Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Family Updates and Prayer Requests

As most of you probably know, it's been an intense week for us. On Christmas day, Mark's grandmother in Iowa passed away after being sick for quite a while. Hospice had been called in, so while it was not unexpected, it was still a bit of a shock. Mark flew out for the funeral the next day.

On Saturday, our baby girl, Michelle Monae was born. My mom and I spent the day at the hospital with her birthmother waiting for her to be born. We stayed around long enough afterwards for her to be transfered from the NICU to the regular nursery and then made the long trek home.I spent a good bit of time Sunday and Monday in the hospital with Michelle and her birthmother.

On Monday, the birthmother and I signed paperwork, and I brought her home. If was very difficult to walk out of the hospital room with Michelle, leaving the bithmother there with empty arms. Mark arrived home a few hours after we got back to my parents' house (where Steven and I were staying while Mark was gone). Unfortunately, Mark came home sick, and I had felt something coming on that morning.

Yesterday (Tuesday), Mark and I went up to the adoption agency for him to sign the paperwork. On the way there, we decided to rename our baby Michelle Monae (instead of Abigail Monae). (That's another story, but we chose to do that in honor of her birthmother). Later in the day Mark's family stopped by for a few hours on their way home from the funeral, and his mother stayed here with the intention of going home on Sunday with Lauren's fiance.

Around 5:30 this morning, we received the call that Mark's grandfather in Canada passed away. This was completely unexpected, and with it coming so soon after Mark's grandmother, it has been a hard day for his entire family. Mark's mom is flying home this evening (she doesn't have her passport with her to fly straight to Nova Scotia), and Mark is flying out for the funeral later this week. At this point, it looks like I'll be staying here with the babies. Michelle isn't allowed to leave the state, so taking her out of the country is definitely out of the question. The funeral day hasn't been set, but once it is, we'll know more.

We appreciate your prayers as we are working through all these different adjustments (while sick no less!). I'll be sure to keep you updated.

Rebekah

**Check out the pictures posted below!**

Pictures!











Tuesday, December 30, 2008

We're All Home

It's nice to all be at home tonight, but unfortunately, Mark came home sick. He pretty much crashed on the couch after dinner and just now went to bed. Abigail and I are following him in a few minutes. Steven isn't too sure about Abigail, but he did eventually get close enough to her to poke her :)

It helped when Mark came home because he could focus more on Steven. (Even though he was getting tons of attention from my family!) There's just no one quite like Daddy.

Tomorrow (Tuesday), we head up to the agency for Mark to sign the paperwork. Right now I have legal custody, so the paperwork lets him have legal custody too. Both birthparents signed the paperwork to terminate parental rights, but it'll take 3-6 weeks to work thorugh the court system. Until that is finalized, either of them can change their mind. We didn't experience the "legal risk" period with Steven because his birthmother went to court the same day. There's no real indication she's going to change her mind, but it's always a possibility. Please pray for her to have peace about her decision and for us during this time. We'll be able to relax a bit more once all that is taken care of.

I have pictures from today (even cuter in her own little clothes!), but it's incredibly late, and baby girl and I need to go to bed. (Well, she's contentedly sleeping on me, but I need to go to bed!) I'll get some up tomorrow.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Coming Home!!

Yep, that's right. Abigail Monae is coming home today! And no, Mark isn't home from Iowa yet :( He'll meet his baby girl for the first time when we all pick him up from the airport. Crazy!!

I didn't expect her to be released today, so I'm in shock. I also have a ton of stuff to do in the next 45 minutes before leaving for the hospital. Thank you for your prayers for us (esp. the birthmother) today. It is such a comfort to know that people are lifting us up in prayer as our life is crazy and unpredictable today.

Of course, there'll be lots of pictures tonight :)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

More Pictures!

I went back up to the hospital today and spent a bit more time with Abigail. I didn't really spend one-on-one time with Abigail, but I still spent some time with her. I was in the nursery with her while she was getting evaluated, and the nurse put a bow in her hair. I think she likes it :)

Right now it looks like we'll bring her home on Tuesday. Mark doesn't get home until late evening tomorrow, and he has to sign paperwork before she can come home. The social worker is going to the hospital Monday with papers for the birthmother to sign. I don't know if they're just preliminary papers, but it'll be nice to have them signed.





She's Here!

Abigail Monae (finally!) arrived at 5:59 p.m. on Saturday, December 27th! She weighed in at 6 lbs, 13 ozs, and is 19 1/2" long. I was not in the delivery room, but I did get to meet her in the NICU shortly after her birth.

When Abigail was born, she wasn't breathing quite right, so they took her to the NICU. She was only there for a few hours before being transferred to the regular nursery. Her nurse said it was shortest amount of time she's has a baby in the NICU.

I probably spent an hour with Abigail in the NICU between the two visiting times they had while we were there. I also spent time with her birthmother in the recovery room and in her regular room before we left. Please pray for her birthmother as she works through this process and recovers from the c-section.

It was a very long day yesterday. Mom and I left for the hospital at 9:30 a.m. and didn't get home until after 11:00 p.m. I ended up just spending the night at my parents' house with Steven, and then I'm heading back up to the hospital later today (1 to 1 1/2 hour drive). Mark is still in Iowa with his family and will be coming home tomorrow afternoon/evening.

I've posted more pictures on Facebook, but I wanted to at least get a few posted up here before heading to church. I'm sure you'll agree that she is quite cute!






Friday, December 26, 2008

Updates

Mark's grandmother passed away just a few minutes into Christmas Day, and he is flying out to Iowa in a few hours. The funeral is on Monday, but it was $1,000 cheaper to leave today instead of tomorrow. He's coming back Monday afternoon after the funeral. Please pray for him and his family as they both grieve and celebrate his grandmother's life. We are so thankful that she was a Christian (as is most of our families) and that she is having the time of her life in heaven right now. She is running and even dancing (gasp!) in front of her Lord right now. What an amazing thought!

This morning we received THE call--from our birthmother herself saying that today was the day. We were surprised because there hasn't been any contact from her to either us or the social worker since last Saturday. We started getting ready before receiving another call saying that the doctor had an emergency and that tomorrow will be the day. It's disappointing because Mark won't be there (which we had already come to terms with), but it was a blessing at the same time. The roads this morning were horrible (new reports kept referring to them as a skating rink), and it would have been very dangerous to make the drive. Tomorrow, it's supposed to be a record high (60 degrees!!).

Thanks for your continued prayers. I will let you know as soon as anything happens (or doesn't happen) tomorrow!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Please Pray

Mark's grandmother hasn't been doing well recently, and tonight we found out that she is not expected to live through the night. They're already working on funeral arrangements because Grandpa really would like Mark there. I won't be able to go because of Abigail (even if she's born and home in time, we can't leave the state with her until the paperwork is filed). This is going to be especially hard for Grandpa since he's been her caregiver for several years now.

Mark has never lost a grandparent, which makes this even harder. His family is going out in the morning, and Mark is looking at different flights. So far, the best arrangement seems to be leaving on Friday afternoon/evening and coming home on Sunday. (The funeral is tentatively planned for Saturday.) Please pray for his family and for us as we work through all the different emotions and logistics in this situation.

Monday, December 22, 2008

No New News

That pretty much says it all. We have nothing new to report. There are no scheduled doctors appointments or another c-section date. We've had no direct contact (laying low until the social worker makes contact), and we're just waiting. Baby girl could come any day. The next sceduled c-section date will be after Christmas, but it's always possible that she'll go into labor before then (her due date is Dec. 28). Right now, we're just waiting and working on getting baby girl's room ready.

Getting the room ready is proving to be a bigger challenge than we anticipated. Last year we cleaned out the little buddy's room and moved most of the items into what will now be baby buddy's room. This room was packed with everything imaginable and also served as our office and guest room. Now, we're slowly moving everything out, trying to figure out where we should put it. The computer is staying in there for now, but when she gets to be Steven's age, we'll have to move it out too.

This room has always been the coldest in the house, so we're working on fixing that. We've discovered that at least part of the problem is gaps in the floor boards, so Mark's been taking care of that. As it is right now, this room is way too cold for a baby. (Our room is cold too, but it's not as bad, and we warm it up with the space heater before going to bed.) One of our long term plans is to buy more insulation, but that's not in the budget quite yet.

One nice thing is that the paint perfectly matches the bedding, so that saves us both time and money. It would be nice to do some touch up work, but I don't know if we have any paint left over. (This was one of the rooms we painted when we moved in 5 years ago.) By the time the crib is put up and different things are hung on the wall, no one will really be able to tell, so it's not that big of a deal.

I do have all her clothes hung in her closet, along with a pack of diapers and her bebe pod seat. Her top dresser drawer has a basket of her many socks, her onesies, hair bows, tights, and cloth diapers (pink!). We're to the point where we have pretty much everything we need for her. I've been hitting Craig's List and freecycle.org and have been finding some great deals. Most of what I've been picking up has been for her birthfamily, but I've gotten some things for her as well. This is my first time using either website, and I've been fairly impressed. I've saved so much money that way--esp. on the bedding, bebe pod seat (a little luxury item!), and the BumGenius diapers. If you haven't used either of these sites before, check them out!

In the midst of everything, I'm also starting a new job. I'm going to be working for a tutoring company and doing live online tutoring starting in January. For the first two months, I'll be working one-on-one with students to get them ready for the PSAT. After that, I'll be doing regular tutoring on whatever the student needs help with. It's going to be a challenge with two little ones, but I'm going to schedule it for either early morning or during nap time, at least that's the plan right now :) The company is very flexible, and we set our own hours, which is really nice!

Well, I had better run if I want to get anything done before the little buddy wakes up. I'm trying to cram in as much as I can before the baby comes since I know I won't want to be leaving the house too much then. After Steven wakes up, we're going to be running here, there, and everywhere getting errands taken care of. What fun!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Not Today

Well, I think it's safe to say that we won't be having a baby today :( There was an operating room available, but their birthmother didn't go. We're obviously disappointed, and it means that it may end up being an emergency c-section, but it wasn't our decision to make. (And it wasn't one that we saw coming at all.)

We'd still love for it to be in the next few days since that's when Mark can get off work, but we'll just keep praying and waiting.

In other news, the little buddy isn't feeling too hot. (The only redeeming benefit of not having a new baby today.) He got shots about a week and a half ago, and at the time, the doctor told us that he may get a reaction in about 10 days. I had forgotten about it until this evening, but the timing all fits. He's spent most of the day laying on Mark's chest, and he has a fever. He's not acting himself/is very lethargic, but no other symptoms of being sick (vomiting, runny nose, coughing, etc.). Hopefully he feels better very soon!

It could also be that he's embarrassed by his new haircut. (It is rather dreadful looking.) Mark said that it might help if I stop talking about how bad it looks every time I look at him. I just feel bad for the poor little boy, but I know if I try to trim it up, he'll get really upset. It was not a fun experience cutting his hair last night, and I'll give him a few days before touching it again.

I've posted pictures on Facebook, but you can't see the after all that well. It's considerably shorter than it was, and with some trimming and shaping, it should look a lot better. One of these days I might feel up to posting them on here.

Please keep praying for our baby and the birthmother. We all appreciate it, and I'll keep you updated on the situation.

It's looking unlikely. . .

but it's still possible. I'll let you know as soon as I find out anything!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Adoption Update

I took Steven and Abigail's birthmother to her doctor's appointment today. (I go up every Thursday.) The last appointment didn't end on the best note since the doctor told us about the change of date for the c-section at the end of the visit, even though it had been determined the week before. We were both unhappy since that meant she would be in the hospital during Christmas (her oldest cried when she heard this).

The doctor immediately sensed that we weren't too thrilled as soon as he came in the room. However, we left much happier :) The c-section with either be Saturday (as in less than two days!!) or after Christmas. We won't find out until Saturday morning (between 9:00 and 10:00) if they will be able to do it that day.

We're praying for it to be Saturday for a lot of reasons, some more important than others.

1. It's sooner :)
2. Mark already has permission to take next week off, and he won't be able to do that after Christmas.
3. It reduces the chance that she will go into labor and have to have an emergency c-section.
4. She wouldn't be stressing over the idea of "being cut open" during Christmas.

Obviously, God has everything already planned out, and Abigail will come when He wants her to. But, we're still hoping and praying for Saturday!

P.S. Please also pray that our homestudy is approved by Monday. Everything is now in our file, and we're just waiting for the report. We obviously can't bring Abigail home until it's approved, and we can't apply for grants before it's approved or after she comes home.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

One Year Ago Today. . .

we brought Steven James home!




Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Happy Little Boy!

Can you tell he loves balls?!









Sunday, December 14, 2008

Belated Congratulations!

My sister Lauren is now engaged! Lauren and Rob got engaged shortly after their one year anniversary. I can't wait to see her ring when she comes home!


Saturday, December 13, 2008

New Basketball Fan

Today Steven and Mark watched basketball together, and Steven was really getting into the game. Mark said that he stood by the tv and kept pointing at the ball and saying, "ball! ball!" Everytime someone slam dunked the ball, he would clap and get excited. I wish I had been there to see it!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Baby Girl Update

I went back up to Flint this morning to take Steven's birthmother to the hospital for a non-stress test and ultrasound, both of which looked pretty good. We then went to the doctor's office, and at the end of the visit, he mentioned that the date of the c-section was the 23rd. That completely through us both for a loop, and it was rather upsetting to her because that means she won't be home for Christmas. Apparently, he changed the date the week before but never told us. We're praying that it gets moved up because it doesn't really make sense to have it then, plus that is only one day before her due date.

She thinks that she will have the baby before then, which could mean another emergency c-section. Please pray for all the details to work out and for a safe delivery and a healthy baby!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Getting Closer and Chipin

Tonight we had the last of our doctors' appointments, and this one was an in-home follow up to last year's pych. eval. You will be pleased to know that we passed :) It was the first time the doctor met Steven, and aside from his initial shy act, Steven showed off his little personality for him. (Hard to believe, right??) A very nice thing is that the doctor didn't charge us anything and insisted that it was just an update from last year's eval. Mark insisted on paying him something, so we wrote the check for $25. The doctor insisted that if he wrote it for anything more he wouldn't cash it. That was so nice of him, and we thoroughly appreciate it. This also means that we have every piece of paperwork finished! Finally!!

As you may have noticed, I've added a Chipin link on the side. A friend suggested this to me, and I decided to do it, esp. after I've been contacted by several people who want to help out but don't read magazines. I do want to say a huge THANK YOU to those who have ordered magazines. It has been amazing to see who has ordered them, including people that I haven't seen or really even talked to for years. What a blessing!

I spent a good bit of last night working on grant applications and would love to know what organizations some of you other adoptive moms have used. We're praying that we don't have to take out a loan for Abigail's adoption so we can concentrate on paying Steven's loan off as soon as possible.

I put Steven in the bassinet tonight and he though it was fun being rocked back and forth. Of course, by the time I got the camera and stopped rocking him long enough to take a picture, he wasn't enjoying himself quite so much. I can't wait to compare his picture with Abigail's!

New Word

Steven is learning so much right now, but the new word he says now makes me laugh. Bib. When he wakes up in the morning, he points to his bibs on a hook in his closet and says bib. When I am doing laundry, he steals them out of my basket and tries to put them on.

Why the fascination with bibs? Because in his mind, if you're wearing a bib, you will get food. Can you tell my son loves to eat??

Monday, December 8, 2008

13 Days until the Big Day (aka Shameless Begging)!!

Yep, that's right. Abigail is scheduled to arrive in 13 days! (Dec. 21 for those who are math challenged.) We have one final thing to do before our homestudy is complete, and that appointment is scheduled for tomorrow night. We do not know how long that will take, and we do not know how much it will cost. (Last year we paid a reduced rate of $400.) This expense is not counted in the cost of our adoption :(

I've been researching grants, and there are several we are going to apply for. However, we cannot apply for grants before our homestudy is complete or after placement. You can see the time crunch we are in!

In the meantime we are continuing our magazine fundraiser. (Brace yourself, shameless begging to follow!) So far, we have raised $77.60, which is wonderful! That is from three people's orders. I know that many of you read magazines, and I promise you, the prices are very good. You don't pay more to support our cause. In fact, my dad found his Time magazine renewal was only $25 instead of the $40 "offer" Time was offering!

So, please buy one! They offer everything from Parents to Newsweek to People to the ever popular gun magazines. I know that you'll find something for you or all the people on your Christmas list!

So what are you waiting for?? Order a magazine today!

P.S. I'll still love you and let you read my blog even if you don't :)

P.P.S. Don't miss the picture posts I added earlier today!

Please Pray!


Please pray for this adoptive family as they deal with the murder of this beautiful 5-year old girl and her foster parents in Guatemala. Josi would have been coming home to her new parents this month. I can't imagine how devastated her family (both here and in Guatemala) must be. Please pray for them.

Playing







Keeping Up With the Latest Trend!


Close Ups!











Sunday, December 7, 2008

One Year Ago Today. . .

We learned of Steven's existence.
I started scrambling to get our portfolio ready.
We tried not to get our hopes up.
We asked a very select group of people to pray.

One year ago today, our life changed in an unexpected but wonderful way!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Going Down the Step

This is an old video, and the quality isn't too great since it was on Mark's camera phone, but it's pretty funny watching him go down the step at my parents' house. He's an old pro at it now, but not quite there yet when this was taken :)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Cake and Cheese!

I love the facial expressions in all of these pictures! You can definitely tell what he was thinking :)


Umm, not too sure about the fire.



Everyone's singing to me!



Yay, Mommy!



Cake is definitely overrated.



Yeah, no doubt about it. . .why did you put this in my mouth??



No, Grandma, isn't not just the sprinkles. I just don't like this stuff.
I don't even want to touch it!

Wait, I can have cheese instead?? Yay!!



So delicious!


Worn out.



Decided to touch it after all. . .it's fun to smash and put in my hair!
Still won't put it in my mouth, though. Time for a bath!


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Party Time!!





















I have to say, we had a great time, and we only spent $15, including presents! (Well, including our presents, not my family's.) Nothing beats garage sales, mom-to-mom sales, and the dollar store!