Saturday, April 21, 2007

Two Years Ago -- Yesterday

With everything going on with Tyler and the basement and just life in general, I never got a chance yesterday to post about Emmalee's adoption day. Yesterday was two years since Emmalee Ann was placed into our arms. Even though I was busy all day yesterday, I thought about her placement day a great deal. Thought I'd share the story here.

Brent, Tyler and I flew all night from Salt Lake City to JFK and then on to Buffalo. We arrived early in the morning on April 20. By the time we rented the car and got to the hotel, we were exhausted. Before we left Utah, the doctors taking care of Emmalee at the hospital said that she would likely have to remain there for several more days. Given that, we figured we'd go to the hotel, nap and then go up to the hospital. When we got checked in and up to our room, I called the agency to let them know that we had arrived and what our plans were. They had great news for us. The hospital called and they were ready to release Emma! They were just waiting for our arrival. Apparently she had made some very positive changes and was ready to go. Forget the nap, let's go get our girl! After cleaning up and getting some food, we headed to the agency. We were so excited!

We got there and began going through all the paperwork, etc. This is kind of a lengthy process. Once we had all that done, Sara left to go pick up Emmalee. We waited for what seemed like an eternity for them to return. They brought us lunch. We waited some more. Tyler fell asleep, we continued to wait. Finally someone said they saw her car pulling in. We were on pins and needles.
They escorted us to the nursery and sat me down in the rocking chair. The moment was so surreal. It was like a dream. After a couple of minutes, Sara came in holding our baby girl. I remember the first thing I said was, "holy cow, she is so tiny!" She was the smallest baby I had ever seen. When Sara placed her in my arms, the tears started flowing. I can remember just staring at her tiny little face. It was as if she and I were the only two people in the room. The little piece of my heart that had been missing suddenly filled in. The joy was overwhelming. She was perfect and beautiful and so clearly meant to be our child.

We had a great time hanging out at the agency, letting Daddy hold Emmalee and showing her off to all the staff. We undressed her and looked at how tiny she was. Even the preemie outfit she was wearing was too big. We held her and fed her and tried to comprehend the fact that she truly was coming home with us.
Looking at her now, it is almost impossible to remember the tiny baby I held for the first time that day. She has grown and changed so much in two short years. I am still amazed that she is ours.

This I know for sure, adoption is a miracle. It's true that I never pictured my life turning out this way. I never thought for one moment that this is how my children would come to me. But, now I realize that this is God's perfect plan for our family. I may not understand all the reasons why but that's okay. I am just truly thankful that He has sent these beautiful children. I can't wait to see who comes next!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Excitement Never Ends!

We returned home from the hospital on Tuesday night to discover our basement was flooded. Honestly, when it rains, it pours. There was a good six to eight inches of water down there. We have had so much rain and snow the last few days and for some reason our sump pump didn't kick on. So, when the rain water has no where else to go, it heads inside. There is a silver lining -- at least it wasn't sewer water! Also, it forced me to have to organize and that isn't always a bad thing. However, the timing was just plain ridiculous!

They say bad things come in threes. Well, whatever it is, I don't want the third thing!!

Home Sweet Home

We are truly thankful to be home! I'm not certain I could have spent one more night on the fold-out chair/bed the hospital provides. In truth, I would have stayed there as long as necessary. I'm just glad it's over. Tyler is so happy to be home. He has been playing and watching all his favorites on TV. He's such a trooper. Emma was beyond thrilled to have him home. This has been tough on her also, as well as Daddy and I.

The good news is that Tyler's leg is healing. His body is working hard to get rid of the infection.

The bad news is that the particular strain of staph he has is highly resistant to antibiotics. The wound is still draining and there is still infection there. He is still contagious and therefore we are pretty much quarantined until we receive the all clear from the doctor. We return to the doctor on Monday. Hopefully that will be the end of it.

Thanks to everyone for your thoughts, emails, phone calls, and prayers. I'll keep you all posted!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Never a Dull Moment

Well, life certainly has a way of throwing curves at you sometimes. Our sweet Tyler likes to keep thing interesting. Last week I noticed what looked like a pimple on his right leg, inside just below the knee. I didn't think much of it. It was a little red and felt kind of hard like a pimple. I figured maybe his leg brace had rubbed a bit and caused some irritation. On Thursday it seemed a bit more red and swollen but not anything that caused great concern. We decided to keep an eye on it and see how he did. By Friday evening the small red spot had turned into a large, angry looking sore. It was super hot to the touch and very red. I touched it and it started oozing and squirting nasty liquid. (Nice, huh?!) By this time the doctor's office was closed so I called the after hours nurse line. They called back with instructions from the doctor to go to the ER. The ER doctor checked him out, gave him a shot of antibiotic and sent him home with instructions to see our doctor in the morning. Brent took him in on Saturday morning only to find out that the ER doctor did not follow our doctor's instructions. She was a bit irritated, to say the least. At any rate, she took a sample of the yucky stuff draining out in order to culture it. She drew a line around the redness and instructed us to watch it and if it went past the line or he started running a fever to call her. Well, he started a fever in the afternoon and the redness was growing and he also had a red streak up the back of his leg. Called the doctor and she sent us back to the ER and this time she called them with instructions. It was a long night in the ER. They had to cut into Tyler's leg in order to get the infection out. They started him on a strong IV antibiotic and they admitted him.

Fast forward to today. Tyler is still in the hospital. What we know is that he has a very nasty strain of staph infection. It is a bad one that is highly resistant to antibiotics. In fact, they discovered today that the antibiotic he is on is not making any difference. So, they have started him on a new one that is supposed to help. We are hoping that he will be able to come home tomorrow. He is feeling much better and is in a good mood. But, because he is contagious, he is in a room alone and can't leave his room. He's getting bored! Poor little guy, I feel so badly for him. We just hope and pray that tomorrow will be the end and we can get him home.

I'll update more then.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

New Adoption Fundraiser

We have a new adoption fundraiser. It is a great way for our supporters to get awesome deals from name brand companies while we earn money towards our adoption. Please check it out!

Monday, April 9, 2007

Bye-Bye Binks!

I can't sleep. It's after 1:00 in the morning and I can't sleep. Why you ask? Well, tonight is the first night Emmalee has gone without a binks, (pacifier.) I think, okay I know, I am having a more difficult time with this than she is. I am sad to admit that my baby is getting big. She just turned two. I always said that when she was two the binks would have to go. I am shocked that I followed through. It is one of the last pieces of her "babyhood" and I didn't realize how emotionally attached I was. :) I remember going through this same thing several months ago when she and Tyler went off the bottle. It is hard. This is not one of those things that you are prepared for. You read about how to help the child transition from the loss of the bottle or pacifier or whatever. No one bothers to tell you that you may have a hard time with it as well. They forget to mention that you will be overcome with guilt for robbing your child of their comfort item. That you will suffer an emotional breakdown because you have had to realize that your child is no longer a baby. That once it's all said and done, you may actually need a binks to cope. (Okay, it isn't that bad!) In truth, I didn't realize that I would have such a difficult time letting go of all that the binks represents. It is just one more reminder that my little girl has moved from the baby stage to the toddler stage. The next step is moving her out of her crib. I'm crying just thinking about that. At least I have a few years to prepare before she starts asking for the car keys!

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Two Years Ago Today

Two years ago today our world turned upside down, in the best possible way. For most people, when they are adopting they wait for "the call." For us, it was a bit different. On April 8, 2005 we got "the email." We had recently moved and Michele from our adoption agency was having a hard time finding our new phone number. (Actually, with Tyler we got "the email" also. That's another story you'll have to wait until August to hear.) At any rate, that day the email came and rocked our world. We weren't expecting it. In fact, Brent and I were just beginning the process of adopting a two year old boy with Down syndrome from Colombia. Tyler was just over ten months old and we knew that Miguel's adoption would take several months at best. We were in control. We knew where we were headed and what our plans were. We had our reservations about adopting from Colombia but we felt like we needed to head down that road unless and until Heavenly Father told us otherwise. Well, He told us alright. In a big way.
I clearly remember going upstairs and sitting down at the computer. There was an email from Michele. I wasn't particularly surprised to hear from her. The subject line wasn't anything suspicious. When I opened the email, that's when everything went topsy-turvy. It was a short note. Something along these lines -- Jodie, give me a call. We have a situation we think you might be interested in. It is a baby girl, born April 6. Possible special needs due to pre-natal drug and alcohol use. Baby is tiny, no pre-natal care but she seems to be about six weeks early. Call me ASAP. Michele
I think I read the email about a dozen times and then called Brent at work. We couldn't believe it. What did this mean? Were we supposed to adopt this baby girl? Weren't we supposed to adopt Miguel? What was Heavenly Father trying to tell us? We figured we had better take it one step at a time and we called Michele.
Michele gave us as much information as she had. It was indeed a baby girl. She was tiny, just over four pounds. She was very sick. She was born at a smaller hospital and had to be rushed to the children's hospital in Buffalo. She was on a ventilator and wasn't eating on her own. They didn't know if she would have Fetal Alcohol syndrome but it was a strong possibility. They were discussing placing a feeding tube. The birth parents had both signed to terminate their parental rights and wanted a closed adoption. There were many unknowns about her future medically. Did we think we might be interested?
I honestly can't remember much else about that initial conversation. I remember being so caught off guard. I know that I hit my knees and said a prayer asking for help and guidance. Then Brent and I talked for a long time. Turns out, we both had our doubts and concerns about Miguel's adoption but hadn't really voiced them. We wanted so badly for his adoption to be right for our family. We already loved that little boy and it was so difficult to admit that he wasn't meant to be our child. We prayed together to know if this little girl was meant to be ours. The answer came quickly. We called Michele.
We, of course, weren't the only family they had called. We knew that would be the case. They needed to keep all their options open. We understood and told Michele that we absolutely wanted to be considered. We were scared. Although Brent and I were open to most special needs, Fetal Alcohol syndrome was one of those things that we didn't know much about and felt ill prepared to handle. We researched and tried to put our minds at ease. We knew that this was out of our hands. If she was meant to be our child, it would work out.
The next twelve days are a bit of a blur. A few days after "the email" we finally got "the call." Michele called us to tell us that yes, they did want us to be the parents to this baby girl. We were in heaven. We already knew, somewhere deep inside, that this was our child. We couldn't be happier. We chose her name, Emmalee Ann. We spelled it this way for a reason, Lee is my middle name and we wanted to include it. We chose Ann for her middle name because it is my sister's as well as my oldest niece's middle name. We had to have our home study updated. At that time we still lived in Utah so we had to make flight plans and hotel reservations and pack and get everything ready to bring home a new little one. We bombarded Michele and Sara with emails and phone calls. We had the wonderful task of sharing the news with friends and family. We were ecstatic.
Emmalee Ann was placed in our arms on April 20, 2005. She was two weeks old to the day and smaller than any baby I had ever held before. As you can guess, we were thrilled. I will post more about that day on my blog on April 20. :)
For now, I sit here reflecting back on that day, two years ago, when everything changed. Being an adoptive mom has taught me a great deal about patience. I have learned that despite my desire to control everything, I really have little control over such things. My purpose is to plan, prepare and be ready for the miracles when Heavenly Father is ready to send them. I am thankful we were ready for the miracle of Emmalee. She has changed our lives. She has made me a better person. I only hope I can be the best mom possible to her and Tyler and any other miracle children we are blessed with.
*Side note, Emmalee obviously does not have Fetal Alcohol syndrome. In fact, she is a perfectly healthy, happy two year old. Miracles never cease!

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Happy 2nd Birthday, Emmalee!

It seems impossible but our baby girl turned two yesterday. I have so many things I want to write but the words just don't seem to come. I just can't believe that the tiny 4.5 pound peanut they placed in my arms has turned into this lively little person. She is certainly not a baby anymore. Where did the time go??? Happy Birthday, Emmalee Ann!

Thursday, April 5, 2007

One Year Ago Today

One year ago today we finalized both Tyler and Emmalee's adoptions. It was wonderful. I can't help but reflect on all the feelings we had. When the judge announced to us that these were now legally our children, it was a bit overwhelming. Of course, they were already our children in every way that mattered. But, knowing that they were legally ours, that no one could ever take them from us, there just aren't words to describe it. Adoption is a miracle!

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Double Standard

I will fully admit it, I live by a double standard when it comes to my children. I try hard not to but it is, at times, impossible. Case in point....Tyler back talked to me today. I was trying to get him to let me change his diaper and he was bugged. He wanted to play. I made him lay down again and he looked right at me and signed NO, NO! I cried...I picked him up and hugged him...I wanted to shout for joy! I was so proud of him. I love that he, at times, acts like a typical two year old. He can throw fits, get upset, etc. But, he has never used words to communicate his feelings like this. It was awesome. Naturally the double standard comes from the fact that if Emmalee talks back, she gets into trouble. But, for Tyler, I consider today a huge mile-stone. Does that make me a hypocrite? Probably and I am totally fine with that!