Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sunday Snapshot ~ Sacrifice ~

Ni Hao Y'all

noun, the surrender of something prized or desirable
verb,to surrender or give up something for the sake of something else
It's a big thing, sacrifice. Many of us have had to sacrifice things lately with the economy the way it has been.
We as a family have had to make even more adjustments after finding out we are a little short on the adoption fees.
Kerry and I have not been on a vacation as a family since 2007. Right after bringing Hope home from China and before beginning the paper chase for Grace. This is a sacrifice we were willing to make in order to get Gracie home. Cable, not so important. Regular phone, not so much either especially considering we have cell phones. Who needs two phones anyway? The grocery bill has come down. I mean really it's amazing what you can save when you stick to your list and use coupons. Yes, you get some nasty looks in line when you are sifting through them at check out but hey, saving over $10.00 with coupons is very much worth it. Making coffee at home instead of Starbucks, yep that to. Sewing for other to earn extra money, yep that also even if it means staying up after midnight when the house is quiet to get it done. Making our baked goods instead of buying them. I have even given up salon haircuts, haven't had one since 2005.
You see these sacrifices may not last forever or maybe they will. Who knows. Maybe we can give back to others once we have reached our goal. Isn't that what it is all about anyway?
What I do know is it will all be worth it. You know why? Because we have a daughter waiting for us. She has seen our pictures, she has been told we are coming, she has smelled our scent on things we have sent over. More importantly she knows she has a family waiting for her, a family who is going to love her beyond belief.
What have you sacrificed lately?

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Are you ready for a Fundraiser!!

I sure hope so. We are in the home stretch right now and need to raise some money to help with Rachel's adoption fees. We have some amazing prizes donated by some amazing people with more coming in!!

To get in on the action head over to my sewing blog. All details and entry info will be there.

All details and raffle will be over on that blog. I will have a chip in button here on the main blog so you can enter here also but, the main info will be there.

Blogging tutorial

Thank You!!!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Need a little help...

We are in the home stretch and need a little help. I am planning a fundraiser.

Anyone else have anything you are willing to donate for our fundraiser??

We will also be sending out a Kingdom Kids letter again. I really hate having to ask for help but see no way around it. Rachel is our daughter and we have to bring her home. We love her so much and can't imagine losing her.

Donations can be sent to :
Kingdom Kids Adoption Ministries
1417 North Lincoln Avenue
Spokane WA 99201
or you can donate directly through their website here.
Be sure to write "Kerry and Desiree Christopher in a note included with your donation.
Thank you!!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

~ Black and White Wednesday ~ Waiting....

Maybe this isn't the best black and white picture ever but, it speaks to me. I can't take credit for the picture either, some kind generous waiting parent took pity on us in our loong wait for Rachel and got it when they traveled back in August. We are now at day 104. It seems like to many days but His timing is everything and we will continue to wait however long it takes.
"I am waiting for the Lord, my soul is waiting for Him, and my Hope is in His word"
Psalms 130:5

Monday, January 25, 2010

"Hope ism's"

"Mama, My eyes are all juicy so I am sick"

Friday, January 22, 2010

a day in the life...speech therapy

Just in case you were wondering or if you were contemplating adopting a child born with a cleft lip and palate I thought I would let you follow along on a typical day.

Some quick background info:

Grace is 3, she was born with a severe cleft lip and palate. Her lip was repaired in China. Her palate was repaired once we were home along with a bone graft, nasal repair and ear tubes. The tubes fell out after a year and we had them redone January 4 of this year. She has mild to moderate hearing loss in her right ear with good hearing in her left. This time her right ear was filled with fluid and about to rupture. So I am thankful we got in when we did.

We start out by getting the big kids ready and off to school by 8am. Then I feed the Little's and get them dressed. If I am lucky I get to myself. LOL

We head out to the medical building for a surgery recheck and hearing test/evaluation. Normally this isn't the case but today you are lucky, we had to go here first.

The girls settle in and we are called back. Sorry I don't have pictures of the booth but they were a little weirded out by the fact that I wanted to take pictures....maybe next time.

Hope sets herself up at the speech therapist's desk and Grace and I head into the sound proof booth for some hearing tests. She sits on my lap and we wait. They stick tiny little plastic ear plugs with holes into her ears and test for sound waves. We wait, she readjusts, we wait some more, she tries one ear and then the other. Nothing. She assures me this is normal because of the tubes. I am not convinced but ok, I'll go with it. Next comes the sounds test. Grace will sit on my lap while the therapist has toys make different sounds in different areas of the booth. The idea is to get her to respond in some way. She will also sing and talk in order to get Grace to respond.

We do the left ear first and then start doing different sounds in different areas. The left ear responds, she will turn her head each and every time. The right ear....well with very loud noises she will respond, sometimes. The softer noises or when the therapist sings softly, nothing. Not one flinch, just nothing.

Do you know how sad it is to hear something and not be able to move and just have to sit and watch while your child does nothing, realizing she can't hear it. I tell you it's very hard. The thought of my child not being able to hear is scary. She compensates for it. I see little tilts of her head or she moves to another side so she can hear better from her left ear. But, it is still hard.

The therapist then goes over the results with me. She has mild to moderate loss in her right but good sound in the left. No surprises there. The tubes are both wide open and working. Now onto the doctor. He checks everything out and says great, we'll see you in 3-4 mths for a recheck and another hearing test. They keep trying to give me hope and say maybe when she is older, it will get better. They just need to give her more time. I hope so.

It's about 11 am now and our day is just getting started. We head to the fabric store for a quick minute. (yeah right) and then off to the girls' favorite noodle store to grab something to take to the elementary school.

We have lunch with Jake and his class. The girls love doing this and I am hoping it will allow Hope to get used to the school and following directions. Maybe this will help ease her into Kindergarten without issue. Next we head off to Grace's speech. She gets one on one direction from a speech therapist at the school three days a week. She does go into the room by herself. I wasn't sure at first if she would. I sat with her the first couple of times but she did get distracted and wanted to give up with me there. Now I make sure she knows Hope and I will be sitting right outside the room waiting for her. After about 45 minutes she is finished and I talk to the therapist for a progress report. She has some concerns but is confident that Grace can relearn some things. She drops the first and last consonant of every sound. She has a very difficult time with the letters B, P K, get the idea any hard sound. I have yet to tell them that the hearing in her right ear may be permanently gone. I hesitate to share this as it may affect her eligibility for getting speech. And of course we just aren't sure yet...
Grace does have homework for the weekend. We have a bunch of words and sounds to work on. Usually we practice before going to bed. She has shown some improvement but it will be a long road. I fully expect her to be in speech throughout her elementary years.
Having a child born with a cleft lip and palate is not easy. There will be life long things you have to do. But, I love this girl like nothing else. She is a light. I love that she is so determined and so strong in knowing who she is. (yes, at three) She loves life is a joy to be around.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Ok, so if y'all have been around my blog awhile you know what happened back in June before we accepted our referral for Rachel. If you don't, the short story is we had a son, and then we didn't. Won't go into details just wanted to say he is with his family now. They traveled to China two days ago and now he is in their arms forever. He is beautiful.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Do you see this??

This is how long we have been waiting for our official approval from Chi*a.

Lilypie Waiting to Adopt tickers

Crazy isn't it?? It is a little beyond the norm and frankly, I am getting a bit antsy....

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Something that I need to say....

I have been thinking about this for quite some time and with the new special needs list coming out tonight, well there is no better time than the present. While I am thrilled for the possibly hundreds of babies that are going to be matched, I also feel uneasy. Now I know I am not going to make any friends with this post but I just feel it needs said.

I think some parents are just so tired of waiting or don't want to wait the now four plus years it is taking to be matched that they automatically jump on the special needs band wagon. Most will request a girl as young as possible with minor special needs. That is fine, however, I don't think most people realize there could be syndromes or undiagnosed special needs that just don't get reported or aren't really visible yet. I have seen and heard of a few families that fall in love with a picture but then when they get to China realize their child's special need is something more and don't follow though. In most cases these children are then left in the institution ans never adopted, in a good case scenario they will get the help they need or maybe have a second chance.

I guess my point is, do your homework. And then do more homework. Always be prepared.
With our second daughter we went to China expecting the worse case, hoping for the best but just being prepared. We were pleasantly surprised, her special need was not really a need at all.
But, and this is a big one, she was 22 months old and the size of a 6 mth old, she couldn't walk, sit up straight or eat solid food. She also has some sensory issues. It has been a long road but now, now she is a highly intelligent little girl who is very outspoken and loves being around other kids. She still has night terrors and has issues with textures, but you know what. She is OUR child and we love her.

Our third daughter had cleft lip and palate. Her referral paperwork said third degree cleft and that was it. We didn't know what to expect. She had also been living in a tent for four months after the earthquake. In some ways she was far advanced from our first daughter. She could walk, a little wobbly but she walked. She loved food and had attached herself quite easily to her daddy. She was always sick though, her ears were infected and she had pneumonia. They felt it was from her cleft issues and scheduled surgery once she was out of the hospital and well. Her surgery was a rough one. She had trouble with the anesthesia and had to have two blood transfusions. But, she did make it through. She will be in speech therapy for most of her elementary years,but that is OK.

Our fourth daughter isn't home yet. She sits in a orphanage waiting for us. We have a general idea what we will need once she is home but we are not sure. With any child you are never sure. I can't stress enough to just be over prepared. Do your homework on special needs and then do more. Have all your resources ready. Be prepared for something you didn't expect. Because sometimes the unexpected will happen.

I guess my bottom line is God will never give me more than I can handle. Also my kids are more than their special need. I can't define them as a "cleft baby" or a "club foot" baby ect. They are my children, my girls and I love them more than anything in this world.

When you get to China and if you happen to discover your child has a need that you are not prepared for, stop and pray and then think maybe your child has just shut down, I mean this is a huge change for them. You do not look like their ayi's or smell like them or even talk like them. Maybe this is their way of grieving. Or if the special need is more than you can handle, give it some time, maybe you will surprise yourself. Maybe you will find that you can do this. Give it some time. Maybe you will find a strength you didn't know you had. Also ask for help, many parents have been there before and would be more than happy to offer advice or help.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A glimpse of our girl....

Still waiting in China. A friend and fellow SWI yahoo group member is in China right now getting her son. She was kind enough to get a picture of Rachel for us. Isn't she the sweetest little thing?? She is wearing the clothing and shoes we sent her for Christmas. I really didn't think they would fit as they are quite small and said in the letter we included to share the cloths with the other kids, but she is wearing them and they fit!!
I really wish our trip was just around the corner but at this point I can't really say when we will travel. Quite a few people I know have gotten their LOA with LID's way past ours. We were DTC on September 2 and I have no idea what is going on.....
For the moment I am content to leave it all in God's hands and know that she is being taken care of. We will get to her in His time.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Happy Birthday Jie Jie!!

Happy Third Birthday Jie Jie!! (2010)

Homemade gluten free cake.

Happy second birthday first with us. (2009)

Happy First Birthday. (in China 2008)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

~ Sunday Snapshot ~ Hope's Jokes

Hope is going through a phase right now, a phase where she wants everyone to laugh.

She has been telling jokes, I won't say they are super funny, but the way she delivers and then laughs in her evil scientist way, well it's just priceless.
Here is what she has been telling us this week....
Hope ~ Knock knock
Me ~ Who's there?
Hope~ Banana
Me~ Banana who?
Hope ~ Knock Knock
Me~ Who's there?
Hope ~ Banana
Me ~ Banana who?
Hope ~ Knock Knock
Me ~ Who's there?
Hope ~ Orange
Me ~ orange who?
Hope ~ Orange you glad I didn't say banana?
Hope not five minutes later after laughing forever...
Knock Knock
Me ~ who's there?
Hope ~ Banana
Me ~ Banana who?
Hope ~ knock knock
Me ~ who's there?
Hope ~ banana
Me ~ banana who?
Hope ~ Knock Knock
Me ~ who's there?
Hope ~ orange
Me ~ orange who?
Hope ~ orange you glad you taught me this joke?
And she came up with that one on her own!!

Ni Hao Y'all

Friday, January 8, 2010

What We've Been up To...

Other than redoing my blog about a million times..
I have been busy sewing the last of my orders. None have come in since Christmas. I have been blessed to have raised a little over $700 for our adoption. The hard reality though is, that Kerry and I may have to make a decision for one of us to travel solo. At this point I am just not sure if we could afford both of us going. The important thing if that we get Rachel home.
I have been sewing some more items to list on Etsy. The blog orders are just not coming in anymore and I am thinking about closing the site and just sticking with Etsy. With the economy as it is, I am thankful to have received the orders I have.
Now onto what I've been making.....
A very hot pink reusable grocery bag, must make more but when I go to the grocery store I will be packing my groceries in style!! (and not have to stash or throw away anymore plastic bags)

Hannah's patchwork scarf, perfect for the cold weather we are having lately. The other side is super soft suede!!

This is Mr. Snowman, Jake made him for me in class. Isn't he cute? Ya know I love snowmen!! I guess the crafty bug has gotten all the kiddos.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Surgery went well

She came through ok, they even let me walk her back and hold her until she was out. They usually don't do this but I learned from a few friends to be assertive and it worked.

It took a little longer than usual for her to have the tubes put back in. Jie Jie's ears are quite scarred and the left tube was in the wrong place. She had a ton of fluid build up in the right ear.

I am hopeful this will help restore some of her hearing. She did take forever to wake up. I told the guy, "she won't wake up right away, it takes her quite awhile". He didn't believe me and said the first time was a fluke. Well, I proved him right, she was very tired and not wanting to stay alert. Her O2 level was ok and her heart rate came back up but I would say it took about an hour for her to come fully awake and then she kept telling me she was tired and to leave her alone.

So anyway, for those of you not on facebook she is ok and back to her normal ornery self.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


For the youngest little. This wasn't expected but is definitely needed. We have been going through our states early intervention program to get her into speech therapy and found out she has no hearing in her right ear. We had tubes placed when she had her palate repaired but they didn't last very long. Tomorrow at 7:45 she will have new tubes put in, her ears cleaned and her throat checked. Please say a prayer for our girl, she has a rough time with anesthesia and I am a little worried. However the alternative would be not to redo the tubes and have her hearing further decline and for our girl who is a lover of all things music that would be a shame.

blog pictures 005

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Sunday Snapshot ~ waiting ~


–noun 1. a period of waiting; pause, interval, or delay.

–adjective 2. serving or being in attendance: waiting man; waiting maid; waiting woman.

Waiting, it seems we are always waiting. Even if we don't realize it we are actually waiting. Waiting for our next meal, waiting for pay day, waiting for our birthday, waiting in line for a cup of coffee. Yep folks, we are always waiting.

Bear with me, I do have a point. When we are waiting for something so big and so important it seems to take the longest. In a sense you are in a period of delay or a pause.

Now reading the second meaning, I get a light bulb moment or an idea. Why not turn our wait time into a serving time or a time to help others, maybe that will make our time of waiting shorter and I will gain a perspective I otherwise would not have had.

Now if you read through all my jumble and got it, go, go and serve or help others, not only will it make you feel better, maybe your time of waiting will be shorter also.

Ni Hao Y'all

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!!

Hopefully this new year will be a great one for all of us.

Personally I am hoping for our LOA (letter of acceptance) sometime in January. We did get an updated picture from traveling parents. Rachel is getting so big. I really wish we could go get her. But, I have all the patience in the world and will wait however long it takes.

In the mean time, I am making these adorable birthday dresses/tops for our fundraiser. They are super cute paired with a pink top and jeans. (or alone with some funky pink/red tights!!) So please consider ordering one!!