Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Away we went

Destination: Wisconsin Dells, WI
Purpose: To spend 3 whole days enjoying all that the Wilderness Lodge had to offer. 
Activities: Swimming, swimming and more swimming.

 Please check out Elijah. He quickly learned how to escape!

It was so nice to celebrate the end of Joshes school year (yes they are out crazy early this year) and Memorial Day with our good friends (Thanks Maugers)! We can't wait to go back!

Now that our first mini vacation of the summer is over, it's time to get into gear as we prepare for Malachi's first ever IEP! Friday is the big day and to say that I am worried is an understatement! EEK, I still can't believe this is happening, in August I will be putting him on a big bus and sending him to school! It honestly seems like just yesterday I was rocking him to sleep while singing "you are my sunshine", who am I kidding I still do it on occasion but now he actually claps for my less than stellar singing! ha I know these fears are normal, but seriously, he can't be old enough for school! I got his evaluation reports in the mail last week. It was so difficult to read over them! Ugh. I cried and cried. I don't like reading that my son is "severely and profoundly delayed" in expressive and receptive speech. Don't these people know what he has been through? The fact that he can make any sound at all is remarkable let along that he can walk, jump in the pool, and sign over 30 signs. Why don't they see this? Why is it always the negative? I know this meeting is going to be difficult, these strangers don't know Malachi like I know him. They haven't been with us on his journey to see his progress, all they see is what he is not doing. But they will in time and just like all the other hearts Malachi has touched along the way, they too will, will carry with them a special place in their heart that only Malachi can inspire!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

It's all about family

New family pictures! Which do you like the best? I am in love wit them all!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Malachi can do a somersault. Alone. With no help. The first time I saw him do this, I was in awe. We've done them a few times with help, but never did I specifically each him. And then it happened. He stood up, put his head on the ground and tucked into a perfect little ball and rolled right over. He erupted in laughter as he stood up an did it again. 13 times he did this, laughing uncontrollably. I sat on the floor no more than 3 feet away with tears running down my cheeks. I realized at that very moment that he is capable, so very capable, of doing it on his own without my help. It was like a picture of the future cause I KNOW the day will come where he can do it all on his own and I will be sitting 3 ft., 3 blocks or maybe even 3 miles away crying for the exact same reason. He can do it all on his own, he will do it on his own and I cry tears of joy because of it!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

In awe

Yesterday could have been a tv show. High school kids and their teachers putting together an afternoon of fun to raise money for a complete stranger. This said stranger had some substantial medical debt. This afternoon was no different than the 10+ years previous, except this year the recipient was us. It started way back when my husband attended High school, a girl in his class needed a double lung and heart transplant. Her parents were up to their ears in medical debt so some fellow classmates decided to host a fundraiser. The money raised would not only help pay medical bills, but also give her parents the ability to continue to fight. An amazing afternoon was formed and people showed up to give. While Anna (name changed) passed before she could receive her transplant's, the family continued to fight for others who were struggling with medical debt of their own. Each year since the initial Anna-a-thon (the name of the actual event) this high school has found a family (somehow connected to the high school) to help.

Last year someone put our name on the desk of the teacher in charge. Thus began a series of event's that only God could orchestrate. This small piece of paper was found again this year and we were contacted. A few months ago I got a phone call and was told we were chosen to be the recipients this year. A wave of disbelief, confusion, gratitude and humility washed over me. This truly was an answer to prayer. We have substantial medical debt from all of Eli's shanannigans and the notion that it was going to be taken care of was amazing. Im still in disbelief. We have been so blessed by family and friends in the past (the benefit to raise money to get us to Boston for brain surgery, prayers, help with hotels when the boys had heart surgeries) and yesterday we were blessed by complete strangers. The day was a blur but when we got home last night, I was able to think about the events. I began to cry in amazement at ALL of the blessing we have received while on this adoption journey. I knew taking 2 boys with special needs would be difficult, I stressed about the unknowns, the financial aspect and the what if's. But what I didn't know is the amount of love, grace, acceptance, encouragement, peace and love we would receive. With Josh's job still up in the air for next year (yes he got laid off, he is a teacher, in Illinois...enough said) we were really stressing about these bills...Praying about when we should pay, how much and which ones got paid first. We were worried about not being able to pay them at all and in a matter of 2 months God has completely wiped that stress gone. Wow. I am speechles. I am humbled and I am full of overflowing gratitude. Seriously, with tears running down my cheeks (lets be honest, it a straight up ugly cry), I am thanking all those students, teachers, family and friends who came out yesterday. You inspire me to do more, help more, love more, give more, encourage more, thank more and trust more. God you truly are almighty, willing to save and the provider of all things!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Lost in the hustle

I have been busy cleaning, baking, shopping and cooking in preparation for tomorrow. We have a house full of people coming over to celebrate Mother's day and I want everything to be perfect! For those that know me, I get stressed easily, especially when there is people depending on me for something. This is not one of me best traits, I know this but despite my best effort to change, I almost always revert back to my crazy self. In the midst of list making and bickering with my husband I realized what today it. For many it's just another day, but for us it's special. The day before Mother's Day is always Birth mother's Day! How could I have forgotten? Rather than beating myself up about it, I decided to take time for my preparing, to write about how much my children's Birth Mothers mean to us!

When I think about the definition of courage, I think of Eli's birth mom. Although we have only met her once, her gentle demeanor, soft words and abundant tears spoke to my heart. I will remember our meeting at Panara forever. We walked in with our adoption agent, photo album full of pictures (that expressed the love of our entire family) and a heart aching for these strangers. The decision they were about to make was so monumental I can only imagine the weight on their shoulders. Soon after getting settled, away from others, Eli's birth parents walked in. I knew within seconds that his birth parents loved him more than words could express. We talked about our family, our jobs, our decision to adopt kids with Down syndrome. We asked questions, they asked questions and we all cried. At the end of our meeting, Eli's birth parents decided that they wanted us to raise him. They went out to the car and brought in bags of Eli's belongings, saying "we want him to have his things." My heart broke in a million pieces. The pain in those words were very apparent even though they knew what they were doing was the right decision for them. A week later we brought Eli home. The amount of gratitude we have can never be expressed enough. Because of her sacrifice, I am able to celebrate Mother's Day tomorrow. Because of her courage, Elijah is thriving and because of her love, we are able to love our son. Elijah will never fully understand how blessed he is to have the unconditional love of 2 mommies!

I think about Malachi's birth mom often. He came to our family through foster care and while I can't tell the specifics on why was was taken from his mom, I can tell you that he can from an unfit mother. I can only guess how her heart broke when she got the news that she would not be leaving the hospital with him. I've never met her, but I know she loved him. A mother always loves their child, regardless of her ability to care for them. Her inability to parent, gave me a chance to and for that I am thankful. I do not agree with her choices in life, but I am soooo thankful she CHOOSE to have Malachi. Life would not be the same without him!

So thank you to all the Birth moms out there, who have given us the chance to be moms's! We don't say thank you nearly enough!!!!! Happy Birth Mother's Day to you!!!!

Friday, May 6, 2011

My little superstars

My children could not be more different. Elijah is calm, cool and collected. He is happy playing by himself and rarely get's upset. He is the happiest lil man who finds great joys in bouncing his legs to music. He is a lovely child and is turning into quit the ham. Elijah LOVES to eat...anything...and thinks every time we sit down at the table that he will be able to stuff his face.  He is easy going and rarely gets upset. He is a listener and follows the rules. He has always been the easiest child and I don't foresee that changing.

Malachi likes and needs all the attention. He will hit, pinch, slap and lick if he feels he is being neglected. When he is hungry he obsessively signs eat on him self, on me, on the dogs until we put him at the table. I kid you not, 10 minuets after he is done eating, the cycle repeats. Malachi is as smart as a whip, a sign language extraordinarie, gross motor driven and the absolute nastiest and sweetest boy all rolled into one. He is able to push buttons I didn't know I had and then 2 seconds later he will wrap his arms around me in the best bear hug ever.

All this to say while we were at dinner last night, my children put on their own little variety show.  They had the ladies in the booths all around us laughing and commenting on their cuteness. No one asked about their small size or the fact that Malachi is still eating baby food at almost 3 years of age. No one asked about the scares on Malachi's head. And believe it or not no one asked if they were twins (yes, crazy as it seems I get asked this alll the time! Seriously...ummm...Malachi is black, Elijah is not...hmm?) It was just 2 children, with personality abounding. At that moment, I saw the future for my children. Acceptance, Love, understanding and inclusion. They were not looked at because they are different but rather because they are the same. Just 2 little men who wave, clap, show their muscles, high five, laugh, smile, shake hands, sing and give knuckles. They may be behind, slower to reach milestones but they can quickly capture the hearts of those who choose to look past Down syndrome. They are superstars, who spread light where ever they go. So thankful that they are mine!