Thursday, December 29, 2011

Andrey's Birthday Video by Andre G.

This is a must watch. It literally took my breath away and I cannot wait to get ahold of this little guy!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Happy Birthday, Andrey (Cooper)!!!

Today is my little man's 5th birthday. I know he didn't get a cake or presents or even a "Happy Birthday", but I promise that won't happen again. I feel so bad that we were not able to get him in time to celebrate this important date. I want him to know that he is loved, he is wanted, and his life will be celebrated from this day forth! Happy Birthday, Big Man!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

This is a picture of Cole when I first met him....I was overwhelmed by his inability to do...well....anything. He was like a little dishrag that they handed me.....

This is Cole after being home 6 months. This is what love can do. I show you all this to let you know that Cooper may not be what you or I or anyone thinks he should be, but he will grow and shine like the star he is! I cannot wait to posts pics of him after I overdose him with love!


Yay! We finally have a travel date and an appointment with the adoption authority for big man Coop! Our appointment is January 16th, so we will need to be in country by at least the 14th or the 15th. I feel like we have been waiting forever~we are just thankful that we got a date, Cooper is still there waiting for us and that we will hopefully get in, get out, and things will be smooth. Off to book airline tickets!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

At a standstill.....

On the adoption homefront, no news at this time! We are hoping that travel dates are going to start being issued at the first of December, but who knows? It would be so awesome to be able to travel at the end of December. My sister would be off of work and I am off from December 20-30th already so that would work out great for me personally, but I know it is not all about me....but a girl can hope, right?

About Andrey's is going to be Cooper! Yay! I love the name Camden, too, so maybe my next baby will be Camden (heheheh-don't tell Sean). He looks like a Cooper (aka "COOP") and I think it will really fit him.

Today's is my Cody's birthday....17 years old. I am working today at the same hospital that I gave birth to him. He is such a great kid with a HUGE heart and I love him so much. I am so proud to be his mother! He is working with the special needs kids in high school and loving every minute of it. He plays and loves on Caden and Cole like you would not believe, even torturing them like a big brother is suppose to! He had to work today, too :((( HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CODY!!!

I promise to update when we hear some news....

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Still waiting..

Nothing much new to report. We are still waiting on a travel date to go get our little man. I have bought him a couple of outfits, some "long johns", a coat and some sensory toys and we are ready for him to get here already!!

P.S. Janie-this is actually our THIRD child that we have bought!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Interesting Day!

So, time feels like it has come to a screeching halt since we mailed our dossier to EE. Not much going, school, same old, same old. No papers to fill out, no notary needed, not anxiously checking the mailbox to see if any important letters are in there...not really much at all going on....but, oh, yeah, I almost forgot.........

Hang on little dude, we are so close!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Almost Done with Raising Funds

I am the world's worst fundraiser. I hate it...and I feel like there are people that have a bigger need than I do. I have the ability to work extra shifts and add money to the adoption fund where some people do not have that opportunity. Having said that....I am exhausted! I have worked 19 extra shifts in the last 9 weeks to get the rest of the money we will need to get to our boy, plus a little extra money to run our home while we are not working. So, I did the calculations today and I am only about $2500-$3000 dollars away from needing all the money we will need and I am so thankful that we are almost done. I cannot wait to actually spend time at home with my babies instead of working! Please pray that I will last until we can go get him!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Dossier is in Country!

Our dossier is our little man's country and it should be submitted to the SDA ASAP! I am hoping that they have everything they need and that all the documents are good and hopefully the paper chase is over.

I was so stressed out about traveling and leaving my two little men behind (my two oldest ones probably won't realize that we are even gone), but for some reason, I am at peace about it. My mother is going to take off work and stay at my house for 7-10 days and then my sister is going to finish the rest of it. I was so worried that the boys would be shuffled back and forth from here to there and throw in missing mom and pop, I was terrified that they would be scared and unhappy. I feel so much better that my family loves them enough to not only agree to watch them, but that they are going to rearrange their schedule and make the boys as comfortable as possible. That makes my heart happy!

Starting a full ten day work week tomorrow, so I will post as soon as I get any new information.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Absolutely Beautiful Verse!!

"Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important." (1 Corinthians 1:27-28)

Day #22-Sorry I didn't post yesterday

I had a BUSY day yesterday....worked, then went to a fall festival....then fell into bed without turning the computer on! Mentally and physically exhausted!

Someone left a message calling Andrey UGLY and it has bothered me greatly. I know that I should not let stupidity bother me, but it did. All that poor child has been through and been without and someone then calls him UGLY. I am shocked and I can't believe that people still exist like that in the world. Well, today's blog post is to tell you some things that I think are beautiful about my baby....

1. His perfect almond shaped eyes that criss cross every which way they can
2. His perfectly kissable lips!
3. His mega tongue!
4. His cute little ears!
5. His little chubby fingers!
6. His cute little button nose!
7. His sweet blonde hair!
8. His little outie belly button!
9. His tiny little foot!
10. His totally SQUISHABLE cheeks!

I LOVE THIS BOY just exactly the way he is (we will attempt to fix his crossed eyes, but only because it will help him see better-not because I don't like them)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Day #20...What a day, what a day......

On a happy note....I FINALLY received my guaranteed overnight letter SEVEN days later and our dossier is on it's way across the ocean! I committed to Andrey on August 17th and mailed the dossier on October 20th. Pretty good, huh?

You know yesterday was my birthday, right? Guess what I got? Something that Sean Carmichael said would never be purchased>>>>> a VAN! I have tried multiple times to buy a van and somehow Sean always talks me out of it. Well, today he did not...he actually traded his car in, too so both of us have different cars. I love this van. The doors automatically open, it has a DVD player in it, navigation system and leather!!! It is awesome! That shows how old I am that I am this excited about getting a mini-van.

Anyway, sad news tonight. Can't tell you anymore, but please pray that this situation can be resolved and that hearts and minds will know what the right thing to do is. Pray for discernment for me and my family, as well as others. Thank you.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Day #19-Random Thoughts

First of all, sorry for yesterday's post...

Today is my 39th birthday. I have never been one to really celebrate birthdays, but my hubby is taking me out to dinner ALONE for my birthday and I am EXCITED about it. I very rarely get excited about events, so it is a big deal. Now, on to what I want to say. I woke up this morning and the first thought in my head was "You are 39 years old...what are you thinking trying to adopt again?" I felt so old and so blah this morning....thinking I really did not have enough energy to take on another "baby". Caden is 3 but very much like a little baby (and I love it!). Cole is 5 but like having a tall toddler! Satan was really doing a number on me this morning. Then I turned on the computer, went straight to Natalie's blog ( and there he boy in an Arkansas hoodie rolling his little car and beating on his drum and all that doubt instantly faded! I can not tell you what it means to me to have this young woman over there with him. When I was adopting Cole and Caden, I had a couple of older pictures and that was it. I had no idea if they were even alive at the time of travel to meet them. It is so comforting to know that he is ok. With all the stuff going on in UA right now (not issuing travel dates) I would be INSANE without Natalie over there with him. I love her heart and I love what she is doing. Please stop by her blog and support her. I cannot imagine having that much courage to do what she is doing at her age.

Check my boy out in his hoodie!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Day #18-Oops...about forgot to post!

We went bowling tonight and had a great time~~~So many little and BIG cuties with DS there! Almost midnight and 6 am comes early!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Day #17-Caden Goes to School....

Caden started school today. He LOVED it, but was so tired that he could not even walk to the car when school was over and came home and took a 3 hour nap! HA!!! He is in Cole's classroom and Cole didn't know what to think about Caden invading his space. It will be interesting to see how this dynamic works out.

On the adoption home-front...The Golden ticket was received in Nashville on Thursday last week, they apostilled it and sent it right back in the envelope that I sent (overnight) and it should have arrived on Friday. Well, still have not seen or heard from it! I called the post office and they have begun an investigation, but in the mean time...I still don't have my one last paper. If I don't have it by tomorrow, then I will make the 4 hour (one way) trip to drive there and get it done on Wednesday. Please pray that it comes tomorrow because I don't have the time or energy to drive to Nashville.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Day #16-Caden's Birthday!!!!!

My baby is 3!!!!!!!!!!!! Can you believe that??? It seems like just yesterday that he could not even sit up on his own. How time flies! I love this little monkey and I cannot explain how much joy he has brought into our lives. He is a HUGE blessing and I am so happy that we said "Yes" to add on a second boy....makes me sick to my stomach that I almost said no. I worked today and we just hung at the house today after I got home. Caden got a set of drums and a fancy smancy shopping cart for his birthday. We are having his party next week, so I will post some pictures then.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Day #15-Blogging is kicking my butt.............

My brain is half functioning. I have worked 13 of the 15 days of this month, had the Buddy Walk, finished my dossier and have attempted to put something on this blog remotely related to Down syndrome! I am completely blank here! How about you watch this wonderful video????

Friday, October 14, 2011

Day # 14-Fun facts about Down syndrome

Totally stole this from another blog (All about the Enskats-ssshhh...don't tell_


* That 1 in 5 children with DS play a musical instrument? For children older than ten, that number doubles. One of five children with DS sing in a choir or vocal group, for children older than ten, it is every one in three...

* Two out of every three children with DS like to draw and/or paint pictures

* Approx. 9 out of every 10 individuals with DS listened to someone read a book more than three times a week between the ages 2-5

* Approx. 7 out of 10 children w/ DS use total communication (signs, etc) between the ages of 2-5

* Approx. 7 out of 10 kids with DS saw a speech therapist two or more times a week between the ages of 2 and 5

* Approx. 1 of every 3 children with DS older than ten rides a bike without training wheels

* Seven of every ten individuals with DS older than ten participates on an athletic team through Special Olympics

* Two out of every five individuals with DS participates on an integrated athletic team.

* According to their families, 3 out of 5 individuals with DS know how to operate a computer.

* One of every three individuals with DS older than ten w/ DS reads the daily newspaper on his or her own

* Seven of ten individuals with DS older than 10 read books on their own for personal enjoyment

* One of two children with DS go to school in a mainstreamed class.

* 3 of 5 children with DS participate in school activities that are open to all students.

* According to their families, 1 of 5 children with DS talk on the phone with friends more than three times a week. For children older than ten, that number doubles.

* One of three children with DS write email regularly

* Two of three children with DS over age ten have a boyfriend or girlfriend!

* Approx. 7 of ten children with DS pray on a regular basis.

* According to their families, approx. 7 of 10 individuals with DS imitate characters from a television program or movie

* Approx. 2 of 3 individuals with DS older than 10 prepare their own breakfast each morning.

* Three of four individuals with DS older than 10 make their own bed in the morning.

* One of two individuals with DS (older than 18) work in a non sheltered workplace

* One of five individuals with DS (18 or older) lives on his or her own

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Day # 13-Tongue Thrust

Tongue thrust is the pushing of the tongue against the teeth while swallowing or at rest. The average person swallows 2000 - 4000 times per day and exerts pressure with each swallow. This can push the teeth out of alignment and may cause distorted speech sounds. I read an interesting statement today...."Often falsely accused of being larger than those of its non-Down syndrome tongue, the tongue in people with Down Syndrome is actually not larger than normal, it just is not as well controlled by the muscles responsible for it." And with that, I will leave you with this.....

What do you think???

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Day #12-Golden Ticket is HERE

I received the golden ticket today and it has been overnighted to Nashville for apostille with a overnight return envelope so hopefully, I will have my dossier completely finished and ready to mail to that certain Eastern European country by Saturday! Can you believe that? We completed our entire dossier (including homestudy) in 6 weeks (including USCIS approval-which normally takes 6-8 weeks alone). I can feel and see God in this whole thing. It is awesome. Now, to see if the SDA will actually start issuing appointments and travel dates is a whole different ballgame~

I will leave you with a picture from the Buddy Walk....

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Day #11-You Wanna What???

So, I had introduced my idea about adopting a child from Ukr**ne with Down syndrome to Sean and he had agreed. I was on top of the world. I could not wait to go get him. I literally stayed up 'til all hours of the night reading blogs of people that were either in the process of adopting or who had been there, done that. I then saw a couple of pictures of the other kids in the same orphanage with Cole. Two of them caught my eye....Caden (known as David back then) and Emory (who's family is there now getting him). I was really starting to seriously think about bringing two home. Why, of course, it was for their benefit. They would need someone to play with. Blah.Blah.Blah. I mulled it over for several weeks and then one night I decided to show Sean a blog about a family that was adopting THREE babies with DS (one with Leukemia-plus they had 3 kids at home already). I was just feeling him out, trying to study his reaction. "They are insane!" "They have really lost their minds!" "There is no way that you can take care of that many kids!" "How in the world are they going to afford it?"....(me-"adopting another one while you are there is only about $4000 more." "One is more than enough!" "Those are very brave or very crazy people!".......(me-"Well, you know it is really quite the deal if you adopt two.")...."Shut up! We ARE NOT adopting two!!!" (me-silent)....."Stephanie, I am serious....get it out of your head......we ARE NOT adopting two!!" (me-"Okay.") So we finished our dinner and I didn't mention it again that evening. The next day, though, I sent a picture of Caden to Sean's phone with the caption "Poor little fellow doesn't even have one dollar in his grant. Should we at least donate since you don't want him?".....No reply.......Sean gets home from work and is very quiet and just kind of mopes around. I am convinced that he is mad at me for my text. I ask him a couple of times what was wrong..."Nothing." forward a couple of days. He comes into the bedroom and says "How do you get to that stupid website you are always looking at?" I show him. He goes down to the family room with the other computer. He comes back up a couple of HOURS later. He says..."Is all that stuff real?" (me-"I think so.") "Well, do you really think we could adopt more than one?" (me-"Yes, I do.") "Well, I think we should get Emory and Caden (David)." (me-"WHAT?? Are you crazy? We can't adopt three babies!!! Have you lost your mind?" "Well, let's get at least two and you choose which one." (me-"Grrreeeaaattt-so now I have to look at those two and PICK one!" To be continued...........

Monday, October 10, 2011

Day #10-How I ended up with my boys in the other room......

This may part of a series...

I have not birthed a child with DS. I have not had the news delivered to me while pregnant or shortly after birth that there was something "wrong" with my child. I have never once cried over the diagnosis of DS. Down syndrome means something different to me. I am not comparing my journey with DS to anyone that has had to deal with it in a different way.

For me, Down syndrome is a beautiful, wonderful thing filled with so much more than I can even describe. I LOVE DOWN SYNDROME! I know that sounds crazy, but it is absolutely true. Every patient with DS that I have ever cared for as a nurse has touched me so deeply and I have received nothing but pure joy from it. Sean's uncle Mac was a superstar. He was my first personal experience with DS and I wish he was here to see his legacy. He made me wish that I could birth a child with DS, but I could not and did I start thinking about adopting a baby with that little extra something. Enter Cole. I saw his little face with those chunky cheeks and almond eyes and it was DONE. I called Sean and told him of my desires and he laughed. I did not laugh. DEAD SILENCE. "Have you lost your mind?" "The kids are almost grown." "We are almost done." "He has Down syndrome." "Really?"....."Where is he?"...."How old is he?" "He is a REAL orphan." "Really?????"...."Where the h*ll is Ukr**ne?" "Have you lost your mind?".....(30 second-1 minute pause while he is looking at the picture that I text him of Cole)....."He sure is cute.".....(another pause)...."That's a big commitment."......(another pause-me still not breathing)...."Okay, let's go get him." I finally breath and say "Ok, will do". I will tell you next time how I introduced the idea of adopting TWO!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Day #9-Can't believe I am still blogging.....

Today was our local Buddy Walk and I think it was quite a success! They brought Cole, Caden, and James (from Russia) on the stage and introduced them to the DS community and told the entire audience about Reece's Rainbow and what they do. It was pretty cool! They gave each one of the boys a UT football to welcome them to East Tennessee. Cole and Caden enjoyed the Buddy Walk, except they skipped their nap to go and by the end of the day, it was O.V.E.R. On a happier note, both were bathed and in bed ASLEEP by 8 pm.

Sean helped set up a table/booth for Reece's Rainbow and we told our "story" many times today. It felt really good to get out and let the world know what we know-that having a child with Down syndrome is a blessing! Sean worked so hard today and I am really proud of him (he is also bathed and ASLEEP-hehehehe).

Working a 12 day stretch at work so I do apologize for the short postings, but at least I am posting. I am not sure I will make the 31 days, but I am going to continue to try!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Day #8-Knoxville Buddy Walk

Caden says "Please come to the Knoxville Buddy Walk tomorrow (Sunday) October 9th at the World's Fair Park!"

I should have my golden ticket tomorrow and I am going to get it apostilled by end of the week and then we will be sending off the dossier. Hope to be traveling by mid-end December!!!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Day #7-Atlantoaxial Instability (AAI) in children with Down Syndrome

I thought I would put some information about one of my biggest fears on here regarding things that are "common" with kiddos with Down syndrome...

AAI denotes increased mobility at the articulation of the first and second cervical vertebrae (atlantoaxial joint). The causes of AAI are not well understood but may include abnormalities of the ligaments that maintain the integrity of the articulation, bony abnormalities of the cervical vertebrae, or both.

In its mildest form, AAI is asymptomatic and is diagnosed using X-rays.....Symptomatic AAI results from subluxation (excessive slippage) that is severe enough to injure the spinal cord, or from dislocation at the atlantoaxial joint.

Approximately 15% of youth with DS have AAI. Almost all are asymptomatic. Some asymptomatic individuals who have normal X-rays initially will have abnormal X-rays later, and others with initially abnormal X-rays will have normal follow-up X-rays; the latter change is more common....

The neurologic manifestations of symptomatic AAI include easy fatiguability, difficulties in walking, abnormal gait, neck pain, limited neck mobility, torticollis (head tilt), incoordination and clumsiness, sensory deficits, spasticity, hyperreflexia...and {other spinal cord} signs and symptoms. Such signs and symptoms often remain relatively stable for months or years; occasionally they progress, rarely even to paraplegia, hemiplegia, quadriplegia, or death. Trauma rarely causes the initial appearance or the progression of these symptoms. Nearly all of the individuals who have experienced catastrophic injury to the spinal cord had weeks to years of preceding, less severe neurologic abnormalities....

Most importantly, symptomatic AAI is apparently rare in individuals with DS. In the pediatric age group, only 41 well-documented cases have been described in the published literature....

Asymptomatic AAI, which is common, has not been proven to be a significant risk factor for symptomatic AAI....

The efficacy of the intervention to prevent symptomatic AAI has never been tested. Sports trauma has not been an important cause of symptomatic AAI in the rare patients with this disorder; only 3 of the 41 reported pediatric cases had initial symptoms of AAI or worsening of symptoms after trauma during organized sports participation. Members of the SO Medical Advisory Committee think that more such sports-related injuries occur but that they are being overlooked because of a lack of information about the association of AAI and spinal cord injury among health care providers. This claim has not been substantiated with published research.

(information from

So, what this information says to me is GET YOUR KID CHECKED!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Day # 6-

This is what Down syndrome looks like on a karotype (fancy name for chromosome study).

This is what Down syndrome looks like NOT under a microscope!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Day # 5-People First Language

I am probably going to get a lot of slack from this, but here goes....

I am not sure I totally agree with the EMOTIONS behind the people first language. Of course, I want my children referred to in the most positive way possible, but am I going to get fighting mad when someone refers to them as a "Down's child" or "Down syndrome kid"? No, I do not get mad. I do sometimes, depending on the situation, say "well, really, he is just a regular kid...who happens to have Down syndrome." But that is about as far as I go. I don't want to protest or educate the world because it just does not matter that much to me. I have bigger fish to fry than to make sure that everyone is saying everything just so so. Now, if the "R" word or something like that comes up, yes I get offended and YES I LET THEM KNOW, but most people (or at least the people I associate with) have never heard of people first language and have no idea that what they are saying would offend someone. Yes, I know some of you are saying "well, educate them", but I don't know if I am willing to start a discussion over something I think is a minimal problem when I would rather address things like the "R" word...Make sense??? But anyway, did want to point out that People First Language does exist and many people feel very strongly about it and we should all ATTEMPT to use it to keep from offending others (my good deed of the day-lol)!

On a happier note, I am going to Nashville in the morning for fingerprints and I have been in touch with my congressman's office and they say I should expect the golden ticket in 7-10 days. I will believe that when I see it!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Day #4-Cole Update

Let me tell you about Big Man Cole....he is the sweetest human on this Earth. He is the complete opposite of Caden (not that Caden is not sweet, but he is very different). It is really odd that they were raised in the same environment and yet, came out so differently. Cole likes to sit back and take things in, check it out really well, then decide if wants to participate or not. He has grown a ton, now wearing size 5T slim pants (wore a 2-3T last year), but is still quite skinny but very TALL. He is 90% on the height on the growth chart and 25% on the weight. He signs quite a bit....Mom, Dad, potty, hungry, thirsty, more, all done, please, but he has NEVER EVER asked for one single thing since he has been home. He would still literally sit in his room all day long and be perfectly happy if we let him. His favorite activity is jumping on his trampoline and eating. I don't know why he is so skinny because he can eat and he will eat anything and everything....except deviled eggs. He gagged and cried when I gave him one-lol. I worry more about Cole than any of my other kids because it would be easy for him to get lost in society. Caden demands attention and gets what he wants....Cole would literally lay and starve to death before letting you know he was hungry. He is a beautiful child, with olive skin and gorgeous chocolate brown eyes. He sucks his tongue to go to sleep and has never slept past 630 am since he has been home. It doesn't matter if you skip nap-time, keep him up until midnight, nothing....we are getting up at 630 am no matter what. He is "potty trained" or more time trained I guess you would say. He still wears a pull up, but it will usually last most of the day and he almost always wakes up dry, but he again, does not ask to go to the bathroom. You just say "Cole go potty" and he will go to the bathroom, pull down his pants, use the bathroom, pull his pants back up and go on about his business. Pretty cool, huh? He is healthy as a horse, has only been sick once since we got home and has a lot more endurance that little Caden man. He also has cute spikey hair!!!!


Monday, October 3, 2011

Day # 3-The Creed for Babies with Down Syndrome

Just because I love this poem....

My face may be different
But my feelings the same
I laugh and I cry
And I take pride in my gains
I was sent here among you
To teach you to love
As God in the heavens
Looks down from above
To Him I'm no different
His love knows no bounds
It's those here among you
In cities and towns
That judge me by standards
That man has imparted
But this family I've chosen
Will help me get started
For I'm one of the children
So special and few
That came here to learn
The same lessons as you
That love is acceptance
It must come from the heart
We all have the same purpose
Though not the same start
The Lord gave me life
To live and embrace
And I'll do it as you do
But at my own pace

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Day #2-Down Syndrome Awareness

Ha! Even if I don't do another least I did MORE than one!

Anyway, Today's topic......Being loved by someone with that extra chromosone!

If you have never had a hug or kiss from a person with DS, I highly recommend you do so as quickly as possible. It is breath taking and will melt the hardest of hearts. Cole and Caden kiss and hug with everything they have. Caden's little chubby arms are only about 10 inches long and you would think that he would not be able to even get them around your neck-and you would be completely WRONG! Those little dynamite arms will squeeze your head off as he is planting a delicious, sloppy kiss right smack in the kisser. No cheek kisses for these guys!

Seriously, while I do get annoyed at some of the misconceptions of people with DS (always happy, love music, love church, etc.), the thoughts that they are usually loving is completely true with my little guys. Love just oozes from them and they won't let you get by with some little hug or a quick kiss if you are in a hurry. They have a philosophy of "slow down, big hug, big kiss...then GO". I love it. I can't tell you how much I look forward to those hugs and kisses.

Down syndrome means so much to me. Sometime this month, I am going to actually write a long post of how this syndrome has directly affected me and my life. So, today's question is...."Have you hugged someone with Down syndrome today?"

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Down Syndrome Awareness Month!

Today is the official start of Down Syndrome Awareness Month and I am going to attempt to do the "31 for 21 challenge"....meaning I should blog everyday in the month of October to increase awareness with all things DS (notice the word attempt). Anyway, I am going to write out what Down syndrome means to me and how it has personally affected my life, but not today. Today I am going to write that I have the most wonderfully made two additions in my family, and that there is another wonderful little sunshine waiting for us across the sea, and I am thankful and honored to know and mother these children. I am truly not worthy!

On the adoption homefront, we are still waiting to hear from USCIS. I am going to call our congressman to see if we can solicit some help there to get things moving a little quicker....that is, as soon as I try to figure out who the heck that would be (save your comments for how I should be more involved with politics-not going to happen).

I have so enjoyed getting a glimpse of Andrey this week due to the missionary that is over there right now ( I can't wait to get my hands on him. He is going to be 5 in December, but looks/acts like maybe a 8-12 month old. He has some pretty moderate to severe institutionalized behaviors, so that will be interesting to get those to go away. Anyway, that is all for now and I hope that I will post again tomorrow!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

New Pics of Andrey!!!

There is a precious girl in Ukr**ne right now...she went to Andrey's orphanage today and got to spend a lot of time with him and others. She is also going to the preschool orphange (?) and the older kids orphanage. What a blessing. My heart is so full today that I cannot explain what knowing that people are there (and have been there) loving on him and playing with him. The boy looks like a handful....his favorite activity was pulling hair and taking off his hat. Thank God I have very short hair. He sounds like Cole when we first got there...he constantly grabbed me, pulled at my glasses, hit/fought at was very short lived, but very tiring. On the adoption homefront, just waiting on USCIS and we are finished!!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

DONE....(well, almost)

Today I mailed our home-study and other documents, including a letter from our pediatrician, asking for USCIS to expedite our case. So, I am completely finished with our stateside stuff. I am also completely finished with our dossier minus our state police clearance forms and our golden ticket. I am going to call the TBI office tomorrow and see what the hold up is on those forms. But other than those two little things, we.are.completely.done.with.our.dossier. I can't believe how quick it went. Last time, it took 5 months just to complete the home-study. So, hopefully we will get a fingerprint appt. by next week and we will go as soon as we receive the notice and we may actually finish this up by the first of October. Get ready Andrey-here we come. We are about to rock your world!!!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

My Sweet Caden

Since I am now back into the blogging world, I thought I would update on my main man, Caden. This boy is something else. I think back about when I was trying to decide whether to adopt only Cole or not. OMGoodness!!! What we would have missed out on if we had chosen not to get this little love. Caden was a BLOB when we got him. He did nothing! He could not eat, sit up, crawl, walk....nothing. I was overwhelmed when we got home because I was unsure IF he would progress! HA! That cracks me up now. This little maniac is a genius. He is very strong willed, curious, loving, sneaky, funny, and gives the best kisses in the world. He could not be any more different from Cole (will post an update on him later). He is referred to as "King Caden" because he demands your attention and he will not let anyone forget that he is in charge. He is currently being evaluated to start the pre-K program and I don't know if I am ready for that. Cole goes to school 3 days a week, so we get three mornings a week alone and I love our alone time. He follows me from room to room and does whatever I do. He puts the clothes in the dryer, loads the is hysterical. He is 5% on the height on the DS growth chart and 75% on the weight! In our homestudy, our social worker described him as "of short stature and very well nourished." I call him "round pound". I let him eat too much, but he was so behind when we got him that I just let him go. We are now scaling back and he is doing well. He can eat anything. He had feeding therapy for about 7 months and then one day, he just started chewing and eating like a pro. He is not potty trained (he is only 2-will be 3 on October 16), but sits on the little potty when Cole goes to the bathroom. I just can't explain the joy my heart feels for this little boy. I miss him when I am not with him. He requires A LOT of attention, but I gladly give it to him. The one thing I worry about with our adoption of Andrey, is that Caden might loose his place as "the baby". I don't think Caden will let that happen, but he so enjoys being the baby and I hope that stays the same. He is saying one word...."Pappa", but signs more, eat, drink, please, thank you, nice, mom, dad, pig, bye bye, yes, no, help and "I love you". He knows everything you are saying and loves, loves, loves to clean and "work"! I think God that we said yes and listened to his calling when I was convinced that two kids at the same time would be too much! I will leave you with some pics!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Homestudy Update Complete!

I received an email today from our social worker. She is sending out our homestudy to our stateside helper tomorrow to make sure that everything is "worded correctly" and I actually spoke to our USCIS officer on the phone today 15 minutes AFTER the case had been assigned out. How amazing is that? He literally just got the case and I called to see (ok....I called to make sure that someone was working on our case) if they had everything they needed (minus homestudy). He was very nice and I got to tell him about Andrey and that he would turn 5 in December and that U*** took a fall/winter break, etc. I don't know if it helped at all, but it made me feel better about trying to get there as quickly as we can. Not to worry, I will calling him back since I have his direct number to "check" on him at least every couple of days until I have that needed permission slip. I am not going to get my hopes up, but I think we might make it to Andrey's country before they shut down. If not, I have to remember that it is God's timing, not mine and I am just keeping my eyes on the prize.

In other news, we will be celebrating the boys being home for ONE year in two weeks. Can you believe that? I don't remember what life was like before they were here (well, maybe I do remember sleeping past 6 am). They have blessed our lives so tremendously that I can't even begin to describe it.

I will leave you with some cute pics of my babes!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Cutest baby on the planet! Just to make you smile!

What's in a Name?

So, I have been thinking about our new babe's name....I don't really even know his real name. I think it is Andrey, but that might not be it at all and even if it is, the caregivers never call him anything, so does he even know this name? Anyway, all three of my boys names starts with "C"-Cody, Cole, and Caden. My daughter is Danielle. So, the kids want to change it up a bit and give him a "D" name so that Danielle is not a loner! So, I am asking the readers (if there are any) what do you all think? Here are our choices: 1) Keep Andrey....2) Dreyson (still has the drey in it).....3) Dallas (don't ask)......4) Cullen......5) Camden........6)Corbin...

That is what we have come up with. I seriously have no idea which one I like best or even if I like any of them.

On the homefront...I am waiting on our Doctor's license and the state clearance forms, the homestudy final draft, and the golden ticket and we are finished with the dossier. I have been emailing/talking on the phone/preparing for all of these documents and I finally got them all and took my notary and off we went today. I am going to send them for approval tonight.

More later............

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Well, our homestudy should be done by next week and I am working on the dossier packet now. I have sent off our I600a application (and they have cashed the check) so maybe, just maybe, we may get there sooner rather than later. I have refocused and now I am ready to tackle this packet of papers. My back is feeling much better from my two herniated disks and I am hoping that will give me my motivation to complete all of this.

I found a video on a blog with Andrey in it for just a few seconds and I have to say that first, he is beautiful. Absolutely perfect. He looks just like a blue eyed version of my Caden. I could not believe how much they look alike and they look the same size even though Andrey is two years older than him. But anyway, the video broke my heart into. We need to get there quickly and get him out of that box and onto the back deck with hundreds of toys! Cole and Caden will teach him everything he needs to know about how to play with toys, especially toys you can push around like lawn mowers!

My heart is heavy and I am doing some real praying and talking with God about what is on my mind. I keep going to Andrea G.'s blog and reading about all the other kids that are in the orphanage with Andrey and it is so sad. It is so unfair that these babies have not had a good start. I have never thought about adopting a child that is blind, or that has some disease that I have never heard of, but now I am quietly trying to picture what it would be like in my home with one of these children. I have not brought this up to hubby at all, yet, because I myself am not sure what is going on inside my head and heart. Please pray for me and pray that I will be able to do what God would want me to.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Video by Cody!

Cody made this video for me and gave it to me yesterday. Please watch until the end!

Sunday, September 4, 2011


Just a little update...I have mailed our USCIS application (permission from the US to adopt/AKA "the golden ticket"), have an appointment for our social worker to come to the house for our homestudy update on September 14th (sent an email to see if she can come sooner), and have stared the dreaded paperwork for all of the dossier documents. I have went to the doctor and had all my labs/urine tests done, ordered new birth certificates, etc.

Tomorrow is Cole's 5th birthday!! Can you believe they have been home almost a year? I remember his last birthday. We were sitting in a concrete playground and chasing him around like he was a wild animal. He would grab my face and knock my glasses off. It was horrible. It is hard for me to think back to the time when he acted like that. He is now so sweet and gentle. He is so easy to take care of. I wonder if his birth mother will be thinking of him tomorrow. I would love to know her and what she thinks about him. I wonder if she is missing him or she has just completely forgotten about him. She really has missed out. I feel sorry for her. I cannot imagine how hard it would be to just walk away like that. Tonight when I was putting Cole to bed, I was telling him "Oh, 5 years ago I was just starting to have back/stomach pains and starting to go into labor with you." It was pretty cute because he stopped and looked at me with the biggest grin and then signed "I love you" to me. I really wish that were true and that I would have given birth to him so that I could have taken care of him for his entire life instead of just the last year. He really is a gift, that I don't deserve, and I am so glad that he is mine! We are having a little party at the house tomorrow for him (and my mother) and then we will have the big party in a couple of weeks to celebrate their one year home. I promise to take pictures and post them.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Homestudy Update Paperwork.....check!!

FYI, do you know how hard it is to type with one baby on your arm and one bouncing on your feet? Just sayin...

Anyhoo, I have two herniated disks in my back and have been down and out this week, so I was not my usual jump in and get things done kind of self. I was sedated and had my spine/back injected yesterday and am feeling much better and today I completed all the paperwork to get my homestudy update completed and we both have fingerprint appointments on Monday, so we will be scheduling our home visit and wrapping this part up!!! YAY!! I can't remember if I am suppose to go ahead and send in my I600a application now or if I am suppose to wait until my homestudy is done...I will have to look that up. I am scheduled to work the next 11 days straight so it will be an interesting next couple of weeks, to say the least. I knew we would be adopting, but didn't know who/when so I volunteered to work as many days as possible until OCTOBER!!! Now, Andrey has a $20,000 grant and I don't really need to work that much, but I already signed up for it, so at least I can be saving some money for when we are off work to go get our new little man. Plus I will need a couple thousand more dollars to complete the adoption, so it will all work out!

Will update when I start seeing some progress!!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Ok, you caught me...the picture in the last post of little Andrey that I announced was on the "My Family Found Me" page, well actually there is more to the story....WE ARE ANDREY'S FAMILY!!! More details later....

Friday, August 19, 2011

Meet Andrey S

Now, is this not the cutest thing you have ever seen? He is so "squishy" looking? Just wanted to show you all a picture of a sweet little boy in Eastern Europe who is now on the "My Family Found Me" page on Reece's Rainbow??? He just melts my heart~

Wednesday, August 17, 2011