Monday, September 27, 2010

Some light reading

Here is a picture of some of the 'light' reading we've been doing to get ourselves ready for the adoption!   Some of it (the large blue book - Adoption Parenting) was required and we had to take an exam on it... others were recommended.  I really enjoyed "Adopted for Life."   I still have to finish "Beyond Consequences, Logic and Control," but I hear it is excellent. 

If you are just beginning your adoption journey, the "Successful Adoption - A Guide for Christian Families" is helpful.  It gives you some good examples of letters to the birth family or to the Country Officials for your Dossier. 

Catching Up

Just thought I'd post a few (well, a bit more than a few) photos from the summer and such... Seems like I was just talking about the blizzard not to long ago!  Boy time flies when you're having fun! 

Dylan shot a "Robinhood" -- an arrow into another arrow.
Colton - Pitching in baseball

Rock Climbing in Chincoteague, VA

Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg, VA with cousins Jack &  Nathan
1st Place Sand Castle Winner -- Our "Crock", Corolla, NC

Dylan pitching in Fall Ball

Colton - Football #31

Happy Momma and Daddy
1st Baby Bump Picture -- 1/2 way there!

Brad and I helping to baptize some of our Best Friends! 

What an awesome day!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Baby's got new shoes... well, kind of

check out the cute socks (that look like shoes) that are among the things waiting for Faith (and E too, depending how old she is).... sooo cute!  Oh, girls are going to be so much fun!

8 Months Waiting

Tomorrow marks 8 months waiting for our precious E.  Even though we know our wait is going to be much longer, I'm still counting the months.  One month gone means one month closer to getting her, right?    It's still bittersweet for us... as we are ramping up and getting things together for Faith, it also makes us sad that E isn't here yet.  But, as we are buying one crib set for Faith, we are also buying one for E.  I want E to have her very own too... I don't want E to think that we have forgotten about her.  I think about her all the time.  As Faith is starting to push and nudge me in my belly and let me know her opinion of things, I also wonder if E's been conceived yet, and if she's making herself known to her momma too.  Since the girls are going to share a room at first, I'm torn if I should use the giraffe theme that we started for E now, or wait until E is close to coming home.  But, that would mean we'd have to redecorate in a year.. not sure I want to do that either.  So I think for now, we are going to blend them in but still save a few things for when E comes home. 

Faith will know from the beginning that her baby sister (or big sister) will be joining our family soon.   It will be handy to have two girls so that toys and clothing can be shared, as well as friendship and hearts!  I'm sure God had all of this planned out from the beginning.

Because we have to wait until Baby Faith is 6 months old until we can become 'active' in the adoption again... we are looking at ELEVEN... yes 11 long months of more waiting before we are matched with E.  Then it could be another 4 - 6 months until we bring her home.  But, I plan on counting each one of them down.  One down means one closer.

We are hoping that E is home for Faith's 1st Birthday Party in February 2012.  But, it would be really nice to have her home by the end of next year... especially since our adoption tax credit will expire on December 31, 2011.  But, tax credit or not, she will be worth the wait and worth every penny spent!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

How am I doing?

Not that I think all of you really care about my medical status, but for those of you who ask on a daily basis and to keep me from repeating myself, it was suggested that I post an update here… so here it goes.

I have SVT (supra ventricular tachycardia) which is basically an electrical disconnect in my heart that causes massive fast heart palpitations and concurrent symptoms. (just imagine a run-away freight train in your chest). . . Not typically a good thing when pregnant to have your heart rate in the 200’s. This is not typically a life-threatening condition. Usually it can be controlled by meds. Meds aren’t working for me and as the baby continues to grow, so will the demand on my heart. Surgery is the next option.. which is NOT typically an option when pregnant. My cardiologist is at a conundrum as to what else to do for me. He basically dumped me and referred me to another Cardiologist that treats high-risk pregnant women.

Meanwhile I was referred to a high-risk OB and given a 2 hour Level 2 Ultrasound and genetic counseling (I think it’s kinda late for that). They were concerned with down syndrome for little Faith. So far all looks good. She is measuring a little small, so they changed my due date a bit. I go back in 4 weeks for another ultrasound to see how much she’s grown. My meds and blood pressure can cause baby not to grow as fast as they would like but they think she is doing well thus far and everything is developed as it should be. The high-risk OB was NOT happy, however, with my current cardiac situation and was basically suggesting surgery NOW! Yikes.

Fast-forward to 2nd opinion from high-risk cardiologist… she put me on an anti-arrhythmic drug, along with my beta blockers to see if that will help control my episodes. Bad thing is, the anti-arrhythmic drug will keep me from nursing, once the baby is born AND there are not a lot of studies on this medicine with pregnant women because most beta blockers do the trick on pregnant women. Not for me, apparently. It’s still a Category C drug, but I’m really nervous about it. My only other option is surgery, which is really risky because they would have to sedate me and use radiation…which is not safe for either of us right now. So, I’m under close monitoring on this new medicine, hoping it will control my heart rate.

I am still not allowed to return to work for obvious reasons, but I am blessed to be able to work from home full time (when I’m not running to doctor appointments!). I typically have about 3 doctor appointments a week which is wearing us out, physically and emotionally. Thank God our family and church community is helping provide meals and helping to run the kids to their activities. We are trying to keep thing as normal as possible for the boys. I do not want them to grow up thinking pregnancy is horrible!

I can’t help but wonder what God is up to and what His plan is for us. I know… silly me trying to figure out “the plan.” Life has changed so much in the last 5 months. Lots of detours and re-routes, doors that open and doors that close. Honestly, if we THOUGHT we could have conceived earlier in the game, the same issues that I’m having now are ones that may have held us back from doing so (some medical issues, my age, and ratios of the probability of our child being born with defects). And those very things seem to be what’s happening now. So, what’s the deal? Did God want me to deal with my fear issues and trust Him (ummm. Yep, that’s my guess!). I suppose He’s already proved that medical tests and opinions are not always correct – especially if He has something to say about it. He’s been telling me for months to slow down (see previous posts)… and perhaps I wasn’t as obedient as He wanted me to be… so He slowed me down--- which is really hard! He is continuing to stretch me and mold me but my struggle for control is slowly diminishing. My house isn’t as tidy as it usually is, I’m behind on paperwork, I’m forgetting people’s birthdays, and I’m not attending every single thing that I’m invited to.. but you know what?? It’s ok. The world didn’t end because I forgot to send a birthday card or because I couldn’t attend a shower or one of the boys’ games. I think God has me right where he wants me at this very moment.

One thing that I know for sure is that whatever God’s will is for Baby Faith and for our family… I’m ok with it and it will be ok. No amount of worry and fretting is going to change it, so I’m just waiting to see what our next beautiful step will be! Apparently, God still has some things to show me through this journey, so I’m just hanging on for the ride.

Baby E, Meet Baby Faith!

We are thrilled to announce that we are having a Girl!  So, Baby E will not only have 2 big bros to look after her, she’ll also have a sister to play and grow up with.  2 boys and 2 girls in our family.  We couldn’t ask for anything sweeter!  Girls in the Baxter family are rare gems.  E & Faith will join with Baby Josie and Big Girl Ryane.  Can’t wait for the tea parties!  Now I know why I have been compelled over the years to collect tea sets!  Little did I know that I would one day use them for our daughters.  Thank goodness for our friends (you know who you are) that have girls that have softened Brad’s heart over the years to having daughters.

While we were having our ultrasound (which was over 2 hours!) baby Faith was playing hard to get.  She would not change positions so that the tech and doctor could get a good look at her heart or to determine if she was a boy or girl.   She did give us the thumbs up a couple of times… which has special meaning to Brad.  When the boys were little, Brad would always give them a ‘thumbs up’ for extra reassurance if they were scared or unsure about something.  It’s always been a ‘sign’ in our family that we use… so you can imagine our excitement when we saw this on the ultrasound screen several times! (now true, she was probably getting ready to suck her thumb... but maybe not!) 

Hey Mom & Dad.. all is cool in here.. no worries!

Knowing that I was a nervous wreck that entire day hoping that everything checked out on the ultrasound, it was like she was saying to us, “hey mom and dad… quit worrying… I’m giving you reassurance that I’m ok!” Yet another miracle from God!  Total peace came upon me at that moment. 
Finally after some pushing and poking of my stomach, baby moved and we were able to determine that we were having a Girl!... what a little stinker!   I hope E and Faith like pink because after all the footballs, baseballs, basketballs, camo and GI Joe gear around here... I'm ready for a little pink!  (not that I don't TOTALLY enjoy my boys... you know what I mean)!!  But, I must admit, I have a PINK football jersey! 

I can't wait for these 2 girls to finally meet.  What a sweet moment it will be. 

Monday, September 13, 2010

Our Blog is now included in the Adoption Experiences website... not that you have to read it in 2 separate places.  But, this website is an awesome way to see what other are going through in their adoptions.  Ours, of course, is listed under the Ethiopia Adoptions on the left side... but there are other adoptions experiences from different countries too.  If you are following our blog and are interested in adoption, or just like reading other people's posts, please feel free to check out this site. 

Happy New Year

Happy New Year Baby E!

It's 2003!!!   Huh?

September 11th is the New Year in Ethiopia. Enkutatash is the word for the Ethiopian new year in Amharic, the official language of Ethiopia, while it is called Ri'se Awde Amet (Head Anniversary) in Ge'ez, the term preferred by the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. Of course I have no idea how to pronounce that!  They still retain the Julian calendar, in which the year is divided into 12 months of 30 days each, and a 13th month of 5 days (6 days in leap year). The Ethiopian calendar is 8 years behind the Gregorian calendar from January to September and 7 years behind between September 11 and January 8. So it is now 2003 in Ethiopia! Confusing, huh? I wonder how that affects the paperwork as it goes back and forth from Ethiopia to the U.S.?

I tried to remember what I was doing 7 years ago in 2003. At the time, we were living in West Virginia, and our boys were 7 and 4. Wow! That was the year we went to Disney. Here’s a picture of the boys on the famous Tea Cups... too cute!

~Colton & Dylan - Disney 2003~
As the New Year begins in Ethiopia and as our year is coming into its last quarter, I wonder if Baby E has been conceived yet or if she’s been born yet? It’s still going to be about 11 months until we will know her face and story, which seems so far away. It makes me sad, but I also know that E will have a brother or sister around the same age as her to play and grow with when she comes home…. As well as 2 big brothers to look after the both of them! (I'm still hoping my belly-baby and E are close in age... maybe even having the same birth month!). 

Life continues to takes twists and turns for our family, but it is all by design. I just wish I had the blueprint! Our path that we began almost a year ago has detoured slightly, and although it’s frustrating to a ‘planner’ like me, I am still learning that everything happens for a reason, and that God’s timing is always perfect, even if it doesn’t match our own understanding.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.  Proverbs 3:5-7 NIV