Tuesday, March 18, 2014

1 Year Referral Anniversary

Wow I can't believe it's been a WHOLE year since we received our referral!  In the moment it went SO slow but looking back it flew!  Sorry it has been so long since I've posted an update.  Needless to say it's been CRAZY at our house!  Thankfully we no longer have 3 under 3!  We're now 3- 3 & under!

The girls are growing so well!  The doctors have been so pleased with their progress!  They're both around 20 lbs which is in the normal range.  A miracle in so many ways.  1- with twins period you expect them to be small.  2- preemies are small.  3- orphans are usually behind growth wise.  They are truely miracle babies.  God had his hand on them even before they were created.  Of course his original plan was for them to be with their birth parents but for whatever reason that was not able to happen but he knew that would happen & chose us to parent these girls.  Don't get me wrong it has been SO HARD!  But I wouldn't change it for anything.  We were never guaranteed an easy ride with this.  God made this adoption happen & will get us through each step if we trust in him.

Lina is starting to take a couple steps on her own.  She has been pulling up on furniture for a while now & letting go.  She can balance herself pretty well.  It's just a matter of time before she takes off.  I have no doubt.  She is happy most of the time unless she's hungry or sees someone else eating or drinking.  Then she's MAD!  Other than that she's pretty content!  (except for when she's sick like right now)

Chelsea has been farther behind than Lina but is still progressing.  She just started pulling up to standing in the last week.  I am so relieved because of that.  I was starting to get worried because she has been so far behind.  She is the emotional one.  She wants to be held all of the time.  We can't drop her off in the nursery or let anyone else hold her.  She won't have anything to do with that.  She only wants mommy & daddy.  Which is both good & bad.  It shows that she knows we are her parents which is so very important.

Jack is finally getting used to the girls.  He has good days & bad days with them.  His big problem right now is realizing that they're still babies & can't do everything he can!  He wants to wrestle with him.  Chelsea of course wants nothing to do with it.  Lina likes it sometimes depending on how rough he is.  Once she gets a little more mobile she's gonna take him down!  She is all muscle & is going to give him a run for his money!!!

It's so hard to summarize everything in one post without writing a whole book!  Plus there's really no time!  Just know that the girls are doing well!  We're still taking it day by day adjusting but we're doing as is normal at this stage in our adoption.



(sorry not the best recent pics!  Need to get better about taking pics but they don't sit still long & my phone is horrible at pics)

Friday, December 13, 2013

2 Months Home: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly!

It's hard to believe it was 2 months yesterday since we arrived home with the girls. It has been hard to say the least. More on that later. And today they are 11 months old!

The girls have progressed so much since we arrived home. They were barely sitting up on their own at 9 months. They fell over a lot & when they were sitting they were just leaning forward holding themselves up with their hands. They rolled but not a ton. They barely could eat baby food & that barely is generous. They both sit up great now. (although Lina doesn't like to because she doesn't want to be still) They both roll EVERYWHERE! Lina is crawling. Chelsea still has no desire to but she can shift herself in different directions & then roll to what she wants. Lina can pick up cheerios & puffs & finds EVERY spec on the floor!

They both have so much personality. Some good & some bad! Lina is usually pretty happy during the day as long as she's not tired or hungry & can move! Chelsea on the other hand is pretty whiny. She does have times of happiness but lots of times of crying if she's not being held. Lina is still waking up a LOT at night which is rough.

They are both growing really well! When we got home Chelsea was 17 lb & 26 ½ inches & Lina was 16 lb & 27 inches. Chelsea is now 19 lb & 27 ½ inches & Lina is 19 ½ lb & 27 ½ inches. They are both around the 50th percentile for weight which is amazing considering all that they had to conquer. If you remember, they were only 3 ½ lbs at birth. I asked the Adoption Clinic if they had any estimates on how premature they may have been. They can't know for sure but that weight is normal for 32 weeks but it is possible they weren't premature but just malnourished from the mother. Being preemies, twins & growing up in an orphanage environment normally produces very smaller than normal children so it is amazing how well they are doing growth wise!

As far as their health, everything is great! Other than Lina's ultra snotty nose everything is going well. She may have a milk allergy or lactose intolerance as we switched her to soy (to fix the major diaper explosions) & it worked, but we may check further to see if there's any other allergies as she is a constant faucet of snot. Her poor little nose is a mess. All of their testing for major illnesses has come back fine. They are still showing negative for HIV (yeah!). More than likely the antibodies are just from the mother & they don't have HIV. We will continue to test until they're probably 2 & all of the mother's antibodies are gone. But at this point even if they would be positive there is NO risk whatsoever as their levels are non-existant. It appears they were exposed to several things but don't actually have any of it! We're doing medication for one thing so it doesn't turn into anything which is a pain in the butt. We have to crush pills & feed it to them every day in applesauce or something for 9 months. But once again they don't actually have anything so they aren't contagious. They really are miracle babies. They have beaten all of the odds!

A few photos from our welcome home photo shoot 2 weeks after we arrived home.



And can't forget big brother!

Now about me... things aren't so rosy here. I have to admit I have been struggling a lot with post adoption depression. I tried to deny it & hide it but later realized that wasn't helping myself or anyone else. This is a big issue amongst adoptive families & I've found out many feel alone because it's not talked about enough. I do not feel attached to the girls at all. I have no emotions towards them. I feel numb. It's an awful feeling. When I hear them cry, I want to cry or get mad. They aren't doing anything too far out of the norm for being babies, it's me. I have a problem & needed help. I had many people urging me to go to the doctor to get on anti-depressants. I didn't want that label from taking medication. I was afraid we wouldn't be able to adopt again if we wanted to. I just want to lay around & do nothing. I also struggle with emotions about Jack feeling neglected with the girls here. I know he's struggling & it's hard on me. And I also think about our finances a lot. We are seriously in debt right now which I've never had in my life! (other than the house & car payments) We had lots of money to pay out at the end of travel, etc & I've also been off of work for 3 months without pay. I know God will take care of us but it's hard not to think about all of that debt hanging over our heads & hoping we have enough in our bank account for the next automatic bill payment!

How can I not be in love with these girls as we fought so hard to get them her? That's what I ask myself a lot & others may be asking the same of me. I mean I fought like heck. I badgered our agency (sorry WS!) & the US Embassy to speed things along to get them home. I was so in “Love” with them or so I thought. I thought all of those emotions would get us through the adjustment time here. I knew it would be hard taking care of 3 young children but I wasn't prepared for my emotions. I wasn't prepared for 2 months of no sleep. I thought I would be back in my bed within a month. I thought all of the emotional adjustment would be on them, not me. Boy was I wrong. I don't have any desire to hold them. I feel like an awful mother! Who doesn't want to hold their children? Who doesn't want to comfort a crying child? I have more emotions for other peoples children than my own. It is because I have become numb to them. I resent them for making me feel this way. I sigh every time I have to feed them or change their diaper. (Don't worry I still take care of their physical needs)

So what now? I finally broke down & went to the doctor last week. I did get an anti-depressant to help with this. It will take 4-6 weeks for it to fully work. I regret waiting so long to go & get started. I could be feeling somewhat normal by now if I didn't wait. I am so thankful I had a few people urging me to go. That I wasn't a bad mother for going. I can't worry about the possible risk of not being able to adopt. I have to take care of myself & the children I have now & then if I'm meant to adopt again later we will.

I have no doubts these girls were meant to be in our family. God orchestrated this perfectly & there's no way it would have worked the way it did without him. Everything that shouldn't have happened did & proved it was his plan. This is what I keep telling myself to get through it. That I will one day be happy & in love with them & won't be able to imagine my life without them here.

So lots of rambling but I just want to encourage other families struggling with post adoption depression to get some help. Go to the doctor NOW!!! Talk to other parents in the same situation. You are NOT alone even though you may feel like it right now.

Here are some other articles I found that may be helpful!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

We're home & now what?

I can't believe they're finally home!  It's kind of surreal after waiting so long!  (Plus the fact that we're sleep deprived & in a fog!)

The 17 hour flight was LONG & miserable & that's not an exageration!  We had no doubts that we would have a bassinet for the plane & then we could trade off the girls in it to give us a break from holding them.  We reserved one & thought we were fine.  We were one of the 1st to get to the airport & were told NO we did not get a bassinet!  WHAT?  You have to be kidding!  We have to hold BOTH of these babies the ENTIRE flight!  And we did!  It was awful!  No suger coating it!  The girls weren't happy, we weren't happy!  The flight attendents were awful!  They knew how bad we were doing as we asked 1/3 way there if there was anything they could do to move us seats or something with more room.  They NEVER once asked us if we needed any help, needed them to hold one or
anything!  In fact one time we needed help with something Jeremy hit the button several times & they kept turning it off without coming!!!  Thankfully there was one stranger that came to save the day a few times.  We met her in line at the airport & she kind of followed us around the airport waiting to leave.  She came over a few times to help us out & hold the girls.  I thought "Am I crazy to give our child to a stranger?" but we were so exhausted we welcomed the help!  I know she had the best intentions & was great with the girls.  It's not like she could have ran away with them!  She was fighting for us with the flight attendants to try to get us another seat even though we didn't have any luck.  Everyone thought she was related as she was such a big help!  God knew that we needed help & sent her!  The girls also had major upset stomachs the entire trip & flight which made it even worse. 

We finally landed in DC Saturday morning & it was so amazing to get off that plane!!!!!!  We checked into a hotel for a few hours to get a short nap & get showers.  It was the best $89 I ever spent!  We had a short hour flight from DC to Cincinnati!  That was SO quick (after the 17 hr flight) & we were there in no time!  We got off the plane & got the girls changed. 

We walked down to Baggage Claim to the Welcome Area & saw to the right in the window SO many of our friends & family there to welcome Chelsea & Lina HOME!  We are so blessed to have such supportive family & friends.  My eyes started welling up.  I tried to hold back the tears & the closer we got I started crying & couldn't stop.  We got to Jack & it was so amazing to have our whole family together at last!  Everyone ran over from the window to where we were!  Everyone was so excited to finally meet the girls!  We passed them all over & they got lots of love & kisses!

We're trying to get into a routine since being home but not anywhere near there yet.  It is HARD!  I wouldn't give the girls up for anything but it is HARD!  They seem to be bonding well with us but it is still a huge adjustment for them.  They are unhappy often.  They really fight napping.  They are sleeping well at night which is huge!  They have been getting up twice to eat & change & going back to sleep pretty good.  Their tummies are still not well so we're heading to the doctor today to see what's going on with that.  We're sleep deprived & are lucky to get a shower!  It's going to take a while to get into a good routine & all feel well.  Jeremy heads back to work this afternoon which is going to be a struggle. 

What about you?  We really need to limit visitors as it could become confusing to the girls to see many people.  We need to make sure that they know that WE are their parents & who they need to count on.  We don't want them to think all of these other people are their caretakers.  They're not like a newborn who you can pass around.  They have had many caretaker & now they have 2 primary caretakers, US!  I have heard from many people that they allowed a lot of people around because it seemed like their children were attaching well & then several months down the line they digressed & completely detached from them.  We don't want to take that risk.  However, we DO need HELP!  We originally said no  visitors for a month but we now know we need help.  They are a lot of work.  We ARE allowing people over that are willing to help us for short periods of time.  If you want to bring dinner, do dishes, mow lawn, run errands, watch them for a short nap or shower that is fine but we are still not allowing people over just to visit.  We still need to be the ones to meet all of their needs (feed & change them).  This is how they know to trust us & that we are their primary caretakers.  We are not good at asking for help so if you want to help just let us know.  We will try not to resist it!

Here's some pics for your pleasure!!!

Sunday, September 29, 2013


Many of you have asked what's going on with our adoption & when we can bring our daughters home.  I will try to let you know without complaining TOO much but it's hard at this point!

What are we waiting on now?
We are waiting on one piece of paper to be signed, picked up, translated, submitted & cleared.  Sounds simple enough, right?  So far it's been almost 2 weeks so it's really not as simple as it sounds unfortunately.

How can you pray?
Of course the number one prayer is for God's Will to be but also praying that God will have mercy and allow this to happen IMMEDIATELY for all of us!  There have been so many ups & downs, hope & hopelessness, tears, depression, stress, sickness just in the last few weeks and it continues to get worse & worse.  Please pray that the person that needs to sign this form is in the office tomorrow (tonight there) & signs the form FIRST thing in the morning. (as they were out Wednesday & Thursday last week)  This is 2 hours away from the city so our director has to drive & pick up the form 2 hours there & 2 hours back.  Then the form has to be submitted for translation.  Praying somehow he gets back in time to get that started tomorrow as well but Tuesday morning at the very latest.  The translation should take about a day & then it can be submitted to the US Embassy for approval.  Another HUGE prayer request is that this form is accepted & approved no questions asked without having to be approved by the local government office as is the norm.  That office is CLOSED until MID-OCTOBER!  Please Lord DO NOT make us wait that long!  We are praying that it is accepted & they clear us EARLY Wednesday morning in time for us to schedule our embassy appointment so we can fly out WEDNESDAY night!  YES, we plan to leave as soon as we clear.  It has been TOO long without OUR children!  It is time to bring them home & begin the attachment process!

You see, I started my FMLA last Monday so I have been off of work all week WITHOUT pay & that is important time that is supposed to be used for working on attaching to our girls & getting used to things before heading back to work.  Every day that goes by is another day less that I will have to spend with them during that important time. 

I'm sorry for driving everyone crazy these last few weeks but I have been going CRAZY!  This is complete torture!  Even though I didn't give birth to them they ARE my children & it is awful being away from them for so long.  If you haven't been through this you can't fully understand but just try to imagine leaving your biological child on the other side of the world for several months & not being able to see them, hold them, touch them, keep in contact with them.  It's miserable! 

Don't get me wrong, I don't regret this AT ALL.  I would do this all over again for my daughters but that doesn't make this any easier or make me like the process.   I know God has his own timing, but honestly I don't want to hear it.  Sorry but I don't.  It doesn't make me feel any better.  I know you have all the best intentions in the world when you tell me this, I do.  I "know" that already but I am just begging God to have mercy and allow them to come home!  Please let us clear WEDNESDAY & fly out WEDNESDAY night!  I don't think that's too much to ask after more than 3 months without our children.

We do appreciate your love & support.  Please keep praying that we can have them home right away.  I can't wait for everyone to meet them!  You will fall in love with them!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Update & What to expect later

It's been a while so I wanted to provide an update on our adoption & also give you an idea of what to expect when the girls come home.

Today our beautiful girls are 8 months old!  It's so hard to believe that we first found out about our daughters almost 6 months ago.  September 18th will be 6 months since we got our referral & saw their faces for the 1st time.  We have watched them grow from these tiny little babies & now are full of rolls through pictures!  It's amazing how much God has taken care of them when we couldn't be there to do it ourselves.  It's still difficult to know that we have missed out on SO much of their lives & missed so many important moments in their lives.  We are praying that we don't have to miss a whole other month of their lives & that they are home long before they turn 9 months. 

Here are some updated pictures of our beauties!

This was from a few weeks ago



Sleepy Girls

Chelsea (Look at those LEGS!!! LOVE IT)

Smiley Lina

They have grown SO much since we last saw them!  I hate missing all of this!  They are both about 15 pounds which is awesome considering they were 3 1/2 pounds at birth!  They have done a great job fattening them up!  I can't wait to get my hands on those chunky legs!!!  One bummer though is that we found out shortly after these pictures were taken they shaved their heads!  ahh!  That is common in that environment for various reasons (ease in caring, lice, cultural tradition).  I was so looking forward to fixing their hair when they come home!  Hopefully it grows quickly!

We are currently waiting on the US Embassy to clear our cases so we can go pick up our girls & bring them home FOREVER!  I can't wait to get that exciting email!  We were submitted on August 31st & we're 3 1/2 weeks in & they haven't started reviewing our cases. We are praying that they will start SOON & we will get a quick approval without interviewing the police officer in person.  We appreciate any & all prayers!  We plan on hopping on the plane RIGHT AWAY when we clear!

We want to make sure everyone understand what is going to happen when we bring the girls home.  We will be going into somewhat of a hibernation!  This is very important for attachment with adopted children.  Many think this isn't as important with infants as they are babies & don't know any better but that isn't true.  Some people have success with attachment while still being out & about & around a lot of people but others end up with regression & attachment issues later on down the line.  We have to do what is best for our girls.  You have to remember that they are leaving the only place that they have ever known & coming to a strange place with strange people.   They did very well with us when we were there but we were only with them a few hours each day for 6 days.  It can be a big shock for them to never be able to see the people they know & trust again.  Even for babies.  Our girls have been at the transition home since about 1 month of age.  

We want to invite anyone & EVERYONE to our airport homecoming!  I unfortunately have never been to one of these but I have heard so many stories & seen so many pictures.  These are AWESOME!  Watching a family walk through the airport with their children for the first time... This will be a great opportunity for you to meet our girls.  We can't guarantee that everyone will be able to hold them or even if anyone will.  We will have to wait & see how our girls react & read them.  If they are happy & willing we will allow people to hold them then we will, though we will be close by so they know we're not leaving.  This will be your only real opportunity to hold them for a while. But please don't be upset with us if they don't react well & we aren't able to allow you to hold them.

Once we come home we will be limiting visitors.  Our girls need to learn to trust us & know that we are their parents.  We do this by being the ones to meet their needs.  We will be the only ones to feed them, change them & meeting any other needs that they have for several months.  We don't know yet if/when we will allow visitors.  Again it will depend on how they are reacting.  If people stop by with food we may allow short visits but ask that you respect this great need for attachment.  I know everyone will want to see them!  I mean who can resist these cuties???  This is why the airport homecoming is so important to allow people to meet them!  Of course some of this may change once we get home, we'll just have to see.  You know how wild & crazy Jack is & with him running around & 2 crying babies, I may need help.  We'll just have to take it one day at a time & will try to keep people updated on what we are & aren't allowing as far as visits, help & holding the girls.  Please do not take any offense if we say you can't come over or if you do, that you can't hold them.  It is nothing personal against you.  It is just so different than bringing home a biological child from the hospital.  It takes a LONG time for them to know that we are their parents & we are NEVER leaving them!  Some things may seem like we're SPOILING them but we're not.  It takes a LOT of met needs to undo all of the unmet needs that they've experienced in their life.  As much as their nannies LOVE them they just can't meet all of their needs in that environment. We will be holding them, wearing them, & rocking them a LOT!

We love all of our friends & family!  You all have been SO supportive to us through this ENTIRE journey & we never could have done this without you!  We ask that you continue to pray for our girls.  Pray that God continues to watch over them & keep them safe & healthy.  Pray that we can bring them HOME very soon.  And pray for patience & trust for us during this time of waiting.  This is the hardest thing I've ever done in my life.  Having 2 of my children on the other side of the world where I can't see them.


Monday, August 26, 2013

Our Adoption Story on Film!

Here's a video of our adoption journey thus far!  Watch our girls from the very beginning & see how God brought us here!

Thursday, August 22, 2013


Don't have time for a full post but just wanted to let you know that we were finally SUBMITTED to the US Embassy.  From here it could be 1-8 weeks before we clear & can travel to bring our girls home.  Many families were previously clearing in 1 week but the last month or so it has been about a month.  We are praying for QUICK review & clearance of our case!

Thank you for your prayers, love & support!  So ready to bring our girls HOME!