Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Mudcakes

I have been remiss in my duties as a friend by not posting a link from my blog to my dear friend's website. They are The Mudcakes, also known as Rick and Sherry. Two incredibly talented people who happen to have married and have produced what I am sure are two talented children. I wouldn't know, though, they up and moved from our area to the land of plenty of sun and fun - Australia. To be fair, Sherry is from there, so she has merely returned home.

A few years ago they made one of the best kids CD's I've ever heard and we still do no tire of listening to songs, such as "Poo Party" and "That's A No No." Check out the link above or click on the Mudcakes image on the left to go to the website to hear some of the songs.

Monday, June 23, 2008


My story begins a couple of weeks ago. Noah requested that his training wheels be removed from his bike. Okay. I'm a little nervous. Not a very brave child normally, this is sort of going out on a limb. I take them off. That day I was on the upswing from a nasty sinus infection so I only had about 5 minutes in me to push him up and down the driveway trying to get a feel for a 2-wheeler. A couple of times over the next week or so, Nathan works with him a little until one or both of them became frustrated.

Next came Thursday night of last week. It was a lovely night, a little cool. Noah had been playing all day outside with the neighbors and was exhausted but wanted to try the bike again. This time, we do it in the backyard. This is a little tougher but with a softer landing should anything happen. Within four or five tries, Nathan was able to let go of the back of his bike. In an hour, Noah was outside in the cul-de-sac riding confidently in circles. He hasn't looked back.

He was so proud of himself. He really realized that had accomplished a major feat and this really put him in league with the kids out on the street! We are so proud of him. The only downside is his legs will soon be too long for him to ride his bike easily. We bought the cheapest bike we could find as the first bike - the trainer bike. I guess the next one will be serious!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Bonnaroo Fun

HI All. Well, we didn't take photos of Noah this year, but we attended the Bonnaroo Music Festival again this year. This year we went for two days which was really challenging with Noah. We were in a booth again, something I don't know that I'll repeat. Noah has gotten to an age where the novelty has worn off and he became bored and really was sort of in the way as he really didn't want to help much this year.

I told Nathan that I want to go back next year but we will stay in a hotel by the farm or perhaps camp for one night. They now provide a family camping area, so that may be an option for us.

Noah loved the ferris wheel again, liked the kid's tent, loved the fountain (though I didn't) and had two days of face painting and really like B.B. King. "I like that B.B. King," he told us after the show. We did too.

I hope we can attend Bonnaroo as long as they offer it. He is definitely the coolest kid around, getting to go. And, in case you are wondering, there are lots of families. For more on Bonnaroo, check out my other blog Peace and love to you.


Saturday, June 14, 2008

A Hard Decision

I want to start this post by saying that yes, this is sort of about me, about us and about her. We are all a party here. Also, in case you are wondering why I am putting this here, it is a sort of therapy. I have journaled for years and my blog has sort of become that space for me. Also, when we were walking the road toward IA but had not signed on the dotted line, I spent HOURS, I mean HOURS looking at blogs and website of folks who had adopted. I wanted to know if it is just a journey on the Love Train or is the Heartbreak Hotel on our itinerary. I guess you can figure out the answer to that.'s more on the "little star" that has crossed our paths:

Thursday was a rush of internet research, discussions with Nathan, discussions with CHI, and discussions with one of the pediatric doctors and Vanderbilt's International Adoption Clinic. All I can say is to those who say this is a gimmick or VUMC's opportunity at a sure fire money maker - you're probably right - but thank God for those folks. Seriously.

By the end of the day on Thursday, well, around 3:00, Nathan and I had decided that due to a couple of questions that were lingering around this little one's diagnosis and our certainty that we were not equipped to deal with one of the medical possibilities that she may be facing long term, we decided to turn down this referral. I actually think this is the first time that Nathan was as upset as me in regards to this adoption. This is a good thing. So, I called CHI and spoke with Tina and she gave me the chance to ask more questions. I did not think this was possible due to the time restrictions we now have on reviewing these Waiting Children files.

She said, "we can try." And, she did. And, she and the Beijing office came through. They are really dedicated to placing these Special Needs or Waiting Children. It is really amazing. So, on Friday morning, we called the IA clinic and after lunch spoke with the doctor. The prognosis is good. We can't be certain. Here is why it sounds good, here is why we can't be sure. Here are the possibilities. While on the phone with her, I checked my email looking for responses from families who had adopted children with this SN. After our conference call I called one of the families and had a great conversation with her regarding her children and the joys and challenges that are in their lives.

But, when it was all said and done, there was one aspect of medical care that we just did not think we could overcome. I think on Friday morning I was sort of ashamed of this. Here Great Spirit is handing us a beautiful, bright child on a platter and there is this one thing that we can't get past. No, it isn't cosmetic, that we can deal with. This is medical and could pose serious issues in the future depending on the severity. Are we the family that can deal with possible medical intervention in the home? We had to be painfully realistic and search our hearts. No. This little star would be better in a home with another family. And, trust me, another family will adopt her in a heart beat.

When we began this journey, we thought it would be so simple. Well....I don't know if that's true. I know nothing in my life has ever been simple or sure so I probably didn't think that about adoption. I am thankful that we have allowed our path to widen to include a Waiting Child. I know we are forever changed through this process.

Today, I have all of these children in my hearts and on my mind. Our agency is sitting on around 75 kids that are part of a shared list of children. These kids range from infant to 14 or so and are just waiting for a family. Many are older and pray that a family will come for them. They long for a home and a Mother and Father. There are those who are against adoption and really against international adoption. Those folks haven't seen the children. I feel certain that the children with special needs and the older children are there only for political or socio-economic reasons. They were not stolen or sold. There are just too many.

So, we wait. There will be more files and more children. To be honest, I knew. I knew when I first looked at her - before reading anything medical or knowing really the possibilities -- just from her picture that she wasn't ours. Wasn't mine. There are families who say that adoption isn't always love at first site. But there are more that knew from the first moment of seeing their children's faces. And, these are often families who have chosen a child from the WC program. There have been other kids that we have seen photos of and said - she could be part of us. I know that another family will look at this little one and say -yep, she's ours.

So....we are keeping on keeping on. Hope you do too.


We Got the Call

On Thursday "we got the call." In International Adoption, this phrase is a big deal.'s a big deal to us. I had just rolled out of bed and was coughing horribly as I am getting over a sinus infection. The landline was ringing and I couldn't make it there. Whoever it was hung up, so I thought it was my sister as this is her MO. Then, my cell began ringing. Okay, okay.

"Hi Dana it's Tina Qualls with CHI." Holy Cow. It's not even 8:00AM. I hand Nathan the phone due to a coughing fit. "Talk," I manage to get out.

They have a child that they have matched with our SN list and would like for us to review her file. Nathan and I are speechless and standing in the kitchen with huge smiles on our faces. I will not and cannot go into details but she is recovering from surgery to repair a fairly serious birth defect. She is beautiful and bright and the orphanage was literally gushing over her. So, yes, we will review her file.....

All I can say after all of that, is "Thank you God for giving us this opportunity."


Monday, June 9, 2008

New Special Needs Process

Well, as you know over the last 16 months Nathan and I have applied to review the files of several special needs children from our agency's waiting children list. We have yet been chosen to review those files. By chosen I mean chosen by the Universe or our agency. When we originally submitted our dossier to China we said there was absolutely no way we could accept a SN referral. We just aren't equipped for that, right? Almost immediately, however, we began looking at the lists and thought, "okay, we can do this." So, we have poured over the lists and found children that we simply fell in love with through the screen of our computers. The process has changed several times, quite drastically, in fact. It went from first to request first to review to having all of the requests thrown into a hat and one drawn out randomly to the newest format.

This new method is basically a lengthy request of the types of SN we would accept and we have been put in order by our Log In Date and as the children's files become available, we will be matched with a child. We will have the opportunity to turn down a referral but that puts us at the bottom of that list. For example, we requested as one of our SN a child who was near or far sighted. If they match us with that special need and we turn it down, then we get put at the bottom of the near sighted list. We lose our place.

To be honest, this is probably the most fair way to approach these lists though it is more difficult imagining being referred a SN child. I think that is what made it safe for us before. Being able to identify a child and choosing the child. Now, it is more like waiting for a child to be born and just praying for the best. So, that is what we are doing.

Actually, I have been quietly excited over this entire thing. There are only 30 families who have asked to be part of this new process. That is so interesting to me as there were close to 200 who were applying for these kids before. In theory, we probably have only 15 or 20 families ahead of us. We might actually be referred a child this year. The downside of all of this is this is from a Multiple Agency list. theory there are 3 or 4 agencies attempting to place these children with their families. Though there may only be 15 or 30 families ahead of us in our agency, there are that many at the others as well wanting to adopt these kids.

With all of that said, I am ready to start working on our little ones room. We've put that off now for 2 years (can you believe we started this 2 years ago?) but now I'm ready. I'll post when I pick the bedding for the room and a theme if I have one. Noah's room is a pirate room and is so cute and not over the top. I hope Arwen's room turns out as well.

Keep us in your thoughts as we continue to wait for the greatest gift of the Universe.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Go Figure

This has been a tough week. Nathan was sick over the weekend with what we think was a sinus infections. By Tuesday night I had it and by Wednesday night Noah had it. Wednesday I was blessed by a neighbor who offered to take Noah for the afternoon of swimming. I rested all afternoon and evening. Thursday, Noah was feeling fairly sick and spent the day lying around with me. We read and snuggled and watched a little TV. All was good. Today, we are both feeling better but neither are quite at 100%. I worked around the yard until I finally had to rest. I decided to lie down in my room and told Noah he has to rest in his room but he does not have to nap. I tell him that because I know that he never naps. I mean really, I could nap every day but he naps perhaps once or twice a year at this point. So....I do not go to sleep. I read while I'm resting and an hour later I hear Noah's alarm going off letting him know that the hour is up. I go in to let him know that it is okay if he gets up to play and lo and behold...he is asleep. Can you believe it? I pray daily that he will nap! I am still sick and really wanted to sleep but did not even try today. Oh well...I am able to sit and listen to my new discovery - Hay House Radio. Right now as I work I am listening to Esther and Jerry Hicks - the Law of Attraction folks and am really relaxed. So, I guess it all worked out as it should. I am still relaxed and Noah is getting the rest that he obviously needs to fully recover from this illness.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Charlotte's Web

For quite some time, CW has been a favorite of mine and Noah's. We listen to it regularly in the car and even took him to see the big screen version. A few days ago, I decided that it was not neccessary for Noah to have a large bin of toys and books in the car. He does not have to be entertained 24 hours a day and in fact I think it negatively impacts his listening skills. So, it all went. But, I neglected to take out our new copy of CW that was in a pocket on my seat back.

Being somewhat bored, Noah spotted it and pulled it out and stated, "I'm going to read all of CW to you." Okay. That's what he's been doing. Every day in the car, he reads as much as he can. It is slow going but with a couple of exceptions, he has read it with no help from me. He has gotten stuck on a couple of words, such as "replied" and "sight" but he is doing so well. I am so glad I took everything out of the car.

He loves being read to but has said he hates reading. Now, he says, "Mom, I love to read!" A good day, folks, and a good feeling.

Peace Out.