Monday, August 30, 2010

Appointment Update

We are back home! After a weekend away from home, it's good to be home. On Friday was our appointment for Xiomara. It went well. I (Vanessa) took her in while Chris stayed with the other girls. I wish Chris could have been there too as I think it's good to get a "feel" for the doctor from both of us, but for this trip, it wasn't a possibility. I did like him though. He was quick, straight forward, and is allowing me, as her parent to have a voice.

We have two deicisions to make regarding surgery. The first decision is in regards to when we will do surgery. From my understanding, most of the time doctors like to have infants be 6 months old when they have the surgery done. For Xiomara, it would be closer to 7 months as that is her adjusted age (being she was 5 weeks early). If we waited that long, it would be just an outpatient same-day surgery. However, waiting that long brings a risk to her ovary getting damaged as she grows. So the other option is to do it as soon as possible and have her spend the night in the hospital for observation afterwards. Of course, the risk there is in her being so small and being put under.

The second decision we have to make is whether or not to have him open up both sides of her groin to check for a hernia on the left side as well as the visible hernia on the right side. Sometimes, a second hernia is there, but does not show for months or years. This would avoid the trouble of her having surgery once again at a later date. However, there is the chance that it is uneccessary as she may not have a hernia at all on that side.

So, we have some decisions to make and we'd appreciate prayers. I've had some wonderful friends in the medical field to talk with this week who have given me advice I greatly appreciate. I'll be doing my research as well, like I always do, along with praying. Hopefully, we will have an answer soon.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Butterflies in my tummy

When Xiomara was a few weeks old, during a diaper change one day, I found a lump in her groin. It wasn't until a few days later that I realized the lump was still there and that I better call in to have it looked at. Me being me, I first did my research, and I determind that most likely it was a hernia.

I took her in, we did an ultrasound, and sure enough my little babe has an inguinal hernia. Tomorrow we go to the big city for a consultation with a pediatric surgeon. Surgery. Yes, surgery. I don't like that word. Not when we are talking on my little baby. I'm nervous for her. Even though tomorrow is just the consultation, I have all these crazy butterflies in my tummy. What if it is something bigger than just a hernia? What if the doctor isn't nice? What if something goes wrong in surgery??

Then the sane side of me realizes that 1. inguinal hernias are VERY common 2. this doctor is a trained pediatric surgeon, he knows what he is doing 3. if he doesn't, God does. So, my butterflies lesson a bit, but I would still appreciate prayers.

I love this little girl so much and just want the best for her! By the way, she smiled for the very first time today. I didn't catch it on camera, but it was no doubt a HUGE smile. Her whole entire face just lights up and is beautiful. I fell in love all over again!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Vision Fulfilled!

Many of you have been asking me questions as to whether or not the vision we had in our mind of what this baby would look like was correct. I thought it was about time to answer that question. I have also had a few questions about the story behind her name that I would like to answer.

When we had our failed adoption back in March, I was devestated. For you see when I got the call about that baby and that we were chosen, I was told that child would be African American/Hispanic. I got chills knowing that only God could have fulfilled the vision we had of our child. Yet, a few short days later I found out that my African American/Hispanic girl was not a girl, but a boy. Nevertheless, after praying about it, we decided to continue on, trust God and work on figuring out a boy name! As most of you know, that adoption fell thru and I was so sad, yet at peace.

When we got the call about Xiomara, and that we were picked, the first thing running through my mind was, "Please be a girl, please be a girl". It wasn't that we didn't want a boy, it was just that we felt very certain that God had lead us to that vision of a little girl. In fact, I have a picture of a little girl that I cut out of a magazine years ago in which the little girl in the picture was the vision of the girl we were to adopt one day. I won't know until she is older if she looks the same or not, but even if she doesn't, it shows me how strongly God guided us in this process. So is she African American/Hispanic? No, she isn't, at least that we know of. I will be honest and tell you that I was a bit bummed about this at first. However, God showed me very clearly that it did not matter what her race was, but all that mattered was fulfilling His plan to adopt this little girl into our home.

Part of the vision in adopting a girl was the name that God had given us. Xiomara (pronounce See-o-mara) means "prepared for battle". It's such a strong name for such a little girl. Long before we started the adoption process, when we were first married, I was on an adoption message board and came across this name. I instantly fell in love and tucked it away in my mind. Name meanings are very important to us, along with using a unique name. As our adoption journey went on, and we battled to even adopt, it was made clear to us that should we adopt a girl, her name was to be Xiomara. When we first met her, there was no doubt that was/is the name God has given her. Her middle name is Marie after my middle name. I never wanted to use family names. However, God kept drawing us time and time again back to Marie as a middle name. We finally realized why when he showed us that she needed to know that she was now a part of who we are. That she was passed on a family name because we love her that much.

"I will not forget you!  See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands." -Isaiah 49: 15-16

So yes, God has completed and fulfilled His vision for us and most of all for Xiomara. He did not forget her and nor did He forget us! It's pretty amazing that His final vision is greater and more complete than mine ever could have been!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Xiomara Marie's Birth Story

Note: I am posting this mainly for Xiomara to read one day. The mundane details may not matter to you, but they possibly will to her one day, so I post them. :) Also, this is a great reflection on how God's hand was in this match and adoption throughout the whole process!

It all begins June 10th. Well technically, it begins in July of 2008, but those of you who have been following and reading this blog for awhile you already know the story up to there. Those of you who don't, and have a TON of time, go read. ;)

On the morning of June 10th, I received a call from our social worker. She had sent me an email about different agencies to promote ourselves to as we had received no potential matches since our failed match in March. We were frustrated, depressed, and knowing that our home study expired in October, we were feeling as if it was never going to happen. Our social worker wanted to know if Chris and I had discussed the change that one of the agencies had made to their contract. We were suppose to have our profile there, but then they changed their policy a bit and we weren't sure we wanted to agree to the new one, so we had not given the ok. Our social worker was calling us just to check and see if we had decided. I told her no, and she urged me to ask Chris about it during the day as the agency had contacted her that morning needing more families to present to their birthmothers. So, I called Chris who was extremely busy, a bit crabby, and promptly told me that there would be no decision made until that evening. Sigh...I figured I would just email our social worker once I got the girls down for a nap and then I would talk to Chris that evening. However, at about 2 p.m. when I was already running late getting Zoelle down for her nap, I received a call from her. I knew she would ask and I was dreading telling her that once again, we hadn't decided yet. She did ask, and I told her that we hadn't decided and would talk that night and let her know in the morning. Her direct answer to me, "Well, I hope Chris is ok with it because they just called me and somehow they didn't listen to me and showed your profile anyway and you are matched!". Talk about crazy! I had to ask her to repeat herself so many times. Then I asked her for details. She didn't have much, but I was shaking so hard and trying to refrain myself from getting too excited as Meridian was napping.

The real kicker here is that later in talking with the social worker from Georgia, I found out that she picked our profile book up from the post office the day she presented it to Xiomara's birthmom. Typically, she looks through them first before presenting them, but on this day she didn't have time. When our birthmom saw the book with the name Chris on it she knew that this was the family for her daughter. She had felt since she found out she was pregnant that a Chris would somehow be involved in this adoption. That in addition to us having siblings who are adopted and from various races really helped her feel comfortable with us. God's hand was in place this whole time.

I spent the next several hours on the phone with my mom, sister, Chris and our social worker. Chris came home that night and we figured that if God orchestrated it, then it was meant to be. You must remember that all along, our prayer has always been that God will bring this child to us and if it's not meant to be, that He would close the doors.

We originally were told a due date of August 9th (our anniversary), but it then got changed to July 9th. She was ultimately born on July 6, estimated to be 5 weeks early, and yet God had His hand on her in that besides being a bit small, she was perfect!

Xiomara's birthmom, J, wanted us to travel either at birth or as close to birth as possible. On July 5th, we had a phone conference in the morning with her. All sounded well, except she felt that her time was soon. I'll admit, we panicked a bit as this is Chris' busiest season with work and my sister was due to give birth at any moment, and I wanted to be there. Again though, God's timing is perfect and that evening I received a call from our social worker saying J was in labor at the hospital soon to deliver our daughter. I cannot begin to describe how awesome it was to receive that call in the middle of the night announcing she was here, along with a picture mail of her. So sweet, so beautiful and I was in love.

Because we wanted to wait until the birthmom signed her papers (12 hours after birth), we did not and could not set up travel until that day. She was born on a Tuesday, and the plan was for J to sign papers on Wednesday and then us travel on Thursday the day Xiomara was to be released from the hospital. However, something happened on Wednesday in that ultimately J did not sign the papers. We prayed about it and still felt from God to travel on Thursday (even though she hadn't signed). So we made quick arrangements for Zoelle, packed our bags, got a pretty decent price on tickets, and after maybe two hours of sleep, left early Thursday morning.

Thursday was a whirlwind of a day! After almost missing our first flight because TSA had an issue with my sound machine, we got to our gate to realize that there had been a mix-up in seating and were it not for that, our plane would have already left! Wow, God is good! It was when we were on the runway waiting for our second plane to take off that I got the text saying "She signed! Praise God". The relief we felt was overwhelming and for the first time ever, I felt myself get a bit excited. We had three plane rides and I was so worried how Meridian would do. However, she was a champ and each person who sat by us was so gracious to us. A coincidence? I think not! She charmed and hammed her way to everyone. Loudly declaring "Hi" and then waving with that toothly grin to each person who was near us. She even napped for most of the last flight.

When we arrived in Georgia, I got Meridian all presentable, fixed my hair/make-up to the best of my ability, and sat nervously by why Chris called the social worker there for directions. We met at a church and I had someone video tape and take pictures of the whole thing. One day, maybe I'll feel comfortable sharing a picture of her birthmom. However, out of respect for her and Xiomara, today is not that day. I will say that she is an amazing and incredible woman. I'm proud of her and the decision she made. The meeting was one in which I am unsure how to describe to someone who has never adopted. It was emotional. I was happy for us, sad for J. I was scared to give my whole heart to her, yet I could feel myself falling in love with her the second I laid eyes on her. And holding her, oh holding that precious gem was incredible! God is so, so good!

One other aspect of our adoption that God has designed ahead of time was the aspect of nursing. It had always been my desire to adoptive breastfeed our child. However, I knew that it would most likely mean that I had to still be nursing Meridian. Looking at His perfect timing, it is incredible. I am still nursing Meridian, but not so much that I feel like I am nursing two infants constantly. Also, Xiomara's birthmom was so encouraged about us breastfeeding and is extremely happy that we can. That makes me happy. It's not perfect as I've still had to supplement some, but overall, God has answered that prayer!

And then it was over and we were left to ourselves. Two emotional adults, one over-tired older babe, and one little babe who cried and cried as she had no idea who we were. My heart broke and I just wanted to go home. Even more so when I found out I had a little niece born to my sister on the same day. However, as disappointed as I am that I wasn't there at her birth, I am reminded that these little girls will grow up together, share secrets together, laugh together, and get in trouble together just like my sister and I did. And my sister, who has been one of our biggest supporters, and myself will get to watch it all take place!

So we crashed in a hotel that night literally not remembering who got up when to help which child. The next morning we drove through some beautiful old plantation country to get to my uncle and aunt's house who live outside of Atlanta. While there, we were able to not only have a place to stay for a week, but also use their kitchen for cooking, and we were able to keep Meridian on a decent nap schedule. It was a huge provision from God to have it all work out that way.

Chris had to go back early for work yet God again worked in this adoption and made it so my dad could come down and stay with me and then help me get back home with two girls. This is perhaps where I am completely amazed at God. We got the call on a Thursday that we were free to go back. We really wanted to leave the next day but being that it was a Friday, we were having problems finding tickets. We found some for somewhat cheap right away, but by the time we went to buy them, they were gone. I was crushed as I didn't want to stay the weekend, but it was looking like unless we wanted to pay $1,000 a ticket, we would have to stay. After lots of searching, we finally found tickets for around $600. We weren't happy about it, but it was basically our only option to get home. My dad went to order them on his computer and I texted some of our closest friends/family to pray. Then I decided to check once more for tickets. Up popped two tickets for cheaper than what we originally saw, plus a shorter flight home. The girls once again did awesome on the way home, even with a sick/over-tired Meridian.

All of this is to share each of the little details that God cares about. He never failed us in our adoption. He still isn't failing us. I am consistently and constantly reminded of His faithfulness over us. I'm reminded of the scripture (from The Message) that says,

"God can do anything, you know-far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, His spirit deeply and gently within us." Ephesians 3:20

And with that I say amen! Yet, we also know that her story is not complete yet. God has beautiful and wonderful things for her and so we await Him to see all He has for her to do for Him.