Happy Birthday A!

It was one year ago today that "A" was born and he's been on our minds a lot today.

We hope and pray that "A" is safe and flourishing at home with his mommy. We hope that the reasons why she wanted to make an adoption plan for him have resolved themselves and that her family has accepted "A" for who he is. We hope that he's happy and healthy. Most of all, we hope that "A" is loved and cherished as much as EVERY child should be.

Happy birthday "A" and even though you will never know us, please know that you will always have a special place in our hearts!


Tagged...a new game!

I’ve been tagged to play along with this game!
Here are the rules:
1. go to your documents/pictures file on your computer
2. go to your 6th file
3. go to your 6th picture
4. post and blog about it
5. tag 6 people to do the same
6. smile!

Here's my 6th picture in my 6th folder of pictures. This is a picture of Allie's crib and the wall words above her bed.

We painted Allie's room in October while we were still completing paperwork for the adoption. Some people said that they couldn't have a room around their house that constantly reminded them that they didn't have a child. For me, it was the opposite. The room was a symbol of hope.

The crib and bedding were purchased during the 11 days that we thought we were getting A (failed adoption). We knew that A's birthmom was coming down to our house and we wanted to have the nursery somewhat put together for when she visited. We wanted her to feel as though A was already a part of our family. The night before she was supposed to visit, she changed her mind. It was earlier that day that the crib arrived. That night, we decided that we still wanted to put the crib together. We did and we loved it.

We did return most of the things we bought for A. I cried as we returned each item. (The sales people must have thought I was a nut at pottery barn!) The one thing I couldn't bare to return was the bedding. I had bedding picked out for a boy and for a girl, but when I put the bedding in the crib we purchased for A it felt right. We didn't return it. So, Allie has bedding that's a little more boyish, but we still love it.

The words above Allie's crib say, "Such a big miracle in such a little girl." I found this saying downtown shortly after Allie was born. I didn't buy it, but mentioned to Cory that night how much I liked it. The next day, when he returned from work he had his first "gift" for Allie...the wall words! It was so sweet...boy does she have him wrapped around her little finger!
I tag Tifanie, Michelle, Kitsie, Jenny, Kari, and anyone else that wants to do it that doesn't have a blog...you can e-mail yours to me and I'll post it on my page!
Here are a few more pictures:

All went well

Allie's surgery this morning went great. It was such a quick procedure and the hospital we did it at was beyond wonderful. The worst part was that we had to be there at 5:30 a.m. and her surgery wasn't scheduled until 7:00. She couldn't eat anything after midnight, so when she was coming out of anesthetic she was crying and hungry but then vomited when we fed her. After a short nap, she seems much happier!
We were in the children's part of McKennen hospital and while we were there, saw numerous children who you could tell felt that the hospital was their second home. It really made us appreciate having a healthy child! My prayers will defiantly be for the little ones who aren't so healthy tonight!


I have a dream...

Yesterday was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. day.  After watching a video clip about Dr. King and reading through parts of his "I have a dream" speech, I had my students complete their own short "I have a dream" statement.  I didn't realize how much thought my students would put into writing their 'speeches,' however it was one little girl's writing that touched me deeply.
It reads...
"I have a dream that one day everybody would have happiness in their lives so the world would live in peace with others caring for each other.  Also that one day children from the orphanage would get adopted and have a family so they could be happy like everyone else in the world."


We've been busy!

Last week was a CRAZY week! On Monday school was cancelled due to the weather so Allie and I were able to spend the whole day together...priceless! School was 2 hours late on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday due to the cold weather and to top it off we weren't able to have outdoor recess due to the temperature. I am as serious as can be when I say that my students were NUTS all week. I think by Friday, everyone was in need of a weekend!

On Friday, we ended up taking the day off and taking Allie to an ENT specialist in Sioux Falls. We've struggled with ear infections since the end of September and she doesn't respond to antibiotics. So...they decided that the best thing for us to do would be to have tubes put in her ears. Even though it's hard to have any kind of procedure done to your child, I'm okay with it because I've worked with children who didn't have tubes and had hearing loss because of it. Allie's surgery is scheduled for next Tuesday (2/27) at 8 am.

Other than that, Cory and I have just been busy muddling through the initial adoption paperwork we need to complete prior to our home study. It's funny, even though it wasn't that long ago that we filled out these papers for the first time I seem to have forgotten how much paperwork we have to fill out and how many hoops we have to jump through. I have about 1/2 of the paperwork filled out, we have our physicals scheduled for next week, and we are going to go get fingerprinted on Friday. Hopefully we can have all of our paperwork sent off by next Friday. We'll see how that goes....

Here's a picture of my sister and Allie that my sister sent me tonight...I already posted this picture once, but I thought it was awesome how she tinted the picture. Have a great week everyone!


9 months!

At Allie's nine month appointment, she was off the charts in both height and weight again! Allie is 32 1/2 inches long and is 25 pounds 2 ounces! She's meeting all of her benchmarks and is right on target developmentally for her age. She just had another slight ear infection. We have another check-up this Friday to make sure that it's gone. We'll keep our fingers crossed!
She's now pulling herself up to a standing position and she'll "walk" all the way down the couch as long as she's holding on! The other night she even went from a plastic tub with toys in it to the couch! She's also developed quite a personality. If you know Cory at all, you'll understand when I say that she has his personality. She loves to make people laugh and when she does, she has this fake little giggle that she does. It's adorable (insert mommy biased here) and it makes everyone laugh!!!
All in all, Allie's doing great and we are loving every minute of it!!!


Difficult Decisions...

This time last year, Cory and I had already submitted our profile to our adoption agency and on the 8th we were officially a "waiting family." I can remember the excitement, nervousness, joy, and the fear that we felt. I wrote in a journal throughout our entire adoption process. Looking back, I can see the emotions that I felt and it brings back so many memories. I kept my cell phone on vibrate on my desk every day. I think that I probably checked both my cell phone and the agency web site at least twenty times a day. It was a crazy time, but it was also amazing when we did actually receive "the call."

Fast-forward one year and we are once again beginning the adoption process. Last time we started the process, we chose to enter the domestic infant program. That decision was made (not lightly I might add) partly because we wanted to experience having an infant and partly because we felt the domestic program fit us better at the time.

This time around, things don't seem so cut and dry. We are trying extremely hard to determine which program we want to pursue. I know that at some point we will be adopting internationally, but I'm just not sure if we should do one more domestic adoption first. One day I think we are going to enter the domestic program again and the next day I am convinced that international adoption is the way we should go. How do we decide?!?!

On one hand, with domestic adoption we know the process. We understand that there is no timeline, birth parents can change their mind for a certain amount of time, and that you put your heart out there and it can be hurt. We also remember the joy that it can bring. We remember being the first people to hold our new little baby, calling family and friends to exclaim that it's a girl, and we remember bringing her home from the hospital. We know who Allie's birth mom (T) is. We met her 2 days prior to her birth and then she visited 10 day after Allie's birth to meet Allie for the first time. We have pictures of all 4 of us together and we even have that picture in Allie's bedroom. We will always be able to talk about T to Allie and she will know how much we love and respect her for the difficult decisions she had to make. Allie will have the opportunity to know and love T. I thank God that we do know who T is and why she chose adoption.

On the other hand, my heart has always been drawn to international adoption. After much research, we have fallen in love with Ethiopian adoption. The process is beautiful, the children are deeply loved and often quite young, and there are thousands upon thousands of orphans who need homes. The wait for a typical Ethiopian adoption for us would be about 15 months. It would be nice to have an actual time line for our adoption, but after our last adoption 15 months seems like a long wait. There are also many other things we need to consider with international adoption. We would have to travel to Ethiopia for about two weeks and we'd have to leave Allie here. That would be extremely tough and then on top of that, that's two more weeks that I'd have to take off of work. Between the infertility treatments, the adoption process, the failed adoption, and then Allie's adoption I'm running short on sick days. With international adoption (because the children are older when they are placed in your home), sometimes there are attachement issues in which I'd want to spend an extended period of time home.

As you can see, we've weighed the pros and cons of each program and still haven't been able to come to some kind of conclusion. I just wish this decision was easier for us. I'm not really sure who all reads our blog, but I'd love to hear others thoughts on this topic!!!


Pictures from Christmas

Allie's first Christmas was filled with family, fun, and lots of love! Cory and I both agreed that we have never really experienced a true Christmas until this year. Christmas is always an awesome time of year, but when you are able to see it through your child's eyes...it's priceless. We continue to thank God for the gift that he has given us!

Here are a few pictures from the past few weeks!