Monday, July 6, 2015

Christmas In July: Hallie Jade Fundraiser


You know how people say that you forget the pain of childbirth, because otherwise, you wouldn't knowingly put yourself back in that situation again?  Well, I guess it's true of an adoption too.  Only different.  Six months ago, when we decided we were going to adopt Hallie, I really thought that having to tackle mountains of paperwork, once again, was going to be the painful part of our adoption.  Somehow I had let myself forget the degree to which we were humbled during Jordan's adoption process and how excruciating that humbling can be.  We went into Jordan's adoption knowing we did not have enough money to bring him home, but we felt at peace that it was what we were supposed to do and that it would work out.  As it turned out, it "working out" meant having to accept the fact that we couldn't do it on our own and allow help from others.  Not a lot of fun, but an amazing lesson in how many people cared about Jordan before they even met him.  And that's how the Jog for Jordan came about.

Again, we've gone into an adoption without having all of our funds needed, but this time we had a smaller deficit, thanks to our tax return.  We felt sure we could make up the difference on our own between Ryan taking on extra paid work, and me filling out grant applications like a ninja.  How does a ninja fill out applications?  I don't know.... But, we thought we could avoid being humbled again.  Ha!  Life has a way of wreaking havoc on our nicely laid out plans.  Between Jordan's surgery, and far too many visits to doctors' offices (for all of us) we have spent thousands of dollars more on medical care than we usually do in a year... and we're only halfway through the year!  Add to that major car repairs (x2) and dental work (x2).  We've also decided we can't put off taking Mason and Jordan to see Dr. Harbison, the RSS specialist, in Chicago this summer.  They have both had some blood work results that are troubling and our local doctors are not able to give us any clarity.  It's really terrible timing, financially, but we need to have answers before traveling to China to pick up Hallie.  While we did qualify for a scholarship to cover most of the costs associated with the visits to see Dr. H, we still have the expense of driving ourselves to Chicago to add to our list of setbacks.  So, as we inch closer to being able to bring Hallie home, we still don't have all the funds we need to get her home and we're running out of time.  And that's where Christmas in July comes in... We've decided to make and sell Christmas ornaments to raise funds to bring Hallie home.  If you would like to purchase ornaments, you can use the form below.  You'll have the option of personalized ornaments, made from any image you'd like to provide, or some ready made ornaments with Chinese characters, scenes, and zodiacs.  If you would like to look up the zodiac that corresponds with a particular birth year, you can click HERE




Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Happy 4th Birthday Hallie!


Knowing that Hallie had to face yet another birthday without a family to celebrate her was obviously not fun.  But we did get an amazing gift... another adoption agency had been mistakenly sent an update on Hallie but someone who knew she had a family waiting for her went above and beyond to track me down to get it to me.  The update contained a video and a few pictures and among them was this beauty with a smile!  This smiling picture helped make the day a little easier.

We celebrated together with Chinese food.  Jordan is a fan of fortune cookies.

We sang Happy Birthday and blew out candles for Hallie.




 Next year we'll get to celebrate with you baby girl!

Friday, May 22, 2015

A Jo-Jo Update

Jordan, aka Joe, Jo-Jo, Joege, or George has been home with us for over 9 months now.  He has grown and changed so much.  He's gained 5 pounds and grown 4 inches since joining our family!  Considering he was only 14 pounds when we met him... this is crazy, huge growth and I'm going to go ahead and pat myself (and Ryan) on the back for this.  Getting Jordan to eat has been by far our biggest challenge with him.  We've spent hours upon hours during the day coaxing him to eat and many a late nights feeding him extra bottles.  So it's pretty great to see it's paying off.  Jordan's language comprehension is amazing and his vocabulary is starting to explode.  He's starting to learn the alphabet and can identify about 1/2 the letters now.  He loves cars, Legos, books, jumping on the trampoline, playing outside, and doing anything his older siblings are doing.  Jordan knows what he wants and gives us some two-year-old attitude when he doesn't get it, but his tantrums are really pretty mild and kind of make me laugh.  He is really such a fun kid who is adored everywhere he goes.  I mean, look at the kid... he is darling!


"Where's Jordan?"

"Where's Mama?"

Now stop taking pictures so I can play.

And this is becoming our new normal.  Jordan will most likely be diagnosed with asthma, but the doctor is holding off a little bit longer before making it official.  (It's usually not diagnosed until a child is 5 years old)  I am still so new to the asthma world and trying to understand the ins and outs of it.  All I know for sure is that asthma attacks in the movies are NOT helpful with knowing what to watch for in real life.  Also, Jordan does NOT like his cute dragon mask and flicks it during his neubulizer treatments to prove his disdain.  Bless this child for being cranky, yet compliant.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Oh What A Week!

This week has been a rough one.  It all started with Enoch, Mason and Jordan who have had a cough that just doesn't want to quit, and have all been coughing so hard, they've thrown up several times.  Then, Enoch added to that an earache that turned into a double ear infection, which resulted in a miserable boy with a ruptured eardrum and an ear that has oozed for several days.  Also, Jordan, who has had wheezing issues in the past, was having a harder than normal time breathing, and ended up at the insta-care on Thursday night.  After responding well to a breathing treatment, the doctor suspects Jordan may have asthma, something his caretakers in China told us he might have, but I had hoped was just an anxiety response that was slowly going away.  Friday and Saturday, Mason and Jordan kicked the vomiting up a notch and both came down with fevers.  (I hate fevers)  I'm still not sure if they have a stomach bug, in addition to the cough, or if the cough has just come back with a vengeance.  But, any time they throw up, it's nerve racking for me because they both have the potential to have a hypoglycemic episode if they don't keep food down for very long, and that means a trip to the ER, which we really try our best to avoid and have actually been pretty good at doing.  Just when it seemed like everything was starting to calm down, Mason started throwing up again and Jordan had another wheezy spell, but this time, a breathing treatment at home wasn't able to help him.  So we broke down and Ryan took Jordan to the ER.  Where they are now.  Hopefully helping Jordan breath a little easier and figuring things out.

Amidst all of this craziness, I'm reading "North and South" by Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell, and loving it.  One line, in particular keeps coming back to me... "Looking back upon the year's accumulated heap of troubles, Margaret wondered how they had been borne.  If she could have anticipated them, how she would have shrunk away and hid herself from the coming time!  And yet, day by day had, of itself, and by itself, been very endurable - small, keen, bright little spots of positive enjoyment having come sparkling in the very middle of sorrows."

This is so true to life in general.  I doubt many of us would happily agree to take on our challenges, and once we get through them we may wonder,  "How?" But little bits of happiness sprinkled throughout every day, are exactly what get us through.

Even when they are sick, these kids of mine provide "keen, bright little spots of positive enjoyment".  


Exhausted, Jordan passed out on the floor.  He sweetness overwhelms me.

This guy has thrown up in his bed, on the couch, on the carpet, on a rug, and on the garage floor.  Pretty much everywhere except the toilet.  For such a little thing, he can make some big messes and I am sick to death of cleaning them up.  But his smile makes up for all of it.  Oh how I love him!

Now to be really honest.  I have to admit there are moments when I think, "What are we doing, adopting Hallie?  We already have so much on our plate and life would be so much easier if we didn't add her medical issues, possible emotional issues, and the financial burden of another adoption to everything we're already dealing with."  But I know that even if I am tempted to "hide myself from the coming troubles" that the joy she'll bring into our home will get us through.  And I am excited to meet her, get to know her, and to love her.

Monday, April 20, 2015

DTC and A Smile

We've reached a major milestone in Hallie's adoption.  DTC!  Our dossier (all the paperwork we've been working on) is complete and has been reviewed by our agency and sent to China.  Now... we wait some more.  Based on Jordan's timeline, we think we'll travel at the end of August.  Some approvals are coming faster than they were a year ago, so it might be sooner, but you really never know with international adoption. 

There have been a few sweet adoptive families that have taken their time to try to meet Hallie and take some pictures of her for us.  It means more than you can imagine to get these little photo updates.  Last week, a family adopting a boy who shared a room with Hallie, actually got a picture of Hallie smiling.  It's not a huge cheeser smile, but we will take it and be content with the fact that she is actually capable of smiling.  I am so excited to meet this girl and see her smile in person! 


Hallie's adoption funder Page:

https://www.adoptionfunder.org/projects/andersen-family-hallie-jade/

Monday, February 23, 2015

Hallie's AdoptionFunder Page

For those who keep asking, we still haven't decided if we're going to do a fundraiser like the Jog for Jordan for Hallie's adoption. The only fundraiser we have going on right now is through an Adoption Funder page that one of the grant organizations that helped us with Jordan's adoption has set up for Hallie. Donations are tax deductible. Here is the link:

https://www.adoptionfunder.org/projects/andersen-family-hallie-jade/

A Hallie Update

We have finished our home study update and submitted our immigration paperwork, so for now we are waiting for a fingerprinting appointment with USCIS... because, I guess we didn't get fingerprinted enough with Jordan's adoption.  Luckily, because we are reusing our dossier, these will be the only fingerprints we have to do this time around and we don't have to pay $890 to repeat them.  That's how much we paid for these fingerprints, (yep fingerprints!) a year ago, so even if it's annoying to have to go through the process again, I am grateful we don't have to pay for them again. 

Since being matched to Hallie, I've made friends with a few families who, when there adopting their own children from Hallie's orphanage, have taken pictures of Hallie.  Every picture is a gift.  Jordan came with hundreds of pictures.  With Hallie, we started with only a handful of pictures and have worked our way up to a few handfuls of pictures.   We still haven't seen a smile on her face, but we now have a picture or two with near smiles.  From what those who have met her have said, she is a quiet, very observant girl.  Some say she seems sad, others say not sad, but very shy and gentle.  I really can't wait to meet her for myself!  Waiting is hard.  Hard because I know she needs a Mama and a Baba.  When Jordan came out surgery and went into respiratory distress, machines were beeping and it was a bit chaotic... but when I held him, everything settled down.  I was his Mama, and I was able to comfort to him in a way that the nurses couldn't.  Since then, I keep thinking about the surgeries, and hospitalizations Hallie has had to face alone.  No one was there, just for her, to hold her and comfort her.  It makes me terribly sad when I think about it.  Waiting is also hard because of where Hallie is.  It's no where near as good as the situation Jordan was in.  As I read accounts of the punishments and abuse that children from Hallie's orphanage have reported after being adopted, I sat at my computer and cried.  Generally the children Hallie's age and younger are spared from abuse, but that doesn't comfort me, because whether or not Hallie has been mistreated, the children around her have been.  And there is nothing I can do to undo that and nothing I can do to get Hallie home any sooner.   We just pray like crazy for Hallie as well as for her nannies.