Today is thanksgiving and we have tons to be thankful for but I'm too tired and sick to even put a coherent thought together. The flu has hit our household:( it started with Savannah and is working its way through us.
So our thanksgiving is consisting of coughing, fevers, snotty noses, whiny kids and cranky parents.
But we are still collecting clothing and shoes for the fundraiser so keep the donations coming:)
I'm going to tell you all about my favorite pair of shoes, now when you see the picture of them you'll wonder what the heck is wrong with me!
They're over a year old, they're faded and dirty, my toes are almost busting through the fabric but I love them. They really aren't even comfortable but they're still my faves.
There's a special reason they are my favorite though and after you hear why you'll maybe understand a little more about how sentimental I am and how determined I am to reach our fundraising goal of 15,000 pairs of shoes.
I bought these shoes at Payless for like $9.99 in August of 2012 so they weren't expensive or so stylish that I must hold on to them forever. I was shopping that day with someone else and for someone else. You see Masha was with me, we were shopping for her. I bought her a pair of the exact shoes as these that day. She wore hers everyday she was here for the rest of the short time she was with us. So you see when I look at those shoes and wear them it takes me back to those few weeks she spent in our home. The memories come in even clearer when I see them. I remember snagging them on the door at one of the hotels we were staying in on that dreaded trip to North Carolina to take her to the airport. All those feelings come rushing back. I don't need the shoes of course to remember but they're just a tangible something to touch and actually see. It's hard for me to speak about her now without crying, even to Jared I just can't without tearing up. She is why we are still fundraising and saving. She is why I look like a hoarder right now (my house is full of bags of clothes and shoes) She is why I'm trying so hard to get the rest of the money needed to adopt a second child ($15,000) yes the possibility is still small but I have to try, we love her as our own.
I'm sending my favorite shoes with the rest of the donated shoes, I think it's only appropriate.....I'll probably cry when I slip them off and put them in at the last minute for the trucks......and I'll pray that they help me to be reunited with my shopping partner so we can buy new shoes again together.
Pasha and I took a 2 day trip to San Antonio to go and be evaluated for the VEPTR procedure at Christus Santa Rosa Children's Hospital. We won't know for sure if he's a candidate for the surgery for about 2 weeks but the surgeons that saw us think he will be. It was a long 2 days there full of tests. He had a CT scan, sedated MRI, EEG, EKG, blood work, lots of X-rays and saw a pulmonologist. So now we wait.....
While we were there we took a trip to the RiverCenter mall to have lunch with a friend and her new son! They adopted him from the same country that Pasha is from last month. The boys are a few months apart and both have Spina Bifida so I'm excited to see them develop a friendship!
There's a hole in my heart....it started in August of 2012 and in April of 2013 it got even bigger. It's a huge gaping ugly wound that's giving me issues. It's caused by a teenage girl that my heart thinks of as my daughter.
It's really hard to explain to anyone who hasn't gone through something like this how it feels. I'm also the type of person who doesn't like to show my emotions in front of others. Even Jared has only seen me cry a few times, the times he has seen me cry the majority have been over this girl. I like to do my crying in private, usually in the shower. Well pretty much every day since April I have cried over this child.
This is why I have to try again, this is why I'm begging for help with fundraising. What would you do if you left part of your heart half a world away? What lengths would you go to? I have held this child when she was sick, crying, sad, laughing and scared. She's not just a photo we fell in love with. We all miss her terribly and want her home. I need to try again so my heart can heal because its hard to function with a huge gaping hole........
I left part of my heart there, can you help me return for it?
My living room looks like we are getting ready to be featured on Hoarders: Buried Alive lol! Seriously there are piles of bags and boxes everywhere. Some are ours to move to the new house but most are donated clothing and shoes.
Even though we have a bunch we still need more we are guesstimating that we have around 1500 pairs of shoes and probably 500-700 lbs of clothing between the four families....our goal is 15,000 pairs of shoes AND 20,000 lbs of clothing.....we are a long ways from reaching our goal so I'm begging for help....4 families 6-8 kids being adopted. Please help if you live close to Houston or know people here.
Fox 26 came and did a short story with us and three of my friends who are also adopting. Monday the Alvin Sun Newspaper is coming out to do a story on us and our shoe drive and the Pearland online paper will have a link up on their site with a blurb about us and the shoe drive! We need lots and lots of help collecting shoes and clothing so please if you live in the Houston area gather up some shoes for us!
Fox 26 came out to my friend Jen's house yesterday and interviewed us and the other 3 families that we are doing the clothing and shoe fundraiser with! The piece will air Saturday morning (Nov 2) between 5-8am, sorry they have not told us a set time yet.
It was a little harried yesterday trying to do the interviews after all there were 19 children there and 10 adults. During what's typically nap and lunch time....yeah there were a few tantrums but overall it wasn't too bad.
They did the story because Sunday is orphan Sunday and to help get the word out about our shoe drive. Jen's church is one donation drop off location Jersey Village Baptist Church (get info here) www.houstonshoesforsouls.blogspot.com
Also you can drop off donations to my friend Stevie's Day spa
Heights Massage and Day Spa 1145 Lawrence at 12th street Houston TX. While you're there book yourself a massage or facial!
Several children's resale shops and boutiques have been helping me with donations as well and I'm so thankful for then and their help!!!
Jack and Jill's in Alvin
2625 S loop 35 Alvin tx
The Little Bo-tique
913 E NASA Pkwy Houston TX
Small Changes Kids Resale
920 W Main League City
Wendy and her husband Kevin are also adopting and doing the fundraiser with us, his job is going to be a drop off location it's the Mardel Store off 1960
13839 Breck St Houston tx
You can also drop off donations at my home or if you have a few bags I will come get them! Just email me email@example.com
We are in need of pairs of shoes....in useable condition. Men's, women's, children's, dance shoes, boots, etc.
please if they are tie shoes tie them together by the laces otherwise rubber band them together. Keep shoes in a separate bag from clothing items.
Clothing is lots of things.....
We need as much as we can get remember this is helping 4 families!!!!
Since we committed to Pasha last year when he was listed on Reece's Rainbow I pretty much have avoided looking at all the pictures of kids listed that are waiting for a family. It's so heartbreaking looking at all of them knowing you are only one person.
It's even harder now since I have been to one of those countries and have seen the kids in an orphanage waiting, waiting to start their lives. I saw their faces everyday for weeks, I was called mama by so many who just wanted some attention from me. I hugged so many, waved to them, tried to say hi and just smile so they knew they were deserving of attention and love. Seeing the older kids at the internat was even harder, so many that have been in orphanages since birth yet they're still waiting for one reason or another.
Jared and I are done after this trip coming up with adopting. We will be at the limit of what we can handle but there are so many other kids who need families , who deserve a family and love. I can't describe it to someone who hasn't been there and seen it first hand how sad it is seeing literally hundreds of kids that more than likely will grow up institutionalized never living in a family. All those little things we take for granted they won't experience.
If you can't adopt you can still help. Just google adoption. There's so many organizations both domestically and internationally that help not only families with fundraising but also the kids that are still there waiting for their chance at life. The caregiver to child ratio is overwhelmingly sad especially with the kids that have special needs. There just aren't enough workers to care for them, sometimes they don't know how to care for them. Sometimes they just don't care. They believe the kids are a "lost cause" they're broken or "not working". Yes I have friends who were told when they went to adopt their children that the kids are not working, they're invalids, they want to know why someone would want those kids.
My Pasha was one of those. So was Callen...Callen was given a few diagnosis' that aren't even true he was labeled as having medical issues that he doesn't have, he's perfectly healthy. He had native families come see him to see if they wanted to adopt him but they all said no, because of his hydrocephalus and heart condition which he has neither of! No native families even inquired about Pasha, 4.5 years he laid there waiting and was never even asked about. He is adorable, and smart and funny and so very sweet. I can't help but think of what everyone is missing out on not having a child like Pasha! He's so determined and hard headed yet is showing Jared and I everyday what a joy he truly is. And my Callen if he had been adopted earlier I truly believe he'd be a "typical" 3 year old today. His issues are mostly caused from not being nurtured and living in an orphanage. He was covered in bruises when I got him from the orphanage and the one time I saw him being showered there before I was able to take custody he had large bruises on his buttocks that looked suspiciously like injection marks.
If you can't adopt then do something else. Advocate, pray, donate do something.
Today at 4 pm central time it will start Berkeley's 10th birthday. While I'm very sad I'm missing her birthday I am comforted knowing this is her last one without a family.
When we committed to her we had planned on being there with her for this birthday and hopefully back in the US in a week or two but you know how things go when you make plans that intercede with Gods.....several delays have happened all beyond our control we had issues with getting our social worker here. She kept taking weeks to return phone calls and emails and eventually I got tired and just had to hire a new social worker, well since we had to start over we have to re do background checks that we just had done in August and a few other papers. Also since Pasha has been in and out of the hospital I have not been as diligent as I should have been with hounding the original person.
I know it's all in his timing though, I just keep having to remind myself of that. We had delays last year and after we finally traveled we could see the perfectness of Gods timing in our trip. Had we traveled earlier we would not have met some great people we did while there, we would not have adopted Callen and having that knowledge it comforts me that we will get to Berkeley in his perfect time.
Everything now will just depend on how fast our paperwork gets approved by her government once they re open after all the winter holidays. Just like last year we will be ready and waiting on travel dates after Christmas. So we could travel anytime from late January to late March.....anyway back to my girl turning 10. We are fully funded for Berkeley's adoption thanks to several things. Her large grant through Reece's Rainbow, my husband taking an extra job, friends lovingly donating, us selling things around the house and an anonymous gift to finish it out! We are so very appreciative, after working so hard last year to save and fundraise we just were exhausted. BUT.....yes there's a but and it's big.
We are approved for 2 children.....we already know the 2nd child that we will bring home if we are able. It's a long shot, a very long shot not just financially but with a few other things but if this child can come home we will need $15,000 to make it happen. Yes $15,000....,I know I groan just thinking of it. This child is on the other side of the country from Berkeley. Of course we are still saving money and fundraising in case we are able to adopt this child we can. And since it is a long shot any extra money we have that isn't used for adoption fees we will donate to other families in need for their adoptions.
We are selling t shirts to help with the last bit of funds we need to pay for a babysitter while I am gone to adopt Berkeley and to help with airfare so I can bring a friend with me on the trip since Jared cannot go this time.
They are $18 each plus $2 shipping for sizes S-XL and $20 for XXL or XXXL plus $2 shipping. We are taking orders now through November 4th. The shirts will be shipped about 2 weeks later so they will be perfect Christmas gifts!
You can pay here www.reecesrainbow.org/61131/sponsorwilliams then email me your sizes and shipping address!
Well the past few weeks have been very crazy and just a little ok a lot stressful. Pasha had a feeding tube placed 3 weeks ago them 2 weeks later developed a pretty bad post op infection. This week all 4 of my toddlers have a mild stomach bug which has resulted in lots laundry and extra diapers around here.
We also put a bid in on a house in a better school district than where we are now and the house is better able to be handicap accessible for Pasha and possibly Berkeley depending on her needs. It's in a very family friendly neighborhood and right around the corner from the neighborhood pools. Now we just need to sell our current home, we have several showings scheduled so hopefully it will be soon. Technically we are downsizing a little and we got the house for an amazing price but the area is very nice, it's older homes with big lots and gorgeous trees!
Anyway here's the kindness of strangers part....I had someone tell me a couple of months ago through an email that they knew someone who wanted to bless our family's adoption of Berkeley with a substantial gift. I was thinking wow amazing but of course still skeptical because I have heard of other families receiving anonymous large gifts BUT you also hear of families being promised donations and they never come through. So we took a chance and have our address and pretty much put it out of our heads. Well tonight I came home to an envelope with no return address and a money order for $6000....... Yes I said $6000!!!!! I almost cried I was so happy that means for Berkeley's adoption we are FULLY FUNDED!!!! All that's needed financially is plane ticket money for a friend to go with me for a couple of weeks to help!!!!! I always dreamed of that happening but never actually thought it would!!!! I'm amazed and very thankful!
We are still going to do some fundraising....there is a teeny tiny chance that we might bring another girl home. Very tiny chance but just in case I want to be prepared. Whatever money we don't use we will pay forward to other families adopting!!!!
We are going to be having a clothing and shoe to drive as a fundraiser starting very soon. Details are still being worked out but we are joining forces with 3 other local families who are also in the process of adopting internationally. We are all really hoping this will be a super successful venture for us. So if you are in the Houston area or know people here please help us get the word out. We are collecting PAIRS of shoes and clothing of all types. They also will accept purses, bedding, drapery, towels and belts!!! We paid by the pound for these things so we need tons and tons:) so please don't take your stuff to goodwill!!!! Give it to us!!!!
Well Pasha finally got his g tube yesterday, we are still in the hospital and will be until at least tomorrow afternoon. He's still in quite a bit of pain so prayers for his pain to go away quickly would be appreciated.
Callen had his appt with neurology yesterday as well, the doctor said he doesn't think he ever had hydrocephalus so that was great news! That means no heart defect, no hydro!!! He's perfectly healthy.
Pasha is doing good except for not eating which we are trying to see some specialists at other hospitals about his scoliosis and kyphosis to get their opinions on surgery.
Both boys are doing good in school. Callen runs to the bus everyday and lives going. He does spend time everyday in Mr. Sad (time-out) while at school but he's actually trying to participate with the class and his speech is getting better everyday!
I know I owe everyone a post from Jared about how he was a reluctant husband and obviously changed his mind but we have been BUSY!!!
First trying to get the boys registered for school and Ashlyn ready to start 5th grade and Kaeden back to Mother's Day out 2 days a week. Finally got the boys all registered and ready for school had their IEP meetings, arranged special transportation, borrowed a medical stroller for Pasha (our insurance still hasn't approved his wheel chair) and 5 tons of school supplies purchased.
Well the last couple of weeks Pasha has been eating less and less, he's never eaten well and is underweight already. On Friday he pretty much quit eating and drinking so Saturday afternoon I drove him to Texas Children's ER. He had a slight fever and had lost almost 2 lbs since coming home in May so we were admitted. After having a CT, several X-rays, bladder function tests and lots of lab work done they decided he has a UTI. We were released Tuesday evening and go back next week for his big Spina Bifida appt and at that appt we will discuss a feeding tube and when to have it done for him. I have been fighting that since he got home trying to avoid it but I can't put it off any longer:( so next week or so he will probably have a g tube put in.
Good news Callen and Pasha went to school today for the first time and both had a good day. They both are saying they want to go back tomorrow so I'm really hoping for the same good news tomorrow when I pick them up!
Well Ashlyn started the 5th grade today, hard to believe my little girl is a 5th grader. It's crazy that when she started kindergarten just a few short years ago she was our only child now she's the oldest of 5 soon to be 6!!! Wild huh?!
She had a good day even though her BFF moved over the summer to another town about 20 minutes from here. She is excited that her teacher isn't giving spelling tests this year, Ash hates spelling tests! She's only missed like 4 words total from kindergarten through now!
I took her to school today but she's going to be riding the bus this year both to and from school since Grayson and Callen will also be going to school and Kaeden to MDO 2 days a week it would be really hard for me to take and pick up everyone!
https://www.facebook.com/events/494617260633263/ here is the auction link for Facebook. It's to help bring Berkeley home ASAP. She is turning 10 in a few months that's a long time to wait for a family. She knows we are coming I'm told she asks daily when her mama and papa are coming to get her. That my friends hurts my heart, Masha was the same way. Yes we love Masha, always will there will always be a spot for her in our home if she chooses to come to America when she's older the difference between these girls is that Berkeley has NO family. Masha has some family that she visits, Berkeley does not. Masha did not spend her entire life in an orphanage just the last few years, Berkeley has been there her entire life. I'm dreading leaving the kids again but I can't wait to go get Berkeley so we can start showing her what a family is. I miss that country and I'm ready for the trip and seeing more of that country since I'll be in a different part this trip!