Saturday, January 30, 2010

Best Compliment

I received one of the best compliments yesterday from a friend. Her email was talking about her recommending a friend of hers to talk to me about adopting special needs from China. She said...

"don't talk to Donna unless you are ready for some action!!!"

LOVE IT!! That is so right my friends, don't come hehawing around me unless you are ready to find your child :)

Thanks Lucy you made my week!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Perfect Group Sport

Yes, we are back into the perfect group sport activity for ME! Yes, I said me. I only have to dedicate one hour of my life per week and I get all 4 kids "active" in a group activity. YEAH!! As you can see I am not a big fan of take kid #1 to this sport, then kid #2 to that sport on the next day, then kid #3 has to be late because kid #1 has picture day, etc, etc, etc.

Needless to say the boys take the boy gymnastics class, while Shelby (and Faith on the side) attend ballet and gymnastics preschool style. Go kids Go :)

Sorry only can get a few pics of Shelby in class and it is hard to take a pic in the big boy gym. So we are off to our class tonight!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Perfect Pose

Isn't she beautiful?!?!?!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Cleft Issues You Deal With

I had a waiting parent ask me specifically more about adopting a child with a cleft lip and cleft palate. I thought I would share my response to her:

I will be happy to talk to you about CL/CP. It is not an “easy need” in the terms of SN world. Some people are confused when I say that. I am not one to sugar-coat this need. Yes, Shelby is a beautiful little girl, yes she is intellectually perfect, yes her need is “repairable”, yes she does not have a “life threatening” SN. However, there are a lot of things that also go with her SN.

(First off, if you truly FEEL like the Lord is leading you to a little one with CL/CP, I will be the first one to agree with you to adopt this route. I truly felt a HEAVY heart that Shelby had CL/CP before I found her, so I totally understand the calling.)

OK, so now on to the backend of CL/CP that a lot of people don’t realize. Shelby’s SN is an EVERYDAY need! Some SN are not everyday needs, like Faith’s repaired heart condition. I don’t ever think about her SN except when I see her large scar down her chest. Even then it is just a reminder to me of what a miracle it is that she is completely HEALED.

Shelby has speech 4 days a week-every week! I take her to school at 7:15am, then I return to pick her up at 8am, this is at the public Elementary School. Then Shelby has a private teacher that goes to her preschool once a week. I pay $35 per week for the private lesson. Remember this affects the whole family since the others have to get to school early on those days too, which means earlier to bed, earlier getting up, etc.

Shelby has had 2 very painful surgeries since we have been home. She will have at least 2-4 more surgeries in her future. Both surgeries consisted of 2 nights in the hospital and a lot of tears (mine and hers) for at least a week afterward. When you have other children, you have to be aware of the implications the surgeries put on your family logistically. Meaning you are not there to “babysit” your others, take to school, etc. Also we don’t have terrific insurance in terms of deductibles etc. So each of her surgeries cost $2500 EACH out of our pocket. I am not saying she isn’t worth it, I am just stating the facts.

Shelby has an everyday EMOTIONAL need that new parents might not realize. She can’t talk like other kids can her age. She is now 4 years old but still talks like a “baby”. I can understand her 95% of the time, but others cannot. Now that Shelby is older, she is expected to speak clearly, but she doesn’t. This affects her on an emotional level since now she understands that she is “different” than her friends. I can only imagine that this emotional need will only increase as she gets older. Right now it is very controlled considering the fact that she always has adults there to look after her and to make sure that the other kids are not bullying or teasing her. Once she starts branching out into her own peer groups, she will have to learn how to deal with the comments on her own.

All of that said, I don’t want to scare you away from CL/CP children. I just want you to be fully AWARE of what comes with this SN. Shelby is an amazing child and she was always meant to be in my family. I have done tons of research on her SNeeds and will continue to educate myself as she grows. Also I did my homework before I ever saw her face. I was immersed in educating myself on this need since I just knew that was the path God was leading me down. If you have the same calling, then I say go for it once you too have done your homework and you feel comfortable with taking all the good along with the bad :) My Shelby is SO worth it!!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

More Waiting Kids

Just found a great blogpost about all the agencies out there that have individual waiting child lists. Click here and she gives some details as to how to access the lists, etc. I know alot of you out there are already logged in with China, are now interested in the Waiting Child program, yet you still wait for a "match" for your child.

If you are tired of waiting on your current agency to get it in gear and find you your child, then here is the deal in a nutshell:

If you find a child you want to bring home on another agency's Individual Waiting Child list (like the ones listed here), then all you have to do is "switch" to the new agency. The CCAA will allow you to do this and stay LID with your original LID. All you do is send in your LOI for said child and then your agency and the new agency should work together to transfer your file over. No big deal.
If you want to be matched with your child via the Shared List, then you will need to talk to an agency like this one that matches from the shared list. You then need to start over from scratch a brand new dossier to have it ready to go when you get your match with your child. You will send in an LOI for the child, then once you receive PA, your new agency will send in your new dossier for this child. Next step... pack your bags for CHINA!

It just really irritates me to watch all of these families that are already logged in sitting and "waiting" for a SN child when there are so MANY available. If you have any questions or want more details please please please just ask. I LOVE helping others bring home their babies :)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

"Joshua" Found His Parents

You may remember my desperate post about finding a home for this adorable baby boy that I saw posted available for adoption. Well I am happy to say that I did help find his parents! I met Stephanie and Vuong a long time ago at one of the Chapman's First Friday meetings. I think it was over 2 years ago.

Amazing how God works these things out. Can't wait to follow them along on their journey to bring this adorable little boy home!! This little one sure holds a special place in my heart, praying he gets home soon :)

Bad Hair Day

Still cute as ever though, bib and all :)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Bib Baby

When o when will this child ever stop drooling!?!?!? I thought it was bad with Shelby and she had an excuse of having a cleft palate. I have NO idea why Faith is still drooling all the time? I will be so happy when she doesn't have to sport a bib every single minute of the day. Anyone have any great ideas of how to get her drooling under control??

Monday, January 18, 2010

Feed a Baby TODAY

OK folks, here is your chance to be an immediate help to those babies in Haiti who so desperately need it. A personal friend of mine here in Atlanta has been given the opportunity to send cans of formula straight down to Haiti RIGHT NOW when the need is so great. Most of the time when you give a large portion of that gift unfortunately has to spent on shipping. Well not now, now here is your chance to give directly to the source and not waste any extra on shipping cost.

So click here onto their "normal" website and post your donation. Just think about it, $10 will buy a whole can of formula that will feed a baby for a week in Haiti. Mark HAITI in the comment section on the donation. You can make a difference, one fed baby at a time!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Haiti Kids Waiting

Get your tissues out for this one. I can't possibly imagine how these couples feel right now, so helpless as their children wait for them.

Click to Save a Life

All you need to do is click here to vote for my favorite charity Love Without Boundaries in their chance to win One MILLION dollars to help cleft affected babies get their life saving surgeries!!

From LWB: Our "big idea" and dream is to open a Cleft Healing Home in every province in China. These homes save lives! So many orphaned babies with cleft struggle to eat and tragically many pass away. Please visit and learn how you can save lives with just a click of your mouse. This is a wonderful opportunity to give some of the most vulnerable children in the world a second chance. THANK YOU!!!

Remember my Shelby baby before her life changing surgery, go make a difference in the life of a child!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Happy Birthday Travis!

My sweet baby boy turns 7 years old today!!! I can't believe how fast he has grown up. He thinks he is as big as his brother and actually sometimes it is hard to believe that he is a full 3 years younger than Caleb. Travis is well, as I like to say Travis is a mess ;) My mess and I love him dearly. My o my how boring would the Straight family be without Travis in it!

Seems like yesterday that he was laying so peacefully in the palm of my hand. I think this was the last time he was ever still :) Happy Birthday!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Every Child Deserves A Home

Any chance you have room in your home?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Maybe, Just Maybe

I am praying that I have found "Joshua's" mommy and daddy!!! Please continue to keep him in your thoughts and prayers this week as we discover if they are the right ones. Oh and no it is not me and CJ ;)

Although I have had some STRONG feelings for this little guy, I think it is just his little Red Thread pulling on my heart strings helping me guide him to his real parents. Man that red thread is tough! Keep praying :)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

For Sale by Owner

Come on you know you want it! $12,500 and you can ride this Harley home :)
1998 Harley Davidson Dyna Wide Glide for sale. Private Owner located by Lassiter High in Marietta. Must see the custom paint on this bike in person to appreciate the details. Chrome forks, chrome swing arm, braided hoses, Vance & Hines sweeper pipes, Carlini 1" handlebars with hidden wires, Arlen Ness headlight, windshield, and much more. Over $17K in custom work. 46mm Mikuni carb plus Harley Davidson Big Bore Kit was installed only 11K miles ago. Come check it out today! Only asking $12,500 considering it is winter time.

Call me at 404-395-2403 if you are interested.

Friday, January 8, 2010

WWJD, I meant what would you do?

So if you had the means to change someone's life for the better, would you? What if it meant your life had to become a little bit "uncomfortable" and "unpredictable"?!?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Caleb on the Court

Watch out, that lean-mean-basketball-machine is in the house!!

The boys are having a great time playing Upward Basketball this year. Caleb is having a blast and is really good too :)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Check out "Joshua"

Just click here to go take a peek at this absolutely ADORABLE 2 year old little boy!! He is just a couple months younger than Faith. His medical issue has already been corrected, so he has no current medical problems. He is in foster care and would be about 3 years old when you brought him home. He is perfect :) Is he yours??!!?

Oh and just in case you were coming up with all those "reasons" on how you can't afford it, go read this...

Why Blog?

I am currently in a blogging rut. But I received a very timely email this morning from someone that I met over 8 months ago at a "China conference". Here is an excerpt from her email:

Hi Donna,
I hope you remember me. I met you last year at a seminar on China...and we briefly talked about the wait I had with CCAI. I just wanted to let you know that recently we switched from CCAI to Barker as we found or daughter there.
(Just sitting and waiting on us!) ...So anyway, I wanted to say thanks, as I never would have know to try transferring....we had a 12/29/08 we are excited not to have to wait further

So I have been asked several times, "Why do you blog?". I always answer "To Educate!"....and also to have a personal diary of sorts for my girls and my family. If you haven't noticed, I am a big China Special Needs Adoption Advocate. I truly believe that I have a duty to speak out for those children "who cannot speak for themselves".

So yes, I will continue to blog. I will continue to tell anyone who will listen about the China SN program. I will not give up on advocating for children who still wait for their families to find them. And no, I will not stop sending out "those lists" to others I think might have the slightest bit of interest in adopting. YEAH for another child coming home!!