Friday, August 22, 2008

One last, last post...

I don't have a problem. I can quit any time.....

But this one is funny! I will forget it, if I don't post it now. **Scroll down for an updated pic of the babe**

We've packed up all of Marina's baby dolls but one. She is quite bereft. And she isn't letting Lucy out of her sight, I can tell you. She managed to pilfer one baby bottle from being packed away, as well. She was giving Lucy her bottle while I sorted items on the couch.

Marina: Lucy is hungry. I'm feeding her.
Me: Yes, you take such good care of your babies.
Marina: She is drinking milk from her bottle.

[Now, as I continue, I just want to go on record that I am not a breastfeeding freak. I didn't nurse any of my kids past a year (though I don't see anything wrong with that). Marina never had a drop of breastmilk herself and she is healthy as a horse. But I do firmly feel that breastmilk is the best food for babies, and I want to do everything I can to make sure my grandchildren have the best chance at getting the best. I've always encouraged the girls to "nurse" their babies when it comes up. Does that make me wierd??!! It is not like we talk about it all the time. We've actually only discussed it twice since Cara came home. The conversation I noted earlier and this one. When Ian and Randy were infants, first Abby and then Marina could regurlarly be seen lifting their shirts to give a dolly a little snack. Too cute!! Lately though, all they've been getting is the old plastic nipple (like Cara)]

I'm always curious to know--her play is a good inidicator of where we are with processing the whole birth and adopted thing--so I asked, "Did Lucy come out of your tummy, or did you adopt her?"

Marina: pausing a moment to consider She came out of my tummy.
Me: Oh, then you should give her milk from your breast. That is the kind of milk babies like best.
Marina: lifting her shirt and studying her teensies, then looking up at me doubtfully Mommy. pounting now with her finger at my chest. You have big milks. I only have little milks.

Just Can't Resist...

Posting a picture of Cara. Her looks are changing so fast, if I don't post until we are moved into our new home, you won't even recognize her. She is rounding out very well. Even her little stick arms and legs are getting chunkier. She can focus on our faces now, as you can see, and today she started grasping her baby keys. Yes, she is awake more, but oh, so cute! I think I would already be done packing if I didn't take so many Cara breaks.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Over and Out

This will be my final post on this blog, except to give you my new address. *Sniff, sniff* We are moving. As this chapter of our lives comes to a close and we relocate, I think it appropriate to "relocate" in blogland.
I referenced this before, but right after the master's amputation, he felt conviction to return to the pastorate. Maybe he feared God would take the other leg? One was enough. He sent out four resumes, and after a LOOOONG process, he was called on Sunday to a congregation in East Texas. On Sunday morning, when we were explaining to the children what to expect from the day, I told Abby that Daddy would preach and the church would vote to make them their pastor or not.
"So, they will listen to Daddy and then make a decision?"
"I hope they are not too picky."
But despite Abby's lack of confidence, the church voted (93 for, 2 against) to call him.
The master is on cloud nine. He would be if the church was in Zimbabwe, but added to his bliss of being in the pulpit, is a return to his home turf--his best friend since childhood and his family. The transition will be made easier for the older children, as we will be close to our old home town, and they already have special friends there. I have a few friends I will enjoy being closer to, as well. I'm sad to be moving further away from my parents, but three hours is much better than Zimbabwe, huh, Mom? I think we are going to a good church, and a good fit for our family.
I have SO much to get done. I started packing last week. A little presumptuous, perhaps, but I'm glad I did. It's still a massive task, even a week into it. I have no self control when it comes to blogging, so I'm going to have to go cold turkey for the next two weeks. I'm going to miss all of you!!! Be good, and I'll see you two (maybe three) weeks!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Enquiring Minds?

I have come to the decision that my blog buddies are the most uncurious folks on the planet. It might be that you just have alot more tact than I do. Hey, ya'll are a classy bunch of ladies! Perhaps you are simply tired of hearing about this adoption already. Or, it could be that most of you have HUGE, life-changing stuff you are dealing with at present. As a matter of fact, I have some of that going on, too. But since, at the moment, we are stuck in limbo, with no idea IF or WHEN those events may occur, there is no sense blogging about it. So in the interest of keeping this blog going, I will address some questions that have been posed to us in the past few weeks by people in the real world.

1. Closed or Open? or Have you heard from the (birth) mom?

As it stands now, I guess you would say that our adoption is closed. C.C. walked out of the hospital the next day after we arrived. She went right back out on the streets and back to her former lifestyle, despite our urging and our agency's offer to relocate and enter a rehab program. She talked as though she wanted that as well, but in the end the pull of her addictions were too strong. It breaks my heart. Even now, I am crying over her life. I do not--and she does not--believe she will live much longer. I don't look for her to contact our agency again, but if she should, the door will be open on our end. I serve a miracle working God. That has never been more evident to me than in this adoption process. C.C. herself described her life as being in a deep, dark, pit that she could not climb out of. If Christ should work a miracle in her and rescue her out of that pit, no one on earth will rejoice more than the master and I.
P.S. on this question: I am the mom!

2. On the lighter side, here is one that has been posed to us each time we have added a child since Abby: Are you done?

We are done....for now. I look around and our family seems pretty complete to me. Three boys, three girls. But it has felt that way five times before. We've always answered this question--and we hear it frequently--with, "We want eight. Because eight is enough." And from those folks old enough to remember the t.v. show, we get a chuckle, and the conversation moves on. We don't know what the Lord has in store for us. Maybe six. Maybe seven (but I'm not too keen on odd numbers). Maybe eight. We'll see. But for now, we're good.
K often asks us if we will be like the family in Arkansas--with 15 (or is it 16? 17?) kids. I feel I can answer that with a confident, blanket, unqualified, "NO!"

3. What about the (birth) father?

The birth father is unknown. In compliance with Texas law, the agency will run an add in the local paper where Cara was born, but it is almost unheard of that anyone steps forward to be tested in these cases. We are not in the least bit worried that the adoption is at risk.

4. Why not international? and How did you/why did you get this baby?

In and of itself, this question tickles me, because when we were adopting Marina, we got: Why not domestic? I've already posted about why we pursued domestic, and how we were matched with Cara, so I won't go into that. I'm adding these questions because of the way in which they have been asked. This question has been posed to me twice since we brought Cara home and both times in a tone of disapproval. In both instances, the person knew of someone (either friend or family member) who had been trying for years to get pregnant and/or adopt domestically with no success. Most people have no clue as to how complicated, expensive, and difficult an international adoption is. They've seen the news broadcasts showing rows and rows of babies in cribs, and they think you just fly over there and pick one up. They perceive that there is a "shortage" of babies available for adoption in the U.S. What they may not know is that there are not near as many white, healthy infants available for adoption as there are people wanting to adopt them. What they definitely do not know (because we are not willing to disclose it to them) is that Cara did not fall into that category. I'm sure that, had any of the other families at our agency been open to a baby with Cara's history, we would never have received that wonderful call. All they see is a beautiful, perfect baby being placed with a couple who have FIVE other children. I'm sure it doesn't seem "fair" to them. Both times, I've answered this question with, "God did it." It is what I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt. She was meant to be in our family. But I'm sure that is cold comfort for someone who has grieved over an empty cradle for years. Since you all are the most gracious, tactful people I know, maybe you have some suggestions for me on this one?

Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Big 3-0

This is my first post as a trigenarian. My mom and dad came on Saturday and prepared a YUM-EE meal. To top off Mom's brownies, the master brought Blue Bell into my home. Sinfull stuff. And I ate WAY too much. Around our bowls that night, Abby asked, "So, mom, how old are you?"

"Until Tuesday, I'll be 29. Then I will be 30."

"Thirrrrrr-teeeee! WOW!" Coming around the table, she put her hand on my shoulder sympathetically, "You better enjoy these last few days."

Monday, July 28, 2008

Old Posts

This is one of those promised posts from the time Cara was in the neonatal ICU.

July 1, 2008
What an emotional day! Full of highs and lows. I'm exhausted, but want to make a record of our journey, before too much of it slips away in forgetfulness. I feel as though I've slipped back into the dark ages by using this pen. It might as well be a feather, and this jar of spinach dip at my elbow, an ink pot.
My first tears of the the day hit at 11:00, when the speech therapist cane in to give Cara her bottle. She is taking two bottle feeds every 24 hours, with the day feed supervised by the speech therapist. Don't ask me why she is called a 'speech' therapist when her sole occupation is feeding infants who are totally inarticulate. Be that as it may, she is very good at what she does. This morning she wanted me to try to give Cara the bottle, while she watched. She was gentle in her suggestions and tips, but there is so much to remember. It is nothing like nursing or even bottle feeding a full term baby. Finally, I asked the speech therapist to take over. I didn't want Cara to miss out on her feeding because I couldn't get it together. As we transferred Cara and she took over the bottle, the tears began to gather. I'm not used to feeling inadequate when it comes to mothering. I'm usually the "experienced mom" who everyone else comes to with their questions and concerns. All of my confidence deserted me as I watched a stranger expertly nourishing that tiny, teeny baby--my baby--while I sat by, useless. The tears dripped down and I dabbed them with a burp rag.
The nurses were very supportive, and assured me that I will improve with time, but is a humbling, frustrating experience, all the same.

*I did get it, too. I feed her now with all the techniques, and don't even think about it. Of course, she is able to take the bottle more normally, as well.

The second round of tears were tears of joy and relief. I had just about given up hope that we would hear the test results today. The neonatalogist was late for rounds and when he finally arrived, went through his whole spill on lipids, and CC's and brain sonograms, etc., and I'm wondering how I will be able to stand another night of this agony? He finally comes to the end and says, "Any questions?"
"Do you think we will get the results from the PCR tomorrow?"
"Oh...." he's checking on his laptop, "We already have that..."
Umm....that was important! Life and death important! What part of, "Please notify us immediately of the test results," was confusing for you? In that split second, I'm sure the world stood still.
"Praise God."
And praise Him and praise Him.

July 2, 2008

Some ground gained today and some lost. Cara came off of isolation. That means that I do not have to suit up in a surgical drape and wear gloves when touching her. She is so soft! Cara was moved from a warmer to a crib. I can now dress her. The only problem is, I didn't bring any of her already substantial wardrobe. What was I thinking? The nurses put her in a terribly ugly wrap--complete with hospital stamp. It did nothing for her. So I walked over to the resale shop (run by the hospital volunteer auxiliary) and bought the only preemie onesie they had. It may not like much, but it is a huge improvement.
And the bad news: Cara is still losing weight. It is very discouraging. Tomorrow, I'm not going to hold her at all, in case the movement from bed to arms and back again is causing her to expend more calories.

* I wasn't able to follow through with that. I just couldn't help picking her up! She needed her Mommy snuggles. The next day, the doctors finally listened to reason and switched her to breast milk, and she did wonderfully after that.

Friday, July 25, 2008

New Cara Pic and Water Park

O.K., I know you are all dying for some updated picture of the here you go. She weighed in yesterday at six pounds five ounces. Still sleeping for most of the day. I've been laying in wait with my camera all afternoon, so that I could catch her with her eyes open. I'm anxious for the point when we can really interact with her, but I know when it comes, a part (the harried mother of six part) of me will miss this sleep-around-the-clock stage.

And since this blog has been rather Cara heavy of late, I've included some snapshots of our trip to the water playground this morning. Big fun!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

A Good Call Afterall

As many of you may remember, we started looking into our second adoption about a year and half ago. We began with contacting our old agency. They were anything but encouraging about proceeding with another adoption. In our dialogue, they indicated that they believed adding to our family--and thereby displacing Marina--would only be a detriment to the stability of our home and a serious setback for Marina. Once again, thinking back on that exchange, I have to wonder, what did they expected us to do with Randy? Sell him to the down river gypsies? Lock him in a closet for eighteen years? Make an adoption plan for our one year old? Ha. Ha. With B____ serving as the placement agency, no doubt. I mean, really people, that ship had sailed.

We moved adoption to the back burner. Not because of their ludicrous objection, but since we would obviously not be using them again, there was no need to rush. Any psychological damage to Marina by her "displacement" had already been done by the birth of her of little brother. And both the master and I were convinced that having another child join our family through adoption would actually benefit Marina.

The preliminary findings are in: we were right. Cara joining our family has already been the impetus for many positive adoption conversations. Marina is making connections to her adoption story as never before. She is able to compare and contrast her story with Cara's. And this is a child for whom connections do not come easy! If she were a cartoon character, we could pencil in a light bulb right over her head. Marina has been able to see for herself our complete joy, excitement, and acceptance for a baby sister that, "did not grow in Mommy's belly."

Tuesday morning, I was letting Cara "nurse," while her bottle warmed. Abby and Marina came in.

Marina: Mom, what are you doing?

Abby: as though highly knowledgeable on this subject She is feeding Baby Cara. Don't you remember? That is how she fed Randy. Babies drink their mommy's milk.

Me: Actually, Cara is not drinking any milk.

Abby: Why?

Marina: She is not hungry?

Me: No, she is hungry. In just a minute, I will feed her a bottle. I can't give her milk from my breasts, because I did not give birth to her.

Abby: Did I drink breastmilk? *Not sure why she asked this, because she knows that she did. *

Me: Yes

Marina: Did I?

Me: No, you were much older when you came home, and you drank milk from a bottle. Like Cara.

Marina: putting her hand, oh, so softly, on Cara's belly, and sighing contentedly Like me. Cara is adopted. Like me.

And, looking up into my eyes, she smiled.

I think we did the right thing.