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11.17.2014

In Honor of Preemies Everywhere

Today is World Prematurity Awareness Day. I know, not something that is probaby on your radar. But it is on mine. While this blog is and has largely been focused on adoption, what many may not know is that before we adopted our girls we had two premature baby boys. Thankfully they both survived and thrived and are now ages 12 and 9.

Freeland was our first preemie. Born at 33 weeks he weighed a whopping 5 lbs. 5 oz. He did so well and was only in the NICU for 9 days. Those were 9 hard days and I glad I did not know that exactly three years later we would be back in the same NICU with...

We stopped by the NICU on the way from recovery to my room to see Freeland 

First night home with Freeland
Casper. Our little 27 weeker. He weighed 2 lbs. 11 oz. and was 13 1/2 in. long at birth. He was in the NICU for nine weeks. A week for every day that Freeland was there. Again our little fighter thrived, although he did earn himself the nickname "the king of alarms" in the NICU.


Casper is about a week old here. You can't tell that his little arms were the size of my finger.

Leaving the hospital with Casper
Today those days are distant memories. My boys are just like any other boys. They are healthy, happy, hearty boys. We have no on-going health concerns.

The three boys around the time we began our fist adoption.

But we will never forget the days when we called in to the NICU when we couldn't be there and stood with pounding heart and a sick feeling in the pit of our stomachs as we waited to speak with the nurse. We will never forget the exhaustion. Or the terror of witnessing a "really bad alarm". We will never forget the panic of getting a phone call from the hospital at midnight.

And we will certainly never forget the nurses and doctors who cared for our boys so carefully and competently when we could not.

11.14.2014

A Special Story

I wrote about her here, just after meeting her. You can see how much I already loved her, how much her story touched my heart from the very first moment of meeting her. We knew that the time to find her a family was short, but we felt confident that someone would see how special she is. We felt confident that her family would find her.



That was a year and a half ago. Many people have heard her story, seen her video, and been touched by her in so many ways. More than one family expressed interest in making her their daughter.

I saw her again in June of this year. Again I was impressed by her grace and maturity. But this time I was a little more concerned. The time for her family to step forward was getting shorter. We all spoke again about how outstanding she is and how we could not allow her to turn 14 without a family.


After we got home, the story took several twists and turns which need not be detailed here. Suffice it to say, we found ourselves with three months until she would no longer be able to be adopted with no family committed to her. We were heartsick and heartbroken!



I called my friend, Kelly, to ask her about the most effective way to advocate and how to expedite the adoption in the event that a family stepped forward. I knew already of Kelly's love for her. I knew she would help me if anyone could.

That ended up being some of the most effective advocacy I've ever done. After thinking and praying about it Kelly and her husband, Eli, decided that she was the perfect fit for their family. They are experienced adoptive parents and have already adopted a teen from China. But more importantly, they found their hearts drawn to her and realized they were ready to do whatever it took to make her their daughter.



When we were in Texas recently our family was able to meet Eli and Kelly and their family in person. And guess what? We loved them as much as we thought we would (which was a lot). We have so many things in common! Our lives are pretty much centered around Jesus, family, and doing what we can for children who need families. Does it get any better than that?

But think with me for a moment about needing to fund an adoption that you weren't really planning for in three short months!  Eli and Kelly are willing to sell everything they can and do whatever it takes to get their daughter, whom they are naming Anastasia, home. Here is where we all can help. If you can donate even a small amount it will make a difference. They expect to travel in about three weeks and they still need about $8,000 to be fully funded.

There are a couple of ways you can donate. You can give through PayPal to kellypillar@gmail.com  ("send money to family and friends" and write only "Anastasia" in the comments) or send your tax-deductible check to The Well, PO Box 34, Moody, TX 76557.

11.11.2014

Charlotte

I want to introduce you to Charlotte today.



Charlotte is 6 years old. She is cute and funny and sweet and smart. She also has an extra chromosome. Charlotte has Down Syndrome.




I (along with the other Superkids team members) have met Charlotte twice now. We have had so much fun playing with her! She absolutely loved all of the attention! We played with bubbles and balloons. We put bows in her hair and used a mirror to show her how beautiful she was. She laughed in delight when she saw herself in the mirror. Gongzhan, who has such a soft heart, let her play Candy Crush on his iPad. She was absolutely thrilled with that!



Charlotte is doing very well developmentally. She stacks cups and draws with a crayon. She can communicate in several word sentences. She is toilet trained. She is truly doing so well in every way!



This sweet, beautiful little girl's file has finally been prepared and now we need to find her mommy and daddy. Could that be you? Or do you know someone who needs little Charlotte in their lives? Please contact Pat Marcus at patriciamarcuspt@gmail.com for more information.

10.29.2014

Because I Don't Want to Forget

This silly girl...



This beautiful girl...



The things she says!



Yesterday she had an eye exam. She was really nervous, not knowing what to expect. She climbed up on the chair and explained, "I might not do it right because I'm Chinese and I don't really know what to do..." Seriously?! Where did that come from? Not from any of us, I assure you.



Or today while we were out shopping:
Me: It's raining!
Her: Run for your life, Mama!
Drama queen? No! Not her!

Or when Freeland killed a bug that was crawling near her: "Thank you for saving my life, Freeland!"

I never want to forget her just like this!

10.28.2014

The Finish Line

I'm going to talk a bit more about our Texas trip. I'm also going to tell you a bit about my husband. I know every couple functions differently and what is perfect for one couple isn't for another, but I am so thankful that God knew that I would need Keith.




We really had a great, though busy trip. By the time we got back to my parents' house after our trip to San Angelo I was just so tired. We got in late after meeting Eli and Kelly Meier. (Separate post coming on that! Suffice it to say, we enjoyed that evening as much as we expected to, which is saying a lot!) The next day was our last day at my parents. We had a huge amount of laundry to do and all of the packing.




Keith loaded up all of the laundry and took it to a laundromat and knocked it all out at once. He brought it back mostly folded and ready to be packed. I fully intended to pack it, but all of my sisters and sisters-in-law from the area were there and we all sat out under the trees visiting for most of the afternoon. Keith packed everything, cleaned out the van, loaded everything up, and had everything ready to go while I enjoyed holding the baby nieces and visiting.




Saturday morning Keith, Douglas, my brother Jesse, and a couple of other people we know ran a half-marathon in Dallas. I was so proud of all of them for training and finishing!




That afternoon we went to an airshow in Fort Worth. The Thunderbirds were very impressive to watch! Several of my family came in too and it was such a fun, perfect ending to our trip. But it was hot! About 90 degrees with the sun beating down on us the whole time. Again, my sweet husband made sure he blocked me from the sun as much as possible. So I sat in comparative comfort while he took the brunt of the direct sun.



We all set up our chairs in the shade of a massive plane after the show was finished and visited and ate funnel cakes for a while. It was truly the perfect end to a wonderful trip!

Waiting on our 6:20 A.M. flight at D/FW.

10.23.2014

Catching Up

This poor little blog has been sadly neglected and it is high time to correct that! Right now I am in a hotel room in San Angelo, TX. The room is dark and everyone around me is still sleeping. Keith and Douglas are out running in preparation for the half marathon they plan to run on Saturday.



We flew down to Texas last Wednesday. Due to a medical emergency in Keith's family the day before we left, it was all very uncertain whether we should go at all. Thankfully all is well there and we are enjoying our time here.



Our days have been full with visiting all of my siblings and their families. We have gotten to meet not one, but two new nieces! I've been clicking photos of everyone everywhere we go.



The boys have been helping my brothers and dad on the farm. Wallowing in mud and manure to their little heart's content. I'll admit I don't really have farm pictures because I don't exactly want to go wallow with them...




Yesterday we drove from Kemp to San Angelo to visit my grandparents. It is so good to see J and Nan-Naw again and they are looking and doing so well! I'm so proud of them and how they take care of themselves and each other. I loved watching my children visiting with J and learning from him as I did when I was younger on a walk we took last night. And guess what!? We got rained on! Who expects to get rained on in Mertzon, TX!?



We are planning to go back out to see J and Nan-Naw again this morning then headed back toward my parents. On the way we are planning to meet a sweet family that we have only communicated with online. I can't wait to hug Kelly in person!!



It promises to be another beautiful day!


10.11.2014

Newborn Sessions {Part 1}

I recently had the privilege of photographing a newborn baby girl.




How many ways can you say perfection?










Congratulations on your precious new little one, Lee and Fern!
 
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