SuperMom … for a day.

Today, I:

  • Mowed the lawn
  • Sprayed the weeds
  • Let my husband nap for 3 hours  ( … he let me go to bed early last night, so today was his turn to catch up on sleep.  We take turns!)
  • Washed, Folded, and put away 5 loads of laundry
  • Went out to Grandpa’s house for an hour (you should see Jesse eat peas from their garden … wow!  I’ve never seen him attack vegetables that way!)
  • Made Chicken Parmesan for my family
  • Made 3 additional pans of Chicken Parmesan for my freezer
  • Cleaned the kitchen
  • Worked out on the elliptical for 45 minutes

You know if every day was like this, it wouldn’t be blog-worthy.  But, because every day is not like this, I had to document it!

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Featured Family Friday: Win a Kindle!

Want to WIN a Kindle from Amazon.com?

How about an emerald and diamond pendant?  A gift card to your favorite restaurant?  Lots of other great prizes, too!  Read to the end of this post, or visit http://familyblessingsthroughadoption.blogspot.com/ to find out how!

. . .

Because of this blog, several expectant parents have contacted me.  I consider it an honor to be able to talk with them, help however I can, and provide reassurance and hope – whether they are expecting a child with Down syndrome, heart defects, clubfeet, or other serious medical problems.

I don’t tell you about all of them … but I need to tell you what happened a couple months ago.

The mother who contacted me had just found out that the baby girl she was expecting had Down syndrome and a heart defect (complete AV canal).  She was not married to the baby’s father, and as soon as he heard the diagnosis, he left her.  She was afraid and alone.

After several heart-wrenching weeks and many conversations, the mother decided to do the most loving and self-less thing she ever could have done.  She put the needs of her sweet baby girl ahead of her own desires, and decided to find an adoptive family for her daughter.  But, through her tears, she asked me, “I love this baby so much, but is there anyone else who would want her?”

Yes, YES!!  There are LOTS of people who would love to have her!  Babies with Ds are usually not placed for adoption in the United States … they are aborted instead.  That’s why people have to go to Eastern Europe and pay huge fees to adopt these sweet angels!

Through the online Down syndrome community, I learned of Jacki Henry.  Jacki and her husband had been trying for over six years to adopt a baby girl with Down syndrome.  Their home-study was done, and they were paperwork ready and financially prepared for an adoption.  I put the two mothers in touch with each other, and only a few days later it was decided:  Jacki would finally adopt the daughter she’d prayed for and wanted for so many years.

It was, then, doubly heartbreaking when the precious baby girl was stillborn only a few weeks later.  Her little heart just wasn’t strong enough.  The Henry family and the birth mother both grieved the loss of their daughter.

. . .

Now, the Henrys have started the process of adopting TWO girls from Eastern Europe.

Meet “Graci.” She’s two years old, was born with cerebral palsy, and abandoned by her birth parents to an Eastern European orphanage.  As soon as the Henrys have enough funding, she will be home with her family, where she belongs.

The Henrys had also decided to adopt a girl they’d named “Rose,” who had Down syndrome, but have recently been informed that she is no longer available for adoption.  They are still searching for their daughter with Down syndrome.

I am helping Jacki with a fundraiser to help with the high cost of international adoption.  You can help right now by visiting her blog at Family Blessings Through Adoption.

If you make a donation to their adoption fund, you can enter to win some incredible raffle prizes, including an Amazon Kindle

some beautiful jewelry:

a custom-made tutu dress made my Melanie’s mom … remember her?  They are actually in country right now to bring their little girl, who they will call Lucy, home.  This is Lucy’s big sister modeling one of the beautiful dresses.

There are lots of gift cards and other goodies, too!  Please go take a look!

The Henry family has waited so long for their girls … and the girls have been waiting for their family. The only obstacle now is money – and that’s where you can help.

If everyone who reads this gives just $5 or $10, they will be home in no time.

Thank you for your prayers and your generosity!

Heaven is For Real

I just finished a wonderful book … the kind that you can’t put down, yet you have to put it down because what you just read was so incredible that you need time to process it before you can read any more.  I don’t want to give anything away, because I want you to read it for yourself.  I elbowed my husband so many times saying, “Listen to this!” that finally, he said, “OK!  I will READ it!  I promise!”

Click Here to buy from Amazon.com

Maybe I was especially touched since I have a sweet, innocent 5-year-old boy … or because we have 1-st had experience with a child in critical condition … but regardless, I would highly recommend this book to anyone.

By the way … I read it on my new kindle.  Don’t have one yet?  Check back here tomorrow to see how you could win your very own Amazon Kindle Reader!

Hard Time in Holland

As hard as it is for me to admit this, I want to be honest with you.  A few weeks ago, I was having a really tough time in Holland.

As a good friend once said, I am usually happy to be the “head cheerleader for Team Down Syndrome,” but I took a break from that role … just for a little while.

It hit me after several days of Matthew not feeling well.  He reverted back to his uncommunicative ways, simply sitting on the floor moaning or crying – unable to tell me what was wrong or what he needed.  With the other 2 boys and I also not feeling well, it was frustrating and exhausting.  At the same time, I was hearing reports from friends that some pictures of kids with Down syndrome had been stolen from the internet, and used in ugly and degrading ways.  It was a horrible reminder that much of this world still rejects our children, and that there are people who use the most innocent, defenseless and pure-of-heart for ugly purposes.

Soon afterwards, we spent time with a couple other families, both with typically-developing 3 1/2-year-olds … and it was hard.  I don’t know what else to say – except sometimes it’s hard to see another child Matthew’s age, perfectly healthy, talking in full sentences, articulating their needs and wants, and seeming to do SO much more than Matthew.

My feelings seemed to come out of the blue … things I hadn’t yet let myself feel.  As you well know, when Matthew was born we were too busy worrying about his life to worry about his extra chromosome.  And, when we learned he would live – well, we were too busy just wrapping our minds around that and preparing for open-heart surgery to deal with anything else.  So, I hadn’t ever let myself grieve the fact that my child has Down syndrome.  Most parents grieve and work through those emotions when they receive the diagnosis, but our situation was very different than most.

When Matthew started feeling better, he went right back to his delightful, playful, loving self.  I talked with my wonderful husband and few close friends who all assured me that my feelings were normal … and ok.  And, it was ok to feel this way now and then.  As our journey with Matthew continues, there will be ups and downs, bumps in the road, and that’s o.k.  In some ways, it may be good for you to know that it’s not always rainbows around here.

. . .

But, now I’m feeling more blessed than ever.  Yes, Down syndrome has its special challenges, but it also has its special joys.  One full-body-snuggle-hug from Matthew is all it takes to make you realize that you’re receiving a special kind of love.

And, of course, walking with Michelle and her family through the loss of baby Beckett has once again made us realize what a true miracle Matthew is.  By every scientific and medical measure, he shouldn’t be here with us.  But, he is here with us, and we’re sure God has big plans for him.  I can’t wait to see what Matthew’s future holds.

What an honor it is to be his mother.  What an incredible blessing and responsibility to be chosen to raise such a special soul … an incorruptible soul, so pure, innocent, and precious.  And, I get to be with him every day.

With Matthew, we experience a love so pure, it can take your breath away.

Best Brothers

Comfort

Pure Joy:

Tenderness:

Matthew hugging a baby chick

Pride in every accomplishment:

Building a tower of olive cans in Grandma's pantry

Getting the most out of every experience:

And, more often than not, Pure Goofiness:

I honestly can’t find the words to tell you how very grateful we are for this beautiful little boy, and how blessed we are to be his parents.  Thank you, Jesus, for once again showing me how beautiful Holland is.

In the Father’s Arms

To all you wonderful people.

It pains me to bring you all the news that baby Beckett lost his fight with his heart condition yesterday. Michelle and I believe with all our souls in the power of prayer. I want to personally thank each of you for doing your part to pray for our family. My initial prayers were answered when Michelle found this blog on Baby Mathew. Michelle and I were losing hope and lost and then she found all of you! Thank you for your blessings, kind words and heart felt prayers. I love Michelle more and more each day, her strength to carry on is nothing short of amazing to me.

Ben