who is also wonderful - we sure do luck out with the docs!  She has a severe allergy to dogs and cats and is NOT allergic to milk (YAY no more soy).  While he feels that a medication could help her when/if she has a brief encounter with a dog or cat, living with them is simply not an option.  Her lung function is being compromised.  She has asthma and BPD and it is getting worse.  She is currently on two nebulized medications and he has added another oral medication until we can get things under control (i.e., until there are no longer dogs in her daily living environment).  We have two dogs, who are both pretty old.....anyone out there looking for new four-legged friends?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Photo-a-Day 19 The joys of paper

Marissa loves paper!  She loves to tear it, shake it, crumple it, play with it; and thankfully a couple of weeks ago stopped eating it.  I think a lot of kids go through the paper tearing stage and since she only has use of one arm, the only way she can tear it is with her mouth.  Now that she's not eating it, we can let her tear and rip and play to her hearts content!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Photo-a-Day 18 A few more pieces

Last year, in June to be exact, we learned that we could file a petition with USCIS to obtain the packet of super secret sealed documents that we presented to Immigration when we arrived in Chicago with Esen.  Shortly after filing all of the required proof of identity, we received the packet.  It contained all of the originals of the documents we already had.  Unfortunately, there was nothing new.  Sometimes families have gotten a few extra pieces of info about their kiddos or birth families.  I haven't thought about it since.

Today we got this from USCIS. 

On it is a cover letter which explains "......we have concluded our investigation and search for documents.....included is 101 pages of documents pertaining to your son's adoption....."   COOL!  It is every single document we filed with USCIS, every document that was generated by them, every document that was filed in Kyrgyzstan, including a few we didn't have. 

As any adoptive parent knows, when you have no information about your child's history, every single piece is so priceless.  And really, how cool is it that it's neatly organized on a CD.  Thank you USCIS - today, we are friends.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Photo-a-Day 17 Scary to Sweet

Apparently I suck at this photo-a-day thing.  Yesterday was pretty much one of those days where I just managed to get through and that was about it.  Marissa had an epic bad day - like probably the worst on record.  Her bad days have thankfully decreased in number thanks to her intervention team, but unfortunately the severity of her behaviors has continued to escalate.  Days like yesterday are a reality check for me; they make me wonder how we're going to handle things as Marissa continues to get bigger and stronger.  She has some behaviors that are very violent.  I spent a solid 10 hours yesterday just trying to keep her from hurting herself.  Add to that the stress of not knowing why.  I can't just write it off to her being a sassy 2 1/2 year old or maybe coming down with a cold.  I have to think about three cranial shunt catheters and four valves, seizure activity, a gall bladder shunt, and the myriad of potential complications that could be happening inside her little body.  My wheels begin to turn, I begin to feel panic and she probably feels my stress, too.  By the end of the day yesterday, I was completely and totally spent.

Today, she is better.  I have no explanation for what was going on yesterday.  I guess it doesn't really matter because it has obviously passed and that means that for now, shunts are fine and seizures are stable.  Today - she is happy and that makes me happy. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Photo-a-Day 15 Blast from the Past

I turned on my computer today and this photo file was open.  This is one of my all time favorite pictures of Esen and Marissa.  They are so peaceful and sweet (and small)! 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Photo-a-Day 14 Last Day-Hearts for Hope

PLEASE take a few moments out of your Valentine's Day today to remember all the orphans who don't know what love feels like.  1 card, $1, 1 stamp - you could help change a life!!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Photo-a-Day 11&12 A Slideshow!

Well, I made it 10 days before slacking and missing a day - better than I thought I'd do!  To make it up to you, I'm going to share a slideshow that I put together shortly after we returned from Ethiopia in December.  I watch it a few times a week and it brings me so much joy and still makes me cry.  I miss my kids so much it actually hurts.  I think about the last day we saw them and how they made us promise to hurry back for them.  I think about how long two months feels to a 4 and 5 year old.  I can't believe it's already been two months.  I wonder how much longer it'll be. 

So, grab a glass of wine and enjoy this 12 minute peek into our journey to Ethiopia and the sweetness that is the two, little souls we will soon welcome into our family.  **Oh, but first scroll to the bottom of the page and pause my blog music**

Friday, February 10, 2012

Photo-a-Day 10 Our Family Through My Child's Eyes

Esen made these yesterday and seeing them laid out together made my heart skip a beat.  Our family is just....our family.  I forget sometimes that we're a little unique in the way we've come together.  I love that he understands and that he is proud of it, too. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Photo-a-Day 8 Hearts For Hope

photo borrowed from
Valentine's Day is about True Love.  That is one of the things orphans never get to experience.  For four long years, The Kyrgyz 65 have fought tirelessly to be reunited with their waiting children.  We are getting close.  Lifesong for Orphans and Altynai's Fund have partnered to try and ensure that no child is left behind.  For $1 (or more if you're so inclined), a stamp and a few moments of your time, you can join the fight and help bring love and hope to these children and their waiting families.  Please consider joining this mission by sending a valentine with your $1 donation to:

Lifesong for Orphans
Attn: Rich Metcalf/Altynai's Fund

202 N. Ford St., PO Box 40
Gridley, IL 61744

You can also check out the Altynai's Legacy Adption Fund Blog for more info.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Photo-a-Day 7 Packed In

My husband works hard - really hard.  He manages an extremely busy aircraft maintenance shop.  He has to coordinate repairs and a team of guys and try to keep everyone (especially demanding customers) happy.  Ultimately, if something goes wrong, it falls on his shoulders - and you don't want something to go wrong when your up in the air in one of these babies.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Photo-a-Day 6 EMBASSY!!

Today we received word that our petition was filed with the US Embassy in Addis Ababa.  This is the final step in the process prior to our travel back to bring them home!!  Now we just have to wait for them to approve our petition and issue us an appointment.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Photo-a-Day 5 Exhaustion

If it were socially acceptable (and if I were this cute), there are many days I'd probably pass out immediately upon entering the house.  Yes - he is using his football as a pillow - all boy! :)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Photo-a-Day 4 Determination and Anticipation

My little man is growing up so fast!  He has been so dedicated this past month to helping out whenever he can with painting, building, cleaning and organizing to get ready for "his kids" to come home!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Photo-a-Day 3 Fear and Triumph

Two years ago today, death knocked on our door.  I remember every second of that day.   It's been a long journey back - full of tears, joy, fear, uncertainty, guilt and celebration.  Not a day goes by that I don't remember those dark days we spent wondering "what if?"  I'm so grateful we never had to find out. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Photo-a-Day 2 Simply Delicious

I find myself longing for some Injera and all the fixins.  I'm sure it has something to do with the fact that I'm really missing my kids.......

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Photo-a-Day 1 What Hope Looks Like

I've been working really hard nesting like crazy the last several weeks (and driving Kevin crazy in the process)!  We have made a ton of progress getting the house ready.  We're all moved into our new room downstairs, the boys' room is nearly ready and the girls' room has three beds (yes three) all set up ready for cute, little princesses.  Today, despite all of the sadness of the past week, despite all of the uncertainty, despite not knowing how in the world we're going to make it happen, I have hope; hope that someday very soon, I will make the rounds to all five of my children tucking them snugly into bed at night.