The Long Wait

Today our Dossier was submitted and our wait begins!  In 5-7 weeks we should be on a plane to Eastern Europe to go meet our son!  And to celebrate this milestone on our journey I’m going to finish up the series I started forever ago about our adoption journey.  You can read the first two parts at the links below:

Our Adoption Story
I Waited Ten

Here is Part III of the series!  The Long Wait…

I was a mere fifteen years old when I was first introduced to the idea of fostering and adoption, with the accompanying dream that confirmed this calling on my life.  I knew then, that it would be a long wait before I would even be able to begin putting my new dream into reality.  So I put it in the back of my mind, and figured I would revisit it when I was 18.

But, I went to college at 17, so the lines between adolescence and adulthood were blurred and soon overtaken by all the cares of a college student.  I was overloaded, and way too busy.  My sophomore year I was taking 20 some odd credits, working 30 hours a week, and still fitting in (or not) extra-curriculars because I couldn’t seem to say no.  In all that time I do remember still having moments of pause, thinking of my sweet children who might already be born.  Were they loved now?  Were they fed? Clothed?  Cared for?  Did they know there was a God who loved them?  I would say small, silent prayers for Him to watch over my little ones… the ones I didn’t know.

I would close my eyes and remember the bouncing black curls and the deeply wounded eyes of my daughter from the dream… and I would pray that we would be together soon.  Soon Lord… please let it be soon.  But it was not to be.  I am glad I did not know then how much longer I still had to wait.  It would have pained my heart to know.  While at university, I met my dear husband.  We got married the week after graduation and I followed him to seminary.  Almost immediately after the wedding I told him we should look into fostering.

I am sure he thought I was crazy, but he humored me and allowed me to check into it.  I was about ready to sign up for the introductory classes when the inevitable happened… God blessed our marriage with a child the home-grown way, and we were no longer eligible to be foster parents until after she was born and we had settled into life as a family of three.  I understood the requirement, it made sense… but I didn’t have to like it any.

I was determined to continue preparing myself for adoption.  I knew it was in our future, and I wanted to know as much as possible.  I started googling it and found a plethora of adoption blogs to enjoy.  They became my constant companions during the next few months of morning sickness and waiting… along with the Office and Scrubs but I digress…

One of those blogs was an internationally adopting family.  I was fascinated by their journey and all the details of the process.  Along the way I got linked to a Youtube video that changed my life.  I know I’ve blogged about it before.  After I saw this, I would never be the same.  I found Reece’s Rainbow shortly thereafter and spent the next few days just pouring over the pictures of precious little souls in precarious, unimaginable situations.  I will never forget.  Almost immediately I started looking into the requirements to adopt internationally.  Our lack of income due to Jake’ being in graduate school was an immediate shut door.

No foster care.  No international adoption.  What now?  Nothing to do but wait.  I had to do something about those children though… I had to help.  I could not just sit and do nothing.  I began shouting, advocating, begging to anyone who would listen.  My sweet husband tolerated me, of course.  My heart literally was unable to continue if I wasn’t doing something.  I found a jar, we started saving our pennies.  We called it the “Baby Jar”.  Every single coin I found went into that jar.  When it was full we would roll them all and start over.  We didn’t have much, but we could save our pennies for our future adoption – and that’s what we did.

I did fundraisers for the orphans that grabbed my heart.  I did them for families who were currently in process.  I kept reading, and waiting… when would it be our turn?  In the meantime we expected to get pregnant again quickly, but the Lord had other plans.  I was impatient, but His timing was perfect.  We moved from seminary to vicarage (our internship) and we had an income – hooray!  We also were not pregnant and our daughter was a year and a half old.  We would qualify to adopt from foster care now, I mentioned it to Jake and he agreed that we could look into it.  Again, I began finding out what we would need to do to get the ball rolling.

A month before our foster care orientation… it happened.  We were expecting our second.  Well played God… well played.  I was ecstatic, but it still hurt, and I went on a fundraising/advocating kick again.  Not everyone appreciated it.  I didn’t care.  Those kids needed out; I couldn’t bring them home, but I could help someone else bring them home.  I got burned out, and stepped away from the adoption world for a few months.  With the new baby and another move coming up, I just needed a break.  I could not emotionally cope with all of it.

Heath BeforeThat autumn, no sooner had I started dabbling in the Reece’s Rainbow community again.  A little here and there… I saw him.  A small boy called “Heath”.  He was twelve years old and had Down syndrome.  He was in a mental institution, a bad one.  His eyes seemed to be searching my very soul… he was beautiful.  I loved him.  I did… I still do.  He will always have my heart.  With some fancy, shmancy number games we would qualify to adopt that year.  Heath’s adoption was fully funded.  We could technically do this.  I begged and pleaded with Jake to let us go for him.

It was a H.A.R.D. month.  The fact is, Jake knew it wasn’t our time yet, but I didn’t (or wouldn’t listen).  We got counseling from a pastor, we had some really rough nights.  Were our priorities even the same anymore?  I knew we were in school.  I knew it would be crazy hard.  I didn’t care, I loved Heath like my own son and I couldn’t just leave him there.  Jake reluctantly agreed to take the first steps, and I began contacting some social workers in our area.

We didn’t get far in the process when we were told it would not happen.  We were too young to adopt Heath.  My heart was shattered, but it was a merciful ending.  God decided, and that preserved our relationship.  We began the healing process.  I was grief stricken.  I have heard adoptive parents relate the pain of losing a child in this way to the pain of a miscarriage.  I believe it.  I had spent the last few weeks dreaming of what it would be like to have him in our family, loving this child in my heart, trying everything in my power to keep moving forward past huge, insurmountable obstacles that God kept peeling away.  Until it happened.  We hit a brick wall, he was ripped away from me and I would never be his mother.  He was still stuck in that awful place, with no way out and no one to tell him how very much he was loved.

It hurt for months, and it still hurts sometimes.  But only selfishly.  He is home now with his wonderful mother and he is thriving.  It is only me who is missing out on his wonderfulness.  I still hope to meet him some day.  He is doing so wonderfully now and I could not be happier for him or his family.  Adoption changes lives folks.  Adoption is restoration… healing… life.

Heath After Pic

But at the time it was just pain.  It wouldn’t be until months later that a family stepped up for him.  And we are forever grateful to God for that miracle.  But at the time… that was the nail in the coffin.   Adoption, again, would have to wait.  We only had a few months left of seminary, after that maybe…  we would see…

To be continued!

Battle Cry

I saw a picture on Facebook recently that said “Do for 1 what you wish you could do for 100.”  This rings true for me in this stage of my life.  There is so much ministry to be done, so many hurting people to comfort, so many hungry to feed, so many lonely to bring into families.  People think I am joking when I say that I wish I could  be approved to adopt a dozen children or when I ask people to come to Eastern Europe with me and take home some of the precious ones that are still waiting.

They think I am joking.

Dear friends, neither are these statements a joke nor are they said with frivolity.  The lives of many precious people are hanging in the balance.  This is no joking matter.

I want desperately to save the world, but that is not my vocation.  My vocation is limited to not a hundred, not a dozen but just one.  God has called me to focus on just one.  And so we are.  We have taken this leap of faith and we are racing to the finish line to rescue (Yes.  That is the right word.) our dear boy.  God is stretching us in this process in so many ways, but perhaps one of the most painful is the soft refrain that repeats in my mind “You cannot save them all.”

There are so many I love and so many that I can do nothing but entrust to God’s care.  But that is not true for Juri.  I can do more for him, and I will.  I will fight for the life of this child whom I love as my own dear son.

And there is another boy who this refrain is also not true for.  There is a boy who I can help.

If you do not yet know Sutter, let me introduce you…

Sutter

Isn’t he handsome?  Meet Sutter.  Sutter is easy going and organized.  He is a really smart boy. He enjoys solving puzzles and can solve them really fast.  If you try to fool him, he will say “No” and start to laugh his contagious laugh.  He has a soft heart for the other children in his group and helps out, but sometimes he craves attention and tries to be at the center of it.  Doubtless a small glimpse that we have into his reality, the reality of a child with nothing and no one.  The reality of a child without a mother or a father.  The reality of an orphan.

Sutter has Cerebral palsy, just like our Juri, although his is more severe.  He had several operations as a child, which improved his movement for a time, but after a growth spurt he lost some of his mobility again. He tries to walk with crutches and he gets some physical therapy, but it is not the medical care his body needs.  With the right attention to his needs it is almost certain he would walk again.

But here’s the real crux of the issue.  Sutter has grown up with limbs that don’t cooperate, in a place where no one loves him like a family would love him.  He is living in an adult mental institution for no other reason than his legs don’t work and he doesn’t have access to the medical care that would help him make them work.  None of these, though, are Sutter’s greatest obstacle in life.  He has a far greater hurdle looming in the near future, and he has no power to clear it on his own.  Sutter has a chance at life – real life.  Life in a family, loved, wanted, learning, growing, succeeding… living.

He can do all of these things and do them well, but he can’t do them without you.  Yes YOU.

This is my battle cry.

Sutter needs a family.

Now.  Yesterday even.

This boy is turning sixteen in FEBRUARY of 2014.  He needs a family to commit to him BEFORE HIS BIRTHDAY or he will age out and never be adopted, never know a life outside of institutional walls.

I am fighting for Sutter, and I want you to fight for him too.  We cannot save them all, but we can make a difference for this one.  This one precious child.  This one that God would love to bless a family with.  I am Sutter’s Christmas Warrior.  That means that from now until December 31st it is my job to advocate, to fight, for Sutter.  I have committed to raise $1,000 for Sutter, and more importantly MY goal is to find him a family.  He needs a family.  I can’t be that family, but I can certainly try and find out who is.

This season is marked by thankfulness.  Everyone reading this is fed, clothed, sheltered, privileged.  Our cup is running over with blessing.  This  this Thanksgiving and Christmas, let your cup run over onto those who God has put in your path that are less fortunate.  God has put Sutter in my path, and now in yours.  Help me find his family.

There is a time to weep and to mourn over injustice.

And there is a time to stand up and fight against it.  This is the time to fight… for Sutter.

Come back tomorrow and join me as I lay out the battle plan.

It’s time to fight.

UPDATE: The Battle Plan

Adoption Q&A

Hey everyone!  Wow!  Thank you SO much for the overwhelming flood of support and love we received yesterday after announcing our adoption!  We really cannot be more thrilled to bring this boy into our family and sharing our joy with you has been a much needed blessing!  We have only just started the process, but we are already knee deep in paperwork and weary!  With all the transition this summer, adding an adoption to the mix is quite a lot to bite off, but we want to get to our boy as soon as possible, so here we are!  We got some great questions yesterday about our sweet boy and the adoption, so I put together a little Q&A for you!

Juri in the Ball Pit

 

Where is Juri?

Juri is in Eastern Europe.  We cannot reveal his country of residence in order to protect his privacy.

Is Juri his real name?

No.  Juri is an alias that was used to advocate for him.  It is the name that his many fans know him by, so we will be using it for now until the adoption is completed.  We cannot reveal his birth name to protect his privacy.  If you are wondering how Juri is pronounced, we say it “Yur-ee”.

How old is Juri?  

He will be turning six in November!

How did you find him?  

As most of you know, I have been advocating with an organization called Reece’s Rainbow for quite some time.  He was listed on their website, and he really stood out to Jake, so we prayed about it and God opened the doors for us to pursue his adoption.  Reece’s Rainbow has also set up a Family Sponsorship Page for our adoption.  You can see that here: Juri for the Mueller Family 

Does he have any special needs?  

Yes.  Juri has mild Cerebral Palsy.  It affects only his legs, and makes it very difficult for him to walk.  The last update we have on him is that he does not have much motion in his legs at all and that he is learning how to walk with a walker.  We are hopeful that with braces and regular therapy he will eventually be able to walk on his own!  Also, because he is an older child who has spent his entire life in an orphanage, there will be some delays and emotional trauma associated with that.  We feel very privileged to have the opportunity to walk him through these challenges and help him reach his full potential.

Do you have more pictures?

Yes!  We have LOTS of pictures AND a video!  But I am not going to give them to you all right away.  We have to make them last a while before I get new ones, so you will just have to be on the look out for more cuteness!

When will he come home?  

Adoptions from Juri’s country take about 5-8 months from start to finish.  We are praying that he will be home in time for Easter.  We could be travelling as soon as January or as late as March.  It depends on how fast we get all of our paperwork in and how long it takes it all to be processed and approved.

How will adopting an older child affect your younger children?

Of course, we cannot know for certain how adding Juri will affect our family dynamics.  As with any addition to a family, you just don’t know what your new normal will be!  We have done a lot of reading and learning about this specifically, and we believe that Juri will be a  blessing to our whole family, Evangeline and Stephen especially.  I just read a blog post the other day that absolutely sums up my thoughts and what I have witnessed over the years in adoptions like ours.  It’s long but I encourage everyone to take a look; it’s very eye opening!  Read it here: How Adoption Effects Bio Children

How much will it cost?  

Our adoption will cost approximately $25,000.  This includes six weeks of travel, homestudy costs, facilitation fees, medicals, etc.

How will you pay for the adoption?  

That is a great question!  The honest answer is, we don’t know.  The other honest answer is, we trust that God will provide.  If He wants to place Juri in our family, He will get us there one way or the other.  We don’t have the kind of money an international adoption costs.  Even just the (relatively) small upfront costs we have already paid have been a stretch for our family financially.  We definitely have the money to care for him once he is home, but shelling out 25k in a matter of 5 to 8 months?  Very few families I know can do that out of pocket and there are SO many children needing a good home.

So what’s the solution?  Well, we have already been blessed with Juri’s Reece’s Rainbow grant fund.  This is the fund that was held for him before he found a family.  It has almost $2000 in it that we will be able to use toward the costs at the end of our adoption.  We will be as frugal as we possibly can from now until Juri is home so we can put as much of our own money into this process as possible.  But the reality is, we are still looking at $20,000 (give or take) that we need to get him home that we just do not have yet and do not know where it is going to come from.

We will be putting together some fundraisers in the coming months for Juri’s adoption, please stay updated and participate as you can!  We don’t have any put together yet, but donations can be made at any time to our family’s Reece’s Rainbow Grant Fund.  Gifts made to Reece’s Rainbow are tax deductible and 100% of the money will be given to our family to use on adoption expenses when we travel.  Tomorrow I will put together a totally separate Q&A post on fundraising for you all.  So if you have other questions about this very necessary aspect of our adoption, feel free to ask!

Why not adopt out of foster care?

Because our son is not in foster care, he is in Eastern Europe!  To us, every orphan needs a loving family.  Our decision wasn’t about where we wanted to adopt from, it was about who is our son and where is he so we can go get him?  In the last several months we have been doing a lot of praying and, trust me, lots of looking on databases of children waiting for families (from the U.S. and all over the world).  We considered taking blind referrals and every other which way you could imagine going about an adoption.

I can’t explain it other than it has become very evident to us in the last few months that Juri is our son.  God is opening the doors.  So we are going to go get him!  Yes, foster care would be so much cheaper and easier for many reasons, but if we adopted from foster care we would not be able to adopt Juri.  We are not opposed to foster care, in fact, we would love to go that route one day!  But for today we are being called to this little boy half way across the world.  We are not counting the cost, because he is more than worth all of it!

Thank you all for taking this journey with us!  If you want to stay updated you can subscribe to our blog using the handy button on the right hand side (just above “Reader’s Favorites” and just under Stephen’s adorable newborn picture that sorely needs to be updated!)

Rejoice With Us

Evangeline will always be our firstborn child.  The precious little girl who made me a mother and taught me so much about dying to myself and living for another person.  Stephen is our firstborn son, and he will always hold that special place in my heart, as he daily reminds me that raising a son is not the same as raising a daughter.  He keeps me on my toes, and I love every minute of it.

While they will forever hold these unique and lovely “firstborn” places in my heart I have always known that Evangeline, though our first child, would not be our oldest.  That’s right, our sweet daughter is very soon going to be trying her hand at the vocation of little sister (and if her time with her oldest cousin is any indication she will be just wonderful at it!)  Dear friends, it is with great joy that we can finally announce our family is growing again, and this time through adoption!

We are just beginning this marathon of a process that will take about 5-8 months.  Our first meeting with our homestudy social worker was today and we are swimming in paperwork right now!  I don’t want to bore you with all the details just yet, but if you have questions ask away!  I will be answering lots of questions in upcoming posts and going through everything in more detail.  But for now, there is someone I would like to introduce you to.

Meet our new son… Juri…

73500_524786524210134_81232792_n

We cannot wait to bring you home sweet boy!  You are already loved beyond your wildest imagination.

Dear God.

You know those moments where the weight of our broken reality here on Earth causes your life to come to a crashing halt?

That moment where the only prayer you know how to pray is “Dear God!” because after that your mind becomes a jumbled mess and the words just won’t come.

That excruciating moment when you would give anything to stop the pain and there is not one single thing you possess that will make any bit of difference.

Dear God.

Dear God please…

If nothing else, give me the words to express what needs to be said here today.

russia

 

This sweet boy is a Russian orphan.  His biggest fans know him as Kyle.  Kyle has Down syndrome, so he was sent to an orphanage after he was born.  He waited for four years to be rescued, for a family to step up and adopt him.  No one did.  A friend of mine was close to committing to this boy, until Vladimir Putin made the fateful decision to ban all American adoptions.  Cut off from his only way out of life as a special needs orphan in Russia, Kyle was transferred to a mental institution to live out the rest of his, likely short, days.  No one in Russia will take children so damaged, and very few citizens outside the United States have the will and the ability to come to his rescue.

Let me tell you a little bit about what I learned from this new picture of Kyle.  There are two institutions in his region of Russia – a good one, and a bad one.  Kyle was transferred to the bad one.  The open wounds on his head are self injuries caused by banging his head against the metal bars of his crib to feel any kind of sensation.  Children like Kyle lay in cribs all day with no interaction and no stimulation.  You can see that his head is shaved, all the children’s heads are shaved upon entering the institution.  It is easier.  But there is increased hair growth on his face; this is caused by a severe lack of human contact.  Children are never held and only touched once a day to have their diaper changed.  Once a day.  The unseemly lines on his face are from a lack of food.  Just from this picture you can tell he is nothing more than skin and bones.

There is nothing I can do to help Kyle.  There is nothing you can do to help Kyle.  Nothing that will make the next year of his life more bearable.

But there is something we can do.  We can help other children like Kyle.

In honor of this beautiful, sweet child, please do one thing today to help an orphan facing this fate.  Below is a list of fast and easy ways you can help.  If you do choose to do something please let me know in the comments; I could really use the lift today, and it will encourage others to join in and help as well.

You Can Help!  Here’s How…

1. Share this blog post.  You can share this post via email, Facebook, Twitter or repost it on your own blog.  The more we get the word out the more people who can help.  Little by little we can break down the walls and rescue these children.

2. Like the 300 Broken Promises page on Facebook.  The adoptive parents whose children are stuck in Russia due to the adoption ban have created a Facebook page to raise awareness for their children.  Please “like” their page HERE and keep updated on what’s happening and how you can continue to support their cause.

3. Contact your representatives.  You can see a list of your representatives here.  Please, please contact your representatives and ask them to make resolving the Russian adoption ban a priority.  This is not the first time an American adoption ban has happened.  Massive public outcry is the best way we can advocate for these children.  Let the people who have ability to make a difference know that this issue is important to you.

4. Support the Russian Orphan Opportunity Fund.  This is a non-profit organization working within Russia to change the culture and the lives of Russians with special needs.  They work at institutions just like Kyle’s to make the living conditions humane, to offer life skills training and to help adults transition to independent living and meaningful work.  In order to expand their work and help more of these children and adults, they need donors committed to regular giving.  Please consider this.

5. Commit to praying for these children.  Set aside a fifteen minute block of time to pray for the orphans in Russia every day until the ban is lifted.  You can pray for Kyle, or another child.  Here is a list of orphans in Russia.  If you choose a child you would like to pray for, please let me know in the comments.  It will literally make my day.

6. Donate to a child or family who is adopting.  We cannot save Kyle right now, but there are millions of orphans around the world, many of whom we can save.  Please consider making an $8 donation to a waiting child or family in process at Reece’s Rainbow in honor of the eight years Kyle has spent without a family.  You can put “in honor of Kyle” in your note at the end.  His suffering does not need to be in vain.  And, as always, it would be a huge gift to me if you let me know who you blessed in honor of sweet Kyle.

Pray. Give. Advocate. Adopt.

Let’s change the world, one orphan at a time.

Reece’s Rainbow: What is It?

Reece's Rainbow

Since I am sort of starting over from scratch, I thought I would just clear the air right up front.  I am a passionate person.  I know there are things wrong in the world and I feel compelled to shout for those who have no voice.  With that being said, I wanted to introduce you to an organization that you’ll probably be hearing a lot about from me if you stick around long enough to listen.  This way, you all have a heads up that I am going to be advocating for the children on this site, and if anyone asks “What exactly is Reece’s Rainbow?”  I can have a nifty little post to refer them back to.

So… here goes!  Reece’s Rainbow is not an adoption agency.  They are an advocacy organization that seeks to find loving families for orphans with special needs around the world.  Reece’s Rainbow was started by the mother of a little boy who has Down syndrome (that would be Reece).  When she discovered the horrific conditions that children born with Down syndrome and other disabilities endure because of their differences, she did something about it.  That something, is Reece’s Rainbow.

How exactly does Reece’s Rainbow help orphans?

Reece’s Rainbow helps orphans on multiple fronts, this is a not a cut and dry battle, but one that is fought on many sides.  Reece’s Rainbow’s ultimate goal is to no longer be needed!  We all hope that one day the parents of these children will be equipped and encouraged to keep their children and raise them.  But for right now, there are children with no families who desperately need out.  Reform has to happen, but it will not happen in time for most of the children waiting right now.

Reece’s Rainbow has a waiting list of children with special needs who are available for adoption.  This gives children from around the world the ability to be seen, something that they would otherwise not have.  Their families often find them through the advocacy of this organization and her many volunteers and fellow advocates.  Reece’s Rainbow also holds grant funds for the children who are waiting.  Now, this often puts people off initially, but let me explain…

The dollar signs next to children’s names are not “for sale” signs.  Rather, these amounts are indicative of support that has been donated and built up for a specific child over a period of time.  International adoption is prohibitively expensive, but if a child has a grant fund in place for their adoption the process can move more quickly and smoothly once a family is found.  This saves lives.  Potential parents who are on the fence about whether they can adopt are often encouraged to know that there is already support waiting for them on the other end.

The other way that Reece’s Rainbow helps is by connecting families with resources and grant funds, giving people tax deductible ways to donate to a family’s adoption and giving them a fundraising platform.  Reece’s Rainbow walks with families throughout the entire adoption process, which is a huge blessing for anyone taking the giant leap of faith that is adoption.

Why do you advocate for Reece’s Rainbow?

There are many ways to care for the widow and the orphan.  This organization, in particular, has my heart.  I have come to fall in love with many of the children that are still in need of families, and can’t help but shout for them, hoping their mommies and daddies will hear!  I have also made dear friends with many of the families adopting with the help of Reece’s Rainbow.  I have learned so much from Andrea, the Reece’s Rainbow staff, adopting families and the advocates that I cannot help but be indebted to them.  In a way they have become a part of my family and my neighbors whom God has given to me to serve.

How can I help?

There are so many ways you can help!  Stay tuned here long enough and I will give you some ideas for sure.  Otherwise, go to the Reece’s Rainbow website and learn more about what they do.   There are waiting children that you can advocate for and families in process that you can encourage and support financially.  Pray for all of these children and families and ask God’s protection over them as they long to be together.

To connect with Reece’s Rainbow and stay informed about more ways you can help, check out their Twitter and Facebook Page.

So Much to Say…

So little time.

Isn’t that how it always is?

It’s very cold here… I don’t appreciate it too much.  I have been lethargic for two days; I could lay in bed all day long and still be tired.  I don’t appreciate that either.  But some weeks are just like that I suppose.  I have a lot I could talk about, there’s so much going on.  I am working on Evie’s basic homeschool outline for the next two years, and I’m reading lots of children’s books to preview them for her.  I realized last week that we have hardly any quality children’s books in our library… and I think that should be ammended.

I just finished reading J.M. Barrie’s “Peter Pan”.  And guess what?  I cried at the end!  Ugh!  My hormones are driving me insane… I don’t know if any of you have ever read the book, but the end isn’t really terribly sad.  Normally something that would make me go “Aww”, shrug my shoulders and move on with my day… but no.  I had to cry.  Evie looked at me like “What on earth is wrong with you?”  Oh well.

So my brain has been scattered; I could say so much, but I don’t know where to start.  I thought I’d write a post anyway… although I hope you’re not expecting too much :S

Evangeline was having some potty difficulties the last couple weeks.  I wouldn’t call it a “potty pause” necessarily, as she still wanted to sit on the potty.  In fact, I usually have the opposite problem where she just likes to sit there forever after she’s done and I have to bribe her with food before she’ll get up and put her pants back on.  I don’t get it… but anyway.  She was having trouble telling us exactly when she needed to go.  She kept letting me know after the fact, or while it was happening.  It was getting a little frustrating.

The worst part of it though was that this seeped over into her nighttime pottying too.  She stopped fussing when she had to go… she just went and then started nursing again, completely content to sleep in a wet bed.  Which meant that I had to get up and change the sheets 2-5 times a night, and I was not a happy momma!  After about a week of this we made the decision to start transitioning her to her own mattress.  We hadn’t yet because being right next to her was so helpful in knowing when she needed to go, but once she stopped communicating, it wasn’t really that helpful.

The move has been great for all of us.  I am so glad we decided to do it, and it was the perfect timing.  We had sort of tried a few months back, but she just wasn’t ready yet.  She always ended up crawling back in bed with us.  Now she’s comfortable being on her own, so she will fuss if she wants me, but she doesn’t seem to need me right there all night.   And the best part is, if her body wakes her up because of a full bladder I am not right there so she needs to fuss in order to get the milk she wants.  Therefore, I know when she needs to go, and she has been having very few nighttime accidents since.

Her mattress is right next to ours, so it’s easy for me to move from bed to bed during the night.  Last night she slept, I think at least 5 or 6 hours without needing to nurse at all, and Jake and I enjoyed having lots of space to ourselves.  Now we feel spoiled :)  She is also back to telling us that she needs to potty right beforehand, although her timing’s not perfect. I know it’s just a phase, and she’ll pick it right back up very soon.  No biggie.

In other news, our processed-oats-free house is doing great.  Not sure what else to call it?  We are only eating properly prepared oats now, as the first step in eradicating our house of foods that are dangerously high in phytic acid.  It wasn’t too difficult, but we’re going to ramp it up next week.  We’re getting rid of *drum roll please* corn.  Yup… corn.  So all those things at the grocery store that have corn in them?  We will be saying goodbye.  That is going to be a challenge.  And I will be sure to keep you updated.

In the meantime I am working on perfecting my homemade soaked granola recipe.  The batch this week was ok, Jake said it was delicious, but I’m not through experimenting yet.  When I’m satisfied I’ll post it for all of you to enjoy!

And last, but certainly not least, I have been asked by a friend to spread the word about this little darling who is desperately in need of a family:

Her name is Megan, and she has a grant fund large enough to cover almost her entire adoption!  She has been transferred to a mental institution and the word is that it is not a good one.  If you are unaware of what that means, take a look for yourself.  Most children die within the first year of being transferred.  Please pray and help us spread the word about Megan so that her forever family will find her and rescue her from such a dismal fate.  Remember, this is a very inexpensive adoption due to her grant fund, and single moms are welcome to apply!  Go here for more information.

Blessings!

Dalas

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