Saturday, February 28, 2009

Confusion

Looks like we are really going to mess with Faith's head now. So glad I have a back up mom just in case of emergencies ;)







TaaDaahhh

OK I guess I let you guys wait long enough for the big reveal. What do you think?? Short I know, really really short!



Thursday, February 26, 2009

Needed A Change


Guess who got a hair cut today??!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Feeling Better

We are home and Faith is feeling much better. Here was her reaction yesterday to leaving the hospital:

We even had giggles today and she finally started eating real food again today-yeah!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Waiting for Discharge

Faith had a good night without any oxygen and she is off IV fluids. So we are just waiting for the doctor to come in and release us to go home. YEAH!!

Our visit here has certainly helped Faith and I in the attachment process. PLUS, our visit here has certainly helped Shelby and CJ in the attachment process too. God is good all the time, all the time, God is good! Next post should be from home sweet home :)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Last Night Here

YEAH! We are very confident that the doctor will release us to go home in the morning. Faith has done wonderfully today drinking her bottles and eating a little bit of food throughout the day(Hey Cheetos count!). As you can see through the pics, she was absolutely miserable when we arrived, but has perked up little by little each day. Today we even got a few giggles and smiles. Just a few, but we will take whatever we can get right now.

CJ and the kids came up and did dinner with Faith and I
tonight. I sure do miss seeing my WHOLE family together. I am not fond of our recent separations :( Looking forward to getting home tomorrow so I can love on all my babies and my knight in shining armour at HOME!!

Here is Faith at the hospital doing her 2 favorite things here:
1) Hanging out with Ms. Amy
2) Chillin in the red wagon
BTW, These happen to be the only 2 things we will miss about being in the hospital ;)

Hopefully Only One More Night

Well the doctor came by and felt it best that we stay at least one more night in our new little home here at the hospital. I am not really disappointed that we don't get to come home because I just really want her to be WELL before coming home. I don't want to take any risks of her relapsing once we get home. She needs to be eating and drinking on her own so that she doesn't get dehydrated. Her breathing is alot better so now we just focus on her taking in fluids. Hopefully we will get to come home tomorrow!

Better Night

A quick update for everyone:

Faith only had to have oxygen for about an hour last night. She looks a lot better and she has started drinking a little more regularly. We haven't seen the doctor yet, so I will give an update after we see him. Hopefully Faith will start eating and drinking more throughout the day so we can win a ticket home. I will keep you posted. Thanks for all the comments, well wishes, and prayers :)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

O Where O Where

has her little smile gone, Oh where Oh where could it be??
Really hoping to see some of these tomorrow...









We sure are missing her sweet baby grins!

Three is A Charm-right?

It looks like we will be here tonight for our 3rd night at the hospital :( Faith required oxygen most of the night last night. She did actually drink a full 4 ounces of bottle this morning though so hopefully that means she is starting to feel a little better. Her O2 level drops below 90 everytime she goes to sleep. She will have to maintain 93-94 all the time before we can go home. She will also have to be eating and drinking on her own without the IV. Needless to say we aren't there yet, so that means we have to stay another night :( Hey at least we get our favorite nurse tonight again. Not sure what Amy told everyone here, but we sure do get the royal treatment from all the nurses who just love my China doll :)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

My Village is the Best

Faith is asleep so I am about to turn in as well. She required some oxygen this afternoon, so we will have to wait and see how she does all night. Hopefully she won't need anymore and we may be able to go home tomorrow.

Just wanted to send out a special thank you to everyone surrounding us with love and friendship. In just the past 2 days, so many of you have stepped up to help out with the kids, laundry, errands, bringing me food, keeping me company, visiting us in the hospital, and the lists go on and on and on. I have a very special village of people out there whom I am thankful for each and everyday. Thank you for being there for us. My family is so very blessed!

Will post an update in the morning. Keep praying, Good night :)

Another Night Here

Well we get to spend another night here at Scottish Rite :( Since Faith still isn't eating or drinking very much and the fact that she hasn't been oxygen free for 24 hours, lands her here another evening. CJ and the kids came up for about an hour and that was the happiest and alert she has been in a while. I guess since she isn't used to all this peace and quiet you get the hospital, she was thrilled to see her LOUD siblings for a while today.

CJ attended a required asthma education class while me and the kid hung out in the playroom. I will have to say that my husband has been great taking care of things while we are here. Last night was Shelby's FIRST night ever away from me and you know what??? She didn't even miss me! She slept with Caleb and did great all night according to CJ. I will admit that I was very worried about how Shelby was going to act not getting to stay here with me. Turns out her daddy has everything under control :) They left here today headed for McDonald's and she didn't care a bit about leaving Mommy behind-progress for sure!

The doctor has officially decided that Faith has bad pneumonia and I suppose some form of asthma. We did further tests on her lungs today and it appears to just have fluid/infection in there and not a "foreign body" that was a possibility. Sheila kept saying she swallowed a Lego, but no she didn't ;) So hopefully once she gets some more antibiotics flowing through her, she will improve. Time will tell, keep praying please.

PS-Sorry no new pics, not sure why buy my SD slot in the computer isn't working :( This is how she feels right now though.

In the Hospital :(

Unfortunately Faith won a ticket into Scottish Rite yesterday. We have been here since 7AM yesterday and still not sure when we will go home. I brought her in when I could not get her breathing regulated after 3 breathing treatments throughout Thursday night. We had already spent Thursday evening at the Immediate Care Center for 3 hours and they sent me home with a warning that if her breathing got worse to go to ER. Needless to say it did and we were off to ER. They admitted her since she had to be on oxygen to breath and since she was dehydrated. Please keep her in your prayers today so that she will start breathing better and we can figure out what is wrong with her lungs. I don't have much time on the computer, but wanted to let you guys know so that you can say a special prayer today for us, thanks.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

How Much Does an Adoption Cost?

I wanted to do a "Straight Up" post about how much an adoption really costs. Not how much one thinks it costs, or how much an agency might quote you it will cost, but how much it REALLY costs.


It always seems to be the pink elephant in the room when someone asks you about adoption. No one really knows how to ask about the expenses. If the truth was laid out there more openly then maybe money wouldn't be a roadblock for someone really interested. So hopefully this post might answer some questions for anyone who may be really be considering adoption.


The complete gross total of money that we used to bring home Faith on this last adoption was $28,262.16. This covered everything we used to take myself, CJ, Caleb, Travis, Shelby, and my sister on the trip to China. The only thing not included in this number is Sheila's personal expenses while she was in China like food and shopping. Everything else that we spent is in this number. Here is the general breakdown:


$6670 Adoption Agency Expense
$3000 All paperwork & misc fees in US
$6200 Airline Tickets
$5373 In-China Escort & Hotel Fees
$3000 Orphanage Fee
$1500 In-China paperwork fees
$2500 Spending Money in China

Now here is the part people don't realize, you get some of this money back! That's right you get a HUGE tax refund back to the tune of $11,650 (for 2008, goes up to $12,150 in 09). You also get a check back from the state of GA for $2000 if you adopt a child with special needs. So here is the bottom line...


$28262 Spent
-$11650 Federal Tax Refund
-$2000 State Reimbursement
---------------------------------$
$14,612 Total Amount Out of Pocket

I promise you that this will be the best investment in your future you will EVER make! So there you have it all laid out in black and white. What are you waiting for?!? Get busy and email me at cjstraight@bellsouth.net to find out how to sign up to make the best investment in your life :)

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal."- Matthew 6:19

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Finally No Fever

Faith finally broke her ongoing fever last night! She has literally run a fever for 4 days straight. Still no fever this morning-yeah. Shelby's nose is still very leaky so now she has rubbed it raw and made sores under her nose. If it isn't one...is another ;)





Pics of my sweet little Valentines!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Sick AGAIN

Yes, my little Faith is sick again :( She has been diagnosed with just a "virus", but she sure is miserable. She keeps running a fever and doesn't want to eat or drink very much. I sure hope she gets better soon as I hate to see her so yucky feeling.


Shelby has a runny nose and says her nose "keeps leaking"! Caleb and Travis seem to both have some kind of yuck going on as well. Hopefully my crew will get better soon. I really think it is this crazy weather we have around here. I know that they say it isn't the weather that makes you sick, but I think it spawns viruses personally. I have sprayed Lysol on everything in the house every night trying to kill the yuck!

CJ took the day off yesterday and stayed home with all the kids since they were out for President's Day. Faith came to work with me since she had to go to the doctor. Dad had a good day with the kids even though we had to have our -as CJ says "Our Poop Tank"- worked on while he was there with the kids. I just love a man who can work on septic systems and watch children at the same time :)


Shelby did great with her daddy and NO crying for mommy the whole day (which is a first for CJ). CJ and Shelby's relationship has drastically improved since the arrival of Faith! I thank God for that little pleasant surprise. Who knew that adopting another child would HELP Shelby in the attachment process ;)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Circus Time


You won't find us here today. Sorry we will be under the Big Top all day with the kids! This will be the girls' first visit to the real circus-YEAH!! I will let you know tomorrow how it goes. Have a great day...like we are going too :)


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Big Change in the Rules

This post if for all of my adoption friends who may be out there still waiting to adopt a child from China. The CCAA just made a big change in their rules regarding the switching of agencies. You can now switch agencies even if your dossier is already logged in! This means that if you are interested in adopting from the Waiting Child Lists you are now able to get in any agency's line to do that. No reason to sit around and wait for your agency to get to you if they have a LONG line ahead of you waiting on a special needs child. Just switch to an agency who doesn't have a long line of families ahead of you :) Feel free to contact me for more specifics details if you need them. I am excited to finally see this change from China! It should really help get kids home faster and without the waiting game some agencies seem to play.

Dear Families:I just want to inform you that CCAA recently passed the policy to allow families switching agencies using their original dossiers logged in at CCAA. Families who decide to switch agencies need to ask for a letter from their original agency stating that the agency agrees to release the dossier to the new agency. Families who do not qualify under the new rule effective of May 1st 2007 and whose dossiers were logged in before May 1st of 2007 will be able to switch agencies and proceed with the adoption of special needs children.

Happy Valentine's Day

Shelby had the BEST time in the world making Valentine cookies with Nana. She was SO excited about it and SO proud of her cookies. My mom is such the wizard and decided that instead of Shelby having to wait to "bake" cookies, she just whipped out the box of Nilla wafers and some frosting and some sprinkles. Shelby was in heaven :)

Grandma helped the boys make the coveted Valentine's shoe boxes to collect their Valentines from school. The boys were thrilled with their completed and FULL boxes they brought home from school. I think every child (except mine) added candy to their little Valentine. Man, I wish we had those kinds of Valentines when we were in school ;)
So as you can see a whole lot of love found in the Straight house these days. Hope you all have someone to love on this special day. I know I sure do!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Day in the Life

Well really just an hour in the life of me...


  • Wake up to surprise visit from Aunt Flo

  • Realize that Caleb is really too sick to go to school today

  • Babysitter calls in sick

  • Figure out that Nana is going to have to have Faith and Caleb now all day unexpectedly

  • Made pancakes instead of pastry thing for Shelby=meltdown

  • Travis realizing he has to go to school by himself without Caleb=meltdown

  • Poopy diaper number 1

  • See that Shelby has forgotten to put on underwear, undress to put said underwear on

  • Realize forgot to make Shelby's lunch last night=now running 10 minutes behind

  • Drug Caleb

  • Shelby spills drink all over herself and RED=meltdown

  • Now have to redress Shelby once again with new clothes, Red just suffers through

  • Finally everyone ready to go out the door only 15 minutes late

  • Wait, poopy diaper #2

  • Finally off to school #1, check in Travis tardy...excuse written on tardy sheet="Don't ask"

  • Drop Faith and Caleb off at Nanas= Shelby meltdown

  • Take Shelby to school #2 fortunately no tears at dropoff

  • Finally made my way to work only 30 minutes late!!

Whew, what a wild and crazy ride this mommy thing is some days :) Calgon take me away!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

HotLanta

How sweet has this February weather been lately?!?! Here are some pics of us getting out and enjoying this beautiful weather we have been having here in Atlanta these days! BTW, we have the BEST backyard ever :) The kids have really been able to enjoy it early this year.
PS: We are hosting AdoptionOption next month on the first Friday in March, so if you want to come on over and enjoy my backyard too...this is your personal invitation!








Monday, February 9, 2009

Only 2 Months Ago

I received one of the greatest gifts in the world...











Look how scared she was :( Poor little one. Now that we know her moods and expressions, you can really see the fear in her face. She must have been terrified and confused and as Shelby would say, "My baby is not happy."

But oh what a transition my baby girl has made in only 2 months! We definately have a HAPPY BABY girl now!!







Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Invisible Mom

I received this from a friend and wanted to share. This is to all those Moms, who feel or have felt unappreciated. God is watching you!
The Invisible Mom author unknown

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?' Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more. Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this??

Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.'I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going, she's going, she's gone!

One night a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England .. She had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when my friend turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe ..

I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given i t to me until I read her inscription: 'To my friend, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.

'In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pat tern my work: No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof, no one will ever see it. And the workman replied, 'Because God sees.

'I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will be come.

'At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride.I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home.

And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, 'You're gonna love it there.'As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

Friday, February 6, 2009

China Raises Fines on One-Child Policy

Beijing, China (LifeNews.com) -- Chinese officials have followed through on their earlier promise to raise the fines for couples who violate the one-child population control policy. Poorer residents who are subject to human rights abuses have long complained that rich Chinese couples can pay fines and avoid governmental harassment.

Now, the Chinese government has raised those fines to discourage more families from having a second child, which violates the one-child rule that has earned the Asian nation condemnation from around the world. Deng Xingzhou, director of Beijing’s family planning commission, said the new rules were aimed at correcting that wealth disparity.

Currently, couples must pay a fine that amounts to three to eight times their annual salary and that amount will increase although the government didn't appear to release official figures.The increased fines also come as the nation's capital, Beijing, has experienced a rise in its population due to the influx of migrant workers from the coast. The city has a population of 17 million, well over the 10-11 million who live in New York City, the largest American city.
Heavy fines have also been customary for poorer Chinese residents and Chinese population control officials will fine the Chinese people for violations to such a heavy price that they may not be able to afford it.

Some of the citizens of Bobai county in the southwestern portion of China protested in 2007 and said fines were instituted even on people who had already paid them.
Forced abortions were done on some of the women. Police eventually arrested 28 people in association with the riots, according to official Chinese media sources.

Similar high fine initiatives have been adopted in Henan and Zhejiang provinces where the incidence of female infanticides is at their highest because of the cultural preference for boys.
The policy has resulted in epidemics of forced abortions and sterilizations and human rights abuses ranging from job loss and imprisonment to house arrest and threatening family members.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Baby Giggles

or maybe baby torture?!?!? Oh how I just love her little laugh!!


video

Thoughts from a Korean-Adoptee

Here are a few of the items that were listed under this woman's article titled below. She was adopted from Korea many years ago and hear are some of her thoughts below. She also wrote another article that I found intriguing as well, click here for that one.

Twenty-Three Things This Korean-Adoptee Thought About as a Child

  1. That many times I was embarrassed and ashamed of my birth culture because it was so profoundly different than that of my family and my friends. That too often it served as an easy and irresistible source of teasing and fodder for others - strangers and classmates alike.
  2. That instead of always hearing, "You're so lucky to be adopted", that it would have been nice to just once hear "It must be hard sometimes to be adopted."
  3. That the insatiable need for me to be perfect was a way to make me feel more valuable, and therefore less likely to be abandoned once again.
  4. That the insatiable need for me to control every facet of my environment was a way to feel safe and secure during a time when I felt that I was disposable.
  5. That my mind understood why my Korean mother had to give me up, but that my heart didn't.
  6. That the message "She loved you so much that she gave you up for a better life" meant that it was sometimes scary to be loved so intensely by my adoptive parents.
  7. That I dreamed of going back to Korea just to be able to fit in amongst my peers.
  8. That I would have given anything to just once be the girl who was thought of as being popular, pretty and "normal", instead of the one whose sole appearance brought forth so many unwanted questions and assumptions.
  9. That often I thought of ways I could make myself look more white, just so I wouldn't feel like such a monster.
  10. That I felt so incredibly guilty anytime I felt anything sad or bad about my adoption. That it was much better to hold everything in than to hurt my parents who I know loved and adored me more than life itself.
  11. That it was impossible to be angry or hateful towards my Korean parents for leaving me, and yet impossible to forgive myself for being left.
  12. That I got to a point where my mind truly believed everything I was saying about not feeling any effects or fallout from being adopted, even if my heart and body felt markedly different.
  13. That my tantrums, outbursts and fits of rage were my way of trying to say, "I'm hurting so badly inside and more than anything, I am afraid that you will leave me."
  14. That love, no matter how deep nor abundant, can ever erase the past.
  15. That what others saw in myself would one day be evident to me as well. And hopefully one day, with God's grace, I would truly learn to love and forgive myself.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

OCD Dishwasher

Ok, Faith really doesn't have OCD (I don't think), but she does have an obsession of emptying things out. She will clean off a coffee table in a flash one piece at a time. She will empty out a bucket of toys one toy at a time. If you give her a cup of Cheerios, yep one at a time they will be taken out of the cup. So needless to say you can see where this is going with the dishwasher...




She sees a bucket full of silverware just staring her in the face NEEDING to be emptied! So without fail everytime I open the dishwasher-she is there in a flash with her empting abilities ready to go! One piece at a time comes out of the container. Sounds great right? A one year old already trained to do the dishes. Well that sounds great in theory, but guess what you are supposed to do next...LOAD the dishwasher!!

Never a pretty sight as she sees a completely full container of "needing-to-be-emptied-out-immediately-silverware" dissappearing slowly if front of her as the door closes so tightly from her little finger tips ;)

Monday, February 2, 2009

Boys First Concert

Look where we get go on Sunday...Winter Jam 2009!! We are very excited as this will be the boys' first real concert. We will even get to see our adoption buddies the Nolan's there at the concert as Tony is the Guest Speaker :)
Tammy and Tony were just matched with a beautiful little girl and I am thrilled to see them finally get to go to China to get her. I paperchased with the Nolan's back when I chased for Shelby. They have waited a long long time, and now their little girl, Joy, has finally found her mommy and daddy!

Looking forward to a fun day that will be spent with "just the boys". I have 3 AMAZING males in my life and enjoy every minute spent with them. (The girls will get to hang out with their Nana so I suspect they won't miss us for a minute.) Caleb and Travis need some time alone with just mom and dad too since the spotlight has recently just been on the girls. They are both awesome big brothers and they have been so great with the girls and all the ordeals of bringing them home. It is time they get a little time for themselves ;)

Back to Work for Real

Yes, that is right I had to go back to work for real today. Meaning no more days off, half days off, dr appts, etc. Just back to plain old real work full-time today. For those of you out there who don't think I really work I thought I would post a couple of pics of my Real office. Oh and of course I threw in a pic or 2 of all of my employee of year awards just to prove that I really do WORK!


Here is a shot of my cutie patootie with her "Oh my goodness you are really going back to work for real look!" Boy am I going to miss her during the days. However, I know her Nana is really going to enjoy her though :)