Psalm: 90:09- We spend our years as a tale that is told


Monday, July 23, 2012

Fundraiser for the McCaslin Family

Thank you everyone this fundraiser is now closed but you can continue to donate on their blog the next couple of months!!! Let's bring these girls home! This was so fun for me to give back even if it was in a little way!
    Calling all moms that love Matilda Jane clothing! A friend in the adoption community needs help and I have a way to combine fashion, fun and donations all in one!

    If you have not heard about the McCaslin's story now is the time to take a few minutes out of your day to read about their amazing calling to adopt not one, but two, aging out girls. My friend's blog did a wonderful post on the family and it was her post that got me stirring to stop what I was doing (yes very busy with my new "virtual twins") and do something! Instead of my insight to the story read this blog post about how their story is inspiring everyone in the adoption world to do something! You might need to get your tissues:)

    Do you want to be a part of the 8 week miracle? They need $34,000 in 8 weeks in order to prevent these beautiful girls, their daughters, from being put out on the streets of China. If they wait one day past their 14th birthday they are no longer eligible to be adopted. Evangeline and Eliza are waiting in China for the Mama and Baba and the only thing standing in the way is money!

    I have two ways you can help be a part of the 8 week miracle. You can donate directly on their blog via their chip in button here:
or you can shop for your daughters on the online McCaslin's Matilda Jane trunk show until August 3rd. 10% of all orders will go directly to the McCaslin's adoption fund and they will also receive the hostess benefits so let's get this party total high so they can get some new cute clothes for their beautiful girls!

    Thank you to Katie Faucher for hosting and offering to do an online trunk show benefiting the McClasin family! View all of the beautiful clothes on the MJ site 
and then email your wish list to who will give you further instructions on how to purchase and can also answer any questions about the product and sizing! How fun and lets remember what we are shopping for!

    Let's do everything we can to help save these two girls lives! This is their last chance for a family and instead of sitting back you can pray for them, donate and help spread the word about this fundraiser.

    Thank you everyone! Eliza and Evangeline are so grateful to know that their family is coming soon!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Miracle Girl-Part Deux

     Are you ready for this? We just received Talia's hematology blood work results and she does not have a blood disorder! So my beautiful Talia girl not only does not have a tumor in her heart, she  also does not have a blood disorder that will require transfusions! As your may remember, her file said she had a G6PD blood disorder. Talia has not been able to have soy products, legumes or berries for two years. Today you better believe I am going out and buying her some strawberries! We were told she would have a severe reaction and if she had any of these items and would need to be hospitalized. Todd carried a note with him in China for this and was so careful (as were her foster parents) the past few years. Through God's grace and the power of prayer Talia is a healthy three year old little girl with no medical needs! Isn't that unbelievable?

     China has a few different adoption programs that children fall under. There is a traditional program for children with no special needs or conditions. Unfortunately, these people have been waiting close to seven years for referrals! I don't advise signing up for that program unless you're comfortable with a child with special needs because many people are still coming home with children that have medical needs -- and really seven years?! The next program is the special needs program which Harper was a part of. You fill out a medical needs list with things you feel comfortable with or have medical teams nearby that excel in those special needs you have listed. They can very from very minor to severe needs and you can also list the age you would like to adopt as well as the sex. The next program is called the Special Focus (SF) program. This is for people like us who were reusing their dossier. Typically, this is the more severe needs list as well as older children or children with more then one special need. Talia automatically received the "SF" label due to her G6PD and the severity of her heart condition plus a number of other SNs listed on her file which were minor including speech delays. Low and behold she should have never been on that list! We are still in shock that all her major special needs (her G6PD and her heart condition) have either healed spontaneously or have been proven to not exist! This means her file was inaccurate and she really could have been on the traditional list as a healthy child! The only medical needs Talia has is a scar on her buttock from her surgery she did not need and eczema which is cleaning up thanks to Aveeno moisturizing cream! She is such a joyous, girly, happy little being and we are so blessed to be her parents. We are so in love with her and amazed at how well her adjustment has been.

     Now I know what you all are thinking -- those that are waiting in line for a referral -- man I hope that happens to us! Let me tell you our first daughter is our biggest blessing and she has a long road ahead, medically! The expenses are great, the time at doctors (she alone has nine appointments just this month!), the energy it takes to parent a special needs child (especially a physical need), the ups and downs emotionally for both the child and the parents as you hear good news then disappointing news, etc. You see it doesn't matter what special need your child has; It just matters how you handle their uniqueness. When you sign up for a special/medical needs adoption you should not be asking yourself, "Can I handle this need or is that one too hard to manage?" What you should be asking yourself is, "Can I love a child unconditionally?" I can honestly say now that this has now happened to us twice, where we received referrals that were way off base. I don't care what you put on your special needs checklist when filling out that form. I also don't care how many doctors and specialists you talk to before you "feel comfortable" accepting a file. The child that is meant to be yours, will be really is just that simple.

     Case in point -- when we filled out our first medical checklist we were so exact and it had only two medical needs listed (we were nervous first time parents!) We accepted Harper's file knowing that she had a 6.6 mm hole in the upper chambers of her heart. We knew open heart surgery was an option should the ASD too large and it is indeed large (the most recent measurements from Children's Hospital of Philadelphia had it at 10mm)! The team of specialists as well as the updates on Harper all sounded fantastic and that she just had a simple ASD.  I am going to be very honest here: I know we would not have taken Harper's file if her other needs were listed or even known! We also would not have taken her file if we thought open heart surgery was a necessity! I can not imagine a day without my smiling, spunky Harper girl and if all those things were listed we would have missed out on her. You see when you get your child's file you aren't in love with them yet -- at least we weren't. We knew Harper was our daughter, but we really grew to love her when she was placed in our arms and we did what we had to do to take care of our child. It is only when you're home and spending time together do you begin to realize this child is with you forever and she is yours to love and keep safe. I guess I safeguard my feelings or at least try to while I am waiting to bring them home!  It is really a unique way to come into parenthood for first time parents!

     We took Harper's file based on a date that was meaningful to us. We also took her file because there was just something about her that seemed a good fit for us when we looked at her picture. There was a certain sparkle in her eyes that we couldn't ignore. Her file had to say what it had to say in order for us to take it. Remember, with God there are no coincidences. This was His best laid plan in our lives. It didn't make sense at the time why our child had so many needs and she looked so healthy! Little did we know how her life and list of medical needs would change the course of so many other orphans' lives. She opened up prospective adoptive parents hearts and minds! Harper came home and we spent a solid 8 months, sleep deprived and living at hospitals and doctors offices. Harper has scoliosis (wears a hard brace 23/7), chiari brain malformation, a benign tumor on her forehead, ASD, pulmonary stenosis (may need a valve replacement) and has severe milk allergies. If that was all listed out on her file she definitely would have been on the Special Focus list. I can tell you many of us reading this would not have accepted her file. Let's be honest -- scoliosis alone is a scary medical need and there are hundreds of kids with scoliosis sitting on the China lists for years until they age out of the adoption system. When you look at Harper and you meet her everyone wants to gobble her up (yes we are biased here) so I urge you all to look past those "scary" medical terms and just accept a child into your home that needs a home. I promise you that you will never look back and that child will bless your life over and over again as both Harper and Talia have done for us.

    Our Harper bug led us to Talia. She taught us what we can really handle which is nothing by ourselves, but everything through God who strengthens us. It took a 18 month old child for us to learn to fully rely on God's plan for our lives, not our own plan for our lives. Talia's file, in turn, had to say what it had to say in order for us to accept it. It really did! That night I got her file I was totally stunned and then reading it and seeing her face I just knew God was asking her us leap but I can tell you that if I read her file and everything was perfect I would have thought to myself well another family will adopt her. What a beautiful baby girl with no medical needs! She will definitely not wait long. However, her file was not picture perfect. It was the hardest file our cardiologist said he has ever seen! I, too, see a lot of files and try to help others when I can that are waiting to hear back from doctors and Talia's file was really rough. Her medical needs sounded incredibly scary and it was definitely incomplete and lacking blood work as well as a heart ultrasound. She waited on the SF list for a family to love her but no one came so we stepped up to the plate! It was again the date that made me think she is meant to be ours (even if it meant that we only had her for a few years). It is so ironic to me that Harper and Talia's files were so opposite. One file only had one need listed and we came home to find out much more and the other file had so many big needs listed only to come home to find out that she has no medical needs. It breaks my heart to think about Talia getting lost on the shared list and not being adopted because her medical needs seemed scary.

    Through this journey to Talia we had no clue how it would all work out from her health to our financials to bring her home but it did work out and it turned out better then we ever could have imagined. But that is what God does! He shines through the darkness and He does the impossible.

     Talia, in turn, showed us everything we knew to be true. God surely loves us and God loves us even more when we rely on Him and leap out on faith. Our journey to Talia and back demonstrates His goodness and Talia demonstrates that miracles do happen everyday and He used her to bring people closer to Him. How awesome is that? Just think of how many people reading and following our story from almost every country around the world. I look at my blog stats sometimes in amazement...close to 80,000 hits in 6 months! I mean, really? God is shining through the weak and humble. His grace has been plentiful in our lives and I pray that you too can feel it and if you ever have a single doubt in your mind about what He can do just sit for a moment and contemplate Talia's story! She has been through hell and back and almost died on a table in hospital in China only to now be in America with a wonderful life ahead of her! I do not know a better testimony then hers and to be able to witness God's powerful ways first hand is even more amazing!

    Both girls were clearly meant to be our daughters and He knew exactly how to have those files read in order for us to say "Yes"!

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see"
Hebrews 11:1

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Talia's First Holiday-July 4th!

What a day! Our little firecrackers spent the day mostly outside playing with the water table and enjoying the Carolina sunshine! We also attended a Forever Family Day Anniversary party. How fitting for Talia's first party! A sweet little girl, Alana Grace, has now been home a whole year and yesterday she celebrated with her close family, friends and families that have adopted or are in the process of adopting. It was a wonderful celebration of our blessings-independence and family!

And I'm proud to be and American,
 where at least I know I'm free.
 And I wont forget the men who died,
 who gave that right to me.

And I gladly stand up,
 next to you and defend her still today.
 ‘Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land,
 God bless the USA.