Monday, April 30, 2012


The question we get most often since Mia has been home is how is she adjusting. So, I thought it would be good to write a post about how things are going with all of us.

First, a little update. Mia had her PT and OT evaluation today. Things went well and I am really glad we are about to get started. She basically has very low muscle tone all over her whole body (hypotonia), so we will be working to help her strengthen her muscles. I have to say it was a bit of a reality check for me to see all of the things that she needs help with. We have been focusing on all that she can do, but we still have a long way to go. Thankfully, she is home now and we can begin to help her little body heal.

So, as far as how she is adjusting, I would say she is doing really well for a child whose world has been completely turned upside down. She is doing much better than I expected her to be doing at this point.
She is a great sleeper and has been from the start. I think she goes so much all day that she is just exhausted and ready for nap and bed time each day. She is also a pretty good eater. When she first came home she would eat everything we put in front of her, but she has become a picky eater in the last couple of weeks. She will now only eat her favorite things and turns her nose up at everything else. Hopefully this won't last long.

Attachment and bonding is going well. She is affectionate with Justin and I and loves to be held. When we go somewhere she sticks close to us and looks to us for approval before she tries something new. We have started to venture out of our little "cocoon" and she seems to be doing really well. She loves to go to the park and play on the playground at church. She enjoys being around other children. I always stay close by while she plays and she will check with me every few minutes to get a hug or a word of affirmation. She still seems to be somewhat uncomfortable when adults come to our house. Our home is her safe place and I think she feels somewhat threatened when new people come into her space, so we are still limiting visitors. We just try to be sensitive to her signals as much as possible.

She gets along well with her brothers, but they do aggravate each other sometimes. They are brothers and sister after all. She adores Sawyer and he pretty much lets her do whatever she wants. She thinks Jaxon is hilarious and they play and fight like they have known each other forever. She also loves her daddy! She gets so excited when he gets home from work. She makes sure we all stop whatever we are doing to greet him with hugs and kisses. She will seriously make the boys stop playing their video games to go and greet daddy. Justin has been helping out so much especially with the boys in the evenings and I am so thankful for him.

I feel like my life has changed more than I expected it too. I have been a stay at home mom for almost 5 years now, but I was a stay at home mom who taught mother's day out, went to Bible study, taught Sunday school, and served with our church preschool ministry. I was a stay at home mom who was rarely at home. Now, I am home all the time. It has been great and I'm so thankful for the time alone with my girl, but it has also been lonely and isolating at times. Mia is a toddler who is learning language and learning about her world, so our everyday life is not always easy. She throws tantrums daily and I am trying to show mercy and grace while teaching boundaries at the same time. It's not always easy, but it is worth it. She is such a blessing to us and we are thankful she is doing so well.

Here are some recent pictures of what we have been up to.
 Mia and Jaxon at Sawyer's first t-ball game of the season.

 Justin didn't have to work last Thursday, so we picked up the boys from school early to have some fun family time. We had pizza and icees at the mall and then played at a playground by our house. Mia loved her first icee!
 She loves to swing with mommy.
 Here is a picture of a crazy moment just so you know we are not always smiling and happy. Jax was bugging Mia and she was trying to get out of his grasp. I was just trying to hold on to her so she didn't hurt herself.
 Sweet girl with her daddy.

We love our little Ethiopian princess!!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Praise Report

I have been hesitant about sharing much about Mia's medical needs. On one hand I want to be very respectful and protective of her. I have been praying about what I should and shouldn't share with others. The reason we share her story at all is that first of all we want the Lord to be glorified in the way He is working in her precious life. Secondly, I want to encourage others who are considering adopting a child with special needs.

When we accepted Mia's referral we knew that she had a history of seizures and developmental delays. At the time she was 2 and a half and standing with support. She could crawl quickly and walk with help. There were many unknowns about her condition. We talked with doctors and were given the best and worst case scenarios. It was scary to think about all of the "what ifs." I remember telling Justin that I could not say "no" to a list of maybes and what ifs." We knew she was our daughter and that we would do whatever it took to get her home and get her the help she needed when she got here.

We knew that she would need an EEG and MRI when she got home. Last week we got the results and we are praising the Lord that they were both normal!!! Mia has not had a seizure in at least 8 months, maybe longer.  She has been on seizure medication since she was a baby. Since she is doing so well and her EEG looked normal we are going to attempt to wean her off of the medication. This makes me happy and fearful at the same time. We are praying that she will remain seizure free without her medication.

The MRI also looked good and for that we are so thankful!! Her neurologist does believe she has a mild case of cerebral palsy, but he is very optimistic that she will thrive and bloom now that she has a family and will soon be starting therapy. We will have her evaluated soon for physical, occupational, and speech therapy. We are going to focus on PT first and will probably have a pretty full therapy schedule by next fall.

She has come so far since she first came home almost 7 weeks ago and she is a totally different child than the one we were referred 7 months ago. God is so good!! We know there may still be tough days ahead, but for now we are choosing to be thankful and focus on the amazing progress she is making.

 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; 
   your works are wonderful, 
   I know that full well.
Psalm 139:14

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Meet Jessica and Phoebe

I want to tell you about my friend Jessica. She recently moved from Louisiana to Haiti to start a medical and birthing clinic. As if that isn't enough she also recently became the legal guardian of a beautiful little girl named Phoebe. It is so wonderful how God put these two together. You really should check out Jessica's blog, No Longer Tiptoeing. This girl is truly loving Jesus and his people.

Also, you can help her stock the clinic by purchasing some items off of this Amazon wish list. It will all be shipped to Haiti in a couple of weeks. Please take a minute to check it out.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Two Years

Two Years ago today I wrote my very first One Day Closer post. We were just starting our adoption journey. We were talking with agencies, praying, and seeking God's direction. We knew we were going to adopt, but we were still figuring out the details. Two years ago I wrote these words: We don't really know when or how we will adopt, but we know God wants us to step out in faith and trust Him with the rest.

Yes, our adoption journey was filled with steps of faith. It was a long two years filled with many ups and downs. The Lord has certainly strengthened my faith and taught me so much.

Two years ago, our little girl was just a little over a year old. She was in an orphanage with little hope of being adopted.

Today our girl is home and as happy as can be. Today we cuddled, played with play-doh, read books, played at the park, ate pizza, and then cuddled some more.

I'm so thankful we took that step of faith. Our lives are so blessed by this precious girl.

I can't wait to see what the next two years bring!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

I'm Trying

I try to capture pictures of my girl everyday, but I am definitely not the photographer of the family. She is always moving, so it's so hard for me to get a decent pic. Here are a few of my photo failures, so you can see that I really am trying. Sweet girl loves to slide on her belly.
Cute, but I cut off her head!
Gotta love that glob of drool!
Here she is right before her afternoon nap. At least she is still. She always sleeps with her baby doll and pink bear.
I tried to take a picture of her first ponytail. You can't really see the ponytail at all, but this was the first time that she looked right at the camera and said, "cheese!" Success!!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

One Month Home

Monday marked one month of having Mia home. It has been a good, but challenging month. I am learning more and more about her everyday. Sometimes it feels strange to have a daughter who is 3 years old that I am still getting to know. Some days I think I have her figured out and then the next day is completely different. I wanted to share some things about our daughter that we have learned this month.

*She loves her brothers and they love her!! My favorite part of the day is when we pick them up from school and she squeals with j0y the minute she sees them.
*She loves to be outside.
* She loves to jump on the trampoline.
*She loves the water. So far we know she loves taking baths, playing in the rain or the sprinkler, and playing in the baby pool.
*She doesn't mind walking in grass, but she will not touch flowers, leaves, or sticks.
* She is a good eater. Some of her favorites are bananas, oatmeal, yogurt, pasta, and meat.
*She gives lots of kisses, hugs, and says "I love you."
* She likes to look at books, but turns the pages before I have a chance to read all the words.
* She likes to do things by herself and gets mad when we don't let her.
* She pouts her lips and stomps her foot when she is mad.
*She likes to say animal sounds. The monkey is her favorite.
*She sings constantly!! She did this in Ethiopia too. Her favorite new songs are "Five Little Monkeys", "Jesus Loves Me", and "If You're Happy and You Know It."
*She also loves to Dance!! She mimics me when I dance and it's so funny! Poor girl doesn't have a very good teacher.
* If she fusses in the car and I play "I Like to Move It" from Madagascar she immediately stops fussing and starts dancing. It works every time, no matter how mad she is.
*She does not like it when I fix her hair, but she is getting better about keeping bows and clips in.
*She loves playing with her baby dolls, her tea set, and legos.
*Her favorite toy is her talking Abby Cadabby. We can' go anywhere without that doll.
*She likes to cuddle with Mommy before she goes to sleep and when she wakes up in the morning.
* If someone is hurt or sad she will comfort them. She also likes to be comforted when she is hurt or sad.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Things I Have Learned

One month ago today, we were reunited with our precious daughter. It was certainly a day that we will never forget.
God has been so gracious to us these past couple of years. When we first started the adoption journey we were confident that God was calling us to adopt a child who needed a family, but I also had many doubts and worries. Thankfully, the Lord encouraged us through other adoptive families who had been there. So many people told us that if God was truly calling us to adopt, that he would see us through. They were so right! I want to share some of the things we have learned through our adoption process to encourage those who may be starting out in their adoption, praying about adopting, or just needing encouragement in the wait.

1. God will provide every thing you need. The cost was a big concern for us as we started the process. It seemed like such a large amount, but nothing is too big for God. He loves us and He loves our children and He wants them in families. He will make a way if we are willing to follow Him in obedience. He showed us this again and again.

2. It Is Worth It!!! I was told by many an adoptive parent that all of the waiting, all of the paperwork, all of the cost, and all of the tears would be worth it when I had my child home. Let me tell you, those people were right. Every day I look at my beautiful daughter and can't believe that she is actually home. I feel so blessed! She is so worth it!! I also have to remind myself that the period we are going through now will be worth it, too. Our daughter is doing well, but this time of cocooning can feel quite isolating. I know that when Mia learns to truly trust us and is completely attached and bonded all of this will be worth it as well.

3. God knows exactly who your child is. I am so amazed at how well our little Mia Grace fits into our family. We have even had many people tell us that she looks like our youngest son. :) She really is the perfect child for our family.

4. Adoption is a picture here on earth of what God did for us. Our daughter was an orphan and now she is a daughter. The Bible says that before we know Christ we are "orphans." Christ died on the cross, so that we could have Eternal Life. He is our Father and He loves us more than we can imagine. Our daughter is a beautiful picture of the Lord's love for us, just like the meaning of her name, she is a mirror of God's grace.

5. The Lord deserves all the glory! I pray that when people look at our family they don't say, "wow, what a wonderful family. " I pray that they say, "That is a family who makes mistakes every day, but they serve a mighty God who is able. They were not able on their own, but God was." Justin and I are not rescuers. We are rescued!!! I pray God gets the glory for all the good things He has done and continues to do in our family.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Spring Break

The boys were home for Spring Break this week. We had a good time together. I thought it would be crazy with three kids home all day, but it was wonderful. Thankfully the weather was nice most of the week. We spent a lot of time outside. Mia just adores her brothers. It brings me such joy to see how much they all love each other. We have been cocooning, but we also were getting a little bored of our backyard, so we did go to the park a couple of times. We usually go when no one is there but us.
Mia Grace loves to slide!! The bigger the slide, the louder she squeals. She has so much fun. She is also getting pretty good at climbing. She likes to swing on the swings with me, too. We face each other and she sings as we swing. It's pretty sweet.

One day we went on a little hike. It wasn't so easy with the stroller. I got a lot of exercise this day.
Jax really wanted me to take a picture of him and his creation. He loves his sister, but I can tell it's a little hard on him not being the baby of the family anymore. We are trying to give him as much positive attention as we can.
Last week I took both boys on Mommy dates after Mia was asleep. On Monday I took Sawyer to eat frozen yogurt. On Thursday Jax and I went to the mall for a carousel ride and a cookie. Jax and Sawyer also got to spend the weekend at my parent's house. They had so much fun and it was nice to have some one on one time with Mia. Of course, we missed them and were happy to see them when they got home. I really wish I had on video how excited the kids were to be reunited. It was so sweet!!