Sunday, March 25, 2012

Close....

Only a few more days till we leave, trying to finish up all the last minute things but it is hard for me! I'm usually so organized but I'm not so much right now...

We're so close but I'm just petrified that something will happen and we will lose the girls. Since Seth got adopted (knowing their country doesn't' recognize us until after our first appointment) it is hard for me. I guess it's like having a miscarriage, after the first one you know everything doesn't always end up perfect. "Once bitten twice shy" is how I'm feeling. Please pray that everything goes alright & nothing gets in the way of our adopting Sarah and Selah!

Last night I reread Tina Kacireck's blogs about the institution we are going to. They adopted from there in Dec 2010. If you really want to know what we will be facing emotionally, spiritually, then go back and read her blog....I read it last night in tears. My husband was moved just by what I told him of the "other children" the ones we can't take home....All I can say is "God help me" Help me not to get too broke emotionally and help me to bring joy to the other children while we are there. We are bringing Stephen with us, I do not know how he will handle this either. He is so tenderhearted. It will change his life forever no doubt. I believe he will never live just for himself after being there. I hate that mentality of "Us 4 and no more" I see that in some folks lives & it makes me sick...Unfortunately some of the people I see that in are Christians. It's one thing to see that in the world it's another to see in so called Christians... I've never wanted to live my life like that but I see it....wonder how they will respond when they stand before God on that day? I don't say that pridefully, there are times I WISH I could pass by situations and not get involved but I just can not do it. Getting involved is messy, whether it's a stray dog or sick cat or a person who has problems, or an orphan halfway around the world. But as christians I believe we are commanded to get involved in other's situations and do what we can. There is a scripture in Proverbs that say "to do whatever we can to do good to others, inasmuch as it is in your power to do so" I know I mangled that verse to shreds and the Bible Man is not here right now ...LOL

But that is my life verse, God doesn't ask you or me to do what we can not do, just what we can do. But so many people don't even do what they can do!! Let's NOT be like that!!!!!


Tina's blog is kacirek.blogspot.com After reading this, you guys may have to take up a collection for us to buy a bus:)


So I'm sitting here this Sunday morning knowing next Sunday I will be on the other side of the world in a strange place. Please pray for us. I've never asked for prayers any harder except for when Sam was so little and sick. God heard our cries then and I pray He does now I can truly say I'm at the end of myself, mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, every way, I'm emptied. I'm a mess.... I do not have the strength for "what lies ahead" I need God's help. This i far more than an adoption, so different than Shad's adoption. Our hearts are going to be opened to needs that we have never seen before. Sure I've been to an orphanage, for about an hour, to get my son and then the rest of the time, I was in a nice hotel, playing with my cleaned up baby. This is not going to be like that. The adoption process is long & tedious especially for two children. There are so many things that have to happen for it all to work. We won't be handed a little boy and be gone from the orphanage in an hour...No we will visit the children daily, twice a day, under the watchful eyes of staff who do not understand WHY we want to adopt SN children. Our girls are not 2 year old, they are 5 & 7 year old who have never known the love of a family...from what we understand they are delayed cognitively. They have suffered extreme malnourishment, at this time they seem on the road to recovery but we know from Shad, that the affects of malnourishment takes a toil. He still has behaviors stemming from that time in his life. There will be needy children and adults there, it is a mental institution for children and adults. Not a mental institution like we think of in the USA, put a place SN children have been placed and have grown into adults there, children/adults who have physical handicaps that have not been able to be addressed because of lack of specialized medical care in their country. Remember just a few years ago, this was a communist country and they are learning to change from that. The country is in recovery but it is a poor country. It's a different world than the one I've been blessed to live in!!!

We've been in difficult situation many times in our lives, we worked in the inner city of NYC & saw some things...but this we know is going to be difficult. I'm afraid of the experience, I will be honest. I'm afraid of where it will take me emotionally. I'm being honest. I have no preconceived ideas of a rosy easy trip with all flowers & sunshine....but I know that God set us on this path.

When I saw Sarah's picture all I knew is that needed a family. Obviously we've adopted internationally before, so I had some idea of what to expect , or so I thought... When I learned she was at a mental institution, and what that meant, and where it was, I remember just grabbing Jon and asking him "WHY did God ask this of us??" Why couldn't we have seen her picture years ago when she was at a baby house? Don't I sound like a whinny brat? Here this child has lived like this for years and I do not want to have to share in her suffering at all, I want to go pick her up and whisk her away...I was THRILLED to be able to leave Shad's orphanage. It was hard, I saw the children in his room and they all grabbed for me. I kidded myself then that they'd all find homes and live happily ever after as I ran out to the taxi with my son. This time there will be no fairy tales, as I see men and women who have been in this place for years, decades, with no hope. I will know what lies ahead for the children we see there... and I'm afraid of how it will change ME! Will it make the purchases at the mall seem even less important, will it make the security in our lives seem hollow? How will I go back to my comfortable life? I don't know...I sit here with tears falling... God help me.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Questions for you

For you guys reading this ...

did you have trouble signing in to read the blog? I'm getting odd emails saying that various differnet emails were signed in on using different names including my email. Since I don't know how this whole thing works with a private blog, I don'tknow if I should be worried or not...just let me know if you had any problems whatsoever
theclanton5@aol.com

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Reality

Ahh the reality of adoption...all I can do is compare it to childbirth...when you are to the end or even in labor...and there is no backing out...I experienced it in both of my pregnancies..."What the he__ have we done?" I experienced it when we adopted Shad and am in the middle of it RIGHT NOW!!!!

I feel guilty even admitting to it but it's the reality (for me) I've never been one of those people who wanted a large family. In all actuality, that's what took us so long to have our first child. I can't get pregnant easily and we'd start fertility and then stop it cause we both were a bit unsure about the whole child thingy! If you notice it took us 6 yrs before we had Steve and then almost 9 years before Sam! I was always a bit afraid of children. Now I LOVE my boys and wouldn't trade them for the world BUT with each pregnancy, I experienced a feeling of being trapped! Like oh my gosh WHAT were we thinking!!!!!

Felt the same way when I was leaving to go get Shad. I remember my bro in law driving me to the airport and I was crying and asking him why we were doing this? I know he loves me but he was probably rolling his eyes a bit! (I went by myself so that was stressful)

Well right now, I'm not crying and I am excited but I have a bit of that feeling that I am on the roller coaster, locked in and there is no getting off....AND this time there is not just one child coming but TWO!!! OH MY GOSH!!!! So the reality of the commitment we are making is sinking in.

The fear of the unknown, this long massive trip, halfway across the world, with my family...the month long stay in a country that will not have the same things that we are used to...the INTENSIVE experience of visiting the children 2x a day in a mental institution, seeing and experiencing things I have never experienced...yes I will be honest, I'm afraid. I'm afraid for my heart. I'm afraid I will be crushed by the raw reality. Me, I can't go to an animal shelter, it breaks my heart. HOW am I going to leave other children behind? We currently support a child there who is very medically fragile, I will see her, I've bought things for her but I will leave her...HOW will my heart handle this? I don't know....I do not want to have to do this but this is where our daughters are at.

The first time I saw Sarah's picture I was so troubled I could not sleep..soon we committed to adopting this little one who looks so much like our sweet Sam. Then knowing Seth was in the same institution with a similar diagnosis, we committed to him. As you know another family adopted him. Then we were sent a picture of another little girl who is at the same place who needs a family too and we committed to her.


Committing to Selah has been harder for me. First I didn't want to replace Seth, I am not one to adopt just to adopt. It is a very serious commitment especially for children who will need life long care. She is beautiful but does not have vision issues, we are not exactly sure of her diagnosis only that she was sent to a mental institution rather than a regular orphanage. So that uncertainty was harder for me than for Jon. He just said she looks peaceful, she needs us, let's go for two girls:) I smile when I write this because he has had so much faith in this area, where I've been more concerned. I'm used to a child with vision issues and cognitive delays, I KNOW how to deal with a child like that, unknowns are scary to me.

So since Monday, I've had one heck of an upset stomach. This is one way to lose weight LOL! Got our tickets and all that is good, except for how much I HATE to fly! Pretty much am packed which takes a load off of me. now I just have to get our paperwork in order (got a lot of things that I have to print out and take) need to clean my house and we are ready to go! We even did a will and it was actually fun:) I'm weird, what can I say!!!

So we are about to embark on the biggest adventure (up to this point) in our lives and we have had some adventures for sure!!! I'm nervous, got alot of emotions going on...but as always I'm honest, I'm excited but it's kinda like that roller coaster, you get on cause you want to then you are strapped in for the ride ...well I'm strapped in:) Ready to go, sorta LOLOL scared, hopeful, so many different emotions..

If you have not adopted let me tell you it is the most surreal feeling in the world, when you see that child for the first time. The kid you went around the world for, prayed for, raised the finances for...it's unreal! I literally remember not being able to get my breath and my heart pounding out of my chest...as they handed me my funny little Shad! What a moment...it's like child birth but it is different too...(heck of alot LESS painful!!!)


So I ask selfishly that you pray that my heart/emotions can handle the reality that these children face daily. I feel so selfish asking for that because they live in that situation, and I do not want to see it. But at the same time, I've always wanted my heart tender towards the things that touch God's heart. But I'm afraid of the pain...Pray for our travel,, you do know how much I hate to fly. The trip will basically take, with layovers about 30 hours...WITH Sam!!! God help us all..... Pray that we stay healthy through out the trip, there is little in the way of medical care, pray especially for Sam...when I even start thinking of various things that could happen, I feel faint! We are going to be especially careful with his eyes so he doesn't get any type of infection. Pray that the girls will accept us. they have never known a family and not every child is like Shad was. He acted like he was ready to go and what took me so long to get there? He was unique, not every child acts like that or accepts the new family so readily. Pray that they stay healthy as we travel home with them. pray that no one steals our things during the trip. Some families experienced thefts from airport workers. Pray that the USA doesn't get into a war with Iran while we are there only a few hours flight from Iran!!! (we are specifically flying a non American airline for safety reasons) I feel very needy right now!!!

Thank you all for standing with us these past few months, we are in awe of God's provision and take that as a further sign that we are on the right path. Thank you for your prayers, we REALLY appreciate them!!!!!

Monday, March 19, 2012

DATE!!!

If you haven't heard...we have our date!!! April 2nd and will see the girls April 5th!!! Thank you Lord!!!!!! Easter in Ukraine!!!!! got a million things to do!! So excited!!!!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sarah Joy


I wanted to share an updated picture of Sarah. Can't wait to get the call saying we hve an appointment. Please pray that we will get it soon!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Introducing Selah Johannah




Isn't she beautiful?




So we've been advised to put our blog on private until we get home. At this point I would probably dance down the street naked if someone advised me to do it LOL if that was what it took to get them home LOL~ So if you are reading this, you are really my friend:) Since we are private, I felt I could share her picture.

We already love her and can picture her and Sarah playing happily in their room together. She has some delays and CP although she can walk. She may have some vision problems but it is probably not as bad as we thought at first. Sam's speech teacher is so excited to start to work with them. She is brain storming already the best way to start them. As soon as we get home and recover, we want to get them in all the therapies possible. And of course we will take Sarah in June/July for her eye surgery. It will also be time for Sam's yearly check up. Our doctor is very hopeful about Sarah's eye as it does not seem to have an overly thick or protruding cornea,from the pictures we have, which makes for an easier surgery. When Sam had the surgery, he went from barely mobile to walking all over the place and developmentally he progressed in huge ways in the months following the surgery. He will also examine Selah to see if she has any vision issues. Dr Aquavella is one of a kind, the best doctor you could imagine. He loves to give children sight! He is 79 years old and has been working on kids with Peter's Anomaly since the 1960's! He is now semi-retired but takes Peter's cases. He takes the hardest cases, the ones that other doctors have given up hope on and he gives these kids some sight! He is amazing! We totally trust his experience and you'd never know his age! He moves like a much younger man!

We have so many plans and hopes for these girls. PLEASE pray that we will get our appointment date on Monday and it will be soon! Pray that we will find favor and a quick (as possible trip) and pray that the girls' hearts will be opened to us. It was so easy with Shad, with him it's like he totally understood I was there to get him:) He was like "What took you so long?" He came right to me and was attached every since:) But some kids are more hesitant than that. I didn't know then that his behavior was a bit odd! He wouldn't even let go of me to take pictures with the orphanage staff. That was so sweet! I loved it but I know that doesn't always happen and these girls are older

Although it is hard on us to be gone for so long, in some ways it is good. We will visit the girls daily and that will give them time to get used to us. With them being older, it will be good for them to gradually get to know us. We do not want to upset them. I can't imagine how it was for Shad for some different looking tall blond lady to get him, put him in a taxi and leave the only place he'd ever known but bless his heart, he fell asleep on my lap and was happy when he woke up:) What a little adventurer he was (and still is) We would really be blessed if these girls reacted like that!!!!

So keep us in prayer that Monday is THE day!!

Thank you!

Friday, March 16, 2012

At the Doctor's

My husband is getting his 3rd epidural today for his back. He has 3 herniated discs and has been having these treatments and thankfully they are working. He is back to light exercising and walking. He hopes with this treatment that he can get back to jogging. He has no idea whythis problem started but he has had problems since this past summer. We are happy that he is much better and ready to go on our trip to get the girls!

We are excited about being the parents of two girls. This is going to be so different for us, we are used to boys and boy toys:) I bought them a Sunshine Family Dollhouse yesterday and had fun setting it up, the boys were laughing at me:) They said I had way too much fun setting it up! I can't help myself I've been buying them matching clothes and shoes! LOL they are going to be so cute. I can't wait to get these girls home! I hope we get the call on Monday!!!!!!!! Please pray!!!!! The only good thing is that the weather will be warmer there! We are from Florida and are already having temps in the 90's so we hope it won't be in the 20's there lOL~ We are more used to flip-flops than boots!!!!!

So we hope to hear that call on Monday morning:) I'll be posting as soon as I hear!!!!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Tuffy needs a home


Still waiting on a travel invitation and appointment....hopefully we will hear on Monday....

In other news, WAIT! That is our other news! WE feel like our lives are on hold until we know when we are leaving! Please pray that we will get our date on Monday and that it will be soon:)

Their room is completely done & so cute. I would take a picture but Mr Sam broke our camera! I bought a new one but don't understand it, it seems too complicated for us (even my 16 yr old didn't like it) so I have to take it back and get another one. But I will put some pictures up soon.

We are having beautiful weather!!!! I LOVE Florida in the spring, spring? It was 95 degrees yesterday! It's great!

A new dog came up, we named him Tuffy. I took him to the vet to get checked out and they think he was used as bait for fighting dogs! His face/neck is covered with cuts and he is on 3 antibiotics for the rips in his mouth. The swelling has gone down thank God. But he has the SWEETEST disposition! He doesn't even growl when I clean his face/mouth. We are looking for a home for this lover boy. HE is about 1 1/2 loves kids, is scared of cats and is great with our dogs. I love this tough little mutt and how sweet he is despite the hard life he has had.

Even if you could just foster him while we are gone to pick up the girls, that would be a blessing! He would need to be in a very good fenced in yard or I'm afraid he might try and come back here and he'd need lots of love. He wants to come inside but we haven't let him. He maybe housebroken, he doesn't lift his legs on much- he's not a peeing dog like our lab who pees every second it seems! He is the dearest little boy! He now has all his shots and he is getting fixed tomorrow.
Please contact me if you are interested!!!!

Monday, March 12, 2012

No date yet...

Please pray that we will be issued an appointment date tomorrow! The country just started issuing dates for this year since their holiday close down. Three families of our group got appointments today and they are hoping the other families will get ones tomorrow. Please pray we do. Although this adoption has been very quick in some ways, it's been brutal on our emotions. We really want to get started on this part of the process, we've had our paperwork done since January & now it's been a full two months of waiting....hard on us but even harder on the children. They need their family.

So please pray for this for us! Thank you!!!!!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Peter's Anomaly- an explaination


I see I got lots of hits on my post about Peter's Anomaly so I wanted to add some more info.

As you know my son has Peter's. Peter's Anomaly is a condition that children are born with. Basically their corneas (the covering of the eye, the windshield of the eye) is cloudy. There are various degrees of cloudiness. Sam was born with very cloudy corneas but they were not real thick.

It is genetic chromosomal in many cases. In some cases, it seems to be just a random thing. Currently the University of Wisconsin is doing FREE research into PA. please contact me if you'd like the info.

Our son has been in the research study for about a year and they have yet to find the marker for PA in his DNA. Because he totally presents with PA as well as Peter's Plus Syndrome, all are convinced that there is a marker in him that maybe different than with other people.

Some kids are born with both eyes affected like Sam and then it is call bi-lateral PA. Some are born with just one eye affected and it's called uni-lateral PA.

Many times the child with present with one or both eyes smaller than normal. This is called Microphthalmia. Both of Sam's eyes are smaller than normal with his left eye being much smaller than normal.

Anophthalmia is when one or both eyes did not develop. We've met some children who have had that condition.

Another part of Peter's is the frequency that the child develops glaucoma. Sam's has been kept in check by eye drops but it something that can happen to a child even if the child is never treated (for example with a transplant or implant)

Treatments...

Some families do nothing....I will not even get into my ideas on that!!!

Our plan was to treat aggressively and we did from day one.

When Sam was just 8 weeks old (only 2 weeks after his real due date) he had his right cornea transplanted. Then a few months later, he had his left eye done. The left eye began rejection within 6 weeks and we fought it for months with extra eye drops & frequent trips to Miami for him to be put under and received steroid shots directly into the eye itself. Nothing worked and we just left it alone for awhile.

By the time he was three his right eye had totally rejected, turning just as cloudy as it was when he was born.

Then our doctors told us about corneal IMPLANTS! Made from thin plastic, the implant is not rejected! So we took Sam to Dr Aquevella in Rochester NY for the procedure in August 2007 and now going on FIVE years, his eye is clear & he ia doing great.

He will never have 20/20 sight but his sight is functional and he plays, watched tv, walks without much assitance, runs in places he is familiar with. The implant was the best thing we ever did!!!!!!!

So if you are reading this and you have a child with PA, feel free to contact me. We did both procedures and I can promise you the implant is so much better than the transplants. I'm so thankful for the technology and of Dr A's skill ( and he is the most kindest man in the world!!)

I know I've made this so simple without a lot of detail but I see my one other post about PA gets so many hits, I felt I needed to explain a bit more.

BTW, we feel that Sarah the little girl we are adopting has PA and Dr A will be seeing her this summer and he is hopeful to be able to help her. We also felt that Seth has PA and Dr A was willing to try to help him also. His case looks more complicated but we have friends who adopted a little girl from China whose eyes looked just like Seth's and Dr A was able to operate and give her some sight!!! We've passed on all of Dr A's info to this family and hope that he will get seen by Dr A!

Again the picture above is Before and after Sam's implant surgery...WOW what a difference for him!!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Bittersweet news

Another family adopted Seth. We had known about it for weeks but waited to see what would happen before we posted about it. In our children's country , a child is not held for a family, as families sometimes back out at the last moment and then the child has wasted months being held and has less of a chance for adoption. This is hard for adoptive parents but it really is in the child's best interest. So until you are in country after your appointment, is really the only time you can truly know that child is saved for you.

So while it was very sad for us, our family cried together because we love him and had imagined how it would be to have him in our family. But we rest in the assurance that god is in control of this situation. We pray for him and his family the very best.

Medically he is very fragile and perhaps he needed a family to be there quicker than we could come (still waiting on our travel date any day now) They have been there for some weeks giving him attention and love.

In the big scheme of things, isn't it wonderful that he has two families that loved him enough to do a paper chase and go halfway around the world to get him! God NEVER forgot Seth and has provided for him!!!!!!


So what about us? We are expecting our travel date any day and we can't wait to go and get Sarah! We were given some info on another little girl....TWO girls???? What a change for us! We are seriously considering this second girl who we will name Selah Johannah if she becomes our daughter

God has given us a peace about the whole situation. He is the One who led us to adopt and we are just walking in the path He has for us! We were heartbroken at first. the day I found out, I cried so much that my eyes were swollen the next day but in my heart I had such a peace. Believe me that did not come from me! But we've had some time to adjust to the whole thing

So please keep us in prayer that God will order our steps and pray for Seth that God is with them in their travels and gives him the most wonderful happy life! He deserves much happiness and love and we just pray he gets a ton of it:)

Also pray that we will know if we are to add this second girl to our family and that the path is clear. Pray for their health and their hearts that they are prepared for us. thank you all!