Monday, December 22, 2014

Dossier Reuse--the update

What to do, what to do?  A few months ago, we were contemplating a dossier reuse, which I posted excitedly about here. We really have gone back and forth on the idea. We have looked at cute faces, considered other needs that we would be open to, and discussed moving forward with our social worker.

In order to move forward with a reuse, we would have to pick a Special Focus child and submit a Letter of Intent prior to the Gotcha/Family Forever date.  Since we adopted 2 last year, the date was the first Gotcha. In our case, that was December 18th.

We have not submitted a Letter of Intent, and as it turns out--we will not be reusing our dossier.

There was a little girl that my husband asked if I could call their agency right away on.  

There were a few little boys that I kept sending pictures of to my husband.  

In the end,  as much as I hate to say it, it keeps coming down to money. Or, in our case, lack thereof.

We are going to focus on paying off our last adoption, and some student loans that just won't go away.

Practical, right?

Meanwhile, we are researching our different options.  Different countries.  Determining what countries we qualify for, and which ones we don't.  We might end up back in China.  Due to some stellar advocates, I see the most adorable kids waiting from China. But, we might not. 

We have a small adoption fund thanks to 2 amazing people. 

China has changed the pre-paid post-placement requirements, meaning that we may get some money back or be able to apply the funds towards our next homestudy. 

So, this next adoption journey is to be continued...

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Friday, December 19, 2014

Caring Santa. He Rocks.

We go see Santa every year. 
But not last year, because I was in China.  
Actually, we didn't go the year before either. 

I don’t even remember why.  

The year before that my little one was a newborn and I don’t think we bothered that year either.  

Come to think of it, I believe that I only have some pictures with the big 2 kids sitting on Santa’s lap.  If I remember correctly, there was always at least 1 child screaming.  As I was searching for a picture this is the only one that I found.  
My gosh, no wonder why we haven't been in a few years. 

MmmmOK that was 4 kids ago.  Probably circa 2007.  We waited in line for hours.  It was probably naptime, and I’m pretty serious about not messing with naptime. I’m also pretty serious about annual traditions with the kids, and I think I’ve clearly been slacking in the taking the kids to see Santa area.

I started researching early this year.  I considered the Frozen experience at the local mall for a hot second, and just about laughed out loud at the thought of my SIX kids waiting line for hours.  We would likely loose a child or two if not strapped down.  I have about 3 runners right now, complicating the whole getting-out-of-the-house thing. 

If we survived, we just might need a drink afterwards.

Nope, not gonna work. 

Through Autism Speaks, I found out about Caring Santa.  We could go to the mall during designated closed hours and see Santa. It was supposed to be an easy going, sensory-friendly environment, with specially trained staff would be able to provide the Santa experience without the triggers that I was dreading:  the lines, the crowds, and a Santa that would be uncomfortable with my children.

I got the kids dressed up.  Shoot, I even threw on a red scarf since I suspected that I might be getting cozy with the big guy—with a couple of kids on my own lap.  We drove to the mall and hoped for the best.  We found Santa…and an absolutely wonderful group of people representing the local chapter of Autism Speaks. There was no line.  There were no tears.  My 3 year old asked Santa endless questions, about his sleigh, his pillow, Rudolf, gifts, etc. The other children took turns chatting with Santa as well. My 6 year old is expecting a banjo. The 2 youngest were quiet and reserved, but there were no tears. It was so much better than I could have hoped for. We took our own pictures, and obviously you-get-what-you-get with 6 kids. It’s cool.  
Thank you, Caring Santa and Autism Speaks.
You both really hooked up our crazy family this year.
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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Boots, Bars, and a Fancy AFO

Now that Tao is not rocking a cast, we can paint those cute little tootsies!

I have learned so much since the complex clubfoot diagnosis. We anticipated an amputation based on a not-so-favored international doctor's consultation. We were open to any treatment, but I must say that treating a complex clubfoot is hard on a family. It is time consuming, especially for a family with 2 working parents. There are so few professionals in the US that are considered experts in this area.  TWO, to be exact. At this point we are trying to continue with regional professionals. 

The ultimate goal is for Tao to lead a pain-free life with no limitations. 

Meanwhile, meet the Mitchell boots and bars. Post-casting, this is the typical treatment.  Usually, babies are in bnb for up to 23 hours daily.  Due to Tao's age, she only wears these at night while she sleeps. 

I'll be honest.  They are tough to put on.  Tao screams when she sees them and I still struggle to get her heel properly in as far as it needs to be.  

Her boots are currently set at 30 and 70 degrees. Only a few weeks old, they are already sporting a kitty sticker on the heel. 

During the day, Tao wears an Ankle Foot Orthosis, also known as an AFO. 

Of course, they have a pretty design with some girly colors.  For my girly-girl. 

She can finally wear a pair of shoes.  

For a girl that has been ooo-ing and ahhh-ing over her sister's glittery and light-up shoes, this is a huge deal. It took her a week or so to gain some confidence, and some strength.  
But now, she runs freely.  My girl is blossoming, both physically and emotionally.

As long as she has her baby and her blankie, she sleeps soundly. 

I got her her very own pair of squeakers, not for everyday use--but to encourage her to walk.  Now, she dances and prances throughout the house. 
I continue to be amazed by this little one that is so brave. 

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